In all likelihood, lasagne are the oldest type of pasta. These long flat sheets can be made by hand or shop bought in the dried form. Here I have used lasagne sheets, meatballs and a béchamel sauce to create the ultimate in comfort food, my meatball lasagne.
I have a little red book in which I write down recipes that I have made up, and ones I want to test or try out. I start each page with a new recipe, and once done, I draw a line underneath it, and write down the next recipe. Once the page is full I fold the page inwards, either from the bottom or the top, so that I know that the page is complete. I decided that I would start with a ‘clean slate’ this year and spent a few hours capturing the recipes I still want to make onto a spreadsheet. That way, the year will begin without me having to page through all the flipped up pages to see what is left for me to try out. I am quite excited by this as I thought my recipe testing repertoire was coming to an end, and that is not a good thing for a food blogger. Thankfully I now have a handful of things to make, and share. One of the recipes that has been hanging around since last year is the one for meatball lasagne. I have made this several times, and it has been made by a friend, and to me it spells out the epitome of comfort food. In fact, I thought it was so good I even made it for friends when they came around for dinner. What is your ultimate comfort food?
I am motorbike crazy and yet, I cannot ride. So imagine my delight this month when The Kitchen Witch was assigned to me for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. Rhonda rides bikes, and says of herself that she is an above average home cook. She is a mum of 6 and a grandmother to 3 and has lived in a few interesting places. I chose to make the sun dried tomato pesto recipe as I love easy pasta dishes for the weekend. Pasta and beans are a a staple ingredient in our house but I have never put them together. This recipe only provided one challenge for me, in that I did not know what the sun dried tomato pesto tasted like, and that I made a batch myself. I think it needed slightly more oomph, but as Dave is not a big fan of sun dried tomatoes, I made the flavour quite subtle. I have since mixed the pesto with some basil pistou which is really tasty. I am using that together with my togarashi dressing to zest up our weekday meals. This is a great meat free dish, but the next time I make it, I am going to add some chorizo for a bit of spice.
I would love to smoke things but I don’t have a smoker and each time I suggest to Dave that I turn my electric frying pan into one, he kind of ignores me. I do not use my electric frying pan at all. It was one of the first kitchen utensils I purchased and it was used originally to make paella in – now I have a proper paella dish. If it was not being used for paella, it was used for prawns. We would sit at the breakfast nook and cook and eat and eat and cook so that we always had a pile of freshly cooked, hot prawns to devour. Now I have a gas burner on my butcher’s block which can be moved to the table for that job. So, for about 4 years the electric frying pan has been languishing under the bunk beds in what is my hidden storage place – the one for things I might need one day! I took the electric frying pan out of the box and put it under the bed as my friend Sonja wanted it. But she has never fetched it, and the last time I looked, she had bought a new one for herself. So, as I don’t have a smoker and Dave does not seem to want to help me turn my electric frying pan into one, I used smoked salt and smoked paprika to ‘smoke’ my marrow bones. Marrow bones are a cheap off cut of meat and this meal cost us R20 (€2) and was an absolute bargain! A perfect warming meal for the cold winter nights we are still experiencing here in the Western Cape.
When I joined The Secret Recipe Club, my first post was a slight let down, as the person I was assigned did not bother to come along and comment on my post. Well, déjà vu struck when I moved to group C, and my assigned blogger not only did not comment, she did not post! But, I am loving my new group and I have met so many great new bloggers. This month, Mother Thyme is my assignment – don’t you just love that blog name? Jennifer looks like the person whose home you could arrive at unannounced, and she would welcome you in with pleasure. She is a stay at home mum of twins who uses their down down time to create wonderful dishes using fresh ingredients that we can all afford.
As Dave and I are on a restricted diet, I am now making pasta once a week, and I want it to be a special dish. I chose her recipe for Steak Fettucine With Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce as rib eye steak is my favourite cut of meat. However, after shopping for all the ingredients, we ended up eating the rib eye for dinner the next evening. I could not get another rib eye steak and so I had to decide whether to adapt the recipe, or choose another one. At the same time, Dave and I were booking our trip to Venice, and my mind turned to traditional Italian meals. They always start with anti pasti and then move on to the primi of pasta and then secondi of meat and vegetables. So, I decided that as we had already had the second course, I would change up the recipe by making a first course pasta with a sauce of ground beef and follow the rest of Jennifer’s instructions. We loved the result.
Why I made Pasta Al Forno Con Pomodori E Mozzarella:
I, like so many other people I know, have a collection of recipe books that I have never used. In December 2010 the dogs (read Dave) bought me Jamie’s Italy. I love the way Jamie Oliver writes his recipes books, but I very seldom turn to them to make a dish from them. Because of this, I decided to set a challenge last month where you could choose a recipe book you have never used, and then choose a recipe to make. I made my recipe in time to submit it to my own challenge, but I did not have time to post it. So, as usual, I am late.
This recipe for Pasta Al Forno Con Pomodori E Mozzarella, from page 114 is really simple. You make a basic tomato pasta sauce, add some fresh basil. You then layer this with some cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese and top it off with mozzarella. This is baked at 200° Celsius for 15 minutes .
