The Trattoria Project and Spectaculars: 2007

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pesce Off

Merry Christmas people. I hope everyone had good champagne, good presents, good food and a lot of good sex. I hope you had a mirthfully good time, because I definitely did. Here I am now, kicking the shit out of my loafing holiday ass to keep the Trattoria Project alive. Fun is always ephemeral. Five more days and I will be pulled back to the agonizing hellhole I currently belong. Reality can be a bitch. The military won't leave me alone for another six months. Bummer. It is inevitable.


Last week, I made bloody good pasta, Pasta di Pesce. Or fish pasta if you're wondering what the hell Pesce is. I don't know about you, but I really hate my fish pasta with too much tomato in the sauce, I feel that the overpowering sweetness kills the fish flavor and spoils the whole dish. However, a little tomato is always good, it adds much needed tartness to it. Only a little.

I like my fish pasta subtle and light with minimal bullshit like passata or an entire bouquet of herbs. I like it simple and spicy-Roman style.

Pasta di Pesce alla Romana
I apologize for low quality pictures. Age has caught up with my cheap Panasonic. If you feel that my pictures corrupted your avant-garde retinas, it's never too late for a belated Christmas present yes? Otherwise, go consult an optometrist to further delude yourself or simply eat shit and die.

Mise en Place
Serves 2

150g White Fish, any white fish but Cod. Skinned, boned and diced.
200g Calamari, cleaned and sliced into rings.
150g Clams, washed thoroughly
1 cup Dry White Wine
1 Fresh Tomato, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 tsp Dried Oregano
Juice and zest of 1/2 a Lemon.
3 Bird's Eye Chili, WOOH.
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Chopped Parsley
Lemon Wedges

Note: I couldn't find fresh clams so I used tiger prawns instead. Feel free.

Saute-Garlic, Chili, EVOO. Low heat.

2 Mins.

Add-Seafood, Tomatoes, Oregano, Wine. Medium heat. Season. Shake pan.

7 Mins.

Off heat. Toss with pasta and lemon juice and zest. Season to taste.

Garnish. Serve immediately with bread.

Happy Holidays!

Uncle P.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Old Fashion Meatballs and Spaghetti


I'm sure you know there are about a thousand other variations of Meatballs and Spaghetti. I'm sure you'd also know that about nine hundred of them taste like sun-dried turd. When I attempted my first meatballs some time ago, I realized that mine was among the nine hundred variations.

It was hideous.

Long story short, I have now a decent recipe. It is no where superlative, but it is good enough to shut your obnoxious grandparents up and leave them asking for the recipe later. I did a lot of homework for this one. You better like it.

Mise en Place
Serves 4

250g Ground Beef
200g Ground Pork
2 Tbsp Freshly Grated Parmesan
1 Egg Yolk
1 medium Onion, diced
3 Tbsp Breadcrumbs(use Panko if you have some)
3 sprigs Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tsp Capers, mashed
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Corn Starch
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

1 Paper-thin Slice of Parma Ham or Prosciutto
1 cup Semi-Dried Tomatoes, blitzed
1 medium Onion, diced
1 clove of Garlic, smashed
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 cup Beef or Chicken Stock


-Make sauce. Saute onions and Prosciutto in EVOO until onions turn translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, oregano and stock. Simmer.
-While simmering, mix all meatball ingredients together. Shape into a size slightly larger than golf balls. Grill them for about 1-2mins a side.
-Transfer meatballs into simmering sauce and cook for another 15mins.
-Serve with Spaghetti.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I have a recent obsession with asparagus that I can't quite fathom, it has also left a lingering rancid stench in my toilet nasty enough for my friends to suggest that pissing in their pants would be a much better idea. On Sunday, I had poached eggs with asparagus in the morning, a brunch of asparagus cream and Coq Au Vin with dressed asparagus for dinner followed by what I actually dreamed of was an asparagus ice cream in asparagus soda. It had never occurred to me that I will have such lusty passion for asparagus because it was after all, a childhood toy-on-the-plate which would inexorably end up in the refuse chute.

Three days it has been, and an imagination of poached asparagus in proper vinaigrette and shallots now would still interest me greatly and would also instantly induce hardness to my trunk. There is certainly something absolutely felicitous about the mild bitter-sweet nuttiness and crunchy-yet-soft texture of the asparagus that my feeble self-control cannot triumph. It is of great calamity to me, I am deeply devastated, for I will not know when I shall receive beloved fellatio again. Fucking frightening.

