bread

an authentic Italian meal- homemade focaccia, aglio olio e peperoncino, and a side of greens

Earlier today, I made a pretty simple and authentic Italian meal.  We were gonna sit outside to enjoy the nice weather we had this afternoon but the heat was unbearable so we ended up moving back to the air-conditioned indoor.  Perhaps, we should wait another couple of months to really consider sitting out.  

Back to my meal, it was my first time making focaccia and surprisingly, the result came out fantastic.  I got this recipe from a blog called The Cookery Wife that was created by these two sisters from Texas and Oregon, Andrea & Hannah.  I'm a huge fan of their Instagram feed.  Their blog got a lot of pretty awesome recipes and many of them are quite easy to follow.  I've been obsessed with making bread lately so I am collecting a bunch of bread recipes on Pinterest and trying out the simple ones for now.  Once I get the hang of this whole dough making phenomena then I will try something a bit more challenging. ;)  I think bread making is pretty phenomenal because all we need is just a few key ingredients to do the magic.  Pretty much is just water, yeast and flour, given the right amount of time and quantity,  knead a little here and there, toss the dough into the oven for a set time, and BAM! You got a beautiful loaf of bread right in front of you.  That IS magic.  

This was inspired by The Cookery Wife's recipe.  I used a little bit of garlic powder, fresh thyme and rosemary as topping.  I baked it in my oven for about 15 minutes at 200ºC.  

Ingredients for dough: 

2 tsp dried yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp sugar
3 ½ - 4 cups flour
1 tbsp coarse salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil + extra for brushing

Topping:

extra-virgin olive oil 

fresh rosemary 

fresh thyme 

salt and pepper

Nothing beats a loaf of fresh homemade bread.  Must try if you love to bake.  I made the dough the night before and after rising, I place the dough in the fridge and bake it the next morning.  Bring the chilled dough to room temperature before popping it into a preheated oven.   

Alicia, my niece, is loving her bread. :) Such a satisfying moment.  

You can't get any simpler than a plate of aglio olio e peperoncino.  Every family does it differently and here is our recipe. 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

ooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: (for 2 persons) 

200g spaghetti/linguine

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1 sprig sage

1 small anchovy

1 tsp caper

grated parmesan

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook pasta according to its package label.  

2) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium low heat, add garlic, sage, anchovy, and chili, cook for 2 minutes.  

3) Reduce to low heat and let the garlic and herb to cook slowly so the fragrant and flavor would kick off.  This should take about 5-7 minutes and watch out for burning the garlic.  

4) Add capers and cook for about 1-2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to the frying pan along with the cooked pasta.  Stir well and coat the pasta with the garlic oil and pasta water sauce.  Heat off.  

5) Transfer the pasta to a plate, Add some grated parmesan and a drizzle of oil before serving.  

A simple homemade Italian meal that we never get tired of in this house.  :) We served our meal with a side of greens and some fresh lemonade.  

a hearty soup is always an idea to clean our fridge without wasting..

This soup is meant for the mums especially those with a big family.  It's not always so easy to whip up gourmet dishes to feed and please everyone. This soup is healthy and easy.  The ingredients are easily found in any wet markets/supermarkets in Hong Kong.  I personally love the taste of saffron with coriander plus coriander is easier found than the other herbs.  This is definitely a sustainable and healthy option for the locals.   Since today is a special day for the moms, I would like to share a really nice video I recently saw on Facebook to honor them all.  Happy Mother's Day!!  :) 

Servings: 4 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 carrot, diced

4 - 5 small new potatoes, diced

3-4 celery stalks, diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 corn kernel off the cob

1 can chickpea, rinsed and drained

1 small pack saffron (optional) 

1 vegetable stock tablet

5 (40oz) cups water

4 slices old bread

1/2 cup grated cheese* (cheddar, gruyere, or parmesan)

1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil 

* I used aged cheddar and parmesan because that's what I have in my fridge but this soup would go really well with gruyere.  :P 

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a large sauce pot with olive oil in medium-low heat.  

2) Add chopped onion, potato, and carrot.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes with a lid on if you wish to speed up to cook the vegetables.    

3) Add celery, corn, and chickpea.  Stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  

4) Season and add saffron.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  

5) Add water and vegetable stock tablet to the pot, turn to high heat and bring the pot to boil for 3 minutes with a lid on.  

6) Reduce the heat to simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Season the soup to suit your taste.

7) Transfer the soup to a baking pot.  

8) Preheat the oven at 240ºC

9) Dip the old breads to the soup,  and sprinkle cheese on top.  

10) Bake the soup pot for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

11) Garnish with chopped coriander and ready to serve.