Making Filled Pasta

Besides making angel hair and fettuccine, Jane also demonstrated to us how to make various filled pasta using the freshly made pasta. To make pasta with filing, begin cutting the pasta sheet while still moist once the pasta sheet had been rolled out to the thinnest stage.

makingpasta-30-300x200Ravioli makingpasta-34-300x200Tortellini (belly button or hat)
makingpasta-18-300x200Mezzalune (half moon) or Agnolotti

Ingredients

  • fresh pasta
  • Grana Padano cheese (a close cousin of Parmigiano-Reggiano but cheaper)
  • cottage cheese
  • egg yolk
  • spinach
  • nutmeg

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Making Fresh Pasta

Jane demonstrated how to make fresh pasta in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen. I had introduced Jane as a school teacher for 25 years in previous blog. Jane was married to an Italian and she had lived in Italy for 8 years. For the many years Jane lived in Italy, she told us that she still can’t pronounce Italian words with one p and double p differently as the Italian do.

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As an experienced teacher, Jane started off her demonstrations with a brief introduction to the geography, culture and food of Italy. We can see that she is a good teacher.

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Jane prepared the above two dough from all purpose flour and whole wheat fine ground flour early in the morning using a bread machine. Jane will demonstrate to us how to prepare the dough by hand from scratch later in the kitchen.

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One important tool to make fresh pasta is a sturdy pasta machine. The above pasta machine has 3 slots, one for rolling the dough into thin sheet with adjustable thickness, another for cutting the dough sheet into wide flat noodle like fettuccine and a last slot for cutting the dough sheet into thin noodle like angel hair.

Ingredients

  • Flour (usually white all purpose, but you may use whole wheat fine ground hard wheat)
  • Eggs – roughly 1 egg per one cup of flour; quantity varies according to the type and humidity of the flour and the size of the eggs.
  • For our demonstration, Jane used 2 cups all purpose flour and 3 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt.

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Barley Chicken Stew

It’s Mona and my turn to demonstrate in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Mona made a German dish called Barley Chicken Stew for the main dish while I made Malaysian Fruit Rojak for dessert. I had blogged about the Fruit Rojak here.

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The Fruit Rojak was accepted well even though it is a little too spicy for some of the members in the group despite I did not add Thai chili to the dish. The only problem is the confusion of the origin of the dish where I kept hearing people saying Thai or Indonesian when they mentioned about the rojak.

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The Barley Chicken Stew is a very hearty meal and it’s very filing too. It’s a great dish for cold weather.

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Another new member of the kitchen, Jane, brought some corn meal muffin to share with us. Jane was a school teacher for 25 years, teaching cooking in school. We hope she will share with us many of her culinary skills.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl barley, soak in water or broth overnight
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons chopped chives or green onion and parley each
  • a pinch of tumeric
  • a pinch of chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Mona made her own chicken broth with chicken bones and she added tumeric to the chicken broth for colour. Mona also bought organic pearl barley for about $5 per kilo from Galloway which is just 30% more expensive than regular ones. She also brought her own frozen chopped green onion and parsley which she planted in her garden during summer.

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Spanakopita

While the Beef Stew is simmering away, Mona, also another relatively new member of the community kitchen, demonstrated how to make Spanakopita, a Greek finger food. Mona is a cancer survivor and she is very careful with her food intake. She tries her best to buy organic food and she never uses the microwave oven.

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The Spanakopita is crispy on the outside and the filings is very fragrance and slightly salty and cheesy.

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Ingredients

  • A package of phyllo pastry (16 – 18 sheets)
  • a big bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • a bunch of green onion or chives, finely chopped
  • a bunch of fresh spinach
  • a bunch of dill, leaves only (Mona used dills from her garden which she had frozen), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (Mona used home made butter from organic milk)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 eggs

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All the vegetables are organic vegetables and Mona bought them from a farm which her friend operates.

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Beef Stew with Split Peas a la Lime (Gheimeh)

In the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen, we had a new member to demonstrate a Persian recipe. Azar is an Iranian and she enjoys the community kitchen as she can learn about food from other cultures and also practice her English. Azar is a beautician and I was told that she does a very good job in threading, an ancient method of hair removal which originated in India and gaining popularity in the Middle and Far East.

