Tuesday’s Tip of the Week, a few ideas that can help make home-made pasta a success

Like I may have mentioned before, there’s a great sense of satisfaction and gratification that comes with eating home-made pasta. I always feel (whether the feeling is merited or just a figment of my imagination, I don’t know) that there’s something different in the texture and taste to the off the shelf variety. Not to mention the added flexibility especially when it comes to making stuffed pastas such as ravioli or tortellini. Anyway, home-made pasta is an easy process with pretty consistent results if you follow a few basic rules.

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A great looking and fairly successful desert. Caramelized pumpkin with Dulche De Leche cream and spiced chocolate ganache.

No one can claim it's not striking.

Unfortunately not every dish I try is a success , some fall flat (far more than I’d like to recall) on their face while others, while not becoming straight up winners, show promise and I’d like to think, with some work here and there can become stars in their own right. Also, it’s about time I shared a desert here; but not my forte these sweets.

I’d like to share one such example, this odd combination of pumpkin, condensed milk and spicy chocolate ganache. While it looks impressive (at least I think it does) the flavors didn’t really live up to their potential. I’ll give you the recipe I’ve used in the dish along with potential areas for improvement that I think will make it better. And then, once I do the new and improved version, I’ll definitely be sharing that.  Continue reading “A great looking and fairly successful desert. Caramelized pumpkin with Dulche De Leche cream and spiced chocolate ganache.”

Clementine zest salad. Superfresh.

Superfresh!

At home we seem to be going through somewhat of a citrus zest awakening; the stuff is gold! It just brightens up almost any dish and is very rightly named zest. Mind you, it packs a punch and going just a bit over with zest can leave a dish tasting of very little else.

This salad here is as simple as a salad should be (pretty damn simple) but the different elements come together in a way that’s (please excuse the word) sensational. The freshness and sharpness from the zest and dressing is tempered by the earthiness of the mushrooms and almonds. A guaranteed winner!

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Tuesday’s Tip of the Week, making sure your fish has nice, crispy skin

One of life’s pleasures is eating a nice fish fillet with beautiful crispy skin. Cooking a fish fillet well isn’t that difficult, it’s just a few simple steps and rules to follow and you’ll be guaranteed close to perfect results.

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Oh my Steak!

This is the medium well steak, took better pictures of it.

So… we had steak last night, and for some reason, it was almost perfect, dare I say, one of the best steaks I have ever tried. Not to toot my own horn or anything. Seriously though, I was fortunate that everything went right from the get go; I found two lovely and marbelized thick pieces of New Zealand tenderloin at the supermarket (always a good start), I had ample time to marinade the steaks (the steaks marinated for about 6 hours) and had managed to sort out the cooking without making any mistakes.

Mmmmmmmm

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Tuesday’s Tip of The Week, went crazy with the salt? Here’s a good recovery plan…

It’s happened to me many times before; poured in salt through the larger opening, misread the amount of salt required or even just zoned out while pouring in the salt. Here’s a quick, easy and quite effective fix for the problem. Sadly though, it only works with sauces, soups, stews etc.

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Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli…home made pasta, nothing quite like it!

There’s something really special about making your own pasta at home… the process itself is a lot of fun, and then the flexibility that comes with having fresh pasta sheets as a blank canvas to fill with whatever you want is pretty cool. Not to mention that it usually tastes far better than dry supermarket variety; and there’s a very nice sense of accomplishment that comes along with eating it.

The filling for this ravioli is pretty classical and straightforward, however, I pair it with a sauce I’ve refined over time, and I feel that together they make a winning combo. The dish can be served as either a first course or a main. It really is a knockout combo, the creamy sharpness of the wine and parmesan of the sauce are balanced by the richness of the filling, and all the way through, the spinach adds this freshness that really pleases the palate.

Sadly, I have no picture for this dish yet (last time I made it I cut the ravioli very badly, looked pretty un-charismatic) but since we do this dish at home fairly regularly, I’m sure I’ll be adding the pictures soon. Instead, after the jump is a picture of my wife and I at the fabulous taste of Dubai food festival that anyone who can should attend. We’re with (fairly famous) chef Aldo Zilli after chasing him to get my certificate for his class signed.

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Waldorf Risotto? Why, yes please!

Really could've used something green as a garnish over the top.

I love risottos. Even more than I do pastas; they’re much more of a blank canvas, and their inherent creaminess means that flavours can be added to them without the need of an extra sauce. Basically, any flavour combination that you like can probably be incorporated well into a risotto somehow.

So, I tried this one out the other day, I wanted to do a Waldorf Salad but as a risotto… turned out really nicely. It’s just a standard risotto with the apples, toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese added at the end. The result was a fairly light and very delicate dish, if I have any qualms with the dish it’s that I probably would use cider or apple juice instead of wine at the start, and I would’ve garnished the plate with some nice arugula. Pretty simple; hope you enjoy 🙂

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Tuesday’s Tip of the Week, Thickening Sauces

There’s a million ways to thicken sauces, some that have an impact on flavour and others that don’t… here I’ll share my experiences with my favoured methods, and the failures and successes I’ve had with them.

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Something different? Here’s an interesting looking starter (doesn’t taste too bad either).

 

With fresh basil leaves on the side dressed with a simple balsamic/Dijon dressing.

Steamed artichoke with roasted goat cheese, sun-dried tomato tappenade and black olive foam:

So, this is a bunch of different elements that are great alone, but combined just  come together really well and explode with flavour. The underlying theme here is lightness and freshness, almost all the elements on the dish are uncooked. There’s nothing too fancy in terms of technique, but I can guarantee you will get great feedback for this dish. It certainly can’t be served as anything but an appetizer, but a well sized on at that.

Continue reading “Something different? Here’s an interesting looking starter (doesn’t taste too bad either).”