f Five Hundred & Ninety Four; Alce Nero Bloggers' Cooking Session {Recipes for Laksa Pesto Spaghetti & Thin-crust Pizzas AND some cooking tips!}


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Five Hundred & Ninety Four; Alce Nero Bloggers' Cooking Session {Recipes for Laksa Pesto Spaghetti & Thin-crust Pizzas AND some cooking tips!}

November 12, 2013 / ,

I'm back to blog about the Alce Nero Bloggers' cooking session 
at Food Playground the last Saturday! 

The hosts for the day were Lena & Noi.
They shared with us several cooking tips,
demonstrated how to make pizza dough from scratch,
& helped us with our two dishes for the day.

The two dishes that we were tasked to make for the day were:
Laksa Pesto Spaghetti & Thin-crust pizzas

Noi shared with us how she usually make the dough to make it soft & moist,
& keeping the gluten level as low as possible.

TIP 1:

She advised against the usual "punch & knead" method for the making of a thin-crust pizza
She explained that the "punch" to 'release air' is not really necessary.
In addition,using the palm to knead the dough will add additional strength,
hence creating more gluten which we would want to avoid for the dough for thin-crust pizzas.

Instead, she recommended using the fingers to stretch & fold in the dough,
bearing in mind to handle the dough gently & with care,
avoiding pressure as much as possible.

Some of the ingredients used:

We were introduced to Alce Nero products.

Alce Nero is a leading organic brand in Italy, started in 1970.
One key highlight of the brand is the fact 
that no synthetic chemical substance or pesticide 
is used at all for any of their products.

Bloggers with their decorated chef hats.

Remember I mentioned about my scallop skorts?
So yup, skirt from the front, shorts from the back view :)

Thank you VogueAvenue for this piece.
I love the colour and the material!

Back to the cooking.
After Noi demonstrated how to make the dough,
we were sent to our work tables.
(Before that, we were split into 3 teams)

We were given these laksa leaves, candlenuts & garlic,
& had to ground them into paste, in the most traditional way!

While Cherie was diligently working on the pizza dough,
Xavier & I focused on the making of the pesto.
Diana, who is very experienced in cooking, 
was busy helping out with both the dough and the pesto.

Photo credits to: Xavier

Xav & I took turns 

Photo credits to: Xavier

Next step was to fry the pesto sauce with olive oil, coconut milk & fish sauce

TIP 2:
Candlenuts are actually poisonous when raw.
Thus, it is extremely important to make sure your pesto sauce is cooked!

Le chef xavier tasted the sauce 
Photo credits to: Xavier

& decided that we could add in a lil' more fish sauce.
Photo credits to: Xavier

Pesto sauce was settled & kept aside.
While waiting..............

While waiting for our pizza dough to rise.......
What happened here?
Raising of hands?!
Photo credits to: Xavier

We were given some questions by Lena,
& the winning team gets to choose their preferred set of ingredients for the pizza toppings!

Thanks to the ever-ready Xav, our team won for this.
ALL questions were answered by him!
Photo credits to: Xavier

 Moving on to the pizza toppings!

Cherie & Diana, the amazing ladies in our team, worked on the pizza toppings.

We had a 'competition' for the teams,
& we would be judged based on our pizzas.
To be honest, I have never made a pizza from scratch before.
The ladies were so experienced so we left the pizzas to them,
because I really didn't want to destroy the pizzas!

Spread the dough as thinly as possible
Left aside some pesto paste for the pizza.

After some discussions,
we came up with these two versions of toppings!

1. (Left) Tomato-based with mushrooms
2. (Right) Pesto-based with sardine & dried tomatoes
My first time tasting these dried tomatoes. 
They are a lil' sweet + salty + sour.
& I think they make great complements for the Italian dishes.
Gonna add them in my pasta next time!

Recipe for home-made pizza
Credits to: Food Playground

After placing our pizzas into the oven,
it was back to our Laksa Pesto Spaghetti.

Photo credits to: Xavier

- Boil the water, add salt,
- Toss in the pasta into the boiling water.
(make sure all the pasta are soaked in the boiling water, 
but you do not have to keep stirring it!)
- Start timing!

Tip 3:
Timing is really important for making al-dente spaghetti.
Approximate gauge: 7min30secs.
 At 7min15 secs, you can already pick out one small strand to taste.
If it is good by then, off the heat and drain the water immediately!
Otherwise, keep boiling til 7 minute 30 secs (or slightly after if necessary)

Tip 4: 
Do not add cold water to the spaghetti.
You are supposed to make use of the heat from the spaghetti!
Drizzle some olive oil if the noodles are too dry.

Full recipe for the Laksa Pesto Spaghetti
Credits to: Food Playground

Tip 5:
At this point, many people will be tempted to reheat your sauce
before combining it with the spaghetti.
Instead, you should add the drained spaghetti into the sauce immediately,
& stir/toss to coat evenly.
The pasta will still be warm from the spaghetti's heat.
Photo credits to: Xavier

Tip 6:
Do not over-toss the spaghetti & end up breaking the strands!

Photo credits to: Xavier

Decorate the pasta, & garnish with your favourite toppings in your own style!

My team's creations :)
Photo credits to: Xavier

Finally, we sat down to taste our own creations.
& I must share, although we did not win the 'competition' eventually,
I think we did extremely well!!!
Our pasta & pizzas tasted really good!!!!!

Diana, Me, Xavier & Cherie :)

 Thank you Alce Nero & Food Playground for having us!
I will explore more recipes with these awesome goodies,
& I will prolly share them with y'all! :)

Alce Nero products are available at HealthyGourmet and leading supermarkets.

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