Sep 8, 2011

From Pasta to Fast Food. The Week In Food.

I don't know about you  but today I'm just so relieved, thankful, even, that life goes on whether you want it to or not.  Your car will return from its service driving much more smoothly and with all those scary indicator lights no longer flashing.  You will also be out of pocket a couple of thousand dollars for the privilege but it's the least you can do to help keep Australia's unemployment rate down at 5.2% even with fairly weak jobs growth this quarter.

Where was I before I summarized the state of our nation in that last paragraph?  Ah yes, life going on.

What the pasta should have looked like if fresh basil was actually available in the 'burbs this week.  To the right is my paper crane card from Willow and Lotus.  Paper cranes are so uplifting to look at.

SSG Manor recently played host to my little brother H (or 'our teenager' as Mr SSG likes to call him), the part time vegetarian.  So I decided to make a broccoli pesto pasta using the recipe from a recent Coles magazine.

It's an easy recipe that requires 1/3 cup of toasted slivered almonds, broccoli florets, two cloves of crushed garlic, a cup or so of chicken stock and some oil.  Fry the garlic in the oil before adding the stock to the pan.  Allow to boil and then add the florets, simmer until just tender.  Drain, reserve the stock and allow to cool.

The pesto itself involves the chefly use of your KitchenAid food processor (mine as having a bad hair and refused to be photographed) to blend the broccoli, reserved stock, 1 cup of grated parmesan, 2 tablespoons of oil and the almonds with fresh basil.  Except that fresh basil was nowhere to be found in my neck of the woods this week.  So I had to make do with a whole tube of Gourmet Garden basil in a tube.

The pesto is seasoned to taste before being added to freshly cooked spaghetti.  Reserve some of the cooking water from the pasta because this can be used to thin out the pesto if necessary.

Serve garnished with parmesan and well basil if you have any.  We substituted with some flat leaf parsley.  It was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  The meat lover and the vegetarian and the fence sitter all loved this.  You may need to season a bit more than usual becuase the intense flavour I had with the pesto in the food processor bowl (erm yes, I was taste testing straight from the bowl...) got a little lost in the pasta adding step.

Because we had a guest for dinner, we also had dessert.  Again inspiration was sought from the Coles magazine.  Behold the key ingredients for a chocolate pear pudding.  All that is required is to beat the cake mix with 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and a cup of water.  Then place the mix in a greased baking dish and stud with chopped pear segments.

Bake for 40 minutes at 180C and then serve with ice cream.

I will be the devils advocate and say that the next time I make this, I'm going to add some brandy or rum with the water.....  Or even pour it neat over the baked pudding.  Perhaps not for a quick weeknight dinner though?

Flats - Bally, bag - Mulberry Alexa in honour of Alexa Chung's brief visit to our shores.

There have been other encouraging signs that the world as I know it is returning to normal.  I've been taking photos of myself again.  First it was my feet and handbag at coffee the other day.

Leather jacket: Burberry, dress - Zara, jeans - J Brand.

And then I thought what heck, even grief and its navel gazing should never be allowed to get in the way of an inspired (for me) outfit.  I bought the oatmeal knit dress at Zara Sydney when it first opened. Without trying it on because the line for the change room defeated me.  The good news is that it fits, the not so good is that its shorter than I hoped it would be.  So I layered it over jeans and wore this leather jacket on top because I needed desperately to get the cost per wear on that piece down before it starts to get too warm here.

Mixing our sources of potato chips.  KFC chips with Macca's Shaker Fries seasoning.   I'd do it again.

Allowances have also been made on the food front at SSG Manor.  We had Macca's for dinner one night and Mr SSG saved his shaker fries sachet for me.  Considering I had given him nothing but tears and dramatic soliloquies (that the late Mr Shakespeare could well have learned his craft from), I feel that this gift was a symbol of true love.

