A week ago or so I had lunch at Jay’s Indian Restaurant in Basel, I chose the Vegetarian lunch menu as I didn’t feel like eating meat that day. I really like their Kombi-Teller (Combi plate) idea of which the basmati rice, poppadoms, raitha (yogurt dip) is assembled together with the main dishes you have chosen.
The daal I had from Jay’s inspired me to try to make one myself. I don’t normally like lentils because of the texture but somehow the one at Jay’s got a very smooth texture. I had a pack of green lentils sitting in the cupboad for a long time and have been hoping to use it up. So I searched in the internet and most of them do not recommend it to cook too long as it would become mushy and none of them I saw was like Jay’s. When I was cooking, I was thinking that the daal would not be smooth no matter if you cook it longer. So I guess maybe he has blended it with a mixer, and so I did and like the results that become a smooth puree. So the trick is the extra step of BLENDING : ) From now on, I think I will eat lentils more often as lentils are very nutritious and low in calories, low in fat, no cholesterol, rich sources of protein, folic acid, dietary fibre, vitamins B & C…and high concentration of antioxidants. Great to learn lentils is a great fitness food.
A small pack of lentils ended into several portions and I read that they freeze well, so I kept some to eat for tonight and kept the remaining in portions in the freezer.
Thanks to Cara for introducing Scamorza to me, it’s similar to mozzarella but firmer and the one I got here is smoked, known as scamorza affumicata. Cara and her friend came up a bagel sandwich which consists of smoked scamorza, avocado, rucola and ranch dressing or tzatziki. A few weeks ago I was lucky to get to try this sandwich for lunch when I did some photo-shooting for her bagels. It was a new combination to me, I like trying new flavors to expand my palate and I like it a lot and I immediately went to search for smoked Scamorza thereafter. The best was that I was able to enjoy it with fresh bagel just came out from the oven, that was really the best bagel I ever had.
A few weeks ago, my friend Monica came over to my place with her baby Simon for lunch but the main purpose was to let Simon and Marc to play together. With kids at home, of course I could not spend too much time in the kitchen. Monica initially said to me that she could eat before she came to me because she is meat free on Friday, I said to her no problem I can figure something out.
So with the Kabocha squash left in the fridge, I made the same Ottlenghi Roasted pumpkin wedges as in my previous post, the night before to save time and let them rested at room temperature covered until the next day. I was very happy that one dish could turn into a beautiful and delicious veggie pasta. I have read that it’s pretty common to use breadcrumbs in pasta which is known as peasant pasta in the old days. By adding pumpkin, this takes the peasant pasta to another level.
Had lunch at a friend’s place recently, and she showed me her new cookbook: Yotam Ottolenghi’s PLENTY. It’s a vegetarian cookbook, she said she is cooking more veggie dishes is because her daughter’s bf is vegetarian. Anyway, my friend never likes buying or keeping excessive things in her house and she has put bookmarks on those she would like to try, so this cookbook must be something. I heard of Ottolenghi’s restaurant but never been when I was in UK. A few days ago, I went to Bider and Tanner, my favorite bookstore in Basel, and found they have PLENTY in stock. I initially planned to order online but thought will do more research first but then this first edition standing in front of me looks very inviting so with further delay I got myself this copy. I was very excited to dig into my first vegetarian cookbook and started bookmarking as well. I have always wanted to get a vegetarian cookbook but didn’t know which one to get as I want to do it right. And I am glad I made the right choice. Ottolenghi is not vegetarian himself but he was asked to write a column in The Guardian featuring his veggie dishes and overtime, he got popular from this. Reading his foreword, he has nicely described the increased popularity of vegetarian cuisine, where do they come from. I am just one of them that he described that there is a group of people who are not 100% vegetarian but would like to eat more healthily and eat less meat.
Anyhow, among of those I bookmarked, I have chosen to make his crusted pumpkin wedges. I have a Japanese pumpkin, Kabocha in the garage. Kobocha is easily accessible in Hong Kong and US but not in Switzerland. When I saw Kobocha available in a health food store in my neighbourhood, I was so thrilled and without hesitation and bought one.
So with a special squash, it sounds like the intense, sweet and starchy texture of Kabocha will fit perfectly for this recipe, although it says most pumpkins would work.
The results and responsed came out extremely well, I was a bit skeptical at the beginning that my family members may not like it but they all gave thumbs up. I have not had time to explore many new dishes lately but this one is a hit, will definitely make again. I think I will use butternut squash if Kabocha is not available. Since it’s Friday night, I prepared our dinner in tapas fashion, crusted pumpkin, some Serrano Jamon, cheese, Japanese bite size August beef steak and a bottle of wine. The whole preparation was very quick except a little time to prepare the crust but luckily Marc was had been really good today, he was able to entertain himself with the kitchenware I provided him. He seems to like cooking but of course too early to conclude but at least he is interested so far.
