Category Archives: Plain Flour

Recipe: The Best Bacon and Cabbage

Bacon and Cabbage with Onion and Parsley Sauce served with Mashed Potato
Bacon and Cabbage with Onion and Parsley Sauce

Ingredients;

Approx 700g Bacon Loin
2 small pinches ground cloves
Handful brown sugar

1/2 head of white cabbage, finely sliced
1 teaspoon goose fat (or duck fat or butter)

Small white onion, finely diced
Handful fresh parsley, very finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons plain flour
Knob of butter
Tablespoon cream

Serves 2

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OK, let’s be honest, this is not a quick recipe, but it is totally worth it, especially if you’re trying to impress someone!

Start by placing your bacon loin in a large saucepan and filling it with cold water until the bacon is covered. Get this on the heat and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, keep the pot covered and leave it at strong simmer for about an hour, ensuring that the water always covers the bacon.

After an hour, place the bacon loin in a baking tray and sprinkle on the ground cloves and sugar, mainly over the fat, but also on the meat as well. Reserve a mug full of the cooking water.

Heat your oven to 200 C and bake the loin for 45 mins.

While the bacon is in the oven, begin to prep the cabbage and sauce ingredients. These both take less than 20 mins to cook, so you don’t want to be starting too early.

Add your diced onion to a small frying pan with the butter and cook on a medium heat for about 5-10 mins, to soften, but not colour the onion. Next add the flour and stir until it vanishes. Begin to pour in the reserved cooking water about a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly.

You want the sauce to be slightly thick, not too runny. Keep adding the reserved water as needed, stirring regulary. Adjust your heat so that it is just barely simmering. Right before serving, add the parsley and cream and stir well. Add salt and pepper if needed (taste it and see!)

With about 10 mins of cooking time left on the bacon, melt the goose fat in a large frying pan and add the cabbage. Give this a few mins on full heat, then reduce to about 3/4 heat. Keep stirring it regulary, it should brown, but not burn. Once it has taken on a good bit of colour, add some the reserved cooking water and keep stirring. The cabbage should absorb the liquids and keep taking on colour.

Rest the bacon for 5 mins before carving and serve with the cabbage and sauce (and mashed potatoes if you like).

Recipe: Tuna Bake

Tuna Bake
Tuna Bake

Ingredients;

3 tins tuna
1 tin sweetcorn
4 medium potatoes, diced
good handful frozen peas
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 parsnips, diced
15g butter
handful plain flour
glass of white wine
glass of milk
3 good pinches of dried herbs (whatever you have in the cupboard, i.e. oregano, thyme, basil, etd)
2 slices brown bread
large handful cheddar, finely grated
Packet of Lidl bacon bits

Serves 6.

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Open and drain the cans of tuna. Peel and dice the vegetables into approx 1 cm chunks. Toast the slices of bread and use a blender to zap into breadcrumbs, set aside.

Turn your oven on to 180° C and set aside a large casserole dish.

In a large stock pot or frying pan, heat up some oil and add the onion, potato, parsnips and carrots and fry on a medium heat for 10 mins. Add the peas and sweetcorn and fry for another 2-3 mins. Add the tuna and stir well until it breaks up.

Turn up the heat and add the butter, letting it melt and coat all the vegetables. Toss in a good handul of plain flour and stir well until it vanishes.

Add 1 glass of white wine. As it starts to boil off, turn the heat back down to medium and add the glass of milk and slowly add glass of water as needed – the mix should be wet and move freely, but there shouldn’t be too much free liquid. Now add your pinches of herbs and a little salt and pepper (half a pinch or so of each).

Stir the mix well and cook for another 5 mins, then turn the heat off. Pour the mix into your casserole dish and smooth down. Top with the breadcrumbs, then the handful of cheese, and finally scatter the Lidl bacon bits over the top.

Bake for 30-40 mins, until the top is golden and the bacon bits are well cooked. Keeps well for a few days and leftovers can easily be microwaved in a bowl, approx 2 mins on high per portion.

Recipe: Banana Bread

Freshly sliced Banana Bread
Freshly sliced Banana Bread

Ingredients;

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed banana (approx 3 bananas)

You will need 2 bowls and a 2lb loaf tin. The older and browner the bananas, the better this recipe will turn out.

