Recipe: Angel Hair with Mussels and Herbs

After a dinner party we have some left over mussels that were cooked in white wine and herbs (recipe to follow). This is a quick instant meal that took approximately 15 minute from start to finish provided that your mussels are cooked and have a broth ready (yes, save that broth from your mussels!!)

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Preparation and cooking time: 15 min
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Angel Hair pasta – enough for two (depending on how hungry you are)
Cooked mussels – 10-12, de-shelled and ready to use
Broth – approx 1 soup ladle
Garlic – 1 glove, chopped finely
Basil – 1 stalk, tear into piece

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to boil, slightly soften angel hair in boiling water with gas/cook top turned off. Leave pasta in the hot water for approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Heat up a flat pan, pour in cooking oil (I use olive oil) and toss in the garlic in low heat (don’t burn it).
  3. Drop in mussels and allow it to heat up with the garlic infused oil
  4. Add in pasta, and about a ladle of broth. Allow pasta to simmer in the broth for about 5 minutes and reduced.
  5. To serve, sprinkle fresh basil leaves plus some fresh lemon juice 🙂

Tip 1: You can add a bit of vaporised cream into the sauce towards the end for a richer sauce. I prefer a lighter lunch after a big meal so no cream today.

Tip 2: Add in onion too if you like. I already have this in my broth so I didn’t add in extra today. I also have red chili already in my broth so it gives my pasta a bit of heat.

Thick tomato soup with beef and elbow pasta

Quick meal tonight for two. All we want was something warm and filling for a wintery night. So we had diced up tomatoes into chicken broth and boil until the soup thickens. Prepare some elbow pasta separately and divide them up evenly into shallow bowls. If you want to save time, blend the tomato and broth together until smooth. Bring it back to boil and add in thinly sliced beef with the remaining heat in the pot.

Serve while hot!

Thick tomato soup with beef and elbow pasta

Thick tomato soup with beef and elbow pasta

Recipe Review: Japchae (잡채)

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Japchae

Japchae is one of my (and many other people’s from around the world) favourite Korean dishes. Essentially it is sweet potato starch noodles stir-fried with vegetables. On the various occasions I have had it, I either have that as a dish, or have it with rice too.

And if you would like to try cooking Korean food yourself, a particularly good website to start with is maangchi.com. It has an amazing array of recipes, and because it is in English it is perfect for those of us who can’t speak / read Korean. I’ve known about the site for a long time (literally everyone I knew raved about it) but haven’t tried any recipes from them, so after a lack-luster rendition of the Japchae recipe from another recipe website I normally love. I decided to try maangchi’s recipe for Japchae.

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I followed the recipe as it is, with the exception of adding the egg, and it came out absolutely perfect. No changes to the recipe required – perfect balance of salty and sweet taste.

It will feel like a fair bit of work with all the prep work, but once that is done, the cooking itself took minimal time. Well worth the effort. The noodles can be served warm or cold!

A few things to note:

  • Invest in a mandolin slicer. This recipe requires julienne carrots and because I didn’t have one I found that task fairly time consuming (and hated myself for not getting one on the few occasions that actually called for a mandolin slicer).
  • My local grocery store / supermarket sells stir-fry beef pre-cut into strips, and to be honest if I didn’t have to julienne carrots by hand I would buy a proper piece of beef and cut it into strips myself. That way the beef strips would be thinner and the marinate sauce would be better absorbed into the beef.
  • The ingredients are fairly simple and easily sourced. The only ‘specialty’ items are Shiitake mushrooms, sesame seeds (which is something I don’t usually have lying around in the pantry), and the dangmyeon. Maangchi did a post on dangmyeon here, and I have tried both brands from the last picture on their page. Both worked well for me.
  • Maangchi’s recipe had a certain order to stir-fry the ingredients, but other than starting with the spinach, noodles and ending with the beef, the order of the vegetables being cooked in the middle probably don’t matter.
  • The recipe called for mixing all the cooked ingredients by hand – but to be honest I found it too hot to handle, so I used a tong to do it.