As Singapore goes into lockdown, renowned writer and publisher Poh Tiong Ch’ng reflects (from a beach) on the local and global implications of coronavirus. Including some eye-opening thoughts about the prospects for the global restaurant and hotel trade. He also has a somewhat surprising choice as his ‘quarantine wine’.
We then cheat when it comes to finding a wine for delicious porcini pasta, committing heresy by looking beyond Italian wines to things that are both leftfield and pretty indulgent. This episode even comes with a free book download!
‘The one wonderful thing to come out of all of this pandemic is that the whole world is thinking, feeling and reacting as one.’
‘The estimate is that 30-40% of restaurants will cave in…the effect is immense. It’s brutal on workers.’
‘When good health returns to the world we can go out to these restaurants and support them’
‘We’re in lockdown. Why not have something special?!’ Susie
Porcini and tomato pappardelle
This is a recipe that we’ve been making on and off for years and it makes for a fantastic vegetarian dinner party centre piece. It’s from the original dark blue ‘The River Café Cook Book’ but we’ve adapted it. The biggest change we’ve made is to use pappardelle instead of conchiglie – for us the latter are a bit too big and heavy and difficult to stop sticking together as they cook in the pan. However, conchiglie shells do have the benefit of catching all the lovely sauce within, so it really is your decision as to which to use.
Soak the dried porcini in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the porcini through a fine sieve, keeping the soaking water, which must then be re-passed through a fine muslin to get rid of any grit. Rinse the porcini to remove any grit and pat dry.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic gently for a few minutes with the thyme leaves, most of the parsley and the chilli. Add the porcini and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the Marsala. Once the Marsala has almost cooked away, turn the heat down again and begin adding the porcini water a little at a time. Continue adding the liquid for 15-20 minutes until the porcini are tender. Don’t worry if you don’t use up all of the porcini soaking water.
Add the lemon juice, then the tomatoes and the sugar. Simmer together for approximately 30 minutes until the tomatoes have thickened and become a sauce. Add the cream and reduce a little by boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the Parmesan and a good drizzle of truffle oil.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions and drain. If you are using pappardelle, stir a little extra virgin olive oil through the pasta and serve in individual bowls with the sauce spooned over and a generous sprinkling of parmesan, plus the parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top. If you are using conchiglie, once cooked, add the pasta to the sauce along with most of the remaining Parmesan and stir well. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parsley and Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.