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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lamb Sausage Katmer with Labneh

I have recently fallen in love with a new cookbook Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Cafe. It is all about Middle Eastern food, and I am a huge fan. If I had to pick one cuisine, I would pick Middle Eastern cuisine any day. It is light, it isn't too spicy and it is refreshing. 



So this book has a lot of recipes that I can actually try. The recipes are easy and are pretty clear on what has to be done at what time. The ingredients are simple (another reason I love Middle Eastern food). I have plans to try most of them , now that I have left my job in favor of M.Phil.




I adapted the Lamb Sausage Katmer with Pistachio Yogurt recipe. This recipe is basically a breakfast item. It is a savory flatbread filled with lamb mince meat. Did you know very few cuisines highlight lamb meat? Most of them use beef or poultry. Middle Eastern food showcases lamb meat. The dough for this recipe is called Yufka dough.



My version is an adaptation of the recipe, so there are some differences from the original version. I used red chili flakes instead of the Maras Pepper. I also used Red chilli powder instead of the red chilli paste. I also didn;t make the pistachio yogurt, because pistachios are way too expensive for an experiment and the original recipe required 3/4 cup of pistachios. 
I made my own version of labneh.



Recipe 
Ingredients: 

Yufka dough  
3 1/3 cup flour, plus more if required 
2 1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 cup water 
1/2 cup whole milk 
egg, lightly beaten 1
/4 cup vegetable oil, flavorless one 
2 tbsp vinegar 
Oil or Ghee, for cooking 

Lamb Filling 
450 gm ground lamb meat 
1 tsp ground cumin 
1 tsp dried mint 
1 tsp dried oregano 
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
Red chili powder, to taste 
Salt, to taste 1 egg white 
2 tbsp chopped onion 

Labneh 
500 gm yogurt 
Juice of 1 small lemon 
10 - 15 pistachios 
A handful of fresh coriander leaves 
Salt, to taste 
Black pepper, to taste 
Olive oil, to drizzle 

Method 

Yufka Dough 

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the water, milk, egg, vinegar and 1/4 cup oil. Beat to combine. Make a well in the dough. Pour the egg mixture in the well. Start to mix the egg mixture in flour. When all flour in incorporated, knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

If it is sticky, add flour in small quantities until it isn't too sticky. If it is slightly sticky , it is fine, because it will adjust when left for a couple of hours. divide dough into 12 portions, Cover with a tea towel, Parchment paper or plastic wrap and let refrigerate for at least 2 hours , preferably overnight. 

Lamb Filling

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with hand until thorughly incorporated and smooth. Set aside. Mark twelve portions before using the meat filling. 

Labneh 

Whisk yogurt to make it smooth. Take a wet cheesecloth, lay it down on a strainer place over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the cheese cloth. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie to make a packet of yogurt. Leave the yogurt to strain for 4 - 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 

Remove yogurt form the cheesecloth and place in a food processor or a bowl. Add the coriander leaves, pistachios, salt and pepper. Process or use a hand blender to mix the ingredients until smooth. Pour out the yogurt into a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over the yogurt. Refrigerate until use. 

Katmer 

Roll out a dough ball into a 6 - 7 inch disc on a lightly floured surface. Take two pieces of plastic wrap (I used a polythene bag), Take a meat portion and make a small disc. Place the disc between the plastic wrap layers. Roll out the meat into a circle slightly smaller than the dough disc. Place the flattened meatball on the dough disc. Make a hole in the center and roll the dough outwards (as shown in the image below). Cut the dough on one side, making a long rope. Make a coil of the rope, tucking the ends inside. Make all katmers similarly. At this point you can freeze the katmer until use. 

Take one katmer and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the katmer out, with a light hand, into a circle of 5 inch. Take care not to tear the dough anywhere. Brush both sides lightly with oil or ghee. Heat a pan and place the katmer on the pan. cook on medium low heat until cooked on both sides, at least 4 minutes per side. Remove the katmer from pan and cover with a tea towel to keep warm. Cook all katmers similarly.  

Serve katmers with labne for breakfast or lunch. Happy Cooking !!!


katmer
Making the katmers

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tiramisu

I have been away from my blog for long; long enough that I couldn't remember what the new post page looks like :$. But hey, I am back with a bang (read dessert). I find it hard to make Italian recipes because of their use of various kinds of cheese.