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Preheat your oven to 190 C.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a second smaller bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar (easiest done with a hand mixer). Stir in the eggs and banana to this bowl.

Finally add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well until the flour mix is incorporated fully.

Liberally grease your 2lb loaf tin with cooking spray or butter and pour in the mix.

Bake at 190 C for approx 50 mins. Test if it is done by sticking a cocktail stick into the loaf and swirling around gently. If the stick comes out clean or covered in crumbs, then the loaf is done.

Remove from loaf tin and leave to cool before cutting. Gorgeous served with a thin spread of butter or some Nutella. This loaf will improve after a few days storage, keeps for 5-7 days in an airtight container.

Recipe: Choconana Crumble & Berry ice-cream

Choconana crumble with the chocolate bubbling through the crumble
Choconana crumble: Photograph by Redmum

Ingredients;

225g Plain Flour
60g sugar
145g butter
a pinch of salt
195g Dark Chocolate
6 Tablespoons of cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of cognac
115ml Water
6 medium sized bananas

Serves 6

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Making the crumble

Take your flour, 60g of sugar, 115g of butter and a pinch of salt and place them in a bowl, simply scrunch the lot together with clean hands until it looks like breadcrumbs and put this to one side.

Making the chocolate sauce

Take a small saucepan and place it on a low heat, to this add 115ml of water and a tablespoon of sugar. Bring this to a low simmer while stirring. Keep it simmering until all the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and add 30g of butter and the dark chocolate while stirring constantly. It’s best to break the chocolate and butter up into small chunks as they will melt quicker this way. Keep stirring until all the chocolate and butter have melted completely.

Next, add the Vanilla essence, cognac and cream and keep stirring until they all combine to give a smooth looking sauce.

Assembly

Peel the bananas and split each of them lengthways into 3. This is done by gently pushing your finger into the end of the banana where that tough seed like lump has been removed and running your finger to the other end. This should leave you with 3 separate segments.

Arrange all the segments in a large oven-proof dish and pour the chocolate sauce over them, making sure that all the bananas are chocolate coated.

Unless you are planning on cooking and eating immediately stop at this point and cover both the crumble and the chocolate+banana and refrigerate until ready to cook.

When you are ready to cook, get your oven up to 200C. Sprinkle the crumble over the chocolate+banana making sure to spread it out evenly. Then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. If the crumble has not turned a golden brown at this point simply pop it under the grill for a minute or 2 to brown the top and let it stand for a few minutes before serving with a few scoops of berry ice-cream.

Berry Ice-cream

Berry ice-cream
Berry ice-cream

The Berry Ice-cream I make to go with this is based on Kieran’s Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings recipe over on Ice-cream Ireland. Many thanks for sharing this recipe Kieran, I would have given up on trying to making ice-cream myself long ago without this.

I follow this recipe exactly except for 3 things…

  1. I use 150g of Raspberries and 170g of Blackberries instead of the Bananas
  2. I mash the Rasperry & Blackberry mixture through a sieve as I add them to the custard
  3. I don’t add the chocolate shavings

This gives an ice-cream that while it is sweet and creamy, it is also tart enough to balance the sweetness of the rest of the dish.

Please give this a try, it’s a wonderful dessert. As always we’d love to here about your results and your thoughts on the dish as a whole.

Recipe: Tagiatelle

Fresh (naked) Pasta
Fresh (naked) Pasta

Ingredients;

200g of Tipo 00 pasta flour or plain flour
2 medium fresh eggs
Olive oil

Serves 2

When I started writing out this recipe, it became clear that this is one of those things that is far better to learn by watching rather than to try and read a description of what’s involved. So, with that in mind please take ten minutes out (or take 5, twice :)) to watch the video ‘Making Pasta the Not Junk Food way’

When rolling out your pasta, I would strongly recommend a pasta machine, however my 10 year old niece reliably informs me that it can be done with a rolling pin, but it is hard work.

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Fresh Pasta cooks a lot quicker than dried pasta depending on how thick the Pasta is, for Tagiatelle 3-4 minutes in simmering water (with a little salt, pepper, oregano and a lug of olive oil) is usually enough but this can vary depending on the ingredients so taste it to make sure it’s done. Once the Pasta has been drained I usually toss it in a little olive oil (or truffle oil) to make sure it doesn’t stick together.