Posts Tagged 'pine nuts'

mushroom radicchio & spinach fettuccine

this dinner was an elegant combination of the results of a food-related, dinner based, free association game* and a vision in my minds eye. my cohort had just yelled ‘pine nuts’ and ‘magnesium’. so i had a lot of thinking to do because i was less after dietary requirements and more focused on the aesthetic qualities of the meal. pasta is quick which seems so often to be the only factor under consideration so pasta it was. i had to use radicchio because i had a bee in my bee-ridden bonnet (other bees include banana bread…coming soon to a post near you). the worst supermarket in the world for some reason had a vast selection of wild mushrooms, the likes of which i had never before seen (in this barren culinary landscape) and which, im told are a high source of protein. i dont do science so protein and magnesium sounded the same…in as much as they made equally little sense to me and were of equally little importance to my artistic vision. spinach too was, according to the world wide web, rich in magnesium and green always looks pretty so i was home and hosed with robbie buck. (all for you snow). and so it was, mushroom radicchio and spinach fettuccine. pretty and magnesium heavy.

*game not suitable for children or those lacking intuition where food is concerned. it takes place often unintentionally during negotiations relating to the making and eating of dinner during which seemingly arbitrary food related words get yelled out. (in our case with its strange specificity it often starts with couscous and ends in pine nuts.)

5g dried porcini

few tbsp olive oil

30g butter

3tbsp cream

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

couple spoons of chopped oregano

500g mixed mushrooms

350g fettuccine

half radicchio roughly chopped

couple handfuls spinach

couple handfuls parmigiano-reggiano finely grated

first put porcini in 125ml boiling water and set aside to reconstitute. cook the pasta in a large pan full of boiling water. nigella once said that the water you salt pasta in should be as salty as the mediterranean. thought she didnt say it, the italians did. but its a nice analogy and she delivered it well.

heat oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms. try not to crowd the pan…if its too full it will steam and not fry so if you have, as you always have, gone too far, try doing mushrooms in batches. when the mushrooms start cooking down add the garlic, season with salt and pepper and add the oregano.

add cream and stir. then add the porcini and soaking liquid and simmer so that it reduces by half. add in the spinach and cook til just wilted.

drain pasta and toss through the mushrooms. add the radicchio and parmesan. scatter with pine nuts too if you are so inclined.


sweet potato & goats cheese galette

5 more sheets of puff pastry and 5 hours to kill. it wasnt until very recently that i felt something other than contempt for puff pastry. it was always synonymous with everything i find objectionable and it always produced something substandard. but after having made an exception the other week on account of an unprecedented pastry craving, and left with 7 sheets of the stuff, it was by necessity that i was impelled to delve, albeit tentatively, deeper into this foreign world of magical pastry – pre-made, pre-packaged, and pre-destined to be crap. much to my consternation, i was proven wrong. the uses for puff pastry are as infinite as the misuses of it. yet being a deeply stubborn individual i couldnt shake my 25 year long disdain for these pale, anemic looking frozen sheets of “pastry”. the fact that they were sitting in the freezer was making me irritable and i had a persistent sense that i needed to get rid of them. sooner rather than later. one acceptable use was a tarte tatin – because with that much butter and sugar you cant really go wrong. caramelised pears could be served on a bed of durian fruits and i dont think you could go past them. but 5 stubborn sheets remained and in a manic and inspired moment of revelation i recalled a galette i had read about in ottolenghi. puff pastry yes. but mitigated by sweet potato, goats cheese, chili, garlic and thyme. it seemed to be an extremely apt use of the pastry and my time. and so here it is – the final installment in the puff pastry series entitled “puff pastry and me: a girls photographic odessy from paris to coles” – words on internet, by new moon.


couple of sheets of puff pastry (however many you have remaining or however many you wish to make)

2 sweet potatoes

1 egg lightly beaten

100ml sour cream

100g goats cheese

1 dried chilli

3 tbsp olive oil

3 garlic clove crushed

handful of thyme

salt & pepper

i also made a couple with oven roasted tomatoes, basil, mozarella, garlic and pine nuts for which you will need…

