Tag Archives: parmesan

Indulging, exotic mushroom, zesty and nurturing Lumaconi pasta

11 Oct

Over the last few weeks its been one of those where you just don’t realise where the time has gone. October? That’s less than 90 days till Christmas! I have my days where I obsess about salads, veg and high protein dishes to pull me through my week at work and at the gym, but sometimes I believe you need to take some time, cook something you just really feel like enjoying, not necessarily what your body needs, but what you just WANT!

On days like these I tend to stroll lazily through the supermarket looking for something interesting, or sometimes just some veg or food I wouldn’t normally have on my weekly shopping list. I always find something that inspires me to create a new dish or even new twist on an old dish.

This week, I present to you my lumaconi.  In this case, it really IS all about the pasta!! I love it with a light, zesty sauce, and not drenched in cream. Surprisingly, I’ve received a number of compliments for this simple little dish. Today, slow down a bit, but some music on, pour yourself a beautiful glass of wine and start cooking. Take your time. Don’t rush. I believe this dish is all about the love you put into it.

Zesty exotic mushroom, spinach & feta lumaconi

exotic mushrooms

 

Ingredients

juice and zest of 1 x lemon

1 x pack of baby spinach leaves

250g mix of fresh exotic mushrooms, very roughly chopped

1 x tablespoon of butter + 1 teaspoon of butter

1/2 x glass of dry white wine

250g of soft, greek feta cheese

3 x tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino

1/2 cup of reserved pasta water

salt & pepper to taste

exotic mushrooms

Add your butter to a heated pan and allow to melt. Gently start frying your mushrooms. Remember, if you don’t give mushrooms space, they wont brown.

exotic mushrooms

Fry your mushrooms until brown. Now remove the mushrooms from the pan and blanch your spinach in the remaining butter and mushroom juices.

mushroom & spinach

Remove the spinach and place aside. Add the teaspoon of butter and turn up the heat. Now add your mushrooms back in the pan again.

spinach and mushrooms

Add the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix through. Allow the liquid to reduce and then set aside to cool.

butter & mushrooms

Now start cooking your pasta according to the packet instructions, making sure to cook it 4 minutes less than stated on the packet.

grated lemon zest

When this is done, reserve half a cup of the pasta water, keep aside and drain your pasta.

lumaconi pasta

Add the spinach to the mushroom mixture & crumble your feta into the spinach and mushroom mixture.

lumaconi pasta

Now put it back on the heat. Add the pasta and start mixing it through gently, slowly adding the reserved pasta water.

fried mushrooms

The pasta water will mix with the feta, allowing a gentle thickened sauce.

mushroom, feta & spinach

All you need to do now is flavour it with freshly ground black pepper and a few pinches of salt.

grated parmesan

Time to dish up!

spinach, feat and lumaconi pasta

Sprinkle over the grated parmesan, take a sip of your wine and enjoy!

Porcini Mushroom Edemame Risotto

8 Feb

A perfect love affair! I’ve never met anyone that does not appreciate a good risotto. Its just always so moreish, no matter what you add to it. Its comforting, warm, creamy and it only takes 30 minutes to make! Yes, I know a lot of people tend to avoid making risotto, because they feel it takes too long and you have to “wait” for it. I don’t necessarily agree. The therapeutic part is when you stir, and that’s all you have to do. Give it the love it deserves and it will love you back three times more! Risotto is as flexible as pasta. You can add whatever you want. My favourite though, will always be a mushroom risotto. Especially with dried porcini’s it lends a slightly wild and rich, earthy taste to the dish. Whenever I have no idea what to cook and our fridge is empty from meat for a roast on a Sunday, I turn to risotto. Its always there for me in my food cupboard and it may just be the big lion’s best friend. If I have EVER seen someone eat copious amounts of risotto, that’s my man with his mouth filled to the rims! porcini

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

1 x pack of dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup of fresh, chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups of dry white wine

1 x teaspoon crushed garlic

2 x cups Arborio rice

1 pack of bacon, cut into small bite size pieces

1 x onion, finely chopped

60g butter

2 x tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lemon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup fresh soya / edamame beans

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup of chicken stock.