I am not too sure if it is okay to post the recipe here due to copyright issue but I can highlight a few things from the recipe.
Today is creative Wednesday, this afternoon I have prepared roasted pumpkin for tonight’s dinner but I have not planned what to go with it. While I was cooking the risotto, I thought just pumpkin and risotto sound a bit plain so I looked into the fridge, not much available really as we will be away for the weekend so did not stock up much. Previously I would grill some tiger prawns to go with the pumpkin risottobut I was a bit lazy. The reason why I rustic roasted the pumpkin is because it requires least effort to prepare with extremely satisfactory results. And I can spend more time with Marc.
The idea of using Smoked tofu was inspired by my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Basel/ Zurich called Tibits. They use a lot of tofu in their dishes, so I thought just be brave and give a try. I asked Peter if he dared to try my creative dish, he said I had to right and in the end he had second. He was still having a teleconference when I placed his plate in front of him and I could see his face looked surprised when I spontaneously decided to crush a little amaretti biscuit on top, a little sweetness matched well to the pumpkin : ) I am truly proud of my dish tonight and very happy with the inspiration I had in the last minute! Sometimes you just have to try, if you never try, you never know. I love smoked tofu, they keep quite long in the fridge and becomes handy and is a great alternative to meat.
One of my neighbours always has some marinated or non-marinated olives at home, because their daughters love them so much. I have always want to make myself some as the way she told me sounds very simple. So I bought 2 packs of olives to give a try. I thought this will be a perfect low carb snack as I am trying to get into shape.
Tonight after putting Marc into bed, I was supposed to sit down and learn some German but my hands got itchy after 20 mins. My hands got a bit itchy as I have not spent much time in the kitchen today except preparing solids for Marc. Due to my diet, I had boiled spinach and poached salmon. As a food lover, how boring is that!!! So I went to click click click on my laptop to search a recipe I like, and I found this article from Wine and Food Travel which I like best, it makes it so easy to prepare that I can remember this formula and repeat with some variation in the future.
I particularly like the basic formula it describes: whole olives, olive oil, citrus, and herbs. Combine, marinate, serve. And that the amount of olive oil required is half of that of the citrus you use. However, it did not mention garlic which I find this cannot be missed. I have skipped salt and pepper as I have used red pepper flakes and the olives are brined so no more salt is needed I think. So here is my version, I have used orange juice to to make it less sour.
I admit that I love meat especially a nice piece of steak or rack of lamb. I cannot imagine myself can become a vegan totally but occasionally I would have some meat free days especially when I want to lose some weight.
Going to a vegetarian restaurant usually will make me turning my head immediately, however, there is a place which have made me changed my mind towards veggie dishes. This is Hiltl in Zurich and its veggie fast food chain, Tibits. Hiltl is more formal, with sit in à la carte area , and a bar lounge just next to it. This place is so popular and packed at all times that you have to give the table to them after an hour or so. Tibits is a veggie fast food restaurant chain, it seems to be expanding its business outside Switzerland, the first one is UK. Anyway, I had lunch with a friend for the first time last year and was totally amazed that the veggie buffet is not boring at all and they have so much varieties and the ones I picked were all tasty. The stuffed jalapeño peppers are finger-licking. There is this Curried Tofu Melon I sampled was a surprised to me, it was so memorable that I wanted to look for the recipe but I could not find it in their cookbooks. And after months, I am still thinking of it from time to time, so I took the courage and tried to make it myself with my imagine and even add a little more ingredients to it. The results was great, Peter sounds skeptical over the phone when I told him that I was going to experiment a curry salad with melon and tofu. He made a remark: “interesting combination”. The only thing I would have to improve next time is to use less curry powder, otherwise it was just what I was looking for. I am very happy and has got me in a mood to explore more vegan dishes. That evening I have prepared a quinoa salad, bare with me, it will be my next post.
Last Saturday we went across the French border to go to the food market at St Louis, it only took us less than 20 minutes to get there. This is one of the nice thing to live in Basel where you can go across the French or German border in less than 30 minutes. It is now the white asparagus season and we have the luxury to sample various white asparagus produced in either Basel (from Bottmingen?; Germany (from Badischer); or France (from Alsace).
In St Louis, the Alsace asparagus looked so irresistible and adorable as you can see the slight purple from the tips down to the middle.
We bought 1kg and ate three quarters on Sunday ate in a traditional way by simple steamed them and made a homemade hollandaise sauce to go with them. The remaining I made a spargelcremesuppe tonight. Last year when I tried to make this soup it was not as successful as this time, it tasted a bit bitter and I thought because it was towards the end of the spargel season. Today I found this article and now I understand why, it was because I did not peel deep enough to remove the skin throughly. Anyway, despite this time, I have removed the skin properly but I still found some traced of the fibery stuff which as described in Gordon Ramsay’s recipe, you have to sieve the soup to get an absolute creamy smooth soup.
