comfort food

i've had a rough couple of days. so i decided to spend yesterday in the kitchen to relax. and also to thank dr. science for putting up with the craziness that is hannah.

mmmmm. manicotti. fresh pasta (i am soon going to have massive pipes), filled with spinach, mushroom and ricotta. baked in a very delicious tomato sauce.
blanch about five medium-sized tomatoes.
skin, seed, and dice.
cook over medium heat with a good dollop (read 3 tbsp or more) good quality olive oil, two garlic cloves, and a sprig of parsley - ten minutes.
remove garlic and parsley and serve.
(for a thicker sauce let cook five minutes over high heat)

and the most delicious chocolate chip cookie i've ever made. i often have trouble with chocolate chip cookies. i've never been able to make a satisfying batch. when i was living in germany, land of no real cookies, this was especially frustrating. however, this recipe from 101 cookbooks rocks my world.
more pie

yep. it's an obsession.

rhubarb (and apple) pie

5 cups chopped rhubarb stalk (and apples)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

mix well in a good bowl. let sit, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. then pour into your pie crust and cover with a top (i like the bastel quality of my crappy laticework)
bake at 425 for 30 minutes, then lower to 350 for another 25.
allow to cool completely.

1. those little flute things that they put on the edge of crusts. apparently they're not just for decoration. they help keep the juices in.
2. you m-u-s-t put a baking sheet under the pie. or you will have to clean your oven after. (learned that lesson last time)
3. you really do have to let it cool completely. otherwise the juices run out, making tomorrow's left-over pie lunch (although tasty) somewhat drier.
rubber boots, rain and ravioli

rain + puddles + rubber boots = awesome

so does this ravioli i whipped up in a desperate attempt to convince dr. science that i really need a pasta-maker. like, for reals. yo.

thinly sliced mushrooms and one small onion (frying pan 15 minutes)
food processor (zoom zoom)
one cup ricotta cheese
three new salads

yes i know it's still winter, but these are winter salads. sorta. and besides, winter seems to have forgotten dresden. the following come c/- jamie oliver, ben o'donoghue and skye gyngell respectively.

1. roast carrot and avocado salad with orange and lemon dressing.

the (par-boiled) carrots are marinated in bashed-up cumin, chillies, thyme, garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar and roasted with orange and lemon halves, which then become a hot and tangy dressing for the vegies. the rest is just avocados, mixed leaves, ripped up toasted ciabatta, poppy seeds and a little sour cream on top. very very good. possibly my new favourite.

2. crispy asian salmon salad.

basically the good ol' vietnamese rice noodle salad with limey fish sauce dressing. but! deep-fried salmon and capers make everything crunchy and delicious. mm-mm. from this month's delicious magazine.

3. rare roast beef salad with green beans, new potatoes and horseradish cream.

the trick here is very good beef fillet and boiled potatoes which are dressed with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper while they're still hot. slow-roasted tomatoes and red onions do their bit too. we had some gorgeous white italian radicchio with this, beautiful green beans and a lovely creme fraiche spiked with horseradish and dijon. yes-sssah. so good.
as american as i want to be

a post from the prodigal sun (or perhaps the land thereof)
my apologies. i hate february. and shoveling snow. and i've gone into hibernation.
but this post comes thanks to a very special bit of sunshine who particularly likes pastry. and apples.
my first apple pie

it wasn't nearly as hard as i thought. but what was hard was capturing this:

and then this:

and then this:

i think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
(with pies. and maybe a little bit of sunshine, too.)
recreating the breakfast bruschetta

first up, much love to hannah on her birthday. herzlichen glückwunsch zum geburtstag, äffchen.

here is my attempt (read bastardisation) at the vans breakfast bruschetta extravaganza. spinach, prosciutto, roasted tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, soft-poached eggs and basil oil. oh life is good.

by the way i am totally crap at poaching eggs these days. i used to be the poaching master but somehow i've lost it. today's effort was saved somewhat by our mid-week purchase of an induction hotplate. these must be among the greatest inventions of our time. so so so good. when i grow up i'ma have a real set. yessir.