PROLOGUE: I already mentioned it in the comments section of a previous post, but on Thursday my recovery from illness took a turn for the worse and I am once more sick as a dog (and now have the bonus of a really gross hacking cough). The doctor has put me on a different course of antibiotics... we shall see.
In the meantime, DJ is away for a week in Hobart and I've been housebound and feeling wretchedly lonely and sorry for myself. Thank heaven for my two best friends, who took turns rescuing me today!
PART I: Touch the Torch (11:30am)
Schatzi: "Oh, you poor little Clairelina! I brought you some water ices, they are very good for the throat."
Claire: "Danke Schatzi! I'll put them in the freezer now."
Schatzi: "And now, I take you out of the house for a coffee somewhere cute, you will be very much better with some fresh air and a change of scene."
178 Swan Street, Richmond (map)
Schatzi took me down to Torch and I had a lovely time hearing all about her recent roadtrip. DJ and I jokingly call Torch "Touch the Torch" because for ages after we moved to the neighbourhood he was under the impression that the cafe's name was Touch (admittedly, the cursive font on the logo - visible on the black coffee cup above - is difficult to read). We're both fans of the place - the coffee is good and the staff are friendly.
Having not eaten anything, I was in the mood for a spot of late brunch, something sweet. I was intrigued by the sound of the cream cheese blintzes with stewed berries ($11.50). The crepe-like parcels contained melty cream cheese studded with sultanas, and were grilled and drizzled with berries. I couldn't finish them but they were SERIOUSLY GOOD.
PART II: Russian Car Smash Pasta (6:00pm)
Best-friend-K: "You poor thing! Well, do you feel well enough to come over to dinner?"
Claire: "K-chan, I feel lousy and I don't have a car... hey how about you come over here for dinner instead?"
B-f-K: "Um, well..."
Claire: "Aw, pleeeeease K-chan! I'm so bored here by myself, I'm going stir crazy. Let me lure you with all the gourmet ingredients I impulse-bought on Thursday at the market... there's heaps of sexy stuff in my kitchen, like um [rummages in fridge]... Black Russian tomatoes! Green olive dip from Delicatess! Pomegranates! Fresh goats curd! Yellow flesh peaches and white nectarines! Plus there's all the fresh herbs in my herb garden, Pimms and we can watch a Clive Owen movie or something..."
Best friend that she is, she took pity on me and drove over. Such was my gratitude, I whipped up a jug of Pimms and lemonade on the spot.
We surveyed the ingredients I'd arranged on the benchtop and decided on a Car Smash Pasta (no cream or tomato-based sugo, you just smash together lots of tasty ingredients with some olive oil to lubricate the pasta), using salad onions, garlic, ordinary tomatoes, Black Russian tomatoes, Spanish olives, baby spinach leaves, torn basil, black pepper and fresh goats curd. It tasted damn nice, if I do say so myself!
RUSSIAN CAR SMASH PASTA
2 small salad onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 Black Russian tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small tub Spanish marinated olives
1 big handful baby spinach leaves
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1 generous dollop fresh goats curd
Using a large frying pan, lightly fry the salad onions using the oil from the tub of marinated olives. Add garlic and cook until onion translucent. Throw in both kinds of tomatoes, then the olives. After a few minutes add the baby spinach leaves and cook for a further minute.
Meanwhile, boil the spaghettini until al dente and drain. Add the spaghettini to the other ingredients and combine, removing heat and adding extra EVOO if the pasta requires further lubrication. Add torn basil leaves, then add the goats curd one spoonful at a time. Add black pepper to taste and serve!