I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Alisha of Cook, Craft, Enjoy
Once again I have turned to my copy of The Geometry of Pasta for a recipe. I chose this recipe for pasta with sausages and cream as last year Dave and I spent our annual holiday in Assisi, in the Umbria region of Italy. It was here that we indulged in truffles, ate a lot of ice cream, and walked through the old walled cities. This recipe, found across Umbria, should in theory be made with the famous sausage from Norcia – so famous that the word Norcina has become synonymous with sausage. Unfortunately, we don’t get this typical sausage here so I chose a pork sausage with Parmesan and pancetta in it as these are both Italian ingredients. According to the book, tortiglioni has pronounced grooves that are slightly slanted, wrapping around the tubular pasta in a multiple helix. This is a great bowl of comfort that I would make again, experimenting with different types of sausage.
We eat pasta at least once a week and for a long time, I wrote down exactly what we had made so that I could share my recipes with you. At one stage my draft folder had so many pasta recipes in it, I decided to stop writing down what I was making. Only on one occasion has this not been a good thing, as I made the most amazing pasta the other night and I am not sure I can recreate the dish. Not having a pasta dish to share with you this week would be ironic, as I am hostingPresto Pasta Nights. I turned to my copy of The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy and chose this dish to share with you. This is the second time I have cooked from the book, the first being gemelli. This will not be the last and I am challenging myself to cook one dish from each section of this book. The book describes each pasta shape and lets you know which ingredients go with the specific pasta. Farfalle is described as being 39mm long and 27.5mm wide and are often dressed with light vegetable sauces as a summer pasta, to eat outside when the butterflies are in full swing.
Please see the Secret Santa post! I need one more blogger from each of the following areas to make this work: Australia, England, Spain, Italy, France. Also, could the American bloggers who said they would take part PLEASE send me an e-mail lavenderandlimeblog (AT) gmail (DOT) com with your postal address.
I love cooking with my niece Sasha. Mostly because she is so enthusiastic in the kitchen, but also because it happens so infrequently. I go up to Johannesburg about twice a year and try and spend as much time with her as possible. She is nearly 5 and it is becoming a pleasure to spend time with her, playing ‘hide and go seek’, drawing, being outside at the playground and going out for ice cream.This visit we made cupcakes (from a box) and I burnt myself on my sister’s oven – this was a first for me. Sasha and I then made supper, she however was not interested in eating it. Sasha got to stay up late and have a grown up meal with Aunty Tandy and Grandpa. Kerry (my sister) tells me that Sasha thinks my name is Aunty Tandy and not just Tandy but what ever she thinks, I just love the yelling of AUNTY TANDY when she is supposed to be quietly in bed, or when she sees me driving up, or when she has had enough of me giving attention to the sister (her baby sister Nadia). She is the reason for the cookbook I am going to write this December, in collaboration with who ever wants to contribute.
There is no exact recipe for this but basically we took some broccoli, sundried tomatoes, soft feta, marinated artichoke hearts and exotic mushrooms. The broccoli stalks were cooked with the mushrooms which we sliced (read Sasha sliced everything with a normal eating knife). The cooked ingredients were added to the other ingredients which were also sliced. This was topped with cooked pasta and several portions per person were eaten and enjoyed.
I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Ruth, the founder of PPN
Today, my heart split in two. Since moving to Gordons Bay in 2001 I have never once considered Johannesburg as being far away. We live in an instant society – we can pick up a telephone, and speak to someone straight away, or use skype and actually see them. We can IM, SMS, BBM or whatsapp someone and they will get the message straight away. But, despite this, Johannesburg is still 4 hours away and the cost of an airplane ticket. I would not begrudge the expense to go up to Johannesburg but the timing is not right for me. Part of me wishes I could split in 2 and be in Johannesburg right now, while still being here in Gordons Bay where I too am needed. This hurts and tugs and pulls me in all sorts of directions. My virtual hugs, and Ethernet love will have to suffice for now.
Often during the week, pasta dishes are created as a way of using what is in my fridge. The food is made with love which is what counts. When I opened my fridge for inspiration I saw a whole head of broccoli that I had purchased from a farmer’s market. This sounded like the perfect place to start supper.
This is my second time at hosting Presto Pasta Nights and I am hoping that my second attempt at getting all the posts listed will look a little bit better.
Janet who blogs on over at The Taste Space started the challenge off with her recipe for Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts). I have tried radish sprouts but have never come across Kelp Noodles and so will have to keep my eyes peeled.
Stash of The Spamwise Chronicles has cooked Penne With Olives, Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs. His minimalistic approach to cooking means you can have this meal on the table in less that half an hour.
Johanna from the Green Gourmet Giraffe has made a Meaty Cauliflower and Walnut Lasagne. This is a great vegetarian meal perfect for Meatless Mondays.
Joanne from Eats Well With Others made Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce. I love anything with avocado and this dish I am told will give you superpowers!
Gay, who is hosting next week, blogs as A Scientist in the Kitchen. She has made Quick and Easy Bell Peppers and Squid Stirfry With Spaghetti. This is a dish I could tuck in to with ease.
Graziana who hails from Sicilyblogs over at Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) has made Spaghetti with Sorrel and Basil Pesto. I have some blood sorrel growing in my garden so this is great inspiration, grazie tante.
Elly, from elly says opa! Made Pumpkin Penne with Arugula, Mushrooms and Romano. Elly prefers her pumpkin sweet, but says this is a great savoury way to enjoy this vegetable.
Ruth, the founder of Presto Pasta Nights, blogs over at Once Upon A Feast. She made Tangy, Spicy Shrimp and Chorizo Pasta. These are two ingredients that I think marry very well together.