There are few things more comforting to come home to after a long day in the (underheated) library and a walk home in the rain than a pasta bake. Oozy cheese, stodgy filling pasta, hot sauce and those delicious almost burnt bits that I love so much. However, I've been on a bit of pasta overkill session at the moment, working my way through a pack of eggs and some pancetta by making carbonara (one of my absolute favourite dinners) rather repetitively over the past week. So I decided to mix things up (a little), and bought some gnocchi. I was inspired by this recipe, but to be honest I didn't really use it, I just used the same kind of idea- sometimes you really don't need a recipe.
I would love to tell you that I made my own tomato sauce (which I would usually do, I promise), but there are times when the soothing sound of a popping jar is called for. Last night was one of them, as I just really couldn't be bothered- I blame that end of term feeling. So I heated some of my (Tesco discount brand- I really am a classy lady. You won't find any food snobbery over here) jarred sauce, mixed it with some boiled gnocchi, threw some spinach in for a bit of greenery (and to generally make me feel better about the insane amount of comfort food I seem to have consumed lately), dotted ripped up mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan over the top and threw it under the grill. And within minutes I was in warm, carby (is that a word?), stodgy, cheesy, comforting heaven. So blissful that I shall be repeating the process in a couple of hours.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Saturday, 3 December 2011
I made dim sum! Sorry, I don't mean to sound overly proud of myself but I was quite chuffed at how they turned out. They were delicious, if a touch greasy (I blame the pork. That and my over generous-ness with the sesame oil- but it just smelled so good!), and aren't they adorable? Perhaps that's just me, but I found them very cute- they're like baby Cornish pasties!. There's something about mini food that just gets me far too over excited. Put me in front of a buffet full of 'party food' and I'll hop around like a kid on Christmas Eve (I'm very easily pleased- I know).
I've been planning on making these little Chinese dumplings for a while (when I see something I fancy making, I tend to not stop thinking about it until I've done it) and after a trip to Manchester's China town (which is incredible) for ingredients, I finally got round to it last night- and I was amazed by how quick and easy they were to do! I was completely expecting a bit of a fiddly production line of ripped dumpling wrappers, soggy uncooked filling and burnt bottoms, but everything went right and I was tucking into my potstickers before I knew it (which is even more surprising when you consider that I made them after having had 3 mugs of mulled wine at the Christmas market). I first saw this recipe on Cook Yourself Thin, but having since flipped through my copy of Chinese Food Made Easy, there is an almost identical version in there, so I'm going to assume that no one has claim to it and go ahead and share it with you all, as you have to try them! This recipe serves 1 quite generously, but can easily be doubled up. Also- feel free to play around with different fillings- I certainly intend to.
100g pork mince
A couple of spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp shaosing wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour
Gyozo wrappers, defrosted
Mix all the ingredients, minus the wrappers, together in a bowl.
Take a wrapper, place a generous tsp of filling in the middle, wet the edges of the wrapper and fold together (forming a shape like a mini pasty).
Repeat until you have used all the filling.
Heat a pan on a medium-high heat with a tbsp of oil (any flavourless will be fine) and add the dumplings, flat side down, covering with a lid.
After a few minutes, when the bottoms are browning, lower the heat, add 50ml of water and quickly replace the lid.
Steam until all the water has evaporated.
Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice, if you fancy, and tuck in!
I love cooking 'proper' Asian food, as, due to it commonly being eaten only as a take away treat, it is mainly seen as quite calorific and bad for you, whereas cooking authentic recipes from scratch shows you that this needn't be the case, and that you can get more flavour in similar things and be absolutely free of any guilt (and copious amounts of MSG). I fear that my success last night may have sparked a bit of a Chinese cooking phase- oh well, there are deinitely worse things that could happen. Any excuse to get my wok out.