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In The Mood of Tomatoes

I am.
In the mood of tomatoes.
I think I’ve been eating like 2 kilos of tomatoes this week, all kind of tomatoes. And I still can eat more :)
What do I do with tomatoes?
I did spaghetti alla trapanese. That I think I will be making often.
I’ve been living on tomato salad. Just a simple one. A mix of chopped tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and extra virgin olive oil. I add capers too sometimes. When we lived in Italy, I love to eat this in the summer with some fresh mozzarella.

SimpleTomatoSalad

I also really like pasta with simple tomato sauce, but M was in the mood of pasta all’amatricana. This pasta recipe originally came from the town of Amatrice in Lazio region of Italy. Originally this pasta was made with guanciale (cured pork cheeks) and pecorino romano cheese. But then it found a second home in Rome, where the tomato was added, and it has been more well known than the original version. It has became a classic in Roman cuisine. It is traditionally prepared with spaghetti or bucatini, but we were in the mood for short pasta, so we used fusili. And we didn’t have guanciale, so we used pancetta, and we didn’t have pecorino so we used parmesan instead. Not sure if this is still pasta all’amatricana then. :)

PastaAllAmatricana

Some Kind of Pasta All’Amatricana
Serves 2

200g fusili (or spaghetti or bucatini)
100g pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into 1cm cubes
1 400g tinned tomatoes (preferably Italian brand)
A small pinch of crushed chilli flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (if you can find pecorino, it will be tastier!)

Cook the pasta according to the packet’s instruction
Heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan, then add the bacon, fry until brown, then add the tomatoes. Let simmer around 10-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced, then season with chilli flakse, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Divide into plates and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Add some thoughts / May 24th, 2014

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Spaghetti Alla Trapanese

It has been a long time I haven’t visited this space. Been busy with my furniture design and also to be honest, I am a bit bored with cooking. I think part of it because I don’t really have time to explore new ingredients and find new varieties, so my cooking routines has been…boring. But that was until last Sunday. There was the first CSA farmers market in Ubud and we went. The vegetables. Wow! I mean, multicoloured cherry tomatoes, pink corns, different varieties of aubergines, aromatic Italian basil, fresh peppercorns and even wild local strawbery! Wild. Local. Stawberry! How awesome!
Well, they made me wanted to cook again and to blog again. I guess that’s a good thing :)

WildStrawberry
Wild local strawberries. Taste like a mix of raspberry and strawberry.


Fresh local peppercorns.


Left to right: Rosita, dark long red, rosita and apple aubergines.


Cherry, broad ripple and yellow pear tomatoes.

I went home with the biggest smile on my face and started cooking. When I saw those tomatoes, I remembered there was this one recipe from Jamie’s Italy book by Jamie Oliver that I’ve always wanted to try ever since I got the book like in 2006. Yeah, it took me 8 years to finally try the recipe. It’s spaghetti alla trapanese. I did a little research, and found out that traditionally this dish is made with this specific pasta called busiati. It looks like a elongated fusili or telephone cable. Not sure my description is clear but you can always google it :)
After we ate this, it instantly went to the list of our favourite pasta. It’s light and fresh and perfect for hot days like in this period. Plus it’s made with Almond, which is easier to get in Indonesia. You can get pine nuts to make the regular pesto here, but most places don’t mentioned where they get it from. Worst if they come from China because you can get that pine nut syndrome: that odd, bitter flavor lingering in your mouth, David Lebovits wrote about it on his blog. So, no you don’t want that. And I don’t want that. That’s why I always and only get my pine nuts from a trusted supplier in Italy. Back to Almond, so far that I know most almond comes from California, so I guess it is ok, although I always prefer (when I can) to get organic almond from Sicily, that was perfect for this recipe.

Almonds
Left: Organic Sicilian almonds. Right: Almonds from organic shop in Bali. The difference is very visible. The Sicilian almonds look ‘real’ to me, I mean, a bit ugly, not perfect and different to each other. The kind of food I trust. The other ones that I get from organic shop in Bali, look all the same. They also look similar to those I find in normal supermarket, so I don’t really like to use them but sometimes I have no choice.

Back to the pasta. Here is the recipe.

