The Trattoria Project and Spectaculars: January 2008

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Fresh Pasta

Mise en Place
serves 6-8

750g 00 Flour or Bread Flour, plus more for dusting
7 medium eggs
Sea Salt

Pile flour on a work surface or a tray and make a well in the centre.

Crack eggs in the well with a touch of EVOO and a pinch of salt. Beat with fork.

Slowly mix in flour and egg with a fork to avoid getting lumps.

Mix until dough is formed, then dust your hands with flour and knead.

Dust your hands with more flour if it gets too sticky. Knead till it doesn't stick and until the dough gets springy.

Knead into a ball and dust with more flour, let it rest for 40 mins, covered, to retain moisture.

Roll until desired thickness. Flour well.

Fold pasta into a roll. Flour. Then cut them into desired sizes. Alternatively, use a pasta machine.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Since seven days ago, the existence of 'Jook' had given me the will to put up with the mother of all excruciating pain that is the aftermath of my adult tonsillectomy. 'Jook' is my new best friend because it is possibly the most nutritious and delicious thing to fit into my insane post-tonsillectomy diet. Everything that goes into my mouth has to be soften, liquified, be of a low temperature and must not be acidic. Otherwise, it will induce a throat pain intense enough to make me cry. Like when I had lemonade on Thursday because I thought I could use some vitamin C, then I started tearing literally and realized that the doctor's advice was actually making some sense. I couldn't be more stupid.

I cried and jumped from my seat on Friday when I took a sip of Whisky and that was the last time I ever had to go through such anal throbbing pain because it finally made me believe the doctor's advice.

Relying on 'Jook' has enlightened me and have me to realize the true facts in life like how Jesus hates us all. That is only if he existed with godly powers. I figured that if anyone had to go through this pain, they won't need Jesus, not at all, because he is not helping us with the slightest bit, but they will definitely need something else ungodly like 'Jook.' And for all the times when we are absolutely not in pain or need, he will come up to you and help you with imaginary ways and make you praise him.

For example, you just got your month's paycheck from your boss, then you step out of the office and something made you look down on the floor and you magically stumble upon a shinny penny and you look up the sky and whisper, 'Thank you, Jesus.' Or when you need to take a bus home and suddenly piles of vacant cabs drive towards the road beside the bus stop, you smile and say 'Jesus is my provider!'

Then when you'd actually need help like when you are experiencing sheer demonic throat pain from a tonsillectomy, you get thrown with some same old bullshit excuse that goes like: 'He works in ways you cannot see. He will make a way for you.' Being the good guy that I am, I have taken the liberty to meditate in that message and found out that it actually translates to a very special and meaningful message through godly vision. It says - 'Hallelujah Amen Jehovah Tonguespeaks! Manawakikichukapunkamukaarkapunga! Kuradamadedededada... Jesus is not around right now but please go to church and leave a message then donate because Jesus is lord. He created this thing called time and it heals everything. Jehovah Buhbye. Amen Hallelujah. Hakunamata!'

In case you're still wondering what 'Jook' is, it is the English pronunciation of the Cantonese word that means, Congee, which is a rice porridge often stewed with meat and preserved vegetables or herbs. I used the word 'Jook' because I think it's cool. If you don't like it or think it's stupid please get lost because I think Cantonese words are unique and chicks who speak Cantonese are sexy.

'Jook' has no acid, is all liquid, has lots of fiber to counter my constipation from my enormous Codeine intake but most importantly, it can be enjoyed lukewarm. Day one of post surgery I had 'Jook' with ginger and century egg, the preserved egg used in Fear Factor that I would gladly finish an entire basket of, I bought this from a stall because my anesthesia hasn't worn off and it was absolutely creamy and warm and delicious. Being a true Asian myself, I wasn't hesitant to have pork innard 'Jook' for another three days. I love pork liver especially because it melts in your mouth with luscious richness and flavor, think Foie with intense pig flavor. I had also pork belly, skin and intestines. I like belly and skin because of its gelatinous texture but intestines I would eat them once in a three months because sometimes they are all powdery inside and it makes me gag.

Then I made some myself. It was delicious - 'Jook' with Braised Spareribs and Liver, so post the recipe for everyone to try. Feel free to omit the liver if you are not a fan.

My Jook.

