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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spice me up


fresh harvest
left to right - jalapeno, sweet chili and cayenne (also used in the ravioli)

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce



With a bit of free time to spare this weekend, some quality time was spent with the pasta machine :) The thing with fresh pasta is that its actually quite easy to do, takes no time to cook, quite filling and can be very tasty in the right hands! This weekend's fresh pasta is stuffed, in the form of a ravioli. (I believe that the difference in the names, btw, of the stuffed pastas like tortellini, tortelli, pansotti, etc. Check them out here)

The stuffing is made of butternut squash, roasted in the oven and then mashed and mixed with parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and flavored with fresh sage.

To make fresh pasta, check out this previous post. However, since this is a ravioli, we would have to cut the pasta accordingly.




proportions : 1 cup Tipo 00 flour, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon oil (spanish olive oil in this instance), pinch of salt

To make the stuffing you will need:

1 medium sized butternut squash
handful of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
2 green cayenne chillis, minced
salt and pepper, olive oil to taste

Cut butternut squash lengthwise and season with a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil then bake in 180C oven for around 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft (for some reason i just chucked it into the oven without even taking the seeds off - easier when its softer anyway!). Spoon flesh into a sieve (for extra smoothness). Add breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, chili (optional), salt and pepper and mix until well combined. The mixture should be quite dry so that the pasta will not weigh down and get mushy with excess moisture.



After making your pasta paper thin at the smallest setting of your pasta machine, keep them in tea towels and sprinkle with a bit more flour, so they don't dry out.



Place heaped teaspoons of the stuffing, spaced adequately.



With a wet finger draw a border on the sides of the fillings. This is to help seal the pasta. Place the other sheet of pasta on top of the fillings, and cut with either a knife or a fancy serrated roller if you have one (ahem).


make sure to remove little pockets of air to seal the stuffing



post cutting photo pose

Boil the ravioli in salted water until it floats on top, and if it is made within the hour of making the pasta it would only take about a minute or two. Drain excess water and top with sauce.

Sauce :
knob of butter
10 small sage leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat olive oil and butter in a small frying pan until the butter is melted and has slightly changed color. Fry sage leaves until crisp, remove and top ravioli with leaves and butter-oil mixture. Serve immediately!!!!


eat me!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Doughnut Flavored Muffins

Another recipe from the Baking Bible - quick and tasty muffins flavored with nutmeg and cinnamon. Perfect for that afternoon tea.

Ingredients :

1 3/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup castor sugar (i used a little less than 3/4 of a cup)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

for the topping, the recipe called for 120g melted butter, 3/4 cup castor sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon - but this cinnamon sugar would be enough for several batches - I only used 3 teaspoons of sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and still had some left over.



Dry ingredients except for sugar are sifted and mixed together



wet ingredients are whisked together with the sugar until it was well incorporated.
this is then poured into the dry ingredients, and stirred to combine.


20 minutes in a pre-heated 180C oven


for the topping, brush the melted butter then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top

Pack away to take to office, and share :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

La Plaza de Mercado

Running on its fifth year, the La Plaza de Mercado, hosted by the Queen Victoria Market, provides a lively Spanish/Latin American 'market within a market' setup, complete with a live band and the delectable Spanish treats that will is always a hit particularly for meat lovers.



which way to go?

Various stalls from Spanish/Latin American restaurants around Melbourne filled the air with the aromas of their lovely food. This stall (from Los Amates) was selling Chilaquiles - layers of softened tortillas, chicken, cheese, refried beans, topped with sour cream or salsa verde.


Was expecting a bit more heat from this dish that sort of looks like a mess -
but do not be deceived -
it was definitely delicious

Several interesting refreshments such as the hibiscus water and horchata - rice water (or more like rice milk) flavored with cinnamon were also available and could not be missed in their huge containers lined up on the table, a big splash of color promising to quench any thirst!


take your pick!


refreshing horchata

And this Spanish treat would not be complete without churros, the "Spanish doughnuts", fried dough with crisp ridged exterior, often served for breakfast in Spain.


yum!

Other delicious smelling dishes include the seafood and chicken cazuela, served in huge pots and with a wedge of tortilla ('potato omelet').



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Mi fin de semana...
fui a un fiesta "La Plaza de Mercado"
con mi novio,
amigo y amiga.
Domingo en la tarde comi chilaquiles y bebi horchata!


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flower Power

Please name at least three!























Friday, April 17, 2009

Billy Elliot the Musical


A must see ! Parental guidance is recommended due to use of foul language. Might be a tearjerker for some, but definitely a cracker. The story revolves about a boy living around the time of the British strike (said to be the longest miner strike in history), where he swapped boxing for ballet. Sounds simple? See for yourself!

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From Ticketek :

It’s one of today's most successful musicals.. It has broken box office records time and time again.. It has been named the number one show of the year by Time Magazine...With music by Elton John, this multi award-winning musical, Billy Elliot, is an international phenomenon. This is the last Australian stop and in Melbourne for a strictly limited season only. So, don’t miss your chance to be a part of this musical sensation, make sure you secure your tickets.

"The Best Show You'll Ever See!"- New York Post

Check out the Venue here

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Sea Bundled in Paper


talk about a big bundle of joy!



