This week, intrepid culinary explorer Bea Carvalho investigates What Katie Ate, and finds out it was all pretty delicious…
The debut recipe book from food photographer and successful food blogger Katie Quinn Davies was always going to be a thing of beauty, but the stunning photography of enchanting dishes exceed expectations. Katie is a home cook with creative flair and her recipes reflect her relaxed yet imaginative approach to the every-day meal, from spruced-up classics like baked beans, lasagne and shepherds pie, to special occasion treats like an eight-hour lamb with persian feta. What Katie Ate: Recipes And Other Bits And Bobs showcases home cooking at its very best, with recipes as delicious as the book’s design.
This wonderful book releases this week and is set to become a favourite in any kitchen blessed by its presence. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the Australian edition some time ago and have enjoyed the fruits of many recipes from it over the last few months. Over Christmas I devoured hundreds of mini pork, apple and pistachio sausage rolls, and Katie’s salads, tapas and relaxed dinners have become staples. This week I tried three new ones – a winning pasta, a simple starter and the irresistible sweets from the cover.
A lazy but lovely starter – Slow-roasted tomatoes with manchego
Like the author, I am an enormous fan of the tomato and try to involve them in every meal(and ideally between every meal too). Here they are celebrated in stunning simplicity, slow roasted with olive oil and basil and topped with grated manchego ten minutes before removing from the oven. Katie suggests having these with other tapas bowls such as patatas bravas with ham and egg, but we just enjoyed these with some crusty break as a simple but tasty starter.
These took seconds to prepare and roasted for an hour and a half.
An impressive pasta feast – Pumpkin ravioli with brown-butter sauce and roasted pecans
I make pasta often, and my absolute favourite way to enjoy it home-made is to stuff it with a cheesy pumpkin filling. I’ve been meaning to try out Katie’s version for a while and was thrilled with the results.
The filling is a combination of roasted pumpkin flesh, pecans, sage and goats cheese, seasoned with nutmeg. Lacking more sophisticated tools, I cut my pasta sheets with a cookie-cutter and spooned a dollop of filling in the middle of two discs, pressing down the edges before cooking in boiling water. The cooked ravioli are finished with nutty melted butter, crispy sage leaves and roasted pecans. This is a beautiful combination of flavours and textures which is is hard to imagine bettering. It’s less of a faff to make your own pasta than you might think and, as the author says, the results are well worth it. This is a beautiful, elegant dinner, perfect for a dinner party or an indulgent night in.
These took about an hour to prepare.
Little cakes with big flavour – Raspberry friands
The little cakes on the front of the book look so appealing, and I am able to confirm, if there had been any doubt, that they are just as delicious and moreish as they look. I had no friand moulds or tins so used a cupcake tray, which worked out fine. Whisked egg whites are combined with melted butter, icing sugar, ground almonds and a bit of flour to make a light and airy batter. This is poured into the tins and topped with a couple of raspberries before baking. Sweet and light cake, punctuated with sour raspberry, these are gorgeous little treats to be savoured and shared.
These took minutes to prepare and baked for under half an hour.
Katie’s recipes are easy to follow, fun to cook from and the results are truly special. I can’t wait to try more of them, but in the meantime will enjoy polishing off the last remaining little cakes. What Katie Ate is a stand-out début with style and promise, an impressive introduction to an exciting new talent in food writing.
Bea Carvalho, for Waterstones.com/blog