Tag: italian

Spaghetti Eggcetera – 1977 vs 2016

Imagine a room lit only by an overhead light.  Facing each other off across a dining table are 1977’s The A-Z of Cooking and me.  With a flourish worthy of a hot stepping disco move straight out of Saturday Night Fever, the A-Z of Cooking, looking like a young and studly John Travolta  places a dish of pasta onto the table, right into the beam of light. 

“I’m calling it Spaghetti Etcetera” It says, with a sneer worthy of a Sex Pistol flipping the bird to the Queen.

Spaghetti Etcetera

I stare at the pasta.  “Looks good”

“Good it tastes too” says the A-Z of Cooking which has now transformed into Yoda.

“But I will take your Spaghetti Etcetera and top it with an egg.  And I will call it Spaghetti Eggcetera”.

Spaghetti Eggcetera“I’m not  finished with you” says The A_Z of Cooking and slinks away with all the dignity of the King of Rock and Roll, Mr Elvis Presley dying on a toilet.

And that my friends, is how I defeated 1977 in the battle of “Let’s Give a Plate of Pasta The Most Stupid Name Ever”.

Spaghetti Etcetera2

Spaghetti Etcetera is from the Informal Suppers Chapter of The A-Z.  Which is maybe why they chose such a lackadaisical name.  Then again, the other recipes in the chapter aren’t called Pizza with Stuff on it, Pork Whatever or Who Gives A Toss Potato Salad so who knows what the thought behind this name was. 

Regardless of the silly name it is delicious.!

The Etcetera is bacon, black olives, mushrooms, anchovies, onions,garlic and parsley.  Otherwise known as the Magnificent Seven of good things to have with pasta.   This was a really quick and easy weeknight supper- you can make the topping whilst the pasta cooks so you can go from fridge to table in around 20 minutes!   Top with a mix of Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and some chilli flakes, you have a delicious  dish! 

It’s so good –  salty crispy bacon, salty and briny olives, earthy, silky mushrooms, sweet caramelised onions and garlic, fresh and bright parsley with  some umami depth from the anchovies.  Add some bite from the chilli, some more umami and a touch of creaminess from the  Parmesan and you have a dish jam packed full of flavour!

Spaghetti Etcetera3But if you want to take to an entirely new level, why not add an egg and turn it into a Spaghetti Eggcetera?

I used a fried egg but a poached egg would work just as well.  I am also about to experiment with steaming eggs which I think would work really well here too.  Alternatively, if you are runny yolk phobic, you could crack the entire egg into the hot, drained spaghetti, a la Carbonara, so the heat from the spaghetti cooks the egg. It will taste delicious, but will not look as pretty.  Also don’t read the next sentence.  Come back after the photo for the recipe.

Okay,  now those weirdo’s scared of runny eggs are gone,  can I tell the rest of you that breaking into that yolk and then mixing it through the cheese and bacon and mushrooms is a thing of beauty and has an almost addictive joy to it. 

Spaghetti Eggcetera2

 

Spaghetti Eggcetera
Serves 4
A super tasty, super speedy pasta dish, perfect for a weeknight supper.
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Ingredients
  1. 200g spaghetti
  2. 200g mushrooms, sliced
  3. 2 onions, thinly sliced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  6. 6 bacon rashers, chopped
  7. 16 black olives, stoned
  8. 4 tbsp parsley, chopped plus more for garnish
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 3 tbsp olive oil,
  11. Parmesan cheese to garnish
  12. Chilli flakes to garnish
Instructions
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon, anchovy fillets and onions in the oil until caramelised around ten minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms and parsley, cover and cook for another five minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  4. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking poach or fry your eggs, leaving the egg yolk runny.
  5. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it well, return to the pan and stir through the bacon and mushroom.
  6. Serve onto four plates, top with the egg
  7. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, chilli flakes and fresh parsley.
  8. Enjoy.
Notes
  1. Don't worry if you do not like anchovies, they break down leaving absolutely no fishy taste at all.
  2. Runny egg phobics - break your eggs into the drained spaghetti at step 5, just before adding the bacon and mushrooms. The heat from the spaghetti will cook the eggs as you stir the ingredients through.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
I’m skipping the next chapter because it’s Jam and I am not much of a jam eater let alone maker.  Never fear though, I’m not completely ignoring the letter J.  Because coming up sometime in the not too distant future will be a meal – Just For Two.  The selections here are all pretty good – there’s a pepper steak, hamburgers, tuna provencal, sesame chicken and gammon with pineapple and corn sauce.  Who knows where we will land on that.  Stay tuned and have a lovely weekend!