Tiramisu


Most of them aren't easily available in my country. The ones that are available are usually pretty expensive. I could not some varieties of cheese as they are made using animal rennet, which in most cases is not permissible for Muslims.


Tiramisu

Therefore, I was pretty happy when I found that I could replicate mascarpone cheese at home. It meant I could finally make tiramisu, which has always attracted me for its contrasting colors and use of coffee. And that is what I made.

Tiramisu


My tiramisu is made with heavy cream and mascarpone cheese. There are may variants of tiramisu available using cream cheese, some form of custard, other varieties of cheese etc. I choose an easy one, which was easy to assemble and the ingredients are available too.


Tiramisu


Recipe

Ingredients

400 gms heavy cream
1 1/2 lemon
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornflour
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence ( I use powdered vanilla)
200 gm whipping cream
Icing Sugar, to taste
1 1/2 cup water
3 tbsp instant coffee (less if you don't want it strong)
50 gm chocolate , shredded, for garnish , optional
Cocoa powder, for garnish, optional

Method

Mascarpone cheese 

Heat heavy cream on very low flame until it reaches 180F (light bubbles will form). Do not bring cream to a boil. Squeeze the lemon in the cream and stir. It will begin to thicken. Cook on low flame, maintaining the temperature at 180F. Remove from heat after 5 minutes.

Let cool, then pour into a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Cover. Let rest overnight in refrigerator. Put in a bowl next morning. Mascarpone cheese is ready. It will not loose a lot of whey, only a couple of teaspoons.

Sponge cake
Preheat oven at 180C/ 350F. In a clean bowl beat eggs until light and creamy. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat eggs until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla essence. Mix flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt. Sift three times then fold in the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and loosen the sides. Cool for 25 - 30 minutes  ,then remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Set aside.

Assembling Tiramisu

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add icing sugar and beat. Keep adding sugar until desired sweetness level is reached. In a separate bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese. Add some whipped cream to lighten the mascarpone cheese, then whish all the cheese mixture in the whipping cream. Taste and adjust the sugar.

Dissolve instant coffee in water and set aside.

Take the sponge cake and cut 1 - 1.5 cm thick slices. Layer the cake in a dish, preferably glass so that you can see the layers. Pour coffee by tablespoon. Soak the cake with the coffee. Layer the cream mixture. Make a 1 cm thick layer. Sprinkle some chocolate. Make similar layers again. Sprinkle some cocoa powder for garnish.

Refrigerate tiramisu until serving. Serve within one day as the cake can become too soggy and become a mush. Happy baking !!!

P.S. Tiramisu can be assembled in individual glasses for individual serving.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Watermelon Juice

Ramadan is pretty hot this year. And it has me dreaming about juices. One of the juices I read about is Watermelon juice on another Pakistani food blog, Tickle those Taste Buds. They also have an album dedicated to Ramadan recipes on their facebook page.

I am not too fond of watermelon. When my dad does bring watermelon, I usually eat one or two small pieces. Watermelon juice seemed like a better option to consume this gift of nature.

This juice was received by my dad, who is not a big fan of juices. He asked me to make it again and enjoyed it at iftar time. The recipe called for fresh mint leaves which I didn't have , so didn't include.


Recipe 

Ingredients

2 cups of watermelon, with seeds removed
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ginger paste
Juice of 1 - 2 lemons
Sugar, to taste
8 - 10 ice cubes

Method

Blend all the ingredients together. Pour into a glass. Add ice cubes if desired. Make the juice when required and watermelon goes bad pretty quickly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Some Kitchen Shopping

I love colorful plates. And I am usually on a lookout for then when I go shopping. I also love medium to large mugs for both a cup of chocolate flavored milk in breakfast or for the many cups of green tea throughout the day.

I came across the sale on Habitt the other day, and I know for sure that Habitt stocks very pretty utensils. I have previously bought mugs from there and have been satisfied. So seeing the sale on, I just jumped to the occassion and dragged my parents to their outlet.

And look at the beauties I found there.


The gray plate is IKEA. And I swoon over everything IKEA. The best thing about IKEA is that their stuff screams we are from IKEA. The sleekness, the minimalism, the light weight, I can go on and on about this brand and never tire.


The green plate is heavy, and has a very leafy texture. The green mug is actually a very light mint green, with white paint spots (which aren't clear in the picture) and a dark brown rim. The dark brown rim gives it it a very sophisticated, very dignified look.

