Chan’s Seafood Carbonara

There are numerous ways to make carbonara and this is my first attempt doing it from scratch. How do I choose or design my recipe? Well, I went through dozens of Youtube videos and tried to imagine the flavours in each one of them. Couple that with my own imagination (and what’s available in the fridge) here’s Chan’s seafood carbonara for you.

The soul of the dish is of course, the sauce. This would require a block of cream cheese, a couple of eggs and some evaporated milk.

And here’s the sauce, all beaten up with a pair of chopsticks. Lots of wrist power involved here. You may want to consider using a blender.

Some mushrooms here. Button mushrooms work best, but if you happen to have some shitake mushrooms (fresh and not dried) in the fridge, why not?

Boil up some pasta. Don’t forget to add salt to the water. There was some broccoli going for $1, so I decided to toss some in for good measure.

Now for the exciting part – frying. As you can see, I’ve got chopped onions, butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, turn down the heat to avoid burning.

Next, toss in the mushrooms, stir well till the vegetables are coated with oil. Dump in the seafood. I had prawns and mussels in the freezer, so they were used. Once the seafood is cooked, add in the pasta and sauce. As I didn’t use bacon here, I’ve substituted it with fake “bacon” chips. Stir until everything evens out.

And here is my seafood carbonara – ingredients upsized. It takes a bit of time, but do try this at home. Your kids will love it.

Chan’s Christmas Aglio Olio

Aglio olio is one of the easiest dishes to make, but precisely because of its simplicity, it’s difficult to make it taste good.

First, I boiled some pasta in salt water peppered with good dose of dill weed. As Jamie Oliver often says, boiling pasta without salt will make the pasta taste like thin air. Don’t worry about consuming too much salt here unless you’re thinking of drinking the whole pot of salt water.

The other ingredients include diced bell pepper or capsicum. To add some spiciness to it, I’ve also chopped up one chilli padi. Since it’s Christmas, I used three colours of capsicum – green, red and yellow. I also had some shelled shrimp which I pre-cooked by dipping in the boiling pasta.

Garlic is an important ingredient in every aglio olio. Here, I’m frying some minced garlic in olive oil until just before they turn brown. It’s important not to brown the garlic too much.

Once the garlic is ready, I tossed in the diced capsicum and shrimp. Once the capsicum starts to give off that chilli like aroma, toss in the cooked pasta. You can leave out the chilli padi if you don’t want it spicy, but aglio olio normally packs a punch.

Mix it around to make sure that the pasta has soaked up the oil and we’re ready. It’s as simple as that. Do try this at home. I’m sure your kids will love it.

Create Your Own Unique Blend


Most of us who enjoy wines are unfamiliar with the connoisseurs’ language of “raspberry notes”, “elderflower aftertastes”, “prune flourishes” etc. There are of course, annoying snobs out there who pretend to know, but those of us who truly appreciate wine will understand simpler language like “full bodied” vs “light bodied”, “dry” vs “sweet”.

Just launched by a British company called Cambridge Consultants a couple of weeks ago, is a machine called the Vinfusion. What this machine does, is to store 20 wines to represent “primary tastes”. Amongst these “raw” ingredients, you may find a pinot noir, a shiraz, a muscat, a chardonnay and so on. To create your own blend, you would just need to select a couple of layman characteristics like sweetness and body. The machine blends the wine according to your specifications.

If logic prevails, this would prove an excellent system that promotes and simplifies wine-drinking. However, a lot of the enjoyment of this luxury item comes not just from the taste of the wine, but also from the “class” and elegance of the packaging. Taking all the mystery and exclusiveness out of it may cause it to lose its market value within the ranks of the affluent.