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

handful of basil

1 ball mozarella

2 cloves garlic finely sliced

handful of pine nuts

to my befuddlement, after all this, i was still left with some sheets of pastry. so i looked in the fridge to see what was leftover. cauliflower apparently. so if you have some cauliflower left over from the previous post (are you following me this closely?) put some on. give it a bit of salt, pepper, and some chili flakes and tear over some mozarella.

so first, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. cut the cherry tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. put the sweet potatoes (in their skin) and the cherry tomatoes side by side on a baking tray and put into the oven for 50 minutes.

the cherry tomatoes should be shrivelled and the sweet potato should be soft but still slightly raw in the centre. leave potatoes until they are cool enough to touch and then peel and cut them into slices.

remove pastry from the fridge and cut into rectangles about 7-14cm. line a baking tray with baking paper and place the rectangles on the paper – with room between them to grow and do what they do. now lightly brush the pastry with the beaten egg. then spread a thin layer of sour cream around the pastries. leave a small border – untouched and unmarred by anything that will go on top. place the slices of potato on the pastry, overlapping slightly. sprinkle with salt, pepper and some dried chilli. then crumble over the goats cheese.

put these into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

while the pastries are cooking – stir together the crushed garlic, with some salt, pepper, thyme and the olive oil. as soon as you get the pastries out of the oven, brush them with the oil. you can also, while these are cooking, make round two. with the prepared pastry rectangles, already brushed with egg, place cherry tomatoes, slices of garlic and torn up mozarella in and around. tear over some basil. and give it a good grating of parmesan if you so desire.

or place anything you like on top – like cauliflower you prepared earlier. bake these for 20-25 minutes again.

when the tomato and cauliflower ones come out – sprinkle with some pine nuts and brush with the garlic oil.

the sweet potato needs nothing – some pine nuts always work but i didnt think necessary here. they are a bit creamy, not unlike the potatoes and cheese so if anything, try another nut maybe – almonds or even pumpkin seeds. brush them with some of the garlic oil and there you have it.

zucchini and basil salad

Sometimes you want something delicate and refined. Like a zucchini and basil salad with shavings of parmesan. But then sometimes, people need a little more substance…and a little less wankery. Sometimes, these needs take place concurrently, running parallel to one another, and only occasionally colliding. so a compromise was found because in the words of a grandmother I know “im not making six different dinners”. It was thus, that this dual salad was created. For those seeking little – stop at the basil and zucchini. For those who seek more, grill some haloumi, some broccolini, make some couscous and don’t write a blog. To each according to his need. So here it is – a theme and variations of dinner proper, entitled ‘refinement…revisited’.


4 zucchinis

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

handful of basil leaves (green and purple – if you can)

handful of parmesan shaved

handful of hazelnuts

4tbsp olive oil

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

first cut the zucchini diagonally– about 2cm thick. Put in a bowl with 1tbsp olive oil and the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Put on a crazy hot griddle pan and cook until the black marks appear. Cook it through or not…whatever does it for you. Take off the grill and put into a bowl. Pour over remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Check for seasoning. To serve, scatter the basil leaves onto a plate – add some rocket or spinach if it feels right to do so. Top with the zucchini, then the parmesan shavings and finally scatter some hazelnuts atop.

But it might be arctic out there. The elements, your immune system and the whole world might be against you…and you may need more. The cold can make a beast of a man. If this man is you then after having done your zucchini, chop up some more garlic and one red chilli.

