Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nunu's Kitchen - Bouillabaisse

Food I make!

A reader recently asked me for this recipe, and as per usual, I procrastinated for as long as possible before finally sitting down to write this up.
I'm hoping all these food posts will make up for the severe lack of beauty posts on this here blog. I've been unable to do any FOTDs lately as I was recently anointed with a sprinkling of spots of a miraculous and divine nature. Why are they miraculous? because they developed mysteriously over night, like a crop circle, all on the right side of my face. I certainly did not put them there, so SOMEONE/SOMETHING must have! If I start seeing manifestations of the Virgin Mary, I'm calling Fox Mulder.
Anyhoo, a bouillabaisse (pronounced bu-yeh-bay) is a French Provençal fish stew, and is essentially made up of a combination of various types of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and vegetables in a tomato saffron broth. Some restaurants add curry and coconut milk to their bouillabaisse and it ends up tasting like a Tom Yum Goon instead T.T
Without further ado, here is the Nunu version.


You will need:

  • 1kg of various types of fish, crustaceans and molluscs - Aim for at least 3 different types of fish. Fish with firm hard flakes are perfect, such as cod, snapper, haddock etc. Oily fish like salmon are good too. You can get either fillets or steaks. With steaks, remove the flesh and reserve the bone. Boil the bones in a pot with some water to make fish broth. Crabs, prawns and lobster are the typical crustaceans used in bouillabaisse, however, if using, remember to add the crustaceans last as they tend to cook faster. Fresh or frozen mussels and clams are great, if using fresh ones with the shell on, blanch them first in a bit of boiling water to partially release the sea water, before adding to the stew. Or be cheap like me and just buy a bag of frozen seafood medley, that way you won't have to buy all the different crustaceans and molluscs.
  • 3 stalks of celery - diced.
  • 1 small onion - diced.
  • 5-6 baby potatoes - cut into halves.
  • 1 can crushed tomato.
  • 2 fresh roma tomatoes - diced.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds.
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron threads - soaked in a little bit of water
  • 1 handful of coriander - chopped.
  • Fish broth - make your own by boiling the fish bones in water.
  • Splash of white wine.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

La methode:

  • In a deep pan (as always I used my wok xD), sauté the celery, potatoes, onion, garlic and fennel seeds in some olive oil until they are slightly translucent and soft.
  • Transfer sauted vegetables to a large pot. 
  • Add crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, fish broth and bay leaves, bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to low, add the saffron threads and the water you soaked them in, allow to simmer for 10 mins.
  • Add the fish, crustacean and molluscs.
  • Add wine, allow to simmer 15-20mins.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Remember to join my giveaway!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

50th follower giveaway!

Edit: Apparently Blogger won't allow OpenID comments to go through. I don't know why, I was blessed with the technological know how of a flea, and I have no solution for this so I ask those of you who encounter this problem to enter by sending me an email to the usual address:
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Well knock me over with a feather and consider me gobsmacked, I do seem to have hit the 50 followers mark! in fact I have 3 extras! Whee! human sacrifice! who's in?! xD
Hellooo sheepies, thank you for your interest in the words of a whiny Somalian pirate living on America's hat. I started this blog in the hopes that a Hollywood bigwig would come along, sign me up for some movie or book deal and save me from the hut that I'm living in. Tis quite the bother living in this hut, every time the elephants walk past, they end up trampling on my internet line and then I have to run all the way to the village to plug it back in.
Currently, I am still living in my hut, but I have hope.
Regardless of the setback, I promised myself that in the event that I reach 50 followers, I would have a giveaway. So here it is.
The rules to this giveaway are slightly different to the norm, I'm not here to solicit more followers, I just want to express my gratitude towards those who have been there for this here blog from the beginning. It's only fair, they've had to look at my face for longer. As a result, I would like to open this giveaway only to EXISTING followers (as of today, March 29, 2010), however, I know some of the people who read my blog do not have a blogger account, so if you are a reader and have previously left a comment on this blog, then you may enter this giveaway.
To enter, simply leave a comment to this post with answers to the following questions:
  1. What do you remember most from my blog?;
  2. What do you enjoy most from my blog?; and
  3. What recommendations/improvements do you suggest for my blog?
And the prize? One great bundle of love. At the moment, I don't really have many details (hence no photo), but I can tell you that it will consist of many things that I love. I will also possibly tailor the gift according to who wins it.
It WILL have the following:
  • MBD masks cos you all know how they're the shizniz to me.
  • MAC eyeshadow in Hey! it's my favourite eyeshadow in the whole wide world.
  • Lush cleansers.
  • MAC lipstick in Hue/lipglass in Underage.
  • Dariya fringe velcro.
  • Snacks de jour that I have been stuffing my face with lately.
All new of course.
Please note, I need to actually be aware of your existence or have seen your name before this post went up.
Winner will be selected by from a list of qualifying entries.
Entries close Monday 5 April, 2010.
This contest is open to international readers. Be prepared to provide your personal details should you win.
Questions can be sent to alternatively you can tweet me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To Whistler and back - pic heavy

