Mushroom Ravioli in Parmesan Sauce

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rav 12/03/2019

Mushroom ravioli made with the most delicious mushroom pate, fresh homemade pasta and tossed in a garlic, parmesan cream sauce. This pasta dish is perfect when you want something a little extra special.

I’m not going to lie, making ravioli from scratch requires a little effort but it’s one of those things that becomes easier with practice and honestly the effort is so worth it!

Tips:

  • When making ravioli you should make sure the filling isn’t overly wet. It should be soft and almost mousse or paté like.
  • This mushroom filling is made with chestnut mushrooms, shallots and garlic. It’s nutty and full of flavour I also add a small spoonful of ricotta and parmesan for a delicious creaminess that’s not too heavy or overpowering.
  • I use a food processor to blitz everything to an extra fine and smooth consistency.
  • Make sure your pasta is made properly. Follow my recipe from a previous post exactly for making fresh homemade pasta dough and rest the dough because it makes a difference to the end result.
  • Use a piping bag or teaspoon to fill the ravioli
  • When you are rolling out the pasta and making the ravioli make sure your surface is lightly sprinkled with flour or semolina to stop the pasta sticking to your work surface.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade pasta dough (see my earlier post)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 oz (500g) Chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 heaped tbsp ricotta
  • 2 tbsp parmesan freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to season

For The Sauce:

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup (250ml) double cream
  • 2 tbsp parmesan freshly grated
  • 2 heaped tsp mushroom powder
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

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To Make the Filling:

  1. Heat a 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium-sized pan, once hot add the finely chopped shallots and sauté until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook down until reduced in size and softened. Add the garlic and thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper, fry for 1-2 minutes. Set aside and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooled mushroom mixture to a food processor with parmesan and ricotta. Blitz until smooth and pate like.

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Assembly:

  1. To Make homemade egg pasta dough follow my previous recipe and the process for rolling out. There are some essential tips you need.
  2. Using homemade pasta dough, roll it out from the widest setting to the third last setting (usually number 7). Lay one sheet of pasta down and place around 1 heaped tsp of mushroom mixture in the middle of the pasta sheet 1 inch apart.
  3. Fold one edge of the pasta over the filling to meet the other edge. You may need to gently pat the filling down at this point so it folds easier. Using your fingers seal the sides of the ravioli filling as shown.
  4. Tip: Technically these are called mezzalune (half moons) because they are folded over and don’t have four sealed edges. These are slightly easier to make for this reason but if you want to make traditional ravioli simply place the second sheet of pasta directly on top of the first and seal with your fingers.
  5. Seal the top of the dough with your thumb whilst holding the two edges. This will ensure all the air has escaped which will stop the ravioli bursting or going wrinkly.
  6. Cut the ravioli out either with a ravioli or pasta cutter, cookie cutter or fluted pasta wheel and set aside on a surface sprinkled lightly with semolina or 00 flour whilst you make the next batch.
  7. Once the Ravioli (or mezzalune) are ready bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli to the water and cook for around 4 minutes. Meanwhile make the sauce.

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To Make the Sauce:

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and fry the chopped garlic for 1 minute. Add the cream, mushroom powder, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Let it boil for 30-40 seconds then turn low and add the freshly grated parmesan. Stir until slightly thickened turn off the heat and add the cooked ravioli straight from the water using a slotted spoon.
  3. Toss in the sauce and serve.
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Refried Bean & Cheese Tamales

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beans4 10/03/2019

Tamales are a traditional Mexican streetfood. They are made from a corn-based masa dough, filled with anything from pulled meats to vegetables and cheese, wrapped up and steamed in corn husks.

The following recipe however, is anything but authentic. It is more a student-friendly version that doesn’t require the sourcing of specific ingredients and equipment that you will only use for one recipe then gather dust on the shelf for a couple of years. You can adapt the recipe to your tastes/dietary requirements and it is so straight forward and cheap but best of all, these tamales do not skimp on flavour.

I used fine semolina to make my dough as masa is a bit tricky to obtain in Dorset as are corn husks so I used greaseproof paper which worked a treat. In keeping with my vegetarian lent challenge, I also used margarine instead of lard for the dough and made refried beans with added veggies and cheese for the filling. Folded together and steamed, the spices blend together in a warming dumpling-like parcel of flavours and textures. I recommend a good strong stock and decent seasoning for depth of flavour too.

