dinner

Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta1

There is nothing quiet as fulfilling as a plate of fresh homemade pasta. How does homemade pasta differ to store bought pasta? Homemade pasta is made from flour, eggs, oil and salt, crafted to the shape and thickness to match the sauce. Whereas store bought pasta is flour and water pushed through moulds.  However, dried egg pasta can now be purchased for selected delicatessens.

Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, store bought pasta takes longer to cook.

When you serve a plate of fresh pasta, the focal point of the dish is the fresh pasta, and you will be the envy of all your guests.

You can get really creative with fresh pasta, by adding different herbs for a variety of flavours and colours.

Why use ‘00’ flour? 00 flour is milled to be finer, resulting in a more delicate end product and a little higher in gluten. If you do not have any ‘00’ flour you can use ordinary plain flour.

Fresh pasta can be made in a food processor if you have a dough attachment or in your stand mixer using the dough hook attachment.

Rolling pasta maybe a challenge on your own if you are using a manual or electric pasta machine, working with the kids or friends is easier and much more fun. Machines are available for a relatively low cost in most homeware/department stores.

 

Egg Pasta

255gm bakers ‘00’ flour

Pinch salt

2 large eggs

15mls olive oil

Variations:

Herb pasta

15gms finely chopped mixed fresh herbs.

Spinach pasta*

50gm pureed raw spinach (drained)

  1. Wash and dry hands.
  2. Organize workspace, get equipment ready.
  3. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the middle, and add the eggs and the olive oil.
  4. Mix the flour with the egg mixture and work into a dough. Knead well until very smooth and elastic.

Or Get your food processor/mixer ready with a dough hook, place the flour, salt, eggs, olive oil, pulse until the dough becomes a smooth ball.

  1. Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest at least 45minutes before rolling out.Dough

Note:  if it is too dry, add drops of water a few at a time to moisten the dough and help it come together.

*If spinach is chosen add 100gm or more of flour to the dough.

  1. Set up your pasta machine, dust it with a little flour. Cut pasta dough into 4 pieces; flatten gently with your hand. Place the pasta machine onto the widest hole, each machine will have a different numbering/measuring system.Rolling pasta
  2. Turn the handle and feed the pasta through, each piece of pasta dough should be passed through each number 3 times so you get a nice and smooth pasta. If the pasta becomes a little sticky, just sprinkle with a little more flour.Rolling pasta 3
  3. After you have passed the dough through the thinnest number 3 times, attach the fettuccini or spaghetti cutter and pass the pasta through once. If you could like shorter noodles cut the sheets of pasta to desired length prior to passing through cutter.Cutting pasta
  4. Boil a large saucepan of water with a pinch of salt, cook pasta of 3 minutes or until ‘al dente’ strain and serve with your favourite sauce.

Fresh pasta 3

Pork Sausages alla Pizzaiola

Pork Sausages alla Pizzaiola

This is a fabulous, flavorsome recipe that can be cooked within 25minutes. This recipe is a hearty winter meal. Best of all this dish is super versatile, it can be cooked on the BBQ or stove top.

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Sauce Ingredients

1x440grm peeled tomatoes finely crushed (you can use a stab mixer or mouli)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped

salt to taste

1 teaspoon oregano, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of fine cracked black pepper.

3 tbls Olive Oil

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Method

Place olive oil in a frypan, place onto a medium heat, when oil is hot add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes until the garlic is golden.

Add the peeled tomatoes and stir until it comes to the boil.

Add all other ingredients, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes

Ingredients

2 portions of pizzaiola sauce

1 400grms Cannellini beans, drained

1 kg pork/pork and fennel sausages

pork and beans

Method

Into the pizzaiola sauce add the beans and let simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Heat a BBQ grill plate to high (you could also dry fry, steam, or grill the sausages for about 10 minutes (or until cooked this will depend on the thickness of the sausage). If grilling or dry frying make sure than you turn the sausages after a couple of minutes for even colouring.

