Spring is in the air and my first Sagra del Gnocco :P

Being a vegetarian in Italy is never a problem, choosing what kind of vegetables to cook and eat is the problem.  That's because there are too many choices.  I want to buy almost everything at the vegetable stand and cook as many dishes as I possibly can.  My mind is like a little food machine running on high speed trying to stir up many simple recipes to satisfy my greedy palate.  Sadly, cooking a feast is not possible unless we have some guests over to share food with us.  

So Sunday is the only day that could fulfill my obsession.  Last Sunday, we invited a couple friends over and spent the entire day chilling, eating, and drinking.  We also went to sagra del gnocco in Teolo which is a food festival celebrating local food that's prepared by locals.  The entire village was packed with cars and people.  It was my first time attending a sagra.  I've never seen so many people in the village before.  What I loved about sagra is the immense joy that a humble dish could bring to people.  Life is this simple.  I didn't try gnocchi though because the queue was too long.  Marco didn't have patience but I am definitely going to the next one.  

I took a lot of pictures this past week so let me share some of them with you first. :) 

Every Saturday, Marco and his godfather would work on landscaping the garden while I remove the labels from each wine bottle for recycling.  

Spring is in the air!!  This means asparagus is selling everywhere.  

This dish is so easy to make.  Not much technique nor preparation is needed.  Season the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for about 15 minutes at 180-200ºC in oven and crack an egg to the baking dish and roast for a few more minutes before serving.  

This is no simple salad to me.  This salad is the combination of ONLY local fresh produce.  Nothing was flown in by plane to be served.  

Bruscandolis & cheese frittata  - My first time cooking this wild herb that's only grown in the Veneto region. 

Bruscandolis & cheese frittata

Servings: 4 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes


1 bunch fresh bruscandolis

6 eggs, whisked and seasoned

50-80g biancone formaggio or brie cheese 

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

a pinch nutmeg

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook the bruscandolis for 3-5 minutes.  Drain and chop the cooked herb into small bits.  Set aside.  

2) Preheat the oven at 180-200ºC.  

3) Drizzle a little oil on the baking dish on medium heat, cook onion for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent.

4) Add garlic and chopped bruscandolis, cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.   

5) Add the whisked egg to the baking dish.  Lower heat to medium low.  Put a lid on and cook for 3-5 minutes. 

6) Spread the small chunks of brie cheese around the egg mixture top before transferring to an oven.  

7) Roast for 10-15 minutes until the surface is browned.  

Marco and his friends are not vegetarians so they also added a dish of roasted spring chicken.  

Sunday will always be my favorite day of the week.  We could spend hours at the dining table chatting and laughing over those delicious food we made.  

After a full-on brunch, we decided to lay under the shade.  This is our kind of fun and wouldn't it be nice if we could do this every weekend...  Something to look forward to during the week...  ;P  

Sagra del Gnocco at Teolo last Sunday -- check out all those people queuing and eating at communal tables.  What a great way to spend your Sunday with friends and families.   

Sagra del Gnocco Teolo

Instead of queuing for gnocchi, we went to a bar nearby and drank more. Ha!  

Shroom Shroom Shroommm..

This is the sound of Hong Kong.  People think fast, act fast, and talk fast.  Hey, we also eat fast.  To compensate this whole frenzied lifestyle, I choose cooking as a balance.  It is very rare that I would blog twice within the same week.  In any case, I should do it more often because practice is the only way to gain mastery.  So I just have to put myself into practice.

Note: Please don't discard the coriander stalks.  Chop them up finely and add them to make mint pesto and dumpling fillings for the two recipes below.  

Here is the list of key items I got for my 2 shroom recipes: 

1 bunch fresh coriander     HKD4

1 bunch fresh mint     HKD6

1 package baby corn     HKD6

2 bags mixed locally grown mushrooms     HKD6 each bag 

Total Spending:  HKD28

Ingredients for my two wonderful meals

First meal - garlicky mushrooms n’ egg & mozzarella crostini served with fresh mint pesto

Mint pesto recipe: 

1 bunch mint leaves

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 lemon zest & juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped coriander stalks

Instruction: Put everything into a blender and season.  

Mushrooms and egg with mozzarella cheese crostini 

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


250g fresh chinese and button mushrooms, chopped

2 eggs, whisked and seasoned

1/4 cup milk 

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2-3 sprigs thyme

2 tbsp butter 

1/3 cup white wine

4 toasts with butter

1-2 tbsp pine nuts

2-3 tbsp mint pesto

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan

1/4 fresh lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium-low heat, cook garlic, thyme and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.  Add white wine.  

