Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Popcorn cavatelli

Popcorn cavatelli tossed in a little butter and garlic with, radish greens, shallots and thyme flour.

Well I was planning on moving away from cavatelli with this idea, but as I got making the dough it was just too fragile to be shaped in the way I wanted, so I adapted and bought out the trusty gnocchi board and got rolling cavatelli. I’ve pretty much posted about how to make cavatelli dough before and how to make cavatelli dough from polenta, and perhaps after this post I should take a break from posting every damn pasta idea I have, but it's been a quiet week in the kitchen. You’re going to have to forgive the lack of exact measurements, it will all depend on the amount of popcorn grits you produce and how much water is in the purée, so below is a guide but feel free to add a little extra semolina or flour to help bring the dough together.

Popcorn Grits
Follow this recipe, and then transfer to the fridge overnight.

Popcorn Cavatelli
2 parts popcorn grits purée
1 part flour
1 part fine semolina
1% salt
  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Knead to form a ball of dough.

  • Wrap tightly in cling-film and rest in the fridge for an hour.
  • Divide the dough into four.
  • Take one portion and cover the remainder.
  • Using your hands, roll out into a thin log, about a pencil width thick.

  • Cut into 1cm segments.
  • Hold the gnocchi board at an angle and place a segment on the top edge. Use the heel of your thumb push down on the dough and towards the bottom edge of the board, the dough should curl up and fall of the board.
  • Arrange competed cavatelli on a sheet pan dusted with semolina.
  • Repeat with remaining dough.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Place the pasta in the water, don’t overcrowd the pot.
  • Cook for 4–5 minutes, they’ll float to the top when cooked.
  • Scoop the cooked cavatelli out with a sieve or similar scooping device.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hot water pastry–Pork Pie

Hot water pastry–Pork Pie
500g flour
200ml water
100g dripping (or lard)
80g butter
1tsp salt (5–10g)

  • Gently heat the water, butter and dripping over a low heat. Once melted bring to a boil.
  • Sieve the flour and salt together into a bowl, make a well in the centre.
  • Mix together to form a ball of dough.

  • Wrap and leave to rest for an hour at room temperature.

  • Roll the pastry into a rectangle and then fold in thirds, repeat until the dough is smooth, 2 or 3 times).

  • Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick. Line the dish, fill and bake. I used a terrine to make this pie, it was greased with butter and then put in the fridge to set before lining with the pastry.
  • The filling was a mixture of pork, nutmeg, chilli, salt, pepper, and mustard. Half of the filling was placed in the pastry lined terrine, hard boiled eggs placed down the centre, the remaining filling tightly packed in and the whole terrine banged to dislodge any air bubbles.

  • An egg yolk wash was brushed on before laying the pastry lid, with air vents cut out, on top and crimping the edges, then a final egg yolk wash.
  • Cook in a 200ºC oven for 30 minutes before lowering the temperature to 180ºC and cooking for a further hour.

  • Allow the pie to cool in the dish completely before carefully turning out. Best served room temperature with some relish or hot mustard.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hot thighs

Well I had planned to actually deep fry the chicken, you know go the whole hog, brine, dredge, egg wash, fry and get greasy spicy chilli oil everywhere. However the day kind of got away from me and quite frankly I had lost all motivation to get a pot full of oil and control temperatures, and then clean up the mess, so I looked to my previous tried and trusted methods of oven “fried” wings, spiced it up and adapted it for some juicy thighs. There aren’t really any proper quantities below, they are all to taste, it’s more the method of getting pieces of chicken with a crunchy exterior and a steamy moist interior without having to resort to deep frying. The method is a little more time consuming than chucking a bunch of chicken in a hot oven and cooking, but not by much.

  • In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and cayenne pepper, as much or as little as you want, go a little heavy on the salt as it will be the only seasoning the chicken will get.
  • Toss the chicken pieces through the flour mix, make sure to pat the mix into all the crevices. Place on a sheet pan with a rack and refrigerate uncovered for an hour.
  • Get two bowls out, in one get an egg wash ready, 50/50 mix of egg and water, in the other mix together 1 part flour and 1 part semolina, spice with cayenne and chilli flakes.
  • Dip the chicken in the egg wash and then dredge in the flour mix, return to the rack. Refrigerate uncovered for at least an hour, you could do this the day before.
  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC, remove the chicken from the fridge 10–15 minutes before cooking, place the tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. The short cooking time is to “set” the coating in place before meddling. Reduce the heat to 200ºC.
  • Remove and brush the top of the chicken with chilli oil (store bought or canola blitzed with dry hot chilli flakes), return to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, turn the chicken over and brush the exposed side, return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  • Last time, remove the chicken, flip it, don’t bother brushing it, you shouldn’t need to, cook for a final 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a cooling rack to rest for a 10 minutes, lace with hot sauce and devour with a cooling slaw and pickles, always pickles.