Bonus Healthy Recipe: Simple Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti (5 Servings)

It has been a while since my last post.

It is very hard to find time to blog when you have two jobs and school to juggle.

Having said that, I still want to win the 2014 World Food Championship and winning this Pasta Challenge is my last opportunity.

I have decided to make bolognese sauce because a very simple dish could be the most difficult to make. Here is the recipe:

2 pounds ground beef

half red onion

1 carrot, skinned

2 stalks celery

1 can crushed tomato (about 800 mL)

1 bag dried spaghetti

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 cups water

6 bay leaves

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon brown sugar

salt and pepper for taste

Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


1) Cut celery, onion and carrot into small cubes (brunoise). Set aside.


2) Heat pan over medium-high heat.  Add oil and wait until pan is hot.  Saute celery, onion and carrot in hot pan until onion are caramelized and you can smell aroma (about five minutes).


3) Add ground beef to the pan and cook ground beef until half cooked.


4) Add crushed tomato to the pan.  Add bay leaves and oregano and lower heat to medium heat and let the mixture simmer for at least five minutes until mixture slightly thickens.  Add brown sugar, salt and pepper for taste.


5) Boil water in a separate pot.  Add salt when water boils and cook spaghetti until al dente (about five to seven minutes).


6) Drain water and incorporated cooked spaghetti into bolognese sauce.   Give it a quick mix. Serve with Parmesan cheese when ready.


This sauce is very delicioso.  Even my parents who are not a big fan of Italian food loved this sauce.

I added brown sugar to the sauce to enhance the sweetness of the crushed tomatoes.   Feel free to add white wine or red wine vinegar if you feel your sauce is too sweet.

I have a good feeling about this dish, so WISH ME LUCK!

Bonus Healthy Recipe: Rainbow Trout with Hollandaise and Ratatouille (2 Servings)

I submitted another seafood recipe to compete for a chance to attend 2014 World Food Championship!  I just love to cook, ain’t I?

This dish is inspired by a sea bass dish made by Marco Pierre White.  I think he is one of the charismatic chefs in the world because every dish he has done are pieces of art.

I used rainbow trout in this dish not only because I like how the fish tastes, but also rainbow trout is a nutritious source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and calcium.

I also made the hollandaise sauce myself, therefore I know this is a very healthy seafood dish.  Here is the recipe:

3/4 pound rainbow trout fillet, cut into four portions

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 green zucchini, cut into cubes

1/4 red bell pepper, cut into cubes

1/4 orange bell pepper, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup warm water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 pinches salt

3 pinches black pepper


1) Heat pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter in pan. Set aside.


2) Preheat oven to 350F. Season trout with 2 pinches of salt and black pepper each. Heat pan over high heat with one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Pan-fried trout skin-side down to cook skin until crispy. It could take at least five minutes for the skins to become crispy. When skins are crispy, place trout skin-side up on a baking pan that is covered with parchment paper. Bake trout in the oven for about 5 minutes or until trout is cooked.



3) Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a bowl until the mixture is thickened. Place the bowl over a pot containing barely simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Continue to whisk rapidly and slowly add melted butter until the sauce is thickened. Add warm water to avoid hollandaise sauce from getting too thick. Set aside in a warm spot.


4) Heat pan over medium-high heat with rest of vegetable oil. Cook vegetable until slightly soft. Season with rest of salt and pepper. Set aside.



5) Place two pieces of trout in the centre of plate. Pour hollandaise sauce around the trouts. Place vegetable on hollandaise sauce. Serve when ready.



At first I thought the lemon in the hollandaise would overpower the flavour from the trout, but it didn’t.  I am also glad that my parents love this.  That means this dish is an SUCCESS!

I also hope I can win the 2014 World Food Championship seafood challenge, so FINGERS CROSSED!

Bonus Healthy Recipe: Stir-Fry Fresh Water Mussels with Black Bean Sauce (3 Servings)

Today, I submitted another recipe to compete for a chance to attend 2014 World Food Championship!  This is a seafood challenge because not only I love mussels, but also mussels have many health benefits such as high in protein, low in fat and contain vitamin B12.

I am also using fermented Chinese black bean to make the sauce because I want to stick with my roots.  Also, fermented Chinese black bean would give depth to the dish, yet do not overpower the freshness of the mussels.  Anyone can get fermented Chinese black beans at any Asian supermarket.

This dish is so delicious and I cannot wait to share to everyone! Here is the recipe:

2 pounds live mussels, scrubbed and washed

5 tablespoons fermented Chinese black beans

7 teaspoons ginger, julienne

3 teaspoons garlic, minced

6 teaspoons shallots, chopped

1 cup Chinese Xiaoxing wine

5 teaspoons red vinegar

2 tablespoons white wine

1 teaspoon soy sauce

3 pinches green onion, chopped

2 litres water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1) Mix black beans, garlic, ginger and shallot in a bowl. Set aside.


2) Boil water in a big pot over high heat. When water boils, cook mussels until half cooked. Set mussels aside.


3) Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the black bean mixture in the pan and cook for about two minutes or until aroma appears. Add xiaoxing wine and cook off the alcohol. Add red wine vinegar, white wine and soy sauce and cook for about two minutes.


