Friday, June 17, 2011

Ravioli stuffed with roasted Carrot, Onion, Garlic and bacon

I was struck by sudden inspiration and a desperate need to cook. 

Do something, anything.

So in my head, I listed out what i had at hand; Carrots, bacon.... onions....Tomato Paste, a fresh basil plant beckoning to be used. My mind just went, let's make pasta. But not the usual Fettucini, something I've always wanted to try my hand at. 


The smells wafting from the carrots, onion, bacon and garlic roasting in the oven told me, this, this was gonna be ok. I hesitantly put tomato paste into the flour mixture and the result was a light dusty orange ball of dough. Rolling it out and placing little dollops of the pureed vege topped off with crispy flakes of smoked bacon, made me tingle with excitement. Couldn't wait to see the finished product. 

When the little parcels of pasta were afloat, I drained them and tried one. I wasn't expecting the pure flavour from the carrots. it was intense and charming at the same time.

With the sweet intensity of the carrots and saltiness of the bacon,  I decided on a simple  spicy tomato cream sauce infused with garlic and fresh basil. It was pure heaven. I can still taste the flavours marrying and melding in my mouth. makes me want for more. 

Total time taken : within an hour. 1 1/2 tops.

Filling ( Do this 1st so it has enough time to cool down)
3 Carrots, sliced cross sectioned
1 large Onion - sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 rashers of smoked bacon
Herb de provence
sprinkle of nutmeg
Olive Oil
handful of Pecorino Cheese - grated

Preheat Oven to 240 deg celsius
Place all the sliced vege in a roasting pan, sprinkle with nutmeg, herbs, olive oil 
Arrange the rashers of bacon over the top of the veg. This is so the flavours all meld into one.
Roast for 20min. 
Remove from oven, set aside the rasher os bacon and cut them into small bits.
blend the all the rest of the roast with a little olive oil if it's too dry.
Stir in the cheese. 
Leave aside to cool.

Pasta skin ( while the veg is roasting, make the pasta)
100g flour
1 egg
1 tsp of tomato paste

mix all the ingredients in a bowl or on a work surface
knead till smooth 
set aside in clingfilm for 20min to rest.

roll out the pasta dough into a thin sheet ( check out youtube of you need to learn how it's done.)
on one half of the sheet, place filling at intervals 1 inch and top each vege heap off with a sprinkle of bacon bits.

brush the spaces between the fillings with water and fold over the other half of the pasta sheet.
Use a sharp knife to cut the squares of filled pasta out.
Flour generously. Leave aside
Boil water with a generous handful of salt.

Add Ravioli to the boiling water and 1 1/2 min later, scoop them onto a plate with a slotted spoon.
6 cloves of garlic - chopped fine
1 tsp of dried pepper flakes ( these are quite spicy so add to preference for pain)
Handful of fresh Basil - hand torn or chopped is fine 
Handful of parmesan cheese - grated
4-6 tbsp of tomato paste
1to 2 cups of milk. ( depending on how runny you like your sauce)
Olive Oil
Sugar and worcestershire sauce to taste

Fry the garlic and pepper flakes in olive oil, fry till fragrant
Add the tomato paste and milk, stirring constantly.
When the sauce thickens to your liking, add the sugar and worcestershire sauce to your taste.
the worcestershire sauce helps ground the flavours a bit.
Turn off the flame, and add basil and parmesan.

Pour over the Ravioli and sit down to a heartwarming meal.


Friday, March 4, 2011


Potato Salad with home made Mayonnaise

Making Mayonnaise.... what can I say.
DAY 1 :
it was... Hell.
I tried the hand whisking method. My arm near fell off, but the egg just sat there in its oil bath smiling at me. just doing a back stroke in the pool of oil.
Then, I tried putting it in a blender and all i got was oily eggs.
Oil was splattered everywhere and my patience was at the end of its tether.

DAY 2 :
it was... Hell. at first.
I decided to switch to a hand held blender thingamajig.
and started off with the eggs, vinegar, oil.... Blend..... nothing.
was on the verge of throwing the whole thing against the wall, but knowing the only person who was doing the cleaning up was yours truly, I held back. (Wise.)
Then i just shoved the whole lot under my hot water flask, shot some hot water into the mixture while blending and suddenly the magic happened. When before i was cursing and swearing, I just stood there with a stupid grin on my face, like i'd just conquered the world.

All this over mayonnaise.

1 litre of oil later ( half in the trash and on my walls,  the other half in my tummy).
was it worth it?

Hell yeah.

Never going back to store bought mayo for a while.
As to what i put in, it was egg yolk, a splash of vinegar, loads of oil, and a splash of hot water.