The end of the school holidays are upon me, my marking is all done (finally!) and I had Nicole up in Auckland for the weekend. We celebrated with Ollie and his father at Al Brown’s Depot on Friday night, Nicole and I were a little surprised to find the two of them had already polished off two bottles of wine AND two dozen oysters from the raw bar by the time we got there! Needless to say, we were the last to leave the restaurant that night. Saturday night saw a very full dining table, and two E recipes.
Eggs. King of the breakfast menu, Queen of baking. This week I made two recipes using eggs. Interestingly, I don’t actually LIKE eggs, the smell alone makes me feel rather sick. But I have to say, they really are indispensable in the kitchen. My dinner this week was asparagus ravioli followed by chocolate pots.
Based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe
For the fresh pasta
For the filling
A big bundle of asparagus
2 cloves of garlic
The zest of a lemon
A handful of fresh mint
A big lump of butter
The top part of the asparagus bunch
The juice of a lemon
More fresh mint
If you have never made fresh pasta before, you are in for a treat! I love doing this (if I have lots of time to spare, be warned – this is time consuming). But there is something so lovely and social about sitting around with friends rolling and shaping pasta, and then getting to eat the deliciousness that is the end result.
This recipe is a lovely spring recipe, bursting with fresh flavours, yet still filling and satisfying.
Start by measuring your flour into a big bowl or clean work surface. The rule is one egg and 100g of flour per person, but if you are making a big recipe like this, I find you don’t need as much. Make a well in the centre of your flour and break in the eggs. Mix them with a fork, and then slowly start to bring the flour in bit by bit, until you have a lump of dough to knead.
This is the part where you get to work out any aggression you may have in you, as you pummel this bit of dough until it is smooth, silky and easy to manipulate. This should take about ten minutes and is a VERY important part of the process. Dust it with flour, wrap it in glad wrap, and pop in the fridge for at least an hour.
Now you can make your filling. Peel the potatoes and put on to boil. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and throw them away. Cut what is left in half. You can leave the top part for later, and just finely slice the bottom half. Fry in a pan with the 2 garlic cloves until soft. When the potatoes are cooked, add them to the asparagus with the lemon zest, mint, butter, pecorino, salt and pepper. Mash it all up until you have the tastiest mashed potatoes you could possibly imagine!
Next step is to roll out the pasta. This is a case of practice makes perfect, so don’t be put off if it doesn’t come out perfectly the first time you try. Take a small bit at a time and work it through your roller starting at the biggest setting, through to the smallest. Put to the side and do another bit until all your dough is in beautiful big sheets. The trick here is you can never have enough flour for dusting! If you don’t, it can all stick together, ruining all your careful rolling.
Now you are ready to make the little bundles of tastiness! Lay out a sheet of pasta and put little spoonfuls of the potato mixture half the way along. Fold the other side on top and then flatten the pasta around the filling, binding it together. Keep on doing this until you have used up all the pasta and mixture.
These only need to be cooked for about 4 minutes, they will float to the top when they are ready. Stir through the remaining mint, lemon juice, mascarpone, pecorino and a generous glug of olive oil. Serve with the top half of the asparagus. I roasted mine in the oven, but you could also boil them if you would prefer.
And now for pudding…
Also based on a Jamie Oliver recipe
400 grams (2 blocks) of dark chocolate
4 egg yolks
40 grams butter
Heat the cream in a pot until it is just about to boil. Remove from the heat and break the chocolate in, stirring to combine it to a smooth consistency. Add the egg yolk and whisk until combined.
Now add the butter, stir until it has completely melted in and pour into cups. I chose an assortment of tea and espresso cups, but you could use ramekins if you would prefer.
All you have to do now is leave them in the fridge for a few hours to set. So simple, yet so utterly delicious! The perfect way to finish a meal, and give you the energy to get up dancing.
See you next week for the letter F! Any suggestions?