Foodnotes

Happy meal #30: Pasta with shrimp & basil

I’m all about easy peasy cooking.

See, for the whole of the week before, we ate out every week day. We were either working late, or I couldn’t bear the thought of cooking because I was so tired whine whine whine, or I had a craving for something soupy, or we didn’t have anything in the fridge to cook with. Anyway, I decided to decree last week as no-cooking week but I felt so guilty that I more than made up for it during the weekend.

I made FOUR MEALS on Sunday. Yes, you read right – four! I’m a happy supporter of cooking in large batches and then freezing everything so that we can thaw out a meal after work instead of slaving in front of the stove. I no longer cook for two, choosing to cook for four instead so that we can brown bag to work too. It’s been a great arrangement so far.

One of the meals that I made on Sunday was a no-fuss, no-stress pasta dish. It’s yummy and absolutely easy to make. After my marathon cookout during the day, I was in no mood to kill myself over dinner too. I love angel hair pasta and I love tomato so it was a win-win!

Angel hair pasta with prawns and basil
Serves 2

What you need

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Angel hair pasta (pick your own quantity!)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 250g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1 can chopped tomato
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • A bunch of parsley, chopped
  • A bunch of basil, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. (My durum wheat pasta took about 6 minutes)

Place pasta in a colander, and give it a quick rinse with cold water.

Heat remaining olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until the garlic is tender, about 1 minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add shrimp, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove shrimp from the skillet, and set aside.

Stir the wine into the skillet and let the alcohol bubble for a while before adding the chopped tomatoes, parsley and basil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half.

Add shrimp, and continue cooking until the shrimp are heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve the shrimp mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

If you want to cheat like I did, pick up the Waitrose chopped tomatoes with basil when you are in the supermarket. Saves you the hassle of buying and chopping basil (which can be a PAIN).

Foodnotes

Happy meal #29: Earl grey tea cookies

And we’re back with another edition of Happy Meal!

Oh I’ve been cooking but I either get lazy to whip out the camera to shoot or I am too lazy to write about it. The early grey tea cookies, for instance, were baked for Chinese New Year. And, erm, that was way back in February. I also made some oatmeal raisin cookies but that’s for another post.

During my recovery from the surgery, I spent a fair bit of time online when I wasn’t sleeping off the GA. One of the sites that I frequented was Martha Stewart and I was pretty intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe. Got husband to smash up the earl grey tea leaves that we had in the cupboard and off we went!

Earl grey tea cookies
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings)

What you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves, (from about 8 bags)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 226g butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Directions:
Combine flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Put butter, sugar, and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper-towel tubes; freeze 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake until edges turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Two of Us

20 days to Christmas

We knew the cats would attack it.
We knew that we would be coming home everyday to fallen pines and ornaments.
We knew that the bottom of the tree will end up a little misshapen because the furry brats cannot keep their paws off it.
We knew that it would be a dust magnet.

But we just could not resist putting up our tree early.
That’s how much we love Christmas.
It’s been up since November and we even made a little video to commemorate the event.
Enjoy!

See last year’s video here.

Foodnotes, Friends

Have cake, will eat it

Back in September, I had the girls over for tea. We ditched the boys for the afternoon and just chilled and enjoyed one another’s company before a little being squeezed his way out into the world. Yes, David, I am talking about you. Yes, I realise that you cannot read now. Your point being?

Anyway, I was super productive that day. I whipped up a giant batch of chocolate chip cookies and a cake with lemon frosting. Am I Mrs Baker or what?

I know that those days of girly catch-ups and sitting in front of the telly doing absolutely nothing are over so that afternoon was extra precious to me. Of course, we did let the boys into the club after a while. They popped over to finish up what we couldn’t devour and then we promptly dragged our full and sagging bellies for a round (or two) of fried Hokkien mee, frog leg porridge and fried carrot cake.

