I'm suppose to look puzzled, not angry!

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I have a book to publish. Editors love it, marketing departments say 'up the media profile'. So here I am 'upping it' and writing about the book, food, and life in general.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Masterchef Manchester Madness

Knowing Zoe would be nervous before her Junior Masterchef audition we left bright and early for Manchester Piccadilly leaving plenty of time to park and pick up our tickets before catching the train to Birmingham.  The trouble was, we only ever go to Manchester on Sundays and Ged always drives while I read the Sunday Times.  I've been to Manchester hundreds of times but have never taken the slightest notice of how to get there.

This Wednesday, after driving for over an hour, I realised we were lost.  To cut a long story short, we arrived at Manchester Piccadilly very late to find the station car park was full.  When we eventually found somewhere to park we could no longer remember our way back to the station.  After much screaming from me we somehow found ourselves at the back of the station in a maze of building works; plastic barriers, wheelbarrows and men in hard hats.  Opting for what looked like the most obvious route to the station door, we ran through a pathway of freshly laid cement.  The hard hats were not happy.

Zoe, to her great credit, remained unflustered by all this madness and was the picture of calm as she introduced herself to the Masterchef casting team at Birmingham's Mal Maison.  How does she do it?  I sat shaking with a cup of chamomile tea until her audition was over.  As far as we can tell it went really well and everyone loved the tart, cake and poached pear (see last post).  Fingers crossed for July 9th when we find out if she's got through.

Since last Wednesday, Zoe has been in the kitchen every night cooking the essentials.  Here's the pasta.

500g typo 00 pasta flour
4 whole eggs plus 5 yolks
salt, glug of olive oil

Put flour and salt in the MagiMix and pulse while adding the eggs. Add oil, pulse then remove when formed into a ball.  Knead until smooth, wrap in cling film and rest in fridge for at least 20 mins.  Roll as per pasta machine instructions.  The more rolling, the better the pasta.  Ravioli needs to as thin as possible.  We only got down to #1 as we found we had lost the pasta machine handle and had to improvise with a strange looking bottle opener.  It hurt Zoe's hand too much to try taking below #1.

This is the very strange black garlic we found in Tesco.  Sticky and sweet.

Gorgeous mushrooms found at Macclesfield's Treacle Market.

Fry a finely chopped onion in butter until soft, added a black garlic clove then 250g of finely chopped mushrooms.  Fry until all the moisture has evaporated from the mushrooms then add three slices of  crumbled, fried prosciutto.  Finally, add a large spoon of ricotta and salt and black pepper to taste.
Lay teaspoons of filling on one length of pasta then top with a second layer.  Be sure to work out all the air bubbles from around the mound of filling before slicing and sealing the ravioli.  I don't think the ravioli ever need wetting to seal it although all the cookbooks seems to insist on it.

Drop the ravioli into a big pan of boiling, salted water.  They should float to the top within a minute but give them at least another minute and a half to cook through.  Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with truffle oil and Parmesan if you're feeling flash.

Zoe went pasta crazy and also made tagliatelli while singing, 'Anything you can do I can do better'.  Cheeky madam.

Zoe's tagliatelle with fennel and prawns

And finally she chopped up a couple of strawberries and mixed them with ricotta and icing sugar to make a sweet ravioli.  One she boiled and the other she fried in olive oil, then topped them with crushed strawberry.  Zoe preferred the boiled but I loved the friend version so much that I gobbled it all up before taking a picture.  Sorry.

Strawberry and ricotta ravioli

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