The Trattoria Project and Spectaculars: September 2007

DSC_1385 DSC_0826
DSC_0077 pg2
pg1 pg3
pg4 pg6
pg8 pg5
pg7 pg9

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Linguine Ai Frutti Di Mare "XXXV"

Direct translation = Linguine with Fruits of the Sea

This is one of my best dishes and the real reason why i'm cooking it today, is to find out how far off am i from the quality of food i had at Prego's yesterday when my Dad ordered the exact same dish while i tried some of it. It was bloomin' brilliant.

I can safely say i'm nearly 2/3's away from the quality at Prego but i firmly believe that if i could get hold of some fresh Italy imported tomatoes, i can get a near similar standard, maybe 7/8's away. Here i used canned tomatoes that turned a little too watery. Kinda sad compared to the great one i had yesterday but the flavor was undoubtedly amazing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Beef Carpaccio with Herbed French Bean Salad "XXXIV"

I went down to the mart today in search of seasonal ingredients that would inspire me to cook. I was strolling round the veg area looking at the pumpkins when i felt a light thud on my butt, turned around and found an apologetic lady in her mid 30s pushing a tray filled with fresh, straight from the slaughterhouse, layers of beef, which incidentally bumped on my butt.

I continued browsing at the vegie's and stumbled upon some really beautiful organic french beans. Then a carpaccio and french bean dish from Jamie's latest book very suddenly appeared in my thoughts . Perhaps it was god telling me that Jamie has been praying for someone to make this dish.

So i did. The beef was really nice, chewy and tender without a trace of stale meat odor. The dressing and salad was good, but nothing amazing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Duet of Parmesan Bread-Crumbed Eggplants with Chunky Marinara and Garlic Mint Dressing "XXXIII"

Hah! Sorry again! I know i'm supposed to make some desserts, but i got carried away by the fact that the eggplants are in season. They were round, firm and almost seedless.

This is an authentic Italian Peasant-style recipe i got from an Italian Culinaria, though the picture in the book didn't do justice to it, the ingredients and steps to make this proved clear enough that it would taste awesome.

It was a nice combination of crisp on the outside moist in the inside with a savory-hearty homemade marinara and a soury-aromatic garlic mint dressing.

Holy Yummer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sugar, Spice and all things gurlie

Next week, i'll start to make desserts and sweets. It won't be especially easy - if i recalled correctly, i have only attempted 5 desserts so far.. in my life! So its a whole new chapter in my culinaria but no pastries


i hate pastries, don't ask why, i just do, in-born hatred.

Until then, ciao-la-la-la-la

oh no

my basil plant is flowering, this is bad news.
we want the leaves not the flowers, when there are flowers there will be no more leaves.

Basil and Pine Nut Pesto on Spaghetti and Oven Baked Fillet of Halibut "XXXII"

I'm sure this is torturing when you can only see this dish. I will say nothing more.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

French from TV

Belly of Pacific Snapper on Sauteed Portobello and Garlic Chives with Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette "F2"

Again i got inspired to whip something up after watching another episode of Top Chef. Superbly Splendid! Hah!

You can find more details on the TV series Top Chef at

6 hour Duck Ragu with Farfalle "XXXI"

My biggest achievement so far, the ragu was deep, rich, flavorful - the duck was juicy and tender though it would be out of this world if i could get hold of some tagliatelle.

Peasant Winter Salad "XXX"

Sorry for the temporary blog inaction, no i haven't slacked off in fact, i've been cooking more than ever but strangely i couldn't just bring myself to blog.

This dish is seasonal so do not attempt with the everyday groceries.

Serves 4 salad people or 8 regular ones

2 Crispy Granny Smiths, Julienne or sliced the way you like it
2 Celery Sticks, see above
2 Crunchy Ripe Pears, see 2 lines above
Seeds from half a pomegranate
200g Young Pecorino or Mature Cheddar, sliced
200g Mature Pecorino or Parmesan, sliced
80g Pine Nuts, toasted

Honey Vinaigrette:
2 T Honey
2 T Lemon Juice

Whisk ingredients for vinaigrette. Toss with salad. Bon Appetit.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Steamed Tomato Olive Dumplings in Balsamico Reduction "XXIX"

Here's a recipe i got from Chef Megel's book which was awarded to me by him when i got best performance in the class.

Um, this ones pretty good. Some sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, shallots, spring onions, black olives - they go fantastic together. I used the "aged balsamico" leftover from the afternoon with dark soy sauce which gives a soury depth to it.

Pain in the ass

Yi Mian and Tofu in Superior Consumme "XXVIII"

It was such a pain.
Making consomme in a home kitchen that is.
But having a mouthful of this lets you feel like it was all worth it.

If you don't know what a superior consomme is, it is fine, i didn't understand until an hour ago.

I had abalone, pork bones, bacon bones, yunan ham, dried scallops, whole chicken, chicken feet, chinese cabbage and dark SUPERIOR soy sauce simmering for half a day or more. After which i reduced the broth by half and clarified it with egg whites, then i strained the broth with muslin cloth and reduced by half again. From 3 litres of broth to 4 bowls of soup.

This is superior consomme.

Breath of fresh air

I'm making Italian Chinese Fusion today. I have 2 pots of consomme boiling already. Exciting.

The Ultimate Breakfast "XXVI"

Fried Onions, Spam and Eggs on Potato Waffle with Balsamico Reduction and Sambal Sauce

I got really inspired by what Brian made in the quickfire challenge in the 11th episode of "Top Chef", which is still airing on Wednesdays, so i decided to make somethin similar myself.

I wanted to use bacon initially but they have seem to run out, i was really hungry and had to fix brekkie fast. Hell it tastes amazing too.

If your an NSF like me or cannot afford to spend much on good food and in this case, aged balsamic vinegar, you'd have to find ways to replace it.

Here i reduced my aceto balsamico by 1/10 and added a teeny bit of sugar and voila! Improvised aged balsamico!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Panini Platter "XXV"

Extreme left: Anchovies and Fresh Mozzarella
Extreme right: Insalata di Caprese
Top: Roast Beef with tomatoes, Basil and Cheese

I like the anchovy one. Yum.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Spag with Smoky Arrabbiata "XXIV"

I've read a lot about the Arrabbiata and been wanting to try it for weeks but was constantly attacked by procrastination giants. I stood firm today and will make this happen. Unfortunately, Mom insisted that i should eat out with them at some american diner.

I said NO!.
Having to think that it was perfectly fine to have a tiny bit of the childhood rebellion in the name of that recurring persistent voice in my head that is nagging me to do the Arrabbiata.

I went a lil playful on this one and added some smoky pancetta having to picture how lovely it would taste. So wrecklessly, i went straight ahead and infused the pancetta with the Arrabiata ingredients.

To my awe and culinary ego it went


It is the greatest way to end the weekend and get ready for another week of mindless slavery.

Until next week, ccciaozers.

Matthew's Birthday Salad "XXIII"

Acciughe con Peperoni e noci

A last minute decision to add a lil something to the party. This is a salad of eggs, rockets, grilled peppers, walnuts and anchovies which i made it in zero time.

The biggest obstacle hands down was blackening the peppers fully over a gas stove and removing the skins. Then my undies and clothes had to be removed too.

Um, i had different sides of opinions for this one. The typical Singaporeans think this is more suitable for a panda but the other wide minded people remained speechless while nodding their heads, so i guess it really depends what kinda person are you to enjoy the things you eat i think.

I had a missing entry last week, blame it all on the army marathon. Really tired this week after a series of missions but more cooking to come at the end of sept.

Gotta hurry to the next post cya in abit