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Category Archives: lunch

Pasta with Cavolo Nero

pasta with cavolo nero

Getting a pasta machine is quite similar to discovering sex, once you get the hang of it, you pretty much can’t stop.

So apologies for many coming posts featuring my lovely pasta creations, but hey, it’s my party and I can do what I want to!

Here is something simple but lovely and elegant (also happen to be quite healthy):

Pasta with Cavolo Nero:

pasta (if you can’t make it buy a really good quality one)

3 cups chopped cavolo nero (or regular kale)

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp unwaxed lemon zest

3 tbsp olive oil

sprinkle f chilli flakes

pinch of sea salt

pepper

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

veggie parmesan (optional)

  1. Start by warming up olive oil in a heavy pan. Add chopped garlic and gently fry until soft. Add chopped cavolo nero. Cover and cook for about 10 min.
  2. In the meantime boil salted water for pasta.
  3.  Add lemon zest, chili flakes salt and pepper to cavolo nero. Cook pasta, drain and add to the dish. Mix, serve with toasted pine nuts and parmesan.

pasta with cavolo nero

pasta with cavolo nero

It’s good to have a such a quick, simple dish in your repertoire just before Christmas, when there is so much to watch. I mean, honestly, I don’t have time to sleep!….Only joking, still have time to have my 10 hrs beauty seep, you have to have your priorities straight.

Anyway, there is something festive to watch on Netflix – ‘A Very Murray Christmas’. It’s a homage to classic variety shows, but it’s directed by Sofia Coppola so it’s not your usual show. And it’s packed with well known names, not to mention the main star – Bill Murray. It also has got really quirky sense of humour and it will put you in the festive mood. So watch it! You are going to love it.

 

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Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Sage Butter

spinach and ricotta ravioli

Hello, I am back. On the blog and back from Poland, where I was celebrating my sister’s birthday and stuffing my face with the most amazing bread.

Although it was my sister’s birthday, I came back with gifts. One of them was a pasta machine which I am in love with. What can I say, it’s shiny and  I am close to ‘putting it on the mantle at home with the Virgin Mary, a glass of wine, and a dollar bill next to it’.

So obviously I had to make ravioli. I haven’t upgraded yet to the fancy, fun cutting thingy, so I cut the dough using the knife. The only problem was, it took ages to fiddle with the little bastards, so I had to find the solution – bigger, better ravioli. You make them in seconds and then eat five of them and you are done. What can I say, I am a busy woman, I don’t have time to fiddle with little things.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Sage and Butter:

For the dough:

2 cups 00 graded flout with semolina

1 egg

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt

1/3 cup of water

For the stuffing:

200g spinach

150g ricotta

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt and pepper

Plus olive oil, butter and fresh sage

  1. Start by making the dough. Put flour in a big bowl, make a well in the middle, crack one egg,olive oil and splash of water and start combining it together. The amount of water you need to add depends on humidity on that day, sometimes you need less, sometimes more. The dough should be smooth, not to wet and not to dry. Start kneading until it becomes smooth and silky. Wrap it in a cling foil and leave in a fridge for 30 min.
  2. Make the filling. Wilt the spinach, add ricotta and nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and juice of half a lemon. Mix well. Leave it to cool.
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge. Cut into 3 pieces. Take one and make sure the others are covered with dump cloth so the dough won’t get dry. Flatten your dough, set the machine on 8, dust the surface with flour and start rolling the dough through the machine. Do it again changing the setting on the machine. Once you hit 2, and roll the dough through, it will be perfect for ravioli. You will need to dust the dough every time you roll it out.
  4. Start boiling salted water in a big pan. Cut squares out of your dough. Put the stuffing in the middle, cover with another square, pinch ends together (if you are worried they won’t stick together, dump the edge with a bit of water before pinching). Cook in a boiling water for 2-3 minutes (they will come to the surface when they are done).
  5. Once the ravioli are cooked, take them out, rinse with cold water. Make another batch. Once you are done, heat olive oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add julienned sage and ravioli. Fry in batches gently, just to warm them up, not to make them too crispy.
  6. Serve with toasted pine nuts and veggie parmesan.

spinach and ricotta ravioli

There is a new TV series I am itching to tell you about.

I started watching it before I went away and I was enchanted. It had me at ‘hello’ which was the opening credits. Maybe because it had some Michelangelo visual references and a new song by David Bowie. And it was before ‘Black Star’ was released.