Many things go well with asparagus, but only a few go hand in hand perfectly, only a handful tastes sublime. Today however, I couldn't give a crumb of damn about it, I just want some badly, NOW.

Market surprise! Pigs found their way to Singapore! Prosciutto finally available, didn't think or check the price tag, just bought it. Air flown Australian pork got listed on the weekly market specials, $2.80 for 2 immaculately pink chunky chops, irresistible. Pancetta rolls available as well, didn't get them, costs like a whore.

So I made Seared Sage and Apple Pork Chops with Sweet potato and Asparagus. Nothing really fanciful. Flavorful and tasty.

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Mise En Place
serves 2

2 Pork Chops
1 Paper Thin Prosciutto di Parma, chopped
1/2 Apple, julienned
10 Sage Leaves, chopped
2Tbsps Butter
A swig of dry white wine
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 large Sweet Potato, skinned and disced
15 stalks Asparagus(entirely optional)
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

-Preheat oven to 200C.
-Rub sweet potatoes with EVOO and salt. Bake for 15-20mins.
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-Mix butter with sage, Prosciutto and apples.
-Score pork chops, season and rub marinated butter in.
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-Sear pork chops on medium high heat at 4mins a side. Pop in the oven for further 5-10mins. Set aside.
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-Pan will look like shit. That is good.
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-Deglaze with wine and stock. Reduce till sauce consistency.
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-Grill asparagus with EVOO and salt, set aside.
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-To plate, lay sweet potatoes and asparagus on plate, top with chops and drizzle sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Five Things I Wish For This Christmas

Crude words. Leave if you feel squeamish or desolated. Not my intention.

1. I wish that children of every age and size will instantly be settled with a vaporized limp each time they decide that supermarket hide and seek is a surrealistic idea. Four out of ten times, these little spawns-of-Satan will run into my market bag. Last week, some atrocious steroid fed Tasmanian Devil broke twelve eggs, cracked a bottle of olive oil and Dijon mustard, bruised a packet of herbs and dented a can of tomato in my market bag then nonchalantly continued the "catching" game. Parents, beat your kids or leash them if you have to before I forcefully insert the entire length of my fingers into their eye balls.

2. I wish that God will send me a box of Royce's Amande Chocolat every week for the rest of my entire life. Royce's magical box of almond chocolates contains three absolutely luscious types of mind boggling chocolate; milk, white and dark. You eat the milk then the white then the dark. If you follow this sequence, you will realize that your surroundings will momentarily pace down in time and your eyes will almost automatically shut and a bright light will appear above. You will then try to reach for the light when it suddenly disappears and you have to attempt the sequence all over again and again until you could. You reach the light. You feel extremely jubilant and also you now have a sore throat and three days worth of calories. If you're bulimic, you will dig, expel and repeat the sequence all over again. Royce's Chocolate. Absolutely sublime. No, I'm not advertising for them.

3. I wish that a tiny area in the north-east region of Singapore just beside Compass Point Shopping Mall, which happens to be my house, will have top quality Arabic Coffee Beans falling from the sky as rain.

4. I wish that people will stop sending unbelievably impractical Christmas presents. For the love of god, stop giving towels. Half of my wardrobe was occupied with your stupid towels, you leave me no space for my own clothes. Thanks to you, they are now on the way to some profiteering charity which steals organ money from the sick. Also, stop sending me comfort things like socks, blankets and sweaters. I am not a hobo, and even if I was one, I'd rather rob you or kidnap you for ransom, then rape your sister/wife/mother.

5. I wish to be trained under Gordon Ramsay because is the epiphany of an indisputable male chef. The reason is that Gordon isn't an introvert, a gay, a pseudo-gay, a sociopath, a douche bag nor a transvestite, which is also the reason why you'd disagree with me. He is everything that defines a man, from the ass kicking face to slaughtering his own pigs for food. He creates real food, not that pretentious, phony crap in over-advertised new restaurants. Buy his new book, Fast Food, to believe.

Last but not least, I wish my throat infection will completely recover so I don't have to spend my Christmas in the operating theater..

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Whenever I bring up the word "Pasta" to the local cavemen*, they tell me two similar things in a doubtless instant. "Sian." and/or "Dowan la." I don't blame them. That's because the local food vendors have bloody butchered the mother of all carbohydrates and the pride of the Italian culinaria, a guiltless plate of pasta. God pulverize them.