Mise en Place
serves 6

3 cups Short Grained Rice, rinsed and drained
100g Ginger, peeled and julienne half of it
5 sprigs Spring Onion, finely chop two
1 liter Chicken Stock, plus more
3 medium Conpoys
6 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
300g Spareribs
200g Pork Liver, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine
3 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
Sesame Oil
Peanut Oil
White Pepper
Sea Salt


Steam conpoy in water, 10g ginger and a sprig of spring onion for 20 mins, flake. Coat pot with a thin layer of oil. Boil rice in stock with half the whole ginger and conpoy. Simmer until soft and creamy. About an hour.

Braised Spareribs and Liver

Season rib and coat with cornstarch. Over high heat, brown rib and julienne ginger with peanut oil.
Color them nicely. Deglaze with Shaoxing wine and a little chicken stock. Low heat. Add both soy sauce, half of the garlic, white pepper and a touch of sesame oil. Simmer for an hour.
Cook liver in simmering sauce for 5 mins just before serving.

Garlic Oil
Lightly fry the rest of the garlic until golden brown.

To serve, ladle congee in a bowl and top with spareribs and liver. Drizzle sauce and sprinkle finely chopped spring onion and garlic oil.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Steak of Life


Hi, I'm back again. After two entire weeks I think, and I'm not going to give some bullshit reason for my absence to make you feel better about my less active blog. I have been lazy. Thats right. Loathe or love me, it doesn't matter.

My first start of the year had been rough. I'd been slapped with intense military exercise for most of the time. As of now, I have officially spent most of 2008 in the jungle or at the camp of overflowing testosterone. They were hard times. They were times when I could scream for a shower after days in a sweat soaked P.J-like cloth outfit, even if the shower is icy cold and if the water only drips at the complete push of a quick retracting button. They were the times when I am required to quietly hide from the enemy in a bush and unknowingly become man feast to the throngs of residing hungry forest mosquitoes and colorful biting spiders.

Most annoyingly, I had to live on bland and boring food from the military meal shack that went on the news for poisoning people. On a few occasions, I'd dream of proper food at night in the barracks and sometimes, I think about good food so much that I can't sleep. The food magazines and recipe books I used to bring to camp to maximize time, only made it worst. I swear they almost got disintegrated by the worst form of incineration that can ever be done to paper but now that I've come to my senses, I'm glad I didn't do it.

When I got home on Friday, good food was all that was needed for me to believe once again that life is actually good. The first thing that I wanted almost immediately at the point of leaving the camp was a bloody juicy and delicious piece of steak. I knew I couldn't get good steak anywhere around camp and I wouldn't pay for overpriced bullshit at the lame steakhouse near my house. I couldn't travel to fancy restaurants because I was weary and looked like shit. Right then I knew I had to get the meat from the market downstairs, cook it then let the stupid good-for-nothing domestic maid do the all the cleaning.

One thing I love about the Cold Storage Supermarket at the bottom of my condominium is that they constantly stock good beef. Not fantastic but good enough to close eyes and uplift cheeks. I got the Eye Fillet, one of the juiciest and most tender parts of beef, it costs a lot more but its worth every penny. I can afford it now thanks to FoodBuzz!

Now, here comes the recipe:

Eye Fillet of Beef with Garlic Mash, Green Beans and Chunky Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Mise en Place
serves 2

2 Large Potatoes, skinned and cut into chunks
6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled, finely chop 2 cloves
1/2 Stick of Butter
200ml Whole Milk
400g Roma Tomatoes, roughly chopped or use tinned
1 Red Onion, finely diced
3 Sprigs Rosemary
1/2 Cup Red Wine
3 Tbsp Balsamico
1 Big Handful of Green Beans, tips removed and washed
2 Eye Fillet of Beef
Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Grape Seed Oil

Garlic Mash
Boil-Potatoes and whole garlic cloves in salted water until tender. Drain, mash with butter and season. Add milk and stir thoroughly.

Saute-Garlic and Onions in EVOO on low heat until fragrant. Add tomatoes and rosemary. Bring to simmer. Add meat deglaze(see below) and simmer until chunky. Season.

Blast heat on stove and get a pan really hot. Season beef. Add grape seed oil to pan and sear beef at 1.5 min a side for rare, 2 for medium and 4 for well done. Allow beef to rest.

On the same pan, add wine(don't worry about the flames, just blow them out) and balsamico. Simmer until caramelized stuff at the bottom of pan is gone. This is the deglaze you add to your sauce.

Poach beans for 1 min in salted boiling water. Drain.

To serve, ladle sauce on plate and smear. Top with mash and beans on top. Lay beef. Enjoy.