Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Homemade Egg Pasta with a Garlicky Mushroom & Leek sauce

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I have wanted to make my own pasta for a very long time and I finally got around to making it  this weekend. Its a really enjoyable to make your own pasta but be sure to set some time aside to do. We were really hungry when we started making it (Tim was my crank turner) that we ended up having to stop halfway for a snack. I'm sure with practice I will get quicker with handling the pasta. Next time I plan on making ravioli and using the leftovers for lasagne sheets. You could also add cracked black pepper or saffron for a slightly different take on the regular.

Serves 2/3 Adapted from Jamie Oliver

You will need-
  • 300g tip '00' flour
  • 3 large free range eggs
Weigh out your flour and then place it on a clean work surface. Next make a well in the middle and crack your eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork and then using your fingers, mix the flour into the eggs a little at a time until it is all combined. Knead the dough for around 5 minutes till the dough is really smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes are up take the dough out of the fridge and separate into 3 equal pieces. Return 3 of them to the fridge and then get working with the 1st. Lightly flour your work surface then press the dough out with your fingertips. Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and roll the pasta through, then move the setting on the machine down and roll it through again. Now fold the pasta in half, move the setting to the widest again and roll the pasta through. Do this process about 5 times. This will work the dough and make it silky smooth.

Now its time to roll the pasta out. Starting from your widest setting roll the pasta through the machine till you get to the lowest setting. Make sure you flour the dough every few steps to make sure that it doesn't stick. Once you get to the lowest setting fold the pasta sheet in half lengthways then in half again, keep going till you have a fairly square piece. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll through the settings again and you should end up with a sheet with straight edges. 

Now its time to shape your pasta. To make tagliatelle flour the dough and fold it in half, continue to do this till you have a thin roll of pasta. Using a sharp knife cut the pasta into equal thickness strands and then separate them. I hung my pasta over a wire hanger whilst I made the rest of the pasta. 

This mixture makes more than enough for 2 people, but would probably serve 4 for a small starter.

Garlicky Mushroom & Leek Sauce

Serves 2
You will need-

  • 1 small leek (or half a large)
  • A small knob of butter
  • A handful of cubed pancetta
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic (use less if you prefer)
  • 5/6 sliced chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 small tub of creme fraiche
Begin by cooking the pancetta in a frying pan over a medium heat. After 5 minutes or so add the butter, leeks and garlic and gently cook until soft. Finally add the mushrooms and cook on a medium low heat for around 5 minutes. Once cooked turn the heat off and add the creme fraiche to the mixture. Place a pan of salted water on to boil then cook your pasta for 3 minutes. Finally drain the pasta reserving a little of the cooking water then add the pasta and the reserved water to the frying pan and coat the pasta with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and plenty of pepper and serve immediately.

Mill Road Winter Fair, Cambridge

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If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me talking about a stall that I will be having at the Mill Road Winter Fair this Saturday (3rd December) It will be the first time I will doing this sort of thing so if you are in the Cambridge area pop by and say hello! I will be baking some favourites from my blog along with some Bosnian treats. 

This week I am getting together the final touches and can't wait to start baking! I'll be sure to take lots of photos and will share them some time next week.

To find out more information about Mill Road Winter Fair visit here.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Vegetarian Pho

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I am a huge fan of soup and this Pho is not exception. I first tried it quite recently in Berlin and have been day dreaming about it ever since. It has magical warming powers and gives your imune system a good boost. The recipe is fantastic because you can mix and match your toppings and garnishes depending on what you like and have to hand. If you're not a fan of star anise (like me..the smells reminds me of sambuca shots, but lets not go there) stick with it and use it, the mix of the spices are pretty magical.

Recipe adapted from the kitchn
Serves 2

The Broth
  • 3 inch cinnamon stick, Vietnamese cassia cinnamon if you can find
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and halved lengthways
  • 4 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock- I couldn't find unsalted so just used organic
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (I have also used vermicelli rice noodles and they worked really well too)
Toppings- all optional
  • Fried or baked tofu
  • Dumplings
  • Mushrooms
  • Pak Choi
  • Brocolli
Garnishes- all optional
  • 1/2 an onion thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 1 chilli, sliced
  • Lime wedges
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • Fresh herbs like coriander & thai basil
  • Chilli & Garlic sauce, hoisin sauce

To make the broth hold the onion and ginger with tongs over an open flame or place under a grill till they get slightly blackened then rinse with water. This will give the soup a slightly smokey flavour.

