Ok, lets just cut to the chase here: Cannelloni just don’t photograph well. They are definitely not the prettiest of the pastas. They are also not the easiest. All in all they are pretty much the nerdy and sort of uninteresting best friend of the Lasagne. You know, the one you wouldn’t date because he is too high maintenance. But I promise, what’s on the inside will be totally worth it.
Where was I? Right, talking pasta. – This recipe does require some patience so I prefer to make it on a Saturday because the mid-weekend is the best time to try out something more complicated with longer prep time or dough rising or else. Also gives me an opportunity to clean over the kitchen while food is in the oven. Yes I know, I am so industrious!
2 cloves Garlic
1 small Zucchini
1 small Eggplant
1 bell pepper
4 – 5 Button Mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheese (a mix of gouda, mozzarella and parmesan works well)
2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon each: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Oregano (or italian seasoning)
salt, pepper, olive oil for frying
If you have a food processor, now would be a good time to take it off the shelf! If you don’t, finely dice or shred all your vegetables. You want to cut them as small as possible so that you can pipe the filling into the cannelloni.
Fry your vegetables in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes, season with salt, pepper and the italian spices, let cool completely.
Mix the vegetable filling with the sour cream, cottage cheese and grated cheese. If you were impatient during step 2 the filling will still be warm and you will now have a goo of half melted cheese, ask me how I know!
Transfer a portion of the veggie filling into a pastry bag or freezer bag with one corner cut off. Repeat until all Cannelloni are filled.
Mix the remaining filling with the tomato sauce and spread evenly on top of the Cannelloni. The pasta should be completely covered.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes on 180C/360F. Poke a steak knife in to see if the pasta has softened.
I am not a big fan of the store-bought, ready-to-roll Pizza dough. For some reason it has a weird flavour to me, I don’t know? Preservatives? I can’t quite pinpoint it, but every time I am looking forward to Pizza and we were lazy and bought dough at the store I am disappointed, I’d rather pimp up a frozen Pizza with fresh ingredients to be honest.
This Pizza Crust is perfect – I will elaborate if you don’t mind because I know lots of people claim to have found the perfect dough and you feel most of them are lying, because they just like their Pizza different then you do. This crust is fluffy and airy but crunchy on the bottom, it holds up to extra sauce, extra cheese and extra pepperoni without getting soggy. If you love your Pizza thin and crispy feel free to move on now. If you are intrigued, read on and get your supplies ready!
If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. It will look quite oily but I promise this will reduce after the dough has risen and it will not be oily at all after baking. You will need to plan ahead to make this but it is also possible to freeze it and make your own ready-to-roll crust. Simply spread the dough on a sheet of baking paper after the first rise, then cover with foil wrap and roll up. Fold up the edges and place in freezer bag. There you go! 🙂
500 grams flour
2 teaspoons yeast or 1/2 cube fresh yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 ml olive oil
250 ml milk
1 tablespoon Italian spice or 1 pinch each: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and Sage
Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Knead and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces for individual Pizza or spread on a baking sheet, you will not need additional oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven with your Pizza stone or turn a cookie sheet upside down instead.
Add toppings of your choosing – I used pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, button mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion rings and green olives.
So I do like Couscous. What I like most about Couscous is that it is done quickly and doesn’t require lots of preparation. My friend Nina who worked with me some 5 years ago would just make some couscous as a quick dinner for herself – using just her electric kettle. I was so impressed that I have stored the information in the back of my brain and still remember today.
1 part couscous + 2 parts boiling water + 1/2 bouillon cube
There you go, this is even easier as cake! 🙂 I usually just take my measuring cup and eyeball it. The Couscous will double in volume and is very filling so I use roughly 1/2 cup for 4 portions as a side dish, where I would use 1 cup of rice. Please also read your package instructions and make sure you wait the proper amount of time for the Couscous to rest.
If you have never had Couscous before, try this sort of european style recipe. I once had instant Moroccan Couscous and it was just plain gross. I promise, this is nothing like it! When we have fish at buttonsprouts’ I like to serve this greek style salad with couscous. Very quick and yum and wholesome. What more do you need?
Greek Style Salad with Couscous
1 bell pepper
1 small glass of green Olives stuffed with paprika paste
1 small glass Feta cubes in herb or garlic oil
1 handful baby spinach (optional)
1/2 cup of couscous
1/2 bouillon cube or 1 cup fresh vegetable bouillon
freshly ground salt and pepper
Finely dice your vegetables while boiling 1 cup of water in the electric kettle or on the stove. Wash your spinach thoroughly.
Prepare couscous and the 1/2 bouillon cube in a heat-resistant bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir well so the cube dissolves completely. Set aside.
Spice salad with freshly ground salt and pepper. Drain Olives and mix in.
Drain Feta, keeping a small amount of the oil aside as salad dressing.
Fluff up the couscous and mix all ingredients well. Serve with fried fish or fresh baguette!