"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Sunday, 9 September 2012

keeping up with the jones's takes it's toll...

We talk lots of recipes and food stuff at the office.  Masterchef had us all inspired and Franc took it one step further and went out to buy himself a pasta machine.  When he does something he goes the whole 9 yards - he even went so far as to buy the red checked fabric and took it to a seamstress to run it up as a tablecloth for his "Italian Vibe".  

Now he waltz into office full of tales of his pasta making and how he had 10 guests for dinner and had the pasta hanging "like curtains" on dowel sticks across his kitchen.
He buys the proper Italiano vino as well

The stories went further to give details of how you make the pasta - 500 g flour, 4 eggs, salt, tablespoon of oil and a little hot water (so easy that even Darcey his 3 year old daughter can make it!!).  So yesterday (while I was looking for energy) I popped into my favourite store @home and found myself my very own pasta machine.  A very heavy little box which seemed to mean that it was solid and well worth the R300 they were asking for it.  I nearly asked the lady behind the counter to wrap it for me when she asked if she could (but that would have been fraudulent and a waste of her time).

I set up my own little Masterchef kitchen this morning and taught myself how to make pasta - with a few desperate messages to Franc (who was in a movie).

My first try was a disaster, reams of spaghetti all stuck together.

It was now nearly 12 and I was getting desperate.  Fattis & Monis was sounding more and more attractive.
Then a phone call from Caroline to apologise profusely that she would not be coming.  I hope she did not hear the joy in my voice because I now had only 3 and not 5 portions to prepare.  This was not a job to rushed and required patience.  The clock was ticking and I had to remove my jersey.  It was one steamy and floury kitchen!!
 I mean really - You know how long they took to separate?

I decided to take a break and get the sauce started.  Ginger, spring onions, garlic, pine nuts, broccoli sauteed in the pan.

Then I add poached Norwegian salmon (on sale at Woolworths at the moment) and creme fraiche.

So the sauce for the pasta was looking and smelling good.  The pot of water was bubbling furiously and all I was needing was 3 portions of pasta and some courage.  Should I go for the F&M?  "No, Jennifer be brave".  Franc was not answering my pleas asking what number setting the machine should be on so it was all experimental.  The pasta machine did not either come with any step by step instructions (weird) (except cleaning directions).  If I had more time I should have done some googling and found out what the correct steps were to take.  Anyway, Granny needed to be fed so I tossed the calamari looking worms of pasta into the pot and crossed my fingers.  I boiled them for 5 minutes and voila, it looked al dente and ready. Drained it and threw it into the pan with the sauce.

No time for salad and very nouveau portions from me (for a change).  I was so proud I even put my signature over the dish with balsamic glaze.  Only the tasting to come.  I must say it was a tad calamari like in texture as well and perhaps if I had added some seafood essence and spices to the pasta dough we could have had a mock calamari and salmon dish.

I need not have worried though because the two judges approved (it's all in the sauce).  They probably thought it was a new calamari dish.  After lunch I returned to the kitchen to sort out the mess and the other three quarters of the dough.  Perhaps it was because it had been standing for a while or perhaps it was because I had had a glass of wine with lunch but suddenly it was so easy.

My very own curtain of pasta!!

The next step was cleaning up the kitchen and the flour which was everywhere.  Easy part compared to cleaning the pasta machine.  Do not immerse in water.  Clean with flour (and a couple of dozen tooth picks).  Hectic.  The kitchen is covered in flour again.  I have left it now exhausted with another glass of wine.  It is now 5 o'clock and I have just ventured out of the kitchen for the first time.  Kitchen is closed - it has been a marathon Masterchef session.

I wonder if I should find some red gingham fabric and have a tablecloth made for my dining room table? (Or will the pasta machine be packed back in it's box and stored behind the fancy pancy juice extractor I was so excited about a couple of months ago).

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