I had to admit, I was always a big fan of Bowie. When I was a teenager I had a little David Bowie Shrine in my room. Ask my sister. Once she took a very tasteful picture of me in front of it, which visually slightly resembled Goya’s painting. I would share it with you, but all my pictures are in the basement of my friend’s parent’s house (long story, I moved around a lot).

So when I heard this haunting and atmospheric song, I was hooked.

The story starts with the diamond heist. But it’s not about the heist. It gets more complex, involving stories of different people, countries, their past, Balkan war, all of it somehow connected and nothing is what it seems at first. What I also love about it, is a really good acting and the fact that the characters speak in their language. I just simply despise English speaking films in which people speak in English even if they are Italian, only with the Italian accent. It’s ridiculous and makes the protagonists unbelievable. In ‘Last Panthers’ Serbs and French speak their mother tongue which makes the story flow in a believable, authentic way. As I said, I’m hooked, can’t wait for more.

spinach and ricotta ravioli

Roasted Chickpeas and Veggies

Some people might call it pure laziness. Some could call it procrastinating. I would call it hibernating. That’s what I’ve been doing recently. No activities whatsoever.

To do it well you have to be determined. You mind have to be set. It’s not like anyone could just easily do it, you know.

What do you need to do it well? A few essentials:

  1. Cosy blanket.
  2. Easy to make and warming dish.
  3. Films.

In my hibernation faze I mostly roast. Not much effort, maximum satisfaction.

roasted chickpeas and veggies

roasted chickpeas and veggies

Roasted Chickpeas and Veggies

  1. Use any veggies you have or like – florets of cauliflower or broccoli, diced sweet potato or butternut squash, chopped kale, etc. Put them on the roasting pan with cooked chickpeas (or rinsed and drained tinned ones). Pour olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle with salt and mild chilli powder. Roast in the pre-heated oven (180C) for abut 20-30 minutes.
  2. Dress it with the splash of lemon or lime and a drizzle of tahini, add any roasted nuts you like. Keep on hibernating.

Now films. There are a few I have seen recently which I really enjoyed.

  1. ‘Inherent Voice’. Really atmospheric but weird film based in the 70s, directed by Anderson, packed with good actors. Cinematography by Robert Elswit – amazing.
  2. ‘The Gambler’. I have real anger issues, so I like watching Mark Walberg, as quite often I’m being called a female version of him.
  3. ‘Big Eyes’. ‘It was good living in the 50s if you were a man’. Exactly….I can watch anything done by Tim Barton.
  4. ‘Magic in the Moonlight’. Not as good as some of Woody Allen’s films, but anything by Woody Allen is on a certain level which some people never reach, so there.

I could go on, as there was a lot of hibernating in my part in the last two weeks. But let’s leave it here for now. See you next week.

roasted chickpeas and veggies

Shiitake and Kale Quinoa

shiitake and kae quinoa

Sometimes it’s good to do, make and watch uncomplicated things. Especially when life gets busy.

So here it is, something simple but nourishing.

Let’s start with the food:

Shiitake and Kale Quinoa:

(serves 2)

1 cup quinoa

2 cups sliced shiitake

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups julienned kale

1 tsp tamari

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1/2 lemon

1 egg each

salt and pepper

  1. Start by rinsing quinoa. Cook it in 1 1/2 cup water, juice from a half a lemon and pinch of sea salt, until it absorbs all the liquid.
  2. Heat oils in a pan, add garlic. Cook until soft, add chili flakes and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, add kale, cover and let it cook until soft.
  3. Add pepper and tamari. Serve quinoa with vegetables and fried or poached egg on top. Sprinkle on top of the egg pepper and sea salt.

Now, my guilty and comfort pleasure is an Australian TV series which I accidentally discovered, called ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’. Third current season is on TV right now, previous two you can watch on Netflix. Why do I like it, you might ask? For a few very important reasons.

