Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
ZITE WITH SARDINAS, FENNEL AND RAISINS
This dates back to April. I had this beautiful pasta I had brought back from Naples a year earlier, and these sardinas. I decided to adapt a recipe from the Silver Spoon which uses fresh sardinas. Instead of frying the fish etc, I just used it straight from the box.
The recipe also uses fennel and sultana raisins: the mix was surprising to me, which was one of the reasons I wanted to try this recipe. The result was quite nice!
Soak 25g sultana raisins in warm water.
Boil 200g chopped fennel for 15-20 minutes. When straining, keep the water and set aside. Chop the fennel into smaller pieces.
In a frying pan, fry one chopped onion in a tbsp olive oil for 5min. Add 8 anchovies. Soak the raisins and add them. Add the fennel and 25g pine nuts. Add a bit of saffron (quantity depends on whether you use powder or pistils, but the taste should be clearly perceptible). Cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
Pre-heat the oven at 200°C. Oil a large oven dish.
Cook 300g pasta (zite are long tubes which need to be broken in smaller pieces in order to be cooked) al dente in boiling water mixed with the water from the fennel. Drain and mix with half the sauce.
In the oven dish, put a layer of pasta, a layer of sardinas (since I used canned sardinas, I didn’t need to fry them first. The recipe says 350g fresh sardinas, I think I used 2 of these small tins), a layer of sauce. Continue until all ingredients are used, with sauce on top. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
Serve as soon as it’s out!
My first time cooking artichokes! I decided to start with an Italian recipe from the Silver spoon book. Then I got stuck when it came to which part of the artichoke was edible and which wasn’t. After some fumbling on the internet, I thought that only the hearts were usable, so I got rid of most of the leaves, but in the end I think I could have kept more. Peeling the artichokes also involved a lot of lemon so that they didn’t darken too much.
Anyway, here is the recipe:
1. Peel 4-5 artichokes, rub some lemon on them as you go, chop them in small slices, and put them in a salad bowl filled with water and the juice from half a lemon.
2. Heat up a tbsp olive oil in a pan, fry some chopped garlic and parsley. Drain the artichokes and add them. Cover and cook for a few minutes on low heat- Add 2-3 tbsp salted water and cover again.
3. Cook some penne rigate (I used pipe rigate) al dente in salted water. Drain and pour the artichokes on the pasta. Add some pepper before you serve. (I also added some slices of grana padano, just cause I always like some cheese, but it’s entirely optional).
In the end, this dish was quite nice, especially because of the combination of parsley, garlic and pepper. Also, the end result doesn’t look at all the way it looks in the book, so maybe I should try again. I guess next time I’ll try one of the artichokes gratin in that book, maybe the one with artichokes and tuna.
An interesting article about the “fifth taste” and cultural dimensions of taste, even in defining the basics. Apparently parmesan might be “the most umami ingredient in western cookery”.
"The strong savoury flavour that makes everything from spag bol to Marmite so hard to resist may serve a vital evolutionary purpose. We could even use it to fight malnutrition."
Although I don’t like marmite.
I’m not sure I would identify that taste easily. The article mentions gravy and soy sauce. I wonder if that’s the taste that comes with deglazing salty sauces with vinegar or wine…
BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH BACON AND SHALLOTS
Brussel sprouts were daunting: the only time I had eaten them since the days of school-canteen (needless to say I didn’t eat many at the time), it was at the house of an elderly lady - and very good cook - who put them in a very simple yet delicious soup. Other than that, I had only heard about them, about how difficult it was to get them right etc etc.
But after seeing the at the market for the whole winter, I decided I should give them a shot before the season is over. I looked up a few recipes (Cooksister has a bunch of interesting recipes) , and decided that for my first try, I would add some strong tastes which I was certain to like. Thus I included some bacon, and cooked some potatoes with melted cheese on the side. It wasn’t a complete failure - I think I might have slightly overcooked the sprouts, but not too much - so next time I’ll try a lighter recipe. In any case, here is what I did.
1. Clean the Brussel sprouts and steam-cook them for 6 minutes in the pressure cooker (it said 8 minutes, but I left them only 6 so that I could sauté them afterwards).
2. Start heating a pan and put 100g diced bacon in. Chop a big shallot and add once the shallot is translucent.
3. Chop some garlic. Once the sprouts are ready, rinse them with some cool water and cut them in halves. Add the garlic and the sprouts in the pan.
4. Cover for one minute. Turn the sprouts halves, cover and leave for one more minute.
CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT PIE
And a dessert again. After all, it’s still the season of dinner parties, and this is an easy and impressive dessert.
The dough is made after an adapted recipe by Pierre Hermé (proportions are for 2 pies, but you can easily freeze half of the dough):
Work on 150g butter so as to get a cream - or simply melt the butter.
Add 95g icing sugar, 2 pinches of salt, and 30g almond powder and mix.
Add 1 egg and mix.
Add 250g flour, mixing and then working the dough with your hands.
Work into a ball, cover it with a plastic film and leave it in the fridge for 4 hours.
For the chocolate:
Slowly heat 50g sugar with a drop of water. Chop 100g hazelnuts and pour them in the caramel so as to coat them.
Boil 20cl liquid cream. Pour into a salad bowl and add 200g dark chocolate (I use 70%), mix until it melts. Add 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks. Mix.
To prepare the pie:
Heat oven to 200°C. Roll half of the pastry out (freeze the rest or use for another pie) and line a tart tin. Line the tart case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 15 mins. Remove the baking beans and reduce the heat to 180°C.
Pour the hazelnuts, then the chocolate mix and cook for 15 more minutes.
It’s ready! You can add hazelnuts on top of the pie for decoration.