Serve a couple of sausages on a bed of beans.


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Salt n pepper Squid with homemade aioli

Salt ‘n pepper squid

This extraordinary seafood dish is a crowd favorite. It is easy to prepare, it cooks very quickly, you will need to have all of your equipment ready. Salt ‘n pepper squid is suitable for an entree or main it can even be served as a canape!

Most seafood outlets will sell the squid clean or clean it for you. Cleaning squid isn’t complex, it can get a little messy.

To get your squid to curl make sure you score the inside.

Pieces can be cut into the size of your choice, I usually aim to cut a squid in half and to get 5 pieces from each half (10 per squid) this is a substantial portion when served with salad/fries. If you are making a large quantity, line a tray with baking paper and pre heat the oven to 140C to keep squid warm, this is a handy trick if you are preparing the squid for a dinner party !

The homemade aioli is moorish and surprisingly simple, made with a hand held blender and a tall narrow jug in a couple of seconds !

Salt n pepper squid

Ingredients

4 squid tubes

½ cup flour

½ tsp chili

100grams mixed lettuce

1 lemon

1tsp salt

1tsp pepper

Aioli

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ lemon, juice only

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Serves 4

Method:

  1. Cut each squid hood in half lengthways. Using a sharp knife score inside in a criss-cross pattern. Cut each piece in half lengthways. Cut each strip crossways into 4 pieces. Pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Heat 1cm of vegetable oil in a wok or frypan over medium-high heat.
  3.  Combine flour, pepper, salt and chilli in a shallow dish. Lightly toss squid in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Cook, turning, for 2 minutes or until light golden.
  4. Serve with salad greens and lemon wedges.

Aioli:

  1. Crush the garlic extremely well, then add the egg yolk and salt. Whisk together until well combined.
  2. Add olive oil and garlic into a jug, pulse with a stick mixer until garlic is pureed. Add remaining ingredients, turn the stick mixer on whilst it is submerged and pull the stick mixer towards you slowly. The aoili is done !Salt n pepper squid

Pad See Ew

Pad See Ew

This quick and easy stir fry dish will satisfy the fussiest of eaters. If you like a little spice, chop up some chili and add it in with the garlic and shallots (step 4).

This meal will be on the table within 20 minutes, so you’ll never need to go for take out again. This recipe serves 2, it can easily be multiplied to serve a large number of people.

Pad See Ew

Ingredients:

200 grams fresh rice noodles

1Tb Kecap Manis

1Tb oyster sauce

1TB soy sauce

1 ½ Tb peanut oil

100 grams sliced beef

1 clove garlic

2 stems Chinese broccoli

2 eggs

60 grams (1 Cup bean sprouts)

Salt and pepper

1 shallot

Method:

  1. Prepare the noodles following packet directions. Combine the Kecap Manis, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl. Chop Chinese broccoli into 2cm pieces. Finely chop garlic and shallot.
  2. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat one-third of the oil in a wok/fry pan over high heat. Stir-fry half the beef for 2 minutes or until browned. Repeat with half the remaining oil and the remaining beef, reheating the wok between batches.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the wok. Stir-fry the garlic and shallot for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add Chinese broccoli and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the noodles, Kecap Manis mixture, beef, egg and pepper. Cook, tossing, for 2 minutes or until the egg is cooked and the sauce reduces slightly. Top with the bean sprouts.

