Thursday, May 30, 2019

Japan - Curry Udon Noodles

In January of 2013 I made Okonomikaki (a savoury pancake made with cabbage and bacon) as the Japanese entry for my blog. I really enjoyed it so I'm excited to make more Japanese food.

I'm starting off with Curry Udon Noodles because I love noodles and I'd like to try some different kinds.


Udon noodles
Japanese curry roux
1 potato
1 onion
1 carrot
Spring onions
2 tablespoons dashi powder

Chop the onion, carrot and potato into small cubes. Put in a pan and add 360ml of boiling water.

Also add the curry roux. About 4-6 blocks of it. Stir well as the blocks break up.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are softening.

A few minutes before the curry sauce is ready put the noodles in another pan with the dashi powder and 350ml of boiling water. The noodles are already cooked so they just need heating up in the stock.

When everything is ready you can assemble the soup. Place some noodles in a bowl and then pour over some of the stock. Top with the curry sauce and garnish with some chopped spring onions.

The Curry Udon Noodles were delicious but messy to eat. I was splashed in curry sauce by the end of the meal. JD and I both enjoyed the texture of the udon noodles, they're thicker than regular noodles but softer too. The curry sauce was the best part for me. It's mild in flavour but goes so well with the noodles.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Italy - Ravioli

Ravioli is one of my favourite Italian dishes but I've never made it myself. Erin got me a ravioli tray for my birthday this year so I'm all set to make it now! Excited much :D


For the filling:

1 pack sausages
1 tub ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon salt

For the dough:

7oz flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil

To make the filling start off by removing the skins from the sausages. Cook the sausages in a frying pan with some oil, breaking up the sausages as they cook.

Put all the other filling ingredients in a bowl.

When the sausage is cooked add it to the bowl and stir well. Use an immersion blender to make the filling almost smooth.

Put the filling in the fridge while you make the dough. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.

Mix the eggs and oil then slowly add it to the flour to form a dough.

Knead the dough for 2 minutes then cover it and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Split the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each one out to cover the ravioli tray.

Fill the ravioli tray with filling. I did a little much in mine this first time but it was still ok.

Put a second sheet of dough over the filling, sealing with a beaten egg. Cut along the sections and remove from the ravioli tray. Look, I made ravioli :D

Boil your raviolis in a pan of boiling water for 7 minutes and then layer up in an ovenproof dish with cheese and pasta sauce. Top with parmesan.

Bake for about 12 minutes at 200 C.

It was delicious even if I do say so myself (JD also said it). The sausage filling was a lovely flavour and a nice smooth texture. I think my pasta could've been a bit thinner if I'd had a pasta machine to work it properly but still it was a very nice meal enjoyed by both which is all you can ask for. It reminded me of my favourite restaurant in Harrogate years ago, an italian place called Pinnochio's. I almost always chose the baked ravioli there.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Italy - Cacciatore

Cacciatore translates as 'Hunter' named because the food is easily prepared in one pot hunter style. I picked a slow cooker recipe to make today as I'm going on a walk with my daughter, Leigh and I know I'll want an easy meal to finish off later. You can serve this dish with any pasta, I chose spaghetti because it's my guy's favourite.


  • 500g chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 can tomatoes
  • 1  red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Slow cookers are a wonderful thing. Dump the chicken in the slow cooker. Chop the onion and bell pepper then throw them in too. Add the tinned tomatoes, balsmaic and seasonings. Cover and cook on Low for about 6-8 hours.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Lay out on a large platter.

 Cover the spaghetti in chicken and sauce. Serve immediately.

Such a simple recipe with such a delicious taste! The sauce is lovely and thick with a sharp flavour through it from the balsamic vinegar. The chicken was falling apart and soft to eat. We really enjoyed this meal and I can see us making it again as it's so easy.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Italy - Cannoli

Ever since watching The Sopranos many years ago, I've wanted to make cannoli. From the Italian for 'Little Tube'. I've bought it a few times but put off making it myself because it looks a bit complicated. Today is the day!

I bought some Cannoli forms from Amazon. I checked three different cookware shops in town first but nobody had them. So much for trying to shop local.


For the dough:

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar

For the filling:

400g ricotta
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Have some sprinkly items to dip the ends of the cannoli in. I used coconut and chocolate chunks but you could use nuts, pomegranate seeds or whatever you like really.

Put all the dough ingredients in a bowl.

Mix them together.

Add a tablespoon of water at a time until it forms a dough.

Tip the dough onto a floured worktop and knead for 3-5 minutes.

Leave the dough to rest while you make the filling. Mix the ricotta with the sugar and whip until fluffy.

Put the filling in the fridge. Next we can make the cannoli tubes.

Take small pieces of dough and roll into a circle shape. Roll around the cannoli form and pinch closed. Do this for all the forms.

Place the cannoli in hot oil. Turn as they brown to give an even colour all over.

When they're browned all over remove to some kitchen paper to drain.

Leave the cannoli to cool for a few minutes and then carefully remove the cannoli forms. Leave to cool fully before adding the filling. Place the filling in a piping bag.

Pipe the ricotta filling into each end of every cannoli. Dip the ends in whatever decoration you'd like. I used desicated coconut and choc chunks. Give a dusting of icing sugar and you're done.

I was really pleased with myself for finally making these! The cannoli tubes worked perfectly. The pastry was crisp and light just like it should be. I thought they looked beautiful ^_^ I wasn't very keen on the ricotta filling. I think I'd like to try making them again with whipped cream inside instead. It was a great first try though!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Italy - Gnocchi with Sausage

Gnocchi is one of those ingredients I'm not very familiar with. I think I've only eaten it once before. It's fairly cheap to buy and can be bought in most supermarkets now.


1 onion
1 bag gnocchi
8 sausages
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 beef stock cube
1 can tomatoes
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup parmesan
1 teaspoon black pepper

Dice the onion and saute it in a frying pan until translucent.

Take the sausagemeat out of the sausage casings. Add the sausagemeat to the pan and break up as it cooks.

Add the gnocchi, garlic powder, tomatoes and 1/2 cup of stock.

Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Take off the heat. Add the cheeses and the black pepper. Stir well then serve.

It was delicious! Gnocchi is quite filling so along with the sausage this made for a hearty meal. It was incredibly cheesy which isn't a complaint, I love cheese. The gnocchi was fluffy but still had a slight bite to it making it feel a lot like pasta in texture. It made a nice change from a pasta dish. I just wish the ridges on the gnocchi made it look less like giant larva :)
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