Tuesday 25 January 2011

PPN Lentil Ravioli - and a Potato Salad

After my recent visit to Gasworks Farmers Market, I made a few dishes with the food I bought there. Potatoes, watercress and ravioli! Firstly there was salad for my mum's birthday lunch and then a ravioli dish that got the thumbs up from E. However my cooking has been a little hit and miss lately and strange enough it is chocolate baking that is not quite working for me. (Though I hope to rectify this very soon!)

My aim at the market was to buy fresh apricots for my mum. Then I saw these lovely pink fir lady potatoes. They even look pink. I planned all along to make potato salad with them. It just seemed right. They cooked up into a compact nutty flesh that was full of flavour.

I also added some mustard and watercress which had some bite and a slight bitterness. It was was balanced by the sundried tomatoes, though maybe not enough. Maybe a bit of maple syrup or honey might have helped, if like me, your preference is not towards bitterness.

The potato salad was good though not my best. I think it would have been better fresh than having sat in the car for an hour but it still was a fine contribution and went well with the other salads my siblings had brought along.

I had also promised to bake a cake for mum. Having stem ginger left over from Christmas baking, I was delighted to find a recipe for chocolate and ginger cake on C's Cake Crumbs and Cooking blog. Having had great success with other recipes from C's blog, I was perhaps a little over-confident.

I made three mistakes. One was to use self-raising flour instead of plain. I added the choc chips when the mixture was too hot so too many melted and there were a lot less nuggets of chocolate than the recipe intended. The last mistake was to use my standard loaf tin. The recipe required a 450lb cake tin. I don't understand how you work out the size of a cake tin by weight but I suspect mine was too big.

The cake was nice but it was a little on the dry side and didn't keep well. I suspect my resolve to eat a few less baked goods has also meant it wasn't appreciated as much as my cakes normally are! E didn't like the stem ginger in it. My mum and my little niece Ella enjoyed it. I hope to try this recipe again and pay more attention because I think it could be much better than my attempt.

You can also see the market apricots, mum's pav and gluten free fairy cakes in the above photo. I was amused at the lunch to finally find something that Sylvia and her cousin Cooper can share: little cakes. Cooper eats the icing and Sylvia eats the cake. Both kids would eat far more of the cakes than is good for them if they had their way. Yet another thing they agree on!

Whereas I could have eaten far more of this sun-dried tomato and goats cheese ravioli than is good for me. It was delicious. I love pasta but am always searching for ways to eat it in a way that includes lots of vegies and protein. I know the purists say that when it tastes this good all you need is a slick of flavoured oil and maybe some fried sage leaves but it leaves me feeling heavy and not terribly healthy.

So I set about using the vegetables in the fridge to make a pasta sauce for the ravioli. Some watercress was leftover from my market haul. I also had a neglected packet of spinach that needed using. With a few extra vegetables and some brown lentils from a tin, this made a wonderful pasta stew. Not only does it taste delicious and healthy but it also makes the pasta go further.

E loved this ravioli stew and so did I. Sylvia was fascinated by the pasta but didn't like the extras. She even went so far as to insist that I take out the filling from the ravioli so she could just eat the pasta. It really defeats the idea of having ravioli. But she likes things plain. She also didn't like the brown lentils in the stew but loved them in a heap on her plate (though it is no fun when she flings a handful at the floor!). It amuses me that she calls all legumes 'baked beans'. Maybe because they were her first legume love.

Ruth is always looking for ideas on how to serve pasta. That is why she oversees the ever inspiring Presto Pasta Nights blog event. I am sending the pasta to Jen of Tastes of Home who is hosting this week (#197).

