Hello Everyone! It’s week 2 of Pasta Month and let me tell you a little story (don’t I always? *cheeky grin*) before I move on to the recipe. The first time I had squid ink pasta was in an Italian Restaurant when I was studying in Sydney. If I’m not mistaken, the restaurant is called Pizza e Birra on Crown Street in the suburb of Surry Hills. I was having a fancy dinner night out with my flatmate at that time and squid ink pasta was on their specials menu. I was a bit hesitant at first because I obviously hadn’t tried it before and to be honest, I was a bit put off knowing that the colour of the pasta would be black (yes, at that time my palette wasn’t quite as sophisticated as it is right now). To my surprise, the squid ink pasta tasted like any normal pasta – it was just that the colour that was different to me. I’ve had my fair share of squid ink pastas, both in Australia, and here in Brunei. I decided to combine my favourite flavours from both experiences to put up this dish to share with you guys.
I’ve never made fresh squid ink pasta at home, and only because I have no idea where to source squid ink from besides from the ink sacs of fresh squids/cuttle fish. I did some reading online and found that you can actually buy bottled squid ink, but you definitely won’t find them in stores here in Brunei. Heck they don’t even have store bought squid ink pasta here! So how did I manage to source mine? Well, if you’re a regular follower/reader of my blog, you’ll know that I was in Singapore a couple of months back. I was shopping for groceries with my friends for a dinner party that night and I was flabbergasted by all the produce and products found in that grocery store. I was supposed to be focused on grabbing the ingredients I needed to cook my dish for that night, but instead I wandered off, going from aisle to aisle, looking at anything and everything. I found myself in the pasta aisle and that where I came across store bought squid ink pasta. You had no idea how excited and in shock I was when I saw it – because I had no idea that you could buy it on the shelves; and without any hesitation at all, I bought myself a pack to bring back here to Brunei. I know, I know – I’m crazy right? Haha. My next mission will be tomato squid ink pasta from scratch, and I’ll definitely share it on my blog whenever I get around to trying it out! For now, here’s one recipe you can do for your squid ink pasta:
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS| SERVES 5
1 pack (500g) squid ink pasta*
1 pack (250g) cherry tomato medley, halved
1 fish bouillon cube, dissolved in 2/3 cup of boiling water
250g baby clam meat
4 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
2 large squids, cleaned and cut into pieces
1 lemon, wedged
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
Parsley, roughly chopped
*Fresh homemade squid ink pasta or store bought is fine for this recipe
Lightly score the inner surface of the squid, or alternatively, cut into rings. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the squid ink spaghetti according to packet instructions or until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking away, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic and chillies together until golden brown and fragrant.
Add the clam meat, juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding the fish bouillon stock. Turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the calamari when the pasta is almost done.
Once the pasta is done, drain and then transfer to the calamari and clam mixture. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and then give it a good mix. Top with the chopped parsley and then turn the heat off.
Hello Everyone! Maligayang Pasko! Joyeux Noël! ¡Feliz Navidad! Vrolijk Kerstfeest! And a very Merry Christmas to my family, friends and followers from all around the world! It’s weird knowing that Christmas Day is coming to an end, and that the New Year is just around the corner! The year definitely went by real quick! Anyway, tonight will by my last post for the year (maybe) and it is also the very last post for my Festive Filipino Foods series for the blog. Day 12 of 12 is finally here and I have definitely saved the best for last!
If you weren’t able to guess from the hints I dropped in yesterday’s post, tonight’s dish is a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. The dish is highly regarded as Spain’s National Dish with various types ranging from Vegetarian/Vegan Paella (Paella de Verduras), Seafood Paella (Paella de Marisco), Mixed Paella (Paella Mixta), and many, many more variants! From the name of this blog, you’ll already know what type of Paella I’ll be covering tonight, but now that I look back and think about my dish, it can actually be a Paella Mixta because what I will be sharing with you tonight is a free-style combination of land animals (well mainly processed pork in the form of a chorizo sausage), seafood, and vegetables.
According to tradition in Valencia, Paella is cooked over an open fire, fueled by orange and pine branches along with pine cones. This produces an aromatic smoke which infuses the Paella. It is cooked in a special wide-flat pan called a Paellera, and dinner guests traditionally eat directly out of the pan as well. Since paellera’s aren’t commonly found, or if you don’t have one handy, the recipe method below will show you how you can still make paella in a normal cooking pot. The last time I made Paella was back in 2012 if I’m not mistaken. I cooked it up together with my then housemate Vanessa and shared it with a friend of mine and her mother one cold wintery evening. We cooked it in a large frying pan and even served it up in that pan!
