Monday, December 19, 2011

Experiments with food

Watching Masterchef Australia and then Masterchef USA, if you're at all a foodie and someone who enjoys cooking, it's hard not to get inspired and think about plating and flavours and I've been back in the kitchen a bit lately, stirring away. And here's what I came up with - a cheesy farfalle with broccoli, snowpeas and peas - a hit with the children, fried Borek stuffed with spiced apples, Szechuan green beans topped with Chinese fried eggs...and hopefully more to come.

There are no pictures of the Farfalle or the Borek - they vanished too quickly. Hopefully someday soon, though, I will put up pictures of the green beans. Meanwhile, recipes:

I cook about a cup dry farfalle per head
1 cup shelled peas, for 6 people
Two handsful snowpeas
2 cups broccoli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp chili flakes and dried oregano
Grated parmesan - 1 cup
Any other cheese - 1/2 cup
6 tbsp plain allpurpose flour
1.5 cups skimmed milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Put about a liter and a half of water on to boil with about 1 tbsp salt and a few drops of olive oil in it. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add in the farfalle and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente - you should be able to slide a fork through the pasta but it should hold the fork firmly. Drain out the water and put the pasta back in the pan; top with a dash of olive oil and stir so the pasta is coated lightly with the oil - that keeps it from becoming an unappealing lump.

Meanwhile, steam the broccoli and the snowpeas. Boil the peas until soft and keep aside. Put the olive oil on to heat ( not extra virgin, just plain); when hot, add in the garlic, oregano and chili flakes; toss in the steamed broccoli and snowpeas and stir for a couple of minutes on high heat and remove.

Put the milk on to heat in a saucepan on low heat. Slowly add in the flour, tbsp by tbsp, whisking away so it gets nicely absorbed and doesn't form lumps. Add in the half cup of cheese - we had blue cheese lying around so I used that - and whisk until fully dissolve. Assemble the farfalle - add the cheese sauce to the pasta, toss in the veggies, top with grated parmesan and pepper; taste to check the salt is ok and serve with a smile :)