The Chinese Marinade To Win Your Mother-In-Law’s Heart

That Perfect Chicken Roast

I feel silly giving this post this title but this was how my friend, Anne from Chic-pixel, sold me on this recipe.

I can’t remember exactly how and where we were discussing this but what I do remember was that I heard her talking about roasting chicken that weekend and when I was giving her praises on how amazing she was in making chicken roast, she told me how her recipe was not difficult at all. It was in fact easy-peasy and was good enough for her husband to enjoy (and request perpetually) and one that has even passed her mother-in-law’s tastes. Caveat: Anne’s family-in-law are Chinese Malaysians so when she told me about this I was all ears. Not that other roast chicken recipes don’t matter but I trust the flavor profile of Malaysians. This roast chicken recipe must be bloody good.  And it truly is. 

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Not exactly a ‘Clammy’ Afternoon

When I was a kid, I used to hate our local clam, halaan, WITH A PASSION. I can never understand its taste. It’s slightly tart, gingery, salty, sometimes grainy (especially if it wasn’t cleaned well) and gummy. My folks always prepared it the same way, boiling it in hot water with some ginger. UGH! It was such a dreadful fare that I often excused myself from the table and went back to bed. No bland clams please, kthx.

It wasn’t until, again, one of my aunts who worked in Italy came home and showed me how to enjoy these clams with pasta. Known to them as Pasta con Vongole, this sweet yet briny dish completely changed my opinion of halaan/vongole forever.

Last weekend’s trip to the market brought me back to my aunt’s pasta. A little inspired by the freshness of clams, I thought I’d give it a shot in cooking one of my favorite pasta dishes. This is a very simple and easy dish, stripping the flavors to its barest essentials.

What I love about Pasta con Vongole is it’s a dish that doesn’t overcook the seafood nor do the other flavors compete with the taste of the clams. In fact, if your seafood is fresh, this is one of the best dishes to taste the freshness of the clams. If you can get your clams fresh, then this is the perfect dish for it!

One of the simplest and tastiest pasta dishes I’ve come across

Pesto experiments!

My experiments with pesto started when an aunt from Italy came home and started to make her pesto. The first thing she asked my mom was to buy some fresh basil, which 15 years ago was completely unheard of in our islands apart from its dried counterpart. So she decided to create a different kind of pesto, pounding a large bunch of Italian parsley (kinchay) along with some garlic. There were no pine nuts easily available nor did we have Parmesan cheese back then. With piping hot pasta, she tossed her green mashed concoction and called it pesto. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

For years, I really didn’t give myself a shot in making a batch of pesto like my aunt did. But a really expensive bottle of pesto compelled me to find a cheaper and probably better alternative to the ones bought from the groceries.

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