30th July 2012
Olympic Truffles - Go For Coal!
Black Truffle

The Olympics are on apparently. Did you know?

Call me a miserable curmudgeon, but I'm just not happy to see a venal political class successfully con the country into spunking billions of our hard-earned tax pounds on corporate welfare for the most greedy, abusive, parasitic companies on earth.

Anyway, despite my reluctance Flora came over for dinner with a gift of some fancy Italian pasta she just received from her friend Captain Doctor Army Jo and we caught some of the sailing competitions.

As expected the sailing coverage was both dull and inept, the cameramen seemingly paid some kind of bonus each time they can cut away from any vaguely interesting action developing on the course to another painful bout of trite drivel from a pretty bint in a RIB.
Fortunately the pasta was rather good:
Massive ridged multi-coloured pasta tubes like giant cannelloni - I reckon they might be bombardoni but whatever they are they proved a good way to use that £10 black truffle impulse-buy that I picked up at Dobbies last time I passed through on my way to my dentist. I'd been wondering what to do with it.
I like to get myself a little treat every time I go to the dentist. Preferably something nice and sugary. Or really hard :) It's such a long drive, and I'm already taking the time off work anyway.

So thank you Captain Doctor Army Jo!

It was also a good opportunity to use up the last of the cobnuts my Mum brought me up from Kent on a surprisingly good raw ceps salad which Flora also particularly liked.
Thanks Mum!

Flora was much less impressed with my Lycheese dessert. And she does like lychees. And Ricotta.
But I enjoyed it.

Bombardoni al Tartufo - Truffled Pasta
main pasta
Pasta and truffles
Truffles are surprisingly hard.
I found it quite difficult to shave mine without one of those fancy truffle slicers and it's unpleasantly grainy when not paper-thin, so I just grated most of mine using a nutmeg grater. I shaved a few slices with a sharp knife as best I could for garnish.
The resulting powder gives the pasta a rather mottled, peppery look, but it sure tastes fine.

Personally I often prefer Grana Padano to Parmesan - which I find can be a bit too sharp and reminiscent of cat's piss. But whatever you like.

Serves 2

Grate or shave the truffle very finely. Reserve a few slices for garnish. Mix the rest of the truffle with the butter and oil.
Grate the Parmesan.
Peel the garlic clove and slice it in half.
Start the pasta cooking, meanwhile crush the garlic against the bottom of a frying pan, add the butter and truffle mix, and heat gently until the butter melts and the truffle releases its glorious aroma. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic clove.
When the pasta is ready, set aside a ladleful of the cooking water and drain. Mix with the truffled butter, season, stir in a little of the reserved water if the pasta is too dry. Mix well with the Parmesan and decorate with the truffle slices.
A very simple recipe but an excellent vehicle for the fungal, earthy tones of truffles.
You could probably also add some egg yolk as for carbonara. A tartufara if you will. Or maybe a little anchovy and red chilli flakes. Or some herbs; sage say. Or mushrooms.
Oh God - I'm hungry again!

Ceps and Cobnut Salad
Pronounced seps apparently - they're just porcini, also known as boletus. This being the capital of Scotland, it's impossible to obtain such exotic materials, so I just used chestnut mushrooms. It would be nice to get hold of some morels too, but I guess I'd have to move somewhere where a delicatessen sold actual delicacies and not just more of the same shit you can get in any supermarket. But for more money.

Serves 2 as a side-salad

With a small paring knife, scrape the stems of the ceps, if you found any, to remove any mud or tough skin. Wipe the caps and the stems with a damp cloth to ensure there is no mud.
Crack open the cobnuts and toast them in a dry frying pan until they darken and release their aroma. Slice them thinly.
Slice the mushrooms as thinly as you can and then scatter them over the plate with the cobnuts.
Shave over the Parmesan with a knife.

Season with a little salt and then the chopped parsley. Drizzle good olive oil over generously.
Extremely nice. I reckon a touch of grated lemon peel wouldn't go amiss either.

dessert veg
Lychee stuffed with Ricotta in a Cointreau syrup
It's lychees stuffed with cheese.
I call it Lycheese.

Serves 2

Cut the top off each lychee, use a small sharp knife to cut around the stone and prise it free. Remove the peel. Stuff with Ricotta cheese. Arrange artfully in a couple of ramekins.
Heat the syrup with the orange juice until simmering. When it's thickened slightly add the Cointreau. Pour into the ramekins and serve immediately.
I rather liked the Ricotta, but Flora wasn't keen. The syrup is pretty good though.

Comments (2)

Newest first Oldest first

  1. The "Lycheese"? I'm glad someone thinks so!

    #2 – 28 September, 2012 at 11:30 am

  2. Now that sounds nice.

    #1 – 24 September, 2012 at 7:16 pm

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