500ml hot water

risotto Place the porcini mushrooms in a measuring jug. Pour the boiling water over the mushrooms and allow to stand. Meanwhile, add the butter and the olive oil to a wide,big pan. Gently fry the onions for until glassy. bacon Add the bacon and cook for about 5 – 8 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and mix through, making sure all the rice is glazed with the butter and olive oil. onion Pour in the white wine and mix through. When the liquid has almost been absorbed by the rice, add a little bit of the porcini mushroom liquid. lemon Stir through again. The secret to risotto is that you must keep stirring, and as soon as the liquid has been absorbed, you add some more again and keep stirring. Lemon juice Alternate your liquid with the chicken stock and the mushroom liquid. edamame beans For step by step, I borrowed a link from WikiHow to show those that might feel they’re not sure how much liquid to add at once etc. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Risotto-Rice lemon juice When you have used half of the liquid, add the mushrooms and the soaked porcini mushrooms. edamame beans Mix through and keep stirring until all the liquid has been used. edamame beans Add the edamame beans and the lemon juice and mix through. risotto Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper. risotto Mix through the parmesan cheese.Plate up and grate over a little more parmesan cheese, and tuck in! risotto

Pièce de résistance … Home Grown Tomato tart

25 Aug

We should actually have a whole chapter on tomatoes, as my crop just keeps on giving and giving.. in the most famous and often used words of themost critical and only food taster in this house “The gift that keeps on giving”! However, there is something about tomatoes – the possibilities with these bright and beautiful red fruits are just endless! I read somewhere ( don’t ask me where, my memory is getting rusty)  something that actually just made my day – “It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato”. Don’t you just love that, I feel like I am living on my own farm already!!

After talking about this tomato tart for quite a few weeks, I decided to actually just go for it!! After all, there will always be more tomatoes, and since we haven’t had tart within a week, I suppose, why not? I think it turned out so well, I heard new “hmmmmmm” noises from my hungry tiger that I haven’t heard before, and as always, the very famous ” beauuuuuuutiful”! I don’t actually know in what type of category it will fall in, because it has egg and cream, but just a touch, and it has 2 different cheeses. Maybe we should just call it “my french tart” since, it is after all, the Pièce de résistance!! It’s a real beauty, and why not, it is even my favourite colour!! There is always something exciting and daring about red! ;-p

Home Grown Tomato Tart

14 medium tomatoes, finely sliced / 10 large tomatoes

Olive oil for drizzling

salt & pepper to taste

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 cup of feta cheese

2 red onions, sliced in rounds

25g of butter and extra for greasing

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

2 twigs of thyme

1 pack of short crust pastry

Flour for dusting

1 fluted tart tin

45ml cream/soya cream

1 egg

Spread your tomatoes out in a tray. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for about 15- 20 minutes. While this is roasting, melt your butter in a pan, add the garlic and slowly fry your onions on a low heat.

You just want them to slowly and slightly carmelize and turn soft, juicy and sweet. When your tomatoes are ready, your onions will be ready 🙂 Dust your surface with flour and roll out your pastry. Grease your tart tin. Place your pastry in the tin and prick with a fork. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Take half of your parmesan cheese and sprinkle on the pastry. Now, layer it with your onions. Sprinkle half of your feta cheese over the onions. Now place your tomatoes over the feta and layer them properly. Crumble the remaining feta over the tomatoes.

Layer the remaining tomatoes over the feta. Sprinkle with the thyme. Beat your egg and cream together. Pour it over the filling. Now sprinkle over the rest of your parmesan and place in the oven for 15- 20 minutes or until golden brown. What a lovely little surprise!! Enjoy with a crisp and fresh green salad 🙂 Just a thought…. my camera’s battery died, so these are dirty, disgusting blackberry photos, apologies, I know, it will NEVER happen again!! 😉

Cottage pie… you’ve got to give it a try

13 Aug

I promise! It’s got a little twist ;-p When I was a little girl, I never liked cottage pie. I liked mashed potato and I liked mince, but not together. There was something about it that I felt was bland and boring and a “quick fix” when you really didn’t have much time to make supper. Not that it is, this was just how I perceived it and naturally, having a mother that is a brilliant cook, I pulled my nose at it!

I am now here to tell you that I have recovered. Hi, my name is Nadia and I have a new cottage pie recipe…. all together now…. “Hi New Cottage Pie!!!! “ This is what I like to call “Italian Cottage Pie”.  I think it has a certain  “je ne sais quoi” to it.  Cottage pie, with a bit more zing and loaded with  love!! And anti-oxidants!

