Have you been hiding under a rock for the past 10 years? If so, then you have never heard of Nigella Lawson. The home cooker tv show host who is also a mother of three and cooks with beauty and passion. (She is 53 years old and could pass for 32!!) Just as as she is. A Jewish woman from England who craves anything Italian (like me, too--well, except I am from America and I am single with no children.) I relate to her passion and authenticity very much . See, I was never allowed in the kitchen as a little girl or teenager. My turn would come to learn to cook, my mom had said. My chores were setting the dining room table and doing the dishes. My older siblings were responsible for the cooking, specifically my older sister. Thus, once they left the home and got married-I was free to learn. However, I dreamed of going to a college prepatory "FAME"- like school, if you will. Thus, at 16-off I went to boarding school in California-leaving Hawaii and parents behind. Then there was college and then after college traveling and touring. Thus-I never had the passion or desire to work a kitchen. I was afraid of making mistakes. That all changed this past year, however. A dear friend of mine, who cooks all the time-encouraged me to start. Start? Where and when will I find the time amidst my three positions as a classical singer/performer, tv show host, and private voice teacher? He gave me the permission I had needed from myself-"Just start with one day a week-on your day off." Thus, I did. For the past three months. I shockingly enjoyed cooking-alone. When everyone was off to work. And it was just me and the kitchen. He has been my "guinea pig" if you will---graciously trying my dishes--many of them being my first attempt. Thus-this is a portion of the blog that is dedicated to the journey for singles like myself-who were never privy to the kitchen growing up and live on take out and such-because it's just us. You know what? I have discovered Nigella and she is further inspiring me to cook from my heart. (I baked, but never cooked.) Thus-thank you for reading and hopefully you will learn things along the way-like me. Dishes may or may not always turn out from inspired home cooker Nigella. Also-please note that I am not a chef-just a working single woman who loves to eat and create!
Introducing my "Nigella-Noelani Project:Dish 1-Italian ***Pasta with Meatballs
Ingredients for the pasta:
1) Very fine, Double O Flour-400 g
2) Eggs-4 (or 1 egg per 100 g of flour)
1) Pile flour on cutting board or waxed paper on countertop
2) Crete a dome-shape
3) Put eggs inside dome
4) Knead dough and egg mixture with the heel of your hands-working your bodyheat into the gluten and flour mixture as you knead dough into a big smooth ball.
5) Wrap dough ball with kitchenette towelette and place in fridge for 30 minutes (Note it can last up to three days in the fridge-before use.)
Ingredients for the Italian meatballs:
1) Defrosted meat -1 package (I placed unopened meat package from freezer and stored it in a dish in fridge the night before. Two hours before I used it to cook-I took it out of fridge and placed unopened defrosted meat on the counter.)
3) Garlic-1/8 of a clove grated
5) 2 cans of tomatoes or Prego Tomato Sauce
6) Olive oil lightly covered in a pan
7) Water-1 can
8) Salt & Pepper
9) Shredded bread crust-very finely grated-3 tsp
1) Knead meat, egg, grated garlic, salt, pepper, and shredded bread crust all together
2) Start a pan with 1 layer of Olive Oil on low heat
3) Make a tsp size of the meat into a meatball and place on a baking tray
4) When all 40 little meatballs are made-place in pan on medium-high heat and brown each side for a few minutes.
5) Add tomatoes or Prego tomato sauce
6) Add water
7) Add lots of salt
8) Add grated garlic
9) Add oregano
10) Add 2 bay leaves
11) Turn heat down to medium and let simmer, uncovered for 15 more minutes.
12) If need more seasoning-add a little parsley
Directions for Pasta:
1) Remove ball of dough from fridge and unwrap from towlette
2) Place on cutting board and cut with kitchen scissors or a knife-into little strips of long noodle-like pasta.
3) Place in pot of boiling water for 11 minutes on high
***Note the pasta ball didn't turn out as you you will by the picture below. What did I do wrong? I thought I followed the directions to a T. Hmm...it could have been the flour I used...it was just regular flour, not the very fine flour that was suggested ;-)*** Thus, I used the angelhair pasta from a box and placed in a pot of boiling water for 11 minutes.