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Torta Mimosa

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we are celebrating with an Italian treat called a Torta Mimosa.  In Italy, men give the women they love a sprig of mimosa on International Women’s Day (March 8th).  In Australia, it is autumn and we will not have mimosa (what we call wattle) for another six or so months so swapped in some gorgeous lilies instead. 

The Torta Mimosa is also traditionally served on International Women’s Day in Italy. Or as the Italians would say, Festa Della Donna – it sounds so much more glamorous when you say it like that doesn’t it?

Torta Mimosa2The Torta Mimosa, as the name suggests is meant to look like a sprig of mimosa.  I’m not entirely sure that it does but damn it tastes good!

Torta Mimosa

It’s a sponge cake, filled with creme pâtissière (and I added some lemon curd), then covered with small squares of sponge to create the mimosa look.

It’s light, fresh and a lovely way to celebrate all the wonderful,amazing women in your life!

Torta Mimosa4

I am so very lucky to have a many inspirational women in my life – from family, friends, work mates, the tasty reads crew, friends from the gym, to the people who I have met through doing this blog.  I feel privileged to know such a number of smart, witty, sassy, strong women, each of whom help to make my life, and the lives of all around them better and brighter.

Torta Mimosa3

Oh boy…this recipe is not hard to make but there are lots of parts.

  • I made Margaret Fulton’s sponge cake from The Great Australian Cookbook.  Twice. 
  • I used the creme pâtissière from The Joy Of Cooking
  • And I also used some bought lemon curd in the layers to add some tanginess.

Here is a link to a very similar recipe on Epicurious:

Torta Mimosa

Torta Mimosa5To all you wonderful women, I wish you a very happy International Women’s Day! 

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Molten Umami Meatball Sandwiches

 Hello, hello it’s good to be back!

Umami Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

Did you miss me? I’ve been on holidays – three weeks out of the grey Melbourne cold and into the warmth of sunny Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The holiday was amazing and I will fill you in on the details over the next few weeks, most particularly about the amazing food.

Here is (literally) a taster….

You know how in most supermarkets you get tasting plates?  For example, earlier today in my local supermarket I got to sample 3 kinds of dumplings (prawn, scallop and mushroom), 5 flavours of kombucha tea and some chia pudding…(yeah, my local supermarket is awesome!)  Well, in Cambodia, the taster plates consist of Bamboo Worms…and only  $2 a kilo!

Bamboo Worms
Bamboo Worms

 And these are deep fried crickets….an even better bargain at half the price of the worms…

Crickets
Crickets

 This is me about to taste one of the bamboo worms:

Cambodia Taste Testing
Cambodia Taste Testing

 But before we go there, I wanted to talk to you about meatballs. As much as we love Asian food, after three weeks of it we were craving something that wasn’t.  Funnily enough, we both had cravings for pretty much the same thing. 

He wanted spaghetti bolognese.  I wanted spaghetti and meatballs.  I was doing  the cooking so spaghetti and meatballs it was!  As I was cooking these, I realised why this is such awesome comfort food (it’s not like either of us has Italian heritage). My meatballs are crammed full of umami flavours – parmesan, mushrooms, tomatoes, red wine….Hmmm…is red wine umami?  Well it’s pretty damn good even if it isn’t.  Also, the original recipe for this called for an anchovy fillet.  I didn’t happen to have any so I added saltiness with a dash of fish sauce…guess what?  More umami!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs (and the joys of a plate on your knee  in front of the telly…it really is good to be back)

The spaghetti and meatballs were delicious and everything I wanted – something to warm our bones in the winter cold, something that was quick and easy to cook after a day of travelling and something familiar – comfort food at it’s best!!!

