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Culinary Arts

I’ve been cooking and baking for the last three days. It’s like something’s come over me, and I just have to cook in the evening.

It started with making fettuccine from scratch on Wednesday, with white cheese sauce.

Pasta dough is easy to make, and requires only
i. 100gm of all purpose flour
ii. 1 egg,
iii. A pinch of salt
iv. Oil, as required.
Mix them all together, knead the dough so formed, and let it rest for 20 minutes. Then, roll out the dough, so that’s it’s 1mm thick, the thinner the better. Cut it in any shape that you want and viola, you have your pasta!

For the white cheese sauce, mix
i. 1 cup of milk with
ii. 1 tablespoon of corn flour (cornstarch)
and keep it to boil. Add
iii. 1 tablespoon of butter

iv. 2 tablespoons of cheese of your choice, and there you have it.
A complete meal. Makes for four servings, which was the perfect quantity I got on my first try.

—–

The next day, I was going to make Oven Fried Chicken and Pavlova, but I didn’t find all the spices and the bread crumbs needed for the chicken dish, so decided to go with making tandoori chicken. As for the pavlova, I mixed in the sugar too quickly, and all at once, so the meringue formed wasn’t all that fluffy and light, as the sugar had weighed it down and not allowed the air to incorporate into it. So I decided to go with making bite sized meringues topped with coloured icing. And were they delicious! In spite of my stuff ups, they were so perfectly feather light that they dissolved in my mouth instantly.

To make them,
i. beat 2 egg whites with a stand or hand mixer until they look like foam, and if you dip a spoon in the mixture and lift it, soft peaks are formed. 
Make sure that absolutely no yolk is present in the mixture. Now, add 
ii. 1 tablespoon of the total 100gm of powdered sugar slowly to the mixture while mixing. 
Do not add the sugar all at once, as I mentioned I did above. It’s tiresome, but you’ll end with better results. 
iii. Beat the mixture till the soft peaks, become stiff, and stand up, when you repeat the dip-and-lift procedure. 
iv. Turn off the mixer, and fold in 1/4 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/4 tablespoon vanilla essence or extract.
v. Now, add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar and mix it all together, slowly, as to not let the air escape.
vi. Preheat oven to 130 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper, and use a spoon to drop rounded blobs of the meringue arranged at a distance from each other. Bake for 32 minutes, or until the top is completely dry and you can tap it lightly without it breaking. Cool off and consume!
Prep requires no time at all, but the baking part needs patience.
—–
And now onto last night, when I made spinach and cheese ravioli with a tomato sauce.
i. Make the pasta as mentioned above. Only this time I used whole wheat flour, since that’s readily available at home. Roll the dough out and cut it using a cookie cutter or small glass or bowl into circles. Again, the thinner, the better.
ii. To make the filling, I just used 5 chicken nuggets, fried them off, and put them in a blender to make a dry paste. 
iii. Blanch five leaves of spinach, and boil them for 1 minute till the turn as green as they can get. Squeeze to remove excess water, and chop very finely. 
iii. Grate whichever types of cheeses you want, the more different flavors compatible with each other, the tastier your ravioli will be.
iv. Mix the chicken and spinach together, adding salt and paprika, and place in the middle of 1 circle of pasta dough. Add the cheese over it, and you can either fold the circle in half, or put one more dough circle over the first one, trapping the mixture in the middle.
v. Press the edges to make sure that the raviolo is closed off on all sides, and use the prongs of a fork to press down further.
vi. Drop the ravioli in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, till the edges are fully cooked. Take out and drain water.
vii. For the sauce, caramelize 2 onions and add 4 chopped tomatoes, boiling them together, adding water, till the consistency is not too watery but also not too thick. Add salt and spices as required, and done!
Put the ravioli in a bowl and top off with the sauce adding a sprinkle of the grated cheese.
I still can’t believe that I managed to do that! 
Today, I’ll make some kind of rice. Excited just at the thought. 😀
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