May 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I have a theory about risotto which I’m going to share with you, and it’s that people are far more afraid of it than they should be. All this jibber jabber on cookery programmes about ‘The Perfect Risotto’, as if it’s some elusive secret thing that if you don’t get right the sky will fall in… while really, unless you’re expecting the risotto police [or Gordon Ramsay] round for dinner, risotto is a very forgiving and simple thing to make. Risotto purists would probably lambast me for using arborio rice instead of the traditional carnaroli, and indeed serving this as a main course instead of a starter… but hey… that’s a risk I’m willing to take
Once you have the base, there are loads of ingredients that will happily make themselves at home amongst the creamy ricey goodness. My favourite would be chicken and mushroom, but husband wanted to incorporate smoked pancetta into todays dinner in any way he could so I tweaked my usual asparagus and pea risotto, and here’s what I did…..
May 17, 2011 § 4 Comments
Making your own pasta is easier than you’d think. It’s no more difficult than making a pastry! If you have a pasta machine, then the pain of rolling is reduced somewhat, but I kinda like the pain. You get more of a sense of achievement when you put a bit of effort into your supper. I think. So yeah, pasta. You can make really easy lasagna sheets or tagliatelle this way, just make – roll – and cut, but when you want something a bit more special [and you have the remnants of a batch of spinach to use up like I did] then spinach and ricotta ravioli is a fun thing to make.
I’m calling these rustic ravioli because of what they look like. Sure, they won’t win any beauty contests or look like those pretty shop bought versions. I just want to show people I suppose that you don’t need equipment any more specialised than a round cutter and a rolling-pin to make ravioli. They’ll taste just as delicious regardless of what they look like!
May 16, 2011 § 4 Comments
Soups are super. It’s that simple! They can be hot or cold, thick and chunky or smooth and thin. All you need are some main ingredients, some seasonings or secondary flavours, and some liquid to loosen things up, a bowl and a spoon. Soups are such a comforting homely supper for times when you need to be both nourished and nurtured, and tomato soup is one of the easiest things you can do in a kitchen just because cause it’s so quick. A quick and warm little tomatoey hug.
[Ok, so here I roasted the tomatoes which does take some time, but it's still an easy way to have a simple tasty supper when you're don't have lots of time for standing next to the stove.... is all I'm sayin'.] Here’s what I did…
May 12, 2011 § 2 Comments
We love curries. I usually save them for days that I have loads of time and head space so I can get lost in the process. Indian cookery is fun ’cause [to me anyway] it’s a bit like alchemy; you can change the ratios of spices or substitute one for another and end up with a completely different flavour. They can be quick stove-top ones like this, or longer drawn out into-the-oven-for-hours affairs. They can be veggie, or meat, or fish. They can be tomato-ey or creamy or fruity or dry. This is my favourite creamy type curry and it’s become my ‘go to’ recipe for cold rainy days when I’m craving comfort food and a duvet.
Today, even though we’re nearing the middle of May [!!] it was cold, windy, rainy and miserable. And I’d stubbed my toe on the end of the bed first thing this morning and it throbbed all day so was feeling extra sorry for myself. So I reached for my culinary duvet…
May 11, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Tortillas have to be the easiest type of bread you can make. If you have opposable thumbs and a rolling-pin, then basically you’re set. And if you like the idea of an alternative to the white flour tortillas you buy ready-made and packaged in plastic that have a strange and vaguely sweaty and acidic smell, then you’re gonna love what I got up to in the golden kitchen yesterday. I suppose seeing as they’re made with wholemeal flour they’re closer to an Indian paratha or flatbread than the usual corn or white flour Mexican tortilla. I’ve made these and called them flatbread to go with curries, but here I’m going to use them to wrap stuff in, so I’m calling them tortillas. Don’t judge me.
And of course, the beauty of them being a wrapper is that you can fill them with whatever you can think of. I’m not going to stand over you shoulder as you make that decision. They can become burritos, fajitas, wraps for leftover salads, the choice is yours. Enough rambling… here’s what I did…
May 7, 2011 § Leave a Comment
So yesterday, with my bargain purchase of sun-dried tomatoes, I made up a batch of red pesto. One of the best things to do with pesto is swirl it round your favourite pasta for a quick and easy supper. I’m not that much of a fan of creamy pasta sauces, I prefer tomato based ones. But this is one of husband’s favourites, so this is what I cooked.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. You’re not here to listen to me waffle and drone about the domestic disagreements we have along the lines of cream versus tomato, veggie versus bacon, you’re here to find out what I did with that pesto. Aren’t you? Good. So this is what I did…
May 6, 2011 § Leave a Comment
One skill that I think is important in any kitchen, is thrift. If you can stock up on ingredients when they’re cheap, in season or on special offer, and you can freeze or prepare or preserve them for late use, you’re onto a winner. I do this with lots of things, and the other day in the reduced to clear aisle of the supermarket I came upon a massive pot of sun-dried tomatoes in oil for 70 cent. Perfect for making a batch of red pesto!!
Pesto is one of those magical substances that can transform the ordinary into the sublime. It has sooooooo many uses. Red pesto is sweeter than the green variety made with basil, and there’s a myriad of things you can do with it. Like spreading it on little rounds of toasted sourdough or focaccia for a tasty bruschetta, swirling a dollop of it into a bowl of roast butternut squash soup, mixing it with some crème fraiche for a creamy and speedy pasta sauce, adding it to your tomato sauce to give your home-made pizzas some interest, using a spoonful to liven up your scrambled eggs, or your baked potato, or even your mashed potato – the possibilities are endless!