PREP TIME 20 MINS| COOKING TIME 30-40 MINS| SERVES 8-10
2 cups plain medium-grain rice, washed and drained
1 cup glutinous rice, washed and drained
1 cup frozen green peas
300g fresh or frozen mussels
200g fresh prawns, peeled and deveined, peels and heads reserved
150g fresh or frozen baby clam meat
100g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 dried bay leaves
1 brown onion, diced
1 chorizo sausage, sliced diagonally
1 large tomato, diced
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 yellow capsicum, sliced
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
Pinch of Saffron threads
Whole black peppercorns
Start by making the broth to flavour your paella by adding the prawn heads and peels to a medium-sized pot and cover with about a litre and a half of water. Season with a bit of salt, bay leaves, and whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn it down to a slow simmer. Make sure to press down on the heads and peels as it simmers away to extract as much flavour as you can. Leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off and set aside.
Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high, and panfry the chorizo slices until browned, about a minute per side. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
In the same pot, sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Follow with the diced tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
Add in the rice, paprika, saffron threads, and season with and bit of ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding about 3 cups of the prawn stock. Cover and leave it to cook without stirring – at this point, you may want to turn your heat down to medium to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Leave it alone for about 15 minutes or once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
Turn the heat down to low, and add the seafood (if you are going to serve it up in the pot you cooked it in, then I suggest that you arrange your seafood in a presentable way, if not, then you can just chuck them in and arrange it later when you transfer your paella to a serving dish). Cover and leave it to cook/bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through. Add the vegetables and chorizo slices and cook for a further 5 minutes, after which you can turn the heat off and leave it in the pot for a further 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serve immediately with a fresh squeeze of lemon, and enjoy amongst family and friends!
– Ally xx
ps: I may or may not actually post up two more festive recipes, depending if I have time to write them up from tomorrow onwards before the New Year kicks in.
Hello Everyone! I’ll keep this short only because I’ve had such a busy day today and I just want my brain to relax and not have to look at a computer screen any longer (since that’s what I have been doing all say today). Then again, who am I kidding, after I write this post I will most likely end up looking at my computer screen but instead of utilising my brain and trying to get words to flow, I’ll be watching shows or random videos on Youtube until it’s time to go to bed *cheeky grin*
Anyway, enough babbling, tonight’s recipe is a dish I first experienced during one of my many travels to Singapore. When I saw a picture of it on the menu boards at a hawker centre that I was at (can’t remember where exactly), it was different to the Hokkien Mee that I usually ate back in Brunei, which apparently I have only just learnt after doing a quick Google search, is Malaysian-styled braised in dark soy sauce. I actually quite like both, and though the ingredients are pretty much similar, I much prefer the Singapore-style Hokkien Mee.
The original recipe can be found over on Rasa Malaysia; I have tweaked the recipe slightly in terms of the order in which the ingredients go in and a few of the processes.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 45 MINS| SERVES 4-6
400g prawns, peeled and deveined
350g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
250g fresh yellow noodles
250g thin rice vermicelli noodles
200g pork shoulder
100g bean sprouts
3 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
3 pcs dried bay leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pc fish cake, sliced diagonally
1 small red onion, diced
Whole black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp fish sauce, adjust quantity to taste
Dash of ground white pepper
Dash of sesame oil
Calamansi (or lemon wedge)
Add the pork shoulder, dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a large pot filled with about 2L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes or until tender. Once done, remove the pork from the stock and set aside to cool before slicing into it.
Meanwhile, blanch the prawns and squid in the boiling stock, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the stock and set aside. Then add in the rice vermicelli noodles and cook as per packet instructions or until just about tender. Once done, drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan, or wok, over medium-high and sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether.
Turn up the heat to high and then add in the yellow and rice vermicelli noodles, frying for a few minutes until the noodles just begin to sear. Add in about a third of the pork stock and seasoning, continuing to cook until most of the stock has been absorbed by the noodles. Add another third of the stock and then bring the heat down to medium-low to allow the noodles to braise over a slow simmer, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add in the egg and give it a good mix before adding in the bean sprouts, prawns, squid, and pork slices. Give it a good toss and fry for about a minute before adding in the remaining stock.
