Saturday Tea – 08.07

A white plate of butternut squash and squid ink pastaIt seems like an absolute age since my last venture in the kitchen, but I was delighted when Saturday rolled around. For this turn I decided to make the meal a tribute to my favourite of all the complex carbohydrates; pasta, and because I’m won’t be donning a bikini this year why not?

A nest of squid ink pasta topped with a butternut squash puree and butternut squash pieces on a white plate
To start the meal I opted for a small dish. I cooked up and seasoned squid ink pasta, which I arranged in presentation rings. To these I then added a butternut squash and sage puree, and butternut squash pieces. It was a fairly simple and plain starter as I wanted the butternut squash to be the main focus of the dish.

I could have used more of the sage to flavour the sauce, as this was my first time using sage I went rather light touch, fearing it overpowering everything, and everyone. This dish marks the end of my squid ink pasta, as a component I quite enjoy it. I like the interesting colour it brings to dishes, though the texture when cooked is a little different to normal pasta.

Striped flat pasta pieces with a beetroot and feta mixFor the main I intended to cook, roll and stuff lasagne sheets, a little like an abstract cannelloni. The lasagne sheets I have had for a while, they are beautiful and remind me of summer. I picked them up from Carluccio’s one time after a lunch visit. I’d always planned to do something like this with them so its a shame it didn’t turn out like I wanted, as you can see. I was going to stuff these with a beetroot and feta ix and then top with a feta and garlic sauce, but as it didn’t work I had to present the dish differently.

If I were to do this again, I would use a different pasta. Thinking I could cook lasagne like normal pasta was a mistake, I don’t know if it is because the lasagne is striped, but the sheets fell apart. This meant that I couldn’t serve them rolled and stuffed as I would have hoped, it still looked and tasted nice, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I’d definitely keep the feta and garlic sauce though, that I’d have even on its own with pasta. 

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Pasta with a rich chocolate fudge sauce topped with chopped hazelnuts and raspberriesHotel Chocolat sell cocoa pasta, which was the perfect way to integrate carbohydrates into the dessert. I topped the cooked pasta with a warm rich chocolate fudge sauce, bought from Fudge Kitchen, as well as chopped hazelnuts. To serve I added fresh raspberries and coulis, I think this dessert looks absolutely beautiful. It was a bit more effort than my usual puddings, but still not too much as aside from cooking the pasta not much needed to be done. 

Should I make this dessert again, I’d keep everything almost as it was. The only thing I would change is making the coulis thicker, as it was thin it made it rather difficult to pipe into a design. The coulis also had seeds in which kept blocking up the nozzle which was rather frustrating. Had I of not cheated and bought Raspberry and Vanilla Coulis from Waitrose this wouldn’t t have been a problem. 

One thing that I am pleased about is how well I managed to balance the meal. Usually for a three course meal that I cook, I’m left on the verge of uncomfortably full, this time I was happily sated. I think it was a novel idea to have pasta in all three courses, though I might not attempt it again for some time as there are plenty of other ideas I want to try!

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