SpaghettiConPestoAllaTrapanese

Spaghetti Alla Trapanese
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy
Serves 4 (it’s only two of us, so I use half of the recipe)

455g dried spaghetti
150g almonds, skins on or off (I only use 100g, it was fine, with the almond skin on)
1 clove of garlic
4 large handful of fresh basil, leaves picked (Italian basil, not daun kemangi :)
150g freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (I prefer pecorino in this recipe, it compliments the freshness of the sauce, gives it more character, use parmesan for subtler flavour)
600g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
Extra virgin olive oil (I use Tuscan olive oil, although I imagine the oil from Trapani must be perfect for this)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instruction. Meanwhile, warm the almonds a little in a dry pan, then smash them up in a pestle and mortar or whiz them in a food processor (I use food processor) until you have a coarse powder consistency. Put them in a bowl. Bash the garlic and basil separately in the mortar (again, food processor for me here) and mix with the almonds, adding the cheese, a good glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and really scrunch them with your hand into almond mixture until they have completely broken up (If you don’t feel like it, just do it with a wooden spoon is fine too, plus I also like my tomatoes to be a bit chunky). Loosen with a little extra virgin olive oil and toss with your hot drained pasta. Check the seasoning, divide on to 4 plates and spoon any sauce that remains in the pan over the top (then I like to sprinkle some extra cheese on top :).
Buon apetito!

Add some thoughts / May 21st, 2014

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Steve

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much.
You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.
What are we, anyway? Most of what we think we are is just a collection of likes and dislikes, habits, patterns.
At the core of what we are is our values, and what decisions and actions we make reflect those values.
That is why it’s hard doing interviews and being visible: As you are growing and changing, the more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you that it thinks you are, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to go, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.”
And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.

Playboy’s interview with Steve Jobs. 1985

Add some thoughts / January 21st, 2014

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Some Updates

I have been away for a while, not sure anyone read my blog anymore, but I thought I would just post some updates.
First of all. I miss eggs.
I totally miss eggs.
I miss cooking and baking with eggs.
Since M is allergic to eggs, I kind of eliminated eggs from our kitchen and let me tell you, I really really miss it!!!
That’s about it.
And I miss cooking too.
And taking photographs.
But, I only have 2 hands and 24 hours.
The reason for this busy busy thing is my furniture.

photo(130)

Since my furniture brand took off last June, things have been pretty good but it meant that I’ve never spent more than a week at home and it is pretty tiring. Sometimes I take 10 flights in a week.
Because the production is not here but in Java.

photo(74)

photo(76)

Good thing is, I have finished my production batch for this year. Yeah!
And most of the products have gone. Double yeah!!!
I am very happy people appreciate my design.
If you haven’t seen them you can see it here.
Now what I really want to do is relax and sip a cup of nice tea and have a nice cake.
Buon weekend!

Add some thoughts / November 22nd, 2013

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One Of The Three Monkeys Has Gone

I have a big family. My mother has 8 siblings and from them I have 20 cousins. At least once a year we always gather together to celebrate my grandma’s birthday, everybody is closed to grandma. She’s a figure who’s always present. Me, my mother and my grandmother used to joke that we’re the three monkeys because we were born in the year of monkey.
Unfortunately, one of the monkey has gone. Grandma passed away, leaving an empty space in every heart she touched.
Since she was diagnosed with cancer, she started losing her appetite, I managed to bring her one of her favourite food I make: Banana cake, I made it in the morning and flew in the evening to visit her two months ago. Another favourite is pastel tutup (I think this is some kind of Indonesian version chicken pot pie with Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese influences) that I didn’t manage to make for her. Yesterday my sister and one of my cousins asked me to teach them how to make it. I’ve never really shared this recipe because I am too lazy to write it down, plus I don’t really eat it because I guess I have been making too many of them over the years. But now since I miss grandma and I am sure all of my family does, I want to share this.

PastelTutup-2

Pastel Tutup

300g potatoes, boiled, then mash and mix with
12g butter and
50ml milk
Season with sea salt and pepper
Mix well, set aside
Prepare:
5 shallots, thinly sliced
3 stalks of Chinese celery
2 medium carrots, peel and cut into 5mm cubes
1 chicken breast with bone, boiled with 1 liter of water until tender, cut into cubes
4 chicken sausages, cut to 5mm thick disks/cubes
1 handful of green pea (fresh or frozen)
Some wood ear fungus, wash and thinly sliced
A handful of cellophane noodles, immerse in water to soften
66ml milk
Sea salt
Pepper
12g butter
Nutmeg
Sugar
4 organic eggs, boiled

Melt the butter over low heat, then add the shallots, carrots and celery. Saute until soft but not brown, around 15-20 minutes. Add 65ml chicken stock and leave until the carrots are tender.
Add the chicken, sausages, green pea and wood ear fungus. Turn up the heat then add another 135ml of chicken stock.
When it boils, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the milk, stir well, then season with sea salt, pepper and nutmeg and a pinch of sugar.
Turn off the heat, add the soften cellophane noodles.
Turn on the upper part of the oven.
Prepare one 20x20cm pan or two 10x20cm pan
Add the mixture to the pan. Thinly sliced the eggs and place on the top of the mixture.
Add the mashed potatoes.
Put in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Add some thoughts / October 15th, 2013

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