Archive for November, 2011

Best Ever Bubble and Squeak

November 30, 2011

Beef and Carrot Stew

November 30, 2011
  • 1.5kg stewing steak, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 50ml sunflower oil
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 onions, peeled
  • 750ml beef stock
  • 400ml red wine
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • a few parsley stalks
  • small handful of parsley leaves, to garnish
  • 50g preserved anchovy fillets, drained for garnishing
  • salt
  • pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees. Heat the sunflower oil in a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Season thebeef then sear in batches until golden all over. Remove to a plate and reserve to one side. Add the onion and carrots to the pan and saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the peeled onions, but keep the rest of the vegetables in the pan. Add the beef back to the dish and sprinkle the flour on top. Pour in the beef stock and red wine, then follow with the parsley stalks and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then cover and transfer to the oven to finish cooking for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 1/2 hours the beef should be almost done; add the onions to the dish and cook for a further 30 minutes at which point the stew will be ready. Remove and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Garnish with parsley leaves and serve straight from the dish with the drained anchovy fillets alongside.

Perfect Pasta (Felicity Cloake)

November 25, 2011

Makes around 600g (enough for 4 as a main course)

340g 00 flour
160g semolina flour
Large pinch of salt
3 large eggs and 2 or 3 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten (if the mixture doesn’t come together with 2 yolks, add a third)

1. Mix the flours and the salt and shape into a volcano on the work surface, or a wooden board. Make a well in the middle, and pour in two thirds of the eggs.

2. Using your fingertips in a circular motion, gradually stir in the flour until you have a dough you can bring together in a ball, adding more egg if necessary. Knead for about 10 minutes until it is smooth, and springs back when poked, wetting your hands with cold water if necessary.

3. Divide the dough in two and wrap in a damp cloth. Allow to rest for about an hour in a cool place.

4. Roll out the first ball of dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1cm thick and will go through the widest setting of your pasta machine comfortably. Put it through each setting twice, then fold it back in on itself, and repeat the process, cutting it in half when it becomes too long to handle. Store the other half under a damp cloth until you’re ready to continue working on it.

5. When the pasta has a good sheen to it, and is thin enough for your liking – pappardelle and tagliatelle should be cut on the second narrowest gauge, filled pastas such as ravioli on the narrowest – cut using a knife, or the cutter on your pasta machine. Curl into portion-sized nests and leave on a floured surface, under a damp cloth, while you repeat with the rest of the dough.

6. Bring a large pan of well-salted water to the boil, add the pasta, in batches if necessary, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it moving. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie (Felicity Cloake)

November 25, 2011

For a 20cm tart tin

For the pastry:

170g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g cold butter
2tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk

For the pie filling:

1 small culinary pumpkin or medium butternut squash
145g maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp golden rum (optional)
2 large eggs, beaten
150ml evaporated milk

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cut pumpkin or squash in half or quarters depending on the size, and scoop out the seeds and fibres inside. Place skin-side up in a roasting dish with a couple of tablespoons of water. Roast for about half an hour, until tender.

2. Keeping the oven on, take the pumpkin out and leave to cool slightly, then peel off the skin, and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Whizz until smooth, then put into a fine sieve or piece of muslin suspended over a bowl and drain for at least an hour.

3. Meanwhile, make your pastry. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, stir in the salt, then grate in the butter. Rub in using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then stir through the sugar. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tbsp iced water, and sprinkle half over the mixture, then stir together with a knife until it comes together in a paste – add a little more liquid if necessary.

4. Bring the mixture together with your fingertips, and then roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use it to line a 20cm tart tin. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

5. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the base is pale golden. Remove from the oven. Turn the oven down to 180C.

6. Meanwhile, put 250g pumpkin purée in a large bowl, discarding the excess liquid, and stir in the maple syrup, rum if using, and spices. Taste for sweetness, then mix in the eggs. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk until you have a thick, creamy consistency – you may not need it all. Pour into the pastry case.

7. Bake for about 40 minutes, checking from half an hour onwards, until the filling is set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving.

Pumpkin cheesecake with pecan crust and whiskey-caramel topping (David Lebovitz)

November 25, 2011

Makes one 23cm cheesecake, 12 to 14 servings.

For the crust:
150g pecans, toasted
45g packed light brown sugar
45g unsalted or salted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the filling:
675g cream cheese, at room temperature
250g granulated sugar
Grated zest of ½ lemon, preferably organic
4 large eggs, at room temperature
15g plain flour
120g plain whole-milk yoghurt
1 tin (425g) pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Large pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
85 g salted butter, cut into small pieces
125ml double cream
215g packed dark brown sugar
60ml corn or glucose syrup or agave nectar
½ teaspoon salt
60ml whiskey
150g pecan pieces, toasted
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

This recipe uses tinned pumpkin rather than home-cooked fresh pumpkin simply because the moisture content is consistent and no one wants to take any chances with a cheesecake after spending all that money on cream cheese.
This is a fantastic holiday recipe, and as with regular cheesecakes, the secret to great results is to begin with all the ingredients at room temperature and to not overbeat the filling.

Preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4). Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform tin. To make the crust, in a food processor fitted with the
metal blade, pulse the 150g pecans, light brown sugar, 45g melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until the nuts are in fine pieces and the mixture begins to hold together. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform tin and press it evenly into the bottom and a little way up the sides. Bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Wrap a large sheet of aluminium foil around the outside of the springform tin, making sure it’s absolutely watertight. Set the tin in a large roasting pan. To make the filling, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-low speed just until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until completely incorporated.

Mix in the yoghurt, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, large pinch of salt, and vanilla until combined.

Scrape the filling into the crust in the tin. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the outside of the springform tin. Bake until the edges are just set and the center still quivers, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the cheesecake stand in the bain marie for 30 minutes. Dip the blade of a sharp knife in hot water and run it around the sides of the cheesecake to loosen it from the sides of the tin, then remove the cheesecake from the bain marie. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.

To make the topping, in a medium saucepan, bring the 85g salted butter, the cream, dark brown sugar, corn or glucose syrup or agave nectar, and ½ teaspoon salt to a gentle but full boil stirring gently until the sugar dissolves.
Cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey and 150g pecan pieces. Leave to cool to room temperature and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve the cheesecake chilled or at room temperature. Cut into wedges and spoon topping over each serving.

Storage: The cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The topping should be made the day of serving; if chilled, it will lose its shine and will need to be rewarmed.

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce

November 25, 2011

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce

Makes 2 heaping cups sauce; 4 to 6 servings

– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

– 4 tablespoons butter, divided

– ½ cup chopped onion

– 2/3 cup chopped celery

– 2/3 cup chopped carrot

– ¾ pound ground beef chuck

– Salt

– Fresh ground black pepper

– 1 cup whole milk

– Whole nutmeg- 1 cup dry white wine

– 1-½ cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, torn into pieces, with juice

– 1-¼ to 1-½ pounds pasta (preferably spaghetti), cooked and drained

– Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table

1. Put oil, 3 tablespoons butter and chopped onion in a heavy 3-½-quart pot and turn heat to medium. Cook and stir onion until it has become translucent, then add chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well.

2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble meat with a fork, stir well and cook until beef has lost its raw, red color.

3. Add milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny grating, about 1/8 teaspoon, fresh nutmeg and stir.

4. Add wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated. Add tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When tomatoes begin to bubble, turn heat down so that sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface.

5. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it will begin to dry out and the fat will separate from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add ½ cup water as necessary. At the end of cooking, however, the water should be completely evaporated and the fat should separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.

6. Add remaining tablespoon butter to the hot pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.

Spaghetti bolognese (Elizabeth David)

November 25, 2011

Spaghetti bolognese
As recommended by Angela Hartnett, head chef at York & Albany

“A dish that is dear to my heart. My Italian grandmother instilled in me an appreciation of good food, and my cookbook, Cucina, is about Italian food. For me, this recipe by Elizabeth David is the ultimate.”

Serves 6

225g lean minced beef

115g chicken livers

85g uncooked ham (both fat and lean)

1 carrot

1 onion

1 small piece of celery

3 tsp concentrated tomato puree

1 glass white wine

2 wine glasses stock or water


Salt and pepper


Cut the bacon or ham into very small pieces and brown them gently in a small saucepan in about 15g of butter. Add the onion, the carrot, and the celery, all finely chopped. When they have browned, put in the raw minced beef, and then turn it over and over so that it all browns evenly. Add the chopped chicken livers, and after two or three minutes the tomato puree, and then the white wine. Season with salt (taking into account the relative saltiness of the ham or bacon), pepper, and a scraping of nutmeg, and add the meat stock or water.

Cover the pan and simmer the sauce very gently for 30-40 minutes. Some cooks in Bologna add a cupful of cream or milk to the sauce, which makes it smoother. Another traditional variation is the addition of the ovarine or unlaid eggs which are found inside the hen, especially in the spring when the hens are laying. They are added at the same time as the chicken livers and form small golden globules when the sauce is finished. When the ragu is to be served with spaghetti or tagliatelle, mix it with the hot pasta in a heated dish so that the pasta is thoroughly impregnated with the sauce, and add a generous piece of butter before serving. Hand the grated cheese round separately.

Perfect Ragu (Giorgio Locatelli)

November 25, 2011

Ragù — traditional meat sauce — is best with fresh egg pasta, especially tagliatelle or pappardelle, but not with spaghetti, which is too thin to hold the chunks of meat.

