'A lasagna made with fresh pasta is a really wonderful thing' - Rachel Allen

'DECISIONS ARE COMMAS ... not periods. Which is something that we often forget.

Have you ever been paralyzed by indecision? You've got options on the table, but for some reason you just can't pull the trigger. There's an ever-increasing fear of missing out - and it makes you wonder if your time, money, and/or other resources are better spent in a different way. It can happen with something as simple as which movie to watch on Netflix, or as big as deciding what will be the next job you take on.

Here's the thing to remember: the only wrong answer is to do nothing at all. The next job that you take or the next plan that you make is not definitive. Everything continues to evolve and morph over time, and you always have the power to tip the scales in a direction that is more favorable to the things that you value in life. But nobody else will make it happen for you.

Decisions are commas, not periods. Punctuate your life accordingly. '

I stumbled upon this quote while reading one of the thousand daily newsletters I subscribe to and, being the indecisive person that I am,  found it quite helpful so thought I would share it. It is definitely something to keep in mind while I contemplate the various roads down which my career could go at this point. 

Onto the good stuff-

Monday morning in the kitchen I made a traditional Irish Lamb Stew along with some salmon pate. The stew was made with lamb shoulder and had several steps that added to the final flavor of the dish. It was actually quite a tedious process to produce this simple bowl of stew. 

The salmon pate was really delicious and quite simple to make- it's a combination of poached local salmon, fennel, lemon juice, garlic and, of course, butter. I served it with some sliced cucumbers. The pictures shows it topped with clarified butter which helps to preserve the pate once it sets. 

And I finally baked my sourdough! It was so delicious and I can't wait to make another one. The reason it takes so much more time to make is because the gluten in the dough has to ferment which gives it the slightly sour taste and lightness in texture. 

Monday afternoon was the pasta demo! I've been looking forward to this one. It was taught by Rachel and she made everything from ravioli to cannelloni to tortellini to pappardelle to the star of the show, lasagna verde. The lasagna verde (verde being green aka spinach noodles!) was made with a delicious slow cooked beef ragu was just so delicious. My favorite quote from Rachel’s demo- ‘a lasagna made with fresh pasta is a really wonderful thing.’ I could not agree more! 

I was assigned to make pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce on Tuesday. This is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes-  I love the sweet and savory mixture and the pumpkin mixes perfectly with the sage.  I was also assigned to make Tira Misu. Tira Misu means ‘pick me up’ and got its name from all the coffee and alcohol it has. The lady fingers are soaked in coffee, rum and brandy then covered by a delicious rich cream, chocolate shavings and cocoa powder. I made the Tira Misu first so that all the layers could spend some time marinating together before they were serves. Rachel said that Tira Misu is actually at it’s best served 24 hours after being made. You should not be able to cut a slice of Tira Misu- it should be more like a pudding, rather.

After I got my Tira Misu assembled it was pasta time! I started by making my pasta dough which actually requires some strength in kneading to get it to the right consistency. While my dough was resting in the refrigerator I moved onto the filling. I roasted the pumpkin with chili flakes, fennel and olive oil. Then I mashed that up and added ricotta, parmesan and some chopped marjoram. Rolling out the pasta was so much fun and quite therapeutic actually. I know I’ve already said this but now I’m sure I need a pasta maker in my life (hint, Christmas present, hint). 

Here are pictures of the finished product!  It was just a very delicious day.  Buon appetito!

Tips from this week:

-Anything with dairy will pick up the flavors of the fridge so make sure it is sealed well!

-As ginger gets older it gets hotter in flavor

-If you’re making lasagna and plan on freezing it, make sure every layer is cooled before putting it in the freezer- it's more hygienic and you have less chance of actually getting food poisoning.

 -Mace and nutmeg are very similar in taste and appearance