Spinach and ricotta pasties

pasties1

This is a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe and they were absolutely delicious and really easy to make. I’m looking forward to having them again. The amounts were enough for 6 people. Serve with small jacket potatoes.

INGREDIENTS:
2 rolls puff pastry
600g spinach
200g ricotta
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, beaten
grated rind of a lemon
thyme
milk
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat the oven to 180ºC-200ºC.

Heat a wide pan and wilt the spinach. Leave to cool and then squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop roughly.

In a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, egg, lemon rind and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 4. Put a large spoonful of the spinach mixture onto one side of each pastry square and fold into triangles. Twist and crimp the edges to seal the sides. Cover a baking tray with foil and oil a

Brush with milk and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Check to see how they are getting on and turn over if they are golden brown on one side. Cook for a further 15 minutes until golden on both sides.

spinach and ricotta pasties

Spinach and ricotta omelette

spinach ricotta omelette

This was supposed to be a frittata made in a frying pan but as I had left out the milk it turned out to be an omelete. It was, however, a success and I will definitely be making it again.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium salad onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves or garlic, roughly chopped
100g spinach leaves per person
50g ricotta cheese per person
2 eggs per person, beaten
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and then gently soften the onion. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the spinach leaves and stir-fry quickly until they have wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the beaten eggs and stir well. Put small dollops of ricotta over the surface.

Turn up the heat for a minute and then turn down and cover for two minutes.

You can finish off cooking this under a hot grill. As we don’t have a grill, I made sure the edges hadn’t stuck to the frying pan and then flipped the omelette using a large saucepan lid.

Once back in the pan, I turned up the heat for a couple of minutes and then down again until the omelette was cooked through.

spinachomelette2

Ricotta berry mousse

ricotta mousse with summer fruit and berries

Ricotta berry mousse

I made this with some summer berries (blackberries and raspberries) and some of the first ricotta that I made this year from milking the neighbour’s goats.

INGREDIENTS:
250g ricotta cheese
berries
125ml single cream
sugar to taste

Save some berries back for decoration. Blend the remaining berries.
Combine the ricotta, cream and sugar in a bowl and mix well.Swirl the berry mixture through the cheese and cream and decorate with the berries.
Chill before serving.

Ricotta Cheese

making ricotta cheese

Making ricotta cheese

Ricotta is a low-fat, spreadable cheese made by reheating the whey once you have removed the curds for pressing into cheese. The word Ricotta is Italian for recooked. While some prefer it mixed with sugar and then spread on bread, others season it with salt and pepper and use it as a savoury spread.

I had tried making ricotta cheese before but had never had much luck. So I decided to look on Internet to see what temperature the whey should be heated to. I discovered that 94ºC – just below boiling point – was the magic temperature.

It is important not to let the whey boil as this will toughen the curds.

Heat the whey on a medium heat to 94ºC. Once it the liquid has reached this temperature, the creamy curds will float to the top of the pan.

Straining the ricotta cheese

Straining the ricotta cheese

Skim off the curds into a piece of muslin. I used a jam bag and stand and a fine-meshed sieve.

How long you leave the cheese to drain for will depend on how firm you want the finished cheese to be. After a couple of hours, the cheese was still quite moist and spreadable. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, added some lemon zest and chives and mixed well and it was delicious.

ricotta3The colour of the whey changes drastically once the curds have been removed and it almost looks greenish.