Grilled Octopus Arugula Salad

Grilled octopus arugula salad-1082

Good octopus is hard to find. Hence why I choose to procure mine from Spain nowadays. I bought mine precooked and vacuum-packed, saving me a lot of hassle (and time). They come ready to slice into a cold seafood salad, to warm by slipping the package into a pan of boiling water or to sear briefly in a heavy pan or on the grill with a slather of sauce.

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The pressing question then becomes, what to make out of these tender tentacles? Seeing the weather is warming up, I opted for a simple grilled octopus arugula salad.

Grilled Octopus Arugula Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 330g octopus salad
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lime
  • Black pepper, kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of Pukara’s lime flavoured extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

  1. Take tentacles out of vacuum sealed pack and wash. Slice octopus diagonally into 2 cm bite-size pieces.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1008
  2. Slice and dice the tomatoes.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1021
  3. Heat a cast iron pan on high heat and add dash of olive oil.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1014
  4. Once hot, throw in the chopped tentacles. As the octopus sears, crack some black pepper and salt to the pan. Squeeze the juice from half a lime too for that extra kick. Sear for roughly 3 minutes in total till you get the lovely golden char marks.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1023Grilled octopus arugula salad-1041
  5. Meanwhile, toss together the arugula and diced tomatoes with two tablespoons of Pukara’s lime flavoured extra virgin olive oil. Crack some black pepper and salt. Grilled octopus arugula salad-1028Grilled octopus arugula salad-1029
  6. On a clean plate, layer the mixed arugula tomato salad. Add the perfectly seared octopus tentacles on top. Drizzle some more lime juice. Garnish with a wedge of lime to serve.Grilled octopus arugula salad-1061Grilled octopus arugula salad-1062

Simple Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad (2 of 4)

Did you know the Caprese salad was originally made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green? 

Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry. In fact, slicing the delicate mozzarella is the hardest part.

I love the simplicity and refreshing taste of this simple salad. Serve it as an appetiser, as a side, or as a mid-afternoon snack.

For this who want the added richness (and sweetness) of a balsamic glaze, feel free to to make a balsamic reduction to drizzle on top as a final garnish. Now, you’ll notice that on the moist/wet mozzarella, the balsamic reduction starts to seep and run (a watercolor effect )– but on the basil leaves and platter, it remains more of a semi-solid glaze. So if you’re artistic, you can create designs on the sides of your platter to really up the presentation factor.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A pack of maxi mozzarella (250g) or two packs of mozzarella (125g each)
  • A bunch of fresh basil
  • Two round tomatoes
  • Extra virgin oil, to drizzle
  • Balsamic reduction (optional), to drizzle
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Slice mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices. Repeat for the tomatoes. Separate basil leaves from their stems.Caprese Salad (4 of 4)
  2. Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Grind fresh salt and black pepper all over and drizzle with a high quality extra virgin olive oil. For those who like balsamic vinegar, feel free to garnish with a balsamic glaze. Caprese Salad (1 of 4)

Sunny Side Up Breakfast Brioche

Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (2 of 13)

“Keep your sunny side up” 🙂

Inspired by Teakha, my favourite quaint little teahouse located in the Poho/Sai Ying Pung area of Hong Kong, I decided to recreate this breakfast toast by using danish/brioche bread I bought downstairs from a Japanese style bakery. I love the juxtaposition of the cheerful colours – the vibrant, red, plump tomatoes contrasting with the creaminess of the green avocado – coupled with the bright, sunshine yellow of the oozing yolk from frying an egg sunny side up.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 1)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tomato
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup of pork floss, to garnish

METHOD:

1) Mash a ripe avocado up with the juice of a freshly squeezed lime. Add salt and pepper and adjust taste to your liking. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (12 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (10 of 13) 2) Dice tomatoes into small cubes. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (9 of 13) 3) Heat frypan on medium-high. Spray a layer of cooking oil. With the aid of an egg ring, crack egg into the ring to get a perfectly round shape. Once yolk seems to be setting, remove ring and transfer egg with a spatula to plate. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (7 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (5 of 13) 4) In the meantime, lightly toast slice of brioche in toaster. Remove and layer with the avocado, tomato and fried egg on top like an exposed healthy decker sandwich. Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (6 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (1 of 13)5) Sprinkle the pork floss on top as a garnish. Enjoy! Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (4 of 13) Bright and Cheerful Breakfast Brioche  (3 of 13)

Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Wholewheat Spaghetti with Blistered Tomatoes

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (5 of 21)

What to do with basil leaves? Well, I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind is “MAKE PESTO!”.

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo. The traditional way of making pesto involves grounding it in a mortar and pestle. However, the lazier and faster way to make large quantities of pesto is to opt for a food processor. The beauty of pesto is that it can be made according to your taste. There are also many variations of pesto but for purposes of simplicity, I have stuck with the basics.

I can’t remember where I first came across the concept of zucchini noodles – could be from Pinterest. Nonetheless, these noodles are deceptively easy to make. Just need a julienne and a large zucchini. To add more texture, I decided to mix the zucchini noodles together with some wholewheat spaghetti before tossing it all over with the freshly made pesto and garnishing it with blistered tomatoes straight from the broiler.

INGREDIENTS:

Pesto (makes 1 cup):

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (18 of 21)

Zucchini Noodles with Wholewheat Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (serves 4-5)

  • 8 ounce wholewheat spaghetti
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes

METHOD: 

1) Make Pesto. Blend all ingredients together and adjust according to own liking. (NB: Best to leave motor on whilst pouring olive oil in). Set aside.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (8 of 21)

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (3 of 21)

2) Boil pot of hot water with salt and cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain and cool in colander. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (20 of 21)

2) Preheat broiler in oven to 220 degrees celsius. Layer tomatoes on roasting tray, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and broil for ~15 minutes until blistered.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (17 of 21)

3) Make zucchini noodles with julienne.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (12 of 21) Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (13 of 21)

4) Heat a pan on low heat, add 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil and cook zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (7 of 21)

5) Using the same pan, stir in the zucchini noodles and pasta and pour in the freshly made pesto. Stir until well combined. Top it off by garnishing with the blistered tomatoes fresh from the oven.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (2 of 21)