Put some broccolini into boiling salted water for 1 minute. Then put broccolini into a bowl with the garlic, chilli and olive oil and grill until tender (not too soft). While the broccolini is grilling, make some couscous. Then grill some haloumi…its hot right now and from what im reading, it’s the new parmesan. Add broccolini, and haloumi to afore-elaborated salad and combine. Serve with couscous.

penne with tomato & zucchini

a brief preface. after ruining some shortcrust pastry but continuing feebly and pathetically on to place said pastry into muffin tins to make some kind of aberrant semblance of a tartlet this post was an uphill battle and should have never been published. perhaps tomorrow, in the cold light of day, there might be a serious edit but until then – here are some bad words, poorly arranged, squeezed out of a ruined cook.

i was faced with a simple choice – penne with tomato and nutmeg or penne with zucchini and mint. well some people dont care for mint. there i said it. and since when is food and the institution of marriage analogous? ive felt for sometime that zucchini is better suited to garlic, to basil, and to hot things like chili. so zucchini and mint wasnt going to happen. thus, i rearranged the order of things and redefined food marriages according to the philosophy of someone i know – if you like both things, put them together. simplify it and there you have it – tomatoes good (with garlic and basil – much better) and zucchini good (with garlic and basil – gooder still). so here is dinner based on a new revolutionary movement – the one which understands no rules and no shoulds beyond that of their own palate. it might not be good for human culinary evolution, it might not be good for the digestive system, and it might not be good for those who believe some things to be fundamentally and unutterably wrong (ie. jam and mayonnaise) but when it works (albeit by fluke accident) its a wonderful thing.


500g cherry tomatoes (halved)

2 zucchinis

50g butter

3 garlic cloves peeled and finely sliced

handful of basil leaves

250g penne

handful of parmesan

50g ricotta

first, slice the zucchini lengthways into 2 cm slices. in a bowl coat zucchini in sliced garlic, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until zucchini are soft. set aside.

melt 25g butter in fry pan over low heat. add garlic and cook til soft and light brown. then add the cherry tomatoes with good pinch of sea salt and simmer for 15 minutes. continue stirring until all the tomatoes are broken up. add salt and pepper. finally tear in some basil leaves and remove from the heat.

cook penne in boiling salted water until al dente. drain, return to the pan and add the remaining butter and a handful of parmesan and stir to combine. then add to the tomato sauce. finally toss in the zucchini and crumble in the ricotta and stir to combine.

i suggest pine nuts atop. but then i always do. i myself have never experienced any pine nut syndrome other than the one that affects the stomach after over-consumption. and i also believe that they should be added to the garlic/vanilla category of things defined by the maxim ‘you can never have too much’. tear over some basil. and enjoy in moderation (not a moral position, just a retrospective thought gained from bitter experience).

threepenny risotto – braised rice with peas, parmesan and pine nuts

my gastronomic equivalent of brecht’s work of epic theatre…and it has thrup p’s. this recipe is a mutation of a julia child recipe for the french equivalent of risotto. it works everytime and theres no stirring and then when you finally come to publishing it on your blog you will be able to have made reference to two of the greatest historical/cultural figures in but only the first sentence. tragically, i used mushrooms and so the thruppenny risotto should also have an ‘m’ somewhere in there. but for the sake of wit, cultural allusions, and an impossibly clever title, perhaps we shall leave that part out.


2 white onions

50g butter

1 1/2 cups rice

3 cups chicken stock

300g peas (frozen. always frozen)

2 handfuls of parmesan

2 handfuls of pine nuts

pre-heat oven to 175 degrees. in a saucepan melt half the butter and add the onions – cook them slowly until they are soft and translucent but not brown. then add peas (or mushrooms…not that any went into this ‘p’-centric dish). season well with salt and pepper. then add your uncooked rice and toss the grains until they are completely coated and become translucent. finally pour in your stock (which should be simmering in another pot). place all this in an oven proof dish (unless you lived a charmed existence and are privileged enough to have an oven proof dish which can go on the stove or just privileged enough to have had the forethought to think of such a thing before you began. put in the oven at cook for 18 minutes. when you remove the rice from the oven take the lid off and stir through and ensure all the liquid has been absorbed. it should be oozy consistency (what kind of a word is that even? much less an effective adjective.) then stir in a few knobs of butter and a couple of handfuls of parmesan. then put the lid back on, and defying every natural impulse you might have, walk away and let it rest for a minute or two.

then serve with parmesan and pine nuts over the top. and so it was.

pine nut pasta

this is my own theme and variations of a walnut pasta which is essentially the same but i have substituted walnuts for pine nuts and parsley for basil. this, snow, is my hook. and this is what i found:


1 clove or garlic (ie. 2)

1 tsp salt

200g pine nuts (toasted…but only very lightly because inspite of my own fabricated version of common belief, pine nuts very lightly toasted will give off an unprecedented creaminess – one which you just cant get from your pine nuts toasted to golden colour.)

