Monday, July 21, 2014

When the Stranger cooks: Fettucine with rich meat sauce.

Home-made gourmet burger, even the patties were made from scratch!

I realise it's been a long time since I shared an original recipe. I have certainly not stopped cooking, but was too lazy to take enough nice pictures to make some recipe posts.

Baked seafood with lemon and potatoes

However, due to a couple of requests on my Facebook share last night, even though I lack pictures, I think I should share how I cooked my Fettucine with rich meat sauce, a dish which is frequently seen in my house in different variations.

Almost all the ingredients
Ingredients, serves 2-3:

  1. Half a large onion, diced.
  2. 250g of raw gourmet sausage (I used Sloane's Botifarra), break the casing and squeeze out the sausage meat. You could use normal minced beef or pork as well, but using good raw sausages is a cheat that will help you form a beautiful base for the sauce.
  3. 1 can of plum tomato, use imported ones from Italy/Spain, remove seeds if you do not want the sauce to be too sour.
  4. 200g of cherry tomato, halved.
  5. Half a cup of white wine.
  6. 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, optional, but it makes the sauce taste richer and fruitier.
  7. Dried herbs include paprika powder, cracked black pepper, oregano, a little of each according to your personal taste.
  8. Salt to taste.

Complete sauce, absolutely divine.
Cooking procedure:
  • Saute onions in a medium-hot pan with some oil, the key is to sweat them slowly to release their sweetness and not burn them.
  • When the onions have softened and turned a little brown, switch to high heat and put the sausage mince in to sear. You want to have a nice brown char on the mince so that it gives the sauce a depth of flavour.
  • When browning the meat, add some cracked black pepper, paprika powder and oregano to your personal taste. I personally love a lot of paprika and black pepper in my sauces.
  • When the meat has achieved a nice sear, keep the pan hot and add in the balsamic vinegar so that it reduces nicely, then add the white wine to deglaze the pan and form the beautiful base of the sauce.
  • Pour in the can of tomatoes and the halved cherry tomatoes, mix well, add in another half a can of water using the empty tomato can. Turn to medium heat, cover and leave it to simmer. You can simply use canned tomatoes, but I always like to add some fresh tomatoes to give it a more refreshing element.
  • When the fresh tomatoes soften to become part of the sauce and the sauce reduces to a nice consistency (like the bolognaise sauce you eat in a good restaurant), you can give it a taste and add a final bit of pepper and salt to your liking.

Of course, the dish will not be complete without your favourite pasta. I love to use either linguine or fettucine for my dishes, but this sauce works well with any type of pasta you prefer. Around 80-120g of pasta should be a good amount for an adult.

When cooking pasta, please salt the water generously, otherwise your dish will taste horribly bland, and lastly, follow the cooking instructions on your pasta packaging carefully, DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR PASTA. Any great sauce will be in vain if you serve it with fat, soggy noodles.

So there you have it, my Fettucine with rich meat sauce, a simple dish that you can whip up within an hour and make the people in your house very happy indeed.

Try it and let me know what you think of it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Daddy's revelation among Potties, Urinals and Toilet Training

Noah is nearly two and a half years old and not toilet-trained. For everyone who knows me, you should understand that I have become more and more of a free-spirit after leaving Singapore for Thailand, or at least, I try to be.

Therefore, we have always let Noah be as free-spirited as he wants to be, not to the extent of freely throwing cookie crumbs all over the floor or tugging at wires, but we do not control his nap times and allow him to make reasonable choices as much as possible, and that includes things like toilet-training. We do not want to apply unnecessary pressure on him as we know that there will surely come a day when he will decide to drop the diaper and wear big-boy pants.

We started encouraging him to drop the diaper by reading him toilet-training-related books frequently, which he understands and enjoys, then putting a little urinal beside the toilet bowl in my toilet. In the last few months, I have started to invite him into my toilet while doing 'small business' so that he understands what's 'required' when the day comes.

Last night, the day nearly came.

After dinner, instead of a couple of hours of playing before his sleep routine, Noah said he wanted to pee in the 'potty'. Then came a few minutes of fully-clothed pretend-pee in my toilet. When he finally tried to take off his pants, I thought to myself, "This is it!" and ran into the bathroom, closing the door behind me.

