Ravioli et al

I always forget how much better fresh pasta is than it’s dried counter parts – and really doesn’t take that long.  We made some on the weekend,  using the recipe below,  but substituting some of the plain oil with some sun dried cherry tomatoes and the oil that they’re preserved in.  It gave the past a lovely colour.  We made some fettuccine and lasagna sheets, and brought out the ravioli making machine for only the second time ever (I’ve probably had it 14 odd years) for some stuffed pasta.  It worked ok,  but to be honest I think it’s just as easy to make them by hand ( though cranking them out is kinda fun!)

Pasta Pasta Pasta

Egg Pasta Dough
3 cups bread flour
4 eggs
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

Sift the flour onto a smooth work surface. Hollow out a well in the top of the mound like a volcano.  Crack the eggs into the well and add salt and oil if desired. Gradually combine with the surrounding flour until all combined. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand, adding more flour if the dough is sticky.  Knead for 5-10 minutes, or use your pasta machine on the widest setting to knead it, by passing it through the rollers until smooth.  (I use the pasta machine – seems much more efficient!!)

Pasta Pasta

Final note:  the most useful book I have on pasta  I bought from Target from the bargain book bin – ‘Pasta:  Sauces and Fillings for All Shapes and Sizes’ by Constance Jones.  (1993 paperback – seems to be out of print now)

 

Hey Pesto!

I just thought of that 🙂

Basil Basil Pesto!

I came home tonight tired but energised, and so I decided to make pesto from the large (relatively speaking!) amount of basil in the garden. It’d been on my mind of a couple of days so I’d made sure to get some parmesan on the weekend and I was set for all the other ingredients.

While I didn’t actually measure anything, the recipe I followed was essentially this one from Simply Recipes: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/

The lemon basil gave the pesto a real pepper-y flavour and it was really good over (store bought) ravioli with some steamed veges mixed in.  Best of all,  there’s still more left!

From Hawai’i: Haupia Squares

I’m just back from a trip to Hawai’i, and I’ve come back with a new appreciation for pinapple and coconut, and a new recipe book! Aunty Audrey’s Big Island Eats is a great compendium of food from the Big Island, but also has some great history and a big slice of the community as well – good reading for more than just the recipes. My first from the book is Irma Ikawa’s Haupia (Coconut) Squares, which I made for a a late (Jan 3) family Christmas dinner we had after we got back.

Irma Ikawa's Haupia Squares

The squares are very simple to make, light and soothing to eat. The recipe book is a little challening because all the measurements are imperial, not metric,  but I muddled my way through

Ingredients:
(Crust)
4 tbsp powdered sugar (which I took to be icing sugar)
1 and a half cups of white all-purpose flour
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3/4 cup butter

(Filling)
2x 14 ounce (400 g) cans coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
7 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup cold water

(Topping)
The recipe suggests a (8 oz) container of frozen whipped topping (aka Cool Whip).  I’m not sure we can get that in Aus,  and whipped cream didn’t really appeal in this case, so I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the top of each square

For the crust: Mix the sugar, flour and chopped nuts, cut the butter into small pieces and work into the dry ingredients (I  used my fingers).  Press the mixture into a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Bake at 180 deg C for 20 minutes (my oven took a bit longer), or until slightly brown around the edges

For the filling: Put the coconut, milk and sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix the corn starch and cold water and add to the coconut mixture.  Cook until the mixture boils and thickens, stirring frequently.  When thick and smooth, remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Pour the haupia mixture over the baked crust and chill for 3-4 hours (or overnight).

If you’re interested in using coolwhip or cream, spread over the haupia when it is  thoroughly chilled and then cut into 24 squares.  Instead I drizzled melted dark chocolate ‘artistically’ on each square after they were cut. Yum!!