For your knowledge, they only do Bolognese. It seems like the other delicious pasta variations have drowned while trying to make it our shores. Nothing tastes shittier like their overdone pasta covered with chicken dust(because I can't find any goddamn chicken)and MSG-ed tomato syrup. Trust me, I heart Bolognese very much. But this is what anyone would give a stray dog in a heartbeat. It should be called Colon-nese
because it is the closest thing next to sausages of warm excrete. Just as you all thought it was bad enough, they add shreds of lettuce on it and then spam it with grainy processed Parmesan.

Recently, someone bought me packet of those for lunch and I punched her face into half. I recalled feeling utterly disgusted upon the sight of it. It gives me nightmares. In fact, it gave me one last night, I dreamt that the entire pasta population had turned Colon-nese, it was ghastly.

So I decided to make a plate of good pasta, to reaffirm that the nightmare was just a nightmare. I'm making something decent and unpretentious, something enjoyable by all standards.

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pasta with Pan Seared Cumberland
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This is easy to make, tastes good and it doesn't contain any bullshit like MSG or sugar syrup. If every local western cuisine vendor offered this, there will be lesser stray dogs and diseases and Italy would experience global acclamation. Enjoy.

Mise en Place
serves 4
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4 Sun-dried Tomatoes
50g Pine Nuts, toasted
2 Handfuls Fresh Basil, or more
100g Grated Parmesan
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
Salt and Pepper

Spaghetti for 4
6 Cumberland Sausages

- Blend all pesto ingredients except EVOO. Drip EVOO a little at a time while blending. Season to taste.
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- Cook Spaghetti till al dente.
- Rub Cumberland in EVOO and sear in pan for 5-7 mins. Allow to rest.
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- Toss 1 Tbsp of Pesto/ serving of pasta. Add pasta water if too dry.
- Serve with Cumberland. Buono Appetito.

*native Singaporeans who simply refuse to open their minds to the world

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Potage de Purple

Julia Child says the soup "is simplicity itself to make." Chop leeks and potatoes then throw them in cream, boil for an hour, mash and out comes a classic Potage Parmentier. It is that easy. And if you're a healthy human being between the age of 12-45 and fail at making this, you should never step into a kitchen again because you had just proven yourself to be culinarily imbecilic. I am sure Julia would agree with me if she is alive today. Anyhow, if you frustrate her spirit by making this inedible, she will haunt your wet dreams for the rest of your life.

The classic Potage Parmentier is too delicious for its ridiculous simplicity. Like getting laid from a hot chick just by stupidly smiling at her. It is downright easy. But I had always thought it was conspicuously lacking character, it was like Sean Connery without his beard or his Scottish accent. This was when my own variation of the Potage Parmentier was formed, it was to make life merrier. It was good enough to make me hide the recipe from everyone.
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Fortunately, it is now out to the world wide web. I hope you will treat it as a cocky bastard's creation and disregard it. This will then ensure that I'll make a killing out of it when I have my own Trattoria because everyone finds it fantastically unique. If you like it, make haste and take it down, you'll never know when I'd find this post a stupid idea.

However, this recipe is no where near easy, my Potage Parmentier had violently crushed all living traces of simplicity from the original version to bloody death. Making this variation can be a sharp, bothering pain in the inside of your anus. You will need an hour of attentive cooking time, 15 mins of prep time(only if you have impeccable knife skills) and then 30 secs to realize that there's no more soup left in your bowl. It also involves vigorous whisking for periods of time.

Without further ado.
Uncle Purple's Potage
Mise en Place
serves 4

4 Starchy Potatoes, skinned
4 Leeks, leaves removed, finely chopped
200g Pancetta or Streaky Bacon, chopped
800ml Chicken Stock
1/2 stick of Butter
White Truffle Oil or Roasted Garlic Oil
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
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-Grate or fine Julienne potatoes. Don't worry if they discolor.
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-Saute Leeks and Pancetta in a soup pot until fragrant and soft. About 10 mins.
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-Add in chicken stock and potatoes, turn up heat and bring to boil. Stirring occasionally.
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-When it boils, turn down heat to low and simmer. Whisk every 5 mins to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Do this for 1 hour.
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-After an hour, turn off heat and stir in butter. Add pepper. You shouldn't need any salt if you followed the recipe accordingly.