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The Beef Stew has a very lemony flavour. The flavour comes from the dried lime which can be found in Persian stores and is relatively cheap. Minoo volunteers to get us some the next time she goes groceries shopping at a Persian store.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 lb beef or lamb, cubed
  • 3 dried lime
  • 2 teaspoons lemon powder
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and cinnamon to taste
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into sticks for making fries

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Carrot, Orange and Poppy Seed Bake

Frank, Paul and June teamed up to make a side dish called Carrot, Orange and Poppy Seed Bake in the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors. This recipe requires lots of cutting. While Joan and Joyce teamed up to make the Cranberry Fruit Compote, Joyce decided to help this team to do some cutting as her recipe is fairly simple and Joan can watch over it by herself.

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The poppy seeds add texture and flavour to this recipe and counteract the slightly sweet flavour of the carrots.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peel and cut into thin strips
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
  • a handful of raisins, optional
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • orange rind to garnish

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Variation:

  • You may substitute cumin with 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice and 2 teaspoons chopped thyme.
  • You may substitute orange juice with lemon or lime juice and garnish with the respective fruit rind.

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Fettuccine with Roasted Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

For the main course, Minoo and Mona made Fettuccine with Roasted Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors. This is kind of a vegetarian pasta dish.

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Although the sauce for this Fettuccine has no meat in it, it is still very flavourful and satisfying.

Ingredients

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry or oil pack)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 lb fettuccine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cip half & half
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Lentil Soup

The South Arm Community Kitchen was in the local newspaper a week and a half ago. The article was published on 30th Oct. The article covered both the South Arm Community Kitchen and the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors.

In this week’s Cooking Club for seniors meet, Hugh shared with us a Lentil Soup recipe. He made this Lentil Soup for his son at home. The Lentil Soup is rich with vitamins and fiber from the vegetables and the lentil is a rich source of protein and fiber too. Karen and Santosh helped Hugh with all the peeling and chopping for this recipe.

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Regional seasonings can change the character of this Lentil Soup. The variations are:

  1. Arabic Lentil Soup: add 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger with other seasonings.
  2. North African Lentil Soup: add 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads or powder with the onion and 1 (8oz) can whole tomatoes, crushed with the broth.
  3. Persian Lentil Soup: add 2 tablespoons orange juice or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel or lemon peel just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 can lentils, rinse several times, drain and set aside
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 small turnip or parsnip, if desired, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups beef broth (2 qts) or vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 parsley sprigs, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

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Japanese Squash (Kabocha) and Tapioca Dessert

Ade made a wonderful dessert with Japanese squash and tapioca pearls. Japanese Squash is also known as Japanese Pumpkin or Kabocha.

Japanese Squash is rich in beta carotene (as in all red-orange colour fruit), iron, vitamin C and potassium. It also has small traces of calcium, folic acid and minute amounts of vitamin Bs.

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The Japanese Squash and Tapioca Dessert is very similar with ‘Sei Mei Lo’ (in Cantonese) which is made with honey dew instead. Everyone in the community kitchen loves this dessert. It is a sure keeper.

Ingredients

  • 1 Japanese Squash, about 2 lbs
  • 1 liter water (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 3/4 cup crystallized cane sugar

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Cranberry Fruit Compote

We had another great cooking session in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Membership has risen this year from just a few people to more than ten people now. Minoo made a Turkey Chilli and a Cranberry Fruit Compote while Ade made a Japanese Squash and Tapioca Dessert. I had blogged about the Turkey Chili here before.

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The lunch was great. It would be great if we have some crusty bread or spaghetti to go with the Turkey Chilli. What I enjoy most is to have two desserts in a meal.

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The Cranberry Fruit Compote is great dish for Thanksgiving, to go with the turkey. It can be served as a dessert alone or to be topped with vanilla ice-cream. It is also great as breakfast or brunch when served on yogurt.

Fruit compote is also good for people who cannot eat fresh fruit for some health reason. You can make fruit compote with fresh fruit too like pear, apple, etc when they are in abundance. It is much easier to consume a cup of cook down fruit compote than eating 3 fresh fruits. When you make fruit compote with fresh fruit, you will need much less juice to start with since the fresh fruit will have a lot of juice in them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried mission figs
  • 1 cup dried Turkish apricots, pitted
  • 1 cup dried prunes, pitted
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries

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