Carbonara – the Italian Recipe

I won’t dwell too much on the name origin of this Italian classic recipe, for which many are the presumed stories , but none of them sure. What is certain is that this classic recipe from Lazio was popular only after the Second World War, it is one of the most famous recipes in the world, and also one of the simplest pasta sauces there are to make. However, you still find some recipes that get it completely wrong, by adding extra ingredients that are not necessary at all for this recipe. It is definitely a winner at dinner parties with Anglo-Saxon friends – who will wonder at how magically you pulled together their favourite breakfast ingredients in a dinner dish. Serves two people.

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Imitated_crab_Sai_Pang_Xie

Imitated Crab – Sai Pang Xie – a Beijing Imperial Recipe

There’s a story behind this imitated crab (sai pang xie) recipe, and it starts with the Empress Dowager Cixi craving crabs. Unfortunately, being based in Beijing means a lack of fresh crabs, so the imperial chefs found a clever way to cook eggs to make them taste as good as crab meat. I love this recipe because you can make a huge quantity of the “crab” without breaking the bank – and the bonus is that there’s no need to get fiddly with crab shells!

There are many variations of the recipe, starting with the poor-man’s version with just eggs. Others use white fish and a touch of prawns to achieve a texture closest to crab meat. I’ve used only prawns here, as I prefer that more seafood-y taste. I’ve also used a salted egg, as this adds a little extra punch to the recipe, but you can use normal eggs. If you’re using normal eggs, then make sure you add more salt in the egg white and egg yolk mixes.

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Kopi_Kaya Toast_Singapore_breakfast

How to Have Your Kaya Toast and Eat It

We have a bit of news to start with. Those who follow us on Instagram might have noticed that many of our recent posts are Singapore-based. In fact, the Italian half of the blog (ironically) is going to be based in Singapore for an indefinite amount of time. This will mean painful missions to find Italian ingredients to keep up with traditional recipes. But it will also mean a lot of foodie travel posts (hopefully) and frequent posts on culinary curiosities about this city, which really is all about food!

It’s the week before Easter, and if I had all my kitchen utensils with me I would probably make you a lamb roast, or some delicious Torta Pasqualina. But instead, while my kitchen is still on its way here, I’m gonna talk to you about toast. Coming from London, where we even have a cereal bar, it shouldn’t have surprised me so much when I noticed there were cafes and chains everywhere selling mainly toast. Yet, it tickled my curiosity! Soon I discovered that an important part of the traditional Singaporean breakfast is kopi and kaya toast. These come in sets, like mini breakfast menus, and there are various types you can choose from. But first let’s cover the basics. Continue reading “How to Have Your Kaya Toast and Eat It”

tea_flavoured_eggs

Tea flavoured eggs recipe (cha ye dan) – a snack from China

Happy 2016! Let’s kick off the new year with a recipe for tea flavoured eggs: a common snack in China, lightly salted and fragranced with black tea. You can either use black tea leaves or tea bags such as these Twining black tea varieties. Assam works quite well and gives the eggs a nice flavour. Please don’t use green tea, as the flavours won’t feel balanced.

I’m using tea bags in this recipe, as I needed to use decaf tea. Otherwise, this is a quite strongly flavoured version of the recipe, as I prefer a stronger taste for the eggs.

Despite the long cooking time for this recipe (around 1 hour then soaking overnight), it’s actually very simple to prepare. The eggs will keep for 3 days if refrigerated, so you can cook a larger batch if you prefer.

tea_flavoured_eggs

Ingredients
4 eggs
3 tea bags
3 star anise
6-7 cloves
2 sprigs of cinnamon (I’m using the Chinese version here)
1 heaped tablespoon of five spices powder
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
Salt to taste Continue reading “Tea flavoured eggs recipe (cha ye dan) – a snack from China”

Imitated_crab_Sai_Pang_Xie

Imitated crab (sai pang xie) – an imperial recipe from Beijing

There’s a story behind this imitated crab (sai pang xie) recipe, and it starts with the Empress Dowager Cixi craving crabs. Unfortunately, being based in Beijing means a lack of fresh crabs, so the imperial chefs found a clever way to cook eggs to make them taste as good as crab meat. I love this recipe because you can make a huge quantity of the “crab” without breaking the bank – and the bonus is that there’s no need to get fiddly with crab shells!

There are many variations of the recipe, starting with the poor-man’s version with just eggs. Others use white fish and a touch of prawns to achieve a texture closest to crab meat. I’ve used only prawns here, as I prefer that more seafood-y taste.

I’ve also used a salted egg, as this adds a little extra punch to the recipe, but you can use normal eggs. If you’re using normal eggs, then make sure you add more salt in the egg white and egg yolk mixes.

Lastly, this version separates the egg white and egg yolk to create two parts with different textures. The egg white is the crab meat, and the egg yolk is the crab yolk. The most basic form of this recipe doesn’t bother with separating the two, but I really think that this step makes a huge difference to how good it tastes, so it’s not worth skimping on that.

The version below serves 2, and takes roughly 30 minutes to cook. Most of it is time spent chopping the prawns though!

Ingredients
4 eggs (optional: 1 of the eggs can be a salted egg)
2 thick slices of ginger (roughly 3mm and 5mm thick each)
90g of prawns (alternatively, use 70g of white fish and 5-6 prawns)
2 tbsps of Chinese rice vinegar (you need the dark coloured vinegar)
Optional: 1 tbsp of Chinese shaoxing cooking wine

You’ll also need salt to sprinkle into the egg mixes and olive oil for the pan.

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