T'was the Pooker's birfdey so off we went to Whistler. In the wake of the Olympics and the Paralympics, the Village was almost eerily quiet.

All the structures that were put in place for the Olympics were being taken down

Having a Galileo moment

A quick lunch at La Brasserie: Club sandwich and Croque Monsieur

The Paralympic "Agitos"

All hail the Canadian Buddah!

This was the Olympic Alpine Skiing slope

About to do something stupid...see the "Before" expression...

...the "After" expression

No I will not look behind me!

Made it! The view was definitely worth it!

To add to our collection of Inukshuk photos...

As if getting to the top wasn't enough, we decided to take the Peak to Peak to go across the valley to another mountain top...

Tweeting my last words...


The Pooker said I was making faces like this throughout the entire ride...

The view...

It's a long way down...

Made it! I hug a familiar friend! Why familiar?...

...cos I've seen him before! at the Victoria Royal Museum last year! I think I shall make a point to take photos hugging stuffed bears from now...

Before going back to the hotel for a well needed nap, I stocked up on Lush bath bombs xD

Dinner time at La Rua in the Upper Village

Tuna trio appie

Seared scallop with Serrano ham

My Sablefish main, it kinda tasted like soba noodle soup xD

The Pooker's Bouillabaisse, it was gooood! we figured we almost had an entire crab in there.

There was also dessert, but all the photos I took had the Pooker's face in it so I'd refrain from posting those xD I was quite tipsy from all the wine we had during dinner, I proceeded to walk in zig zags from the restaurant to the car in an effort to show the bf how to run away from alligators...xD

We also went ice "skating". I'll just leave you with these embarrassing photos T.T there were 3yr olds twirling circles around me...

Into the sin bin for a slashing penalty! btw, look at how much space I have around me in the penalty box, then look at how hockey players barely fit in there T.T

We spent most of the next day browsing the Village and the surroundings, before we left I grabbed ice cream at Cows!

One last photo of the view outside our balcony.

On the way home we stopped at Squamish to take this photo next to...

...this guy! Ahahahaa this was always how I'd imagined Canadian people to look like xD.

More Inukshuk photos...we're gonna make it a point to take photos next to Inukshuks from now.

The gorgeous view all the way home.

I hope you enjoyed our Whistler trip! sadly our vacation has come to an end and it's back to work for the two of us from tomorrow! There are still a couple of posts that I'm working on, some reviews, some hauls, and a lot of thank yous!
Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nunu's Kitchen - Lemon Garlic Calamari pasta.

Food I make!

Blah, blah, blah. We had a bag of frozen calamari tubes in the fridge. Blah.

Lemon Garlic Calamari pasta.

