Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

A quick fix for no water days: Spaghetti with Marmite

In Nigella Lawson, pasta on April 13, 2014 at 11:35 pm

spaghetti with Marmite

Many of us who live in the Klang Valley have experienced water rationing since March due to the drought. Despite heavy rainfall in the past two weeks, the water level in the dams are not even half full yet. It looks like we will have to suffer the inconvenience well into May. Affected households are getting water supply on a two-day rotation.

I live in a condo so it is not so bad. On no water days, the water from the tank in each block is rationed to conserve supply. We receive running water from 5.30am to 9.00am and 5.30pm to 9.00pm. Being at work the whole day, I’m not really affected as I have water to get ready in the morning. I just need to reach home in time to have a shower and wash the dishes. Thankfully, the rationed supply usually runs until 10.00pm. And there’s always the water I have saved in the pails.

It’s the weekends that are a bummer. If the no supply rotation falls on the weekend, that means I can’t cook lunch. It’s no fun prepping, cooking and washing up with scoops of water.

Today, I was reminded of an easy dish I have cooked before. Nigella Lawson’s Spaghetti with Marmite. It’s the perfect meal for no water days. Minimal prepping is required. There is nothing to cut or wash. Just boil the spaghetti, melt butter with Marmite and a bit of pasta water in a pan, toss in the cooked pasta, mix everything around and it’s ready to serve with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Sedap! (Delicious!)

From the pantry: spaghetti (I used linguine), Marmite, butter

Can I do it?: Yes, of course. You can’t mess this up. 

Credit: Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Full recipe here.



Linguine with lemon, garlic and thyme mushrooms

In Nigella Lawson, pasta on March 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm


Here’s something you can partly prepare in advance. Just marinate the ingredients for a couple of hours or in the fridge overnight. Cook it when needed and toss in the spaghetti, done!

I made this for visiting relatives and it was well received. It’s simple and has a fresh, clean and light taste about it.

The recipe calls for chestnut mushroom but I used Swiss brown mushrooms. I guess any fresh type will do.

Shopping list: chestnut mushrooms, lemon, thyme (dried will do if you can’t get fresh), parsley, parmesan cheese

From the pantry: linguine, olive oil, garlic, pepper

Can I do it?: Yes, it’s a toss and mix recipe. 

Tips: 1. For extra zing, add lemon zest.   2. Reduce the pasta and increase the mushrooms if you want more mushrooms with every mouthful. I find Nigella’s pasta recipes often has too much pasta and not enough ‘liao’.

Credit: Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson. Full recipe here.

Slut’s spaghetti

In Nigella Lawson, pasta on March 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm


There’s nothing kinky about this recipe. It apparently is called such because a woman who has better things to do than grocery shopping could whip this up from items in her pantry. Not the case in Malaysia, as we don’t stock up on anchovies, capers or olives.

I tried this because I was curious about one of the ingredients – capers, pickled flower buds from the Mediterranean. I’ve never heard of it until a condo project in my neighbourhood bore this name. Curious, I hunted it down and found it at the ever reliable Hock Lee’s mini market. It comes in glass bottles and would be in the same section as where the olives are.

That bottle of capers remained in my pantry for a long time because I didn’t know what to do with them. I was told they go well with baked fish, but I don’t like the western style of cooking fish.

When I found this recipe, I had to try it. It’s easy and fast to make and you could pack leftovers for office lunches.

Shopping list: tomatoes, anchovies, dried chilli flakes, black olives, capers

From the pantry: spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper

Optional: parsley

Can I do it?: If a slut can do it, so can you. 

Tips: 1. If you don’t have dried chilli flakes, add anything else that can give your dish heat, like Tabasco sauce.   2. Get pitted olives if you can as deseeding then is a pain.   3. No need to follow the recipe to a tee. Cut down on the pasta so there’s more ingredients to go around.

Credit: Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Full recipe here.

Pesto Pasta

In pasta on August 25, 2010 at 1:26 am

It’s amazing what you can whip up with pasta even without cooking (except for boiling the pasta). And it’s easy to feed a party with this — the portion above was served on a gigantic Moroccan plate.

Pesto Pasta is essentially pasta mixed with pesto sauce. I’ve tried two variations, one without any cooking, courtesy of Veggie Chick; and the other with the basil blanched first, and the addition of anchovies, courtesy of Chef James Thong.

The name ‘pesto’ comes from the Latin root word ‘pestle’. Yes, you can use the pestle to crush all the ingredients, but it’s easier and faster to use the blender. Just dump everything in – sweet basil (not Thai basil), grated parmesan cheese, olive oil and pine nuts (or almond). If you’re using anchovies, chuck it in too. Just a few will do because it’s quite salty (and terribly expensive).

Besides serving pesto with pasta, you can also, like Chef James does, use it to make a few artsy swirls or blotches on the plate of food you are serving. Voila! Fine cuisine!

If you’re making too much pesto to finish in one sitting, just keep the rest in the fridge or freezer. The oil and salty cheese keeps it from going bad. When you’re too busy or tired to cook yourself a meal, just boil some pasta and mix in the pesto. You could also spread it on hard bread, like baguette. Yums! I can already taste it in my mouth.

Shopping list: sweet basil (you need to go to a supermarket that sells fresh western herbs), pine nuts, grated parmesan cheese

From the pantry: extra virgin olive oil and garlic

Optional: anchovies

Hardware: blender

Can I do it?: It’s as easy as plugging in a blender.

Tip: My cousin Patrick recommended adding butter, but frankly, I couldn’t taste the difference.

Credits: Veggie Chick of the Star’s ‘Don’t Call Me Chef’ and Chef James of the Loaf

The Best Pasta Salad

In pasta, salad on May 24, 2010 at 2:18 am

Jamie Oliver said that this is the best pasta salad. I agree. It’s simple to make. No cooking required, except for the pasta. If you can cook Maggi mee, you can make this. The only skills you need is knowing how to boil water, the ability to follow instructions on the pasta packet and chopping vegetables without injuring yourself.

Shopping list: shell-shaped pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, chives, basil, cucumber

From the pantry: garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper

Can I do it?: It’s as easy as Maggi mee.

Credit: Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef

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