4) When black bean sauce is ready, add mussels to pan and cook mussels until fully cooked. Serve dish in a big bowl with green onions as garnish. Serve when ready.



This is a perfect appetizer because it can be shared by everyone! I could taste the fermented Chinese black beans as well as the mussels.  However, I wish the mussels would be bigger so the mussels would absorb more sauce.  Thus, the mussels would taste much better.

This dish is so yummy that I recommend everyone to try this out!


Product Review: Nairn’s Scottish Organic Oat Crackers Cheese (Recipe Included)


This cheese cracker is the last oat cracker sample I received from Nairn’s back on late July/early August.

However, this cheese cracker was disappointing because I thought it is going to be VERY cheesy.  In fact, I tasted only a bit of cheese at the end of my tongue after chewing the cracker for a few seconds.  It was like eating Ritz cheese cracker, but somehow the manufacturer decides to decrease the amount of cheese in the recipe 1000 times.

I suppose Scottish people are not fans of cheesy crackers or biscuits like North Americans do.

Anyways, I have created a spicy salmon tartare recipe that would greatly complement this cheese oat cracker.   Instead of using cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper or any other American or Mexican spices, I used WASABI!!!  OH YEAH!

Here is the recipe:

2 sashimi-grade salmon tails (you can get them at your local supermarket or fish speciality shops)

2 eggs

6 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoons wasabi paste (you can get it at your local Asian supermarket)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds



1) Boil water in a pot over high heat.  When water boiled, immerse eggs in water with shell unbroken.  Cover pot with lid, turn off heat, and let eggs cook for ten minutes.


2) Using a spoon, scrape all the salmon meat from the tail.  Do not get any of the skins and scales in the salmon meat.  Put all the scrape meat in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.


3) When eggs are cooked, run eggs in cold water to remove the shells.  Cut eggs in cubes and chill in the refrigerator.


4) Mix mayonnaise, wasabi paste, soy sauce, sesame oil and parsley together.  Chill in refrigerator.


5) Toast black sesame seeds on a pan over high heat.  Turn off heat when black sesame seeds start to “pop”. Set aside.


6) Mix half of the toasted black sesame seeds, mayonnaise mixture, eggs and salmon together.  Sprinkle rest of black sesame seeds on the dip.  Serve when ready.


OH MY! OH MY!  I think this is my favourite dip I have made so far! I could taste the salmon, wasabi, egg, soy sauce and sesame oil.  The wasabi really elevated the whole dip and make the crackers shine.

In addition, the wasabi gives a different spiciness than using cayenne or other hot spices. I don’t know how to explain it, but you guys should give wasabi a try!

Hopefully you like all of the dips I made for the Nairn’s Oat Crackers!  I have a lovely healthy seafood recipe idea in mind and I will post that as soon as I can! Stay tuned!

Bonus Healthy Recipe: Pesto Black Bean Ravioli with Parmesan Cream Sauce (4 Servings)

Yesterday, I have submitted my modified version of my Pesto Black Bean Ravioli recipe online for a chance to go to Las Vegas for the 2014 World Food Championship!

My Pesto Black Bean Ravioli recipe is original, creative and delicious.  I also know I can make the dish tastes better.

This time I made a slight tweet in the filling recipe as well as adding Parmesan cream sauce to complement the ravioli.

Here is the recipe:

1 pasta dough (made with 2 eggs and 1 cup of all-purpose flour)

18 basil leaves

2 garlic cloves

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup canned black bean

12 teaspoons parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup 2% low-fat milk

1 large tomato

2 cups water

pinches salt and pepper

1 pinch parsley, chopped


1) Place five teaspoons Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, quarter cup black beans and garlic cloves in blender and blend until smooth. Taste pesto and season with few pinches of salt and pepper and blend again.


2) Pour pesto in a bowl and mix pesto with rest of black beans. Set aside.


3) Use pasta machine or rolling pin to roll out the dough until it becomes a VERY THIN SHEET of pasta. You should be able to see your fingers when you are feeling your sheet from underneath. Cut pasta sheet into squares using knife or mold.


4) Crack one egg and beat egg with fork until smooth. Brush the edges of the ravioli shells lightly with egg. Place about a half tablespoon of filling on half of the cut ravioli shells.


5) Place the other half of cut ravioli shells over the shells with the fillings and press the edges gentle to make a tight seal. Set aside.


6) To prepare for the sauce, cut tomato into quarters. Skin tomato by making a cut between the flesh and the skin. Leave flesh aside. Dice skin into squares. Set aside.


7) Boil water in pot over high heat. Add salt and extra virgin olive oil into boiling water and cook ravioli over medium-high heat until ravioli flow on top of water.


8) Heat pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter on pan. Whisk in flour and whisk constantly until butter and flour are incorporated. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Juice as much tomato juice as possible by squeezing the tomato flesh and add juice to sauce. Whisk in rest of Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add ravioli to sauce and turn off heat.


9) Place ravioli nicely on plate. Sauce ravioli as well as around the ravioli. Garnish dish with diced tomato skins and parsley. Serve when ready.


Although this dish is no longer a vegetarian dish, it definitely tasted better than my original recipe.

I hope I get into top 5 and have the chance to go to Las Vegas to meet all the wonderful foodies out there!  Wish me luck!