broccolini orecchiette with fried egg and harissa

 
broccolini orecchiette with fried egg and harissa

I wanted to create a more exciting pasta experience and here it is. The silkiness of the slow fried egg goes so well with the creaminess of the pecorino and the harissa's fragrant spiciness just gives it that added kick. Yumbo!

Ingredients:

1 bunch broccolini, trimmed, stalks cut into ½ cm pieces and the florets into 2 cm lengths

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ c pine nuts, toasted

1/3 c frozen peas

¾ c grated pecorino cheese

olive oil

1 T lemon juice

250 g orecchiette

2-4 eggs

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

harissa paste

 

Method:

 In a large pot, bring to a boil 3 L of water with 2 t of salt. Keep hot and ready for the vegetables and pasta.

 Heat 5 T olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat for 5 mins. Add the onions and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Add garlic and pine nuts and cook for a further 5 minutes. At this stage, the onion mixture should be soft, sweet and sticky. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add frozen peas and broccolini to pot of boiling water and cook for 2 mins. Fish out vegetables with a wire mesh or strainer and then transfer to a bowl. Pour cold water over vegetables, soak for a few seconds then drain and set aside. Add orecchiette to boiling water and cook according to your liking or packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat some oil in a frying pan over low heat. Break an egg into the pan one at a time. Cook until done to your liking. I used low heat for the eggs to give it a very soft texture that goes really well with silkiness of the rest of the ingredients.

Drain pasta and add to onion mixture along with the peas and broccolini. Add the cheese and lemon juice and mix well. Season to taste.

To serve, you can divide the pasta into 4 entrée-sized meals or 2 main-sized meals. Top each pasta plate with an egg and place a small dollop of harissa on the side.

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yakisoba

 
 yakisoba

Get your chopsticks ready, this is one of those dishes that you will make again and again. Once you've got the sauces and noodles in your pantry, this dish doesn't take long to whip up. You can go veggo by omitting the meat altogether. Or, you can get creative by using bacon or pancetta instead of pork belly. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

300 g chicken breast or pork belly, sliced very thinly, about .25 cm thick

1/8 green cabbage, cut into 2 cm pieces

1 onion, cut into .5 cm slices

2 shallots (green spring onions), cut into 4 cm batons

4 x 150 g pre-cooked yakisoba noodles*

5 T tonkatsu sauce*

2 T oyster sauce

1 t fish sauce

4 T vegetable oil

fried eggs, optional

aonori* (dried seaweed flakes) and shichimi* (Japanese 7-spice chilli powder) , optional

 

Method:

In a small bowl, create the yakisoba sauce by whisking together the tonkatsu sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce. Set aside.

Take out noodles from their packets and place in a large bowl. Loosen up the noodle strands with your fingers so that they will mix well with the other ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare your vegetables and meat before you start cooking.

Place 1-2 T vegetable oil into a wok and make sure the entire surface of the wok is coated with oil. Heat to medium-high. Fry the meat until it’s no longer pink. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add cabbage and shallots and stir-fry for another minute. Transfer cabbage mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Clean the wok and add 2 T of oil. Heat to medium-high. Add the noodles and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring well so the noodles don’t stick to the wok. Add the meat and cabbage mixture and yakisoba sauce and mix well, about 1 minute. Serve by topping with fried eggs, aonori and sichimi, if desired.

Serves 4.

*For the noodles, I used Miyakoichi Mushi Yakisoba. They’ve already been steamed and coated with oil. Alternatively, you can use 250g of dried ramen noodles and cook them yourself. Aonori, shichimi and the noodles are all available at Tokyo Mart in Northbridge.

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shiitake and enoki mushroom pasta

 
 shitake and enoki mushroom pasta

Some of the best pastas I've had have been the simplest ones. In Florence, I had a memorable linguini with squid and sage in an olive oil base. Otto's at Woolloomooloo used to do an amazing pasta just with sautéed asparagus and fresh egg yolk. Even closer to home was my oldest brother's spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, chilli and spicy Polish sausage. All these dishes take no time to prepare but are hugely satisfying.

I love mushrooms but I find your typical button or Swiss mushrooms are just not robust enough in flavour to be the main star of a simple pasta dish. That's why I decided to use shiitake and enoki mushrooms for this recipe. Both are packed with flavour and don't shrink a lot when cooked. I know this recipe calls for a lot of mushrooms but here's a tip: you can get shiitake mushrooms from Asian supermarkets for 1/3 of their price at Woolworth's and Coles.

My nephew Jacob loves this dish so I always think of him when I make this recipe. Wish I can send you some, Jacob!

 

Ingredients:

300 g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thinly

300 g enoki mushrooms, bottom stems trimmed (about 2 cm), separated into thin bundles

2 t finely chopped garlic

½ c roughly chopped flat parsley

4 small dried red chillies, chopped (optional)

500 g pasta (linguini, pappardelle or spaghetti)

5-6 T olive oil

30 g unsalted butter

½ lemon

sea salt

Method:

Heat half of the olive oil in a hot frying pan. Add half the mushrooms, cook for 1 minute then add 1 t garlic, half the chillies and a pinch of salt. Toss mushrooms regularly and cook for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms are a nice golden brown. Add half of butter until most of it has melted. Remove from heat and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste. Transfer into a large bowl that would be big enough for the mushrooms and pasta to be tossed in. Repeat process for remainder of mushrooms.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Drain then add to mushroom mixture and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add flat parsley and mix well. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.