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Serves 4 as a small meal

Ingredients:

  • 70g/2½oz lard (or margarine)
  • 225g/8oz masa flour (or fine semolina)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp each smoked paprika, oregano
  • 150ml/5fl oz warm stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz Cheddar, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. To make the tamales, beat the lard in a bowl with a wooden spoon to soften, then add the masa, baking powder, smoked paprika, oregano and salt and continue to beat. Slowly add the warm stock, beating to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for a couple of minutes, until soft. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  2. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion, garlic, pepper, mushroom, cumin seeds and paprika for 10 minutes, add the tomato puree, kidney beans and a splash of stock and cook for a further 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the coriander and then mash the beans roughly with a potato masher.
  3. To assemble the tamales, place a tablespoon of dough on a square of greaseproof paper and use your hands to flatten it into a rectangle shape. Place a spoonful of the beans in the middle and sprinkle with the Cheddar then fold over the sides and the ends to form a parcel and press down to seal. Wrap with the greaseproof paper, tie with string then repeat until you run out of dough.
  4. Place the tamales in a steamer and cook for about an hour. Remove the tamales and carefully unwrap. Serve with salsa on the side.

Orzo Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

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tomorzo 09/03/2019

When tomatoes are roasted or baked they turn so sweet and sticky and have such incredible flavour. Stuffing them just makes them into a complete meal and you have so many options! I stuffed these with creamy orzo and mushroom pasta plus big chunks of mozzarella cheese because you’ve just got to have cheese.

This recipe serves 6 which is a greater number than I usually cater for but the recipe is easily adjustable and you’ll probably want more for your lunch the next day… and day after that.

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Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 beef tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion , finely chopped
  • 5 chestnut mushrooms , finely sliced
  • 1 cup (200g) orzo pasta
  • 1 3/4 cups (450ml) chicken stock plus extra if needed
  • 1/4 cup/ small handful freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 ball mozzarella
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
  2. Wash and dry the tomatoes then cut off the tops with a large knife. Do this carefully, not to damage the tops as they’ll act as a lid when baking.
  3. Using the side of a metal spoon cut the edges that connect the middle core to the outside skin of the tomato then scoop out the flesh, juice and seeds into a bowl. Once done, cover the bowl with cling film and store in a fridge, find tips for using the leftover juice below.
  4. Sprinkle the hollowed out tomatoes with salt and sit them top side down on a plate to drain.
  5. Meanwhile make the orzo filling. Finely chop the onion and add to a pan with a little olive oil, saute until soft and translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic and cook down for around 3 minutes until soft and reduced in size.
  6. Add the orzo pasta and stir to coat in the mushroom and onion mixture. Next add 1/4 of the chicken stock and stir as if you’re making a risotto until the liquid has absorbed. Continue to add the stock 1/4 at a time until you’ve used it all up
  7. Taste and add a good pinch of salt if needed, if the pasta is still under cooked then add more stock until soft. Once done add the parmesan and stir until melted and creamy
  8. To assemble the tomatoes, fill each tomato half way with orzo then top with a few cubs or slices of mozzarella. Add another layer of orzo (they can be slightly mounted) then top with the remaining mozzarella. Place the tomato lids on top of each tomato then bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

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Pasta Al Forno

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pasta bake 07/03/2019

This year I have decided to give up meat and fish for Lent. I have gone for a couple of days without meat before just by chance and have often thought about eating less of it from a financial and environmental point of view. I enjoy meat and fish, and the flavours and textures they bring in a variety of cuisines but now I am actively making an effort to omit it from all my meals and am interested to see the results.

Day 1 of Lent saw me cook up a giant pasta bake. There is nothing fancy or show-off about this dish but it is just comforting cheesy goodness in which you don’t need or miss any meat.

Pasta al forno basically means pasta made in the oven. It can be anything you like, a lot of Italian recipes include vegetables such as eggplant in a tomato sauce with béchamel or mozzarella.

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Top Tips For Making This Tomato Pasta Bake:

  • Undercook the pasta by around 3 minutes because it’ll then be baked in the oven for 30 minutes to cook further.
  • If you don’t have taleggio used a good melting cheese such as fontina, gruyere or a mature cheddar
  • Use homemade breadcrumbs for this bake, they’re totally different from shop bought and make a difference to the end result.
  • You can add different herbs and spices such as parsley and chili flakes.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 14oz (400g) giant penne pasta or regular
  • 1clove garlic finely chopped
  • 7lbs (4 cups/800g) passata rustic chunky pureed tomatoes
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp oregano dried
  • 1tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2tbsp olive oil plus a drizzle for topping
  • 30ghomemade breadcrumbs
  • 1/2tbsp parmesan freshly grated

Cheese Sauce:

  • 7oz (50g) butter
  • 1/3cup (40g) plain flour
  • 1 2/3cup (400ml) milk
  • 5oz (100g) taleggio cheese cut into cubes
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Undercook it by 3-4 minutes according to your packet instruction.
  3. Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Fry the chopped garlic with the basil, fennel seeds and dried oregano with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil until fragrant. Add the passata rustica (rustic pureed tomatoes), a good pinch of salt and pepper and let it simmer gently as the pasta cooks.
  4. Next make the cheese sauce by making a roux with butter and flour in a seperate saucepan. Add the butter to a saucepan on a medium heat. Once melted add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form a paste.
  5. Stir the paste for 1-2 minutes to cook out the floury taste (important for the taste of the sauce).
  6. Next start by add the milk a little at a time whilst whisking to avoid any lumps. Add the milk slowly whilst whisking until it starts to thicken.
  7. Add the taleggio cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir until the cheese has melted and is thick. Turn the heat off and keep warm.
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce and stir until coated well. Transfer it to a baking dish then top with the taleggio cheese sauce. Finally top with breadcrumbs, a tiny drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated parmesan.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the breadcrumbs are toasted and crispy.

Butternut Coconut Curry

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butter 20/11/2018

I made this curry when my brother, who is vegan, cycled 200 miles to visit me. It can be easily made from store-cupboard ingredients and you can add whatever vegetables and spices you prefer (broccoli works well). The creamy coconut milk is soothing against the spices and the passata makes the sauce velvety and rich. I recommend roasting and grinding whole spices if you have time but for convenience sake, ground spice is lovely too.

Serves 4 (or 1 hungry cyclist)

Ingredients:

  • 600g-1KG butternut squash, peeled and cut into equal size cubes
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1½ tsp each garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each turmeric, cinnamon
  • 1 tin full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 carton passata
  • about 1¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • handful of cashews, lightly toasted (to serve)
  • a handful of coriander leaves for serving

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Method:

  1. I prefer my pumpkin caramelised so instead of cooking it in the curry sauce, I roasted it in the oven. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkled with some salt and bake on a baking tray in a 200° C oven for about 30 mins.
  2. Heat up oil on a medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping, stirring from time to time. Wait another minute before adding onion.
  3. Add chopped onion, sweat it gently, stirring from time to time until it gets almost soft.
  4. Add garlic, ginger and fresh chilli. Cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently so that ginger does not stick to the pan.
  5. Now add all the ground spices and 1 tsp of salt. Reduce the heat to low and coat everything in the pot in spices. Stir frequently, cook for 1-2 minutes until all spices are fragrant.
  6. Add passata and 60 ml of water. Cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add coconut milk and the roasted butternut squash. Let everything come to a gentle boil and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and chopped cashews. Serve with basmati rice or a roti.

Caribbean Fish Curry

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fsh 05/10/2018

You can use any firm white fish for this – cod, haddock and hake all work well. Look for Dunn’s River Mild Caribbean Curry Powder in the spice aisle, or use a mild Indian curry powder instead. Such a simple dish and a welcome change from your regular curries.  

Ingredients: 

  • 4 large skinless white fish fillets  
  • ½ lemon, juiced 
  • 2 tbsp mild Caribbean curry powder  
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil 
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced 
  • ginger a small chunk, finely grated 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped [omit if a wimp] 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks 
  • 1 tsp of thyme leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve 
  • 400g tin coconut milk 
  • cooked rice to serve 

 Serves 2-4

Method: 

  1. Rub the fish with the lemon juice, 1 tsp of the curry powder and some seasoning and leave to sit while you make the sauce. Heat the oil in a shallow casserole or deep frying pan with a lid. Cook the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli and pepper for 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining curry powder and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 
  1. Add the fish, pushing down into the sauce, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Scatter with a little fresh thyme and serve with rice. 

Chickpea Dumplings in Curried Tomato Sauce

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ch 13/09/2018

Think of this as an Indian-curry version of stew and dumplings. Except the sauce plays a much more flavorful part than in a traditional comforting stew. The dumplings end up gooey and steaming them in the sauce means the dumplings soak up the flavors around them.

Ingredients:

CURRY TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 serrano pepper, grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1  tin whole tomatoes crushed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp peanut butter

CHICKPEA DUMPLINGS:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 serrano chilli minced
  • 1/2 onion grated
  • 1/2 fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup yogurt [dairy or non-dairy if vegan]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp peanut butter [optional but recommended]
  • a pinch of baking powder

Instructions:

  1. CURRY TOMATO SAUCE: Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add coriander, mustard and cumin seeds, and cook until seeds pop, about 1 minute.
  2. Add one serrano pepper, 1/2 the onion and curry powder and saute until softened.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes together with juice, water, turmeric powder and ginger powder. Cook until it has thickened up, about 10 minutes.
  4. CHICKPEA DUMPLINGS: Combine all ingredients. Form into walnut-size balls.
  5. Add chickpea dumplings to the sauce, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.