Serves 2

Pad See Ew

 

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Slow cooked pork shoulder with braised fennel

Slow cooked pork shoulder with braised fennel

This delicious slow cooked pork recipe is slightly smokey with just a hit of sweetness. The onions and the fennel just about dissolve during the cooking process, if you do not like the taste of fennel your can omit it. This pork dish is really versatile can be served on slider buns, tortillas on a bed of mashed/roasted potato or polenta. I chose to serve the pork with roast potatoes with a sprinkle of rosemary and a capsicum.

pulled pork with roast vegetables

braised pork

INGREDIENTS
2 kg pork shoulder

2 red onions

1 fennel bulb

6 cloves garlic

600ml good quality vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

1T olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground fennel

Serves: 6

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PREPARATION

  1. Pre heat oven to 110C.
  2. Rub cumin, fennel, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper all over the pork shoulder.
  3. Place 1tb oil into a oven proof dish with a lid (e.g cast iron pot), turn cook top onto a medium heat place dish on top and allow to heat up, add pork to pot and seal each side until lightly golden, sprinkle with brown sugar.
  4. Heat vegetable stock with garlic in the fry pan, pour over pork.
  5. Chop fennel into 1cm thick pieces, cut onions into small wedges and scatter around pork shoulder.
  6. Put lid onto dish and place into oven, cook for 6hrs.
  7. Remove pork from oven, remove any excess liquid, using a fork and tongs pull the pork.

TO SERVE

This pork can be served on slider buns, tortillas on a bed of mashed/roasted potato or polenta.

Braised pork with fennel

Spaghetti Boscaiola

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Ingredients

400g spaghetti

4 rashers bacon

400g  mushrooms (mixture of button and Swiss brown works best)

40g butter

2 cloves garlic

2 shallots

400ml thickened cream

1 sprig parsley

80g Parmesan to serve

Serves 4

Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil with 1Tb salt added to water.
  2. Finely chop mushrooms, bacon, parsley and shallots. Crush garlic.
  3. Place butter into a non-stick fry pan over a medium heat and allow butter to melt.
  4. Add bacon, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes.
  5. Cook pasta as per packet instructions.
  6. In the final 4 minutes of the pasta cooking, add cream to the mushroom mixture and allow to thicken on a low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Finely chop parsley.
  8. Drain pasta add to cream sauce, toss through to ensure all pasta is evenly coated.
  9. Serve on individual plates with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley

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Steamed Mussels

INGREDIENTS

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional
2kg mussels

4 cloves garlic

2 shallots

3 sprigs parsley

150ml white wine

150ml cream

1 Birdseye chilli (optional)

 

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

To serve:

8 slices toasted crusty bread

3 sprig parsley

1 lemon

40grams butter

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven to full steam.
  2. Remove beard from mussels allow sitting in cold water for 3 minutes rinse thoroughly.
  3. Place mussels in a deep dish and sprinkle with garlic, shallot, parsley, salt and pepper (optional Birdseye chili), Drizzle over the wine and cream sauce.
  4. Steam for 12-18minutes until all mussel shells open (do not eat the mussels that do not open).
  5. Serve in 4 bowls, sprinkle with parsley, add a lemon wedge and crusty bread and butter.

    Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

    Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

Options

For Thai flavoured mussels try using a 400ml can of coconut milk (no cream), chilli and lemongrass

For Spanish flavoured mussels use a can of tomatoes (no cream) and chorizo

For Italian flavoured mussels use a 400ml can of tomatoes (omit cream) and add 1Tb of mixed basil and oregano

For a more filling meal, cook up 100grams of pasta per person and toss the sauce and mussels through the pasta.

Steamed Italian style mussels with pasta

Steamed Italian style mussels with pasta

Delicious blueberry tart

Blueberry hand pies   

Ingredients:

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup white sugar

¾ cup of water

2 Tb cornflour

2 pieces thawed puff pastry, around 6 x 10 inches

2Tb milk

  1. Dissolve cornflour with 2Tb until it is a smooth paste. Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, cornflour mixture into a small sauce pan, on a medium heat bring to a gentle simmer, allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from hotplate, place into a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Heat combination steam oven to quarter steam and heat/25% steam 180c and line a tray with baking paper or grease 4 small (4cm) pie dishes.
  4. Cut the puff pastry into 8 even sized pieces, spoon blueberry mixture into the centre of the pastry leaving a 1cm border. Brush pastry with milk, bake for 15-20minutes until the pastry is golden brown.Individual hand pies - yum

