So I found two willing victims on whom to experiment with my pasta ideas. I made ravioli filled with spinach and bacon and served with a creamy (a word I hate, but it had cream it in, so there isn't really an alternative word) blue cheese and walnut sauce. It was superb...but incredibly filling and I now feel slightly queasy. Still, YUM.
It was fairly easy really...fry little pieces of bacon till crispy, add an entire bag of spinach (which cooked down to literally about three spoons of filling...absurd) and leave to wilt, and then cool a bit. Meanwhile, roll out the pasta into strips, put the filling in, put another sheet of pasta over the top, trim and seal...it sounds so easy, but I totally failed the first time I attempted this a couple of weeks ago. I realise now it was because I rolled the pasta too thinly and it just stuck to the surface and wouldn't move when I tried to lift it off. These happy images are something I have long watched on Masterchef and strived for:
Perfect. So to make the sauce I literally just put some creme fraiche and some Dolcelatte into a pan and melted it, and added loads of nutmeg. Because I love nutmeg. Fortunately I think it's only vastly excessive (sort of...truckload) quantities of nutmeg that can make you hallucinate, otherwise my morning porridge would probably have a fairly trippy effect on me. And black pepper. This went on the pasta, some nice pecorino grated over the top, and a sprinkling of walnuts that I bashed in a pestle and mortar. Very satisfying. The whole thing tasted truly delicious - the only thing I would change is I'd squeeze out the spinach before putting it in the ravioli, as it went a bit watery inside. But still - blue cheese, walnuts, bacon, spinach - can't really go wrong with that combination. YUM.
For dessert we had a Nigella recipe that I've wanted to try for a couple of weeks: poached apricots stuffed with creme fraiche (a bit of a creme fraiche heavy meal, it seems - which my housemate commented was "no bad thing"). Dried apricots, soaked overnight in water, the water then boiled with sugar, cardamom seeds and lemon juice to make a syrup, which was poured over the apricots and they were baked in the oven at 130C for an hour or so. After chilling, I then cut them open, stuffed with a bit of creme fraiche, and sprinkled some crushed pistachios (I have only just discovered how much I love pistachios and am fighting the urge to eat the rest of the bag) over the top, along with a bit of the poaching syrup. Delicious. Nigella comments that you can also use yoghurt instead of creme fraiche...however, given my aversion to yoghurt I will not be trying this. Even creme fraiche was pushing it a bit - I hate cold creamy things. It was lovely though. I reckon stuffing them with vanilla ice cream would work too...but I'm sure the Turks would consider this sacrilegious (it's a Turkish recipe).
And they look beautiful, too.