Where do I even begin? We last left of when Bizou died. I never told what exactly happened. I guess five months ago it was difficult for me to put in in writing. Even today, I get teary just thinking about it, but hopefully this will explain my absence for so long.
The morning that Bizou died, my friend Calley and I were meant to have a Doggie Donation Day for Monika’s Doggie Rescue. We were going to have a stand infront of the supermarket to collect old dog toys, beds and other accessories for the event. We had spent the whole night putting up posters for the event and when I got home, I decided that I was going to make sunflower cupcakes for a gold coin donation. That morning, as we set up our stand, I had only brought half the cupcakes so I told my husband that we had to go back home to get the rest. He said that I should just stay and finish setting up while he went back home to pick up the rest.
That’s when it all happened. As he carried the cupcakes to the car, she slipped out of the gate and was hit by a car. The rest, you already know.
Not meaning to sound too dramatic, but I truly felt that life was so cruel. It was ironic that Calley and I had gone out of our way to do something to help rescue dogs and in the process had lost my own. When you have something special taken away from you so soon, you want to find ways to explain why it happened.
I blamed it on the cupcakes. If I hadn’t baked them, they my husband wouldn’t have needed to go home and get them and Bizou would have not ran out of the gate. I couldn’t step into the kitchen without being reminded of Bizou. And so, as much as I could, I stayed out of the kitchen.
So many things have happened since then that I don’t really know where to start. I guess it will take a few posts to get you up to speed.
But let me begin by telling you about this little bundle lying at my feet as I write this story. For the first few months of her life she scared me. So much so that not a day would pass where I wouldn’t ask myself “what have I done?” A number of times I thought about giving her back. I thought that getting a new puppy would make it easier to move on. Little did I realize that instead, this would be one of the hardest things I’d ever done.
I ate out a lot over the last few months. There is a little cafe near where I lived that served this dish regularly and it was one of our favorites. I remember the first night we ordered it, we were going to share a plate, we ended up ordering three plates. It was that good. The original recipe is from Neil Perry – he serves this at his Rockpool restaurant. Making the pasta is not for the faint hearted. It’s not easy making pasta using only potatoes and flour (no eggs to help bind the mixture) but the results are well worth the effort. If you can’t be bothered, feel free to use regular pasta, or otherwise, I suspect wonton wrappers would work as well.
King Prawn and Goat’s Cheese Tortellini
From Neil Perry’s Rockpool Cookbook, Serves 6
- 12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup raisins soaked in hot English Breakfast Tea
- 1/4 cup roasted pinenuts
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve
For the Tortellini
- 200 grams butter
- 350 grams floury potatoes (I used Desiree)
- 150 grams baker’s flour
- 150 grams fresh goat’s cheese
- 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- To make the tortellini, boil the potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes until you are able to pierce the flesh all the way through with a knife.
- Place the goat’s cheese, lemon zest, and some lemon juice to taste in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and peel the potatoes and push them through a potato ricer. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the flour. Mix until the dough forms a cohesive mass. Place half the dough in a bowl covered with a tea towel to keep warm. Take the other half and dust with a little flour as you put it through the pasta machine to ensure it doesn’t stick. Run it through the largest setting a few times until the dough comes together. The dough will not look as smooth as pasta made with flour and eggs.
- Continue to lower the setting of the pasta, ensuring that you use just enough flour to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick to the machine. Stop when you reach the third to the last setting (it won’t be as thin as regular pasta). Lay the pasta sheet on the bench and trim the edges with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Cut the pasta into four inch squares as you will be folding the dough over to make triangles for the tortellini.
- Pipe a bit of the goat’s cheese mixture toward the top left hand corner of each square. Fold the bottom right hand corner to the top to form a triangle enveloping the goat’s cheese. You should have the triangles on the bias with the point facing away from you to the top left. Fold the base of the triangle lengthwise so it is level with, and covers, the top point. You will have a long skinny piece of pasta with a bump in the middle.
- Pick up the pasta and wrap it around your index finger with the top point of the triangle facing away from you. Squeeze the two ends together where they overlap and remove your finger. Place on a floured tray and continue with the rest.
- To finish the dish, place some olive oil in a pan and heat. Add the prawns and cook for around one minute on each side, until cooked through but make sure not to overcook the prawns.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and remove from the pot with a slotted spoon once they float to the top. Set aside and keep in a warm place.
- To serve, place around 4 to 5 pieces of the tortellini around the outside of a plate and the prawns in the middle. Sprinkle with the raisins and pinenuts. In the same pan used to cook the prawns, heat the butter until it starts to foam and smells nutty. Spoon the butter over the prawns and tortellini. Finish with grater parmesan cheese.