Cusine : Italian

DIY Easter Bunny Crayons

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Easter it is !! Easter brings a lot of things along with it. One of those is School holidays, well we can debate all day whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If you are dreading the crowded shopping malls, over-crowded theme parks then it’s a scary thought. Think about the fact that there are also deserted roads with absolutely no traffic on your way to work in the morning. That is bliss! If you have kids and working , then there are all the baby sitting issues that creep up on you making you choke on any work the boss is discussing with you, even if its 4 months down the line. While I genuinely fear of getting stamped under 1000’s of kids if I set out on a holiday, I take this time to relax and unwind. But this easter, for us, brought not just holidays, it brought us a new home which we just moved into. I am hoping I will be instrumental in un packing and setting up the house. At least I would like to think so! But we are as we are and I won’t call us un organised but let’s just say we deal with things as they unfold and Face the challenges on a one to one basis:)

Now, kids are highly energetic and they need activities to keep them busy. Mine will be sent to tennis camps which he enjoys and a couple of sleepovers have been planned. But for the days I am home, my son demands my attention. He loves getting involved in crafts, baking and thankfully these are suitable hobbies for the weather we have right now. We always try and make something for easter for his friends at school and even though I browsed for hours, the one one I picked was one of the first ideas that I liked on pinterest. Bunny shaped Colourful crayons. Very pretty, easy and affordable gifts. Especially if you are making it for whole class like us. The fact that they can be made in advance, unlike any edible gift, is so relieving.

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Things you would need to make Bunny Crayons:

Colourful crayons
A bunny mould
Method:

Peel all the paper wrapped around the crayons
break them up and arrange them in the mould
Place then in the oven for 5 mins or until the crayons are melted
Cool them and carefully remove them from the mould and voila !! you have a beautifully shaped crayon in a colour of your choice.

Bunny Family

Bunny Family

Tips:

  • I had a mould with just 6 small bunny moulds, so I had to make 7 batches which took me a week. I phased it out so it was easy to manage.
  • Get the kids involved in peeling the crayons, breaking them up, sorting the colours etc
  • Be extremely careful when handling hot wax and let the crayon completely cool before removing it from the mould
  • My mould wasn’t that deep, I found my first batch was very thin and fragile bunnies. I started topping up the mould with more crayons half way through melting the wax so I can get a thick and proper crayon which can actually be used for colouring.
  • If you decide to double up the crayons half way like me, then make sure you have the coloured crayon ready because this stage needs to be done pretty quickly before the wax melts.
  • Use more than one color to give it that wow factor, or make a full set of crayons with single colours.

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Possibilities are endless in terms of what mould you can use. Just think of a theme, acquire a mould and get started.

I hope you have enjoyed this post of mine. Try making them with your kids and share your pictures.

 

XX

 

Beetroot Gnocchi & Castello white with truffle cheese

So when I trailed my way along with some girlfriends Suchi from Kitchen Karma, Nisha from Kitchenantics and Sandya Hariharan from Sandya’s Kitchen to the Castello Cheese pop up store event, little did I know that I will be so overwhelmed with all the cheese that is on show. The aim of the pop store is to introduce their amazing collection of cheeses from rest of the world to the deprived cheese lovers in UK 🙂 . Honestly, why are these cheeses not in UK? Anyway I hope the lovely people who visited the pop up store in Shoreditch have voted for some good cheese so that they can bring it here for us to devour. The event itself was so much fun and we were personally excited about the spread of different wine and cheese pairings along with other condiments. And to top it up, the pairings were all presented and explained by Matt Day who was very keen in sharing his ideas and giving us tips on how to choose our drinks. We were also handed out a chart which illustrates all the featured pairing which is quiet handy for people who do not take notes at events like this and only focus on eating 🙂 …yes, I have my priorities and I tend to stick to them most of the time :). Talking about priorities, we were also served delicious canapés while the one and only Sapient Gastranout, Stephen gate is showering us with all the information regarding the event and the concept store.

 

Canapé's and the Spread at the event

Canapé’s and the Spread at the event

That night, we returned home satisfied with our cheese and wine intake, lots of inspiration to use the variety of cheese in our culinary experiments, tons of enthusiasm to immediately host a cheese & wine party at home and a gorgeous goody bag filled with a complete set of cheese pairings. While I and my son gobbled almost all of the pineapple halo cheese as a midnight snack, I saved some white truffle cheese for something special which I am so pleased to share it with you today.

Real cheese lovers always argue that cheese has to be enjoyed as it is and usually do not support cooking it. But I am sure I can nudge them to agree with me that cheese sauces play a very significant role for most pastas. Especially, when I tasted the white truffle soft cheese, it was invariably piquant and I instantly decided that I could set it up with some sweet and mild gnocchi and the marriage will have lasting results J and so the story of Beetroot gnocchi and Castello white with Truffle cheese sauce has come into being and my dear lovely readers ……..it was a success.

