It’s February in my Kitchen and I have something to report.
Skater has made some rather good dinners during January. You may remember that I said I was going to encourage my son step up to the stove and cook dinner once a week this year. This isn’t just so that I can put my feet up and take a well earned break, it’s about teaching him that life includes all the tasks that someone else seems to do for you. In other words pull his weight and learn how to live. (I am getting old and I need an assistant!)
Well so far so good. These Cannelloni were a ricotta and spinach version, and worked very well. I am not going to tell you that there wasn’t hard or frustrating moments during our nights on the dinner shift. It’s a learning curve for me too. I tend to cook by looking in the fridge and the cupboard. This has meant that I have to direct him cooking something that is coming from my head. It’s almost like your mind talking and someone else’s hands moving and at times those hands are very annoying. For example, when we cooked the fresh rice noodles and prawns, he started cutting all the vegetables in to dice. We took a break to discuss why you might cut the vegetables in to julienne strips of all the same size, what that might look like in a finished Asian dish, and how quickly this might encourage them to cook. The conversation was in less words than that and there was a bit of swearing BUT it sounds so much better described as a discussion don’t you think? The thing is, we got there and he was very happy with the results at each cook.
We are going to use a recipe in February’s kitchen. This will surely teach further skills and save him from not believing what I say. Can you believe he actually doubts that what I am saying is based on fact in some cases. WHAT?. He questions my cooking decisions? One day we will look back and and and……. maybe laugh.
So below you will see the Rice Noodles with Prawns and a myriad of julienne and diced vegetables. This was done on the barbecue in a wok- cause we’ve got a wok burner.
Here is my apprentice cooking on the barbecue
Next came the Pork schnitzel with an oven baked pasta with cheese and of course peas. He doesn’t like peas…but I love them.
The schnitzel was hard to cook because it is hard to keep the crumbs on unlike chicken schnitzel, and the menu required him to cook the baked pasta dish too. There was a lot happening and very little time for discussion!
This week he made a big batch of Bolognese sauce. This was something I taught him some time ago, so last nights dinner was truly a rest period for me. It was his very best effort yet. Beautifully cooked, nicely reduced, seasoned and full of flavour.
This weekend I am preparing for a bake off. There are a number of cakes on the horizon and if you are scared of sugar and gluten then look the other way.
And this, well this is the ultimate rice as the packet says. It was opened by quarantine on the way into the country. So I get to keep it. They open at least 5 bags and take a 100 gm sample from each for testing. These are random tests that are done to most foods coming into the country on a regular basis. This makes me quite happy because now I have a huge stash of the best rice in the world.
And that is all we have time for In My Kitchen this February. All that’s left to do is to pass you on the recipe for our cannelloni.
Meanwhile thanks to Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who began the idea for a world wide kitchen meetup that has turned into something that I look forward to each month. Thank you to everyone that drops by and comments it always makes me feel happy and inspired
- 250 gm (8 oz)ricotta
- 250 gm (8 oz) frozen defrosted squeezed spinach
- 2 tablespoons cream or milk
- 180 gm ( oz) cheese grated (cheddar or parmesan or a mixture of both)
- 1 packet dried cannelloni (they vary from 16-30 this recipe should cover)
- 1 large zip lock bag
- 1 x 720 ml (24.4 oz) jar of tomato passata ( plain tomato puree)
- 1 x 720 ml ( 24.4oz) water
- 1 diced onion
- 1 grated carrot
- ½ cup ( approx) diced red capsicum
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup of Japanese breadcrumbs or fresh rough ones
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 large ovenproof pot or tray that goes on the top of the stove and then to the oven
- Put the pot onto the stove and warm. add the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot and pepper and sweat till softened. Add the tomato sauce and the equal amount of water and leave to simmer.
- Next, I like to use the food processor to get this smooth- and because it is quick. Put the squeezed spinach, ricotta, all but a large handful of the cheese and cream with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper into the food processor and puree.
- Spoon this mixture into the zip lock bag (or a piping bag). and cut a little whole in 1 corner.Use this to fill each cannelloni by filling 1 end and then turning around to fill the other. Don't fill them too full as it will squeeze out everywhere when it cooks.
- Once all the tubes are full, taste the tomato sauce for salt and pepper and add if needed. Then lay the cannelloni's into the pot in a single layer and only overlap if necessary. The sauce should cover the cannelloni's. Sprinkle with the left over cheese and the breadcrumbs. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes before removing the lid and baking a further 10 minutes.
- Test that the pasta is cooked by breaking one of the tubes, before taking out of the oven.