Thursday, 2 June 2011

Home-made pasta

I bought a pasta machine when I went on holiday to Florence some years ago. It is one of those items that has since found it's way to the back of my kitchen cupboard and rarely gets an outing.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine served home-made pasta when I went round for dinner and it reminded me that I too have a pasta maker. Taking advantage of having a day off work mid-week (it is sometimes the simple things in life that bring the most pleasure) I got out the pasta maker, dusted off the box and had a go at making it.

Pasta is really straightforward to make. A bit of flour and a couple of eggs form the dough, you knead this for 5 minutes, rest it for 15 and then begin the process of rolling the dough through the pasta machine.

This is definitely an activity that you need to practice to get good tasting pasta. My first few attempts saw the dough going through the machine wonky, and if you put too much through you end up with metres and metres of pasta with not enough hands to hold it.

Once you have put the dough through the cutting rollers, the next task is to dry it out without all of the pasta sticking together (otherwise you will end up with a clump of flour paste when you boil it.) I don't know what Italians do, but I found a tea towel on a dish rack worked rather well.

I tested a small amount to see how long to boil it for, 3-4 minutes, although the recipe said longer.

The result was really tasty (helped along by a tasty topping lovingly prepared by my boyfriend) and I was surprised at how easy it was.

I have enough left over for another meal and I will definitely be making this again, perhaps even trying my hand at tortellini or ravioli, yum!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Finding my voice again

I have not written anthing for a long time. I stopped being able to write and I am only just getting the desire to put pen to paper (or rather finger to keyboard) back.

It was a whole series of events that left me unable to think or concentrate on anything for longer than a few minutes; stresses at work, an ever lengthening commute, an illness that knocked me for six and the death of my grandmother.

1 year on from the climax of all these things (I quit my job, got treatment for my illness and started to grieve) and I am slowly beginning to find a voice again.

Over the last few months I have been very busy with trips to London, visits to gardens and generally getting back to normal and I hope to write about all of these things very soon...