Saturday, 14 January 2012

New Year's resolutions...

After a very relaxing Christmas and new year, the time has come to get back to the blog, and what better way to start than with some resolutions?

The problem is, I'm sceptical about the whole ethos of resolutions, because if a thing's worth doing, then why wait until a new year to put the effort in? In fact, this year, the closest I have come to making a resolution is cancelling my gym membership. "Cancelling?" you may ask, perplexed as to why I'm not off on a treadmill trotting off the excess Christmas upholstery. Well yes. I have decided that my membership money can be far better spent on things other than lining the pockets of a soulless fitness corporation (ingredients maybe), so just before Christmas I cancelled my membership with the intention of running outdoors (for free). I hate running, though, so we'll see how it goes.

Anyhoo, the upshot of this is that I'm going to have to take the emphasis off the naughtly baking projects and put far more effort into the healthy and delicious everyday staples that won't force me into unnecessary pounding of the tarmac. Judging by the splendid haul of culinary paraphernalia that Christmas (and the January sales) brought me, we could definitely be in with a chance....

The only problem is that I am far too impatient to stick to recipes. If you're a follower of this blog, you'll know that nine times out of ten I like to make it up as I go along and see what happens. Cookery books are great, but I use them more as reading books for inspiration, rather than as instructions.

So maybe that could be my resolution - maybe I'll try to be patient enough to actually follow some recipes from start to finish and see where it takes us.

In the meantime, here's the filled pasta recipe for the first thing I made with my pasta roller. The filling's my own, but I did at least follow Gino D'Acampo's recipe for the pasta itself....

Danish Blue and walnut mezzalune in a sage an thyme truffle oil

Serves 4
For the pasta - from Gino D'Acampo - "Gino's Pasta"
300g strong white flour
3 medium eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

For the filling
125g danish blue cheese, finely chopped
6 walnuts, roughly bashed up

For the dressing
Generous knob butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp truffle oil
tblsp fresh chopped thyme
tblsp fresh chopped sage


1. For the pasta, sift the flour onto the work surface, and make a well in the centre.

2. Gently whisk the eggs and in a jug with the oil and the salt and pour into the well, gradually mixing in the flour until the dough reaches a crumbly texture.

3. Knead for about 8 minutes until it reaches a smooth texture, cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

4. Whilst the pasta is resting, you can chop the Danish Blue and the walnuts for the filling, and mix it together. You can also prepare the herbs for the dressing.

5. Roll out the pasta as thinly as possible - a pasta machine will make this considerably easier, just make sure you keep it well floured so that it doesn't stick.

6. Use a round pastry cutter to cut your pasta into rounds (the larger cutter you use, the easier your life will be). Pop a teaspoon of the filling on each of the pasta rounds, wet the outside edge and fold in half to make little half moon shapes.

7. For the dressing, melt the butter with the olive oil over a low heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic for a minute or two. It shouldn't be cooked as such, just no longer raw. Then add the herbs for a minute, turn off the heat and add the truffle oil.

8. Cook the mezzalune in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, drain, and tip into the pan containing the dressing to make sure they are well covered, and serve immediately on a bed of baby leaves.

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