Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bitter Greens & Ricotta Pastries

If you have to eat your greens, which you do, you may as well mix them with cheese and wrap them in butter pastry, right? Why do I always attempt to promote veggies around here, then smother them with fat? I don't know why. Do you mind? Would you rather I served you some lettuce? Here's a compromise: when you take these piping-hot parcels stuffed with a lemony, creamy, bitter-green filling, eat them with a simple salad alongside.
That will make me sleep better at night.

Proud of you!

Bitter Greens and Ricotta Pastries

The filling for this recipe is adapted from Gourmet Traveller's Bitter Greens Cannelloni recipe.

makes approx 12-14 pastries

30 ml olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100 gm each rocket, cavolo nero and silverbeet leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup each coarsely chopped fresh oregano and flat-leaf parsley
500g ricotta

25 gm each finely grated parmesan and pecorino
1/4 tsp finely grated nutmeg
Finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
2 sheets store-bought puff pastry

1 egg, lightly beaten mixed with a dash of milk

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the rocket, cavolo nero, silverbeet and herbs and stir until wilted (about 5 mins). Transfer to a colander and press with a spoon to get rid of the excess water. Drain for 5 mins. Transfer greens to a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients, plus a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste and cool.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Remove three sheets of puff pastry from the box and leave out to thaw. When soft, divide the pastry into six squares. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into each of the squares and wet the edges with your finger dipped in water. Fold the squares over in half and seal by pressing down on the edges with a fork.

Place the pastries on a parchment-lined baking sheet, prick with a fork a couple of times and paint with the eggwash. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Bread and Butter

(click on the image to enlarge)

Look what I did! 
That's my name up there. Next to the butter, and the words! In the August issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.

For one, the butter is a cut above. If you see it at a market or shop somewhere, buy it. It's worth every single penny.

Also, buy the magazine!

(bit excited)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweet Corn & Goat's Cheese Ravioli

A number of things have been happening lately.

1643: times strangers and friends alike have told me how much I look like Ellie From Masterchef

0: times I have agreed with them

3: hours worked in the office last sunny Sunday afternoon (thumbs down)

3: number of texts Alice has sent me asking if i'm nearly home from work so we can open the wine

15: jealous frowns at my computer looking at pictures of my sister's holiday in Europe

1: tub of Double Cream Jasmin Body Butter bought back from boyfriend's travels

2: smooth legs as a result! 

0: whales seen on the walk from Bondi beach to Bronte, not even a flipper!

64: Bowral lemons piled into giant bowls on our kitchen table

700: grams of lemon curd sorbet made with said lemons

5: minutes until you should run off and make this.

This pasta was inspired by the lunch that my friend Kate from work concocts every once in a while. She buys a salad from the cafe in the office lobby, buys a couple of corn cobs, steams them in the microwave and adds the kernels to the salad with spoons of soft goats cheese. She's a smart lady that Kate!

The flavours are bold and punchy and really need nothing more than some browned butter, some fresh thyme and a shower of freshly grated Parmesan to serve.

Corn and Goats Cheese Ravioli
adapted from Miss Kate McInerney's lunchbox
serves 2
We've made ravioli before over HERE so just follow the same method to make the pasta, then substitute this filling into the recipe. Easy. As. Pie.

1 corn cob
150g plain soft goats cheese (I like Meredith Dairy Plain Chevre)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked.
fresh black pepper

To make the filling, place the corn on the cob in a pot of salted, rapidly boiling water, and boil for 3-4 minutes or until bright yellow and tender. Remove from the water and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice of the corn kernels with a sharp knife, and place into a medium bowl with the goats cheese and thyme. Using a bar mix, or stick mixer, pulse the mixture a couple of times so about half of the corn kernels break down, and the other half are left whole. Mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and season with black pepper, you won't need any salt because the goats cheese is salty enough.

Roll out two sheets of thin pasta and place spoonfuls of the corn and goats cheese mixture about 1.5 inches apart on one piece of the rolled pasta. Wet your fingers in a small bowl of water and wet the area around the corn and cheese, so the top layer of pasta will stick. Gently lay the second sheet of pasta over the top and seal the ravioli by pressing down with your fingers, making sure there are no air bubbles. Cut out using a ravioli cutter, or a pizza slicer.

Place ravioli on a single layer on a lined and lightly floured baking sheet, and place in the freezer immediately.

When you are ready to eat, boil a large pot of water and salt it generously. When the water is boiling rapidly, add the ravioli (gently). When they start to float (5-6 minutes) they are ready, remove gently with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan and add a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves. Cook the butter for about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam and brown. When it is ready, add the pasta and toss until they are coated. Serve with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Three Ways to Melt a Chocolate Bunny

This is an oddly mesmerizing video from The Netherlands. They melt a chocolate bunny using an iron, a heater and a hair dryer.

The hair dryer section is kind of scary, it's like he's flying through the air at warped speed and his face is starting to peel off. Odd.