-Finely chop chives. Serve soup in bowl. Garnish with chives, truffle oil, butter and/or creme fraiche.
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Have it with garlic Croutons or Bruschetta for an absolutely ecstatic experience. Have fun.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sweet Baby Jesus, UnclePurple is spending Xmas in Hell

hell "hair-elle"

1: a nether world, full of bubbling hot diarrhea and crashing comets of dogshit, where the condemned dead continues to exist.
2: a place or state of misery, torment or wickedness.
3: a state of involuntary self-restraint, mainly from women, booze and fried chicken.
abstrcted from the unabridged unclepurple dicktionary

Every once in awhile, life dumps shit on us. If you disagree with me, you're one of those privileged bastards who have inherited many lifetimes of accumulated good karma, so be thankful and shut up.

Last post, I mentioned that my infection wasn't recovering, well, it still hasn't. Yesterday, doctors had confirmed a growth in my throat and surgery is consequential. Before we get all emo, please note that I will not die. However, I am required to sustain on a diet that will make dying a better option.

The liquid diet. This is because swallowing solid food will induce a pain intense enough for me to let out the most annoying sound you'd wish you will never hear. It will sound like something in between a wailing walrus and a mating toad, but of a neighing version. The doctor didn't prescribe me codeine tablets for nothing. When I foresaw myself having soup for breakfast and lunch and dinner, my testies shriveled and my jaw got dislocated. And I'm talking about soups that won't hurt at all, not like my luscious Minestrone or some deliciously chunky Ribollita, we're looking at Potage Parmentier and Chicken Consommes here. Baby Infant food.

Because of that, I am having my Christmas dinner early, like today. I made my Christmas salad recipe which I was saving ultimately for Christmas itself. Before consuming my delicious masterpiece, I swallowed 2 tabs of strong painkillers to make sure I can thoroughly enjoy and savor every bite of it. This is my last real dish for the year, I hope you'd like it do it for Christmas.

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Salad of Beef Pastrami and Arugula with Pine Nuts, Pomegranates and Dried Blueberries
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Mise en Place
serves 4

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200g Beef Pastrami, thinly sliced
200g Arugula, washed and spun dry
1 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
1 cup Pomegranate Seeds
1 cup Dried Blueberries
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2 tsp Dijon Mustard
10 Anchovy Fillets in oil
1 Tbsp Balsamico
3 Tbsp EVOO
Black Pepper

- Mash anchovy fillets in a salad bowl with a spoon.
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- Add rest of dressing ingredients and whisk vigorously for 5 mins until oil and solution have incorporated.
- Toss all salad ingredients with dressing and serve.

P.S: Don't feel sorry for me, do something about it. Give me a Cusinart Food Processor or a life changing blowjob for Christmas. And no, I have absolutely no interest in your queerness.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Proper Minestrone for my Testosterone

Apparently, the throat infection has not resolved. In fact, it is now spreading to my left ear. It doesn't only hurt like a bitch, it also makes my life awfully miserable by abstaining me from booze and women, which happen to be two of my most favorite things.

My doctor swears by the almighty oath of the godly stethoscopic nerds that any form of alcohol consumption will put me straight into comatose with white foamy drool oozing out from every hole in my body. The thought of it scares me. No booze.

I love all women, if you are a female reader, I love you too, therefore I cannot bear to have this karmic wrath orally transfered to you, I face my reality and will stoically turn myself into a douche bag until I recover.

Above all, I have to also abstain from my comfort foods, mainly fried chicken and fries, which will barbarically rupture my already inflamed soft throat tissue with each mouthful. The sick is dragging me away from my innate human needs, it leaves me in apoplectic ire. I never had such a strong urge to throw or hit something.

Sadly, there are only three stupid ways to get out of this quickshit I'm sinking myself into. One, to drink truckloads of water until my piss becomes safe for human consumption. Two, to regularly swallow pills of all hazardous sizes and motley-ness. Three, to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables that won't cut my throat tissue.

I've got one and two pretty much covered, three makes me think of mashed papayas, cooked oats, baby food, over wilted greens and maybe something soupy. Soup, soft with loads of veggie - this can only mean Minestrone in my still-meager culinaria. And no, not the pathetic war ration I made four months ago. I will show you how I make a REAL Minestrone.

You'll need overnight preparation and a garden's worth of veggies.