Place a large saucepan over a medium low heat and dry roast the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and coriander for 5-10 minutes or until they are aromatic. Be sure to stir them to prevent them burning. Next add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots and the charred ginger and onion, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on the pan for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are up strain and keep the soup hot until you are ready to eat.

Whilst the soup is cook your noodles according to their instructions and place in the bowls. Next assemble your other toppings in the bowls and prepare your garnishes. Finally pour the soup into the bowls and top with your garnishes. The kitchn has a nice idea of serving all the garnishes on the table so that  diners can pick and choose what they would like. It would be lovely to serve this soup for a big meal with friends. One lesson I did learn though was that I need to buy bigger, deeper bowls for this soup and as this soup has already become a firm favourite in our house it is something I am hoping to track down this weekend.

On a completely different note, on Friday evening is the FoodCycle Festive Feast at St Paul's Centre, Cambridge. The event is in conjunction with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. They will be providing a 3 course meal in the best way FoodCycle do, by using surplus food. To find out more information and to get tickets see their event page

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hazelnut & Chocolate Butter

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I only recently discovered that you could make butter from nuts very easily and quickly and although I am probably really late jumping on the bandwagon I thought it would be worth sharing it anyway. The first time around I made peanut butter using just a mixture of salted and dry roasted peanuts and the result was delicious. Because you don't need to add anything else to the mixture it ends up being a lot better for you than the shop bought equivalent. All you need to make a nut butter is a small food processor with a blade and your chosen nuts.

You will need-
  • Whole hazelnuts
  • Mix of dark and milk chocolate chips- the amount depends on how many nuts you are using so do it to your taste
Pre-heat your oven to around 120C then place your hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for around 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as you don't want them to burn. Once they are baked remove them from the oven and wrap them in a tea towel straight away. Leave for a few minutes so they steam as this should help you to remove the skins. Grab the bundle of nuts and rub them vigorously together to remove the skins. They will not all come off so you may need to keep going for a while. Don't worry about getting them 100% clean but its good to not have too much skin left as it will effect the flavour.

Pour the nuts into your food processor and get grinding.
Keep going, make sure you scrape the sides down regularly
Thats about it.
Add your chocolate chips and mix for another 30seconds or so till incorporated.

Move to a sterilized jar and keep in the fridge. I love to eat it spread on apple slices but it would be great used in cakes, mixed into ice-cream or just eaten on toast.

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Freezer Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I don't know about you but there are often occasions in the evening when I crave a chocolate chip cookie. Normally I don't have the energy or ingredients to whip up a whole batch which is where this recipe comes in super useful. All you need to do is pre-heat your oven and 20 minutes later you have a freshly baked cookie(s). It means that you don't have to eat through all 16 cookies while they're fresh but it also means that you have freshly baked cookies to your disposal. In my world this is perfect, but if you don't have the greatest will-power they may not last very long in the freezer.

Recipe adapted from the very famous Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe.
You will need-

  • 1 cup minus 1tbsp cake flour
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cups bread flour
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 5oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 5oz light brown sugar
  • 4oz granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 5oz dark chocolate chips
  • 5oz milk chocolate chips

To begin sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt and put to one side. Next beat together the sugars and butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and then vanilla and mix until combined. Next add the dry ingredients and mix until it all comes together (no more than 10 seconds). Finally stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

If you decide not to freeze the dough the mixture still needs to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours, although if you have the patience, 48 hours is even better. If you decide to do that then place clingfilm over the bowl and place in the fridge till needed. (Cook as instructed below but for slightly less time)

If you do decide to freeze these (good call) then prepare some sheets of foil and roll the dough into balls, then press into discs. Leave some space between each cookie and then wrap them in the foil. Place in the freezer till you fancy some cookies.

