Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuna pasta like we used to make but better!

Tuna pasta should always be with spirals. Large spirals. I thought I had spirals, then when I got home I only had penne. Reasonable substitute but not quite the same.
I suppose if you can't get spirals you could try it with shells. (or penne was still delicious).

We used to make this as kids with just onion, tuna, tomato, oregano. We would always stir in a glob of philly cream cheese to cream it up at the last minute. I have fancied this up a touch.. but it still has the delicious honesty and simplicity of always. I had bought some spinach to chuck in to "health" it up - but decided against it because I didn't want to add too many flavours. You could add peas if you want to make it a complete meal with greens included.

I like it with parmesan cheese on top which goes against all the rules of cheese and seafood pasta. But parmesan is so salty and delicious so try it with parmesan!

This was pretty spicy. Spicy delicious. You could cut down the chilli if you want. But dinner without chilli is not so exciting.

Quick. Cupboard. Food. Delicious. Easy.

Serves 4

1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
2 tbsp of chopped oregano
3 whole anchovies
150g button mushrooms, sliced
A good glug of white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can of cherry tomatoes, drained
185g tin of tuna in springwater (get the best quality tuna you are happy to pay for - it really makes a difference)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Glug of cream, scoop of philly cream cheese, scoop of mascarpone, scoop of sour cream
Spiral pasta, cooked

Gently saute the onion and chilli in olive oil until soft but not coloured. Turn down the heat and add the garlic, 1tbsp oregano and anchovies. Mash up the anchovies with your wooden spoon then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Pour in the wine and reduce slightly. Add the tomato paste and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes (or 5 if you are in a rush) until the flavours combine nicely. Add the tuna and break up gently, leave it in decent sized chunks. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the tuna is warmed through. At the last minute you can melt in your creaminess, add your remaining herbs and mix well.

Serve in a big bowl mixed up with your pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Highlights from sweet Paris" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}">
Hot croissant from the oven at the Patisserie + Boulangerie around the corner from our hotel. Delicious. Mmmm the concentration - important not to drop a crumb of this croissant. So beautiful. Hot from the oven and burning your mouth but so amazing. Buttery. Flaky.
Riding the Velib through the streets of Paris. In particular riding home from the club late at night with a few drinks. The streets of Paris quiet.

The beautiful spring-time streets and gardens of Paris.

St Michel's Chapel. Remarkable. Must be seen. The most beautiful stained glass windows.

The Conciergerie - to take you back to the middle ages.
Dinner at Ave Maria - quirky ?hippie place near Oberkampf station. Mixed cuisine. Not French. Delicious food.
Moulin rouge. Strange. Tacky. Super fun :) Terrible dancing. Terrible choreography. Average food. Still good.

Opera at the Bastille. Not so fun - can't speak French or Italian so the French subtitles weren't useful. So sleepy. Actually fell asleep during it. Shall I have not included this in highlights?

Wandering through the Marais. Beautiful shopping and many Boulangerie. Need much more time here.
Markets on Boulevard Richard Lenoir (Bastille) on Sunday morning. What could beat freshly shucked oysters. 6 for 3 euros. Shucked in front of you with a good squeeze of lemon. Plenty of other beautiful fresh food. The cheeses were amazing.
Red wine and foie every evening at one of the small french cafes.

Champagne region - Reims - gorgeous cathedral Notre Dame. Pommery - cave tour. Getting lost on the highways around Reims. This place deserves a few days to explore. The tackiness of Moet and Chandon - truly tacky. But fun to see!

Dinner at Chris' favourite - Relais de l'entrecote with Ange and Dan. Quite delicious. However I still don't quite understand all the hype!
Hotel: Rive Gauche. Saint Germain area. Basic hotel. Clean, comfortable, good value. Great area. Lots of beautiful shops and restaurants nearby and very close to metro and velib.

Malfatti with tomato and basil (minus the lemon)

I have been wanting to make these little bundles of delicious for months now.

