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Delicious Margherita Pizza

Boom!

Need I say more?

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Bhav’s Send Off

So it was Bhav’s last day at work and we sent him off in proper fashion with lots of booze and karaoke (yes he sings and his wife’s a damn good rapper too).  Here are some pics of the start of the night at Wvrst (thanks Harman!) and the shot that was the beginning of the end for Bhav.

That beer is as big as his head!

The beginning of the end for Bhav frame-by-frame:

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Porchetta

Oh pork, the fat, the skin, the meat, it’s all tasty.  I think porchetta is the ultimate dish that celebrates all things pork.  The porchetta recipe I followed consisted of cured pork belly wrapped around a layer of proscuitto wrapped around a pork butt….ahhhh yeahhh!

The pork belly was cured for 36hrs earlier with brown sugar, fennel seed, dill seed, chili flakes, salt, and pepper.  The pork butt was marinated for 36hrs in olive oil, rosemary, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Bring it all together:

And start by layering in the proscuitto:

Then roll it all up:

Truss it, put it in a pan, then bake it for 5+ hrs!

When it’s ready develop those crispy bits under the broiler:

Let stand for 30min then slice it:

And serve over buns (or by itself) with rapini and lots of wine!

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Lobster cakes with fresh pasta and brown-butter sage sauce

In round two of our cooking sessions we deviated from what we had planned at the end of our first cooking session here.  We had issues with the store bought fresh pasta and trying to mould them into ravioli.  Rather than fight with the ingredients we decided to change it up and cook lobster cakes with the ravioli filling by breading in flour-egg-breadcrumbs then a quick pan fry.  We cut the fresh pasta sheets into ribbons, boiled them, then finished them in a brown-butter sage sauce.  The final dish was delicious.

Our little snack of olives, proscuitto, spicy salami, manchego, bocconcini, and cheddar:

The final dish:

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Paella

Oh Paella, such a simple and delicious dish.  I think Spanish food is often overlooked for more popular cuisines like French and Italian but you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t explore Spanish food.  Before we started cooking we popped open a bottle of Cava and dug into some Serrano ham, Cabrales, and Manchego.

You’ll notice that the Serrano ham has a deep ruby colour compared to a prosciutto and is much more intense, almost earthy in flavour versus the more delicate prosciutto.  Cabrales (the blue cheese) is made from raw cow’s milk, goat milk, and ewe’s milk.  This particular cabrales had a pleasant blue cheese tang near the middle of the cheese and as you got closer to the rind it smelled (and tasted) strongly of gym socks…yum!  Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese and is one of my all time faves, a firm cheese that was not too salty and deliciously smooth.

Once everybody had their fill we began the mise-en-place:

The rice we used is an authentic Valencia rice named Bomba which is not as starchy as Arborio rice (used in risottos).  From what I’ve researched a paella should not be creamy like a risotto so if your goal is to make a paella with the proper texture stick to a Valencia rice.

We diced and chopped the veg, cut up the sausage, cleaned the shell fish, heated the stock with saffron, and turned the burner on high starting with the chicken, then the sausage, followed by the onions, garlic, and rice.

After sauteing the rice for a couple of minutes we assemble the dish with chicken, sausage, and stock to let simmer for 10min then add the shellfish:

Once all the shellfish has been added top with peas and red peppers then finish in the oven until all the liquid has evaporated:

And the finished dish…

F**k yeah!  It tasted as awesome as it looks!!!

Some takeaways from the meal:

1) Watch the ratio of liquid to rice, the goal is to keep the rice al dente and not mushy.

2) You can’t have too much sausage.

3) We had a 15″ pan which didn’t fit so well on a 9″ burner, ideally you’d do this over an open fire so there aren’t any hotspots for more even cooking.

So that was paella, stay tuned for the next cookoff!