Plate up and garnish with some spring onions on top. Serve with a side of sambal and calamansi. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! I might keep this section of the blog short (and I say might because I know that even though I’ve said that, my post will always end up being fairly long by the time I finish writing), because I am feeling a bit overworked and tired today – actually I’ve been feeling exhausted since the beginning of the week and it may be due to a mentally challenging Escape Room challenge that I did with a few friends on Monday evening. Small tangent – we all shared the spotlight on dumb blonde moments!
Tanget aside, tonight’s recipe is a dish that I, of course as all dishes I write about, love but isn’t cooked often at home. The only reason I can think of is maybe because it requires a lot of ingredients and preparation I guess. It’s not so much about how long it takes to make the sauce because in the past, my mom would just use a ready-made powdered version of the sauce that you can easily find on the shelves in the Filipino/Asian food section of your local grocers. For tonight’s post though, I will be making the sauce from scratch just because I want to 🙂 This is also the first time that I have tried making the sauce from scratch and it was a huge success! It’s actually quite easy to make, it just requires a lot of time and patience; but I know for sure that I will not be buying ready-made sauce packets ever again! Unless of course, time is not on my side. I mean, if you’re going to use fresh prawns to top your noodles off in the end, then you might as well take an extra step in salvaging the heads and peels to make a delicious sauce, right?
Anyway, before we jump on to the recipe, I followed Trissalicious’ recipe for making the Palabok sauce from scratch so don’t forget to check her blog out too for her take on this delicious dish!
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 1 HOUR| SERVES 8-10
*You may also use bihon (thin rice vermicelli noodles) for this dish
Make the prawn stock: Add the prawn heads and peels to a medium-sized pot and cover with about a litre and a half of water. Season with a bit of salt and whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn it down to a slow simmer. Make sure to press down on the heads and peels as it simmers away to extract as much flavour as you can. Leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes. While the stock is simmering away, you can get a head start in preparing your toppings for the dish. I recommend that you leave the poaching of the prawns and squid for last, when you sauce is almost ready.
Make the sauce: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add in the chunks of pork belly. Cook until browned. The oils released from the pork belly should be enough to sauté the garlic and cook the onions, but if needed, add a little bit more oil if there isn’t enough. Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute, then followed by the diced onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes in total.
Add in the firm tofu and give it a good mix. Then, add in achuete powder and plain flour, followed by the prawn stock. Make sure to add the stock in a bit at a time as if making a roux and make sure to mix well after each addition. The sauce should be quite thick, resembling the consistency of a béchamel – you may add more water if you want your sauce thinner, or likewise, add more flour if the sauce is feeling a bit thin to your liking. Add the fish sauce and season with some salt and black pepper to taste. Bring the heat down to low and let it slowly simmer away for about half an hour (10-15 minutes if you are impatient); but the longer you leave it on the stove, the tastier the sauce becomes!
Cook the noodles: While your sauce is simmering away, cook the noodles according to the packer instructions, about 15 minutes for the pack of noodles that I got. Once done, drain and divide the noodles equally into individual plates. Also, don’t forget to poach your prawns and squid by this point!
Assemble: Top the noodles with a generous amount of sauce and add your favourite toppings! Serve immediately with a squeeze of calamansi (or lemon) juice and enjoy!
Hello Everyone! I’m feeling slightly better than I was on Tuesday, but I’m still trying to battle neck pains and a cough that has been giving me an abdominal workout; I just thought I’d let you know how I’m feeling since I mentioned on Tuesday’s post that I was coming down with a cold. I spent the whole of yesterday trying not to move as my back and arms were killing me. Also, I didn’t have much of an appetite as I realised that I didn’t finish every meal that I had yesterday. Otherwise, the fact that I can speak now makes me happy!
Anyway, all that aside, I realised that I still had some squid leftover in the freezer from the time I whipped up those Chorizo-stuffed Squids and my dressed up glass noodle salad known as Yum Woon Sen (ยำวุ้นเส้น). So I decided to make use of them before I’d forget about them and then they’ll end up in the back of the freezer, lost and forgotten for months. Today’s recipe is based on a recipe card that I picked up from the Sydney Fish Markets the time my family came over to visit; it is a simple squid stir-fry paired with some crispy snow peas, flavoured with lots of ginger. Since I wasn’t feeling too well, my Mom did all the preparations and I just threw everything together in the frying pan.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 6 MINS| SERVES 2
250g large squid, cleaned and cut into pieces
100g snow peas, topped and tailed
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small-sized onion, sliced
1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cornflour, mixed with 1 tsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
Ground salt and black pepper to taste
Lightly score the inner surface of the squid, or alternatively, cut into rings.