I made this a few weeks ago, thinking my hubby will pull the same face I used to pull when I heard “cottage pie”. However, he actually polished my little red pie dish! I think it is because it has the crunch factor, the zingy flavour and the fluffy potato, topped with the ever so lovely and popular parmesan. Who can live without parmesan!!!!! I’m sure it sounds bad, calling it my Italian cottage pie, but basically, the base of the sauce is Italian, parmesan is Italian, and well, why not. This is not the quickest dish, but it is well worth it 🙂 If you don’t try it, you’ll never know!

Italian Cottage Pie

 

250 g mince

5 tablespoons of tomato puree

Dolmio tomato sauce ( Yes I had to, there was one bottle left in the fridge) / 1 tin of tinned tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoon of mixed herbs

1 large onion, roughly chopped / 2 medium onions

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

4 potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 chilli finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup of cream/ soya cream

Get some water boiling and add your potatoes. Flavour the water with salt. Heat a frying pan and add your olive oil, chilli and onion.

Fry the onion for about 8 minutes and add your tomato puree. Mix and fry for another 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Now add your mince and break it up with a wooden spoon. When it has slightly browned, add your Dolmio sauce/ tinnes tomatoes. Mix through.

Now add your mixed herbs. Mix through and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. It sounds long, but it really allows the meat to absorb the flavours in the sauce.

While this is simmering, check on your potatoes. When the potatoes are soft, drain them. Put them back in the saucepan and start mashing!!

When it is beautifully fluffy, add your cream and mix through thoroughly. Taste and season with salt if needed. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Grease a pie dish or any dish of your choice. When your mince is ready, spoon it into the pie dish. Take your mash and spread it over your the mince. Make sure it covers all the mince. Now pour over your egg. Sprinkle with parmesan and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

When you remove it, the egg and parmesan will have formed a lovely crust with a golden colour. Enjoy with a side salad or veggies 🙂

 

She’s always a “hearty” woman to me…

11 Jul

Today’s post was inspired by my beautiful mother, which includes the song -“She’s always a woman to me” from Billy Joel. There was a recent add on tv from John Lewis and the way that they portrayed this woman, with the song, was almost a replica of my mother. It depicts how she met her husband, got married, worked, started and fed a family and how her life turned out… tune in, I will attach the video to my blog, just so all of you will know what I am talking about. This is the wikipedia explanation for Billy Joel’s song: “She’s Always a Woman” is a song from Billy Joel‘s 1977 album The Stranger. It is a love song about a modern woman, with whom he falls in love for her quirks as well as her flaws. Now, just to clarify this, my mother has NO flaws! She is the most perfect woman, and oh how I am blessed to have such a mother!

Ever heard of having your heart connected to another with a long string? That is what it feels like to me, with my mother in another country. Till this day, it amazes the hubby how my mother and I are connected. One example? I asked my mother one afternoon in a email what she was cooking that night and it turns out we were cooking the exact same dish, without even speaking to each other. We share everything, from cleaning tips to “calming down after the toilet seat was left up again” and how to make a wilting, dying plant grow again and flourish! So, this brings me to the rest of the inspiration for today, “harvest diaries”, a book I am reading about the daily chores on a organic wine and fruit farm. The way the writer describes her day is so similar to my mother. From when I was little, everything my mother grew, always flourished. She would tend to the garden, make fresh delicious food, be a shoulder to cry on, be a career woman,wife, mother, sister, a friend and make all of it seem so simple and easy. She puts her heart in everything, and that is why this blog is titled “hearty” woman to me.

In winter, we would come home and you could hear the fire crackling, which she lit earlier and smell a lovely waft of homemade lentil soup and fresh bread and when entering the kitchen be embraced by her in a warm hug. This is beauty to me. She can enjoy anything and everything, mend anything, cook anything and it is all a picture of love and contentment. Of course, I could never be close to this, but, I now live for planting flowers, herbs and vegetables, making our house a home, to cook something simple and turn it into a feast, and all the while,not thinking about not being a stick and embracing my curves, pale skin and loud personality, because this is who I am, and all of this came from my mother ( and of course I have to say my father ;-p) She showed me what is important in life. So, in her words, when I am not particularly feeling like the beauty prom queen I am ( wink wink) look at yourself in the mirror and say “hello you drop dead gorgeous, beautiful thing!”

Well, I don’t need that anymore, because I know that certain things aren’t worth fussing about. I would rather fuss about my Lentil soup and try and figure out what I would add to make it taste like something magical happened in my kitchen ;-p So on the menu today, Red split lentil soup and home made bread 🙂 This one is for you mom, still know I won’t be able to top your lentil soup, but I might come close!

