Sunday, 11 April 2010

Zuppe di pesce - a feeble attempt

Recently, Friday is the only day of the week when my family, including sis and her family, gather after work for dinner together. So sometimes I will do the cooking on Fridays.

Saw 2 dishes in The Dirty Stall blog prepared by a fellow twitter friend, @alkanphel, and they inspired me enough to have a go. They are Zuppe di pesce (Italian for fish soup) as well as Pan-roasted Potatoes with anchovies. If you need the detailed steps, please go to The Dirty Stall blog. Besides these 2 dishes, I will be showing other dishes I prepared as well, although I must emphasize, I am not a good cook and I am not a food blogger. I am just a foodie interested in FOOD.

Here were the ingredients for the Zuppe di pesce: fish, chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes (I used a can of whole tomatoes), parsley and white wine.

First was to saute the chopped onions followed by the garlic, and then parsley. Next the white wine was poured into the pan and left to simmer for a while. Then the tomatoes were added and left to simmer for 15 minutes. Finally the fish was in and left to cook.

Dish 1 - Zuppe di pesce. It was a feeble attempt as I suspected I did not simmer the ingredients in the white wine long enough and I might not have added enough tomatoes. For a "fish soup", well it was pretty dry!! ;D Nonetheless, it tasted quite unique, with the flavours of the tomatoes and wine, very different from our usual Chinese style of cooking.

Next, the ingredients for the Pan-roasted Potatoes with Anchovies were pretty straight forward as you can see; potatoes, anchovies and parsley. I actually used dried anchovies instead. The anchovies were sauteed in olive oil, followed by adding in the slices of potatoes and some black pepper. They were left to roast for 8 minutes with the pan covered, and then another 15 minutes thereafter, turning as and when necessary. Finally, chopped garlic, parsley and a little salt were sprinkled on the potatoes.

Dish 2 - Pan-roasted Potatoes with Anchovies, the Genoa style. My potatoes did not look as nice as @alkanphel's but they were delicious nonetheless, soft on the inside and a little crisp on the outside. I think I will do better the next time, since it was my first attempt cooking these 2 dishes. Thanks to @alkahphel for his recipes and please refer to his blog for more yummy treats!

The next dish is one of my family's favourites - Sambal Prawns with Petai. Most of the time, my mom cooks this dish. But that Friday, I decided to cook it myself. Ingredients used were prawns, petai, chopped onions, dried prawns (hae bee) and sambal chilli and belachan. One thing about Petai (or Stink Bean), is we have to cut the bean into half and dislodge the tiny seed inside which my mom claims to be "bitter" if not removed. This is the only tedious part of this dish preparation.

Cooking this dish was a breeze. First we saute the onions in oil followed by the hae bee, the sambal chilli and belachan. Then the prawns were added till they were almost cooked, and finally petai was thrown in for a quick stir. Do ensure you do not over cook the prawns and petai.

Dish 3 - Sambal Prawns with Petai. Whenever I see this dish, I would be drooling, because I simply love the crunchy taste of petai with the spicy sweet taste of sambal prawns. Petai has plenty of health benefits, it seems, although whatever that is purged out afterwards, is quite... pungent. :D

Next up was a dish of mixed veggies. There will always be at least a vegetable dish in our meals at home. This time, I used lettuce, little slices of carrots, enoki mushroom, and dried prawns (hae bee). First was to saute the chopped garlic, followed by the hae bee, then carrots, lettuce, and enoki mushroom. A little oyster sauce was used and a little salt. Simple as that.

Dish 4 - Stir Fry Lettuce with Enoki Mushroom. The dried prawns (hae bee) gave this veg dish a sweeter, more flavourful taste. The combined crunchiness of the lettuce, carrots and enoki mushroom was so delightful. I love my veggies!

Dish 5 - Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup. Our meal would not be complete without a proper boiled soup. The ingredients of this soup were pork ribs, lotus root, red dates, wolfberries, dried longans. The whole pot of soup was left to boil in slow fire for about 3 hours.

To recap, together with the soup, here were all the 4 dishes I cooked that Friday, 四菜一汤! I wish I have more time to practice cooking different dishes in different styles, especially those with interesting recipes. Home-cooked meals are so heartwarming and wholesome, especially when they are eaten with your loved ones. Really awesome. In the meantime, enjoy your meals!


  1. Hehe ok I can see some differences in the ingredients used. For the zuppe di pesce, I can suggest to double the amount of tomatoes and maybe let it simmer more to let the wine evaporate and make the sauce thicken. This one have to judge by your eye haha.

    As for the potatoes, everything was perfect except wrong anchovies hahaha! You can't use ikan bilis cos they're all dried up already. The idea is to dissolve the the soft anchovies in the oil so that when you just flipping the potatoes, they will coat them.

    So actually you won't have to add salt cos the anchovies are quite salty. But I will admit it's hard to find these kind of anchovies. Later on I'll twitpic for you to see.

    Btw your stir-fry lettuce with enoki mushrooms looks good!

  2. Madness! where do u find the time to cook! O_O

    *Green with Envy...

  3. Hi Amanda!
    There is always time to cook! The thing is if I'm not in the mood to cook, it will be a long stretch of time before i step into the kitchen. LOL!

  4. Hi alkanphel,
    Thanks for your recipes! Since it's my first time cooking these, i think I'll do better next time! :) Try the lettuce dish, it was delicious!


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