Archives for March 2011

Suanie’s Extremely Cheesy Conchiglie Carbonara

Suanie's Extremely Cheesy Carbonara Conchiglie just means seashells in Italian. So if I wasn’t feeling so fanciful and wannabe-ish, I would have just titled it: Suanie’s Extremely Cheesy Shell Pasta Carbonara. I can’t even pronounce conchiglie, can you?

For a few reasons, I have plenty of grated parmesan in the fridge and some shell pasta in the pantry. Oohhh I have eggs too, love my eggs! I only had to go and buy 200g of streaky bacon, none of those back bacon business.

Carbonara is one of the easiest things to cook but slightly difficult to master. I’ve made it a few times just to get a hang of it but I’m definitely not a pro. Luckily I like to eat my own food even if they end up disastrous with a capital OMGWTFBBQ.

First to cook the pasta. Bring a pot of water to boil, then add a very generous amount of salt to the boiling water. This is to season your pasta so that it isn’t bland. If you have to watch your salt intake, you shouldn’t be eating carbonara in the first place.

Follow the cooking instructions at the back of the pasta packet. For my shell pasta, I cook it for about 10 mins. Spaghetti should be about 7 mins, penne (my no. 1 choice for carbonara) about 15 mins.

Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - cook pasta
This is a pot of water with pasta in it, in case you’ve never seen one before in your life

Time to cook the bacon! I heat up a frying pan them dump all my yummy bacon to fry. I leave it in the pan slightly longer because I like my bacon crispy.

Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - fry bacon 01 Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - fry bacon 02
This is how bacon is fried, woot!

Use a pair of tongs and scissors, cut the bacon to tiny bits. Or if you’re not anal like me, simply use a huge knife on a chopping board. Whatever works as long as you get this!

Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - bacon
Crispy bacon, tastes slightly like bak gwa

Don’t throw away the bacon grease, you’ll need it later for a greater purpose. Also, break 2 eggs and take out your grated parmesan. Do all this in a hurry because you need to finish taking all the photos just before your pasta is properly cooked.

Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - bacon grease Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - eggs and cheese
Essential ingredients: bacon grease, eggs and grated parmesan

Your pasta is cooked, right? Now you have to remove the pasta, drain the water and put the pasta back into the pot where you cooked it in. Quick quick because the pot is still hot!

Add the eggs and cheese to your pasta. Stir stir stir! Mix it well! The heat of the pasta will slightly cook the eggs. Don’t think too much about it because you might get icked out if you’re not accustomed to raw-ish eggs.

Add the bacon and bacon grease! Add more cheese! For this dish, I used about 120g of grated parmesan. That is a lot of cheese indeed. But it’s okay, else it wouldn’t be Suanie’s Extremely Cheesy Conchiglie Carbonara; it would only be Suanie’s Slightly Cheesy etc etc.

Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - adding cheese and eggs Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - adding cheese and bacon
It’s all coming together now…

Stir stir stir. By this time your arms should feel sore because everything is so thick and sticky. The pasta, I mean. It’s ready when you think it’s ready lah. As you can see, I hardly provided measurements of any kinds because everything was done using a tried and tested method called: try your food as you’re cooking halfway to make sure you like it, add or decrease amount of condiments and ingredients as you deem fit.

Add some black pepper (which I forgot), add some chopped fresh parsley (which I didn’t have) then serve!

Extremely Cheesy Carbonara - result
Suanie’s Extremely Cheesy Conchiglie Carbonara

Eat it with some steamed vegetables so that when your Mom reads your blog and reprimands you on the high fat content of the food that you’ve been cooking for yourself, you’ll be able to honestly reply that you eat healthy stuff as well, like steamed vegetables…

Easy Peasy Minced Pork Porridge

One of the challenges of having a brand new kitchen is… having a brand new kitchen. Understandably it will be empty, which means you’ll have to spend money to stock it. Pots and pans and the basic condiments… they all amount to a pretty penny. Of course it’s not a regular, monthly expenditure but having to spend so much on stuff like herbs and sauces at one go can be ouch.

The Easy Peasy Minced Pork Porridge is ridiculously do-able for a new kitchen. The bare essentials are things that you should buy the first round if you’re looking to utilise your kitchen. Besides it’s inexpensive and can feed you the entire day: that is if you’re like me and can eat the same thing over and over and over and…

It’s also one of my favourite things to eat. All you need is:

Easy minced pork porridge - ingredients

Minced pork! I mean, who would have guessed? 😉 I get my fresh stuff from Jaya Grocer, a pack of minced pork costs less than RM5. You can separate it and put half back into the freezer. Then you need the basic Chinese condiments: corn flour, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and rice. You can grow your own spring onions (which is what I will do), or buy them cheaply together with some garlic.

First, wash your rice. Then add water to your rice in a pot. For porridge, you have to add twice the portion of water to one portion of rice. It doesn’t bother me because I can add water if I want more watery porridge. I’m flexible like that.

Leave your rice to turn to porridge using medium heat. Stir occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

In the meantime, marinade your minced pork using some corn flour, soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. How much? A couple teaspoons each, I guess. Use your God-given fingers and mix the pork well with the marinade. Then leave it alone.

20 mins later, add some ginger slices to your porridge. 5 mins after that, take your marinaded minced pork, form them into little balls and put it with the porridge to cook. Like this:

Easy minced pork porridge - enter pork

Sorry about the blurry photo. I don’t take good photos with both hands, so you can imagine that it gets worse with only one hand.

Anyway, do the same for all the pork and leave it to cook for about 5 mins. The marinade should slightly flavour the otherwise bland porridge by now, yum!

Easy minced pork porridge - cooking

Then voila! the Easy Peasy Minced Pork Porridge is ready! Garnish with some spring onions because it becomes really delicious after that, add more soy sauce and white pepper if you like, then serve! Om nom nom nom nom.

Easy minced pork porridge - ready to eat

– You can substitute this with minced chicken if you are (a) religiously unable to partake in the joyous consumption of pork; or (b) allergic to pork; or (c) prefer chicken. In case of (b) and (c), I pity you.
– You can slice the young ginger to be really fine, then eat it together with your porridge. I don’t like to eat ginger, that’s why I don’t do that.
– You can add ingredients such as dried scallops or oysters as you’re beginning to cook your porridge to make it sweeter. However it defeats the purpose of being cheap.
– You can eat it with other foods such as salted/ century egg, crunchy ikan bilis (anchovies), fried shallots with oil, preserved mustard (kok kok chai), pickled bamboo shoots, abalone, terrapins, bear’s paw and tiger’s penis. The possibilities are endless.

Back to the Original Bootcamp grind… almost!

So I’d boldly let myself go the past few months when I took a break from Original Bootcamp. The not caring and eating everything in sight part was fantastic. The putting on weight and feeling the extra fat coming back, not so much. Hey, choices.

Started with Buddy Day at Padang Astaka last Saturday. They brought some of the toys out including the legendary Big Bertha! Was a lot of fun, a lot of people, a lot of mud, a lot of everything!

Suanie and Big Bertha
Getting chummy with Big Bertha

In my eagerness to return, I think I overdid it. Tore my thighs, couldn’t walk properly over the weekend, still ouching here and there. Then it was a brand new session this morning, wow I could really feel the results of 4 months of inactivity!

I know it will get better for sure. On a semi-related self-reminder note, need to buy more Dettol body wash. Bootcamp’s the only reason I shower using Dettol, heh. Ah, welcome back to the life!

Anyway if you’ve not seen the awesome Original Bootcamp promo video, here it is!