Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pasta Fonduta

David has a new toy...
Whilst honeymooning in Italy, he found a pasta maker that he's wanted for a long time.
He lugged it all the way to Greece and back home, causing all sorts of grief at every airport!
Anyway he loves it, and if it means that he cooks more and I cook less, than I'm all for it!

Recently he cooked Pasta Fonduta for myself and beautiful friend Jen.
As with most Italian pasta dishes, it is very simple and only uses a couple of ingredients.
In the words of the great Italian Chef himself: "If you haven't tried making your own pasta yet, I'd strongly recommend it! Once you do, you'll never go back to buying pasta again" Wise words.

FOR THE PASTA: roughly 1 x egg and 1x 100g flour per person.
Wizz it up in a blender till you get the consistancy of bread crumbs. If too doughy keep adding more flour.
Press all the bread crumbs (dough) together with your hands till you have a big blob. Put it through your pasta maker 4 times on the biggest setting. After that, reduce the setting on the pasta maker after each run through until you're on the finest setting. Fold the past using flour between the sheets to prevent sticking. Cut pasta into desired size. In this case I cut it into Tagliatelle.

FOR THE SAUCE: 4 x table spoons of creme fraiche in a bowl above the boiling water. Add salt, pepper, hand full of parmasen cheese and a hand full of melting cheese (could be fontina, guyre etc.)

Boil the pasta (it only takes about 45secs to 1min for fresh pasta) with the brocolli (cut into a similar width to the tagliatelle)
Whilst pasta is boiling add two egg yolks to your sauce along with some herb (I just used flat leaf parsley but you could use thyme, margaram etc). Taste it and add more seasoning if need be.

Finally drain your pasta and mix with the sauce. The heat from the pasta will mix with the cream and egg in a good way so it becomes silky and cooked but not scrambled.

Finish with parmasen cheese and some good quality olive oil.
Best served with a glass of your fav. chilled white wine :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate, Walnut & Salty Caramel Tart

I've been too afraid to bake lately, as since I've stopped blogging I've lost a whole 8kgs.
At least I've been able to pin point my problem area!
There's only 12 weeks until the big wedding day... and 2 weeks until my fitness and healthy eating plan kicks in...so I thought I'd make the most of my remaining fortnight of freedom and cook something yummy for my parents. 

This recipe is from George & Gary's (from Masterchef) new book....Your Place or Mine?...a lovely engagement present from our friends Jase & Em.


  • 110g dark couverture chocolate with 70% cocoa solids, chopped
  • 40g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream
  • 2 tsp liquid glucose
Sweet pastry
  • 300g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar 
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
  • 3 cups (450g) plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp thickened cream
Walnut praline
  • 100g walnuts
  • 110g caster sugar
Salty caramel sauce
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 180g liquid glucose
  • 180g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 200ml pure cream
1 To make pastry, using an electric mixer beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds on low until smooth and creamy but not light and fluffy. Add flour, egg and cream and mix until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half, shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze one portion for later use. Refrigerate remaining dough for 1 hour.

2 Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. To make walnut praline, spread walnutsover a baking tray and bake for 6-8 mins, until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and increase temperature to 190C or 170C fan. Place walnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove as much skin as possible. Spread walnuts over a baking tray. Heat sugar in a heavy based sauce pan on low, tilting pan occasionally but without stirring, for 10 mins, until sugar melts and a dark caramel forms. Pour over walnuts and cool. Cover a clean tea towel with baking paper. Fold over to enclose and gently pound with a rolling pin until roughly crushed. Set aside.

3 Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Line a 24cm loose-based tart pan with pastry and trim. Chill for 30 mins.

Line pastry shell with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans. Blind bake for 15 mins. Remove paper and weights. Reduce oven to 180C or 160C fan and bake for another 10 mins, until golden and dry.

5 Meanwhile, to make salty caramel, heat sugar, glucose, butter and salt in a pan on low, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 147C on a candy thermometer. Place cream in a small pan and bring to boil on medium. Immediately add to glucose mixture and stir on low heat until combined. Cool slightly.

6 Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Place cream and glucose in a small pan and bring to boil on medium heat. Pour over chocolate mixture and stand for 5 mins. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.

7 To assemble, scatter walnut praline over tart shell. Pour over salty caramel and stand for 10 mins. Pour over chocolate mixture and chill for 1 hour, until firm. Serve at room temperature.