8.23.2010

5-P Pasta

5-P Pasta

I wanted to postpone trying this pasta dish until the bountiful display of fresh produce at the green market had died down, but as I recently didn't have the time to visit said market (for some reason or another), now seemed as good a time as any. The dish (or rather the sauce, otherwise it would be a 6-P pasta ;) ) derives it's name from the Italian names of the main ingredients: tomato (pomodoro), cream (panna), parmesan (parmegiano), parsley (prezzemolo) and pepper (pepe). It's definitely a keeper, but probably only as a special treat due to the generous amount of cream (remember, any fat in a dish which you can see, is not bad for you) .

5-P Pasta

Adapted from Cinque Pi from No Kitchen for Old Men

Ingredients:

1/2 pound pasta
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup cream
1 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
black pepper, freshly grated
nutmeg
salt

Method:

Cook the pasta according to manufacturer's instructions.
Meanwhile, roast the tomato paste in a skillet for two minutes or so, then deglaze with the cream. Let the cream come to a simmer and add the parmesan, stir until the parmesan has melted. Add some pepper, a dash of nutmeg and salt to taste. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.

8.15.2010

Paella with Tomatoes

Paella with Tomatoes

IHCCPotluck-time has come around again at IHCC, and I went for a tomato paella to make good use of the waning tomato season. The paella turned out really well with lots of flavour from the smoked paprika and the juicy tomato wedges. An easy to make recipe which will surely be a crowd-pleaser.
The picture above is a bit under the weather so to speak, as it has been a very cloudy day with difficult lighting conditions.



Paella with Tomatoes

Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
large pinch saffron threads (optional) *
2 tsp smoked or other paprika
2 cups short-grain white rice **
minced parsley for garnish

* Omitted.
** I used sushi rice.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450°F/200°C. Bring the stock or water almost to a boil. Toss the tomatoes with a little oil, salt and pepper and set aside.

Drizzle the rest of the olive oil into a large skillet and set on medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, saffron and paprika and cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir until it's been thorougly moistened.
Add the stock and stir to combine.

Transfer the (at this stage very soupy) rice mixture into a casserole. (If you have a skillet with an oven-proof handle or even a real paella pan, omitt this step.) Place the tomatoes on top and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. When the rice has soaked up all the liquid, remove from the oven and set aside for about 5 minutes to cool. Sprinkle with the minced parsley.

8.11.2010

Dry-fried Green Beans

Dry-fried Green Beans

I made his dish some time ago, when fresh beans were first appearing in the market. The different flavours of ginger, chiles and beans blend together very well. This is a nice variation to the classic beans with savory.

Dry-fried Green Beans


Source: Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop

Ingredients:

10 ounces haricots verts or green beans
2 scallions, white parts only
peanut oil
8 dried chiles, snipped in half, preferably Sichuanese
1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced and an
equivalent amount of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
salt to taste

Method:

De-string the beans and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cut the scallions into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

In a wok or deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over a medium-low heat. Add the beans and stir-fry over a medium flame for about 6 minutes, until they are cooked and tender with slightly puckered skins. Remove and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons fresh oil in the wok or skillet over high heat. Add the chiles and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry very briefly until they are fragrant. Quickly add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until they are all fragrant. Add the beans and stir the ingredients together, adding salt to taste. Serve.

8.08.2010

Redcurrant Granita

Redcurrant Granita

Here's just a quick granita to use up the summer bounty of berries. It's quite tart, but that's what makes it so refreshing.

Redcurrant Granita

Adapted from Raspberry Granita from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

4 cups (500 g) redcurrants
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

Method:

Blitz the redcurrants with an immersion blender. Strain through a sieve. Add the water, whisk in the sugar. Kepp whisking until the sugar dissolves completely. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and place in the freezer.
Every half-hour, take a fork and remove the newly formed ice crystals from the edge of the container. Whisk briefly to fluff up the ice crystals in the middle of the container.

8.03.2010

Plum-Blueberry Cake

Plum-Blueberry Cake

It's the middle of summer, so there's no way around making a plum cake. Instead of sticking to the tried and tested, I went for a new recipe but ended up with somewhat mixed results.
First, this is originally intended to be served as an upside-down cake. But with the brown sugar mixture getting turned into a brown-bluish, sticky slush by the fruit juices flowing down during baking (you can actually see a nice gradient of the juice distribution in the picture above) this was not a pretty sight, so I turned the cake back right-side up.
Second, the sweetness of the brown sugar mixture will almost cover up any fruity taste of the plums and berries, so I scraped it off.
What I liked about this cake was the light, spongy cake structure, when eaten while still warm (as recommended by the recipe). I might try this again without the brown sugar in the bottom as an apple-cinnamon cake.
One thing, which seems to be an actual error in the recipe, is the number of plums used. To end up with one pound of plums, I had to use about thirty. Maybe that number should read 26 to 28.

Maybe there are different kinds of plums but the ones around here are about the size of a golf ball or to put it another way a little taller than a standard Lego figurine. Speaking of which.

Don't have a macro lense for your camera?
Just bake a bigger cake.


See, I've recently upgraded my camera from a Fuji FinePix bridge camera to a Pentax k-x DSLR. Before settling on a specific camera, I 've been browsing through some photography blogs to check out opinions on the current models on the market and stumbled on a LEGO a day. A blog where Dan, amateur photographer and school teacher, published one funny/quirky picture of a Lego figurine in a real life environment per day for one year from 2008 to 2009. Now after a one-year break, he's started another year of daily pictures. Maybe you'd like to head over and take a look.


Plum-Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

Topping:

3 Tbsp (45 g) butter
3/4 cuo (170 g) packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (170 g) blueberries
6 to 8 plums (450 g) halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch slices

Cake:

1 1/2 cup (210 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk, at room temperature

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a 28 cm spring form with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the brown sugar and mix until completely moistened. Set aside to cool.

Spread the butter mixture evenly onto the bottom of the spring form. Sprinkle half of the blueberries on top, then add the plum slices in an even layer and finally sprinkle on the rest of the blueberries.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until they become white and increase slightly in volume. Fold in the vanilla and eggs. Add half of the flour and all of the salt and baking powder and fold in. Add the milk, fold in. Then add the rest of the flour and fold in. The result will be more like a batter than a cake dough. Pour the batter into the spring form and give it a little tap, so it settles in evenly. Bake for about an hour and a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Set on a wire rack to cool.