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Muffins at the tennis
This time two years ago: Baba - full of eastern promise
This time three years ago: Simple Substantial Salads for One

Ravioli with lentils and spinach
serves 3

420g fresh ravioli (I used sundried tomato and goats cheese)
glug of olive oil
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 large red capsicum, cut into matchsticks
100g baby spinach, sliced
1 cup cooked brown lentils (I used tinned)
125g cherry tomatoes, halved
picked leaves of half a bunch of watercress
handful of broccoli florets, steamed

Cook ravioli according to packet instructions in a large saucepan. Drain ravioli in a collander and heat oil in saucepan in which you cooked the pasta. Fry spring onion, carrot and capsicum over a low heat for a few minutes. Add spinach and cook a couple of minutes until it is starting to wilt. Add lentils, tomatoes, watercress and broccoli and cook for a few minutes until warmed through and tomatoes are softened. Stir through ravioli and serve hot. Leftovers are delicious for lunch the next day.

Potato salad with spring onions, watercress and sundried tomato
inspired by these salads
serves a crowd as a side dish

1 kg pink fir lady potatoes, scrubbed and thickly sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
50g semi sundried tomatoes, chopped
handful of watercress (1/2 - 1 bunch) picked leaves
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 dessert spoons yoghurt - about 100g
2 dessertspoons of mayo - I used vegan
1/2 tsp seeded mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar

Cook potatoes for about 20 minutes in salted water or until done. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Best eaten fresh. Can be kept in the fridge overnight but the potatoes absorb the dressing so it becomes a bit drier and could use a bit more yoghurt and/or mayo to pep it up.

On the stereo:
Live at KEXP Radio Chicago 2008 (bootleg): Beiruit


  1. I love the sound of the filling in those ravioli! I don't know where I could even begin to find such deliciousness here, so I guess I'm just going to have to make em myself!

  2. I could eat a giant bowl of that ravioli right now! looks delicious!

  3. 2 hearty and comforting dishes, just what I need in the dead of winter. Well, that and a trip to Australia ;)

  4. I made a cake calling for a 900g loaf tin today. I halved it and made it in my usual loaf tin which was slightly too big. I think that it is to do with the weight of the loaf of bread that comes out of the tin. What I think is my 450g tin, holds a loaf made with about the same weight of flour.

    Oddly I was contemplating a lentil pasta number for my supper tonight, that also uses sprouts of which I have many.

  5. Very creative ravioli use, Johanna! I honestly can't remember the last time I had ravioli. I'll have to keep an eye out for a version like this (I do love goats cheese). And fingers crossed your chocolate baking mojo comes back soon!

  6. Thanks Joanne - when you do make them, I think there must have been saffron or turmeric in the pasta because the pasta water was also a lovely yellow

    Thanks Vegiebug - it was

    Thanks Sarah - I did think this dish is good for both winter and summer - please come over and try it in summer too :-)

    Thanks Helen - ok, very useful, will need to start looking at weight of loaves of bread but even these aren't consistent - if you think fluffy white and heavy sourdough

    Thanks Hannah - I love ravioli but find the supermarket ones very boring so was pleased with this one - as for the chocolate mojo - I have plans to return to some old favourites - that should help

  7. Johanna,
    I don't if this link would help, or even how to post it AS a link, but it gives some clues how to estimate recipe sizes for pans. Me, I just guess!


  8. I like the look of your cake - I love chocolate and Ginger so I think I would have enjoyed it. I also love the ravioli stew idea, as I have had a tin of brown lentils forever.

  9. Hi, the round-up is done and at my blog! Thanks again for participating 

  10. I love all the colours in the ravioli dish - looks so tasty too.

  11. Yum - love the idea of your vegetable stew to serve with your ravioli - delicious :-)

  12. As always, it's great to see your tasty dishes on Presto Pasta Nights. This one really has me drooling. It's the perfect dish for cold weather. Thanks for sharing.

  13. The ravioli do sound great--and what a gorgeous photo. Too bad about the loaf, but it looks good, anyway! And I kind of like it when the chocolate chips are melty. ;)

  14. I love that you added so much good stuff to the ravioli!! I love stuffed pasta but try not to eat it too often, but making it like this is such a great idea.


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