Food, Recipes from the Heart

Lunch for the Broken Soul

I am exaggerating. I do not have a broken soul. I just have a sprained ankle. I was walking to the bus stop with a friend and suddenly the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. Thank god my friend was there to help me up. I suppose this is God’s way to remind me that I need to rest and not exert my body. I’ve been working out 5-6 times per week since the year started, and surprisingly, I’ve not had a day to myself despite being self-employed.

Speaking of which, my friend Munirah from Snaprolls recently join the self-employed/unemployed/taking a gap year club. I jokingly told her over twitter we should get a new hashtag going on instagram called #unemployedbakes. She totally bought the idea! Check out #unemployedbakes on instagram and join us in the fun. I mean, we need some excitement especially since we found ourselves out of a job for the time being.

Today, I forced myself to sleep in on such a lovely Sunday morning. Ibu came in to check on my ankle and made sure I could walk a bit before leaving for her class. I dozed in and out of sleep while trying to watch The Book Thief. It’s 130 minutes, guys. I forgot how draggy and long war-based films can get. When the film ended, I finally decided to grab a bite so I used whatever leftovers I had in the fridge, which included sausages, milk from 3 different cartons (I really don’t know why my brother has a habit of drinking milk halfway and not finish the carton), a small knob of butter (leftover from one of my baking sessions) and some cheese.

This is a fairly simple recipe. Give it a go if you feel like you need some comfort food.


Mac ‘n’ Cheese

1 and a half cups of macaroni

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 heap tablespoon plain flour

1 cube of chicken or beef stock

1 cup of sliced sausages, at room temperature

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oven to 200 deg centigrade.
  2. Boil water in a pot, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook pasta as instructed on package. Drain and place inside a pyrex dish.
  3. In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and add in flour as butter is melting. Whisk quickly.
  4. Add in milk, half of the cheese and beef stock. Whisk until all is well-combined.
  5. When the cheese sauce is starting to thicken, switch off the fire and add to the macaroni. Add sausages and use a fork to mix everything together. Ensure the pasta is well coated with the cheese sauce.
  6. Top the pasta and sauce with the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the top is golden brown.
Food, Recipes from the Heart

Pasta ala Vongole


Ibu took a break from the kitchen and I decided to made pasta ala vongole. I can never get a decent plate of pasta with clams anywhere except for my sister’s place. Anyways, I was too hungry and excited to eat, hence it’s only a photo from my phone. Not too wow but I figured I have friends who’d want the recipe!


Pasta ala Vongole

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 fresh chillies, chopped

2 tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley

2 whole tomatoes, diced into chunks (you can use cherry tomatoes)

1 chicken stock cube

1 cup water

1kg of clams, scrubbed and cleaned

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

200g spaghetti (cooked following instructions on package)

Heat pan and add in olive oil. Sautee garlic, add in chilli and stock cube. Add in water and let it simmer. Once it starts to bubble, add in clams and tomatoes and cover with a lid. Let the clams cook (it takes only about 2-4 minutes for the clams to open), and add in tomatoes. Let tomatoes cook for another minute and turn off the flame. Marry the pasta and clams together, stir in parsley and serve.

Musings, Recipes from the Heart

Girls and Spicy Baked Pasta

I celebrated my semi freedom by making a simple baked pasta for my girls since we had a mini post exams celebration with an arts and craft session. We’ve been friends for so long (nearly a decade!) but our hidden talents only surfaced as of late when we’re more relaxed and not so consumed with studying for exams. Our talents are such a surprise to each of us – painting, sewing, scrapbooking, and glass painting. We couldn’t take much pictures, though. Well, considering that we stayed up till 1am talking and crafting our handiwork.

I have always loved baked pasta, and upon discovering how easy it is to make it yourself, I stopped ordering baked pasta whenever I’m at restaurants. Hmm. Actually, I stopped ordering a lot of things when I learned how to cook. Knowing that I can replicate a dish so much better than a purchased one makes me think twice about my food orders. This baked pasta, as with my other béchamel sauced dishes, is a special one. I add a little secret ingredient that offsets the creaminess and richness of the cheese sauce.

Garlic. That’s my secret ingredient. My mum loves cheese, but too much cheese makes her puke. She can never finish an entire piece of baked pasta or lasagna if she bought them outside. Since I started adding garlic to my white sauce, she took second helpings. And I truly enjoy seeing her eat. She a strong Malay taste for things. Making her eat Italian food took some coaxing, but I’m glad she’s loving it now.

I saw my friend posting a picture of her baked pasta on Instagram, and suddenly I got a huge craving for it. Googled some recipe check and settled for a combination of recipes. Pardon my instructions, cooking is a difficult skill to teach because some things cannot be conveyed in words. I’d rather teach you all to make this live, or over the telephone, but hey, this will do.

Ingredients for red sauce:

1 packet of large shell pasta (500g)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 big red onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

500g ground meat (I substituted with sliced sausages)

2 cans of diced tomatoes (400g)

1 cube of beef/chicken stock (I used beef)

2 teaspoons of dried oregano

2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for béchamel sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons plain flour

2 garlic cloves

1 litre full cream milk (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH LOW FAT)

200g cheddar cheese, grated

150g mozzarella cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:

200g grated cheddar

150g grated mozzarella

Bacon or pepperoni slices

50g Parmesan


  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
  2. In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil, add chopped onions and saute till fragrant, before adding garlic.
  3. Add in meat, and cook till browned. Add in chopped tomatoes, stock, oregano and cayenne pepper. Cover the pot and allow the sauce to thicken for about 20-30 minutes. Add in salt and pepper to taste, then turn off heat. Set aside.
  4. Cook pasta according to instructions on package.
  5. In another pot, melt butter, and add in garlic, saute till fragrant. Add in flour and quickly whisk the mixture till a thick batter forms.
  6. Add in milk, stirring or whisking constantly. Add in both cheese, and stir until the cheese has melted. Once cheese has melted and a thick white sauce is formed, turn off the heat and set aside. (Note: Important that the bechamel sauce is removed from the heat)
  7. Drain pasta and put into a casserole dish or pyrex. Stir in red sauce, and coat all of the pasta. Pour bechamel sauce onto the pasta and red sauce mixture. Do not stir in the bechamel sauce. Leave the sauce to seep into the nook and crannies of the pasta.
  8. Level the top and spread remaining cheese and pepperoni slices as the topping. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cheese on top has melted.
  9. Serve!