Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What can I say... with all the best intentions I haven't posted in months!

But I do have a good reason. 

The first quarter of 2011 started with the end of a job that I have had for the past 6 years... needless to say that was a busy time full of distraction. Three days after I finished, I jumped on a plane and spent 7 weeks rushing around Australia and New Zealand catching up with friends, family and indulging in some much needed sunshine. 

Murrays Beach, NSW, Australia

Optio Bay, Coromandel Peninsular, New Zealand
Green Lake, Rotorua, New Zealand

The trip ended with a wonderful 8 days in Thailand lolling about in the ocean and enjoying the scorching Thai sun, followed by a not so wonderful flight home that ended up taking 12 hours longer than it should have! 

So here I am, back in the UK ready to write. As you can imagine, a trip that that covered Australia, New Zealand and Thailand was filled with some amazing foodie delights.... and once I've got the rest of my photos organised I'll post all about it. However, in the meantime I am going to devote a post to comfort food, because lets face it - after 12 hours waiting in airports hoping that your plane is going to be allowed to take off soon, comfort food is just what the Doctor ordered!!

My comfort food of choice is Linguine pomodro - simple but delicious (and seriously high in Carbs!!) I have been after the perfect tomato sauce for pasta, for as long as I can remember. Yet every time I tried it turned out ..... disappointing. Then, I attended a cooking demonstration at La Cucina Caldesi and learned the secrets to a proper Italian tomato sauce. These are going to sound obvious.... but trust me they are small gems that make a massive difference:

 - Use a generous amount of olive oil (dieters look away now!!)
 - Onion should be cooked on a moderate heat for a longer period of time, as opposed to a blazing hot pan that scorches the onion. This brings out the sweetness of the onion. 
 - Garlic should be squashed with the flat side of a knife and removed from the sauce before serving. This will allow the garlic to delicately flavor the sauce as opposed to over power it. (DO NOT use a garlic crusher)
 - Salt the dish well (again this is comfort food - so no space for moderation!)
 - When using canned tomatoes try and use an Italian brand... as Italians know when to harvest tomatoes for the best results.

Ms McGarves Salsa di Pomodoro - Makes enough for one severely jet-lagged person!! 

4 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, squashed (as per above)
1 400g tin of tinned tomatoes
A generous pinch of salt
pepper to taste
Shaved Parmesan - for serving

Heat the olive oil in a moderately hot pan for a couple of minutes and then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion for about 8-10 minutes until tender and transparent. The aim here is to not let the onion brown at all. Turn the heat up a little and add the tomatoes and season with the salt. Cook for a further 8-10 minutes allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken.

Taste and add more salt if required and add pepper to taste. Remove the garlic (the clove should be about to fall apart, but for the most part still intact). 

Serve on a bed of linguine, top with shaved Parmesan and enjoy with a large glass of your favorite wine!!  

Buon appetito!!

1 comment:

  1. Good to have you back Lady McG. It has been the cause of a many sad-faced evening, when I have fancied something to tittilate my taste-buds and have journeyed to your site to see that once again you have not spoken to us through the medium of the Interweb. I do hope that you have started as you mean to go on and will continue to inspire, educate and share gems through your posts. And, as I live around the corner, share the actual fare also! x