Monthly Archives: March 2017

Recipe: Fake posh seafood spaghetti

I usually have a pretty good idea of how tasty something I’m making will turn out to be, but this took me aback with how well it turned out. It was totally beyond expectations and also pretends to be fancy, even though it’s essentially a store cupboard recipe. It’d be a good one to serve friends at a dinner party, with a bottle of Mediterranean wine.

To give you an idea of how easy this was, I based it on a John West tinned sardines recipe.

Perhaps not beautiful, but it WAS good

Ingredients
Spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
Chilli flakes
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 onion (optional — we just have a lot of onions at the moment)
1 aubergine
Tinned sardines in olive oil, 120g (I guess you could use the tomatoey kind but it might confuse the flavours)
Tinned squid, ~100g (I used this which I picked up in Waitrose on a whim — they sell it in fake squid ink and olive oil)
Mozzarella pearls, ~100-200g

Method

  1. Slice aubergine cross-wise into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Brush each side with olive oil and grill for about 8 minutes, turning once. (I fried the aubergine but next time I’d try grilling — frying meant I went overboard with the oil and there’s oil in the other ingredients, so it turned out a bit aglio olio-y.)
  2. Cook spaghetti according to instructions on packet.
  3. Chop onions and garlic finely. Saute until the onions are soft and clear and the garlic doesn’t smell sharp anymore.
  4. Add sardines and squid, along with as much of the oil/sauce as you think best. I held all the oil from the sardine tin (see above re oil), but chucked in all the salsa negra from the squid tin. Heat through.
  5. Add aubergine whenever it’s ready.
  6. Stir in spaghetti, mozzarella pearls and a generous pinch of chilli flakes. Toss until mozzarella begins to melt and becomes stringy. (I don’t have the upper body strength to toss our wok so I just stir things around.)
  7. Season with salt and pepper if you like. Upon tasting I found that it didn’t need any more flavour but it’s up to you.
  8. Eat! It’s super tasty!

I suspect what makes the difference in this recipe is the quality of the tinned sardines and squid. Not that I’m any expert, but if there is a range available, I’d get the stuff that seems better. Obviously you can make the recipe just with tinned sardines if you can’t get squid or don’t like it, though I do think the squid makes it more special.

What I’m up to in 2017: appearances up to July

Despite this update I’m not actually hiding in my room working on my novel for the whole of this year! Here’s a bunch of appearances I’ll be doing in the coming months:

London Book Fair (14-16 March)

I’ll be hanging around at the Fixi London booth at London Book Fair this year — konon being helpful, sebenarnya sibuk je. In particular I’m hoping to make it for the launch of LITTLE BASKET 2017: NEW MALAYSIAN WRITING on Wednesday 15 March (event is free but must register at the link).

I also really want to make the screening of various short films adapted from noir short stories published by Buku Fixi, including BREAKING POINT by my very own brother We Jun, adapted from a KL NOIR: YELLOW story: Crime Short Films Adapted from Short Stories (Tuesday 14 March).

I don’t want to spoiler you by linking to the actual films, but you can watch an interview with my brother here! As well as talking about BREAKING POINT, he discusses his film education and why he always makes shows about cops and gangsters.

As part of London Book and Screen Week I’ve been invited to do a writers in conversation event with Polish SF author Jacek Dukaj, moderated by Anna James. Really looking forward to this. Majulah World SF!

English PEN presents IMAGINING FUTURES with Jacek Dukaj and Zen Cho
Thursday 16 March, 6:30-8:00 pm
Admission fee: £6
Waterstones Gower Street

Dutch Comic Con (25-26 March)

I’ll be at Dutch Comic Con in Utrecht along with friends and fellow Pan Mac authors Vic James and Laura Lam! Details on the programme to follow.

Women in Fantasy at Waterstones Piccadilly (Wednesday, 12 April)

I’ll be on an evening panel discussing women in fantasy with fabulous authors and friends Aliette de Bodard (THE HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS, Gollancz) and Vic James (GILDED CAGE, Pan Macmillan) at Waterstones Piccadilly!

Women in Fantasy with Aliette de Bodard, Vic James and Zen Cho
Wednesday 12 April, 19:30-21:00
Venue: Waterstones Piccadilly
Admission: £8, redeemable against a copy of an author’s book (£6 for Waterstones card-holders)

Lancaster Words (6-8 July)

I’m really excited to be part of Lancaster Words, a 3-day celebration of words run by Lancaster University’s English and Creative Writing department. I’m super impressed at myself for being part of such an amazing line-up. PJ Harvey leh! :O

I’ll be doing a reading and a panel on messing with language on the Saturday, both at Waterstones on King Street. Details and links to register below.

READING
British Fantasy Award and Crawford Award winner Zen Cho will be reading from her historical fantasy novel, Sorcerer to the Crown.
Saturday 8 July, 13:00-14:00
Venue: Waterstones, 2-8 King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1JN

PANEL: Breaking the language: shameless multilingual authors
A group of authors will discuss the (ab)use they inflect upon language. Sometimes, grammatical rules cannot accommodate the variety and richness of our multicultural world, and that is why these authors are shamelessly mixing up vocabularies and structures to show complex and unique characters to their readers. They will share their experience of living surrounded by different languages and how this has affected their creative process. They will also discuss how their original use of language challenges many of the cultural stereotypes associated with genre.
Panelists: Zen Cho, Oscar Delgado, Ines Gregori Labarta, and Qen Mai
Saturday 8 July, 12:00-13:00
Venue: Waterstones, 2-8 King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1JN

Book free tickets now!

Edge Lit 6 (15 July)

I haven’t been able to make it to Derby’s well-known SFFH event Edge Lit before, but delighted to say I’ll be there this year! You can book tickets now for £30 (which covers admission to all events and a goody bag). Details of programming to follow.

After this … still got leh! But I’ll post about those events closer to the time.