Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Tropical North Qld inspired Pasta!

Tropical North Queensland

inspired our Pasta/Masta Class!

As a 14 year old visiting  Cairns & staying at the Y.M.C.A,  travelling with my sisters, 2 yr old brother, mum & dad by Sunlander, tripping around all the beautiful beaches & Tablelands, I vowed I would live in North Qld.  
That wasn't my plan when I met Stephen, but it culminated in my living in the North Queensland town of Ayr, for 12 years. We worked & raised our first 2 children outside of town until we moved to Brisbane 25 yrs ago. We often drove north to visit cairns or the tablelands or south to the Whitsundays. Last year, my daughter & I stayed at Palm Bay on Long Island. PARADISE!!!

While living in Ayr I learnt a few recipes from Stephens' Nonna & Zia. The pasta making was a new experience, using anything we could hang the spaghetti over (rods 'tween 2 chairs etc) to dry.

It takes a little mastering & is best to have an extra set of hands. Today, I have 3 extra sets of hands & it was all about Teamwork.
Jaimi, Nonna, Lily & camera shy Callum!
Eggs & Flour 

We had fun & enjoyed eating our work. Homemade Pasta has a very  light texture. It's delicious with a dob of butter, sprinkle of salt, pepper & parmesan cheese
Our first attempt at the dough was a disaster.
The dough was too wet!

Some chefs' use Semolina & double zero flour, but Nonna used ordinary plain flour when she showed me. The measurements Nonna showed me was a small bag of plain flour & 10 fresh eggs the hens laid in the back yard.

We used baking paper on the bench, for easier cleaning. Each child took a turn cracking the eggs into the flour. We stirred in the eggs & as it started to mix they all helped mix the dough. They put their hands into the flour, so the wet mixture wouldn't stick to their hands. If the mixture is too sticky, add a little flour at a time until you can kneed the dough. Eggs may vary in size, so the mixture can be inconsistent, that's when you add the extra flour, if it's wet.
Knead the dough until it feels silky & smooth. The longer you knead the dough the more aldente the pasta will be when you cook it.
I prefer it lighter, so I don't over-mix the dough.

We rolled the dough into a log shape & wrapped it in Plastic until we were ready to roll it. Give it 30 mins or longer.

The cutting & rolling out the pasta needs teamwork. Jaimi cut the dough & fed it through the rollers, Callum turned the handle, which needs precision, not rushing it. Lily caught the pasta as it came out of the rollers.

Each time we passed the sheet through the rollers we decreased the gap to make it the thickness we wanted to cook.

Then when we had the thickness, we ran it through the cutters on the machine. Once again, it has various cutters to produce the spaghetti shape you desire.

Now the grand-kids had a rest break, 
as it was exhausting work, kneading, behaving, listening.


Cooking up the pasta in salted, boiling water. My simple recipe to don pasta, is frying up diced onion, garlic & rosemary in butter, tossing it through the pasta with freshly grated Romana or Parmesan cheese. The grandkids love my Beef Bolongnaise Sauce. 

Feeling Tropically Inspired, fresh Fruit Salad with seasonal fruit is next.
Making our own pasta is very simple way of getting back to our roots. An age when we had chooks & vegetable gardens in almost every back yard. Most of my travelling experiences have been in Australia, but seeing many travel to Oz, I guess we've got the advantage of enjoying our home land & all it has to offer. 

Please ask questions if my instructions aren't clear. I would love to hear and reply to any comments. Monika

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