2) After the alcohol evaporates, turn to low heat and add butter to the mushrooms.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.  Heat off.  Set aside.  

3) To make the scrambled egg, simply mix eggs and milk.  Season.  Preheat a frying pan with oil, cook the egg on medium low heat.  Add mozzarella cheese.  Use a fork to swirl the egg and cheese mixture to create fluffiness.  

4) Layer the toasts with scrambled egg and mixed mushrooms.  Garnish with grated parmesan and pine nuts.  Serve with a dash of mint pesto and a twist of lemon juice.  

Second Meal - Mushroom Dumplings

These delicious dumplings were made with the freshest ingredients that cost less than HKD30.  

Servings: 2 persons - around 12 pieces

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 - 10 minutes


 250g fresh chinese and button mushrooms, chopped into smaller bits

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped spring onion

50-80g baby corn, chopped into small bits

1 package bean curd sheets, chopped into bits

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 egg, whisked

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine

1 bunch chopped coriander stalks

12 pre-made dumpling skins

extra-virgin olive oil



1) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium low heat, cook garlic, spring onion, chopped coriander stalks, mushrooms, baby corn, and fresh ginger for 3-5 minutes.  

2) Add rice wine.  After the alcohol evaporates, add sesame oil, bean curd, soy sauce, and season.  Cook the vegetables for about 3 minutes on low heat.,  Heat off and set aside.  

3) Transfer the filling to a large bowl for wrapping the dumplings.  To make the dumplings, spoon 1 tbsp filling to the center of the dumpling skin, use a knife to dip into the egg mixture and spread evenly around the edge of each dumpling, then start folding the dumpling from one corner to the other.  

4) Once the dumplings are all wrapped, fry the dumplings in a preheated frying pan with oil on medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup of water and lid on to allow the dumplings to be cooked fully.  Let them cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes. 

5) Transfer the dumplings to a plate and garnish with some chopped mint leaves and coriander.  Serve with dumpling sauce and mint pesto.  

mushroom dumplings with mint pesto 

Asparagus 2 ways

Ciao!  Hope you had an awesome New Year!  To give a quick and fresh start of 2015, I'd like to introduce more of my no-brainer meals.  My intention is simple --  I want to share more different ways of utilizing our ingredients and minimizing food wastage in today's bustling Hong Kong.  

Pardon me this blog is not eloquently written.  It's been awhile since I started blogging but til' this day, I'm still struggling to pour words out of myself.  I know it's due to the fact that English is nonetheless my second language (yet my Chinese is even worse) and I still give too much of a damn what people might think.  I certainly regret my negligence of reading and writing when I was young.  So now, I am going back to what I should've studied ages ago and start from the basic.  I've got a few books in hand to learn how to write better sentences in English.  Let's just hope that there'll be some improvements along the way.  Ugh.  

Enough rambling.  Sooooooo, I got some fresh asparagus the other day.  I turned them into two simple meals.  Check them out! ;)

Have a lovely day!


Cindy xx

A pound of asparagus can turn into two simple and delicious meals.  

Roasted asparagus with 2 eggs and pistachio (served with a drizzle of honey mustard vinaigrette)

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes


1/2 lb fresh asparagus

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 eggs

1-2 tbsp chopped pistachio

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan 

extra-virgin olive oil

For Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:

1 tbsp mustard 

1 tbsp honey

1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


1) Preheat the oven at 180ºC.  Place the fresh asparagus on a baking tray or an oven-proof dish/pan.  Roast for 5 minutes.  

2) Add garlic and oil to the asparagus.  Season.  Roast for another 5 minutes.  

3) Add 2 eggs to the asparagus.  Season the eggs a bit if you want.  Roast for 3-5 minutes depending how you want your eggs.  

4) Sprinkle some chopped pistachio and fresh parsley as garnishing.

5) Serve with a drizzle of honey mustard vinaigrette.  Voila! 

Asparagus and mushrooms in light cream sauce fusilli

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes


1/2 lb asparagus, slivered

1 cup mixed mushrooms (I used white buttoned and oyster mushroom)

1/3 cup light cream 

1/3 cup dry white wine

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 handful pistachio, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan

150-200g fusilli

extra-virgin olive oil


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

2) Preheat a saucepan with oil on medium heat, cook garlic, mushrooms and asparagus for 2-3 minutes.  Add white wine.  Let the alcohol evaporates.  

3) Add light cream.  Season.  Lower the heat to medium low.  Let the vegetables to cook for about 5 minutes.  Heat off. 

4) Add the cooked pasta and a little pasta water to the saucepan.  Stir and coat the pasta with the light cream sauce.  Garnish with some chopped parsley, pistachio, and grated parmesan before serving.  .