CASTELLO® WHITE WITH TRUFFLE

CASTELLO® WHITE WITH TRUFFLE

The beetroot Gnocchi recipe was basically worked out looking at various methods out there, but if you want a reference and see what happens in between Indian Simmer has a nice video. Cheese sauce recipe is however, a standard recipe but I deliberately kept it very simple and did not want to twiddle with the flavour of the cheese itself.

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Let’s get cooking:

Ingredients:

Serves 4 portions

For Gnocchi

5 large boiled potatoes – Use good floury kind like Maris piper or King Edward

2 beetroots

1 Cup Plain Flour

1 Egg

For Cheese Sauce:

150 grams Castello White truffle soft Cheese

½ Cup Milk

2 Tbsp Plain Flour

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Method:

For the Gnocchi Let me warn you, it seems tricky and is a very messy job. But home-made gnocchi is always so much better than dried store-bought. The texture is entirely different.

Chop the beet into quarters, place them a sauce pan, cover the lid and let them dry roast on low flame. The moisture in the vegetable should be good enough to facilitate the cooking and should not stick to the pan.

Alternatively, place them on the baking tray and roast them in the oven at about 150 degrees. We need at least some of the juices of the beetroot to be retained. Puree the beetroots without any extra water and keep aside.

Mash the potatoes and run them through the ricer to make a smooth mash. Add the egg, beetroot puree and quarter of the flour.

Knead the dough and keep adding more flour as you knead. Use the rest of the flour only if you need. The dough will not be hard but you should be able to work with it with lots of flour on you worktop.

Divide the dough into 3 large balls. Roll it into a thick sausage shape and cut the dough further to form the final gnocchi.

Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi

 

Now, you can use a fork and run the gnocchi over it to form a shape or roll them into small balls or just leave them as it is like I have. Gives a nice rustic, homemade feel to it isn’t?

At this stage you can either refrigerate the gnocchi or freeze them untill you decide to use them.

Hand made - Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi

 

When you are ready to prepare the gnocchi, fill a deep sauce pan with water, bring it to boil and add the gnocchi . Your gnocchi is ready, as soon as they float to the top. Remove them from heat, drain the water , run them through some cold water and keep aside untill you make your sauce.

For the sauce, in a saucepan, add some unsalted butter. As it melts, add 2 tbsp. of plain flour and stir it for a minute or so, add the milk and keep stirring until there are no lumps. Now for the fun part, turn the heat to low and add the Castello  white with truffle cheese and stir until it forms a lovely silky sauce. Serve immediately, over the beetroot gnocchi and top it with some fresh ground pepper.

 

Beetroot Gnocchi - Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

Beetroot Gnocchi – Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

 

Cheesy Pasta with Brocoli and Courgettes

photo (1)Forenote:  Kids love this. It’s a great way to get them to eat thier veges. And the best part is that it is a very simple and quick recipe.

Course: Main

Skill Level : Easy

Cusine: Italian

Ingredients

300 grams pasta

30grams unsalted butter

2Tbsp plain flour

500ml milk

30grams grated  cheddar cheese

1tsp ground Pepper

10grams prawns

10 grams par boiled brocoli

1/2 cup par boiled and diced courgettes

Method

Cook  the  pasta in boiling water with some salt and 1tsp olive oil.

In a deep pan, saute the brocoli and chunks of courgettes, season them with salt and pepper and keep aside.

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the  flour and mix well. Dont worry if it forms lumps, make sure  the saucepan is on medium heat and take care the flour doesnt burn. Once the flour and the butter are well combined, slowly add half the quantity of milk and keep stirring., add the rest of the milk reduce the heat and stir continously  untill all the milk is well combined and teh mixture forms into a nice think creamy  sauce. At this point, add the grated cheese and stir. Add the vegetables and pasta and mix well. season and Serve.

Tips: You can use any vegetables you like. To make a non veg version of the pasta, simply add sauted and seasoned Prawns or diced chicken chunks. Spinach is another great veg that goeas well with this recipe. Add it towards the end of cooking other vegetables.

Chocolate and almond biscotti

Great for gifts, keep the kids happy with these simple and easy Italian Biscotti. The name Biscotti comes from the process baked twice. So here goes the recipe.

Cuisine : Italian

Course : Snaks

Skill Level : Medium

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C
  2. Sieve the plain flour into a bowl and add baking powder, sugar, almonds, chocolate chips till all the ingredients are incorporated completely.
  3. Add the egg yolks and start binding the mixture to make a dough
  4. Continue to add the egg white very slowly while mixing until it is all combined and does not stick to the bowl.

Note: You can use extra flour to make the dough and make sure you add just the right amount of egg white. You don’t have to use all the egg white. Once the dough is done, divide it into two 6 inch logs and place them on a greased baking sheet and let it bake for 20 mins exactly.You will have a firm but half cooked dough.

Take them out and get rid of the edges and cut the logs into 20 to 24 biscotti’s and place them back in the oven for another 20 mins

At this point you can lay them close to each other because they are not going to spread anymore.Once they are out, leave them to cool completely before serving to get the perfect crunch. Enjoy on a cold winter afternoon with piping hot tea! And they are great as gifts during holidays when you have so many friends and relatives visiting you.

Happy holidays!