This site will be to provide recipes and links to some of my favorite, easy recipes for kids and adults. The best way to learn to cook is repetition, keep cooking and trying out recipes and very soon you or your child will be comfortable working with kitchen tools calmly and competently, and the countless recipes available online will be easy to handle. My aim isn’t to teach you how to make Bolognaise, it is to teach you the processes and stages of making Bolognaise and how the same processes and stages are used through out the culinary world to make thousands of recipes. The internet and especially Youtube are such an incredible resource for any budding chef, I certainly watch lots of cooking videos for fun and for learning!!
Simply the best and most interestingly brilliant and enjoyable book on cooking.
HERBS AND SPICES AS THICKENERS
Some herbs and spices are used to provide the substance of a dish as well as its aromatic essence. A puree of fresh herbs, as in the Italian pesto sauce made from basil, is thick because the herb’s own moisture is already bound up with various cell materials. And thanks to the abundance of those cell materials—mainly cell walls and membranes—such purees also do a good job of coating oil droplets and so creating a stable, luxurious emulsion.
Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto
- Total:10 mins
- Prep:10 mins
- Cook:0 mins
- Yield:1 1/2 cups (4 to 6 servings)
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
See Full Nutritional Guidelines(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
The word “pesto” in Italian means “pounded,” so conceivably anything that is pounded can be considered a pesto. A pesto, in the traditional culinary sense, refers to an uncooked sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
Since this is an uncooked sauce, use good-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Extra-virgin oils are smoother and lighter and won’t compete with the other ingredients so their flavors will shine through. This pesto sauce recipe gets a little shake-up by substituting sunflower seeds for the pine nuts and adding butter with the olive oil.
Once made, it is tossed with hot pasta for a quick, vegetarian meal or side dish. This sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, for up to two weeks.
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves (coarsely chopped)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds (raw, hulled)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
Steps to Make It
- Gather the ingredients.
- Blanch and refresh the basil to preserve color.
- Place basil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, Parmesan, butter, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process to a purée, frequently scraping down the sides.
- Transfer pesto to a small bowl with a lid. Press a sheet of plastic wrap to the surface of the pesto, then seal with the lid until ready to use.
- Let the pesto come to room temperature before tossing with pasta.
Alter your pesto in a multitude of ways:
- Use walnuts in place of pine nuts.
- Try using Pecorino Romano cheese in place of Parmesan.
- Substitute baby spinach or arugula for the fresh basil.
- Add sautéed, poached, or grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon for a more filling meal for the carnivores in your household.
- Add 2/3 cup very warm heavy cream to every 3/4 cup of pesto sauce for a creamy pesto sauce.
How to Use Pesto Sauce
When you are combining pasta with a refined sauce like pesto, the best pasta to use is one that has holes or twists and turns that will sop up more of the sauce. Choose penne, fusilli, bucatini, campanelli, cavatelli, ditalini, and others, but don’t count out straight pasta like fettuccine if that’s all you have.
- Cook 1 pound of pasta of choice in salted water.
- When pasta is cooked al dente, remove from the heat and drain.
- In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup room-temperature pesto with 2/3 cup hot pasta water.
- Add drained pasta to the bowl and toss to combine.
- Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss again and serve immediately.
PASTA, NOODLES, AND DUMPLINGS
One of the simplest preparations of cereal flour gave us one of the most popular foods in the world: pasta. The word is Italian for “paste” or “dough,”and pasta is nothing more than wheat flour and water combined to make a clay-like mass, formed into small pieces, and boiled in water until cooked through—not baked, as are nearly all other doughs. Noodle comes from the German word for the same preparation, and generally refers to pasta-like preparations made outside the Italian tradition. The keys to pasta’s appeal are its moist, fine, satisfyingly substantial texture and its neutral flavor, which makes it a good partner for a broad range of other ingredients. Two cultures in the world have thoroughly explored the possibilities of boiled grain paste: Italy and China. Their discoveries were different, and complementary. In Italy, the availability of high-gluten durum wheat led to the development of a sturdy, protein-rich pasta, one that can be dried and stored indefinitely, one that readily lent itself to industrial manufacturing, and that can be formed into hundreds of fanciful shapes. The Italians also refined the art of making fresh pastas from soft wheat flours, and evolved an entire branch of cooking based on pasta as the principal ingredient, its combination of substance and tenderness providing the foundation for flavorful sauces—usually just enough to coat the surfaces—and fillings. In China, which had soft, low-gluten wheats, cooks concentrated on simple long noodles and thin wrappers, prepared them fresh and by hand, sometimes with great panache and just moments before cooking, and served the soft, slippery results almost exclusively in large amounts of thin broth. More remarkably, Chinese cooks found ways to make noodles from many different materials, including other grains and even pure, protein-free starch from beans and root vegetables.