Homemade bread

125ml warm water

15g instant yeast

250g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

twig of rosemary

3 sundried tomatoes

Mix your yeast into your warm water. Set aside and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes, until it starts creating a thick froth. Sieve your flour and salt into a bowl.  Mix together with the yeast and olive oil and put it in your mixing bowl with a kneading hook. Put the machine on low and keep it going for about 10 minutes, adding flour and warm water if neccesary. The dough is correct if you touch it and it springs back immediately. Now, rub a bowl with olive oil and rub the dough ball around it. Cover with a cloth and blanket and keep in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch it back about 7 times and knead again for 4 minutes. Cover again and allow to rise double the size. Preheat your oven to 230 degrees celcius. Rub your loaftin with olive oil. Now place your dough in the tin. Push some rosemary sprigs in your bread, and put the sundried tomatoes on top. Grind some salt over. Now allow it to bake. It is done when it has a hollow sound when you tap it.

Red Split Lentil Soup

2 onions roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of curry powder

juice of 1 lemon

75g of strong mature cheddar, grated

4 teaspoons of red pesto

1.5 litre of vegetable or chicken stock

Grated parmesan for garnish

salt & pepper to taste

Heat a casserole saucepan with the oil and add your onion and cumin seeds. Fry for about 5 minutes and now add your curry powder.

Add your lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Squash your garlic slightly and add to the soup. After this, simmer your soup for about 30 minutes. Then, add the lemon juice, cheese and pesto and mix through.

Flavour with salt and pepper. Dish up, grate over some parmesan and enjoy with your freshly baked bread! Happiness! 🙂

And for those that would like to watch the add that I think resembles my mother, here you go 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYOsWWKHZVw

1st Date Pasta

3 Jun

yes, this sounds very funny, I know, but then again, I cant think of a time that I didn’t have a ridicilous title for my posts.I read about a girl today that has dyslexia and everyday she opens the dictionary and chooses a word. So I thought about my word for the past WEEK -Frustration: Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be.

Yes, this is me ( typing it all with one hand, which might even increase the frustration),feeling uesless. So you can imagine what it must be like for that man of mine. My mother always said to me, even if you start feeling sorry for yourself, think about everything that is wonderful. I have a lot of these happy-filled bubbles 🙂

So, as I was sitting outside on my deckchair (desperate housewife-style), I looked around at my beautiful flowers, listened to the birds singing, and just the normal sounds that I have become familiar with ( Siren of a ambulance every 5 minutes ;-p)I fell instantly blessed -smelling a scent of a flower that I remember from my first date with my hubby…… the mischievous face of the fierce lion cub entering my mind, which still makes me smile. 🙂

It was a hot day, filled with the scent of flowers and our date was in Stellenbosch, in the courtyard of a beautiful restaurant. I remember when I walked in as he was waiting for me, looking up, thinking what a beautiful man, and what a terrible mistake. There and then I knew I was in love already and he was flying back to another country and my heart will be broken forever,dramaqueen!! The other part of the story was that I already looked at the menu earlier that day and decided I was having the Salmon pasta with cream, feta and roasted tomatoes. Coincidently, the hubby put the same order in for himself, so this is how the scent of a flower brought me to the memory of our first date, more so, a very similar dish that I made and never blogged about. So clearly, you know by now that this recipe is dedicated to my lovely, ever so handsome, mischievous hubby, because I still love him more that words can dare to describe,every day.

1st Date Pasta

2 salmon steaks

2 handfulls of cherry tomatoes

juice of 1 lemon

4 pieces of bacon cut into medium sized pieces

1/2 leek chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 block of feta cheese

handfull of fresh thyme

1 teaspoon garlic

250ml cream / soya cream

salt/pepper

2 cups of rigatoni/penne pasta

handful of freshly grated parmesan

Place your salmon and cherry tomatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and grind over some black pepper and salt. Put in preheated oven of 200 degrees celcius. Cook the salmon for 15 minutes and roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes. While this is cooking, heat a pan on the stove and add your garlic to the pan and pour in some olive oil. Fry your leek until soft, but stil firm and add your bacon.Fry until the bacon is almost cooked and add your lemon juice,thyme and peas.

Start boiling water for your pasta and remember to put salt in the water. When your salmon is done, rougly break it into pieces and add to your bacon mixture. Now add your cream and feta roughly broken into pieces and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Lastly, add your cherry tomatoes and mix it through gently. When your pasta is done, toss it with your salmon sauce and sprinkle with parmesan, plenty of love and enjoy!