Easter Saturday fish and chips at Philip Island

Remembering Palawan

Sometime around this time of the year, last year. Snapshots of random stuff around the island.






Friday, April 10, 2009

Dos Equis Ambar

Quieres beber cerveza? What about a Dos Equis Ambar?

Having been earmarked at ths hop after the success of its green summer counterpart, Dos Equis Ambar is described as its 'dark, moody, passionate cousin' - a Vienna style amber lager with rich, big flavor.

However I would have to say that the green bottle wins this contest :)

Michael Franti in Melbourne

7 April at Ferntree Gully Hotel
Michael Franti and Friends

Gig description :

Following on from 2008’s sold out performances, Michael Franti returns to Melbourne in April for a series of intimate performances. Stepping out of the usual Franti format, these shows will see Michael Franti perform in a unique acoustic environment, alongside some very special friends.

A Californian-born poet, musician and composer, Franti blends hip hop, funk and reggae together with his outspoken political and progressive lyrics and has gone on to become renowned as not only a worldwide million-selling recording artist, but also a leader in the peace and social justice movement.

Franti returns off the back of his critically acclaimed release All Rebel Rockers (out now through Liberator). All Rebel Rockers deviates from the past Franti sound, instead comprising a hybrid dub-infused soul flavour with some hard-hitting dub rock production.

Franti’s last Australian tour drew rave reviews, and as he returns in 2009 in acoustic mode with friends, these shows are not to be missed.


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Looking forward to the next gig!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lemon Tart

It was one lazy day and the Rachel Allen Bake! show was on, and it gave inspiration to making this lemon tart. The general comments from the group she was teaching at the time was that the tart was "fresh", "very citrusy" or "lemony" than "sweet", and I particularly liked the tips on making the pastry. So, a google search later, the recipe was downloaded and the mission was to make a successful first attempt at lemon pie.

Rachel Allen's lemon tart recipe can be found here. This recipe endured minor personal tweaks, of course.

For the Pastry :
200 g sifted plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
100g butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg, beaten

You can either use a food processor to mix all the ingredients together, except use only half of the beaten egg (just enough to bind it together). You can also do it the old fashioned way and rub it between your fingers till you get the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs (a personal preference).

Rachel suggests that you
- flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm thick, then wrap it in cling film or place it in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10–15 minutes, before using.
- Line a 23cm tart tin with the shortcrust pastry and cover the base with baking parchment. Fill the tin with baking beans and bake blind for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment for the last five minutes of baking for a golden crust. (they forgot to mention in the online recipe to brush the pastry with the remaining egg wash - which you may want to do so that the filling does not seep out)




For the filling - the original recipe calls for:
3 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 3 lemons
juice of 1 orange
125g caster sugar
150ml double cream

The eggs, lemon zest and sugar are whisked in a bowl. Add the cream, orange and lemon juice. Mix well, skimming off any froth from the top of the mixture. Carefully pour the filling into the cooked pastry case. I used a little jug with a spout and had the baking tray taken out halfway from the oven and fill it up from there just to reduce chances of spilling. Bake at 160C for 30-35 minutes or until the filling has just set in the centre – Rachel says "it should only wobble very slightly when you take it out of the oven. "


"Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing the tart from the tin and transferring to a plate or cake stand. When it is cool, dredge a little icing sugar over the top and cut into slices to serve. "

This version is served with a little dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Home Made Water Crackers with Smoked Salmon

It may appear that for some reason there was this void in this particular blogspace... and for a number of days this page became almost uninhabited.... as though the lights had gone out permanently after earth hour... or the blip had disappeared in the radar... or just basically flatlined...

and while that is true there is no point dwelling in the past to explain the why's and how's...

but it is great to be back in cyberspace, flexing these fingers away!

so here's the inundation of backlog of posts. just like the flour sitting untouched in the pantry for quite some time, it's time to get back to basics and what better way to start than with something simple - water crackers.

Taken from the Baking Bible (just like this other recipe)

five pantry ingredients :
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
30g cold butter, cut into small pieces
sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease baking tray.

Sift together flour, baking powder and plain salt. Rub butter into flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in just enough water to bring the ingredients together into a firm dough.


measure!

Roll out dough to about 5mm in thickness and cut into small rounds or whatever shape you like. For this I used a circular ravioli cutter and it worked out perfectly. Gather leftover dough and keep on cutting until there's almost none left!

Place on baking tray and lightly prick with a fork. (I forgot this step so the crackers inflated a bit)

Brush with water and sprinkle with sea salt. I also cracked some fresh ground pepper on top before baking it for 10 minutes until golden.


brush!

Makes around 30 good sized little biccies and a great base for fingerfood - spread a little bit of ricotta on the cracker, add a rolled up smoked salmon, half a caper, tiny sprig of dill and a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice. The cracker is already seasoned with salt and pepper (and the sea salt provides a little crunch!) so all in all a tasty package!



Those Who Stopped By

Scribe's Notes

This pitstop is where incoherent ramblings seem to have meaning, where things or events are thought of and assessed, where great things are documented and perhaps any not-so-good happenings are written down in attempt to be forgotten!

So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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