Thursday, October 20, 2011

I will never buy packet pasta again

The real, rich, soft, lightness of home made pasta cannot be compared to the dried factory product.  I can hardly believe the two share a name.  Even the supposed 'fresh' pasta product from the refrigerated section in the supermarket is real pastas uglier second cousin.
The fifties have got a lot to answer for when it decided that convenience was the way to go and proceeded to pre-make and package as many foods as possible.
My first batch of pasta probably took maybe an hour tops to make.  And the recipe I used gave enough for 3-4 good servings. I used a smaller recipe to start incase I made a big mess and wasted the ingredients.
Most recipes used lots o eggs, including one using seven eggs by my beloved Jamie.  I found one from online blog smitten kitchen, which I then halved. It uses just two and a cup and half or so of flour. I used high grade from the super market.  Plus I used my food processor.

Fresh Pasta from Smitten Kitchen and adapted from Gourmet Magazine
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water 
To make pasta dough in a food processor: 
Blend flour, eggs, salt, and water in processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.


Also being the first time I had used my food processor to make dough.  The result was fast easy and fabulous.  After letting the dough sit for an hour I divided it into 3 and started using my new fav piece of equipment, my pasta machine, rolling the dough through each of the nine settings.  The key through out the whole process to keep everything well dusted with flour.  I then dried mine over night on clothes hangers.    
I ate with the following sauce.

Zucchini and prosciutto sauce (it has meat I know but it was an end of the fridge thing...)
Chop up roughly some prosciutto, or bacon or parma ham.
Fry in a saucepan with some onion
Add some halved cherry tomatoes and a knob of butter
Grate two zucchini and toss in the pan
Stir around a bit and glug in some olive oil.
Toss through somr of you fresh pasta which has been cooked in boiling water for a couple of minutes

Delicious  : )

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The cupcakes are being made

Basic vanilla cupcake recipe
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
Zest of 1 large lemon(optional)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoonsbaking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

I also added 1/2 cup toasted coconut


Preheat oven to 180 and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Meringue Icing (this is easier than it looks!, plus I made a half mixture to start and this was enough for my 12 cup cakes)
4 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch fine salt
Drop of red food colouring (I might use beetroot juice next time)

Bring a few cm's of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixing bowl above the water. (I used a glass bowl) Whisk the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cream of tarter and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat at medium-high speed until meringue is cool and holds a soft peak, about 5 minutes. Add a few drops of desired food coloring and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks.
To decorate: Using a spoon, offset spatula or piping bag, dollop, spread or pipe meringue on top of each cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and valleys in the cupcake as desired.
Makes yummy marshmellow style topping.  I'm gonna try chocolate next time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Giving in to cupcakes

Yeah so cupcakes are the ultimate cool thing and everybody loves them and they are so creative etc etc. New York is brimming with kitschy cup cake shops on every corner, and people are having cup cake cakes for their weddings (why?) Nestle Hottest Home Baker had a whole episode about decorating them, and I'm finally giving in. 

I found this picture (on the site), its simple architectural meringue quiff so avant garde juxtaposed with the delicate girly pink colour (i'll make, green and blue, maybe swirls and others too) has inspired me. I want to eat - NOW!


Plus loving this secret strawberry one. With lime icing.

Ummm. Yup well I'll report back with my own pics, once I have baked : )