Sunday, 23 January 2011

Visiting Organic Farm - The Beautiful Strawberry Garden 探訪有機農莊 - 美麗的士多啤梨園

December to April is Hong Kong strawberry season. Spare a weekend and head to the countryside, to enjoy the gift from the nature. Compare with supermarket shopping in your daily life, it is a totally difference body and mind experience.

A perfection of outer and inner beauty, strawberries are gorgeous. Pick them down, splash under running water and of course... into your mouth. Hmm... how is it possible to describe this pleasant feeling.

A baby pumpkin, still take a while to grow up.

The farm owner Mr. Law said that the tomatoes will be ripe in two weeks. I can't wait to see the big big red tomatoes!

Just few simple tools, already good enough for our farmers to cultivate the healthy fruits and vegetables.

Lastly, I wanted to buy some flowering chinese cabbages and lettuces, so the farmer cut and collected for me right away. The fresh vegetables were so crispy and full of natural taste. I simply cooked in boiling water with little bit of salt and oil, and it was already an extraordinary dish for supper.

Artikel auf Deutsch - Ein Biohof besuchen - Der schöne Erdbeergarten
中文文章: 探訪有機農莊 - 美麗的士多啤梨園

Reference: The Law's Organic Strawberry Garden

Monday, 10 January 2011

Spaghetti with Clams and Tomatoes - Spaghetti alle Vongole com Pomodorini

Rezept auf Deutsch - Spaghetti mit Venusmuschel und Tomaten
中文食譜 - 蜆肉番茄意大利粉

Spaghetti with Clams and Tomatoes
Spaghetti alle Vongole com Pomodorini
Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 1 small red chile
  • 3 cloves of garlic 
  • 1/2 onion
  • 500g cherry tomatoes
  • 1kg small clams
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • few stalks fresh parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning

  • In a soup pot, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente according to the packing instruction. Turn off the heat and drain the pasta in a sieve.
  • Deseed the red chile and cut into small pieces, peel and mince the garlic and onion, cut the cherry tomatoes into half and set aside.
  • Spread the clams evenly in a large pan. Cover the pan and cook the clams in high heat for 3~5 minutes. Put the opened clams into a bowl and save the juice. Discard any clams that do not open or sandy.  
  • Heat olive oil in a pan, sauté red chile, garlic and onion in medium heat for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and sauté 2 more minutes until slightly soften.
  • Add the white wine and spaghetti. If the spaghetti seems too dry, then add ¼~½ cup of clam juice. Finally, add the clams, chop and fold in the parsley. Season carefully with salt and pepper. Mix well the spaghetti and serve with a lemon wedge.

Sea Lion Woman - Feist

The clams dig by myself, super fresh and delicious.

Pui O beach in Hong Kong Lantau Island, the clear water and soft sand.

I reserved the big clams as my mother's birthday gift.

Ingredients checklist: Spaghetti, small red chile, garlic, onions, tomatoes, clams, white wine, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cut the chiles open, discard the stem and seeds, leave the meat and cut into small pieces.

Get ready all the ingredients! Cook the spaghetti, cut the garlic, onion and tomatoes.

When you hear the popping noise, it means the clams are opening. I like to transfer them into a bowl once it is opened, and throw away the sandy and close calms : (
The clam juice may contain sand and dirts, drain them away when reserving the juice.

Slightly fry the red chile, garlic and onion to sizzle.

And fry the tomatoes until slightly soften.

My wine guy just arrived. He brought me a vintage 2009 Graves from Chateau Villa Bel Air.
I love cooking with wine, because I am fascinated by the fruity sweet vaporized from the alcohol. 

Add the spaghetti, clams, clam juice, parsley and seasoning. Don't forget a touch of lemon juice can bring up the freshness taste of the clams. 

The Hong Kong local seafood, the original taste from south italy. A perfect combination of Spaghetti alle Vongole com Pomodorini...Buon Appetito!

Mini Note:

Italy is surrounded by sea and gifted from the nature. Since ancient time it abounded with wide range of seafood. Clam digging used to be a poor people activity, cause they could not afford buying food from the market,  and so they dug around in the sand to get their dinner ingredients. Time after time, seafood and clam become a staple of Italian cuisine history.

For example, the Christmas eve dinner "The Feast of the Seven Fishes  - festa dei sette pesci". In tradition holy days, meat and dairy products were forbidden in Roman Catholic, so people prepared their dishes from seafood and vegetables like octopus salad, spaghetti with clams, Crab stuffed mushrooms, dried salt cod, fried eel, shrimps and scallops. After the big seafood feast, the whole family visited the midnight mass at church.

Today, if you order Spaghetti with Clams in a restaurant in italy. The waiter may ask you "without - in bianco" or "with tomatoescom Pomodorini". For sure, both preparations are very tasty.

Mini Tips:
  • For me, I dig my clams from the beach, so I only need to bring a bucket with seawater to bring my clams home. For most of the people who buy clams from the market, just soak the clams in water with added sea salt, and the clams will spit the sands after few hours. Fresh seafood must be eaten within 24 hours.
  • The clams I get from the beach called "sand white - 沙白". In italy, the major species are Vongole, Cozza and Tellina. You can use any type of clams as you like, the most important ingredient is "fresh".
Reference recipe: Italian Food Forever by Deborah Mele