You will need:

  • Fresh or frozen calamari tubes - cut into 1cm thick rings
  • 1 finger sized stick of butter - melted
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • Dash of white wine
  • 1 tbsp dry mixed Italian herbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6-7 smallish Crimini mushrooms - sliced
  • 2 - 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Approx 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Pasta of your choice - cooked and drained. I used brie and prosciutto ravioli, and it was a tad too much for a cream style sauce. Linguini or Angel hair would work well!

La Methode:
  • Mix together the melted butter, garlic, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Use less salt because the calamari is naturally salty.
  • Wash the calamari rings and drain well.
  • Allow the calamari rings to marinate in the butter mix for 20-30 minutes.
  • Heat up a grill pan, and grill the calamari rings until they're cooked, have light grill marks but still tender.
  • Remove cooked calamari to separate bowl and give them a good squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Deglaze the pan used to grill the calamari with the white wine, and reserve these juices for making the sauce later.
  • Saute the mushrooms in some butter, reserve the cooking juices.
  • Make a roux sauce (explained here ) using the flour, the Parmesan and the juices leftover from cooking the calamari and the mushrooms, as well as any leftover butter marinade.
  • Add the calamari and mushrooms to the roux sauce. If needed add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix the drained pasta to the roux sauce. 
  • Eat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nunu's Kitchen - Pho tai

Food I make

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see that I'm quite a big fan of Pho, or Vietnamese beef noodle soup. There's just something about the bowl of MSG laden soup, the thin rare sliced beef, the chewy rice noodles, and all those extra garnishes that makes Pho the perfect cold weather meal.
I made this against the Pooker's wishes, he said it was way too much trouble for something that can be bought anywhere for $7 a bowl. I like a challenge so I tapped into my Vietnamese side. By the way, make this only if you have an entire day to spare. Pho broth needs at least 3 hours to simmer.

Phở tái

You will need:

  • Vietnamese rice noodles a.k.a. bánh phở
  • 1 large yellow onion - halved
  • Ginger - an approx 3" by 2" piece - halved
  • 2lbs beef knuckle bone with marrow - you might need to ask your butcher for this as it's not the normal fare.
  • 2lbs beef chuck bone in - cubed
  • 5 whole cloves - lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 5 star anise - lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2lb sirloin steak - ask your butcher to use the slicer on number 10, you'll get approx 2-3mm thick slices.
  • Garnishes - Thai basil, chopped green onion, chopped coriander, bean spouts, chopped green chillies, and lime wedges.

La Methode:
  • Turn oven on to 450 degrees.
  • Place the beef bone and chuck into a pot with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and let boil for approx 5 minutes. Throw out this parboil water. Rinse the bone and meat under running water if needed, you want to remove any impurities which might cloud the broth.
  • Fill a large stock pot with 3.5l water, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, place the beef bone and chuck inside, once this returns to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer.
  • Put the ginger and onion onto a baking tray and char them in the oven until skin blackens slightly.
  • Remove the ginger and onion, rub away the blackened skin, slightly bruise the ginger with the back of a knife and drop them into the broth.
  • Add fish sauce, salt, and sugar.
  • When the broth has simmered for approx 1 1/2hrs, add the star anise and cloves.
  • Simmer for a total of 3 hours, if possible, leave to sit over night. It should look like this:
  • To serve, soak the noodles in cold water for approx 10 mins, bring a pot of water to high boil, switch off the heat and drop in the pre-soaked noodles, cover pot with lid.
  • Test the noodles after approx 3-4 mins, they should still be slightly chewy, drain noodles and distribute them into warm bowls, layer rare sliced beef on top of noodles, sprinkle with chopped green onion and coriander.
  • Ladle enough beef broth into the bowls to cover the noodles, add a few pieces of the beef chuck, they'll be really tender and tasty.
  • Serve with Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges and green chillies.

This recipe makes enough broth for approx 6-8 servings, if you don't need this much broth, you can always freeze it and reheat when needed. 
My good friend Dao, knowledgeable in all things Vietnamese and chemical related, has recommended that I add daikon to the beef broth, she said this would add sweetness to the broth and that it has natural MSG xD.