 Serves 4.

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egg and tomato fried rice

 
 egg and tomato fried rice by Bent Street Kitchen

Here's another easy mid-week meal you can throw together this winter.  This is a lightly flavoured fried rice with no meat. It's perfect when you want something satisfying without being too rich or heavy.  It's also a good match for rich-tasting dishes like the eggplant with garlic and vinegar sauce. I added tomatoes to give it that freshness. You can use sliced cucumbers instead but just stir them through at the end instead of cooking them.

Ingredients:

3 c cooked jasmine rice, preferably cooked the day before as freshly cooked rice will tend to clump together

3 eggs

 

1 t chicken powder

1/2 t sea salt

1/2 t sugar

1-2 t Maggi seasoning

ground white pepper, to taste

2 ripe tomatoes, each cut into 8 lengthwise wedges

2 shallots, sliced finely, using only the bottom half of each stalk

4-6 T vegetable oil

Method:

Heat oil in wok over high heat. When it starts to smoke, add eggs and fry for 5 seconds. Begin to scramble eggs so that you have some pieces that are just the yolk, white or both. When eggs are cooked 2/3 of the way through, add rice and fry till heated through.

Add chicken powder, salt, sugar, Maggi seasoning and white pepper to taste.  Add shallots and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes begin to get a little soggy. Check seasoning and add more salt or Maggi, if you like. Remove from heat.

Serves 2-3 people. 

Note: Chicken powder is available from Asian food stores. You can use Vegeta stock powder as a substitute.

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cauliflower and lentil rice

 
 Cauliflower and Lentil Rice by Bent Street Kitchen

I felt the winter chill today and wanted to cook something warming and satisfying without the heaviness of too much meat.  This rice dish is packed with flavour and filled with the goodness of lentils and cauliflower. I usually make this without any meat but added chicken this time to turn it into a complete meal. This is a great mid-week dinner and you can cut back on cooking time by adding the cauliflower with the rice instead of roasting it separately. I like roasting the cauliflower because you get a sweeter and fuller flavour this way.

You can serve this curry rice with some chutney and papadums. But making pappadams creates more work, you might say. Well, if you've got some cooking oil spray, you can easily make pappadams in your microwave in no time. I use the regular supermarket brand Maharaja's Choice and you can cook 10 pappadams in the microwave in 45 seconds.

In summer, you can create a lighter version of this dish by omitting the chicken and serving it as a cold rice salad.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized cauliflower head, cut into florets

450 g chicken thigh fillets, skin and fat removed, cut into 2-cm pieces, (optional)

400g tin of lentils, drained & rinsed

1 & 1/4 c basmati rice

3 T korma curry paste

1 medium onion, chopped

3 c vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon quill

 

1 bunch coriander, chopped

1 T olive oil

1 T olive oil and pinch of salt for roasting cauliflower

lemon wedges (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 200 °C. Place cauliflower florets in a shallow baking tray.  Toss in oil and salt. Bake for 30 minutes, until the florets are golden brown around the edges.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large casserole pan over medium heat. Cook chicken thighs (if using) until brown all over then remove from pan. Add onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Return chicken to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, bay leaves, cinnamon quill and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork and stir in lentils. Add cauliflower and coriander and mix through rice. 

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4-6.

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 Miso keeping a watchful eye for food scraps at Bent Street Kitchen.

Miso keeping a watchful eye for food scraps at Bent Street Kitchen.

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soy sauce noodles

 
 Soy Sauce Noodles by Bent Street Kitchen

This is a staple on our family table whenever we have yum cha. I've had several attempts at making it and this is the best version I've come up with so far. It's a simple yet satisfying dish that's easy to make. 

 

Ingredients:

500 g fresh egg noodles

2 T sesame seeds, toasted

1 bunch spring onions (shallots) or garlic chives, cut into 3 cm lengths,  halve the spring onions lengthwise if using them

3 c bean sprouts

4-5 T light soy sauce

2 T dark soy sauce

1 T oyster sauce

3/4 t sugar

white pepper

2 T cooking oil

sesame oil, to taste

Method:

Soak noodles in boiling water for 1 minute then drain well. Do not overcook. You can cut the noodles with scissors if you want to break them apart although this is considered bad luck in the Chinese culture.

Combine sauces and sugar adjusting it to your taste. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add bean sprouts and spring onions or garlic chives for 1 minute or until slightly softened. Set aside.

Add 1 T oil to wok and fry noodles for 1 minute. Add sauce mixture and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add dash of white pepper to taste. Add bean sprouts and spring onions or garlic chives and sesame oil to taste. Fry for 1 minute to combine ingredients. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 4.

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