Tag Archives: Cookery

Recipe: Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs hot from the oven
Italian Meatballs hot from the oven

Ingredients;

1Kg lean beef minced
2 slices of lightly toasted bread
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground
1 Chile pepper, finely diced
1 handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 handful of fredh basil, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 large onion, finely dliced
1 teaspoon of french mustard

Serves 8

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Lightly toast the 2 slices of bread and whizz them in a blender to make breadcrumbs.

Next finely dice the onion, and fry it gently with a teaspoon of french mustard until soft, then let them cool, while you finely chop the chile, Rosemary and Basil.

Next put your meat into a large bowl and add the chile, rosemary, basil, oregano, cumin, egg yolk, the (now cooled) onion and the breadcrumbs and mix it all together, just get your hands into it and scrunch it all together.

Wet your hands and take some of the mixture and roll it into a ball about the size of a golfball and set it onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and repeat until you have used all the mixture. Check out http://dcwcasing.com/ if you want to cook the meatballs in natural casings.

Next get a frying pan onto a medium heat, add a little olive oil and fry the meatballs gently, rolling them round the pan so they cook (and colour) all the way round.

At this point you can either bag and freeze the meatballs in portions for use later or you can follow one of these 2 options.

I’m in a hurry

Once your meatballs are cooked, turn the heat right down and pour some Italian tomato sauce over them in the pan. Allow this to heat up while cooking up some pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and gently stir in the meatballs and sauce, then serve.

I’m not in a hurry

Heat your oven up to 200C, place your meatballs in an oven tray and cover with Tomato Sauce. Take a Mozzarella ball and either chop it into chunks or just rip it up and sprinkle this over the meatballs. Take a handful of fresh Basil leaves, rip them up and sprinkle them over the top, then grate a handful of parmesan over the lot.

Place this in the oven for about 20 minutes or until all the cheese melts and colours nicely. Then serve on a bed of fresh pasta and garnish with some fresh basil.

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.

Recipe: Turkey stew

Turkey stew with mashed spudsIngredients;

1 knob of butter
1 good lug of olive oil
1 kg turkey thigh meat, diced
1 handful of fresh thyme leaves
1 large leek, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 parsnip, chopped
2 large onions
1 handful of plain flour
1 wineglass of rosé or white wine
1 wineglass of milk
1 wineglass of water
1 small tin of sweetcorn
8 pork sausages

Serves 6-8, can be frozen

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Take your Largest Saucepan, and get it on a Low heat, add a good lug of olive oil and a knob of butter.

Next add your turkey meat, fresh thyme, leek, celery, carrots, sweet potato, parsnips, onions and give it about 15 minutes at a simmer, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks.

Get your pan up to a high heat and add a good handful of flour and stir it in, keep stirring for about 2-3 minutes, then add the wine, let it simmer for a minute. Then add the milk and water and stir throughly until all the ingredients combine.

Then bring this to a simmer for about 1 hour or until the leeks and onion have started to break up.

Add the sweetcorn for the last 10 minutes of the hour.

Take your pack of sausages and squeeze all the sausage meat out of the skins. Roll it into a large marble sized balls (wet hands work best). Do this with all the sausage meat and then stir fry them until cooked and add this to the rest of the stew, stirring them in well.

Serve in a bowl with a warm crusty bread roll or some mashed spuds.

Winter Stews

In the cold days of winter there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home to a nice big bowl of stew – especially if your loved one has spent hours slaving over it.

Jet over Snowy Barn
Image by ChristopherSHarrison via Flickr

In this house we regularly make steak or chicken stew, and occasionally a pot of lamb stew shows up – mainly due to the price of lamb. The vegetable ingredients are usually just whatever happens to be to hand, which means that celery, onions, carrots, garlic & parsnips are guaranteed to be thrown in the pot.

I also love to throw a sweet potato or two into the mix as they tend to disintegrate during the cooking process, acting as a beautiful thickening agent while also adding tons of flavour.

Stews are really cheap to make, especially if you have a large pot and can make substantial quantities at once. In winter we regularly just leave the pot on the stove and eat from it for several days, but you can also choose to freeze it in portions.

Today’s stew recipe is one I cooked recently. If you prefer your food more savoury then sweet, then you might want to leave out the sweet potatoes, as the sweetcorn and leeks add plenty of sweetness to the overall dish.

Dice up your ingredients to the size you want them in the final dish – some people don’t like huge chunks of carrot. This stew is very versatile, you can use it as a pie mix and top with mashed potato or puff pasty, I’ve even used it in the past as a vol-au-vent filling (make sure to dice everything up really fine for this one). Enjoy!

Recipe: Italian Tomato Sauce

Italian Tomato Sauce
Italian Tomato Sauce

Ingredients;

1 anchovy fillet
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large handful of basil, stalks and leaves separated and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
4 x 400g of tinned plum tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

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Chop the garlic as finely as possibly, remove the leaves from the basil and roughly tear them up, take the green part of the Basil stalks and chop them up reasonably fine. Open the tins of plum tomatoes.

Heat a large saucepan and pour in roughly 2 tablespoons of oil, once this has heated add the anchovy and garlic, you want to stir fry these gently till the garlic starts to colour slightly and the anchovy starts to break up.

Next add the plum tomatoes, oregano, about half the basil leaves, all the chopped basil stalks and stir gently being careful not to break the tomatoes if at all possible. Put a lid on the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil and simmer for at least an hour stirring occasionally. I have let this sauce simmer gently for anything up to 3 hours depending on how much time I have on my hands, this makes the sauce a bit thicker and the flavours stronger.

At this point you can start to break up the tomatoes with a spoon or alternatively use a hand blender to blend it into a nice thick sauce.

Next add the remaining basil and taste the sauce. Then season with salt and pepper to taste, add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and stir them in well.

I’ve found from experience that the better the plum tomatoes the thicker the sauce, however if you find that your sauce is not as thick as you like it, simply simmer it for longer the next time you try.