Puff pastry sold in supermarkets is a genius intervention. I know some people believe firmly in making everything from scratch. but puff pastry is one of those things which the homemade handmade version is no different from the ones sold ready-made in supermarkets. In fact, sometimes the former falls short of the latter. So with making your own puff pastry being so time-consuming, why not just pay a little and make your life easier?
Then again, that’s just me.
Well then, back to topic, these little babies are so easy to make, you’d be smiling from ear to ear by the time they’re on your dining table. They’re also one of them quick treats you can whip up if you’ve got guests coming round on short notice. Here’s how:
- If your pastry is already pre-rolled, that’s good. If not, roll it out till it’s about 5mm thick.
- Cut them into little rectangles and score a border around all four sides of each piece.
- You can brush them with an egg wash, if you want. Then, lay pieces of sliced tomatoes atop, fitting them within the scored borders.
- Crack a little sea salt on each and pop them into the pre-heated oven, top rack at 200ªC for about 10 minutes before lowering to 180ªC for another 10 minutes or so. Remove once the pastry is nicely browned.
- When fresh out of the oven, drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a small pinch of dried basil.
- Let them cool on a cooling rack and serve when no longer piping hot.
This is probably one of the best ways to have peppers, when they are the limelight of the show, no distractions, except for the lovely crunch of added pine nut or peanuts.
- In a hot skillet with a small knob of butter, let the butter foam till the foaming subsides.
- Toss in minced garlic and chopped red onion and fry till fragrant.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Toss in the chopped peppers. Usually recipes of this kind call for only yellow and red peppers ‘cos they’re sweeter than the green ones, but I’m greedy so I add all three colours.
- Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Yes, season the yellow, red and green peppers with black pepper.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and put a lid on. Let the peppers simmer happily for about 10 minutes; you wanna be doing this to extract the full flavour of the peppers.
- While waiting, set your pasta boiling away, as per instructions on packaging.
- Splash some red wine vinegar into the peppers and let it reduce slightly. If the Aroma Fairies don’t come by again, something’s not quite right.
- Drain your cooked pasta and add to the pan of peppers. Drizzle a good lug of extra virgin olive oil to deglaze the pan.
- Toss in pine nuts, or the cheaper alternative of peanuts. Mix everything up good.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.
I’ve stopped using recipes for pizza doughs because I enjoy the thrill of having a different bread dough each time round. But of course, if you’re looking for a splendid thin crust pizza dough, use this recipe.
So after tossing flour, yeast, salt, oil and water into a bowl, and kneading away for at least 5 minutes, I had a dough ready for pizza. The routine here is to let the dough sit and rise in a bowl under a damp towel or cling film for at least 40 minutes, before rolling it out and laying your toppings on.
In this case, I made a quick tomatoey sauce base, and put on green olives, capers, and chopped cherry tomatoes, sent it into the oven till it was done and crumbled chunks of Greek Feta on. Then, serve with a variety of fresh salad leaves e.g. arugula, spinach, mixed lettuce and frills, etc.
Go crazy with the greens, if you wish.
Mushrooms, tomatoes and basil are a winning combination.
- In a hot skillet, melt a knob of butter till it foams. When the foaming subsides, it means the pan is hot enough and ready.
- Toss in the chopped brown chestnut mushrooms and sautéed them till almost brown.
- Then add the chopped cherry tomatoes.
- Crack in a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
- Add a small pinch of basil.
- Also, add in a small clove of garlic, finely minced.
- Mix it all up, and remove from the pan once the tomatoes have shrivel slightly.
- To deglaze the skillet and toast up some bread, toss in a small knob of butter and swirl it round.
- Likewise, once the foaming subsides, place the pieces of bread on. Flip as soon as they’re golden.
- In the meantime, roughly chop up some mixed salad leafs.
- Serve the bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]) with a small drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
This was just an excuse to use the new plate, really.
I’ve posted this recipe before, and we’re all pretty familiar with Aglio Olio and how it tastes. Yesterday, for a friend’s housewarming party, I made some with fusilli, as opposed to the conventional spaghetti. I guess the key really is about garlic-olive oil mixture and getting it right. Once you’ve got the seasoning right, any pasta works in this crowd-pleaser.
Here’s what makes up that awesome garlic flavour:
- garlic, minced
- red chilli, minced
- basil leaves, minced
- dried basil leaves
- dried oregano leaves
- fresh parsley, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- crushed sea salt
- olive oil
- shaved parmesan
A winner. (:
Circular Microwaved Eggs
Most people probably already know this but here’s for those who don’t.
The microwave is awesome, especially when you wanna have an egg ready-to-eat in 30 seconds. It’s super round, and cooked hassle-free with a mix of hard-cooked and soft-runny texture.
What you’ll need:
- A small microwave-safe dish (above)
- An egg
- A microwave
What to do:
- Crack the egg into the dish.
- Stick it into the microwave.
- Press ’30 seconds’ and ‘Start’.
- When it’s done, use a spoon to get it out in one swift circular motion.
