Get ya some Feta!

Karina’s Marinating Feta Recipe!

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Ingredients:

– 400 grams feta cheese (you can choose either full-cream or reduced-fat feta)

– Juice of half of one lemon

– 1 large rosemary sprig, snipped in 5 or so pieces

– 2 whole cloves of garlic, crushed and bruised slightly with the side of a knife

– 1 tablespoon italian mixed dried herbs

– 4 whole bay leaves

– Olive oil, enough to cover the feta in a jar

– One pinch of cracked black pepper

Method:

Grab a tall jar, or fat jar. Sanitise your jar by boiling in boiling water in a large pot, for approximately 10-12 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 110 °C, while your jar is boiling in the boiling water. Once the 10-12 minutes are over, wearing clean oven mittens, immediately place the jar onto an oven tray, then place into the pre-heated oven. Take the jar out, as soon as the water has evaporated out of the jar. This should not take very long at all, so keep an eye on it. Once the water has evaporated out of the jar, turn you oven to ‘off.’ Take your jar out, so now it is ready to be used.

Cube your feta into 1 cm chunks. If you prefer larger chunks, you can cut them up larger. Pile all your feta into the sanitised jar. Place your crushed garlic between the cracks of the feta, in different places. Place all your cut pieces of rosemary, scattered around the feta in the jar. Then place your bay leaves, presenting them inside the jar, so they look pretty from the outside. Squeeze your lemon all over the feta in the jar, then pour all your olive oil, enough to completely cover every piece of feta. Sprinkle your black pepper into this mix, along with your italian mixed dried herbs.

Place the cap on your jar of marinated feta, then keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Beautiful!

Compiling the Beauty:

Arrange on a large serving platter, alongside your favourite crusty bread, marinated olives and any other antipasto sides you like!

Serves many as part of an antipasto platter!

Enjoy!

Karina x

Copyright © 2015 by Karina Teuma

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I’ll have “olive” ’em!

Karina’s Super-Quick Cooking Tip: Curing Olives!

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The above is a photo of the olives I bought fresh tonight, from my local Italian fruit shop.

I intend to cure these olives, over a course of less than one week. The way to accomplish this, would be to slit the olives on average of five times for each olive, in order to allow maximum water and salt to penetrate these beauties. Hence, my cooking tip is also a time-saving tip! If you wanted to leave your olives whole while curing them, by all means do so, however, they will take much longer to cure, than they would with my method as per my above photo taken today.

My process of curing olives the quick way, involves a simple process, as follows:

Rinse your olives under fresh, running water, then drain your olives. Place approximately 4-5 slits in each of your olives (4 slits for smaller olives and 5 slits for larger olives). Pour all your olives in your large stainless steel pot. Let your hot water tap run for a few seconds, until its hot enough to fill your stainless steel pot, so that it can cover the olives. Pour your rock salt into this pot, then mix well. Rinse, then replace this water with fresh water and salt daily, for up to one week, or until your olives are to the taste you require (olives should be much less bitter). Please note, you only need to soak your olives in hot water and salt for the first day only. For every other day, up untill one week, you will need to soak your olives in cold water and salt.

Once your olives have been cured over the course of one week or less, via my quick version of curing, you are ready to marinate your beautiful olives! Marinate your olives with whatever recipe you prefer, or simply make your own olive recipe up! You’ll love ‘olive’ ’em anyway 🙂

Have fun in the kitchen!

Karina x

That’s ‘Saucy’!

Karina’s ‘Saucy’ Chorizo, Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli!

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Ingredients:

– 1/2 a Chorizo Sausage, sliced thinly

– 2 x 400g cans of Chopped Tomatoes

– 1 tablespoon of Tomato Paste

– 1 pinch of Cracked Black Pepper

– 1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

– 2 tablespoons of Dried Mixed Italian Herbs

– 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced finely

– 1 large handful of Fresh Basil, roughly torn

– 400g Reduced Fat Fresh Ricotta

– 100g Fresh Spinach, roughly torn

– 50g Shaved Fresh Parmesan (30g for filling and 20g for garnish)

– 2 tablespoons Olive Oil for Pasta Dough and 1 tablespoon Olive Oil for Sauce

– 300g Wholemeal Flour and 3 Large Eggs (this is for Option 1)

– 1 packet of Gow Gee Pastries (this is for Option 2)

Method:

Making your Fresh Ravioli Filling:

Fill your kettle with 1.5 litres of water, then bring to the boil. Once water has boiled, place your torn spinach into your heatproof bowl. Cover your spinach with boiling water, then drain immediately. Rinse your blanched spinach in cold, fresh water,  then squeeze your spinach well with your clean hands, to remove excess water. Place your cooled, blanched and squeezed spinach into your mixing bowl, then add 30g of shaved fresh parmesan, cracked black pepper and fresh reduced fat ricotta. Mix well to combine evenly.