Heat some vegetable in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high. Add in the ginger slices and fry until fragrant. Then add in the garlic, sautéing until fragrant and golden brown. Finally, add the onions in and cook until soft, altogether about 2 minutes.
Add the in the snow peas and stir-fry for about a minute.
Throw in the squid, seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir for about a minute and then add in the water, cornflour mixture, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Give it a good mix and leave to cook for a further 2 minutes.
Hello Everyone! Time sure flies by quickly as it’s already the third week of Seafood Month! I have a combination of squid and prawns for you guys tonight. Together, they make up a yummy Thai appetiser, bursting with fresh flavours and a kick of spice. The first time I had this dish was at my Aunt’s Thai restaurant here in Brunei. It was really spicy; I mean, I have quite a high tolerance when it comes to spicy, but even this was beyond my limit. My mouth was on fire! My Aunt also added white fungus in the dish she served which I don’t think is traditionally added; my Mom said she added it to bulk up the dish.
Yum Woon Sen (ยำวุ้นเส้น), or glass noodle salad, is a popular dish in both inside and outside of Thailand. There are many variations to this dish alone, and the one that I will be covering on my blog tonight is considered to be a much more “dressed-up” version than others. You can adjust your Yum Woon Sen to have more or less ingredients, depending on what floats your boat. If you want a lighter version of this dish, you can eliminate the seafood and the meat, and focus on bulking up your glass noodle salad with lots of veggies, herb, and crushed roasted peanuts.
It is also a recommended dish for pot lucks or parties as it stays delicious at room temperature for a few hours, and you can prepare all the ingredients ahead of time, mixing the dressing in at the last minute.
PREP TIME 10 MINS| COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS| SERVES 4
300g medium-sized prawns, shelled and deveined
250g glass noodles, uncooked
50g minced pork (you can use minced chicken or leave this out completely)
2-3 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
2 limes, juiced
1-2 large squids, cleaned
1 medium-sized red onion, sliced
1-2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken stock powder
Thai basil leaves (or green spring onions)
Add in the chillies, onions, and thai basil leaves in a large mixing bowl.
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the chicken stock power in. Cook the minced pork, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and then set the minced pork aside in the large mixing bowl together with the onion mixture.
In the same cooking liquid, cook the prawns, about 2 minutes, and then the squids for about 30 seconds. Then add to the mixing bowl.
Cook the glass noodles in the same liquid for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Drain and add to the mixing bowl.
Toss well and add in the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste and adjust the quantities of the fish sauce and lime juice to your liking. Add some of the leftover cooking stock liquid if the glass noodles are looking too dry.
Garnish with some more basil leaves and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! When I think of squid, I think of a bowl of perfectly cooked, melt in the mouth salt and pepper squid from Jamie’s Italian in Sydney. Yes! To this date, Jamie’s Italian is by far the best place that serves up a killer salt and pepper squid. However, that’s not what I will be making today as you can already tell from the title of this post. I wanted to try something different with squid as whenever I have it, it’s either calamari, salt and pepper squid, or as my Mom would make at home, adoring pusit or ginataang pusit. Stuffed squid is not something new, but it’s definitely a first for me to try it out.
I don’t have a long-winded back story for you today, so this will definitely be a short one 🙂 Also, I didn’t intentionally choose to include chorizo as a sidekick ingredient for this weeks seafood recipes, but I did intentionally plan to work with cephalopods for the week. Anyway, the original recipe for these stuffed squids can be found on the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide.
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS| SERVES 4
4 large squids, washed, cleaned and tentacles removed
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chorizo sausages, diced
1 spanish red onion, diced
2 tbsp bread crumbs
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp thyme
Ground salt and black pepper
In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high and sauté the garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add the diced chorizo and cook until it starts to brown, stirring occasionally. Follow with the bread crumbs, pine nuts, and thyme. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste before taking off heat and allowing to cool.
Once cool, stuff the squid with the chorizo mixture. Take care not to overfill as there is a tendency for the squid to break during cooking. Secure top with a toothpick and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Heat some olive oil in a shallow pan over medium-high. Add the squid to the pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side, depending on the size of your squid (less time for smaller, more for bigger).
Fry up the tentacles for a few minutes until cooked through.