In other news I also found ramekins at Habitt.

Do you enjoy buying stuff for your kitchen ?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Spanish Pizza


I have been neglecting blogging with work. Now that I have completed almost five years at my workplace, I am one of the senior staff who are consulted in various decision making. While it is an honor, sometimes it does become taxing and stressful. Hence, I prefer to relax and play some Candy Crush when I come home. On a side note, as I write this, I am stuck at 678th level, where have you reached in this simple yet strategic game?

I bought some new cookbooks from Karachi International Book Fair 2014. These books are really pretty and most of the stuff can be easily made, or adapted slightly (like omitting the alcohol factor or changing the non halal meat to halal meat options for Muslims).


I  made this Spanish pizza from the book named "Tapas". Tapas are Spanish finger food. These bite sized delicacies can be served before lunch or as an evening snack. Or they can be an accompaniment with gossip in a gathering with friends. Spanish food overlaps with the Mediterranean cuisine because of the similarity of flavors.

This version of pizza is not heavy, as it does not have any cheese. I did not make many small round pizzas. I did one plate, but since it was for my family, I made one large rectangular pizza and then cut it into slices. It is alright to do so when making it only for family.


When I will be making making these for guests, I would make individual small pizzas, the reason being the sauce makes the center part of a large pizza soggy in a little while, on the other hand, small pizzas do not become soggy. This pizza is rolled thinner than the traditional pizza, which makes it slightly crisp, preventing the sogginess.


The recipe called for a 400 gm can of tomatoes, which I replaced with 400 gm of fresh tomatoes.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400 gm tomatoes, roughly chopped
125 gm spinach leaves
salt , to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp pine nuts, roasted
4 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
220 gm flour
1/2 tsp salt
Extra olive oil

Method

Sprinkle the yeast and sugar on warm water and leave for 10 - 15 minutes or until frothy in a warm place.  

In a large bowl mix flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast water. Start kneading the dough, adding more water if required. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Set aside in a bowl in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

In a pan, heat olive oil. Add the onions. Sauté until soft. Add the garlic, and sauté until aromatic. Stir in the tomatoes. Add salt and black pepper. Add half a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes are cooked through. Break the tomatoes with a potato masher. Cook until the sauce has a thick consistency.

Add the spinach leaves and ccok until the leaves have wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 200C/ 425 F.

Roll out the pizza dough in a thin circle. Use a 6 cm round cutter to cut small pizzas. Place in a greased baking dish. Put some sauce on all of the circles. Sprinkle pine nuts. Drizzle olive oil on the pizzas. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until the pizzas are golden on the underside. Serve warm. 

Happy Baking!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rich Orange Cake

I had shared an Orange cake recipe when I started the blog some 4 years ago. It was good, but not orange enough. I don't remember making it again in the subsequent years, even though I made it quite a few times that year. This year, again, I looked for an orange cake recipe, and found another one.


This one results in a richer and more denser texture and a deep orange flavor. I dusted the orange cake with icing sugar, but an orange glaze will elevate the cake to newer heights. I also find this cake a bit less sweet, so I might increase the sugar content, specially if I am not going to dust with icing sugar or pour some orange glaze over it.

This recipe yeilds batter a bit more than the normal 7 - 8 inch round cake tin, therefore I used it to make a few cupcakes. The height of the cupcake depends on the amount of batter, mine were low as I poured less in the cupcakes.


I might try making it with milk or some other juice instead of range juice. 4 - 5 oranges yield 1 cup orange juice. 1 orange yields around 1 tsp of powdered dried orange zest.

Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest

Method

Preheat oven to 350F / 180C. In a bowl, beat oil and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour and baking powder together. Add flour into the egg mixture and mix well. Add the orange juice and fold it in. Beat for a minute or so after the orange juice is incorporated in the batter, otherwise orange juice tends to make a mess.

Pour in a greased baking pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. Cupcakes take less time to bake. Check after 30 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar or pour orange glaze and serve warm.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Russian Salad and some Mayo Magic

Russian salad is such a forgiving and versatile recipe. It can take all kinds of crispy veggies , some fruits, even a few kinds of dry fruits mixed in with some mayonnaise and always tastes awesome.

