Monday, 27 July 2009

What I've been Cooking - July.

This post is a bit of an end of month roundup of the stuff I've been cooking the last few weeks, but haven't blogged.
July has seen me cook a disproportionate amount of recipes from the same book, that old favourite 'Big Flavours and Rough Edges' - recipes from The Eagle. There are so many good pasta recipes in it, and regular readers of Essex Eating will know I'm a big fan of pasta for midweek, apres work dining.

So, bearing that in mind, first up we have Penne with Artichoke Hearts & Greens. I really enjoyed this, first time I've cooked anything with Artichoke Hearts and I was quite shocked at the price - I had no idea they were so expensive. Garlic and Chilli are finely chopped and then left to sit in Olive Oil for 10 Min's, whilst the Pasta is cooking, the Chilli Oil is added to a hot frying pan, and then the chopped greens are added and stir fried for 5 Min's. The smell this generates is gorgeous, then finally the Artichoke Hearts are added and tossed in the oil. The Pasta is then combined with this and grated Parmesan. For the greens I used purple sprouting broccoli. A really nice, quick and fresh tasting meal - I'll be cooking this again.

Next we have Spaghetti with roasted Fennel, Lemon and Chilli. This was gorgeous, so much so that I've cooked it twice this month. The sliced Fennel is roasted in the oven cranked up to Max, with Olive Oil, Lemon zest and juice, 1/2 a finely chopped Chilli, Capers and Garlic - covered with foil for 20 Min's and then uncovered to colour for another 10 Min's. This is then tossed with the cooked Spaghetti, Parmesan and Parsley.
Lovely - so simple, but again really fresh and light tasting.

This is an interesting recipe - Pizzoccheri, apparently a speciality of Milan. It's Baked Buckwheat Pasta with Sage, Fontina & Cabbage.
I couldn't get buckwheat pasta, so the recipe suggested substituting for wholewheat Spaghetti. I also had a bit of trouble finding Fontina locally, so swapped this for Taleggio.
This is really a bit of a winter recipe - a real heavy meal of Potato, Cheese, Pasta and Savoy Cabbage. But it was very nice indeed. A couple of negatives, I'd say is that the recipe is a bit pan intensive - the Potatoes, Sage oil, Cabbage and Pasta need to be cooked in separate saucepans - so it generates a sink load of washing up. The other negative would be, this is so unhealthy - loads of cheese, loads of couldn't be eating this regularly if you want to live to a ripe old age.

Next we have Penne with Sausage, Tomato and Sage. I've cooked a very similar recipe from the River Cafe cookbook which also uses broken up sausages - this recipe is slightly different in that it's quicker to make, and the meaty tomato sauce, made up of plumb tomatoes is cooked in a frying pan with a lid on for 20 Min's (I don't have a lid so used a large plate) and breaks down into a thick sauce. Very nice indeed. My GF preferred this version to the River Cafe version, as it's "Less Spicy".

This recipe isn't from The Eagle cookbook, it's Nigel Slater and Graphic Foodie (mentioned in the same breath eh Fran!). I had leftover Taleggio cheese from the Pizzocheri dish, so cooked Slow-Fried Potatoes with Thyme and Taleggio from the excellent recipe book 'Appetite'. Again, another totally unhealthy dish, swimming in butter and cheese.....but wow, It's so good and to balance it out I cooked Graphic Foodies Italian Peasant style dressed Greens, of which I've said before and I'll say again are fantastic. One of the best veg dishes I've ever tasted.
Last but not least, we have a creation of my own, well sort's the Bastard love child of a Jamie Oliver warm salad recipe, combined with a Moro recipe. This was really nice actually. We have Pancetta and Red Onion fried off, with Pinenuts, then mixed with salad leaves, warm Pearl Barley to bulk it out a bit and a dressing of Olive Oil and Balsamic, finally shaved Parmesan slices are scattered over the top. Compared to everything else I've been eating lately, this was almost virtuous.

Looking back now, I think it's going to have to be more salads in August!


Plowlady said...

all I can say is YUM!

goodshoeday said...

I love the round up post. The best two this time for my money are Graphic Foodies greens recipe and your own salad with the barley - both look and sound really flavorsome. i'll be giving them a try.

Graphic Foodie said...

"it's Nigel Slater and Graphic Foodie (mentioned in the same breath eh Fran!)" LOL!

Dan, from a fellow carb lover - your pasta intake is commendable, Italy salutes you! So glad you like the dish - have you tried the lemon version yet?

Never had Pizzoccheri. A similar version in our region is a fried spaghetti so it sets in the shape of the frying pan. A little heathier as we are a "poor" region and couldn't afford all the ingredients - unlike the richies in Milan!

Jonathan said...

Nice. I'm now craving a carb loaded concoction of pasta, sausage and cheese for breakfast. Your closing dish is the one I'm going to have a crack at this week. I love warm salads, especially on cool summer evenings.

franmouse39 said...

Wow - some excellent ideas here, Dan. Perfect for all these rainy summer days.

Anonymous said...

ooh that fennel spaghetti looks pretty damned yum. And the sausage pasta too! I've just had my lunch but this has got me drooling!

Dan said...

Plowlady - Thanks!

Linda - Thanks - yeah def give Graphic Foodies veg dish a try, it's really good.

Fran - I salute Italy back. The Lemon version, not yet - I meant to - but got sidetracked, I will soon though.
You'll have to blog your regions version of Pizzoccheri now if it's healthier!

Jonathan - thanks - yeah I'm a big fan of warm salads as well, Ive got a big bag of pearl barley, so have to use it up and it's fairly benign insofar as you could add it to any warm salad and it would work - making it a little more substantial.

Fran - Thanks - yeah its been pasta weather for sure lately!

Rejina - Thanks.

Amanda said...

Everything looks wonderful!

Hollow Legs said...

I'm sure I've said it before, but I am a serious fan of pasta. That fennel one sounds delicious, and will be one I'll be trying very soon...

Food Urchin said...

The fennel, lemon and chilli spaghetti gets a big thumbs up from the Food Urchin camp. Mrs FU is demanding that we have it tomorrow night.

Nice round up Dan

The Ample Cook said...

You've made some stunning food this month Dan. I think your new nickname is 'Pasta Boy'! Actually that doesn't sound very kind does it? Sorry ;)

And those gorgeous potatoes. I'd eat a pan of those to myself. There you are I'll be 'Spud Woman' Is that any better?

Dan said...

Errrr - thanks Jan....I think.
Pasta Boy - nope, don't think so. Crushing that idea beneath my foot before it even gets off the ground.

Your more than welcome to call yourself Spud Woman though! hahaha

The Ample Cook said...

Dan my apologies. It wasn't meant to offend honestly. Said for comedic effect. Jan

Dan said...

Jan - Don't worry. No offence taken, at all! I'm extremely hard to offend. My response was in jest.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Yum! You like your pasta, as do I. I love the sound of spaghetti with roasted fennel, lemon and chilli! A great combination of ingredients.

Unknown said...

Ok I think we can take this as an official obsession with both pasta and the Eagle cookbook - all looks great though - I recommend you beg, buy or steal the Ottolenghi cookbook to help you on your salad kick!

Dan said...

Helen - yep, confirmed pasta lover!

Gourmet Chick, hahaha yeah it is getting a bit obsessional. No need to beg, buy or steal the Ottolenghi cookbook - I already own it! (based on your recommendation months ago). I will have a peruse for next weeks dinners.

Dan said...

Amanda, Lizzie and FoodUrchin - just realised I didn't reply to your comments. Thanks all!