Uncle Purple's Minestrone
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Mise En Place
Serves 4

Advance Preparation
1 Cup Chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours
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Vegetable Stock
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2 Carrots, roughly chopped
2 Onions, halved
1 Celery Heart, chopped
1 Leek, halved
4 Tomatoes, halved
5 Cloves of Garlic
1 Small Kyuri, halved
2 Potatoes, peeled
5 Sprigs of Italian Parsley
5 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Tbsp White Peppercorns
1/2 Cup White Wine or Vermouth
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Cover all ingredients with 3 liters of cold water, bring to boil then simmer for 5-6hours or until stock is reduced to 1 liter. Remove impurities that would surface. Cool and filter.

1 Carrot, peeled and diced
1 Celery Stick, chopped
1 Onion, diced
4 Streaks of Pancetta, chopped
1 Medium Zucchini, diced
4 Large Organic Tomatoes, chopped
1 Cup Soaked Chickpeas(see advanced preparation)
100g Spaghetti, broken into mini batons
1 Bunch Spinach(preferably red), roots picked and washed
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp EVOO plus extra for garnish
1 Handful Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Liter Vegetable Stock(see above)
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

- Saute garlic, pancetta, celery, carrot and onion with EVOO. Add a pinch of salt to release its juices.
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- Once the onions turn slightly translucent, add stock and bring to boil.
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- Add tomatoes, chickpeas and zucchini. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour.
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- 10mins before serving, add in pasta and spinach. Continue simmering.
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To serve, drizzle good EVOO, sprinkle a good amount of parsley and crack in salt and pepper. Eat with hot, crusty bread. Smile. That was enough nutrients and healthy vitamins to shun off the doctor for many lifetimes to come. Feel like a rabbit. Enjoy.
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Beggar's Orgasm

I was market strolling again. That happens for three reasons. One, I feel the need to help clueless hot women fix their dinner. Two, the overtly obvious, getting something I've already planned to cook. It was none of those today.

Call me eccentric, but every once in awhile, I give myself weird tests to gauge my culinary proficiency. One of which leads to the third reason, the "Hitting the Beggar's Orgasm Test". It was a test of my ability to make cheap ingredients spectacular. I'd set a budget of $2.50/pax(which is what a beggar would pay) then throw myself into the market to search for a good dinner.

There had been four past attempts so far and the results were nothing out of the ordinary. My last attempt was a month ago, a bell pepper and bean salad. It tasted okay but I was definitely expecting more. I didn't want to think my style of cooking was cost dependent, but I was afraid that was so. As I've momentarily realized, holding my money back on food wasn't my usual practice. The truth was saddening. That wasn't the chef I had aspired to be in mind. I had to hit the beggar's orgasm.

Today's a month away from that day. Just last night, I soaked up a huge chunk of information on Vietnamese food. It was invaluable, all these was new to me, the flavor combinations were out of this world, tonnes of ideas filled my mind. I was fired up and ready to explore the new planet of Vietnamese flavors. But deep inside me, I wanted to test myself again, I wanted to see if anything changed at all.

And it happened again, the quest to hit the beggar's orgasm. I strolled down the fruit aisle, pomegranates were in season! $2.30 each, it was stupid, I still have half of one in my fridge. I strolled down the vegetable isle, nothing interesting. Meat isle, too expensive. Seafood isle, mussels were going at $1.22 for a tray but I had too much of those over the last weekend. Misc Aisle, tofu and pre-made noodles, I wanted to get tofu because it was cheap and versatile. I was bending down to pick up the tofu when lights went out and streaks of lightning struck before me, rays of light shine to my point of view, ninja smoke fills my vision, angels come down with trumpets, rainbow unicorns glide above, smoke clears to reveal.. TEMPEH.. 4 for $1.20.
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Tempeh is traditionally wrapped in a huge ass banana leaf and packaged into mysterious bundles as you can see. It exudes a nutty-mushroomy aroma and has a texture like solidified chewing gum. It is an acquired taste but I'm sure if you like soybeans you'd like this one too.

Raw Tempeh
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So the tempeh was $1.20. I also bought the following items:
1 Orange $0.40
1 Lemon $0.50
1 Bunch of Watercress $1.30
1 Japanese Cucumber $0.85
Mint Leaves $1.95

It adds up to $6.20. This is for 4 persons. The exact budget for 4 persons would be $10. I leave $3.80 for the cost of 1Tbsp of Fish Sauce, 1 Red Onion, 2Tbsp EVOO, 1Tbsp White Wine Vinegar, 2Tbsp of Sugar, Salt and Pepper which I already have in the kitchen. $3.80 is more than enough for these. Budget met.

