Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From Crummy to Yummy

Meal: Broccoli Orecchiette, Courgette & Bocconcini Salad and Prosciutto & Melon Salad

So...I can say upfront that we started off this 'pilgrimage to foodie enlightenment' in a manner we do not wish to continue - a churlish disagreement between husband and wife (about something trivial, of course)... followed soon after by both of us carrying our grumpy sons up a hill with a whole assortment of large and ungainly toddler toys. This backdrop did not set us up well for a exciting night ahead delving into the first chapter of Jamie's shiny new cookbook, but at least you can see that there are 'real' people behind our impressive chef ninja-ness.

Husband graciously handed over the first chapter cooking rights to me (read: kept clear) while I set about collecting ingredients, venting my frustration on the missing food processor part (swear, swear) and trying to get the kitchen in some semblance of 'pre-cooking' order. (Jamie's got a whole section in the prologue about the importance of an organised kitchen - according to his list of essentials, it seems we are down a balloon whisk, a mestle and portar (spelt how I inevitably say it every time), a decent peeler and a bay tree.

Before we start, I should tell you that there was a bit of creative license with some of the ingredients (the best chefs do this, we hear... cough). We couldn't get bocconcini in time, so used baby mozarella (gasp); it turns out a 'cantaloupe melon' is the same as the orangey-coloured rock melon we get in NZ; I accidentally subbed a parmesan block for pre-grated and who the heck has heard of 'purple sprouting broccoli'? We just left that out...

Anyway...I set the timer, to see if in fact, I could do these three tempting meals in 30 minutes and got things underway. The first thing I noticed was how Jamie has cleverly written the book to enable us to (reasonably) effortlessly juggle the prep of 2-3 dishes at once. I chopped things madly while in the background a jug boiled (yes yes, very difficult... shut up), broccoli and pasta bubbled and the anchovy-caper-thyme paste thing sizzled. I especially enjoyed the lavish use of fresh mint, basil and thyme - trademark Jamie - but held back a bit on the multiple lashings of extra virgin olive oil - also trademark Jamie.

The winner at the end of the day (surprising the courgette hater) was the raw courgette salad. An incredible blend of lemony-minty goodness with a kick. And healthy too. The melon salad was also amazing and thus the pasta dish, which was nice but its mild flavours paled in comparison, was thus relagated to third place.  Nom nom nom.

Time Taken: 37 mins
Cost: $35.74
Chef: Lou

Broccoli Orecchiette
Proscuitto & Melon Salad

Courgette & Bocconcini Salad

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