- If you want, add salt, or soy sauce, and pepper.
TIP! If you don’t have a small dish, use a mug! Or maybe try out it with a square dish!
If deep-fried food was not sinful, if it contained no cholesterol nor calories, would you eat it every day? I know I would. Anyway, here’s an amazingly easy recipe for Deep-Frying Batter. I won’t give exact amounts ‘cos what you want to know is the consistency of the batter; that way, you’ll be able to make whatever amount you need.
These are the things you need:
- Mixing bowl
- Self-Raising Flour
- Get some flour into that mixing bowl and add beer in small amounts little by little.
- Whisk as you go along, until you eventually get a creamy texture.
- Then, add salt at your own discretion.
- There, your batter is done!
You can deep-fry practically anything, fish sticks, small chicken fillets, shrimps, or clams. What’s REALLY so very incredibly good with this batter is Green Beans. The dance of bouncy bean flavour and crunchy light batter is phenomenal.
N.B. Make sure your oil is hot enough before you deep fry. I usually just drip a tiny drop of batter in as a test. If it sizzles itself crazy, then the oil is ready.
Cheers, to deep-fried food!
Before I begin, I’d like to highlight that Tom Yum Spaghetti is my mother’s brainchild. If you’ve heard it from anywhere else, it’s probably travelled via word-of-mouth all the way to you. My knees crumbled the first time she did this for dinner, so I begged her to make it again for my 20th birthday gathering.
This really takes Asian-Western fusion to the next level. Know what Tom Yum Soup is? Well, take that, minus all the water, and fry with spaghetti. In essence, it’s a fried spaghetti dish much like Aglio Olio, just that instead of basil, oregano and olive oil, it’s Tom Yum Paste. No idea what that is?
It looks a little something like this:
This is done best with seafood i.e. prawns, mussels and fishcake. But it can be done vegetarian as well, with mushrooms, eggs and chives. If you want an extra crunch, use red or yellow peppers, or carrots. Don’t forget the slice of ginger and minced garlic!
P.S. This works with fusilli too:
Bolognese Brilliance: no serious slurping, no mess, just awesome food.
Building on from Springy Bolognese, I’ve decided to list some numbers and ingredients for this massively easy pasta dish. Its hearty and satisfying; perfect for that one time when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. Hurhur.
The brilliant thing about bolognese is that there’s no hard and fast rule about what goes inside. To me, it’s like Chinese Fried Rice; you add whatever tickles your fancy. Personally, I aim for ‘colourful’.
So here’s what I had in mine this time. Extremely extravagant.
- 1 third of pasta from a standard size quick cook spaghetti pack
- 1 handful of chopped red pepper
- 1 handful of chopped yellow pepper
- 1 handful of peas, frozen works the same
- 1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 white onions, minced
- 1 third of a finger chilli, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
- 50g of double concentrate tomato puree
- half tbsp of dried basil
- 1 handful of finely grated cheddar (if you have parmesan, even better)
- 1 handful of fresh rocket (optional)
- 1 handful of beef minced (omit this is you’re vegetarian)
With all the ingredients ready, what you’re going for now is efficiency and speed. No mucking about. You’re hungry, and if you’re not about getting angry yet, your stomach is. A hungry man is an angry man. Whatever.
This is how to roll:
- Since we’re going for speed, quick-cook pasta is the key choice here. Get that in a pot of boiling water and let it work its magic. If you believe in the Italian saying that ”the water for pasta cooking should be as salty as the Mediterranean”, then go right ahead and salt that water.
- While that’s happening, get another pot/wok on the hob too. If your peas are frozen, get them straight in, together with that knob of butter. If not, get everything you want in your bolognese e.g. onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. and dump them in. Let them fry about while you wash up your chopping board and knife, and welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- When they (the ingredients, not fairies) are just about done, in goes the minced beef. Toss.
- Then, tomato puree goes in too. Here’s a tip. Instead of using plain water to dilute your sauce, get some of that starchy pasta water, about half a cup full and pour it into the sauce. Happy days.
- Mix about before adding the dried basil. Mix some more and taste. Season with salt and pepper your liking. Turn the heat off.
- Your pasta should be done, so drain the water out and get it straight into your superb bolognese sauce. Toss about, coating every strand of that spaghetti in red goodness. Move all to a serving dish.
- Top with fresh rocket leaves. Then, grate your cheese straight onto everything.
I slept in today and was inexplicably lazy to get food. This was sort of a suggestion from a friend this morning, and it came at the perfect time.
It’s a segment off Nigella Bites, so watch it here, from 0:45 onwards. Saves me the trouble of attempting to transcribe the goddess’ every word.
Here’s about what you’ll need:
- a single serving of long pasta, depending on how much you can slurp at a go
- two egg yolks
- 70g of parmesan, or as much as you want
- 100ml of cream, or just enough to make the sauce perfectly creamy
- zest of half a lemon
- juice of half a lemon
- 50g of butter
I made a few changes and came up with this; I can’t do without my meat. Plus, the peas added a lovely burst of sweetness in every bite. (;