When you get a late night craving preheat your oven to 180C, place the cookie(s) on a baking tray prepared with greaseproof paper and bake for around 20minutes. You want the edges of the cookies to be golden brown but still soft in the middle. Leave them to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack (or eat)

Enjoy x

Monday, 14 November 2011

Chickpea & Spinach Curry

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For the last 6 or so months Tim and I have been eating very little meat. We were never huge meat eaters but we have gone from maybe eating it twice a week to a few times a month. I love cooking vegetarian food as I feel that you have to be a bit more inventive than just sticking a piece of meat on a plate with some vegetables. For a long time I have believed that people shouldn't eat so much meat. Not just for sustainability but also for health. We very rarely buy meat now because we believe that if you do eat meat it should be the best quality and animal welfare you can afford. I also think its the recent surge of chefs who have been sharing vegetarian recipes like Ottolenghi & Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall who have shown that eating vegetarian doesn't just involve goats cheese tarts and veggie sausages and they have encouraged more and more people to give up meat or eat it a lot less.

The recipe I am sharing today may seem like a bit of a typical vegetarian recipe because of the chickpeas but feed it to any meat eater and they are bound to not just love it, but not even notice the lack of meat.

Serves 2 but can easily be doubled
You will need-
  • 1/2 cup rice, I used brown rice but you could use pilau or any other rice you may have
  • 1 small onion, sliced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
  • 1 1/2 cups passata
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 blocks of frozen spinach or half a bag of fresh
  • 3 lime wedges
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • Fresh coriander
Put your rice on to cook according to the pack instructions.

Place a large saucepan on a medium heat and heat the oil for a few minutes. Next add the onion and garlic and cook for around 5 minutes till soft. Add the curry powder and ginger and cook for a further 1 minute.

Now add the chickpeas, tomato sauce, spinach and 3/4 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper, stir well then bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture thickens.

Squeeze in the juice from 1 of the lime wedges and stir well. Serve with the rice, top with a tablespoon of yogurt, sprinkle with some fresh coriander and a wedge of lime.

Enjoy x

Just a little reminder, you can now print and save all of my recipes by click the print icon below. It also gives you the option to remove images so its easier to follow recipes whilst cooking.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pesto Pull Apart Bread

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As many of you may know I made my first savory pull apart bread quite recently. It was a real success, so tasty and moorish that I just couldn't resist making a different variety this weekend. This is a pretty simple bread recipe so its definitely worth a try even if you aren't an avid baker and its sure to impress. After such a late night last night it has been a true saviour. I love eating it on its own as a snack but its great alongside most meals. This time round I made my own basil pesto but you could always use rocket to change it up a little bit or make the sundried tomato version I made last time.

You will need-
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1x 7g pouch of dry yeast
  • 2 + 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1/4 to 1/8 freshly grated parmesan
  • Olive oil
Start by combining the water and yeast in a large bowl and then set aside for around 5 minutes. While you're waiting mix together 1 cup of flour, the sugar, salt and butter in a separate bowl. 

When the 5 minutes are up add the flour mixture to the yeast and mix until it is all incorporated. I used dough hooks on my hand mixer but you could use a wooden spoon or if you're lucky enough to own one, a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Next add the egg and mix for a few more minutes.

Then slowly start adding the remaining flour whilst constantly mixing until a soft dough is formed. It should pull apart from the sides. You may need to use a little more or a little less flour. Overall you should have a slightly wet dough so don't add too much flour.

Place the dough in a floured bowl in a warm place covered with a tea towel for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Whilst the dough is rising make your pesto. Begin by toasting your pine nuts either in a frying pan or in the over till lightly golden. Next pick your basil and peel your garlic.

Firstly place your garlic in your food processor and blitz for a few seconds. Then add the basil, parmesan, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil and blitz again. Scrape the sides down and season with pepper. Add a little more oil if needed so you get a slightly runny consistency.

When your dough is ready knock all the air out and then roll out thin onto a floured surface. Spread the pesto evenly over the whole thing and grate a little extra parmesan ontop.

Cut the dough into equal strips and then cut those into squares. Oil and flour a bread tin an then place the slices in sideways into the tin. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes till it has nearly doubled in size. Pre-heat your oven to 170C

Once the dough has risen bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Once it has baked leave it to cool in the tin for around 20 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool. Pull the layers off to eat.

Enjoy x
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