Sunday, 8 April 2012

PPN Holiday cooking - Nut Roast and Pasta Napoletana

We've had a lovely Easter weekend.  I made hot cross buns on a quiet relaxing Good Friday (and will update that recipe soon).  Yesterday and today we spent in Geelong with my parents and family.  It was a whirlwind of catching up with my sister's Irish family, easter egg hunts, a big Easter lunch and visits to the park.  I was pleased to fit in a few impromptu recipes to get us by and will share these at the bottom of the post.

Sylvia had a lovely time playing with her cousin Dash.  Last night we let them share a bed, sleeping top to tail.  Well, they were actually having more fun than sleeping.  They were very excited about the Easter Bunny visiting them.  Even more exciting this morning were the Easter egg hunts.  One early for the wee ones and another one (with clues by my brother-in-law Fergal) when the older cousins arrived later.  Kids seem to love possessing Easter eggs as much if not more than eating them.

The family were very generous with easter eggs.  Sylvia was given quite a few.  Special mention though goes to my sister-in-law Erica who made her own easter eggs and packaged them in a colourful bags.

Meanwhile I whipped up a nut roast for lunch today (see top photo).  I was pleased that I was able to make one at short notice in my mum's kitchen with no recipe.  Those who read my blog regularly know I make them regularly as the centre to a roast dinner.  Even so, I was impressed that I managed to get this one made while my brother Dave squeezed (and sieved) orange juice for breakfast.  Everyone (except Sylvia) found it delicious.  I ate it with a vegetarian gravy, golden roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, cauliflower cheese and peas.

I guess that Mum and Erica decided that we had enough chocolate about and it was not to be found in the desserts.  Erica's angry chicks cupcakes looked very cute alongside mum's caramel tart, pavlova and sponge cake.  I was very taken by the caramel tart which was superb.

After an afternoon of chatting in the loungeroom, backyard sport and a visit to the park, we set off for home.  After a large midday meal and a wee bit too much chocolate, I wanted a quick and easy dinner.  I took out some fancy fettuccine from the pantry, made a quick tomato sauce and unpacked my suitcase while the pasta cooked.  I call it Napoletana (or Napolitana).

The pasta was just what we needed.  All it needed was some basil from my mum's garden, if only I had thought to pick some before I left.  As I don't make this sort of dish often these days, I have written what I did in a recipe below for future reference.  It strikes me as representing a meeting of my past and present: the cooking I learnt in my student days coupled with some flavours I have discovered through blogging.

I am sending the fettuccine napolitana to Gillian of So So Simple Life for Presto Pasta Nights #259, a great pasta event coordinated by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Memes are due. Thanks are due.
This time two years ago: SOS KC: Beets, Greens and Chickpea Curry
This time three years ago: A Nutroast Tribute
This time four years ago: A Long-winded Nut Roast Post

Cheesy carrot nut roast
serves 4 with sides

slurp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
generous grind of salt and black pepper, or to taste
80g grated cheese
2 eggs

Fry onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat in a large frypan until vegies are soft.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients to make a fairly thick mixture.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  Tip into a silicone loaf tin (or a greased and lined metal loaf tin).  Cook at 180 C or 350 F for about 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown and firm when you touch the middle of the loaf.  Let sit for about 10 minutes before turning out of tin onto a serving tray.  The nut roast can be reheated in the oven or sliced up to eat.

Fettuccine Napoletana 
serve 4-6

slurp of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
few cloves of garlic, finely chopped
good glug of red wine (about 1/4 cup)
about 400ml tomato passata (or 400g tin of diced tomatoes)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp French lavender salt (or salt and mixed herbs)
drizzle of maple syrup (about 1 tsp) 
knob of promite (about 1/2 tsp)
shake of ground chillies
500g egg fettuccine
finely grated parmesan cheese to serve
chopped baby spinach to serve

Fry onions in olive oil on low heat until browned.  Add garlic and cook for a minute or two.  Tip in the red wine - this was sort of like a deglazing - and simmer for a few minutes.  Stir in passata and remaining ingredients.  Check taste and adjust seasonings.  Bring to the boil and simmer.

While the tomato sauce is simmering, fill the kettle and bring to the boil.  When boiled, pour water into large saucepan with a pinch or two of salt over high heat.  When water boils in the saucepan, add pasta and put the lid on.  When water boils yet again, turn the heat to low and set the timer for the cooking time on the packet (usually about 10 minutes).  When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan.

Toss pasta with tomato sauce. Serve hot with parmesan and spinach.

On the Stereo:
Tricheurs (LP): Peer Raben

32 comments:

  1. Sounds like you've had a lovely Easter break, fun catching up with family! Love the Easter spread and that pasta sounds great too. Happy Easter to you all.