Asparagus season is short and is said it finishes on 24 June each year so if you come across them, don’t wait further to buy a bunch to enjoy !
Last night at 9pm I baked an Almost Flourless Sinful Chocolate Cake. All of a sudden, I felt like making something with chocolate, I have restrainted myself from baking lately due to my detox mindset. However, last night my hands got “itchy” and with the Le Maison du Chocolat baking chocolate sitting idle at home for months, I decided to bake a sinful chocolate cake. Peter has been on the road a lot lately that I thought this will give him a nice treat. When I told him on the phone that I was baking a chocolate cake, I could feel he replied me with so much joy saying ” Lekker”!
This summerwe have some wonderful yellow pear cherry tomatoes from our vegetable garden (thanks to Philly again for introducing this special tomato to me), the normal tomatoes do not harvest well this year due to too much rain but these cute yellow light bulb-shaped ones surprisingly came out very well. They have a wonderful sweetness taste and not not acidic at all. So how should I consume them? I have made a simple and damn easy caprese pasta inspired from Christina and Peter Sturken’s blog. Ideal for hot Summer days!!!
The original recipe called for raw tomatoes but I preferred to have the tomatoes briefly roasted as I like them slightly cooked.
When I hopped over to Healthy Delicious, I realised that it’s meatless Friday today, I have totally forgotten. And as a matter of fact, I am on a detox week, today is Day 5. It’s very hard to resist all temptations. The detox plan I am using is supposed to be a juice and tea week by a Swiss company called Biotta. There is a box you can buy which included all the drinks you need in a box. However, having an empty stomach is impossible for me so instead I am using this box to assist me. This week I have been homemade soups, cream crackers or a small piece of white bread to accompany the Biotta detox plan. I mean ultimately I do want to lose weight but I would rather lose gradually than to have a quick rebound the following week. Continue reading →
After eating meat during the weekend, it’s not a bad idea at all to have a Meatless Monday. I found this food event in Twitter #meatlessmonday initially by Chris at Blog Well Done and thought it’s meaningful and easy to join.
So today I made a simple Chinese / Cantonese dish which my mom made very often, the ingredients & seasoning are really simple, you will have these in the kitchen a lot of the time. When I made this the first time for my hubby, he is amazed how tomato and eggs can be cooked in this way and needless to say, tasty of course.
Frankly speaking, this may not be an exciting dish but it’s certainly a very healthy and easy to make. If your kids lose their appetite, try this. Most children like this, very appetizing with a bit of the sourness from the tomatoes.
So here is the recipe:
3 eggs, whisked + 1 tbsp cold water
2 slices ginger, then cut into thick stripes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Boil some hot water in a saucepan, turn off the heat when water is boiling. Put the tomatoes into the water (the water level should just cover the tomatoes). Leave for a few minutes,remove the tomatoes from the water and peel the tomato skins.
Cut the tomatoes into large pieces.
Whisk and beat the eggs, add in a tbsp of cold water and season with a little salt, white pepper and sesame oil.
In a wok or large pan, heat some cooking oil, when the pan is hot enough, pour in the whisked egg and quick stir fry it. You can break the eggs into smaller pieces and as soon as they solidify, immediately transfer the egg onto a dish and set aside.
Wipe the pan with a kitchen towel, heat the pan hot again, add in a little oil and then the ginger, let them cook for 20 seconds and then add in the tomatoes, keep stirring for half a minute and then add in half cup of water and bring to boil. Season the tomatoes with some salt, 1 tbsp sugar, squash the tomatoes gently with the wooden spatula. Simmer at medium high heat until the tomatoes become thickened but still able to see the pieces of tomatoes.
Add in the eggs from Step 4, quickly stir to mix well with the tomatoes.
Serve immediately on a dish and sprinkle the spring onion on top as garnish. Or alternatively, you can also mix in the spring onion so to let them slightly cooked.
Best served with steamed rice.
Do NOT overcook the egg!!!!!
Adjust the seasoning ( sugar, salt & water )according to your own taste as this depends on the types of tomatoes you get.
And next, thanks to Anne from Annes Kitchen who has passed me this Premio Meme Award recently.
To pass on I have to write 7 random things about myself:
I love eating and cooking but I am scared of putting on weight.
I hate freezing cold weather, only skiing can get me active outside.
I am a collector, I like buying things that I do not use them immediately, such as shoes,
handbags, clothes. However, not all of them are a bad habit as for example, wine can
increase its value tremendously over time. My vintage 2004 and 2005 futures have already
doubled their price
I am scared of insects: spiders, cockroaches, bees, etc. I was told I have to be friends with them if I learn gardening, this is a challenge for me to overcome all these.
I love all kinds of hotpot: chinese, shabu shabu, fondue, chocolate foudue, hotpot noodle, hotpot