Warm family dinner: Fettucine with spicy meatballs!

I dare not call this an Italian dish because I don’t really know if they have “spaghetti and meatballs” in any authentic Italian kitchen or not (I guess it’s more of an American “invention”). Nevertheless, this is my own take on this “classic” dish and I promise this is a recipe that even Italians would love 😀 What’s brilliant about this dish is that the meat is so soft and succulent, the sauce well balanced and… it’s easy to make! You can do it in a big batch and just reheat when you need, so it saves a lot of cooking time as well. Now let’s get to the point.

*Ingredients: serves 4 people

– Meatballs:

  • 200 g minced pork
  • 200 g minced beef
  • 50 g bread crumbs
  • enough milk to soak the bread crumbs
  • 50 g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 small shallot diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 300-400 g fettucine
  • fresh basil to garnish

– Tomato sauce:

  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml of beef stock
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 1 chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp basil, oregano, thyme

*Methods:

1. Warm the milk and soak the bread crumbs for 10-15 minutes.

2. Mix the meat well together with the spices, cheese and 1/2 of the diced shallots in a large bowl.

3. Add the soaked breadcrumbs and mixed thoroughly again.

4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

5. Uncover the clingfilm and start forming the meatballs (the size is your choice)

6. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil and start browning the meat.

7. In another pot, heat olive oil and stir-fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant.

8. Add the canned tomatoes and herbs.

9. Add the stock and turn heat on low , only simmering.

10. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook until the sauce is reduced to the right thickness!

11. Served with fresh fettucine. DONE!

Enjoy your meal!

 

Le Degustationator.

Twist and roll! Chicken roulade in spicy tomato sauce (Gà cuộn sốt cà chua cay)

I’ve seen people making this a lot. Actually, I haven’t seen anyone personally but I’ve seen Masterchef contestants making this dish … on the TV. No idea how it tastes like, not truly sure how to make it but I decided to give it a go, luckily it totally paid off! Absolutely on the mark to be honest. If you want something “gourmet-like” for a fancy dinner for 2, something warm, something healthy but flavourful, I highly recommend this dish. It isn’t so difficult as well, so much the better 😀 Here’s how things work. Oh by the way, it’s kinda my recipe, not that I’m a genius or anything but I just made up the combination of the stuffing inside the chicken breast and they totally worked together 😀

*Ingredients: serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts = 250-300 gr
  • 120 gr fresh baby spinach
  • 4 slices of parma ham/prosciutto
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 100 gr chopped tomatoes
  • 200 gr high-quality tomato sauce (Barilla Napoletana, Olives, Basilico, etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  •  olive oil

*Method:

1. Preheat oven to 150 oC.

2. Wash the baby spinach, quickly stir-fry with garlic and nutmeg powder in olive oil.

3. Drain all water out of the baby spinach, set aside.

4. Carefully butterfly the chicken breasts. Search youtube for a video teaching this technique.

5. Place a piece of cling film on the butterflied chicken breast. Pound until about 5 mm thin.

6. Remove the cling film and season the breast with salt and pepper.

7. Place two slices of prosciutto/parma ham on the end of each pounded chicken breast.

8. Place 1/2 of the spinach along the prosciutto.

9. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into thin, long slices. Lay on top of the spinach.

10. Place the chicken breast under a piece of cling film, roll and form a cylinder.

11. Roll again inside another piece of cling film, firmly tie the ends of the cling film to form a sausage looking chicken roulade.

12. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan until hot, then add the chicken roulades and cook for one minute on each side, or until golden-brown.

13. Transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through. (The chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer.)

14. While waiting for the chicken roulade. In another sauce pan, heat olive oil and add the onion and garlic.

15. After 1 minute, add the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

16. After 5 minutes on medium heat, transfer to a blender. Blend the sauce until smooth.

17. Spoon the sauce onto the plate, slice the chicken roulade and plate it up. DONE!

Hope you will enjoy it 🙂

Le Degustationator.

Back to childhood: Vietnamese stuffed and grilled tomatoes (Cà chua nhồi thịt)

I loved  this dish as a child and still love it now. One embarrassing memory was when I was 4-5 years old, one day, Mom decided to invite some guests over for lunch, she made this and since I was so so so hungry and I loved this dish so much (okay, I’m trying to make it sound more justifiable 😀 ) I decided to ate several pieces on the dish mom put on the table for the guests BEFORE they arrived!!! Mom was really angry I remember, lucky I didn’t eat all of them otherwise… let’s say it would get really messy and I mean really messy… for me and for her (mostly me 😦 probably ). Anyway, the point is this dish is simply beautiful. Large vine-ripe juicy tomatoes, stuffed with a fragrant and flavourful traditional Vietnamese filling that would blow your guests away. Even better, it’s HEALTHY! YAY!

