Weekend Herb Blogging
Last week I got a chance to catch up with my uni friends after a few years. It was sort of funny to see how everyone has progressed and settled down. We talked of the old days. Of the memories that we all treasured.. when we were able to meet almost everyday, discussing ideas and ambition, inspiring each others.
It was inspiring, since I am sort of at the cross-roads again. What to do, how to pursuit the things that I love to do. Or should I settle down, aiming for something less but more peaceful. Decisions need to be made and it´s never easy…
I´ve found much peace in gardening of late. I want to stay outside a bit more, treasuring the last few warm days before winter completely takes over. We haven´t truly settled in terms of housing yet (patience!), so I opt to grow a lot of things in container. Herbs, mostly. And flowers, too.
Truth to be told I am still uncertain of my next step. That, and the fact that my work and study have become overwhelming lately means that blog updates are slow. But I am still around.
Onto food. I am loving artichokes at the moment. I never get over creative with them, though. This artichoke paella recipe is something I make regularly. And now, the pasta with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) is something I am looking forward to. Here, fresh artichokes are cooked in a microwave, so everything is really simple, fast and delicious. I love artichokes flavours – the subtle sweetness, and lovely texture. (Side note: I am not a big fan of the Vietnamese way of cooking artichokes, often in stew with lots of fatty cuts of meat. Uh!)
This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted by yours truly. I will accept entries until Monday morning (Melbourne time). New to WHB? Make sure to read this post by Haalo.
Ingredients (for 2 portions)
5 small artichokes
100ml olive oil (for the artichoke)
squeeze of half lemon (for the artichoke)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bird eye chilli, deseeded and minced
150ml extra virgin olive oil – for the spaghetti
100g panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2-3 tbp fresh lemon juice
parsley, chopped. And parmesan cheese, freshly grated.
1. Prepare the artichoke first. Cut the stalks off 5cm from the base. Carefully peel of the green tough layer and what is yellow is tender. Cut the tips off these and peel the base. Scrape out any furry choke with a teaspoon and cut each prepared artichokes lengthways (google for video!). Keep the artichoke in some water with lemon juice to prevent discoloring.
2. Arrange artichokes in microwave safe bowl. Drizzle 100ml olive oil and 200ml water. Cover with cling wrap and cook in the microwave until just tender. (This depends on the power of your microwave. It took me about 5-7 mins – and my microwave was one of those “ancient” ones). Once the artichokes are cooked, cool and cut into wedges.
3. In a non stick pan, add breadcrumbs and stir until golden. Set aside.
4. Cook the spaghetti in a big pot of salted water. Put oil into a large saucepan, then, add in minced garlic and chilli. Stir until fragrant. Then, add in cooked spaghetti, artichoke. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice. If the spaghetti looks dry, put in a bit of the cooking water. Finally, stir through breadcrumb just before serving
5. Garnish with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese.