14 January 2007

Little ears

It's just after 1am, and in a little over 10 hours (touch wood) Chefette will be boarding a British Airways flight to St Lucia in the Caribbean. So there's just enough time to share a couple of juicy titbits from this week's kitchen adventures.
  • Spent most of the restaurant time this week getting the hang of making orecchiette pasta. It is a really easy recipe (see below* for anyone who is interested). Anyway, after a not-too-brilliant first attempt, things definitely had improved by my third batch. It all culminated in a bit of a "high five" moment today, when a visiting VIP who happened to be eating in our restaurant (a former Romanian president of some sort) -- told my boss that he loved the oricchiette. Tony Blair it ain't, but still. It always feels cool to hear praise for your food.
  • The Husband recently discovered a new cocktail on a recent jaunt to Bermuda, and has introduced it chez nous. Namely, the 'Dark and Stormy'. A mixture of dark rum and ginger beer, served over the rocks -- the percentage of alcohol to be determined by individual preference, but the Husband recommends a 40-60 ratio. It felt like drinking a refreshing, effervescent infusion of gingerbread man. (Must remember to serve those next Christmas in fact.)
  • Lastly, a wee confession. I'm starting to become addicted to steamed white basmati rice. I must have eaten it at 4 meals at least during the past week (once in a fried rice option). Please, please send me any fantastic recipes you have that incorporate long grain rice, I'm dying to roadtest them.

Toodle pip.

* Quick Recipe for Orecchiette

Mix together on a countertop or in a bowl: 255gr of plain flour, plus 150gr of semolina and half a teaspoon of salt. Then add 150-250ml of lukewarm water-- the exact amount will depend on how much water it takes to make a soft dough. (Tip: The dough should feel only very slightly sticky before you reach the kneading stage.) Knead for c. 5-8 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and a bit pillowy. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in a cool place for at least 15 minutes.

To shape the orecchiette, roll out small handfuls at a time into thin (1cm diameter) sausages. Cut thin rounds out, and then push the rounds into little ear shapes (around the size of a thumbprint) by applying pressure your thumb. Leave to dry on a piece of baking parchment sprinkled with semolina. Cook in rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. (Exact cooking time will depend on how dry the orecchiette are -- drier=longer cooking.)

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