You can also serve it with short pasta, such as penne or farfalle; in fact, when the meat is minced (as in the case of beef and pork), it works better with these pastas, and also with fusilli. When you make ragù with wild boar or game, which is cooked on the bone to retain the flavour, and then baked, the meat has a different consistency which will coat long pasta, such as pappardelle or tagliatelle, better. Sometimes, too, we use ragù as a filling for ravioli.

Each region of Italy has its favourite ragù; sometimes you will even find a mixture of veal, pork and beef all in one sauce. In Toscana, where my sous chef Federico comes from, they like to add chicken liver to pork or beef ragù. At Locanda we vary the ragù according to the season: so sometimes it might be venison or kid (baby goat) — which we get just after Christmas.

We make ragù with baby goat in a similar way to wild boar but we don’t marinate the meat first. At other times it might be hare, pork, veal or lamb. The beauty of making it at home is that you can cook up a big quantity, then divide it into portions and freeze it, ready to heat through when you want it.

Cook the pasta, reserving the cooking water, as usual, then toss the pasta in the pan of ragù, adding a little of the cooking water if necessary to help the sauce cling to the pasta. Stir in a couple of knobs of butter, and if you like, add some grated pecorino or Parmesan.

Sometimes I make a very quick and simple sausage and tomato ragù, which the kids love. I chop up some good pork sausages, sauté them in a pan with some garlic cloves — no onions — add a tin of good tomatoes and maybe some chopped fresh ones, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until it is good and thick.

Because it makes sense to make ragù in large quantities, I have broken with the pattern of the rest of the book and given recipes that should make enough to feed eight people, or four for two different meals. If you only want to make enough for four at one sitting, just reduce the quantities.

Ragù alla bolognese

Makes enough for 8

  • 2kg minced beef, preferably neck
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • sprig of rosemary and sprig of sage, tied together for a bouquet garni
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 litre tomato passata
  • salt and pepper

To serve:

  • pasta, preferably pappardelle (page 338), tagliatelle or short pasta
  • freshly grated pecorino cheese

In the restaurant we cook this in the oven in big pans at about 120 deg C, gas 1-2, so it just simmers, for about the same length of time as if you cooked it on the stove — if you have a big enough oven and big enough pans, you can do the same.

Take the meat out of the fridge and lay it on a tray and let it come to room temperature, so that it will sear, rather than ‘boil’ when it goes into the pan.

Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed saucepan, add the vegetables, herbs and whole garlic cloves, and sweat over a high heat for 5—8 minutes without allowing it to colour (you will need to keep stirring).

Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the pan of vegetables, making sure that the meat is covering the base of the pan. Leave for about 5—6 minutes, so that the meat seals underneath and heats through completely, before you start stirring (otherwise it will ooze protein and liquid and it will ‘boil’ rather than sear). Take care, though, that the vegetables don’t burn — add a little more oil, if necessary, to stop this happening.

Stir the meat and vegetables every few minutes for about 10—12 minutes, until the meat starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. At this point, the meat is ready to take the wine.

Add the wine and let it reduce right down to virtually nothing, then add the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.

Add the passata with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 1.5 hours, adding a little extra water if necessary from time to time, until you have a thick sauce.

When you are ready to serve the ragù, put it back into a pan and heat through. Cook your pasta (preferably pappardelle, tagliatelle or short pasta) and drain, reserving the cooking water. Add the pasta to the ragù and toss well, adding some of the cooking water, if necessary, to loosen the sauce. Serve with freshly grated pecorino.

Bread and butter pudding (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

November 24, 2011

La Gran Lasagna (Gennaro Contaldo)

November 24, 2011

La gran lasagna

La gran lasagna

Homemade meatballs in a rich, creamy sauce make this lasagne recipe comfort-food heaven.


For the tomato sauce
For the meatballs
  • 250g/9oz minced beef
  • 250g/9oz minced pork
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • olive oil, for frying
  • flour, for dusting
For the lasagne

Preparation method

  1. For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and fry gently until softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the basil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is reduced. Set aside.
  3. For the meatballs, place all the meatball ingredients, except the oil and flour, into a bowl and mix well. Using your hands, shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
  4. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan. Dust the meatballs in flour, then fry in the hot oil until golden-brown on all sides. Do this in batches, depending on the size of your frying pan. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  6. For the lasagne, spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large ovenproof dish.
  7. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then spoon over some more tomato sauce.
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan, followed by some egg slices and a few meatballs. Dot over some ricotta and pieces of mozzarella.
  9. Top with more sheets of pasta and repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients, finishing with tomato sauce, meatballs, eggs and both cheeses.
  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the foil and cook for a further five minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the top is golden-brown. Serve immediately.