wholemeal spring pasta

It’s spring time! Spring means peas.

Peas and sunshine and eating outdoors around a really tiny table because our landlords took their outdoor setting back. How dare they! [insert sarcasm here.]

Spring means fresh flavours and happy eating.

Spring means spring cleaning!

Spring means rain.

Spring means sproutlings! Update coming soon, I promise.

Now, spring also means November. [It’s November!] And this month, for the first time ever, I am registered for something called NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s really supposed to be INaNoWriMo, because it’s not just nationally for the United States any more, it’s international (thank you, internet!) So I’m going to be going a little more than crazy for the next thirty days or so. I will probably be making a lot of sweet baked goods to keep me going but I may be terrible at letting you know about them.

But who knows? I do my best when procrastinating from other things. I should be writing an essay? I clean my room. I should be cleaning my room? I write a blog post. I should be blogging? I organise my hard drive. I should be cleaning up my computer? I get myself ready for NaNo. I should be writing my novel? I bake cookies and tell you all about them.

So prepare for some crazy posts. Like, “I should be writing 2,000 words in my novel right now but my brain’s about to explode. Have some homemade peanut butter cups.

Happy Spring!

Wholemeal Pasta

Pasta is an approach more than a recipe. Take 100g flour for each person, and one egg. Whizz them in a food processor, if you have one big enough. If not, whisk them together and then use your hands to knead, adding olive oil if you need moisture. Don’t add too much, though; pasta dough is supposed to be dry. Knead until it’s smooth, then start rolling it through your pasta machine.

You need to knead [hah!] the dough a lot to work the gluten – that’s why it’s best to use a high-gluten flour, one specifically for bread or pizza or pasta. Part of this is putting it through your pasta machine a few times, although if you used a food processor that does the job for you. I used mostly wholemeal flour with a little pasta flour because that’s what I had.

So it’s best to roll your pasta through the widest setting a couple of times, then start rolling thinner and thinner. I stopped short of the thinnest setting for mine because I love thick pasta.

Fresh pasta only needs to be boiled for about three to five minutes. Boil a large pot of water and make sure it’s well salted. Drizzle with olive oil, toss in your pasta and test it after three minutes. When it’s to your liking, drain and toss with the sauce.

Burnt Butter Sage Sauce

125g butter

a few sprigs of sage leaves

Other vegies or add ins, whichever you like. I included:

three handfuls of fresh peas, shelled

half a lemon’s worth of juice

one orange sweet potato

two red onions

two cloves of garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 180ÂșCelsius. Peel sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Peel red onions and slice into wedges. Shell garlic, and toss sweet potato, onions and garlic with olive oil and salt. Place in oven for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the butter until nutty and brown. Add sage leaves, peas, lemon juice and pepper and fry a little longer. Toss through roasted veggies and pour over your pasta. Eat with friends on a sunshiny back porch in spring.

 

[other add ins may include: fetta, tossed through at the end; chorizo sausages, fried and sliced; sundried tomatoes, with the pepper; basil leaves, tossed through at the end; the list goes on.]

day three – LBTL

I dreamt about food last night. I think it was a sort of Masterchef type deal, where you had to make a meal out of what they had there. I don’t remember it much, except the food was delicious.

See, the funny thing is that everyone assumes that you just don’t eat much on Live Below the Line, but there really is enough food for five days. Most of it’s carbohydrates, yes, it’s not all nutritionally the best for you, but there’s plenty. There’s even taste in most of it, from the garlic, the natural sweetness of the fruit, the salted butter. Not much variety, but there isn’t often variety in many people’s food.

The problem here is, that the people who live below the extreme poverty line, those that actually live on $2 a day, day in, day out – they don’t get to spend it all on food. They have to spread it out between food, bills, transport, medicine, every little expenditure throughout the day.

How can we let this happen in our world? How can we make someone choose between feeding her whole family or allowing one child to live, sacrificing meals for medicine? Walking kilometres to get to a source of clean water that won’t make them all sick. Sharing a tap with 200 other people, eating the same food, day in, day out, and very little of it, too.

‘In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing.’ – Edward Burke

What I am doing is a small, small effort. But it is an effort. And I am continually striving to turn my life to God, and to people – to do better every day.

Please make an effort. Donate here.

And thank you to all who have already donated – it means so much to see that people care.

Pumpkin and Potato Pasta

This is another of my staple meals. As you can see, lots of carbs for energy, but not much protein. I think that spinach would make a good addition, pine nuts, salt and pepper and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Take out some of the potato, perhaps. But it does smell good – all that garlic!

250g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cubed

500g potato, scrubbed, cubed

30g butter

3 cloves garlic

250g pasta (I used large spirals)

Chop garlic finely. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the garlic, pumpkin and potato until crispy and tender (I think perhaps baking would work better, but this was fine for me).

Heat a large saucepan 2/3 full of water until boiling, and tip the pasta in. Cook approximately 7 minutes.

Add about a cup of starchy pasta water to the pumpkin and potatoes. Drain the pasta and combine the two. Eat immediately, while still hot, with thoughts of starving children on your mind.

ricotta gnocchi and the most amazing tomato sauce

Although I had originally planned a whole host of things to do today – washing, baking; general wholesome, homemaking things like that – sometimes plans get changed. SO instead of baking a cake, I made gnocchi with tomato sauce.

Gnocchi is my favourite type of pasta ever. I love it. I also love fresh ricotta, although I have no way of knowing if that’s what was used in this.

No, I didn’t wimp out and buy gnocchi (as if you could buy ricotta gnocchi anyway… I’ll have to check that actually…) but I also didn’t make this ALL by myself. I work at a cafe, and we serve lasagne. We make it ourselves and there was some leftover bechamel sauce with parsley, ricotta and cheddar mixed in (which tasted amazing on its own incidentally… I bet the lasagne was even better.) I got to take it home because I’m awesome, and I turned it into ricotta gnocchi by adding flour.

Thus, I don’t have a recipe for the amazing gnocchi. I do apologise. I suggest that you start with a basic bechamel sauce, add ricotta, finely chopped parsley, a little bit of grated cheddar and a whole lot of flour. When it’s kinda sticky but dough-y, scoop up teaspoonfuls and drop into boiling, salted water. When they float, let them cook about a minute more and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon; put them in a colander to drain, then serve with this.

Ah, tomato sauce. Add sugar? Salt? Red wine, garlic, tomato paste, basil, oregano, fresh tomato, olive oil… No. The very first time I read Smitten Kitchen was for this sauce, and, frankly, I’ve never looked back – neither for tomato sauce nor my favourite food blog. This stuff is amazing.

I’ll let Deb tell you all about it, but just so you know – once you’ve started, you can’t stop. It’s been on Amateur Gourmet with Adam, Orangette with Molly, Rachel Eats with, well, Rachel…Marcella Hazan, you clearly are a genius.

Make it. And then tell me about it. And then dance in the summer rain.