Sunday, 30 November 2008

Pasta with kale and raisins

Lately, and for far too long I have been having lunch at my desk. This is WRONG.
 I think eating means appreciating each single bite, but also the way we eat and whether or not we can concentrate on what we are chewing , will influence our health and the repercussions are the famous bloated stomach, tiredness and so on (we should chew a lot, to make our food more digestible, and to eat less and feel more satysfied).
One in five workers in the UK never takes a lunch break, there is a culture of long hours and clearly this is very bad, in fact the time gained eating at the desk is a false economy, and apart from the health even the productivity really suffer for it.
Apart from this, it often happens to me to say " it's too dull and grey to go out" but that is so untrue. Even just walking around the area where you work (in my lucky case it's beautiful Notting Hill) with an umbrella can make you feel so much better!
Hold on a minute.. no you have no really thouht that I eat out of a plastic container? No, no, no that is beyond being wrong, that is forgetting that you are a human being! The food is dished out in a China plate as no matter what happen, my food is taken very very seriously :)

Whole pasta with kale and raisins

soak 1/4 of a cup of raisin in warm water (they are covered in vegetable oil to preserve them, did you know that?)

200 grm of wholeweat pasta
300 grm of Kale, cut in 2 cm wide strips
2 garlic cloves
1 dried chilly
olive oil

Boil plenty of salted water, and cook the pasta (penne if you ask me) till they are al dente, 1 minute before it's ready add the shredded kale.
Heat up 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, fry a couple of crushed cloves of garlic  with a pinch of salt till golden, add the crushed chillie.
Drain the pasta and kale and add to the spicey oil  and saute√® for a couple of minutes, add the rinsed raisins. Serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast if you like it.

I would like to apologize for not knowing that Gwyneth Paltrow has changed her habits, I  suggested to visit her blog, where she in fact has even a turkey ragu recipe... apologies for the sensitive vegans that have been directed to her site and found it disturbing! I still like the site especially the food pictures are excellent, I'd be interested to know if she took them herself. 

Monday, 24 November 2008

Nice things in November

My new "frugal" addiction is swapping book (yes I do like swapping everything!) a website where you put old books you don't want anymore, just type in their isbn number, the details and picture will come up, just add the description, all you have to do is find books that you want on other members list and if they want one of your you can swap! Better then buying second hand books on Amazon, you can then just post the book 2nd class and voila' in 2 days circa you get a new book, how very recessionista. Just do not expect any macrobiotic recipe book (yet)

Between this site and my friend charity shop I have collected a very tall pile of books, one of them is "Sweetness in the belly" by Camilla Gibb (can anybody help me to understand how come all good writers are from Canada?), she has her say about food too:

[...]"Do you miss eating with a knife and a fork?"
"But it's not very hygienic."
"It's much more sociable, though." There's something uncharitable about having your own plate, something wrong about stabbing your food with a piece of metal. Food tastes right from the hand."[...]

Other things which I discovered this month are that Gwyneth Paltrow has got her website, you can subscribe to her weekly newsletter, which she has not started yet, and receive it into your inbox. Considering that she has been following macrobiotic for few years, I am looking forward to find out what it's all about. I like the look of the site, in this recession time, it all sound very down to earth.

Also a nice list of tips that are actually reliable from Dan Lepard and all the best bakers in the world, because you probably know that the more reliable the source the better bread and cookies you get! But... he wants to know your baking tips, so write them as a comment to the Guardian article and you could win a cookbook.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

I am back (and it's going to get messy)

I am back, just back from the farmers market :) and also back writing this blog after... what seems like a lifetime. Did anybody notice? I am not sure, but definitely my friends did, which is really flattering :) 
I am not going to explain why it's just to boring to share, but I was still cooking, taking notes and getting generally excited about food. 

This weekend hasn't been the mot successful one in the kitchen, but instead of reading it as an Omen (I already binned a few cookies and no macrobiotic cookies are not good- you can't prove me wrong here), I thought if I decide to share then I have to make good stuff!
As a Sunday lunch  baked pasta is so satisfying, but just make sure that you have done your home chores before, as it is going to be impossible to mop the floors after these!

Jerusalem artichoke and walnuts vegan lasagne

Cook the lasagne in some salted boiling water (I add few drop of olive oil) cook for 5 min or according to the package, lay them on a damp tea towel and set them aside.

Peel the artichokes (we used 300 grams for 2 people)
slice them finely (3mm circa), heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a saucepan, and add one crushed clove of garlic and few sag leaves if available, after a couple of minutes add the jerusalem artichockes.
Cook till tender and leave aside.
Preheat oven at 250 C° and toast 1/2 a cup of  walnuts till golden (keep an eye on them as they burn quickly). Grind or like we did crush with a mortar and pestle.

Prepare the besciamel (white sauce):
I start with two tbs of flour in 250 ml of rice milk, cook whisking vigorously till thick (no lumps allowed!) add the olive oil, keep whisking and keep it dry thick and smooth. Turn flame off, grate some nutmeg, pepper and salt.

Now you are ready to layer!
1 layer of lasagna, 1 layer of besciamel and vegetables sprinkle the crushed walnuts, then another layer of lasagna and so on... as much as you like :)

On top of the lasagne I add some more artichokes and some nutritional yeast (it has an acquired taste try it before spoiling the whole thing)
Bake 180C° for 20 min or till the top layer looks golden.

We had it with some Nobile di Montepulciano, and felt strangely quite Christmassy!
This was the first delicious thing that I made the whole weekend.