IMG_20151220_161253I was invited to a friend’s house just before Christmas for a secret santa pot luck party. After some internet searches for something new and fun, because I get bored making something I’m used to making, I decided to go for a ravioli bake (also an excuse to try out some new ravioli, because I don’t eat pasta often!)

I purchased two packs of ravioli, one was filled with ricotta and the other with porcini mushrooms and they were both rather delicious. Since the porcini mushroom ones were slightly overpowering, I mixed the two types for this recipe.

The most important part of this recipe, aside from selecting good ravioli or making your own, is to make a tomato sauce that your grandmother would’ve been proud of (or would be, if you’re lucky enough to have a living grandmother :)).

For the tomato sauce you will need:

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

400g tomato sauce

oregano

1 cup water

apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper

For the dish:

Ravioli

1/2 cup or to taste grated Parmesan or mozzarella slices

To make:

Cook the ravioli for a few minutes in boiling water, then drain and carefully add a tiny amount of olive oil and stir through. You want to be gentle so as not to break the ravioli up.

Heat up some olive oil or coconut oil in a pan and start to fry the garlic, being careful not to burn. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the consistency has thickened. You might want to add some tomato paste to help it along.

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Mix the tomato sauce with enough ravioli to fill your baking dish, then top up with grated Parmesan or mozzarella. You may even want to include some of this within the mixture for a cheesy, chewy, delicious surprise!


IMG_20150208_083444 The notion of this marvellous Italian creation – panettone – going to waste is horrible! But in the weeks/months following Christmas this tends to happen. So if you have one that’s only been partially eaten or is drying up, this is what you can do with it 🙂 This is how you can revive a panettone!

You will need:

A whole or whatever is left of your panettone (the below values were used on 3/4 of one)

3 eggs

400ml milk

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons chocolate bits

50ml Bailey’s

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven on 180 degrees C with fan.

Cut up the panettone roughly with your hands into large chunks and place them in a large, flat oven dish.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.

Mix all the other ingredients with the eggs and pour the mixture over the panettone. It may seem like too little at first, but as you mix it up the panettone will start to soak up the fluids. Continue mixing until all your cake has been soaked with your mixture.

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Bake for about 40 minutes until set and starting to brown at the edges.

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Literally “cooked cream” in Italian, this dessert is often described as the ‘perfect’  spoon dessert and though I hesitate to commit myself to this statement as I like to keep my options open – it is stupidly easy to make and tastes divine. Also, you can play around with different toppings for this creamy, delicious thing. If you like creamy desserts, this one’s for you..

Inspired by this recipe and faced with the few ingredients that you’re most likely to have lying around your kitchen (get some glycerin sheets for emergency dessert-making options) you can whip this up in a few minutes, but you’re going to need to wait for it to cool and solidify in the fridge before your sweet concoction magically turns into melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

You will need (this makes approximately 4 medium portions, pictured above I made 2 large portions in coffee cups and one smaller one):

1 1/2 cups milk + 1/3 cup sugar + 2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin + 1 1/2 cups cream

I found gelatin in sheets and after much searching I figured out that I needed to use 2 sheets for the equivalent of 2 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin. You will to soak these sheets in water for about 10 minutes before using, squeezing the water out before adding to your recipe. They look a little something like this after soaking:

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In a small skillet add your milk, cream and sugar and stir on medium heat for a few minutes. As soon as you see tiny bubbles start to form (before it boils) take off the heat and add the glycerin. Stir until this dissolves ( a few seconds). That’s it. You’re done. I promised that this would be easy, no? 🙂

Let your mixture cool slightly, then pour into the containers you will be serving your dessert in such as cups, small bowls, shooter glasses if you like..

When they have cooled to room temperature, store in the fridge for at least an hour till the glycerin has done its magic and made your dessert acquire a jelly like consistency. Cover the top with cling film to prevent drying if you are not using them on the same day.

You can serve as is (they are already good enough) but if you think that they look plain, add some fresh fruit or compote or chocolate sauce. As you might already know after this competition, I made a fruit compote for mine and heated it just before serving. .It made the panna cotta start to melt with an ambrosia-like result.

If you haven’t already, join my Facebook page to get to know about future competitions.

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