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    1. Thanks Caroline - happy easter to you too - yes family time, good food and pasta is a great way to spend easter

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  2. Sounds like everyone had fun over Easter. The nut roast sounds delish. There's something about those shiny foil wrapped eggs that is just magic.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - agree about shiny wrapped easter eggs - though sometimes I think the foil wrappers aren't as pretty as when I was a kid

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  3. Happy Easter Johanna and family! I admit I was the same with Easter eggs when I was little. I didn't eat them but I love the pretty colours!

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I did eat easter eggs unlike friends of ours who were notorious for never eating theirs

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  4. HI Johanna, a great entry for PPN. Some interesting flavours there. Is Promite the vegetarian equivalent of Marmite or Vegemite? I also like your nut loaf.
    Sounds like Easter was a great family time for you

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    1. Thanks Gillian - yes promite is a yeast extract like vegemite only slightly sweeter (I am not so familiar with marmite). Promite is a great seasoning - also goes well in a nut roast

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  5. What a great selection of food. I love that you were able to make your nut roast on short notice with no recipe - those are the sorts of moments that make the previous experiments and creations so worthwhile! I'm also very glad you did an Easter egg hunt as I loved them as a child. My partner's family never did them and I think he missed out!

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    1. Thanks Kari - We never did easter egg hunts when I was a kid but I can see they are so much more fun than just eating chocolate - though there do seem to be all sorts of politics around hunting the eggs. And yes it is nice how making recipes regularly like nut roast builds up knowledge and of what does and doesn't work!

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  6. Is the caramel tart the one with the bananas on top? Yum! Your family always makes such wonderful things :)

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    1. Thanks Hannah - yes - well spotted - we have always called it caramel tart though it always has bananas on it - and yes we do eat well

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  7. Mmmmmmmmmm - what an Easter Feast!

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  8. Aww, this sounds wonderful! I so much miss spending Easter with my family, but during the past years, I didn't have time to go home for Easter. :(

    Fresh basil from the garden is the best! :D

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    1. Thanks Kath - Sounds like you keep yourself busy at easter - but I do love seeing family at easter, esp after spending time far away from them for a few easters

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  9. What a wonderful Easter. I remember top and tailing with various cousins and friends. Don't remember getting much sleep though - always too excited. Your Easter with your family sounds really lovely.

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    1. Thanks Hotly Spiced - topping and tailing is fun when a kid - too exciting for sleep

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  10. It's sounds like you had a wonderful time! Are the caramel pies the ones with bananas on top? I've never seen it before but it looks yummy! :)

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    1. Thanks Alexe - yes the caramel pies have bananas on them - they are similar to caramel pie (and made with a boiled tin of condensed milk for the caramel) - it is a favourite in my family

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  11. Sounds like you had a great break! I'm not surprised that your impromptu nut roast was a success, you probably could have made a great one without a recipe and blindfolded! ;)

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    1. Thanks Mel - it was a lovely break (before it got so cold and wet on Monday - brrr) - I am flattered by your confidence in my nut roast making :-)

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  12. Sounds like such a lovely easter full of so much good food! The desserts especially sound delicious...and that pasta! I didn't realize how much i was craving it until I saw yours!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - caramel always makes me happy and Sylvia is becoming a lover of pav (the crunchy bits please) - I know what you mean about pasta - I don't make it often enough these days

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  13. Glad you had a good Easter. The egg hunt sounds fun - I only remember one as a child, but it was a real thrill, it's great to give those sort of memories to Sylvia. Talking of whom, that little hand isn't quite so little any more, she is growing and fast. Do we get a picture of your sister in laws homemade Easter eggs?

    Johanna, thank you so much for leaving such lovely comments on my blog so regularly. I really appreciate them. I seem to have so little time these days to reciprocate and feel bad about it, especially you have a top nut roast blog - wish I could have joined you for your Easter nut roast. I haven't had one in an age.

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    1. Thanks Choclette - yes sylvia is growing up though she is no match for her older cousins in an easter egg hunt! I didn't take a pic of Erica's easter eggs - the little bunny ones were really cute but i don't think a photo would have done them justice (and they were eaten rather quickly)

      Would have loved to have shared some easter nut roast with you - always love to visit your blog for some chocolate goodness - and I appreciate you dropping in here while you are busy - hope you get some rest and nut roasts in your life soon :-)

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  14. glad your Easter was a good one. You once again reminded me that I have never tasted nut roast before :D

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    1. Thanks Anh - you really need to try a nut roast - they are so delicious!

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  15. Your Easter sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing with us... and thanks for joining in Presto Pasta Night fun too with that wonderful dish - no matter how it's spelled.

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  16. Sounds like a lovely feast. And I am SO behind that I won't even bother wishing you a belated Happy Easter (maybe it should be an early Happy Easter for next year??) ;)

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