Archive for May, 2009

Cannelloni and Quick Cannoli – Cooking Class 4

Monday, May 4th, 2009


It’s my turn for our family cooking class!!! And the “theme” is TUBES 🙂


I wanted to make both a main meal and dessert and what better than Cannelloni and Cannoli? I knew I wanted to make spinach and ricotta cannelloni, so that was an easy choice. When it came to the Cannoli (which I have never even tried before, let alone made before) I wasn’t organised enough to find somewhere that actually stocked cannoli tubes or forms (metal tubes used to stick the pastry together, which is then placed with the pastry into hot oil). I searched the internet and called stores around Sydney City and there was nothing to be found! Essential Ingredient said they normally stock them, but unfortunately they were out of stock too! (Not that I had much time to go and get them anyway). Guess I will put this on my birthday or Christmas list – along with a pastry bag, sugar thermometer and some new cookbooks 🙂 .


So I guess the quick version will of cannoli will have to do and I bought some pre-made brandy snap tubes. I’ve seen the majority of recipes using ricotta, although the pack suggested using whipped cream, so seeing as it was already not exactly what I wanted to make, I went with the cream version.


The spinach and ricotta cannelloni turned out lovely, with the tomato sauce a MUST! (even more could have been made). The cannoli was beautifully tasty, with sweet vanilla cream, chocolate and pistachios.


Serves: 8-12

2 packets lasagne sheets (16 sheets altogether)
1.8kg ricotta
3 packets finely chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper
2 cups grated cheese or mozzarella cheese

Tomato Sauce
3 onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 x 800g can diced or crushed tomatoes
5 tablespoons tomato paste

Make the tomato sauce by sautéing onions in oil in a large saucepan heated over medium heat. Once onions soften and become translucent, 5-10 minutes, add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add tomatoes, stir then add salt, sugar and tomato paste. Cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat until reduced slightly. Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender in the saucepan. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl mix ricotta, spinach, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

Pour a third to half the tomato sauce into two lightly greased lasagne dishes. Preheat oven to 180°C.

Lay each lasagne sheet out on a clean bench or board (you may cut the lasagne sheets in half if you want less pasta). Add a spoonful or two of tomato sauce onto the lasagne sheet and spread around the middle, missing the rolling ends. Sprinkle with some grated cheese. Add a large amount of spinach and ricotta mix onto the short edge of the sheet, making it evenly distributed. Roll up to form a tube and place on top of the tomato sauce with the loose edge down.



Continue with remaining lasagne sheets, until all mixture is used up. Place the remaining tomato sauce on top of the cannelloni and sprinkle with cheese. Cook in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until browning on top. Serve with salad or herb bread.




Quick Cannoli

1 packet (approximately 8 ) brandy snap tubes or cannoli tubes
150ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon caster sugar
¼ cup pistachios, chopped
100g chocolate, chopped

Beat thickened cream with vanilla and sugar until medium peaks form. Fold in chopped pistachios and chocolate and place in pastry bag with star nozzle (or place in cake decorating bag without nozzle attached. Pipe into tubes and dust with icing sugar or icing mixture. Serve very soon after piped.



Pancakes – Nigella Lawson

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009


I’m on my way to find fluffy, thick, tasty pancakes. I do admit I enjoy the macadamia pancakes from Pancakes on the Rocks (my favourite choice of their sweet pancakes – which I actually haven’t had in a very long while).

So whilst looking through Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess I found her recipe for American breakfast pancakes, which looked nice and fluffy and so I decided to make them. As I love pancakes so much, I’m going to end up going through so many recipes to find the right one, that it’s likely I’ll forget what half of them tasted like.


These pancakes were quite nice and fluffy, although they seemed to be missing something or a slightly odd flavour. I’m not entirely sure what exactly that is, whether it be not enough sugar or salt or missing vanilla or maybe too much baking powder?… not sure. I guess I’ll have to try them again – I’m not complaining 🙂

American Breakfast Pancakes
Recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess and also on Nigella’s website.

225g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
30g butter, melted and cooled
300ml milk
butter for frying
Serving Size : 11 blini-pan-sized pancakes

The easiest way to make these is to put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz. But if you do mix up the batter by hand in a bowl, make a well in the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, beat in the eggs, melted butter and milk, and transfer to a jug: it’s much easier to pour the batter into the pan than to spoon it. I like to leave the batter for 20 minutes before using it; and you may then want to add more milk to the mixture if you’re frying in the blini pan, so that it runs right to the edges.


When you cook the pancakes, all you need to remember is that when the upper side of the pancake is blistering and bubbling it’s time to cook the second side, and this needs only about 1 minute, if that.

I get 11 blini-pan-sized pancakes out of this, maybe 16 silver-dollar-sized ones on the griddle.