Ravioles and ratatouille and Paul Hollywood’s Bread!

Quite a lot of baking and cooking has been occurring in my household lately but I haven’t had time to post about it so you shall get an influx of baking goodness now! Ever since going to Paris in November, I have been obsessed with the notion of ravioles…not ravioli but ravioles. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know what they are, but for the benefit of those who haven’t, I shall briefly explain. Ravioles and much like Italian ravioli but are much smaller and are French. I had the simple cheese and herb versions in a pumpkin cream soup and they were heaven. Thin, buttery pasta encasing melted cheese in a soup so silky that it would be perfection by itself. Sufficed to say, I needed to have them again. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find ready made ravioles anywhere other than ordering them online from ocado, which unfortunately I cannot do. My only option it seemed was to try making them myself…without a pasta maker or a ravioles mould – that was interesting. The recipe and some interesting information about ravioles can be found here. I managed to get the pasta fairly thin with a rolling pin but due to the lack of a proper mould, my ravioles turned out fairly large. I paired them with a nice ratatouille stew (another obsession of mine since the Pixar film and again, Paris) and they were such a good combination! Although large, the recipe was good so I will be trying these again but hopefully, I’ll be able to find a ravioles mould and make them the proper size! I think I would also add more gruyere to the filling as I love the taste of cheese and don’t think you can have enough of it!

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Paul Hollywood has recently started a new series on the BBC called ‘Bread’ and I found this week’s episode really interesting! He made a classic bloomer, which he then layered Mediterranean vegetables and mozzarella in, which sounded delicious! He also made malt loaf and an ale bread. The program didn’t just include recipes either; Paul looked into the history  of breads and the manufacture of flours as well but in a really interesting way. The recipe that caught my eye the most was the rye and ale bread so I attempted it. The recipe can be found here. It was really simple to make and was the perfect accompaniment to a chicken casserole on a cold night as the blizzard continued outside my window. I couldn’t taste the ale as much as I wanted to so the predominant flavour was rye but having not had a rye bread before, it was a new flavour and I really enjoyed it. To me, it was like a more dense and richer version of brown bread. Just as Paul suggests, I think it would be perfect with cheese in a ploughman’s lunch with an accompanying ale. The whole program was incredibly enticing and I’d quite like to make all of the recipes included.

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For a taster of what’s to come… I’ve been making lots of puddings lately…

Tuesdays with Dorie – Croissants!

Wow…what a recipe! As soon as I saw that the next recipe for us to venture into was croissants, I jumped at the chance because I’ve been meaning to try making these buttery, flaky morsels for a long time, especially given my recent trip to Paris. I spread mine out over three days rather than two but it was definitely a lot of waiting around. Overnight, four two-hour rests AND a four hour rest… I kept saying ‘these better be worth it’ and unfortunately, I don’t think mine were. I don’t quite know what went wrong but in the final proving stage, a considerable amount of butter oozed out of my croissants and the dough didn’t rise at all. Given the amount of time I’d already invested in them, I popped them in the oven anyway and they didn’t turn out as badly as I thought. I made both croissants and pain au chocolats; the croissants were small, greasy and only had a few flakes so I was a bit disappointed. HOWEVER, somehow, using the same dough, my pain au chocolat turned out really well! Golden, flaky and butter oozing into melted dark chocolate – heaven! The crisp shell broke easily into the silky flakes as rich, thick chocolate spread across the palette – YUM! Two pastries at opposite ends of the scale but from the same dough – very strange! My only complaint about the pain au chocolat was that they really had to be eaten on the day they were baked, which seeing as I had about 12… I didn’t quite manage!

I don’t think I’d try this recipe again but I’d definitely look for a different croissant recipe and try them again; possibly less stress and anxiety would make for a better croissant and they do say that practice makes perfect – what a shame, I’ll have to keep eating croissants.

Amanda at http://www.girlplusfood.net/ has hosted this recipe and her croissants look delicious! A lot nicer than mine, that’s for sure! Check out the other bakers’ attempts at http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/

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