Thursday 2 September 2010

Good friends, good food.

Ok, Y'all know how I tell you guys I love you.. and show you how I care for you, don't you.. that's right.. I cook for you.

So on a recent Girls Goddess Weekend, the weather was going to be nasty and miserable. I was thinking roast pork belly with sauerkraut, caraway and apple on mashed potato for dinner on Fri night.(I got a rolled pork belly and did it on the rotisserie).

I also made the most of in-season Winter veggies and did a roasted beetroot dip with caraway.

The past 18 months have been a roller coaster of uncertainty, insecurity, anxiety and a lack of clear direction, but hopefully all of that is about to change. And there is nothing better to make a girl feel like the Dark Tea Time of the Soul is ALMOST over, than a weekend away with the girls.

I've blogged about girls weekends several times. I'm blessed to be surrounded by women who understand me. Who can complete my sentences. Who know what "that look" means. Around whom I can relax and let my hair (and my freakish Type-A, control-freak personality) down, and just "be".

And to thank them for being them, I decided to put up a retro dessert with a twist.

PG's chocolate ravioli, filled with vanilla bean cream, served with blood orange syrup and fresh basil. (It's a variation on Paul Young's recipe from Good Food Live, btw. )

1 cup '00' flour,
50 g cocoa powder,
2 eggs, plus beaten egg for brushing
2 tbsp water,
I goodly splash of Champagne


1/2 vanilla pod, split and scraped
125g cream cheese or ricotta

For the blood orange sauce:
4 blood oranges,
100 ml sugar syrup,
6 basil stems, leaves stripped and roughly torn and top florets put aside to garnish.


1. First make the chocolate dough. In a food processor place the pasta flour, cocoa, eggs, water and Champagne

2. Blend together until a soft but firm dough is formed. Wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Using a pasta machine, roll the pasta dough out into thin sheets. Use a circular cutter to cut out 10cm discs from the pasta sheets. Lay the circles on a plate, cover and chill in the refrigerator until required.

4. To make the filling, split the vanilla pod and scrape out seeds,

5. Mix in vanilla seed, and cream cheese. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until required.

6. To make the chocolate ravioli, take a disc of chocolate dough, brush the edges with beaten egg and place a teaspoon of the vanilla cream filling in the centre.

7. Fold the disc over the edges, forming a half moon shape, and pinch the edges together, sealing well.

8. To make the blood orange sauce, zest the blood oranges on a fine grater.

9. Peel the oranges and segment them over a bowl so that none of the juice escapes.

10. In a saucepan, place the zest, juice and sugar syrup and simmer for 2 minutes.

11. Remove from direct heat and add the orange segments and torn-up basil leaves

12. Bring a large pan of water to a simmering boil. Drop in the ravioli and simmer for 3 minutes or so until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

13. Divide the ravioli among 2 serving bowls, spoon over the blood orange sauce and segments, garnish with basil sprig and serve at once.

Id put up a photo of the finished dish, but like many things I cook, they taste AMAZING, but look like a cat mistook my serving plate for its litter tray.

As well as the above, no Girls weekend away would be complete without something sweet for dipping fruit, fingers and Teddy Bear biscuits in. We've done the Tim Tam Slam, so this time I decided to make a fleur de sel salted butter caramel.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce Recipe

From Almost Bourdain's blog.

(Adapted from David Lebovitz's The Sweet life of Paris)

Makes about 2 cups (500 ml)


2 cups (400 g) sugar
1 2/3 cups (400 g) heavy cream
2 tbsp (30 g) salted butter
1/4 tsp fleur de sel or coarse sea salt (or to taste)


Spread the sugar in an even layer in a large metal Dutch oven or casserole, at least 6 quarts (6 L). Set over moderate heat and cook without stirring, until the sugar near the edge just starts to liquefy.

Using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, begin gently stirring, encouraging the melted sugar around the edges toward the center and delicately stirring up any sugar melting on the bottom as well. The sugar will start to look pebbly as it cooks, but keep going; it will melt completely as it turns amber.

Continue to cook until the sugar turns deep brown and starts to smoke. (Don't worry about any large chunks of caramel.) The darker you can cook the sugar without burning it, the better the final sauce will taste. It's ready when it's the colour of a well-worn centime, or penny, and will smell a bit smoky.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in about a quarter of the cream. The mixture will bubble up furiously, so you may wish to wear an oven mitt over your stirring hand. Continued to whisk in the cream, stirring as you go to make sure it's smooth. Stir in the butter and salt. Serve warm.

Use as dip for strawberries, sponge fingers, your finger. Laugh uproariously as two of your closest girlfriends fight over licking the spoon and attempt to lick the pan clean at the same time.


Shuga n Spike said...

You are the queen of understatement. How are the travel plans going, last time we heard everything was on hold

Griffin said...

And if that little lot weren't enough to make me wish I was a girl then frankly my dear, what would?!

chexmeister said...

I will try out the recipe, it sounds scrumptious! The only ravioli I've tried would be those that come with meat sauce - but a dessert? A must try indeed! I hope i will be successful enough to actually create this lovely dessert, I seem to fail everything when it comes to chocolates and syrups as well. Do you have any tips for me?

purple goddess said...

Francesca, it's actually realy easy. I was quite worried about the caramel, as it can turn nasty VERY quickly, but this recipe just works!!

Don't be afraid to give it a go, and let us know who it went!!

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