  1. It is set in the 20s, my favourite era. The clothes in the show are divine, and if only for this reason it is sooo worth watching.
  2. The main character, Miss Fisher, is an independent woman who has a career as a lady detective – unheard of in the 20s. She is also very liberal when it comes to befriending gentlemen. And she’s not apologetic about it, which people accept when it comes to men but somehow still can’t accept when it comes to women. And I’m not talking about the 20s but about 21st century…Just have a look at some reviews. I have only one response – go girl! Especially that even the language shows what society thinks – there are words like ‘slut’, ‘whore’ or ‘tart’, all of them describing a woman, there is no words for  slutty men. When James Bond sleeps with 2-3  girls in each film, no one gives a flying monkey about it. People think he is a real man. When a woman does the same, oh no, it’s an outrage! She is not admired but called names. It is time this should change.
  3. The very reason which got me engrossed in a series – Miss Fisher looks like my sister…Seriously, and they are both so glamorous….

shiitake and kae quinoa

shiitake and kale quinoa

Simple Raw Cherry Tomatoes Pasta

There are times when  you need comfort… From a person who eats and a spectator point of few, I have my ways of finding it.

No 1 – pasta dish

No 2 – comforting, funny, not intellectual at all film.

Food first (of course)

simple raw cherry tomatoes pasta

Simple Raw Cherry Tomatoes Pasta

spaghetti

2 cups of cherry tomatoes

fresh chopped basil

chilli flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

zest and juice of one lemon

salt and pepper

parmesan

toasted pine nuts

  1. Start by cutting in half cherry tomatoes. Put them in a big bowl with garlic,basil, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper and sprinkle of chilli flakes. Leave it to macerate.
  2. In the meantime cook pasta. When it’s al dente, drain and add with a bit of cooking water into your tomatoes. Serve with pine nuts and parmesan.

simple raw cherry tomatoes pasta

simple raw cherry tomatoes pasta

Simple!

And the film…that might surprise you, but it’s perfectly uncomplicated just like the pasta: ‘My Cousin Vinny’. What’s not to love! Marisa Tomei – love her. Joe Pesci – love him. And the film is an enjoyable experience. Of course it’s not going to awaken you with the sudden realization what the meaning of life is. But it will make you laugh. And I love smart, underestimated female characters who know a lot about cars and mechanical things and shit like that. So there you go, what’s not to like! You are welcome….

Jacked sweet potato and baked beans

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I was extremely busy…

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As you can imagine, it was hectic…Absolutely mental.

Comfort is what you need when you are off your feet. Comfort food and something to watch.

Have you ever seen ‘After Hours’ by Martin Scorsese? If you haven’t, you should. It’s one of these films which gives me comfort. Even when my day at work seems pointless and boring, and I’m surrounded by people who I’m afraid to turn my back to (they are Brutus’ of my life), I still know that my after hours are not going to be like Paul’s, the main character from the film.

It’s another 80s film mostly shot at night. As I mentioned in my last post, these are the kind of scenes I live for.

The plot is surreal and twisted. Ending (apparently changed few times) is the best you can hope for.  There is nod to ‘Marnie’ by Hitchcock, the whole dialog taken from Kafka’s ‘Before the Law’. Acting is superb and you wouldn’t believe that it was filmed on a tight budget. Because it’s a yuppie’s night adventure on the street’s of New York, it’s been called postmodern Ulysses, and a modern male ‘Alice in Wonderland’ tale.

To me it’s the most magical, crazy film you can watch when you are after hours.

To serve it with, I would propose posh and healthy version of jacked potato and baked beans.

Jacked Sweet Potato and Baked Beans:

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

(Serves 2)

2 sweet potatoes

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 tins of chopped tomatoes (2x400g)

1 tin of butter beans

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

pinch of chilli flakes

smoked paprika

sea salt

pepper

parsley

1. Start by washing your potatoes, wrap them in tin foil and bake in the oven for 30-40 min in 180C.

2. Heat olive oil in a pot. Add chilli flakes and chopped garlic. Add chopped tomatoes from tins and chopped sun dried tomatoes. Simmer on a low heat. Drain and wash your beans (you can use dried beans, soak them overnight, change water and cook until they are soft), add them to the tomatoes. Add thyme and rosemary. Cook until it thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika.

3. Unwrap your potatoes from a foil. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil and salt on top and bake them for another 5-10 minutes.

4. Serve potato with baked beans and sprinkled chopped parsley on top.

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

sweet jacked potato and baked beans

 

 

Quinoa by David Lynch

Happy Birthday David Lynch!

Because he’s the man, and it’s his birthday, how about introducing you to cooking quinoa Lynch’s style. You will need quinoa, broccoli, some spices and herbs, wine in a crystal glass, a cigarette and a good story to tell.

Enjoy!

Watch it here.