EAT EASY WITH YVONNE CONNOLLY: Love Italian food? Then learn how to make homemade pasta.
These last few weeks have been pretty special as I got to do lots of fun things with my kids. Spending time together is always great but when it’s in the K Club… well, that’s a treat! The Co. Kildare hotel is the epitome of luxury which is why we did a family photoshoot for RSVP there. There’s something lovey about driving through the gates; it always feels like I’m coming home. I was brought up a kilometre down the road so maybe that’s why! Another stand-out moment was celebrating my son Jack’s 18th birthday. We had dinner in town then came back out to Malahide where my partner John and I bought him his first legal pint of Guinness in Gibneys. Unforgettable.
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EATERY OF THE MONTH
I really enjoyed eating in Siroccos recently, an Italian family-run restaurant in the heart of Tullamore, Co. Offaly. With a wall full of awards, a team of passionate chefs smiling out from the open kitchen, warm friendly staff and fabulous food, it really is a perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon with your nearest and dearest.
There is always a supply of curry mayonaise in our fridge. Mix it through some chopped up chicken to make Coronation Chicken, or it’s great on sandwiches, baked potatoes, chips or on its own as a dip for raw vegetables.
1 cup of mayonnaise, full fat or low fat
1-2 tsp of mild curry powder
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped chives
Season with salt and pepper
Unless you grew up in a traditional Italian household the chance of you being able to roll out fine pasta dough is slim. But don’t let that stop you giving it a go!
TOP TIP: Dust your surface area with plenty of flour. For those who want perfect pasta and particularly if you want your kids to have fun, invest in a pasta maker. For a range of manually operated options, which is ideal when two people are involved, check out kitchencookware.ie where prices start at €29.99. Kenwood stockists nationwide, including Debenhams, are selling electric pasta maker attachments for cake mixing appliances. At €91 they are pricey, but they give a flawless finish and don’t require a second set of hands. Not until wash up time anyway!
QUAIL EGG & RICOTTA RAVIOLI – with sage butter and wild garlic. Serves 2/3.
On The Six 0’Clock Show recently I made homemade organic pasta for athletics champ Derval O’Rourke and Kerry footballer Darran O’Sullivan who were more than happy to get stuck in and help out. Although it’s a simple dish, it requires some effort to prepare but the pay-off is worth it. If you have kids get them involved – there’s nothing like watching little ones have fun with food. It also encourages them to try new things… even quail eggs!
FOR THE PASTA
200g pasta “00” flour and extra for dusting (organic if possible)
2 eggs (organic if possible)
FOR THE FILLING
1 tub of ricotta cheese
1 handful of parsley, chopped
6 quail eggs
Salt and pepper
FOR THE GARNISH
8-10 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 handful Parmesan, freshly grated
1-2 tbsp chopped wild garlic (if not available use chives)
Salt and pepper
1. Mix the flour and egg together with your hand to form a dough.
2. Knead well for 3-4 minutes until all the flour and eggs are combined.
3. Cover in cling film and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes (the dough will keep for 5-7 days).
4. Roll out the dough by hand on a flour surface until very thin, or put through a pasta machine.
On a floured surface lay out the sheets of pasta. Cut squares out of the dough (approx 10cm by 10cm).
5. Stir the chopped parsley, salt and pepper through the ricotta and add a dollop to the middle of the pasta square. Use your finger to create a well in the centre. Crack a quail egg and add the yolk to the ricotta well. Use the egg white as a glue and rub all around the outside of the ricotta to the edges of the ravioli. Place a second pasta square on top over the filling and use your finger to firmly seal the edges aiming to expel as much air as possible.
6. Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 2 minutes for a soft egg. They’ll float to the top when ready, so be careful not to overcrowd the pot. A drop of olive oil can help prevent the ravioli from sticking.
7. Lift the ravioli from water with a large strainer or slotted spoon to a serving plate. Heat the butter until frothing then add the chopped sage and cook for 1 minute before spooning over the ravioli.
8. Sprinkle with chopped wild garlic, Parmesan and salt and pepper.