Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mussel Pasta

As it is raining non-stop since Thanksgiving Day here in Glasgow, I like to cheer myself up with some Mediterranean dishes that remind me of the sun. Unfortunately this feeling lasts from 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how fast I am eating the pasta.

You’ll need:
·      Mussels
·      Spaghetti
·      Parsley
·      Some cherry tomatoes
·      Fresh red hot chilli
·      Garlic
·      Extra virgin olive oil
·      Lemon

How to make it:

When the water is boiling, carve the cherry tomatoes with an X and put them into the boiling water for one minute, to easily remove the skin.
Oil a frying pan and add the diced garlic and the diced chilli. As soon as the chilli starts to become orange, add the chopped cherry tomatoes (with no skin). As I only had already cooked mussel, I have put them in the frying pan 2 minutes before the pasta was ready otherwise they will overcook and become really chewy. Now mix the pasta with the sauce and keep some extra water for the pasta in case it gets too dry. In a small mixing bowl whisk some extra virgin olive oil with some lemon juice.
Serve the spaghetti by forming a nest with the pasta and pour a bit of the Lemon and Oil mix in the middle of the nest and a bit around it. This will add a bit of acidity to the dish that goes really well with the mussel. Sprinkle some fresh parsley on top.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sicilian Arancini

This is tradition. My Granma used to make this big stuffed rice balls for any big family events. It is generally served as an antipasto but I don’t really understand why…because they are so big and stuffed that you are generally full after 2…. anyway…It is a big challenging to make this from scratch especially if you don’t have some ragù in the freezer like me. This recipe is the assembly of 2 major recipes: ragù and saffron risotto. If you know how to make both and you have them ready to go than you are almost there

You’ll need:
·      Ragù (Check for the recipe in the blog)
·      Frozen peas
·      Saffron Risotto ( I have used 500 g of rice for 21 medium size Arancini!)
·      Flour, Eggs and breadcrumbs for frying
·      Vegetable oil
·      Cacciocavallo cheese or any mature similar cheese
To make Saffron Risotto you’ll need:
·      1 leek
·      Vegetable stock
·      Arborio or Carnaroli Rice
·      Saffron
·      Butter
·      Parmesan

To start any risotto you’ll need 2 pots on the stove: one with the vegetable stock and the other with the butter and the chopped leek.
Once the leek becomes very tender, add the rice and let it toast for 2 minutes.
Once the rice is toasted add a ladle of stock, enough to cover the rice. Once the rice soaked all the stock add the Saffron and another ladle of stock to cover the rice. Keep adding a ladle of stock every time the rice soak all the stock until the rice is cooked.
Remove the pot from the stove, add a bit of butter and grated parmesan let it seat with a cover for 5 minutes.

Now that you have the Risotto you can pour it over a pastry board or over a flat and clean surface so that it forms a layer half cm thick. Let it cool down until it gets more solid and loose its stickiness.
While the rice rests, you can mix the ragù with the frozen peas into a frying pan on the hob and dice the cheese.
When the rice has set, cut the sheet of rice into square, place it on your hand (if it sticks, flour your hand before starting the process), place the ragù with the peas and one dice of cheese in the middle of the sheet and start closing your hand. Help the folding process with your other hand, and form a ball. Cover the ball with flour so that it hold together well, then dip the ball into the egg and then cover it with breadcrumb. Deep fry the ball with abundant vegetable oil, super hot! Keep doing this until you ran out of Risotto or ragù. I had so much ragù in the freezer that I manage to produce 21 Arancini with 500 g of rice!!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Daphinoise Potatoes

This is such a tasty way to cook potatoes. It takes a while to cook, but the result is incredible. It is such a creamy, garlicky and comforting flavor.

You’ll need:
·      2 garlic cloves
·      10g of sea salt
·      500 g of peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
·      Freshly ground black pepper
·      300ml/10½fl oz double cream
·      300ml/10½fl oz Milk

How to make it:
·      Preheat the oven to 180°C.
·      Peel one garlic clove and rub it all around the inside of a 1.2litre/2 pint ovenproof dish.
·      Crush the garlic cloves into paste and mix it with the sea salt
·      Layer the sliced potato and mashed garlic in the ovenproof dish, seasoning the layers as you go with freshly ground black pepper.
·      Combine the milk and cream in a jug and pour over the sliced potatoes
·      Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden-brown and bubbling.

Chocolate and Strawberry Tart

This is such a wonderful treat. The most difficult part is of course making the tart cause the rest is pretty straightforward. I was watching Masterchef the professional on BBC and Michel Roux Jr tested the chefs in the competition on this tart and it looked really beautiful. The tart is very easy to make especially if you are not on TV and you don’t have only 1 hour to make it. I think Michel Roux Jr would be proud of me. He uses Raspberries but of course they didn’t have them at Tesco so I had to use strawberry. Still works pretty damn good.

For the Pastry
·      125 g of butter
·      1 or 2 eggs (depending on how big they are)
·      A pinch of salt
·      250 g of Flour

For the Chocolate Ganache
·      A cup of double cream
·      200 g of Dark chocolate
·      50 g of butter
·      Fresh Strawberry

Make the pastry using a food processor is such a time saver.
Make dough and wrap it with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minute.

Roll the pastry with a rolling pin. Place it into a tart pan and bake it for 20 minutes at 180°C

While the pastry bakes, bring to boil the double cream, then remove it from the heat and add the chocolate and the butter and whisk until it’s shiny and smooth.

Cut the strawberry in half.

Once the pastry is cooked, let it cool down. When it reaches the room temperature, make a layer of strawberry at the bottom of the tart and then cover it by pouring the chocolate Ganache over it.

Let it rest in the fridge until the chocolate sets

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Vegetarian Quiche

The great thing about quiche to me is that they are the best leftover ever. Actually they are a leftover dish. They are made with ingredients that I happen to have in the fringe and it is superb the day after. The bad thing is that once it comes out of the oven and it looks fantastic, you have to wait at least 30 minutes in order for the quiche to cool down. I ate waiting in front food and not being able to eat but it is worth waiting. The flavor just pops out once the temperature cool down.

You’ll need:

·      1 onion
·      1 zucchini
·      Frozen green peas
·      Goat cheese
·      Cheddar cheese
·      Sun-blushed tomatoes
·      Salt, pepper and Extra virgin Olive oil
·      3 eggs
·      some milk

Dice the onion and the zucchini and sauté with extra virgin olive oil. Add some salt, pepper and turmeric for seasoning. When the onion and the zucchini are almost done, add the frozen peas to the pan and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes

Place the puff pastry into a flan dish, make some little holes with a fork in the bottom and add the vegetable to the dish. Make a layer of goat cheese and sun-blushed tomatoes on top of the vegetable.

In a mixing bowl whisk 3 eggs with some milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour the liquid over the flan dish. The liquid should cover the filling of the pastry.

Sprinkle some mature cheddar on top to make a nice crust on top.

Bake it for 30 minutes at 180 °C.
Serve it at room temperature