When I make Russian salad, I put any combination of cabbage, potato, carrot, cucumber, peas, apple, mango, grapes, chickpeas, raisins, almonds and/or walnuts. Cabbage is a must for me, rest of the ingredients change with season. You can pineapple if you like, it will add some more crunch. I sometimes add a tablespoon or two of cream at the end, but that's optional. 

I prefer raw veggies, except potatoes and peas, which I always boil; but carrots and cabbage can also be boiled for a couple of minutes to make them slightly softer. I prefer to boil cabbage when it is slightly bitter; boiling reduces the bitterness. 

Mayonnaise is the component that can make or break the Russian salad. I always make mayonnaise at home. I used to make mayo in the blender and it took around 20 minutes to make it. Then I saw the method used by Matt Preston in Master Chef. It uses an immersion blender and takes just 2 minutes to emulsify the egg and oil, and at most 5 minutes to get a rich, creamy mayonnaise. I will be describing both the methods, but if you ask me, I will be following Matt Preston's method in future. 

Matt Preston used grapeseed oil and some mustard in mayonnaise. I used soyabean oil which is used for daily cooking in my home. It works.



Recipe

Mayonnaise

Ingredients

1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
Juice of lemon or 1 tbsp vinegar  (lemon tastes better)
3/4 cup or more oil

Traditional Method 

Place the egg in the blender. Add the salt, black pepper, sugar, lemon juice. Blend until the egg is frothy. Start adding oil drop by drop with the blender still running. When you have added around half the oil, the egg and oil will begin to emulsify. Start adding oil in a thin stream until the mayonnaise thickens to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until you need to use it. 

This whole method can be done using the electric beaters too. 

Matt Preston Method

Put the egg in jar. Take care not to break the yolk. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice and oil, taking care not to break the yolk. Place the immersion blender such that the yolk is under the blade. Keeping the immersion blender in its position, turn it on and see magic. The mayonnaise immediately emulsifies. Move the blender up to incorporate the oil. Pure , rich and creamy mayonnaise is ready. Refrigerate unitl you need to use it.

Assembling the salad

Combine all the veggies, fruits and/or dry fruits in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise. Combine and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Roasted Chillies

No one in my home is a fan of eating raw green chillies. Me and mom sometimes do clean up one to eat with daal chawal, but that is pretty rare. We love pickles to go with vegetable dishes and daals. We are not fan of putting green chillies in food too, because as soon as my dad and brother see that green chilli, they started feeling the heat of the chilli, even though it might be there just for garnish purposes.

Therefore, there are times when there are quite a few chillies in our refrigerator and we are at a loss about what to do with them. I have made Hyderabadi style green chilli (which was my second post on this blog, ah how the times fly), but they rot after some while. I needed to find something else to do with those chillies.

Then I landed upon the David Lebovitz's Roasted Pepper recipe. Somehow it clicked. The idea of a beautiful smoked pepper, drizzled with olive oil was too appealing. Since mom cannot take any pickles these days, because her doctor forbade her to eat anything sour or tangy, she needed something to replace them. I made these for her.


See that pretty plate with a golden border. It dates bake to my mom's marriage. It was part of her jahaiz ka dinner set and still looks fabulous. 

The best part about this recipe is that you can make as many or as few chillies you like. I made only three (after making a test batch with only one). David Lebovitz used red and yellow chillies. I had only green ones and hence used them.

Chillies are roasted in a pan, but you can try roasting  directly on fire. You can also roast them on a grill on coals while making a barbecue dinner. The chillies are soft and mushy after being roasted, but hold there shape well. 


Recipe

Ingredients

Green Chillies, as required
Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Olive oil, as required

Method

Heat a heavy based frying pan. Place chillies on the pan. Let the chillies roast at medium low heat until the skin is charred. Turn over and repeat the process. Cook chillies on all sides.

Remove chillies and place hot in an airtight box. Close the box. The steam build up in the box will loosen the charred skin from the chillies. 

When chillies are cold, make a slit lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Remove the charred skin. It might require a little effort, but usually it will just slide off.  Give the chillies a quick dip in cold water to remove any left over seeds if you like; I didn't do this.

Place chillies in a bowl in a single layer. Sprinkle a little salt and black pepper over the chillies. Drizzle chillies with olive oil. Serve with rice or vegetables. Store in refrigerator. 

You can roast chillies and store them for up to a week in the refrigerator, and sprinkle the salt and pepper , and drizzle oil when required. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

French Chocolate Macarons

Macarons are pretty, haina? I have always wanted to make macarons. I tried some yesterday. Macarons look so delicate and elegant that I thought it would be very hard to make them.

