It is often challenging to write about someone you know very well and who has so many talents and skills – it makes it difficult deciding where to start. 🙂 They say the beginning is always a good place to start … so … it was the very same Nina Timm who was there at the very start and birth of lifeisazoobisuit. You see, I had no clue how to even begin to take food photographs, how to write recipes or even babble about food let alone blog. It was then that a friend of mine said I should contact Nina.
Out of the blue one day I plucked up the courage and emailed the food warrior and pioneering spirit behind myeasycooking. I asked her if it would be ok for me to come and visit her to just chat about food. Goodness, it was one of those days in my life that I will never forget. Nina welcomed me with open arms, with such kindness, patience, Nina took my hand and guided me, she nurtured me through the first unsettling and intrepid steps of what was to become the most amazing blogging journey. Nina taught me about photographs, she introduced me to the food world and introduced me to many of the crazy and lovely people who paint the colours across our local food canvas.
nina’s recipe book
Last week Nina launched her own recipe book, easy cooking from nina’s kitchen.
To read more click here.
When I decided to serve puff pastry twirls with my milk tart cups (this link will take you to the recipe) within the 1.5 hour Dinner Divas timeframe I immediately phoned my friend Nina and asked her for her advice. She guided me to her pastry recipe that she has successfully used for many years … but this pastry needed to stand overnight in the fridge – and I just did not have that sort of time available to me. I just thought to myself why not just experiment with the recipe? I eventually got it right and could prepare this in the allotted time allowed … and fortunately this pastry turned out to be a winner. You can make the pastry twirls from start to finish in less than 1.5h and it’s perfect. And as Nina mentioned … make a lot of it because it freezes very well.
cinnamon pastry twirls
- Rough Puff Pastry
- 275g Cake flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2.5 ml Cream of Tartar
- 250g Butter at room temperature – cut the butter into small blocks
- 125 ml Boiling water
- Extra cake flour for rolling out the dough
- Spray and Cook
- Egg Wash
- 1 Small egg
- 1T Full-Cream milk
- Mix together
- Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
- 50ml Sugar
- 5ml Ground cinnamon
- Mix these two ingredients together
- Place a baking tray in the freezer and pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
- Mix the flour, salt and Cream of Tartar together.
- In a separate bowl, put in your butter cubes, pour boiling water over the cubes and stir with a fork until there are about a ⅓ of the butter blocks left.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter.
- Mix well – but don’t over mix.
- Pour this mixture into baking tray and spread the mixture out with a spatula, then leave in the freezer for 20 min – thereafter transfer it to the fridge until you need it.
- Spray another baking tray with Spray and Cook.
- Take half of the dough out of fridge, sprinkle some Sasko flour onto your work surface and roll the dough out flat with a rolling-pin to approximately 2mm in thickness.
- Cut the flat pastry into long strips of about 1.5cm in diameter.
- Brush the pastry strips with the egg wash.
- Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Twist each strip into a straw-like twirl and place on baking tray and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes – until cooked and golden brown.
I made a tomato pasta sauce with well-renowned and fabulous Nina Timm at her home earlier today. What an honour and absolute delight to meet and spend a day with this amazing woman! Yip, she is the wonder behind the much followed www.my-easy-cooking.com blog. We laughed, we cooked and shared so many stories from our past and talked about the thrills of living in today…. I will be chatting to her tomorrow on her RSG radio broadcast between 9 and 10 am and share what we did today. I am so inspired and so alive … Nina I thank you for one of the best days of my life and to cooking up many more memories in the future!
Back to the sauce … I am a freakishly mad about tomatoes. So obviously my most favourite pasta sauce is a tomato-based sauce … made from fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes that brim with flavour. I read about this method to make tomato sauce a few years ago in a magazine – unfortunately I cannot remember or find the magazine between the thousands of foodie magazines lying around in my house – please try this, it is definitely the most delicious tomato sauce you will ever taste!!
Variations you can add to the tomato sauce + remember always sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan!
- Cut chorizo sausages in slices and add – this makes it a rich and spicy dish.
- Bacon (+ chilies optional) – everyone loves bacon! Adding a somewhat smoky flavour to your pasta.
- Meatballs – you can make this on Sunday and just add in the week to your pasta dish.
- Lots of fresh chopped chilies – simple, yet always deliciously and one of my favourites.
- Capers + olives + anchovies + chilies – my absolute favourite!
- Any seafood – prawns, calamari, fish, mussels – add them to the tomato based sauce at the end of the cooking process – let it simmer through for 5 minutes – taste for seasoning again after you have added any seafood.
- Fresh herbs (basil, parsley) and lots of rocket – mix it with the sauce – yum.
- Roasted vegetables + olives + capers + crumbled feta – these produce lovely Mediterranean tastes.
- Artichokes, creamy feta cheese + sprinkle of dry oregano (use the oregano very sparingly).
- Fresh slices of buffalo mozzarella + sprinkled with smoked Maldon salt .
tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up
- 900g Rosa tomatoes
- 200ml Olive oil – good quality (I know this sounds a lot but the tomatoes burst open to combine with the olive oil, garlic and basil - and creates the most amazing sauce )
- 8 Garlic cloves – peeled but kept in whole segments
- Handful fresh Basil
- Salt and black pepper
- 150 – 200g Fresh parmesan cheese – shaved with potato peeler
- 500g Penne pasta (or spaghetti)
- Add the olive oil to a large pan / pot and add the garlic and about one handful of torn basil leaves. Heat the oil very slowly on low-medium – we want to infuse the oil with the garlic and basil. Infuse for about 5 minutes – please don’t burn the garlic.
- Add all the tomatoes, turn up the heat to medium high and cook for +- 20 minutes without the saucepan lid.
- You will see the tomatoes will start to burst open and infuse with the olive oil.
- Season generously with salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Please be sure to taste when you season!
- Just before serving, add the rest of the basil and sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan
- You can use the sauce just as is or see the 10 variations above you can add at the end for an interesting twist.