Monday, 4 July 2011

Summery lemon pasta with chicken

Back to reality after returning from holiday.... Not exactly ecstatic over going back to work, but at least it's summer now and I've also moved so the commute to work is much better. Coming back from holiday also means starting to cook again, and that's lovely. I do miss cooking when I'm traveling. Partly because it drives me crazy walking through the fantastic food markets in China or elsewhere and see all the lovely produce and not have anywhere to cook it.

As it is summer now, at least it is possible to find good fresh vegetables and fruits also here in the UK. One of my new flatmates told me about a street market close to where I now live that apparently got good veg and fish, so I really need to check that out soon.

I don't like food to be to heavy during the summer, and this green and lemony pasta feels very fresh and light. It is inspired from a recipe for Sicilian lemon pasta. Sorry for the poor picture, I left my camera at a friend's house so had to use my phone.

Summery lemon pasta with chicken (4-6 portions)
500 g pasta, I used penne
4 chicken fillets, sliced
1 tbsp Colman's mustard powder
0.5 dl light soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp honey
2 zucchini, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced
1 bag of rocket, roughly chopped
1 bunch of basil, chopped
150 g mange tout or sugarsnaps, roughly chopped
juice from 4-5 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
1 red chili, finely sliced
0.5 dl virgin olive oil
150 g parmesan cheese, grated
black pepper

Start by marinating the sliced chicken in a marinade of mustard, soy sauce, 1 pressed garlic clove, and juice from 1 lemon for 30 min

Beat lemon juice from 3-4 lemons (number depending on size and juiciness), with the zest of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the grated parmesan and 1 pressed garlic clove. The sauce will become thick and creamy. Add more lemon juice or a little water if very thick. Add pepper and salt to taste. If the lemons are very sour, add some honey or sugar to balance it.

Start cooking the pasta. If you like me use pasta like penne that takes 10-15 min to cook, you got time to cook the vegetables and chicken while the pasta cooks. Otherwise prepare the rest before boiling the pasta as it should be piping hot at the time of serving.

While the pasta cooks, first fry the zucchini until it starts getting golden, then add spring onions, 1 pressed garlic clove, the red chili and mange tout and cook for a couple of minutes.

Fry the chicken until golden. The honey in the marinade will give it a caramelized finish.

Once the pasta is al dente, pour of the water and return the pasta to the pan. Stir in the sauce, the parmesan will melt as it is mixed in to the pasta. Then stir in basil, rocket, the vegetables and chicken. Grind over some black pepper.

Serve immediately. If you like, sprinkle over some additional lemon zest and fresh finely chopped red chili.

Amazing food in China

Back from an amazing holiday in China! I was planning to continue blogging when I was there but turned out that the blog was blocked and I couldn't access it. Saga - China 1-0.

China was absolutely fantastic, the nature, the people, the culture, and of course the food. I ate so well and so much. Lots of fantastic street food, bbq meats and fish, steamed buns, stuffed pancakes and bread, noodle soups, stir fries.... The variety of food is great, and there is such a difference between the different regions. From the seafood and dim sum in Hong Kong, to spicy hot pots in Sichuan, yak stew in north Yunnan and coconut-flavoured soups in south Yunnan. AMAZING!!! I love lots of the vegetable dishes, stir fried cabbage or salad or green beans with a bit of chili and garlic, so simple, so tasty. Regrettably I didn't manage to take many pictures of the food I had, I blame my greedy and hungry personality, I would devour the food way to quickly to have a chance to take a picture of anything else than an empty plate... Below is a few of the meals I managed to capture with my camera.

Tasty yak stew with potatoes, reminded me of the stews my grandmothers make. With it came a side dish of pickled vegetables, and I had a large glass of ginger tea.

Dan dan noodles in Chengdu, and a side dish of braised salad with chili. Tasty and spicy, like all food I tried in Sichuan.

Streetfood in Chengdu, meat or fish is added to each stick and deep fried and eaten with spicy dips

Street restaurant in Chengdu serving spicy noodles

The best fruit in the world, mangosteen! Gorgeous!