Category Archives: Food

Blue Cheese and Walnut Ravioli with a Sage Butter sauce.

I thought that I would share with you this delicious recipe for some homemade ravioli. Mrs Woolshedwargamer has a friend from whom she acquired a kilo of blue cheese that I split into 100g lots and froze so we can use it over time rather than pig out on it all at once.

First off you need to make some pasta. This is actually very easy but I guess you could buy pre-made pasta sheets but not in my house!

This is a very simple pasta recipe.

200g flour (I used half and half standard flour and wholemeal), 2 eggs, pinch of salt.

Mix in a bowl until the eggs and flour have pretty much combined then turn onto a floured bench and knead the crap out of it. If you find it is a little dry just wet your fingers in some water to add moisture to the pasta dough.  This can take a while but keep at it until it is nice and elastic. Wholemeal flour makes the job a little harder I have found but not overly so. Once the pasta is made set aside.

Now make up the ravioli filling. For this I use 100g of blue cheese, an egg, 50g of walnuts, 1/3 tsp of nutmeg and 1/3 tsp of ground black pepper. Combine in a bowl and set aside.

Now you have to roll your pasta. If you have a pasta machine then this is an easy job. If, like me, you don’t have one then use a rolling pin to roll out a piece of your pasta dough (I do it in thirds).  Once you have rolled your pasta to a thickness of about 2mm use a cutter to cut rounds of pasta. HINT: Try to roll in one direction as much as possible. I used a large glass to cut my pasta. The left over bits you could recombine and roll out to make more ravioli or do what I do – save so that you can cook them up in a pasta dish in coming days. I ended up with 100g of leftovers this time so not an insubstantial amount.

Lay out your rounds of dough and put a dollop of your filling mixture on each one. Wet around the edges with water and fold over and press shut.

Now you have to make the sauce. While you are doing this bring a large pot of salted water to the boil to cook your ravioli.

The sauce ingredients are four garlic cloves (more if vampires are a nuisance in your area), a handful of sage leave (we have fresh sage growing so it was a matter of picking some fresh leaves), 20g walnuts, a wedge of butter (50g or more depending how rich you like your sauce), salt and ground black pepper and a splash of olive oil.  The wine is for lubricating the cook. Chop the garlic, sage and walnuts. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and add the and dry ingredients and simmer gently.

While the sauce is simmering away gently drop the ravioli into the boiling water – cook them until done – if you have rolled your pasta nice and thin they will only take about five minutes tops. Usually when they are all floating on the surface they are done but test one to make sure it is how you like them.  I use a slotted spoon to remove from the water and then toss them gently in the sauce to coat the ravioli. Turn the lot into a serving bowl and spoon on remaining sauce. Put a few shaves of parmegiano on and serve with a light salad to make you feel less like a pig for scarfing down the incredibly rich ravioli. We served ours with a nice cheap New Zealand Pinot Noir. Even our cheap ones are bloody good.

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The recipe I used made 27 large ravioli. This is easily enough for four people if served with a salad.  If you have a pasta machine you may have a ravioli attachment for making the traditional small ones – this would work the same.

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“Armies march on their stomachs”

Napoleon (or perhaps Frederick the Great)said that ‘armies march on their stomachs’. The same goes for Woolshedwargamers and Mrs Woolshedwargamers.  As many of those who know me personally know I am not the slimmest person in the world – I probably rank about middling in the Wargamer Sizing Chart for clothes. I like food and I like cooking.

Recently I discovered the Youtube channel of Jas. Townsend and Sons who do 18th and early-19th  Century reenactment cooking with original recipes and as far as possible, original cooking implements and methods.  This is one of his recipes adapted to our thoroughly 1970s kitchen.

Pork A La Normand (Pork and Apples cooked in Cider)

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Ingredients: A chopped up medium onion, a couple of apples diced, 1lb Pork pieces (450g), 1/3 Cup Wholemeal or Stoneground Flour, 2 tsp Nutmeg, Bottle of  Cider, 1 tsp salt and not shown 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and a wodge* of butter.

First thing is to coat the pork in the flour. 1/3 cup of flour seems a lot but the wholemeal flour really thickens the gravy up during cooking.

Now heat up some butter (how much? A decent wodge*. Brown off your flour coated pork pieces and set aside.  Don’t over cook the pork – just brown them off until they have some colour on them.

Now saute your chopped onion and diced apples until the onion starts to go translucent. Add the nutmeg and seasoning and stir in.  Let the spices cook for a few more minutes then add the cider and let it simmer for another few minutes.  Exactly how much cider is up to you. I like to cover the ingredients.

Return the reserved pork pieces to the pan and let simmer for at least thirty minutes. This dish matures so the longer you cook it the more tender the pork and richer the flavour.  I like a fairly runny gravy so didn’t reduce the sauce as much as Jas. Townsend & Sons did. next time I might use a bit less cider and see how it goes.

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This was served with roasted potato pieces, steamed asparagus and a mix of sauteed cabbage/silverbeet and bell pepper. Pour the rest of your cider into a glass and enjoy.

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For you Yanks and others.

*Wodge

Full Definition of wodge

chiefly British

  1. :  a bulky mass or chunk :  lump, wad

My daughter’s contribution to our Anzac Day at home

We have this biscuit (cookie to you Yanks) that has traditionally been made on Anzac Day. Story is that these were sent to the soldiers from home and they ate them at Gallipoli. However, that is not quite the case – those poor souls had to break their teeth on Ships Biscuits.

From the NZ Army Musuem:

The Real ANZAC Biscuit Story

“Biscuits! Army Biscuits! Consider the hardness of them. Remember the cracking of your dental plate, the breaking of this tooth, the splintering of that.” From Army Biscuits by Ormond Burton.

gallipoli 300x194 The ANZAC BiscuitDoes this bring to mind images of our troops at Gallipoli eating the ANZAC biscuits we know and love today? Staff at the National Army Museum did some research and found that contrary to popular belief there were no ANZAC biscuits at Gallipoli. The standard Army biscuit at this time was a rock hard tooth breaker also called the ship’s biscuit.

Although it’s a myth that ANZAC biscuits were sent and eaten by troops in Gallipoli, some evidence suggests a rolled oats biscuit was sent to troops on the Western Front, although this was not widespread.

The majority of rolled oats based biscuits were in fact sold and consumed at fetes, galas, parades and other public events at home, to raise funds for the war effort. This connection to the troops serving overseas led to them being referred to as ‘soldier’s biscuits’. Fundraising was co-ordinated by local Patriotic Funds, raising 6.5 million pounds for the New Zealand war effort.  Read More Here

ANZAC Biscuits.

IMG_2408RECIPE: From the Edmonds Cookbook (A sort of NZ Kitchen Bible found in almost all homes in NZ – usually very tattered and well thumbed)

Ingredients

      1/2 cup Plain Flour
      1/3 cup Sugar
      2/3 cup Coconut (dessicated)
      3/4 cup Rolled Oats
      50g Butter
      1 Tbsp Golden Syrup
      1/2 tsp Baking Soda
      2 Tbsp Boiling Water

Directions

*Mix together flour, sugar, coconut, and rolled oats.
*Melt butter and golden syrup.
*Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water and add to butter and golden syrup.
*Stir butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Place level tablespoonful of mixture onto cold greased trays. Bake at 180’C for about 15min or until golden.