This cannelloni dish courtesy of The Naked Chef is really notable for its placement of the pasta tubes. Rather than laying them on their sides as is traditional, here you stack them facing upwards so that they resemble a honeycomb pattern. For this you require a casserole pan that snugly fits 500g of cannelloni tubes. When I took the first shot, I was still blissfully unaware of the catastrophe that was about to eventuate.....I ended up stuffing my shortfall with absolutely everything at arm's reach- ricotta, a drizzle of milk, extra parmesan....And mamma mia, it was as "bloomin' tasty" as Jamie promised.
We've also been enjoying this hazelnut plum cake, served with a tiny sliver of afternoon sunlight!
Honeycomb Cannelloni (from "Cook with Jamie")
salt and pepper
2 handfuls grated parmesan cheese
500g cannelloni tubes
for the ragu:
handful dried porcini
150ml olive oil
3 carrots, diced
4 sticks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 leek, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
5 Portobello mushrooms, chopped
5x400g tins tomatoes
fresh basil, stalks chopped, leaves picked
for the spinach:
680g fresh spinach (I used frozen)
dash of olive oil
for the super quick white sauce:
500 ml creme fraiche
285 ml single cream
4 anchovies, finely chopped
handful grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Cover the porcini mushrooms with boiling water and leave to sit for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, over a medium heat sweat the onion, leek, carrots and celery in olive oil for 8 minutes, then add the garlic and portobello mushrooms. Then add the porcini mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Strain the porcini liquid and pour into the pan along with a cup of water and reduce a little before adding the tomatoes and chopped basil stalks. Cook away for up to 45 minutes until the sauce is rich and thick. Then add the basil leaves.
Meanwhile, wilt the spinach in olive oil, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside. Heat the oven to 190 degrees C and combine the ingredients for the quick white sauce.
Spoon half of the white sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish (20cm in diameter, 12.5 cm wide) and sprinke with extra parmesan cheese. Then add the layer of spinach, followed by half of the ragu sauce. Now stand the cannelloni tubes in and press down into the sauce. Add the rest of the ragu sauce, the rest of the white sauce and finish with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes.
Plum Cake (from Marie Claire magazine)
4 fresh plums, de-seeded and chopped ( I used about 6 small ones from a jar)
3/4 cup sugar
170g ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and a half cups flour
1 and a half tablespoons baking powder
Heat the oven to 180 degreesC and line and grease a 20cm springform cake tin. Place the plums in a food processor, whiz until smooth and put to one side. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and beat well. Then stir in the plums and remaining ingredients, pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-55 minutes. Serve with cream and extra slices of plums.