Saturday, 2 February 2008


I love feeding people. Love it. Partly because it gives me an excuse to make fancier food than I otherwise would, and partly because there is just something immensely satisfying about taking the time to cook for your friends. Plus, having a bunch of people all cozy in my kitchen with good food and good conversation is pretty much my idea of heaven.

Sometimes I make pasta. I wanted something mole-like, but not just mole sauce on something. I wanted several components of a dish to come together to make something savory, chocolatey, spicy and complex. So I decided to take many of the components of mole and make them into pasta filling, and then wrap them in chocolate pasta, and then cover that with a very plain tomato sauce. For the chocolate pasta, I use the method here, and subed in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for 1/4 cup of the flour. Ravioli fillings: baked turnip, onion, garlic and quince with toasted cumin and coriander, plus cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of smoked paprika, chopped jalapenos, salt, black pepper and ground almonds. Served with baby tomatoes simmered in white wine. Sauvingnon blanc works really well here, because it has a faint capsicum taste that compliments the jalapenos and chocolate very well, and it doesn't make everything sicky-sweet, which is a concern here because you have the sweetness of the roast veg plus cocoa, so you want things to approach being sweet while not actually getting there. This is a savory dish, but just barely. I love making stuff like this. It makes me feel like a culinary tease.
The ravioli have a lot going on, so the side was just kale and chickpeas cooked in veg broth with lots and lots of garlic and some salt.
The starters for this were: lentil pate or veg haggis, depending on who you ask (puy lentils, walnuts, sauteed onions, marmite, sage, salt, lots of black pepper), corn tortillas and muticoloured pepper wedges for scooping up the pate, and three kinds of olives (stuffed with almonds, stuffed with chillies and kalamata).
Dessert: date cake with two kinds of ice cream (in previous post)

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