*Ingredients:

– 600 gr minced pork

– 10-12 medium/large tomatoes

– 100 gr vermicelli

– 100 gr wood ears

– 100 gr sun-dried shiitake mushrooms

– 1 large onion

– 3 medium/large eggs

– 2 tbsp pepper

– Salt to taste

– 2 tbsp tomato puree (to thicken the sauce)

– 2 tsp sugar

– Chicken/Pork rib stock

*Method:

1. Soak the wood ears and mushrooms in warm water for 20-30 minutes in total to hydrate and soften them. Squeeze out all the dirt inside them and change the water every 10 minutes. Finely chop them or put in a food processor to save time.

2. Soak the vermicelli in warm water for 15 minutes. Change water once and soak for 10 more minutes until it’s soft. Cut into short threads. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

4. Finely chop the onion, mix together with the minced pork, wood ears, mushroom, vermicelli in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper, a little bit of sugar if you will. Add 3 whole eggs and thoroughly mix them. Set aside.

5. Cut the tomatoes in halves. Use a spoon with sharp edges, spoon out all the meat of the tomatoes and set aside in another bowl. They will be used to make the sauce later on.

6. Stuff the tomato halves with the meat. Lay them on a baking tray with the tomato side on the tray.

7. Bake the tomatoes for 45 minutes.

8. Blend all the meat of the tomatoes in a food processor into a smooth paste.

9. In a pan, add finely chopped onion, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of tomato puree and the tomatoes. Stir and add the chicken/pork rib stock to the sauce. If you need to thicken, add more puree. If you think it’s too sour, add a little bit more salt and stock, add a little more sugar. The sauce should not be too runny in the end.

10. Spoon the sauce over the grilled tomatoes and SERVE!

Enjoy 🙂

Le Degustationator.

Hot and spicy = pan-grilled chicken with tzatziki !!! (Ga nuong sot tzatziki)

Hi all!

A new day is approaching (it’s 00.42 right here, right now). Just arrived in Bratislava for summer vacation and felt like blogging a bit 😀 Well, I have to do some stuff afterwards anyway, important stuff, this is kinda like a warm up. And talking about warm and heat, nothing could beat a really hot and spicy pan grilled chicken with tzatziki sauce (indian + greek I guess???). This is not an original recipe per se but the combination is kinda wacky and it’s my own idea, but hey, it works like a charm. That juicy, tender and flavourful piece of chicken goes with that cool and fresh yoghurt cream like bread and butter. And you know what happens when bread goes with butter? They go to hell… which is your stomach, kind of :”) hihi. If you’re still in doubt, try it out for your self right now and tell me about it!!!

*Ingredients: serves 2

– Chicken breast : 300 gr (lườn gà)
– Greek yoghurt 300 ml (sữa chua không đường, đặc)
– Cumin 1 tbsp (hạt thìa là ai cập)
– Coriander : a big handful (mùi ta)
– Cayenne pepper: 1 tbsp (ớt khô cayenne)
– Tikka masala paste: 2 tbsp
– Garam masala : 1 tbsp
– Salt and pepper  to taste (muối + tiêu)
– Lemon juice : just a nice squeeze of half a lemon
– Minced garlic (tỏi): 3 tbsp
– Cucumber: 1 medium  (dưa chuột)
– Salad = rocket, mangold, water cress, spinach, etc. (rau salad của tây)

*Method:

1. Slice chicken breasts into big rectangular pieces (so they look pretty when plating).

2. Mix 100ml yoghurt with 1 tbsp of garlic, chopped coriander, salt and pepper, tikka masala paste, and the rest of the spices in a big bowl. Marinate the chicken and leave for at least 2-3 hours.

3. Cut the cucumber into 2 halves, scoop out the watery party with the seeds so the tzatziki will be nice and thick afterwards. Grate the cucumber into thin slices.

4. In another bowl, combine the rest of the yoghurt, garlic, salt and pepper, cucumber. Mix well together and chill in the fridge.

TIP! You can add dill or mint to the tzatziki if you want, a bit of olive oil as well 😉

5. Set the stove on high, make sure your pan is hot and start grilling your chicken. Don’t use too much oil otherwise it will become “frying”. Several minutes on each side would do, depends on the thickness of the cut. You don’t want to overcook it, trust me.

TIP! Make sure you get a nice sear and colour on the chicken, that’s where the flavour comes from. If a grilled piece of chicken looks like boiled, consider shoot yourself :)) nah, joking.

6. Plating it up! Take two pieces of chicken, make a V-shape by putting one on another at an angle. Add some fresh salad leaves behind the chicken. Spoon some tzatziki on the side. DONE!

This is how it’s “supposed” to look like 😛 According to ME

Hehehe, I gotta sleep now but I’m thinking about this dish… Oh dear

Anyway, have fun trying out this dish! I’m sure it will pay off 😉

Lots of love,

Le Degustationator