Vol.38 Meals

Hello hello!

Just a quick email this week. It’s been another busy one on my end. I’m celebrating this month – because for the first time since starting this business I will not have to take any money out of my savings to pay my bills!  Which feels like a huge achievement and worth celebrating.

But enough about me, let’s get to the food. It’s a pretty simple menu this week – familiar comforting dishes and a new type of cake.

Welcome home to Vol.38!

You’ll all be familiar with my Traditional Lasagna by now and I think pretty much everyone has ordered the Pistou Soup at least once. So no explanation needed there. As for the Penne a forno – I’ve never really put it on the menu but I’ve made it for myself quite a bit. Once you read the description, you’ll understand why.

Penne al forno – I first discovered this dish many many years ago during a family dinner at our local pizzeria (Trattoria Renato’s in Emmarentia – still very much worth a visit). It was a special – i.e. not on the menu and therefore no description, so to find out what it was I would have had to ask the wait staff. Cue social anxiety! Thank goodness my older sister was a waitress at Renato’s so I could just ask her what it was. She described it as penne baked in tomato sauce with cheese. I was instantly sold! And when it arrived, I knew I had found another wonderful incarnation of three of my favourite foods. It was my go-to order for several subsequent visits to Renato’s. My variation is of course an ode to that one I had so many years ago. I’ll be adding a bit of basil to my tomato ragu and scattering bits of buffalo mozzarella in-between the pasta as well as adding some to the grated parmesan on top. Result – cheesy goodness spread throughout. I know it’s ANOTHER cheesy pasta dish (repeating flavours from Vol.37 much, Jess?!) but I’m craving comfort. So please indulge me.

Both fresh dishes have been on the menu before. But I’ll think you’ll need a bit of a refresher.

White miso ramen with asparagus – First seen on Vol.22, this noodle soup combines a whole bunch of really strong umami flavours: dried shiitake mushrooms, lots of miso paste (a fermented soy bean paste who’s flavour seems to elevate whatever it is paired with), some tahini (sesame seed paste which adds a bit of tang and a lot of creamy-ness) and some soy sauce. But the main ingredient in the soup is soy milk. The tofu is simply fried in a little oil until crispy but the asparagus gets some extra kick. They are charred slightly and then joined by garlic, chilli flakes and lemon juice. The dish should be a nice colourful mix of opaque soup, bright greens, golden tofu and a little drizzle of red oil – oh and ramen of course! A kaleidoscope of soupy happiness.

Palak Paneer and Aloo with Godamba egg roti – Palak paneer is my go-to order when getting takeaway from any Indian restaurant. And it never – literally never – disappoints. I’ll be making Chetna Makan’s version. Creamy pureed bright green spinach with fried cubes of paneer and potato. Finished with some cumin and mustard seeds. The Godamba roti are the ones I use for the Roti Kottu dishes. They’re honestly just really fun to make. I need to take some process videos and share them on Instagram so you can have a look . The dough is rolled out super thin and then folded over on itself and then fried. It sort of puffs up but in essence you end up with this wonderfully flaky roti. Adding some beaten egg before it’s folded in on itself is a pretty traditional way to have them in Sri Lanka. If you would like a roti without the egg just let me know.

I’ve been watching more an more stone fruit become available over the last few weeks – in fact, I think plums may have come and gone already. Seems we’re on to peaches now. In any case, I will use whatever stone fruit looks best for this week’s dessert. Stone fruit sheet cake. I’m sure many of you will know what I’m talking about with this cake. It’s a simple vanilla flavoured sponge topped with slices of fruit and then dusted with icing sugar once it comes out of the oven. The fruit keeps the cake wonderfully moist and it’s tang will contrast nicely with the sweetness of the cake. This type of cake is quite literally perfect with a cup of tea.

And we’re done! I hope you see foods you like. I for some truly bizarre reason haven’t eaten a proper meal the whole day (although a toastie counts, right?) and am therefore really hungry. Hence, I want to eat everything on this menu right now. But I can’t. I’ll have to wait like the rest of you 

Now that you’ve read all about the meals, why not order!?