Homemade Pasta Recipe
11-1/4 oz. unbleached all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups, more as needed)
4 large eggs, room temperature
Mound flour on a clean work surface. Using the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup, make a high-walled well in the center of the flour. You can also use your hand, but the measuring cup makes a perfect well.
Crack the eggs directly into the well. It is important to use temperature eggs because they better absorb the flour. Using a fork, beat the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. Continue until soft, clumpy dough begins to form. Don’t stress if it’s messy, because it will.
When the dough becomes difficult to work with the fork, use your hands to pull in the remaining flour, kneading gently until the dough comes together. Do not worry if there is still flour remaining on the work surface.
Set the dough off to the side and, using a bench knife/pastry scraper, scrape up and throw away any bits of dough remaining on the work surface. Clean your hands. Lightly dust the surface and your hands with flour and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed. It should be smooth, elastic, and just a bit tacky. Cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap. Cut the dough into six pieces and cover with a towel. With your hands, flatten one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick.
Dust it lightly with flour and pass it through setting #1, the widest setting, on the pasta machine.
Fold it in thirds, like a letter, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Pass it through the widest setting (#1) again with the seam of the letter perpendicular to the rollers. Repeat this folding and rolling step 5 to 8 times, dusting the dough with flour if it becomes sticky.
Without folding the dough, pass the pasta dough through the next setting (#2) four times. Again reduce the rollers to the next setting (#3) pass pasta through another four times, lightly dusting the pasta with flour on both sides as needed.
Reduce the rollers to the next and final setting (#4) pass pasta through 4 times, again flour each side as needed. Pasta should be about 1/16 inch thick and 3 inches wide.
Lay the rolled-out dough on the lined sheet pan, loosely lay plastic wrap over the top to keep from drying. Roll out the remaining dough in the same manner. Cut each strip of dough in half, about 11-inch lengths. Lightly flour each strip lay on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. At this point, you can keep it in sheets, or you can cut into whichever kind of noodle you like.
At this point, you can store the fresh pasta or move on to cooking the homemade pasta.
Portugese Custard tarts.
The pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Hieronymites Monastery (Portuguese: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) in the civil parish of Saint Mary of Bethlehem, in Lisbon. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching clothes, such as friars and nuns’ religious habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.
Here is a link to Jamie Olivers lovely, simple and delicious recipe
Skinny Portuguese Custard Tarts
175 g (6oz) caster sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
4 tbsp. Bird’s custard powder
1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
600ml (1 pint) semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp. sunflower oil
4 sheets filo pastry, each measuring about 30.5cm x 39cm (12in x 15½in)
Icing sugar, to dust (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Put first five ingredients into a pan and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk. Heat mixture until boiling, then simmer for 2min, whisking constantly until it thickens. Set aside.
Brush a little oil in the cups of a deep 12-hole muffin tin. Unroll filo sheets on a worksurface, keeping them stacked. Brush remaining oil over top sheet. Cutting through all the sheets at the same time, divide the top sheet into 12 equal squares (12 stacks with four sheets in each stack). Firmly press each stack into a hole of the muffin tin (oiled-side of filo upwards).
Divide custard among filo cases. Bake tarts for 35-40min until brown blisters begin to form on the custard (tarts may look as if they will overflow, but will settle down on cooling).
Let tarts cool for 5min in tin, use a small knife to loosen edges, then carefully lift out and transfer to a wire rack to cool until firm. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with icing sugar, if you wish.
Total carbs: 30 g
Sugars: 18 g
Total fat: 3 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Protein: 4 g
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world“.J.R.R Tolkien
I have loved cooking for as long as I can remember. When I became a chef I couldnt believe how lucky I was to be able to do a job that enjoyed so much. I was lucky enough to get a commi position in an amazing 2 Michelin starred restaurant in Dublin called Thorntons (now closed), working for the brilliant chef Kevin Thornton. Over the course of 7 years I got to learn about all areas of the kitchen, I got to work with and learn from some of the best chefs Ireland has and I got to work with the finest local and imported produce. It was the best education a young chef could hope for.