Then we had KFC another night and got ourselves some Australian chef controversy with this fancy chicken burger.   The culinary world is divided over the ethics of chef Darren Simpson putting his name and face to a fast food chain's burgers but I personally don't see this as being far removed from being involved with Masterchef, airline food, courting column space in Australian Gourmet Traveller or having your own brand of kitchenware.  We the food eating and purchasing public aren't fools.  Ultimately consumers will dictate whether a venture is a success or not.

After all of that, the burger was okay.  We got the roasted onion, bacon and cheese burger.  Fancy fast food is still fast food.  At least this burger has given me an idea or two as to what we can have for lunch on AFL Grand Final day.  I was thinking home made burgers or sausage rolls.


  1. It's not a grand final without sausage rolls in my opinion. Or pies. Or rubbery wet hot dogs but they are fairly unappetising (particularly when they cost $9).

    The pesto pasta looks fantastic. Will definitely be giving that one a go! I have a basil plant here I am nagging Mr K to plant it in a proper pot...

    Interesting the burger was ok. Like you, I see no problem with chefs extending their brands, and frankly if you have tasted any of the in flight food on Qantas recently, Neil Perry has nothing to be proud of... It's not fantastic - I would imagine a chicken burger with bacon and cheese would be a step up from gluggy underseasoned pasta with limp veg.

    K xx

  2. The other night I was watching one of the normal TV channels and DS's KFC burger ad came on, then directly afterwards was Pete Evens (another celebrity chef) hawking Norsca Deodorant... it was almost comedic.. it's like the advertising world are making a mockery of chef's. Are they willing to endorse anything? Colombaris endorses that star butter stuff and it's far from good butter... sigh... they must be getting good moola for it.

    Pesto pasta looks the bomb, I haven't had pest pasta in yayyyyyyges and I love it!


  3. Ah yes, the dreaded car service, I had mine serviced the other day and would have much preferred an around the world ticket in lieu...

    Your pesto pasta looks beautiful!
    I really love that Burberry leather jacket, I think I comment on it nearly every time you wear it. Is it an Australian purchase?


  4. The pesto pasta sounds great - might spring this one on S in the coming days.
    Feeling you pain with cost per wear problems on winter clothes - there are a few numbers I need to whip out a bit more but I think my opportunity has passed given I'm wearing a silk cami today and am feeling a little toasty.
    Did you love shaker fries? Tell me you did :) I am contemplating whether to stockpile the sachets so that I don't suffer withdrawals when the 'limited time' ends. Thoughts?
    Glad to hear you're moving forward (in the words of our PM) and things are brightening.
    Still sending you love & light.
    R xx

  5. Love that your food processor was having a bad hair day!
    Your pesto pasta looks delicious - I hope your "teenager" appreciates your culinary efforts.
    I would like a serve of that chocolate pear pudding right this moment, especially with vanilla icecream - unfortunately I am trying to reduce the amount of pudding I am carrying around my waist on a permanent basis, so pudding is off the menu! As for KFC - I crave it. I am vegetarian but I could eat some chips! No wonder I am carrying too much pudding!

  6. The pasta looks superb SSG! Mental note: check if I can have pasta yet, or just go for a run! Oh, and the dessert also looks great!

    I have no problem with Darren endorsing whatever he wants, no biggy to me, and he is a great chef.

  7. Oooh, I've been eyeing off that pear pudding, looks great!

    I'm a huge fan of the herbs in a tube range, mainly because of my lack of planning combined with desire to experiment that always results in me wishing I had something different on hand. Ginger, garlic, basil and chilli are staples in my fridge.

    That leather jacket is awesome.

  8. I felt sorry for Darren Simpson when people were so nasty about it. The boundaries are definitely changing and as you say other chefs and food identities take on other brands. Although I'm hoping for his sake they paid him a lot of money!

  9. The pasta looks fab! I am going to have to try it.

  10. That is a truly magnificent jacket. It looks wonderful on you.


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