Tuesday, 8 November 2011


My summer holiday this year saw me on the Amalfi coast, in the midst of copious amounts of pizza, pasta, ice-cream and limoncello. Not the right season to be writing this, is it? But it’s not until now that I finally pulled out some dried pasta which I bought while there – candele. Beautiful no?

250 g candele pasta
200g chicken breast
1 carrot
1 onion
200ml red wine
1 tablespoon sugar

Finely slice half the carrot and onion into matchsticks, toss in olive oil and bake at 120 degrees C until crispy.
Finely chop the rest of the vegetables and brown them with the chicken breast and some mixed herbs. Add 50ml of the red wine and water to cover the chicken breast. Continue to cook until the meat is cooked. Finely slice the chicken and puree the vegetables to make a sauce.
While cooking the candele pasta, make a red wine reduction with the rest of the red wine and the sugar.
Stir the vegetable purée and chicken into the pasta and turn it onto the serving plates. Sprinkle with the red wine reduction, olive oil, dried vegetables and a tiny amount of grated parmeggiano.

Firstly I have to say, the texture of this pasta was unlike any other store-bought dried pasta I’ve ever cooked or tasted. Dried, the pasta was very thick, so it took a long time to cook. (I was heartbroken to have to halve them to get the whole length to cook.) And once it was cooked the pasta was perfectly al dente – a quasi-impossible feat with supermarket pasta.

As for the sauce – such an elaborate recipe considering it’s just some pasta, but it’s really good and unusual!

Chocolate cake… with a strawberry compromise

So my guy pointed out that I never made a “proper” chocolate cake.  (Hmph!) So I set out to make one - a dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The reason I never made frosting is quite simply that I’m not really into sugary things. What I do really like, is strawberries with chocolate. So a very serious argument ensued about whether the cake would or would not have strawberries. (I’m sure regular, sane couples argue about these sort of things all the time. After all such a calorie costly endeavor means serious business.) Anyway we finally agreed that strawberries would contaminate only my half of the cake.

Even after tasting the result we still differed. I loved the strawberries in the cake. My notes from the day:
  1. I won’t be making the Devil’s Food Cake from The Joy of Cooking again. Uneven texture and not that great.
  2. Frosting is too sweet, won’t be making that again either. Ganache or cream is better.
  3. And mash some fresh strawberries in your chocolate cake - yum!