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


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


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.  

pesto bismol :)

I'm not sure if you have watched "The Three Stooges" and there was a scene when Will Sasso was holding a plate of seafood with his pink Pepto Bismol stomach medicine on the side.  And he was calling it his "pesto bismol."  I thought it was really funny.  So every time I make pesto sauce, I would laugh because the term "pesto bismol" would emerge in my mind.  

I've had a busy weekend organizing some works for next week.  Pasta always works for me when I have a busy schedule because it provides enough energy to last through the day.  I have a bit of chinese squash and half of an eggplant left in my fridge.  So I made a simple pesto pasta for two.  Nothing fancy but never grow tired of this simple dish.  

Have a good week ahead! 

Fresh pesto is the bomb.  It goes so well with or without the other vegetables.  

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes


1/2 eggplant, diced

1/2 chinese squash, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2-3 tbsp fresh pesto*

2 sun-dried tomato, chopped

sprig fresh basil leaves

1-2 tsp pine nuts

1/2 glass dry white wine

extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup reserved pasta water

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan

1/2 fresh lime juice

150-200g spaghetti

* fresh pesto is made out of a bunch of fresh basil leaves, extra-virgin olive oil, 1 garlic clove, roasted pine nuts, and grated parmesan cheese.  Season a bit.  


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

2) Heat a saucepan with oil on medium fire, cook eggplant for 5 minutes with a lid on.  Stir occasionally to avoid burning the eggplant.  Reduce fire if needed.  

3) Add squash and garlic, stir a bit.  Add white wine and turn the fire to medium-high.  Let the alcohol evaporates.

4) Reduce heat to medium-low, add sun-dried tomato and pine nut to the pan, cook for 1-2 minutes.  Season*.  Add 1/2 ladle of salted pasta water.  Simmer the vegetables in low heat with a lid on for 3-5 minutes.  

5) When the pasta is ready, transfer the pasta to the saucepan.  Mix well.  Heat off.  Add less than 1/3 ladle of pasta water and fresh pesto to the pasta.  Mix well.  

6) Garnish the pasts with fresh basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese.  Drizzle a little oil and add a twist of fresh lime juice.  

* I didn't add salt to my seasoning because I used the pasta water that was already salted.  So please bear in mind when you add seasoning.  I only added black pepper as to season my vegetables.  

more summer love..

Hello there!  I've gathered a few more recipes with some more summer flavors.  Many friends ask me where I get my veggies and I've finally managed to get the contact from my mom.  Well, honestly, my mom and her helper do most of the grocery shopping in this house.  I am grateful for that.  The only time I run out to do shopping myself is when I need some particular international food produce.  That's because she doesn't know where to get them.  So I prefer to do it myself.  Ha! ;) 

Anyways, to go back to where we get our fresh greens, the farm is called New Life Organic Farm located in Kam Tin, Yuen Long.   Thankfully, we can get these green genies' from their vegetable stand in the heart of Yuen Long.  They have a reasonably wide range of vegetables depending on what is ripened that day.  So eating fresh and local isn't so difficult for us.  Plus, their prices are very reasonable.  Mom told me that their main distributions are for the 4-5 stars hotels in Hong Kong.  So yeah, if you are a residence of Yuen Long, you might want to check out this vegetable joint.  :) 

Knowing where our food comes from is very important and knowing that our plate of food can also contribute to the local community means even more.  Enough yapping, and let's get to my recipes now.   

Enjoy your weekend and stay cool....  xx

This summer salad is light and fresh.  Perfect for the busy bees.. :) 

Servings: 1-2 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes


1-2 capsicum, julienned

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 corn cob kernel, cooked and kernel removed 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1-2 shallot, finely chopped

1 - 1.5 bowl cooked quinoa(in miso)

1 bowl fresh greens

1 bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/2 chili, seeded, finely chopped

1 fresh lime juice & zest

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Grilled the capsicums and onions on a griddle with a little oil.  

2) Mix everything in a large salad bowl, season, and add 1-2 boiled eggs if you like.  

bean pasta with a hint of spiciness..  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes


100-150g french beans, halved

100g pasta

1/2 lemon zest

1/2 chili, deseeded, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup vegetable stock/cooked pasta water

1/2 cup parsley pesto*

1-2 tbsp grated pecorino

extra-virgin olive oil


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

2) Preheat a sauce pan with 2-3 tbsp olive oil, cook the french beans on medium-to-high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Put a lid on to avoid the oil spattered.  Stir occasionally to avoid burning the beans.  

3) Add garlic and chili.  Cook for 3-5 minutes,  Reduce heat if the fire is too strong.  

4) Add vegetable stock and simmer for 1 minute.  

5) Add the cooked pasta to the saucepan.  Mix well.  Season.  Heat off.  

6) Add parsley pesto and mix well.  

7) Serve the pasta with some grated pecorino, fresh lemon zest, and a twist of lemon juice.

* Parsley pesto is made of chopped parsley, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil.  Season.   

this is a vegetarian version of shepherd's pie.  

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes


2 baked potato

6 brown button mushrooms, thinly chopped

1/2 onion, thinly chopped

1/2 carrot, finely chopped

2 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 cup milk

1/2 glass white wine

1-2 tbsp butter

3-4 roasted almonds, finely chopped

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1 bunch sage, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Cook the potatoes in a salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes.  After they are cooked, let them cool down then remove the potato skins.  

2) Preheat a small pot with butter on medium-low heat, add the potato, carrot, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, roasted almonds, chopped shallots, and milk.  Mash everything with a potato masher.  Heat off when the potato turns mushy.  Season.  

3) Add the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  Set aside. 

4) Heat up a frying pan on medium heat, add onion, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, and sage.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  

5) Add mushrooms and white wine, raise heat to medium-high.  Let the alcohol evaporates.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Let the mushroom cook for 3-5 minutes with a lid on.  Heat off.  Season.  

6) Use a little butter to coat around inside of the two ramekins, add the mushroom and onion mixture to the bottom.  Then layer the top with the mashed potato.  

7) Sprinkle a little more breadcrumbs and cheese on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200ºC.  

8) Let it cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.  Add a twist of lemon juice if you desire.