OR

  1. Lightly grease pie dishes cut a round of pastry to fit the dish, lightly press down, cut strips of pastry to create the lattice pattern. Spoon mixture into 4 pie dishes, lay 2 piece of pastry across the pies horizontally. Vertically alternate up and over the horizontal pastry pieces to achieve the lattice pattern. Brush pastry with milk, bake for 18-23minutes until pastry is golden brown.
  2. Serve with cream or ice cream, dust with icing sugar if you dare!Individual mini blueberry pie served with freshly whipped cream Gorgeous blueberry pies

Last minute entertaining made easy with Five Tastes make at home meals!

Last minute entertaining made easy with Five Tastes make at home meals!

Emperor's Nasi Goreng

Having invited dinner guests with very short notice, I was confronted with the dilemma of what to cook for them with the minimal time I had.  I went into overdrive wondering about what last minute meals I could plan.  Of course, whatever I chose would need to knock their socks off. So I headed to my local supermarket and grabbed some fresh seafood and a couple of Five Tastes make at home meals. I wanted to impress my guests and knew the quality and flavours of Five Tastes would help me achieve that.

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Adding my own creative flair, I added a few bits and pieces to two of the meal packs, the result?Julienne snow peas used as a garnish

The Emperor’s Nasi Goreng with Balmain bug tails and prawns and The King’s Laksa with prawns, scallops and fresh curry leaves.

I love incorporating seafood as Sydney has access to the best range of fresh wild caught seafood.

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The Nasi Goreng packet serves three, however I used it as an entrée for four people. I added 400 grams of Balmain bug tails and 400 grams of prawns as well as an egg for each serving. Simply fry the Balmain bug tails and prawns for 2 minutes each side and with the other meats on the packet instructions. The servings were more than ample.

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The Emperors Nasi Goreng was unctuous, spicy and gratifying.  Given my goal of knocking the socks off my guests, I added some extra red and green chili to the mix and garnished with julienne snow peas. May I say, my mission was certainly accomplished!

Emperor's Nasi Goreng

The Laksa serves four.  I added 500 grams of prawns and 300 grams of scallops to the mix. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes each side and add with the prawns as per instructions. The King’s Laksa was heart warming, satisfying, yet overwhelmingly moreish, the dish was garnished with the prawns, julienne snow peas and extra chilli. The added chili and fresh curry leaves made for a pleasantly piquant dish.

King Prawn Laksa

Five Tastes meal kits with some fresh ingredients saved me time. My guests didn’t even notice!

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Ricotta pesto Tart

Ricotta pesto tart

This delicious tart has the velvety smoothness of ricotta cheese, with the crunch of the nuts in the basil pesto, as you cut through the smooth layer of ricotta and pesto you crack the layers of light, fluffy and crunchy puff pastry. Each mouthful has a fabulous combination of flavours and textures, the sharpness of the basil cuts through the creaminess of the ricotta.

Adding a little steam to the cooking process creates, light, fluffy and golden pastry.

Ricotta pesto tart

Serves 4

1 piece puff pastry

4Tb basil pesto

12 Tb ricotta cheese

8 cherry tomatoes

1 shallot

Salt and pepper

Side salad to serve (if desired)

  1. Preheat combination steam oven to 180oC, quarter steam and heat /25% humidity.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and spray with oil spray.Cut tomatoes into quarters, finely chop shallots.
  3. Cut Pastry into 4 even squares, place onto bake sheet. Place 1Tb basil pesto in the centre of each square, spread out leaving a 1cm edge, sprinkle with shallots. Place 3Tb ricotta cheese on each square and spread out leaving a 1cm edge. Scatter cherry tomatoes on top of each tart, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake in preheated combination steam oven for 15minutes.
  5. Serve with a side salad if desired.