Macarons are very technical. Making macarons involves whipping up egg whites to the right stiffness, removing any clumps from the dry ingredients, then folding the dry ingredients with a very light hand and achieving the right consistency of the batter.




A good macaron has beautiful feet, and is crunchy on the outside. Macarons aren't just cooked, but are actually dehydrated to form a beautiful cookie.

There are some guidlelines to follow when making macarons. The macarons, after piping on the parchment paper, need to be rested for some time. I made some immediately after piping and some after resting, it didn't make too much of a difference. I used egg whites at room temperature, from eggs which I had separated a day before.

For filling I used a French buttercream recipe, only because I had 2 egg yolks left over from the macaron recipe. More on that after the recipe :)

Macarons should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight box. One of the reasons is the filling tends to melt at room temperature.

I used the macaron recipe by David Lebovitz. I also pulverized the almonds to make almond flour. I used the filling recipe from Macaron Fetish by Kim H Lim - Chodkowski. Kim made a coffee flavored buttercream, I used it to make a chocolate flavored one. I also twice the amounts listed in the recipe, because I had 2 free egg yolks.

For the first time, macarons turned out pretty good. some of them even stood on their pretty little feet as macarons are supposed to do. I will definitely be trying other variations of this amazing classic recipe. 




Recipe

Ingredients

Macarons

1 cup powdered sugar (not icing sugar)
1/2 cup almond flour (or 50 gm of almonds ground to a thin powder)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 large egg whites
5 tbsp granulated sugar


Filling

1 egg yolk
3 tbsp (40 gm) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp water

Method

Macarons

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C.

Blend together powdered sugar, almond flour and cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Beat egg whites . When soft peaks begin to form, add 5 tbsp of sugar in small amounts, and beat the egg whites until stiff. (I prefer to grind these 5 tbsp of sugar too).

Fold in the dry ingredients with alight hand. A good rule of thumb is 50 strokes and nothing more than that. These should be enough to combine all the ingredients together without over beating the mixture. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pipe 1inch rounds of batter, with 1 inch distance between them. Tap the cookie sheet a few times on the counter. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes. A cooked macaron will have feet, and will slide off easily from the parchment paper. That said, keep in mind that the macarons keep cooking even after removed from the oven.

Remove from oven and let them cool down. Store cooled and unfilled macaron shells in an airtight container. If consuming the same day, put the filling on one shell and cover with another shell. Store filled macarons in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They will last for 4 - 5 days in the refrigerator.

Filling

Combine the sugar in a saucepan. Allow it to boil to 230 F. Start beating egg tolks while the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches around 250 F. This is the softball stage, which can be identified by putting a drop of syrup in cold water and it turns into a soft ball. Pour the syrup in the yolk by dripping it on the side of the bowl. This helps cook the egg yolk. Beat for further 5 minutes. The mixture should form a ribbon that dissolves in 30 seconds when the beater is lifted out of it.

When the mixture has cooled down, start beating in the butter which is at room temperature. Beat in and incorporate 1 tbsp of butter at one. When all butter is incorporated, and the cream look sshiny anf fluffy, add around 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to make a chocolate flavored filling. 



Tips

1. Do not pulverize almonds too much as they release their oil, thus changing the consistency of whatever they will be used in.

2. To make powdered sugar, grind some of the regular sugar in a grinder. Then measure 1 cup out of it. Measuring before grinding changes the amount of sugar , hence it is necessary to first grind the sugar to a powder and then measure it.


Observations

1. I think 350F / 175C was too high, so I reduced the heat to around 160C. The second batch came out much better than the first one. In the first one the bottoms browned too quickly, imparting a slightly burnt taste, while the second batch cooked at a lower temperature came out better cooked and better shaped.

2. Resting the macarons had a little impact, so if you are in a hurry or think that you will forget the macarons on the counter top, you can bake them immediately after piping and taping the cookie sheet.


Problems

French butter cream is tough. I did all kinds of mistakes with the recipe. I didn't beat egg yolks properly before adding sugar syrup because the instruction weren't really clear. 

I didn't have a candy thermometer and messed up the sugar syrup. Then I thought that the yolks didn't cook properly; therefore cooked the whole sugar syrup and yolk mixture over a water bath while constantly beating with an electric beater. 

