Apr 22, 2014

Mushroom Stuffed Shells

This recipe continues my journey through multi-step dishes.  Though there are multiple steps, I had the pasta in the oven in 45 minutes, I swear. Maybe not a weeknight meal but definitely something to savor in the weekend!

The dish has three components -

1. Shell Pasta

2. Filling

3. Béchamel sauce

Ingredients -

For Pasta -

Jumbo shells - 10
A few herbs

For filling -

Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 1 medium sized
Mushrooms - sliced - 1 cup

For white sauce -

Butter - 3 tablespoons
Flour - 3 tablespoons
Milk - 1.5 cups
A squeeze of tomato paste if you are adventurous like me!

Misc -
Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup shredded
A little panko crumbs to give the dish some crunch.

Method -

1. Preheat the oven to 350F

2. Cook the pasta in boiling water with some salt and little herbs thrown in. (I will introduce flavor anyway I can) Drain and set aside when done.

3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions first and then the mushrooms till both are browned. Add herbs, salt, pepper.

4. Now the sauce - the one thing I'm scared of but it came out perfect and lump free. Of course I think it's because I followed Gordon Ramsay's method.

Step 1 - Melt butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I just used my pressure pan.

Step 2 - Add in flour and mix in with the butter till it forms a pasty mixture. Allow to cook for about 5-6 minutes.

Step 3 - Add milk in half cup increments and whisk well till it forms a lump free smooth sauce.

Bam, you are done. Now I added salt, pepper, herbs, nutmeg and tomato paste to give it a tang.  You can add cheese or something else if you fancy.

5. Ladle the sauce on the bottom of a a baking dish. Fill the shells with the mushroom onion mixture and line them up on the sauce. Ladle more sauce on top of the shells and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

6. Add the mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.

Voilà. Done with the most delicious and amazing pasta dish ever! You can add in broccoli or spinach as filling or some other type of cheese on top. Endless variety. Don't be scared by the steps, this one is worth the two extra pans!

Apr 21, 2014

Crave/Save - Sophie Hulme Mini Tote

I've been drooling over Sophie Hulme bags for quite some time. They have all the things I love - clean lines, a structured shape and interesting detail. At $800 the bag is a luxury item for sure.

Sophie Hulme mini tote bag - $780
If you are only looking for the style and not the name, checkout this AWESOME look for less option for the Sophie Hulme bag!! Steve Madden's Bboxer bag is strongly inspired. It has the same structure and lines and the gold metal plates on the handles. Perfect dupe without being a total ripoff, don't you think?. Buy it here for a $78

Steve Madden bBoxer bag - $78

Apr 19, 2014

Cake Eggs

Wishing everyone a happy easter. In the spirit of all things cute and fluffy and easter-like, I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest. This was the perfect recipe to pleasantly spend a rainy, grey afternoon.

It's a cake!! Baked inside an eggshell!! So you give someone a basket of eggs and they crack the egg open to reveal a cake inside. Logical? No. Cute, lol, definitely! 

Ingredients - 

This is a long enough process, so just get a cake mix for the inside. I used Trader Joes vanilla bourbon cake mix and threw in some peanut butter chips.

For the outside - 6 eggs.

Oil - a teaspoon

Method : 

1. Prick a small hole on the bottom of the egg and drain out the contents. 

2. Rinse the eggshells in hot water and then allow to soak in cold salted water for about 10 minutes.

3. Drain the water and pour a little oil into the eggshell and swish it around.

4. Now pipe the cake batter into the hole in the eggshell and fill it up half way.

5. Place in a mini cupcake tin in a bed of aluminium foil to prevent tipping. Bake for 12-15 minutes (or the recommended cupcake time on the box)

6. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and scrape off any excess cake on the surface of the egg shell. 

Voila - fresh cake eggs are ready to pleasantly surprise your loved one!! I'm sure this will be a huge hit with the kids. I had a lot of fun trying out the recipe and hope you will too!

Apr 10, 2014

Crave/Save : Anthropologie Veranda Sandals

Anthropologie's Veranda sandal is the little black dress equivalent of shoes. Classic, clean and fun! Love them. They retail for $110.

For essentially the same shoe but with a fully synthetic upper, checkout the "Must Have Buckled Sandal" from Forever 21. The same design but at only $32.80!