This was the batch of famous sandwiches that Popartgirl made, which landed us the gig of providing food at David’s recent one-month baby shower.

Squirt made cinnamon rolls.

Hello, David!

Two of Us

Sweet dreams

I’m not really a DIY person but this, I am very proud of.

I’ve been wanting to put up something on our vast and empty bedroom wall for a while now but those wooden letters that I see on Etsy are just too expensive for my liking. I love vintage wood, it’s hand carved, blah blah blah, but US$60 for a pop? Really? Nah.

Clever pants here decided to MAKE. HER. OWN. I popped down to Spotlight thinking I would pick up some wooden alphabets and form my own words but what do I see but words crafted out of papier mache? Laugh. Live. Dream. Angel. Mmm. I like. And each costs less than $6.

A can of spray paint was on sale at $4 so that went into the basket too. Of course, me being not at all artsy meant that I didn’t know if the paint suited papier mache. But it was cheap! That stingy attitude would come back and bite me in the ass but I’ll leave that for later.

And the result…

Romantic eh?

I thought spray painting would be easy peasy but boy, WAS I WRONG. The paint wouldn’t stay on the papier mache and all I had to show for at the end of a fume-ing experience was an uneven dream.

Oh well. I am lazy and look, nobody is ever going to look at this up close and personal except me and husband and he does not give a shit. Hmm, in fact, I don’t even know if he notices this at all. Anyhow, I decided that it was rustic and authentic to have it just sort of painted and didn’t bother touching up the paint.

I had lots of fun with the sign before putting it up so expect more dreamy pictures to appear soon.

Happy dreams!
The organised chaos

Saturday night

Mr Thick went off to run the Sundown Marathon and I stayed home to chill.
I know, how boring is that, it’s Saturday and everyone’s gone to paint the town red.
But I love being at home because it’s our home.
I picked it out from 659 other units, selected every piece of furniture and decided on the colours.
It may have the same finishings as the other 659 units but we made it ours.

I sat on the floor and went through all the pictures in my camera, and read all the unread entries in my RSS feed.
I had a mug of chocolate milk and our iPad for sustenance.
And it was a lovely evening of “me” time.
We’ve been us for almost two years now and it’s nice to be simply me, for once.
Not somebody’s wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, employee, sister.
I don’t need to think about how others feel, I can play whatever music I want to play.
And I can recharge away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Lounging at the balcony
Two of Us

Kitchen

It’s been a fabulous weekend and I’m feeling a little bummed that it’s going to be Monday in a matter of minutes.

We hit the Pixar: 20 Years of Animation exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre yesterday and I’m so glad we did. We are both huge fans of Pixar and being able to see the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into creating films like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Up was an amazing experience. It’s a little like the Ghibli Museum, although not half as charming.

Pixar was, ironically, followed by Shrek Forever After. Which was funny, fun and very clever. Go watch!

Anyway, I just wanted to put up pictures of our kitchen at east end because we’ve changed it up a little. It’s probably one of the smallest kitchens you will ever see, which is why I am constantly finding ways and means to store our things. Thanks to husband and a handy power drill borrowed from my father-in-law, we’ve added rails from Ikea and made the kitchen walls a little more useful.

Up goes the new spice jars
And that's how tiny the kitchen is!

There’s a nice little story to share about the spice jars. Every time husband and I hit the nearby Ikea, I’ve always picked up the jars, sold in sets of four, and think about buying them. I’m anal about organisation – thanks to reading blogs like Apartment Therapy – and wanted to have identical jars for that neat, Stepford Wives look. But I never did buy them because I wasn’t sure it was absolutely necessary.

One day, when I was over at Squirt’s place, she plonked me in front of a few paper bags and told me to pick out whatever I wanted from the bags. Apparently, a friend of hers was shifting to a new place and was getting rid of some stuff, which were either new or near new. And in those bags were three sets of the very same jars that I had always wanted to buy.

Score!

And that’s the end of the post.