Making your ‘Saucy’ Chorizo Pasta Sauce:

On medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium-sized pot, then wait until oil has heated. Once oil has heated, add your chorizo sausage. Allow your chorizo sausage to caramelise on one side, for approximately 2 minutes. Once caramelised on one side, flip your chorizo sausage pieces over, to allow to caramelise for 1 minute on the other side, then turn the heat to a low heat. Add your minced garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the inside bottom of your pot, by placing your balsamic vinegar in with your caramelised chorizo sausage. Wait only 15 seconds, then pour your chopped tin tomatoes in with the chorizo sausage. Add your dried mixed italian herbs, along with your tomato paste, then stir to combine. Allow your sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, keeping the heat on low. Tip: you can have your sauce simmering while you are making your pasta 🙂 Just ensure your sauce does not burn, by stirring occasionally and keeping the pasta sauce on a very low temperature.

Once your ‘Saucy’ pasta sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, turn the heat to off, then add your torn fresh basil to your sauce. Stir briefly, then set aside to infuse these fantastic flavours!

Option 1: Making Fresh Pasta Dough:

Combine all the flour into a large bowl and make a large indent in the middle. Add the eggs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the centre. Use a fork to mix the eggs until combined, then use your fork to gradually bring the flour in from the outside. After most of the dough is roughly combined, flour your clean hands and bring all the dough together to form a big ball. Knead on a floured surface for approximately 2-3 minutes, or until smooth and slightly resilient.  If your dough is too wet, add more flour. If your dough is too dry, add more olive oil. Wrap your large dough ball in cling wrap, then leave in your refrigerator to relax for 1 hour.

If you’re angry and you have more time, choose this option: ‘Hard Yakka.’ 

For the ‘Hard Yakka’ option, you’ll need to ensure you are angry, or, at the very least, would like to burn off energy. You’ll also need to ensure you have a very large rolling pin 🙂

Cut your pasta dough into three even sections, keeping one section in front of you. Wrap the other two sections in cling wrap, then place in your refrigerator. Using a very large rolling pin and a large, flat surface, roll out your first pasta section, ensuring the dough is about 1.5 mm in thickness.

Cut your dough into square pieces. Place one square pasta piece on a flat and floured kitchen bench, then place a level tablespoonful of your fresh ravioli filling into the middle of one piece of pasta. Brush the entire boarder with water, then place your other square piece of pasta over the filled one. Press both pasta squares together, around the boarder, to form a solid bond. Repeat with your remaining pasta squares and filling.

Repeat this process with your other two pieces of pasta dough, placing your completed ravioli batches in a container in the refrigerator to keep moist and to prevent from drying. Place cling film to separate the pasta from each layer of pasta, in order to prevent your pasta ravioli from sticking to one another.

If you would like a more professional result, with less fuss, choose this option: ‘Rolling in Happiness.’

For the ‘Rolling in Happiness’ option, you’ll need a pasta machine.

Cut your pasta dough into three even sections, keeping one section in front of you. Wrap the other two sections in cling wrap, then place in your refrigerator. Flatten your first piece of pasta dough by hand, then run it through the thickest setting on your pasta machine. Put the pasta rollers down two settings, then run the pasta dough through again to make it thinner. Fold your pasta dough in half, then run it back through the thickest setting again. Repeat this process two more times, or until your pasta becomes silky-smooth.

Roll your beautiful pasta sheet down through each setting, dusting with wholemeal flour before using each setting. Roll your beautiful pasta sheet to your desired thickness, which is about 1.5mm for wholemeal pasta dough. You don’t want wholemeal pasta dough rolled too thin, otherwise it may crack due to the wholemeal grains.

Cut your dough into square pieces. Place one square pasta piece on a flat and floured kitchen bench, then place a level tablespoonful of your fresh ravioli filling into the middle of one piece of pasta. Brush the entire boarder with water, then place your other square piece of pasta over the filled one. Press both pasta squares together, around the boarder, to form a solid bond. Repeat with your remaining pasta squares and filling.

Repeat this process with your other two pieces of pasta dough, placing your completed ravioli batches in a container in the refrigerator to keep moist and to prevent from drying. Place cling film to separate the pasta from each layer of pasta, in order to prevent your pasta ravioli from sticking to one another.

Option 2: Using Gow Gee Pastries:

Place a gow gee pastry on a flat and floured kitchen bench, then place a level tablespoonful of your fresh ravioli filling into the middle of one pastry. Brush the entire boarder with water, then place your other gow gee pastry over the filled one. Press both pastries together, around the boarder, to form a solid bond. Repeat with your remaining wrappers and filling.

Compiling the Beauty:

For your Beautiful Fresh Pasta:

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Once your water has boiled, add your beautiful and fresh ravioli to the boiling water. Stir once then cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, or until your ravioli float. Drain, then divide among 4 deep bowls. Serve with your ‘Saucy’ pasta sauce, along with your grated fresh parmesan and a fresh sprig of basil.

For your Easy Gow Gee Pasta:

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Once your water has boiled, add your ravioli to the boiling water. Stir once then cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, or until your ravioli float. Drain, then divide among 4 deep bowls. Serve with your ‘Saucy’ pasta sauce, along with your grated fresh parmesan and a fresh sprig of basil.

Serves 5

Enjoy!

Karina x