They are beautiful. Light parcels of ricotta and spinach with a fresh tomato sauce.
The sauce was meant to have lemon in it. Which I managed to just leave on the counter and forget to add to the tomato sauce.

The recipe specified firm ricotta. I was very upset when I opened my tub and found it was soft ricotta. The mixture ended up gluggy and thick. I was not impressed. I persevered. Instead of "rolling into dumplings" I just dropped spoonfuls of mixture into rapidly boiling water. They actually worked! So if you get firm ricotta you can form them into little balls. If you get soft ricotta you can try dropping little spoonfuls into the boiling water.
Serves 4

400g silverbeet (about 1 large bunch), trimmed and washed thoroughly
500g firm ricotta cheese
4 eggs
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated (plus extra to serve)
50g plain flour

Blanch the silverbeet until tender (I microwaved it for 1-2 minutes). Refresh, drain well, squeeze out excess liquid. Chop coarsely.

In a bowl mix the silverbeet, ricotta, eggs, parmesan and flour. Season well with salt and pepper. Boil a large pot of water. If you have firm ricotta roll small walnut sized dumplings. Roll in semolina flour. Otherwise you can drop little tablespoons of mixture into the boiling water. Cook a few at a time until firm and they float to the surface (2-3 minutes). Drain well with a slotted spoon. Add to tomato sauce, gently stir to combine and serve scattered and serve scattered with parmesan and basil.

Tomato Sauce
Use your favourite simple tomato sauce. Here is the one I made. I can't resist some anchovies in my tomato sauce. A splash of wine wouldn't have gone astray either.

Large glug of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 anchovies
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 large very ripe tomatoes, chopped
Large handful of basil

Gently fry the onion in olive oil. Add the garlic and anchovies. Cook very gently until softened. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes. Put a lid on it and cook gently for 10-20 minutes until beautiful and soft and reduced.

Add salt and pepper to taste. At the last minute throw in the basil.

You could add the zest of one lemon to the sauce. This is the step that I forgot.

Mr Marmellada Tart

I have recently had a fascination with rectangular tarts with lattice roofs. Any rectangular tart immediately captures my attention.
I wanted a longer skinnier tart but this was the only pan I could find in Bunbury.
It is much harder to make something like this in a kitchen like the one in Bunbury. Utensils missing - food processor, bowls, rolling pin (substitute spray olive oil bottle).

This tart is so easy that it is fine to make even without most normal kitchen utensils.

It is delicious. It is actually really rich. It was super nice just warm out of the oven. It would be even nicer with a big scoop of ice cream.

I needed a pastry recipe and had heard on numerous occasions Maggie Beer raving about her sour cream pastry. I realised after I had made it that it is not a sweet pastry. It was fine. The plain pastry went beautifully well with the sweet and bitter filling.

Please use either home-made marmalade or the very best marmalade you can find. It will really affect the quality of your end result.
1 double batch of sour cream pastry
120g softened butter
150g caster sugar
Finely grated rind of one orange
2 eggs
200g almond meal
40mL orange liqueur (or orange juice for me was fine)
200g marmalade

Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Line a 13cmx36cm tart tin. Trim the edges and refrigerate until required. Roll out remaining pastry to 3mm thick, cut into 1cm strips and refrigerate on a tray until required.

In a bowl beat together the butter, sugar and orange rind until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and liqueur. Stir in the almond meal. Spread filling into pastry case, fill to about 1cm below the rim (there may be left over filling). Bake until filling just sets (10-12 minutes). Remove from the oven. Stand for 5 minutes. Spread with marmalade. Arrange pastry strips in a lattice pattern over the top.

Brush lattice with egg wash, bake until pastry is golden (8-10 minutes), cool in tin for 20-30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

125g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, cold cut into cubes
60mL sour cream (full fat please)

In a food processor mix together the butter and the flour. Gradually add the sour cream until the pastry comes together. You may need all the sour cream, more or less than in the recipe.

Once the pastry has come together, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.