Mushroom Ravioli

Well, tonight the pasta machine was in full use again!  Not only did I rustle up some tagliatelle for the kids but I made mushroom ravioli for me and the old man.  I used the same pasta recipe as before but I based the filling and sauce on a recipe in the Masterchef Cookbook.  For my first attempt, I thought it was pretty good.  The ravioli were maybe a bit more shallot than mushroom, but the sauce was so rich with porcini that it actually worked really nicely together.  My presentation was awful…as you will see in the last photo.  John Torode would be champing his chops at the sloppy sauce – when I saw the photo even I wanted to grab some kitchen towel and wipe around the edge but alas, by that time I had scoffed the lot!
To make the pasta, I took 400g OO flour4 eggs & 1tbsp oil and blended the ingredients together in the mixer until they looked like breadcrumbs, then I switched to the dough hook and kneaded it for about 4 minutes.  I wrapped the dough in clingfilm and rested it for half an hour at room temperature.
The filling for the ravioli was 3 large shallots and 2 large chestnut mushrooms, all finely chopped.  I sweated the shallots in 25g of butter until they were soft, then I added the ‘shrooms for another 5 minutes.  Then I added 60ml of double cream, brought it to the bubble to bind it all together, then set aside for later.
The sauce was made by soaking 25g dried porcini mushrooms for 15 mins.  During the wait I boiled 400ml chicken/vegetable stock until it was reduced by half.  Then I added the porcini and any juices and a slug of sherry.  I reduced it by half again and added 75ml of double cream.  I simmered this until it was reduced to a nice silky sauce.
I feel there should be some herbs in there somewhere, but my ignorance of ingredients defies me knowing which ones to add and to what, so any suggestions welcome!
However, it was a very yummy Saturday night supper…and would make a nice dish for friends with some crusty bread to mop up all that lovely sauce!
All set and ready to ravioli…
Mushroom humps!
Little ‘shroom spaceships
Sloppy presentation, but delicious

My First Curry

I made my first curry tonight.

Not a completely from scratch one, but a Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food one, so better than some fried chicken and a jar of Sharwood’s finest.

It was chicken tikka masaka and it was rather nice!

Homemade Pizza

I am prone to fads, and many of them are cooking-related. One was cupcakes. I investigated courses, bought books, nozzles and piping bags galore and baked myself (and my family) up a dress size. Then my attention has diverted to a different type of cuisine…pasta. I am a bit of a pasta snob. Having cooked dried pasta for years, I moved on to fresh pasta and now won’t eat anything else. I fear that the making of fresh pasta will exacerbate this further and soon that will be all I will allow. I have already gone this way with pizza, as have my children who now turn their nose up at shop bought pizzas and demand my homemade pizza instead.
pizza Collage
Pizza Dough Recipe
  • 2 tsps dried ‘easy bake’ yeast
  • 3 cups (420g) OO/strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil (I like using garlic oil for extra taste)
  • 1 cup (250ml) + 2 tbsp warm water
  1. Put all the ingredients into a mixer in the order above. I have a kitchenaid and use the dough hook then mix on speed 1 for 10 minutes. If using a bread machine, simply put it on the dough cycle. For other mixers…or by hand, you’ll have to use your intuition!
  2. When it is elastic and the dough springs back when you poke it, put it in a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave for at least half an hour to rise.
  3. Flour (or semolina gives a pizza restaurant finish) your worktop and divide the dough up as you wish. I usually use half of mine to form one, big flat pizza base and roll up the rest into small balls to make doughballs. Sometimes, I make a small pizza for each of us. To form your base you can roll with a rolling pin to get the basic disc-shape and then tease out the dough. I lay it over the back of my hand and then use the other hand to pull out the dough; then jiggle it around on my hand and strectch again, repeating until the base is formed. One day I will be able to throw it around like a pro, but until then I take the safe route!
  4. Spread over a thin layer of passata and then sprinkle with grated mozzarella and toppings of your choice.
  5. Bake at 200ºC for about 10 mins, but check according to your oven. The doughballs take a shorter amount of time. You can buy garlic butter to dip them into or make your own.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Ha!  I can finally spell it without looking it up!  
Today’s supper (or tomorrow’s lunch) is to be Beouf Bourguignon, something I’ve never cooked before.  I am going to use the Lorraine Pascale recipe as I seem to get on very well with her (except the paella….).  I was explaining to Husband what is it and he replied ‘So, it’s basically stew?’.  Well, yes I suppose so but stew doesn’t sound very sexy whereas boeuf bourguignon makes you slide into a dodgy French accent and alliterate.
Anyway, it doesn’t look too tricky and I do like a recipe you can make one day and serve the next with the notion it improves with standing.  Chilli is great for that.  I am hoping the kids will try some although I imagine they’ll take one look and ask for sandwiches.


Boeuf is in the oven.  I am slightly worried for two reasons.  One is that I am only making it for me and the old man so I halved the recipe and I am a bit worried about cooking times…..Maybe I should have made the whole lot and frozen half?  It is meant to cook for 2.5 hours so I reckon I’ll knock off half an hour…..*fingers crossed*
Secondly, the recipe seems so easy I am concerned about how I am going to mess it up, which I invariably will.  Perhaps my recipe halving will have done the trick, or the fact that I put all the liquid as Marsala when I should have halved it with Burgundy or stock…..(I know, Marsala is Italian but Lorraine assures me it works.  Just annoys the French).
Ooh!  It was lovely!  So much so, Husband and I mopped up the juices with the kids’ leftover chips (I know, shocking behaviour) and I am making it again for friends coming over next Sunday lunch.   I actually forgot to take a photo of my wondrous creation, so I have posted somebody else’s instead, but it looked very similar…..yum!