pistachio

Terra Madre's Orecchiette with Pistachio

I don’t travel much.  When I do, I try to get the most out of it.  A full blown food-escapade is a must.  This month is big for the Italians because it is the month of Ferragosto, the summer vacation in Mid-August.  Almost the entire Italy is off work and most people gather with their loved ones for a getaway.  Some prefer the mountains and some go to the beaches.  Marco and I headed down south to explore the great region of Puglia.  

Because it was a last-minute sorta thing, most trullo houses were already booked.  Luckily, we found a real cute B&B called Kama in Cisternino.  We met a lot of kind and genuine people during our stay.  Our host, Brigida, was super sweet.  We got along with her daughter, Alessia, and Alessia’s boyfriend, Giuseppe very well.  We had such awesome time hanging out together.  They showed us so many great places and restaurants to visit.  What a beautiful bunch.  Our stay at Kama was calm and peaceful, exactly what we needed.  We slept like babies every night.  It is definitely a place where we would want to return to.  

To me, traveling is not just about mere sightseeing.  It is the culmination of all the littlest things and interactions with the locals there.  These special encounters not only touched my heart but got me teary sometime.  Only because I wanted to hold onto those special moments so badly and knowing that I could just store them in that special place of my heart.  That is what my kind of traveling is like.   

My recipe here was inspired by this cute little restaurant called Terra Madre Antipasteria in Cisternino.  Terre Madre serves only a set menu of Puglia’s traditional antipasti so you don’t even need to think what to eat.  Just sit and enjoy the wonderful surprises that come to you.  

Puglia, good-bye until then. 

Orecchiette is a popular home-made pasta in Puglia.  The name itself means little ears in Italian and you could see why the pasta is shaped like ears.  

Terra Madre's Orecchiette with Pistachio

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 handful pistachio, finely chopped or blended with a blender

1/2 cup grated parmesan

100g buckwheat orecchiette

1 small cup green olives, deseeded and finely chopped 

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1-2 sun-dried tomato, finely chopped

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta according its packaging label.  It usually takes around 12-15 minutes.  Drain pasta a minute before its cooking time.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Preheat a saucepan with olive oil on medium-low heat, cook garlic 1-2 minutes.  Add sun-dried tomato, green olives, and a little sprinkle of the dried mixed herbs.  Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes until they turn golden.  Heat off.  
  3. Add cooked pasta and pasta water to the saucepan on medium heat.  Mix well.  
  4. Add breadcrumbs, pistachio, and parmesan.  Season.  Mix well.  Heat off.  Transfer the pasta to a plate and eat it right away (garnish with more chopped pistachio and dried herbs if desire)!

Terra Madre's Orecchiette with Pistachio

Nonne making children-sized orecchiette for their grandchildren.

Alberobello - not a bad place to grow old with friends

Ostuni - man pondering

Angels everywhere

Our usual route through Torre Canne to our favorite beach

L'oasi Del Riccio - the perfect paradise for sea urchin lovers.  Don't let the settings fool you.  Seafood here is Aaaaaa-mazing!  There must be a reason why all the locals go there. :) 

Matera - a city that is hard to forget.  

Kama - I loved everything that's there.  

Outside of our room

Not just an ordinary B&B, Kama also offers Ayurvedic massages for the tired souls.  

These are the little gems I got from my beautiful friend, Alessia.   PHYSIS - made from all natural ingredients.  No funky additives that I don't know or can't pronounce.  I especially loved the after-sun lotion; could really feel the difference in the next morning.  

Terra Madre Antipasteria's contact fyi.  Highly recommend.  Please say hi to Daniel the great singer if you are there.  Promise you would melt to his singing.  ;)

Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Saffron, Honey and Pistachio

This extraordinary recipe was inspired by the talented cookbook author, Alison Day.  I've been exploring a bunch of different recipes with orange and cauliflower these days.  And I just happened to have a whole cauliflower sitting in my fridge.  So I tried out Alison's recipe that I came across with on Pinterest.  

I didn't use parsley, coconut milk, and hazelnut.  I substituted with coriander, almond milk, and pistachio.  I also added a bit of honey to the dish.  It took a bit of time for roasting but it was so worth it!  I was just impressed by the taste.  Both mom and sister-in-law (those two are rather picky with food and they only prefer food with strong flavor aka M.S.G.) loved it, too!  Ha!  Now, that was surprising! 

So, Alison must be doing something right there! :) 

Happy Cooking! 

Cindy x

Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Saffron, Honey and Pistachio

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes - 1 hour

Ingredients: 

1 whole cauliflower

1 cup almond milk

1-2 tbsp honey

1/2 orange juice and zest

1 handful pistachio

1 bunch coriander

1 small package saffron powder

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat the oven at 180ºC.  Place the cauliflower in a baking pot.  Add saffron, olive oil, orange zest and juice, and honey to the pot.  Use hands to smear and coat the dressing evenly on the cauliflower.  Roast for 35-40 minutes.  

2)  Add almond milk to the pot.  Use a spoon to coat the almond dressing on the cauliflower.  Roast for another 10 -15 minutes.  

3) Sprinke pistachio and garnish with chopped coriander before serving.  

Roasted Cauliflower with Orange, Saffron, Honey, and Pistachio

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!

Love, 

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

Ingredients: 

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

Instructions: 

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

Ingredients: 

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

Instructions: 

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.  .