Sunday, 24 February 2013

Spaghetti with Chorizo and pretend Parmesan (Pangritata)

Pasta crumble - tastes less studenty than it sounds/looks
As with many culinary delights, pangritata was borne out of poverty, and is known as a 'poor man's substitute for Parmesan'. Italians would never use poverty as an excuse not to eat well. Happily,  I can afford Parmesan, but I enjoyed this immensely and totally recommend giving it a whirl. The little bit of crunch it provides is awesome and the perfume of the rosemary works brilliantly. Perfect weekend lunchtime food. Pasta pretty much being a permanent fixture on the menu in my house at the weekend being quick and easy, using pretty much staple store cupboard ingredients.

Serves two. Get your spag on the go first of all. Into a dry frying pan add about 100g chopped chorizo and let it get crispy and oily. Add some chilli flakes, a clove of finely chopped garlic and a big handful of cherry tomatoes. Keep cooking until the tomatoes burst their skins. In a separate smaller frying pan, fry a large handful of white breadcrumbs (ciabatta preferably) in a glug of olive oil. They are ready when they have crisped up and browned slightly. Now stir through two sprigs of rosemary (leaves removed from the stem) which have been very finely chopped. Drain the pasta and add it to the chorizo/tomato pan, stir through and sprinkle liberally with the pangritata.

Add Parmesan if you want to be totally outrageous.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Chocolate Souffle - do not be afraid!

Racing out of the office, homeward bound to hopefully get to my house before my girlfriend who was coming for dinner, I realised I had no pud planned for the evening. If a friend can be bothered to schlep all the way to mine, the least I can do is provide a sweet finale at the dinner table. But I was in a mad rush (had no idea what kind of state the Boyfriend had left the house in) and I reeeeally didn't want to slow myself down by going to the shop. What could I make that used stuff I already had? PING! Genius moment, chocolate souffle. Win. Thanks Google. This is based on a Channel 4 Food thingy. Very basic ingredients, and really simple to make, just follow the recipe and you can't fail to impress. And if a pudding is basically just air then it's excellent diet food right?

Feeds 4 (I halved for us two). Pre-heat the oven to 200c and shove a baking tray in. Break up 120g good quality dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and add a splash of brandy. Gently melt the chocolate into the brandy in the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Grease 4 ramekins with butter and dust the insides with caster sugar. Stir 4 egg yolks into the chocolate which has slightly cooled by now. Take a clean bowl and whisk 4 egg whites until stiff. Gradually tip in 60g caster sugar, keep whisking throughout. It will be all shiny and glossy and beautiful like Cheryl Cole's hair. Now stir a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate until combines, then fold in the rest. Carefully distribute between the ramekins, making sure any excess mixture is wiped off and devoured. Bake for 12 minutes on the baking tray, they should be well risen by then, much to your delight, as there is little more exciting than watching a gooey mixture transform into floaty light chocolate souffle. Lightly dust with icing sugar to make it even prettier. That's lightly dust, not dump with icing sugar, as my dinner guest decided would be better. Thanks for your help there (see photo).

Pat yourself on the back and marvel at how simple it was. High five.