150g sourdough

100 ml mik

1 bunch basil roughly chopped

100ml olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

200 g tagliatelle

100g parmesan

in a mortar and pestle bash up garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste. add the pine nuts and pound until its a rough paste. you could, i realised after accidently sticking my finger in and putting it in my mouth, leave it at this stage and eat straight from the mortar itself. be reasonable they say. but then as mae west said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful. i guess the bottom line is if i were pounding nuts and garlic into some sort of sickeningly sublime paste for my own personal consumption this wouldnt be much of a blog and you wouldnt be reading it. but then according to my stats, you arent. not that i look at that kind of thing. i digress. then transfer into a bowl depending on the size of your mortar and add the bread which has been soaked, along with the remaining milk. mix again, then add the parmesan and the olive oil and finally a squeeze of lemon. (the lemon takes this from creamy, heavy, stodgy and potentially bland to something entirely different…because thats what lemons do.)

Cook the tagliatelle for 3 or so minutes and drain. return pasta to the pot and keep some cooking water back. then pour in your pine nut sauce (pesto/paste/stuff) and mix until all the pasta is coated. sprinkle with parmesan cheese, some torn up basil and some toasted pine nuts (not too many in spite of what the pine nut enamoured voices in your head might say…its just to echo whats happening in the sauce and adds texture for those who like that kind of thing.

dinner proper: couscous with chickpea and roasted squash salad

sadly its not all coffee and cookies. mostly it is but sometimes that irrepressible void must be filled with dinner proper (right snow?) snow is the most ardent promoter of dinner proper i have ever met. im more of a chocolate coffee kinda girl. but then i love to cook and its my misfortune that cooking so often ends in eating. this recipe is loosely based on a recipe i found on smitten kitchen (a world shatteringly good representation of all that food blog should be) and from a number of other sources before that. so here it is…amalgamated, collated and ultimately stolen like dylan stole from woody guthrie and claimed as my own. i think its awesomes.


for salad

1 butternut squash/pumpkin (whichever your limited inner city supermarket(?) has on hand.)

chickpeas (250g)



salt/pepper/olive oil

pine nuts roasted (i refer you to nigellas greatest literary allusion ‘for the russian formalists, the point of literature was to make the stone stonier…this, makes the nuts nuttier)

1 red onion chopped finely

for tahini


juice of 2 lemons

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs water

handful parsley coarsley chopped

for couscous

250g couscous

250g stock (whatever works)


pre-heat your oven as hot as it will get. roast pine nuts. forget about them until they burn then run to the shops to pick up some more and start to ask the invariable question – what am i really doing with my life? cut the pumpkin into cubes (a size that fits in your mouth. if there are two of you with mouth size disparity try to find a middle ground). toss pumpkin in a bowl with 3 or 4 garlic cloves, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and black pepper and roast for about half hour or until soft but still shape retaining. meanwhile put a few spoons of olive oil in a pan, throw in 3 or 4 whole garlic cloves and a stick of rosemary and fry until the garlic is brown. remove the pan from heat. remove the garlic and pour in the chickpeas to coat with flavoured oil. finally add the couscous to boiling stock. remove from heat and let swell for 3 minutes. then add some butter and fork through to fluff up couscous. put the lid back on and let it swell again for another minute or so.

gently mix the pumpkin with the chickpeas, the diced red onion and toss through a couple tbs of tahini. finally scatter some pine nuts over the top. eat with couscous (or serve on a bed of couscous…depending on how many cooking stories you’ve watched today and how far you have drifted from reality).