They also require very little in terms of fresh ingredients so you can keep shopping to a minimum.  And, if you were super organised, you could make a batch and pop them in the freezer before you left.  (Massive sigh).  I would love to be that organised!!!!  

So, it was spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then, (this mixture makes a lot of meatballs) I made a molten meatball mountain (i.e, a meatball sandwich ) for my lunch the next day.  The meatballs were great with the spaghetti but for my mind, even better in the sandwich the next day.  And Oscar was on hand for any leftovers.

Of which there were none!

Molten Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

 Remember these?   Bamboo Worms

 They tasted like this: Aftermath of the Bamboo Worm

I wouldn’t say this was the worst thing I have ever eaten…but it sure wasn’t good.  The outside was kind of crunchy and not so bad.  It was the inside that was gross.  It didn’t taste so much of anything, it just had an unpleasant texture – mushy and slightly gritty. Not to mention the thought that was impossible to dispel.  “That thing in your mouth?  That’s worm guts…you’re eating worm guts…that thing you just bit into, that was probably work heart….”

Not good.  

Thank goodness I found much better things to eat in Phnom Pehn.  Which I will tell you about next time…

Have a fabulous week!    

PS – Is anyone doing the kombucha thing?  I kind of want to grow my own….if you are please let me know!

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Umami Meatballs

Umami Meatballs

These delicious meatballs are crammed with umami goodness and are the prefect comfort food for a wintery night or a delicious lunch the following day

Ingredients

  • 500g lamb mince (or you can use ground beef or a mix of pork and veal)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried herbs or 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs
  • 120g grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 small mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • For the Sauce:
  • 400g can Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • To Serve:
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or a mixture
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (as much or as little as you like)
  • or
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or both
  • Rocket (Arugula), Baby Kale or other green of your choice
  • Shaved Parmesan or melting cheese of your choice

Instructions

  • Place the minced lamb, garlic, mushrooms, onion, herbs, grated parmesan, chilli flakes and fish sauce in a bowl.
  • Season with some pepper - the fish sauce will add saltiness.
  • Using your hands shape into walnut sized balls.
  • Place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large deep frying pan over medium - high heat.
  • Fry the meatballs in batches turning for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  • Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and then add the sugar, fish sauce and wine.
  • Cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Add the meatballs and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened. If you like a thicker sauce (like me) simmer for longer.
  • For Spaghetti
  • If you are having your meatballs with spaghetti, cook this according to the directions on the packet.
  • To serve, place the spaghetti into bowls, top with the meatballs and sauce and sprinkle over some chopped parsley and some shaved parmesan.
  • For A Meatball Sandwich the following day
  • Split your baguette in two lengthwise and lightly toast.
  • Add the oil to a fry pan and heat, add the mushrooms and saute until soft.
  • Remove and set aside
  • Add the meatballs and sauce. Heat through.
  • Add your greens and mushrooms to the toasted baguette.
  • Load on your meatballs and sauce.
  • Sprinkle with herbs,
  • Top with Parmesan
  • Place under grill until the cheese has melted.
  • ENJOY!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/08/10/molten-umami-meatball-mountains/

 

 

 

 

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Rice? (Daring Kitchen Arancini)

Ever made food where just looking at it made you feel happy?

Spinach and Cheese Arancini
Spinach and Cheese Arancini

That’s how I felt with the December Daring Kitchen Challenge.  Just looking at these golden balls of goodness made me smile.

Yes, I did just say golden balls of goodness, and yes, I did have a little smirk as I did.

Sigh.

I so have the mind of a 12-year-old boy.  And you know what?  This whole post is full of stuff like that.

So, you know, take a moment….watch this clip from a British tv show called, I kid you not,  Golden Balls, which appears to be a game show version of the Prisoner’s dilemma.   (Yay, I knew that Philosophy major would come in handy one day!  Stay tuned, next week…Baking with Nietzsche…)

Anyway, marvel at the British nuttiness of it all and come back ready to talk about arancini….

Golden Balls

Ok, I’m ready.  Arancini.

