Okay, I should warn you straight away – this is going to be a long post!
Now let’s get down to business.
Masterchef Australia is one of those shows that I watch regularly, no religiously, and now it is known that I don’t do anything else between 9-10pm every weeknight. Let’s face it, dinner without Gary, George and Matt is just incomplete. But what caught me unaware and left me in total awe was the Masterchef Australia Junior programme that was aired on the telly a couple of months ago. I just couldn’t believe these kids – can you imagine making stuff like Cherry Clafoutis, Ravioli and more all from scratch by kids who are just reaching their teens.
However, the part of the show that made me envious was the Masterclass that these kids would have, imagine learning from Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and other experts at such a tender age. Just for that one, no maybe more, minute I wished I could go back in time and transport myself to Australia!
Visiting Australia and checking out the Masterchef Australia sets has been one of my dreams ever since I started watching this show two seasons ago. This trip still sits pretty on my bucket list but with a few additions now – one of the things I really want to do is drop in for a meal at Gary and George’s award-winning restaurants Fenix, The Maribyrnong Boathouse, The Press Club, Maha Bar and Grill and Hellenic Republic all in Melbourne. Now if I’m going to dine there, would meeting these chefs not be on my agenda? I know I’m greedy but being the foodie that I am, some of the other culinary geniuses I’d love to meet Down Under are Shane Delia, Christine Manfield, Maggie Beer, Adriano Zumbo, Peter Gilmore… And I could just go on and on! When I saw the details of the ‘It’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!’ contest, a little lightbulb switched on in my head – I’ve been told that Sydney is a must-visit if you’re heading to Australia but for a foodie, the real action lies in Melbourne. Such gorgeous vineyards, fresh produce at the farmer’s markets, breweries… sigh! Ever since I’ve been Google-ing and ogling at the various sights in this cosmopolitan city. That’s when I knew that I had to write about all this for the contest on IndiBlogger to, if not anything else, just live the experience in my head!
When I told a friend about this Masterchef obsession (that’s what they’ve termed it!), I was labeled ‘crazy’, which isn’t new, but the friend in question had a really valid question, “Is that all you want to do in Melbourne?” I looked sheepish and admitted that I really hadn’t thought of anything else, yes there are a couple of friends and family to visit, but the culinary adventures occupied a huge chunk of my wish list. That’s when my friend told me about the breath-taking Great Ocean road, koala and kangaroo interactions at wildlife parks, shopping (it had to figure somewhere, you know) and much more. Now how can I forget to mention the Melbourne Cricket Ground, next to Lord’s that’s the other cricket ground that I’ve always wanted to visit. In fact, that was one of my dad’s unfulfilled wishes – the MCG and a ride on the Puffing Billy Steam Railway. Maybe one day I’ll make that trip just for him and while we are sitting by the ocean and enjoying some authentic Australian beer, I know that dream will be complete. Every time I think of this that little voice in my head goes, “It’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!” But for the time being, the plan sits on my bucket list.
Since I was daydreaming about Melbourne and Masterchef Australia, I thought that it was only fitting that I make something that I’d bookmarked from the show. Ravioli is one dish that I’d been wanting to try for a long time now and I also remember how Gary demonstrated this during one of the Masterclasses last season. Now I was doing an eggless version so I had my fingers crossed when it came to the pasta dough and I was pleasantly surprised when I sampled the ravioli – the pasta wasn’t tough at all like I’d been warned and it had a sweetish taste due to the addition of the pumpkin. I kept the stuffing simple – herbed olives and cheese, and tossed the entire thing in garlic butter to bring the dish together. Yes, it is time-consuming but is so worth it in the end and despite all the sweat this is definitely one dish I’m going to make again and again.
|Gorgeous and golden|
Pumpkin ravioli stuffed with herbed olives and cheese and tossed in garlic butter
For the pasta dough
1 cup of red pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and cut into cubes
11/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste
Water – as per requirement
For the stuffing
¾ cup of black olives, pitted and minced
1 tsp of dried rosemary
¼ cup of grated cheddar cheese
For the garlic butter
3-4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp of butter + 1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste
Some rosemary to garnish and 1 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese to finish
Steam the pumpkin with some salt until it turns soft. Allow it to cool down and then mash it into a pulp.
In a mixing bowl, tip in the flour, pumpkin mash, olive oil and salt. Knead to form the dough, using water to make the dough more pliable. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow it to rest in the fridge for about an hour before rolling out.
Divide the dough into balls of 1/5 inch and roll them out into circular discs, just like you would with chappati, place some of the stuffing in the centre and then fold the disc to form a triangle or half moon depending on your preference. Seal the dough by moistening your fingertips in some cold water and pinching gently along the rim of the dough. Repeat this until all the dough and stuffing is exhausted.
Fill a huge vessel up to three-quarters with water, add some salt and a drizzle of olive oil and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium while the water is still bubbling and slowly add the raviolis, not more than 4-5 at a time, and allow them to cook. You will know they are done when they begin to change colour and float on the surface. Remove them from the water using a slotted spoon, which also helps to drain off any excess water, and allow them to rest on a flat surface for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish when it is ready.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan and when the butter melts add the garlic and stir until it starts turning brown. Take it off the heat, add some salt and pour over the raviolis and toss it up so that the butter coats all the pieces. Sprinkle some rosemary and grated Parmesan, for that Italiano touch, to complete the dish and serve immediately.
· * You can also make a plain ravioili and stuff it with two varieties of cheese, this makes things simple and delicious too. Just can’t go wrong with cheese and pasta!
· * Another way of doing the pumpkin ravioili is by keeping the pasta dough plain and then seasoning the pumpkin mash, stuffing that along with some cheese into the ravioli and toss it in some herbed butter. Pure heaven!
· * Serve this with a dry white wine, like a Chardonnay, along with some fresh bread and you have an elegant yet simple meal.