Most probably I didn't cool it enough before adding the butter, and got a buttercream soup instead of a silky buttercream frosting. I put it in the freezer for a while and then beat the frosting, it did somewhat look like frosting, but there was every chance it would melt again as soon as it came back to room temperature. 

To top it all, I used some salted butter, which doesn;t affect other frosting recipes much but made this one taste way too salty. I added some icing sugar to thicken up the frosting and also make it taste less sweet. 

The result was a good tasting filling for macarons, but it not only melted when I started piping, but the butter also started to separate from the filling. 

After all the problems I learnt not to use salted butter in French buttercream recipe, and not to add powdered sugar to a cooked frosting. It messes up big time. I piped it after hardening it up in the refrigerator and put macaron in the refrigerator too as soon as the were assembled.

It was ok because it was a test batch , but I think I will stick to good old ganache or tried and tested American buttercream when doing a batch for guests or clients.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homemade Pasta with White Sauce

I always was under the impression that making Pasta at home required a lot of effort. It goes way back to my childhood, when I first read a recipe for making pasta, and decided it was too much work for me. And that it would take a long time.

Then came Master Chef, and I saw people making beautiful pasta and then the whole dish with handmade pasta in an hour or so. But they were using machines to roll out the dough and cut pasta. How would I do that at home?

Yesterday, I decided to check some recipes to make pasta and reached Jamie Oliver's pasta recipe and it wasn't too hard. Actually it would be hard for my childhood self, but it is pretty easy for me now. I scaled the recipe down for a trial and it turned out pretty good. Back when Cable operators in Pakistan used to put up BBC Food, Jamie Oliver's show was my favorite for his easy to make recipes.

This recipe yields a pretty resilient pasta. It does not start to disintegrate if slightly over cooked, opposed to the store bought ones. The store bought pasts starts to dissolve and break if it is cooked beyond the time written on the pack.

Home made pasta is tastier than the packaged ones. And wholesome too. The amount of recipe I used, resulted in enough pasta for one to two persons. It was slightly thicker than I would like, but it is all a matter of rolling out the dough, so you can get a thinner noodle too.

I used my fondant cutter to cut equal width pasta. You can use a sharp knife as well. Please forgive the poor quality picture, as the pasta was made and photographed at night, hence the yellow tint.


Recipe

Ingredients

100 gm flour
1 egg

Method

Put flour in a dish. Make a well and break the egg in the well. Whisk the egg in the well. Then slowly drawing in flour start mixing the two together. Make sure that there are no lumps.

When all flour is incorporated in the eggs, knead well. I like to pick the dough and bang it on a hard surface. Knead until the dough is soft and elastic. Make ball and wrap with cling wrap. Set aside to rest for at least half an hour.

Sprinkle flour on the rolling surface. Start rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Try to roll it in an elongated shape. When rolled out to a thickness of around 3 - 4 mm, leave for a couple of minutes. Then start rolling again. Move the dough while rolling so that it does not stick to the rolling surface.

If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or surface, lightly dust with flour. Roll out the dough until you can see your hand when placed underneath the dough. It does not have to be paper thin. Just thin enough to your liking. Cut pasta as you like.

Pick up a few strands of pasta and make a nest. Set aside. If the pasts is cut into very thin strips, hang on the back of a chair to dry.

At this point, pasta can be completely dried to store. Otherwise, allow it to dry for 10 - 15 minutes. Then cook. Freshly made and cooked pasta is heavenly.

Boil some water with a little salt and oil. Add the pasta and boil for 5 minutes. Taste to see if it is aldente. Cook more if it doesn't seem done enough. Drain the water and cool down by pouring some cool water over pasta.

Put the pasta in a bowl. Pour white sauce and mix. Serve pasta hot in a wide platter.

White Sauce

I make white sauce by eye-balling the quantities. Melt a little bit of butter in a pan on low heat, sprinkle almost an equal quantity of flour. Sprinkle a little a more. cook the two to make a roux. Add some milk and whisk to make a thick paste. Add milk in small quantities and cook it before adding more milk. Keep a check on the consistency. Stop adding milk when the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper. Add some white pepper if you like. I also added a cheddar slice to make it creamy and cheesy. Add the pasta and serve hot.

If you want a bayleaf infused white sauce, follow the recipe from Creamed Spinach.

Happy Cooking!!!