January’s Daring Cooks’ challenge was a ball! The lovely Manu from Manu’s Menu brought our taste buds to the streets of Sicily and taught us her family tradition of making arancine – filled and fried balls of risotto. Delizioso!

These were super delizioso but believe me, you’re not making them in any sort of hurry.  These babies need some time and devotion to the cause.

First you’ve got to make:

The Risotto

Arancini Ingredients
Arancini Ingredients

I’ll put the full recipe at the end.  but this is actually a great risotto recipe.

What you end up with is this.  How gorgeous is this bright yellow?

This lovely sunshiney yellow is well on its way to becoming my favourite colour. And mmmmm…butter….

Saffron Risotto
Saffron Risotto

Then you lay it into a tray to cool and then you make…

Golden Balls o’ Sunshine…

Saffron Risotto Balls
Saffron Risotto Balls

And you know what?  You could stop right here and crumb these babies and they would be all kinds of delicious.  But in the daring kitchen, we’re turning that flavour experience up to 11.  Yeah.  EL-EV-EN.

Starting With:

The Bechamel

Wow.  has there ever been a bigger moment of cognitive dissonance?

Did you all just fist pump the air Eye of the Tiger style and then do a double take?

Bechamel?  WTF?  BlecHHHHHamel  more like.  Isn’t that the creepy white sauce that tastes like glue?

Bear with me..this one’s good.

You need to make it quite thick.

Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel Sauce

And finally:

The Filling

I chose to do a spinach and mozzarella filling.  The recipe has a meat ragu version and  a cheese version.

I didn’t get  a photo of the sauteed spinach.

But it looked like sauteed spinach.

Trust me.

Filling the Arancini 1
Filling the Arancini 1

You make a hole in the Risotto ball and add the filling ingredients – sauce, cheese, spinach.

And close.

Word to the wise.  Do the sauce first.  I’ll show you what happens in a moment if you try to do the sauce last…

Filling the Arancini 2
Filling the Arancini 2

One of these things does not quite belong…guess which one of these was the one where I put the sauce in last?

Filled Arancini
Filled Arancini

See what I mean about this being a labour of love?

It’s not all over yet folks, now you gotta egg them, crumb them and fry them up.

Bet you’re thinking you can sit down and have a quiet bottle of vino and some valium  now aren’t you?

Not so fast, Speedy.  These are fabulous and you could quite easily eat them as is.  Look at that oozy goodness….

Yep, oozy goodness from my golden balls…don’t roll your eyes…you were warned.

Spinach and Cheese Arancini 3
Spinach and Cheese Arancini 3

But remember when i said we were taking this up to eleven?

For eleven you need my spicy tomato relish (recipe below)

The arancini have a delightful crunch, then the aromatic risotto and the creamy cheesey garlicy goodness of the filling. The relish brings some heat and some tanginess. And that my friends is the five food groups covered.

Plus it has spinach so it’s good for you.

Like I said.  Eleven.

Spinach and Cheese Arancini with Tomato and Date Relish

Arancini recipe:

HERE

And just because I love you all, here’s the classic Spinal Tap clip about….

Eleven

Have a fabulous week,  And what ever you love doing – this week, take it to eleven!

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The Italian Cuisine I Love – Moccha Mousse

There is something delightfully retro about  chocolate mousse.  And this recipe is right up there with the best of them  Gooey, luscious chocolate kept from being too sweet by a shot  of coffee and a hefty dose of alcohol.  The recipe called for Strega and rum.  I didn’t have either of these  so I used kahlua and amaretto.  You could really use anything you have on hand!

This looked so cute served in a  demi- tasse cup!

180g dark chocolate
1 tbsp sugar
4 eggs (free range please)
1/4 cup strong espresso
2 tbsp strega cordial
2 tbsp rum
1 cup whipped cream

Separate eggs.
Beat whites until stiff.
Beat egg yolks with sugar until light and creamy.
Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water.
When melted, remove from heat, blend in egg yolks, coffee, strega and rum.
Fold in egg whites and whipped cream.
Put in serving bowl, small individual bowls or demi-tasse cups.
Chill well, preferably overnight.

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