Then came nearly an hour of coaxing him to pee. He threatened to actually do it on a number of occasions, but ended up turning around to hug me giving me an embarrassed uneasy face every single time. I guess for someone like him, who has been wearing diapers 24/7 all his life, peeing into something other than a nappy is a big uncomfortable step, which he was just short of taking last night.

For me, squatting beside my son for nearly an hour with no end-result in my toilet with a bad back after a long day of work was not what I envisioned myself doing. I was mentally and physically drained after the entire affair, and of course, I could not hide my disappointment.

However, after waking up this morning and looking back at what happened last night, I could only smile and remember especially 1 thing that he said a few times throughout the hour we spent together cuddled up in the loo.

"Noah, are you 怕怕 (scared in Mandarin) to peepee in the potty?" I asked.

"No," he replied. "because got Daddy beside Noah, Noah no need to 怕怕 (scared)。"

Even though this is something I often tell him, but for him to remember it so well and answer me when I ask him the question, it just means that even if I am not the best father in the world, I must be doing something right.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

20 tips to pass off as a local in Thailand

After more than 4 years in Thailand, I am glad to announce to everyone that in most places, aside of tourist attractions which have dual charges for locals and foreigners, there is almost NO APPARENT advantage to behave like a local. Especially if you are taking taxi in Bangkok city, wearing a blonde wig and faking an American accent will improve your chances of getting a cab infinitely.

However, if you are still interested to find ways to effectively demonstrate your acceptance of the unique Thai culture to your Thai friends, here's a list of 20 ways you can do it:

  1. Add fish sauce, chilli powder, vinegar and 3 tablespoonfuls of sugar to every bowl of noodle soup before you taste it, and add even more after you do.
  2. Use toilet paper to wipe your cutlery, face, mouth and everything else, even though it is for your bum.
  3. Don't type "Hahaha" or "LOL" when you feel tickled, but use "555" instead, since 5 is pronounced as "Ha" in Thai.
    -contributed by Benjamin Tan-
  4. Use fork and knife for KFC, and don't forget to eat it with rice.
  5. Drown every slice of pizza with ketchup, and don't forget to eat it with rice too.
  6. For every cup of iced beverage, drink up the beverage and keep the ice with you, waiting for the ice to melt bit by bit to form the most delicious ultra-diluted drink and suck it all up.
  7. Fill a glass full of ice before topping it up with beer.
  8. Fill a glass full of ice, add a teeny bit of whisky before topping it up with an equal mix of still and soda water.
  9. Pose like a supermodel for every picture, whether the backdrop is beautiful scenery or just nothing.
  10. Go to a concert to support your favourite singer, but cheer for every performer just as hysterically as if they are all your favourite singers.
  11. Drive like a mafia, and be extra forgiving to other drivers who drive like you do.
  12. Use "Krup" or "Ka" behind every sentence even though you don't know what it means.
  13. Use "Sawatdii Krup/Ka" when you meet or bid farewell to anyone, though you wonder why it can be used to say goodbye as well.
  14. Go for weekend getaways in places like Amphawa, Khao Yai, Cha Am, Hua Hin and Suan Phueng, not Pattaya, Phuket or Samui.
  15. Pronounce S like S at the beginning of words but pronounce them like D when they are at the end of words. Eg."Lotus" = "Lowthud".
  16. Pronounce all Rs like L. Eg. Pronounce "River" = "Liver".
  17. Pronouce L like L at the beginning of words but pronounce them as N when they are at the end of words. Eg. "Central = Centran"
  18. Tell everyone Starbucks is your favourite coffee joint, even when you know there are tons of local establishments that make better coffee at a fraction of the price.
  19. You know that in Thailand, for many families, the twin that comes out later is the elder sibling, because his heart is big enough to let the other twin see the world first.
  20. Say hooray when protests block up all major roads, then proclaim to the world that the military coup is the best thing that could happen.

These tips are almost certainly going to impress your Thai friends, don't say I never told you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...