I had a recent request to make a crochet dragon for a friend as their house mascot. Well at the moment we are preparing to move house, busy, busy, busy!
I of course replied to my friend that although I would be more than happy to make her a dragon, could she possibly wait a few weeks while we pack up our lives and relocate! The lovely lady was perfectly reasonable and happy to wait, it would seem that I was less patient. In fact I started to make Sid that very evening. I literally have no self control when it comes to crochet. Ha ha.
I decided to use up some of my yarn stash for this, which is how the dragon became a bit punk rock. His profile is very much like a mohican I feel.
One of our favourite recipes for a weekday yummy dinner that can be made in merest moments is Pasta Puttanesca. It is a great, cheap and tasty dish that I of course must thank Nigella for introducing me to. The basic recipe makes a delicious sauce that you add to your pasta of choice (tagliatelle is our fave for this) and top if you like with a little parmesan and serve with crunchy garlic bread or french bread. Om nom nom.
Well looking for inspiration for my bread recipe the other day I wondered what would happen if I took the puttenesca sauce and added it to a bread. I thought the result was pretty tasty. I think the trick to making a filled flavoured bread is to really ramp up the flavour. Next time I think I will add extra of pretty much everything as although the flavour was good it wasn’t nearly punchy enough.
Anyway, this is what I did (next time I’m going to add more anchovies and olives)
Basic Puttenesca sauce , serves 3-4
1 can anchovies – really finely chopped
1 can tinned chopped tomatoes
20 or so black olives
clove garlic – finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or to your taste)
tablespoon or so of capers
olive oil or rapeseed oil for frying
Heat up your oil in a frying pan and add your anchovies, lowish heat and sort of melt them. I know that sounds odd but trust me, gently sizzle them and they will kind of melt down.
Once you have done that add a few or more chilli flakes (to your taste) and your chopped garlic to the pan and gently fry for a minute or so. Not too hot or the garlic will burn. This recipe works fairly well without garlic. There has been several occasions when I have forgotten this and no one seemed to notice 🙂
Chuck in your chopped tomatoes and bring that up to a simmer.
Add your olives and capers, again you can add more or less to your taste. None of my kids like the capers at all but the sauce really misses them if you leave them out. It’s just not quite right without. All of my offspring happily eat round the capers. I’m sure one day they’ll eat them by mistake, ha ha.
Anyway, let this sauce gently bubble for around ten minutes. This is the perfect amount of time to cook your pasta and some garlic bread if you like.
Sometimes I add some of the starchy pasta water to my sauce, especially if I need this to feed four 🙂
For my Puttanesca bread.
I made a batch of basic white bread, see my recipe here
Once it had done it’s first prove, I gently flattened it out on my floured work surface. On this I spread my cooled puttanesca sauce. Then I rolled it up, swiss roll style, popped it in an oiled roasting pan. You can use whatever you have that’s large enough for the bread. Mine was a fair size!
Leave it to one side to have a second proving for an hour or so.
Meanwhile heat up your oven to 220 degrees c
Once the oven is hot and your bread is ready, pop it in the oven. Bake at this high temperature for ten minutes or so and then lower temperature to 200 degrees c and bake for another 20 minutes or so. You will need to adjust this according to how feisty your oven is and whether it is fan assisted.
I have only made this bread once so please bear this in mind if you give it a go. The recipe has not been tested at all! lol
Tasted pretty good though with a bit of parma ham for lunch later that day 🙂
I frequently have moments where non-crafters see one of my crocheted pieces and say, “That’s so cool! Did you knit that?” My own mother talks about how cute my “little knitted things” are. I’ve generally given up on trying to correct people and just try to appreciate the sentiment of admiration. However, there have been occasions when I’ve said, “Actually, it’s crocheted” and the response is often, “Oh ok… What’s the difference between knitting and crochet?”
Before I get to ahead of myself, I must confess right now that I am not a knitter. I learned how to do the basic knit stitch in high school and made a couple unfinished scarves (because I could not figure out how to get the fabric off the needle). Therefore, I apologize in advance if I come off as a little biased towards crochet, but I truly do respect the skill behind both…