It was a recipe I came up in the market, there are no papers, no book, no web page, I had to focus. A good hour in the kitchen passed, I plated the dish, ready to eat. I placed a forkful in my mouth,

and DAMN! It's good. I proved myself wrong, the test was finally blog-worthy, I hit the beggar's orgasm.

Now you try it.

Salad of Tempeh, Kyuri and Watercress with Orange and Mint Compote
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Roasted Tempeh
4 Tempehs
1 Tbsp EVOO
Sea Salt

- Preheat Oven 175C.
- Rub tempehs thinly with EVOO and salt.
- Roast in oven for 30mins.
- Slice.

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1 Kyuri, thinly sliced
1 Bunch of Watercress
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp White Wine vinegar
Sea Salt and Pepper

- Mix everything together.

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Orange Compote
1 Orange, peeled and chopped, seeds removed
100ml Water
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Mint
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce

- Put a saucepan on medium-low, dissolve sugar in water.
- Add Oranges and bring to a boil.
- Simmer on low, for 45mins or until sticky.
- Off heat, let it cool. Stir in mint and fish sauce.

P.S Ignore the pomegranate seeds. They don't add flavor to the dish, just colors.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wake me up.

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Imagine you're strolling in a mall, it was a hot day and you're enjoying the air conditioning, a bird suddenly flies through the entrance and drops a glob of slimy wad on your nose and it splashes into your eyes and your hair and your 300 dollar Oakley shades while missing everyone and everything else in proximity. Then it makes a u-turn and flies out of the door.

If you are in touch with that emotion somehow, you will totally understand what I've been going through.

Hello foodies and curious people of all belly sizes. Life plays tricks on us. One day you get a vicious nightmare and you self-assured that it was just a dream, the next thing you know, your nightmare turns into reality, the unexpected happens and you find yourself drowning into a pool of melancholic inebriety.

I was in a situation which could be only described as "a recurring series of anomalous adversities" or in simpler words, "getting trapped in a bag full of shit." My mind was occupied by insecurities and the flow of my creativity was blocked. My vial of Mojo had suddenly disappeared. Poop was slapping on my face repeatedly through a tennis ball mortar. Riding the low wave has always been believed to be a pretty common and healthy thing, but there was something that gave me a fearful jitter, I couldn't get myself to cook. Hence, the lack of recent posts.

Fortunately, I am starting to pick things up once again, thanks to the atrocious food that my domestic maidservant expects me to dig into. A viral infection has got the better of me for the past two days, my tonsils swelled to the size of me testies, my face so pale it made me looked like I had goth make up. I was too weak to cook or eat out, I had to eat the maidservant's cooking. It was then that I realized life was suffering, so why suffer more with shitty food?

Last Sunday, I was told to make dinner. I had no ideas and I could not come out with one. So I adapted a recipe from Classic E`CCO, Confit of Duck with Crisp Pancetta, Wilted Ruby Chard and Truffled Polenta. It was my first time having Polenta and honestly and I didn't quite like it, even though its truffled. The confit, pancetta and greens were enjoyable.

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Confit of Duck with Crisp Pancetta, Wilted Ruby Chard and Truffled Polenta
Adapted from Classic E`CCO by Philip Johnson
serves 6

Confit of Duck
6 Thigh-Leg Duck Portions
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
1 Tbsp Five Spice Powder
2 Sprigs of Thyme
5 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
Sea Salt
Duck Fat or Light Olive Oil

Marinate duck portions with aromatics and a generous amount of salt in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Rinse off all aromatics and salt in a bowl of cold water.
Preheat Oven to 130C.
Put duck portions in a casserole and cover with hot fat.
Cook for 2-2.5 hours or until tender.

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Wilted Chard
150g Ruby Chard
3 Cloves of Garlic
Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Saute garlic in EVOO until fragrant but do not brown.
Cook chard until wilted. Season and squeeze in L.J.
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Crisp Pancetta
12 Slices of Pancetta or Streaky Bacon

Grill under a broiler for 5-6mins or until crisp.

Truffled Polenta
130g Polenta
1 Litre Milk
1/2 Onion, Chopped
3 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Sprig of Rosemary
4 Garlic Cloves, Halfed
60g Freshly Grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Truffle Oil

Put onion, thyme, rosemary, garlic and milk in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling.
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Strain infused milk and stir in polenta. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30mins, whisking it occasionally.
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Stir in butter, parmesan, truffle oil and season before serving.