Thursday, 24 January 2013

Satay Pasta

Satay Bee Hoon is one of the lesser known features of the cuisine where I come from. A dish of rice vermicelli topped with peanut sauce, kangkong and seafood of various kinds, you would strangely find this served not at the same stalls selling satay, but stalls dedicated to selling only the one thing. Sad to say, the one stall that I frequented for is no longer there, its proprietor refusing to give out his recipe for fear of cultural dilution.

Strangely enough, at one point in time, the army's combat rations featured satay pasta, a vague analogue to the Satay Bee Hoon that my fellow citizens know and love. Amongst them, the males would have encountered the pasta through National Service; reactions vary wildly, from revulsion to fondness. It is through recollecting some of my moments wearing green, as well as a need to use up the ingredients in my kitchen in creative ways, that led me to doing this tonight.

Blend the Basics Peanut Butter and Cream Cheese together, while waiting for the pasta to be ready.

Shred the Basics Seafood Sticks and merge with the mixture. When the pasta is ready, tip some of the pasta water in to smooth it out, before

This was as awful as it looks. Do not cook for others. Do not cook even for yourself, unless absolutely necessary.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Cheese-crusted Crabstick

When I was back home for the holidays, I attended a friend's wedding. One of the items on the banquet menu was crab claws coated in a parmesan-crust. The contrast in flavours between the savoury parmesan and the sweet crab meat was also interesting, and certainly something I have not come across before. Fellow guests at the wedding were largely in praise of the parmesan-crusted crab claw, and it went down as one of the more memorable things during the wedding.

On the way back to the UK, thoughts of that particular dish kept returning, and on further contemplation I realised that we could possibly replicate it using Sainsbury's Basics ingredients, namely the seafood sticks and grated hard cheese. With this in mind, I decided to put in some extra effort for lunch to experiment and toy with the idea.

Prepare the cheese crust by mixing breadcrumbs with Sainsbury's Basics Grated Hard Cheese. Dip each Basics seafood stick in oil, before dipping into the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring even coating.

Bake or deep-fry the crabsticks and serve.

Lack of technique notwithstanding, this was pretty good. There was a nice contrast in texture, between the crispy cheese crust and the chewiness of the crabstick. The flavours were also similar to what I remembered from the wedding banquet. An extension to the idea would be cheese-flavoured crabstick tempura, which, together with the cheese-crusted crabstick, might serve as an interesting yet cheap form of finger food for parties.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Crabstick Baguette

While on holiday back home, a friend related his college experiences to me. Outside his university, there was a sandwich shop which was very popular amongst students. One of the sandwiches that they offered was the crabstick baguette, which, as the friend related, was the epitome of cheap food, being a combination of cheap protein (ie, the crabstick), cheap mayonnaise and bread made from cheap flour. For the price the quantity was substantial, but one quickly got sick of the sandwich halfway through.

Intrigued by the idea of having crabsticks in a sandwich, I decided to try to do a take on the crabstick baguette offered by that sandwich shop. The British happened to like fish fingers in a sandwich, so why not crabsticks? I replaced the mayonnaise in the sandwich with cream cheese as the Sainsbury's Basics offering is known to be awful, and comes in a big tub that I would have trouble finishing. Other items I used include the Basics Young Leaf Salad, Basics Seafood Sticks and Basics Part-Baked Baguette.

All in all, the resulting sandwich was tolerable, although the sweetness of the crabstick combined with the savouriness of the cream cheese got some getting used to. This would be another useful idea to have, as thus far, I have only seen crabsticks being used in instant noodles and pasta.
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