Friday, May 13, 2016

Lunch Buffet at Narayanni's


Dan and I were invited to check out Narayanni's for lunch one day! Previously, Narayanni's was only open for dinner (which is when we usually go) but recently they have now opened for a lunch buffet. It was great to see the variety of dishes that were included (3 vegetarian dishes, 1 rice, a meat curry, soups, salad and dessert) in the $12 price. 
We started with a fresh salad (Traditional Wedding Salad) with julienned carrots, cabbage and red peppers mixed with pepper. It was pretty refreshing and had a slight pepperiness to it from the pepper flakes. 


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Chocolate Cake with Matcha Buttercream + A Giveaway



I've always wanted to make a cake! Yes, you read that correctly. I might be a great macaron baker but not a cake maker! I was recently reading through my Butter Baked Goods cookbook and came across their recipe for making a chocolate cake and it looked really good. Now, having owned the cookbook for a while, I have often flipped through the cookbook thinking about how I really should just bake a cake. So, I finally decided to take the plunge.
While their chocolate cake recipe used chocolate buttercream, I wanted to make a cake using the matcha powder my in-laws had given me recently. So last weekend, I set out to attempt to bake my first 4 layered chocolate cake with matcha buttercream. 

Ingredients assembled for chocolate cake making 
The very first thing I did (after checking that I had all the ingredients) was to get a cake pan as I didn't have one! Of course, the gorgeous blue springform one that I found at Marshalls was the one that came home with me.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Making Crispy Arancini At Home from Mushroom Risotto


So now that you have some "leftover" risotto, the best dish to make is some crispy arancini! Arancini is essentially crispy fried balls of rice with some oozy cheese inside. Not only is it incredibly delicious but it smells great too. It probably is best to make risotto the day before and then turn the risotto into arancini; otherwise it would take a long time to prep and eat dinner. You could also make everything in one go, but you would have to ensure that the risotto is cooled completely (lay it flat on a pan) before using.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups risotto
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano (grated)
  • 1 cup panko crumbs (more for rolling)
  • Cubes of Provolone, mozzarella (or similar) 

Directions




Sunday, April 10, 2016

Creamy Shiitake Mushroom Risotto at Home


shiitake mushroom risotto topped with pecorino romano

Dan and I seem to have a penchant towards cooking more Italian food when we invite friends over for dinner or just for ourselves. We love making homemade pasta, but somedays I find myself just wanting a scoop of mushroom risotto, topped with a shaving of pecorino romano for dinner. So, of course the best thing is to make risotto at home!

I typically buy all the ingredients we need from the Italian Centre that we have here in Edmonton. There are two different types of rice that you can purchase for making risotto - superfino arborio rice or carnaroli rice. In terms of taste, the carnaroli rice seems to taste better but honestly both are just as tasty. One of my favourite ways to make risotto is with fresh shiitake mushrooms - which you can purchase fresh at the Italian Centre! You can also use dried mushrooms for this recipe instead; just remember to rehydrate them for about 30 minutes in some water before cooking with it. The key to making good risotto is to keep the chicken stock warm as you cook. 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter (1 tbsp initially another to finish)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • 5-6 shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp cream (or milk)
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano (grated)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hand-rolling noodles

A pile of hand-rolled and hand-cut noodles sitting on a bamboo cutting board.

Thanks for all your questions and feedback on my last post on making ramen noodles from scratch.

One of the questions that was asked was: "What if we don't have a pasta roller, can we still make noodles?" 

YES, YOU CAN!

This post is going to be about a hand-rolling technique. I came across this during my attempts at making Soba Noodles (coming in a later post). Soba noodle making involves a series of complicated kneading, folds, and rolling which I won't be covering in this post.

Instead of a pasta rolling machine you'll need a rolling pin and a sharp knife (preferably one with a flat edge like a cleaver).

Follow the recipe for creating the dough for ramen (ver. 8) up to dividing your dough into 4 portions. The size of the portion I'm working with is about the size of a closed fist.
  1. Using a rolling pin and starting from the middle of the ball, roll out in both directions (e.g. middle upwards, middle downwards).
    A rolling pin pressed against a flattened disc of dough.
  2. Keep going until you can wrap the dough around the rolling pin about 1   1/2 times (it should definitely overlap) and you see a "tongue".
    The ends of a flattened dough wrapped around a rolling pin but only slightly overlapping.
    This dough overlaps but not enough! Keep going!
    Noodle dough wrapped completely around a rolling pin with enough dough sticking out from under the rolling pin.
    Roll from middle out until you can wrap around your rolling pin and the dough sticks out like a tongue.
  3. The next step is to roll the rolling pin across while the dough is still wrapped around the rolling pin.
    Ramen noodle dough wrapped around the rolling pin a few times.
  4. When you reach the edge or end of your surface, don't roll it back, instead drag the rolling pin back to the starting edge. If you roll back in the other direction your dough will unravel. It's more efficient to roll only in one direction instead of back and forth.
  5. Keep doing this until you have the desired thinness (keep in mind that the noodle will double in thickness when it's cooked). Using your hand, roll up the dough.Ramen noodle dough rolled up resting on a floured surface.
  6. With your sharpest flattest knife start slicing discs from the rolled up dough.Slightly tilt your knife so that the disc is separated from the roll.

    Close-up of knife about to slice through rolled up ramen noodle dough. The rolled up ramen noodle dough has a spiral of flour.
    A pile of sliced spiral discs of rolled up ramen dough.
  7.  Using your hands, unravel the discs of noodles into a pile.
    A pile of hand cut ramen noodle dough.
There you have it, hand-rolled, hand-cut ramen noodles without a pasta roller. Once you get used to the technique, it doesn't take a significant longer amount of time (about 5-8 minutes more) than using the roller. The pasta roller is definitely more efficient compared to hand rolling but I've (secretly) tested this on Lillian and she didn't notice the difference (in taste or texture) until I confessed.

As mentioned at the beginning, I came across this technique while trying to make soba noodles. I will continue to use this occasionally to practice my rolling technique for our pastas and ramen so that my soba noodle making skills will get better. One of the aspects that I'm working on is to maintain a uniformed rectangular shaped dough throughout the entire rolling process. In other words, the "tongue" should not be a pointed, it should be flat and as wide as the rest of the dough. This will prevent weird indentations in your dough.

Keep your questions coming!
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