What happened to January? I still remember celebrating New Year's eve and now it's already February! I keep myself quite busy which only helps to make time fly by. Some great things happened in my life since the New Year has started, and it makes me very happy. I just finished working on a new G2Kitchen issue which should be out very soon. We are also finishing last bits and pieces before the Food Blogger Connect 2011 registration opens (keep checking back because it should be very soon!). We will have a fantastic lineup of speakers and talks for FBC11, so make sure you don't miss it! If you are not London based and look for a cheap accommodation during the conference, check my Couch surfing post!
Two weeks back I was honoured to assist a fantastic photographer Marie-Louise Avery. It was such a great experience for me and I have definitely learned a lot. To keep my already lifted spirit up, I'm going to Prague next week for a photoshoot. Taking 100 product photos in 3 days will surely be a challenge on top of shooting new food pictures for a spring/summer issue of Palladium magazine, but I'm very much looking forward to it. I hope I will have time to visit my friends and family and enjoy czech food and beer. If so, I will need to do another detox after I return to London. :)
We have been eating quite good food since we finished our detox and I can't get enough of fruit and vegetables. It must be the weather! I can't wait for spring and longer days to come.
Have I already told you about my new pasta machine which I got from my sweetheart for Christmas? I couldn't wait to finish the detox and finally put it to use. We had tasted fresh pasta in Italy a few months ago, and since then we have been hooked. This week I made my favourite pasta - spinach and ricotta ravioli. I didn't have a fresh sage so I poured over thyme butter and the result was amazing. Finished with a freshly grated parmesan, I couldn't have imagined a better lunch!
Fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli
100g pasta flour
100g semolina flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
260g fresh spinach
zest 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and freshly ground pepper
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
freshly grated pepper
grated parmesan, to serve
Sift together the pasta flour and semolina flour, add pinch of salt. Pile the flour mixture on a flat surface. Make a well in the middle, add the eggs and olive oil and start mixing with a fork to incorporate the eggs and flour mixture. When the dough begins to come together, start kneading the dough with both hands, pouring in a little bit of water until soft and smooth. It takes about 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic and not sticky. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat oil in a pan, add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes just until wilted. Transfer it to a colander and let cool slightly, then squeeze out any excess liquid. Roughly chop the spinach. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, lemon zest, nutmeg, cheese and spinach, add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the dough in half and start rolling it with your pasta machine. Each time you run the dough through, fold it and run it through again on the same thickness setting. Roll it until it's paper thin. Place the pasta sheet on a floured surface and spoon the spinach mixture on top, making sure there is at least a 3cm space around each spoonful. Lightly wet the dough around the filling. Place the second sheet of pasta over the filling, press the dough down gently with your fingers to seal the dough around the filling. Cut out the individual ravioli pieces with a pasta wheel and place on a floured surface. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets and filling.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add a tablespoon of oil, reduce the heat and gently cook the ravioli in batches for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the water, drain and keep warm.
For the thyme butter, melt the butter in a pan, add the thyme and fry for less than one minute. Remove from the heat and add some freshly grated pepper.
Serve the ravioli on a warmed plate, pour over some thyme butter and sprinkle with the parmesan.