Archive for June, 2012

Pasta e fagioli (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012

Dean Martin crooned, “When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool, that’s amore!” using the American-Italian slang for this dish. He had a point – simple, tasty and delicious, it’s easy to fall for this gutsy soup. The bacon can be replaced with pork rind, cooked pig’s trotter or cotechino sausage. Also, if you really can’t be bothered with soaking and cooking dried beans, a 400g tin, drained, will do. Serves six to eight.

3 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
2 onions, diced
1 small sprig rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon, diced (optional)
400g tinned plum tomatoes
150g dried borlotti beans (or haricot or cannellini), soaked overnight, drained, put in enough cold water to cover them by  7cm and cooked until tender
800ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g small pasta tubes, such as tubetti
30g parmesan, finely grated
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley

To serve
Parmesan and extra-virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil

Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, and sauté very gently until the onion just begins to turn golden. Add the carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté for five minutes.

Remove the rosemary sprig, raise the heat slightly and add the bacon, if using. Cook, stirring, for five minutes, then add the tomatoes, mashing them slightly against the side of the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cooked beans, give everything a good stir and cook for five minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.

Scoop out a cupful of the beans and veg, puree them in a food processor or blender, then return to the pan. Stir and season with salt and pepper. If at this stage the soup is not liquid enough to cook the pasta, simply add a bit more stock or water. Bring the soup to a boil, add the pasta and cook for four to five minutes, until it is cooked through but still has a bit of bite to it.

Take the pan off the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf, and stir in the grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve in warmed bowls, topping each one with a swirl of oil and a few parmesan shavings.

Goulash (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012

3 tbsp vegetable oil, rendered pork fat or lard
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ tsp caraway seeds
1kg beef shin, cut into 3cm cubes
1 ½ tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 green peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into thin strips
3 medium-sized tomatoes, cored, deseeded and diced
2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Sour cream and chives

Warm a tablespoon of oil or fat in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and fry the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and caraway seeds, fry for a further minute, then scrape the onion mixture into a bowl.

Raise the heat, add the rest of the oil or fat and brown the meat on all sides. Remove from the heat, return the onions to the pan along with the paprika and cayenne, and stir until the meat is well coated with onions and spices. Add the bay leaf and just enough water to cover the meat by about 3cm.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Add the peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Season and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some chives.

New York cheesecake (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012

A classic: a deep, welcoming featherbed of a pudding. Serves eight to 12.

New York cheesecake

For the base
100g butter –15g softened and 85g melted
170g digestive biscuits
1 tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of flaky sea salt

For the filling
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
Pinch of flaky sea salt
900g full-fat soft cheese, at room temperature
200ml sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk

For the sour cream topping
200ml sour cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Generously grease the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with the soft butter, line the base with baking parchment and butter the parchment. Wrap the cake tin in several layers of tinfoil – it needs to encase the tin completely, with no holes or gaps, because you’re going to cook the cheesecake in a bain-marie and you don’t want any water to sneak in at the base and ruin it.

Next make the crust. Put the biscuits into a food processor with the sugar and salt, and pulse to fine crumbs. Pour the melted butter through the feed tube and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand, then press it into the bottom of the cake tin in an even layer (use the bottom of a glass to smooth it out). Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm, then leave to cool on a wire rack.

Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. In a mixer, beat the soft cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl and beaters a couple of times. With the mixer on low, beat in a third of the sugar mixture, then half the sour cream. Repeat, then beat in the last of the sugar mixture. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and the yolk, beating well after each addition, until smooth and creamy.

Brush the inside of the cake tin above the biscuit base with more butter and place in a roasting tin. Pour the filling into the cake tin. Put the roasting tin in the oven and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the outside of the cake tin. Bake for an hour and a half to an hour and three-quarters, until just set in the centre.

For the topping, stir together the sour cream, sugar and lemon juice, and spread in an even layer over the top of the cheesecake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the cake cool, then refrigerate overnight.

Run a thin-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges, then release the sides of the tin. Carefully slide the cheesecake on to a plate and gently slide the parchment out from underneath.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Marsala Soaked Raisins (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012

Serves six.

100g raisins
4 tbsp marsala
Butter, for greasing
3 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g ricotta
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 large eggs, separated
125g caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Soak the raisins in the marsala for a few hours (overnight, if at all possible) until plump. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter a 25cm loose-based tart tin, dust the inside with flour and shake out the excess.

Beat the ricotta until smooth, then beat in the creme fraiche. Beat in the egg yolks. Combine the flour and 75g of the sugar, and beat into the mix along with a good grating of nutmeg and the lemon zest. Use a whisk to get rid of any lumps. Finally, stir in the raisins, along with any marsala left in the bowl.

Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Keep beating, gradually adding the remaining sugar, until you have a thick, glossy meringue that stays in the bowl if you hold it upside down. Stir a heaped tablespoonful of the meringue into the cheese mixture to loosen it, then lightly fold in the rest, keeping as much air in the mix as you can. Pour into the prepared tin and give it a gentle shake to level the surface. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and set. Leave to cool to room temperature (it will sink, but don’t worry). Remove the sides of the tin and serve in generous slices, perhaps with a little glass of marsala to sip alongside.


Ginger and Rhubarb Cheesecake (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012
Ginger and rhubarb cheesecake

Ginger and rhubarb cheesecake

This style of silky-sweet, unbaked cheesecake would have graced many a 1970s dinner party table, and it’s none the worse for that. Serves eight.

For the biscuit base
80g melted butter, plus some softened butter for greasing
180g ginger biscuits
1 tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt

For the filling
300g mascarpone cheese at room temperature
3 balls of stem ginger, finely diced, plus 3 tbsp syrup from the jar
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange, plus half its juice
300ml double cream

For the rhubarb
350g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 4cm batons
75g caster sugar
Zest and juice of ½ orange

Butter a 23cm springform tin, line the base with baking parchment and butter the parchment.

To make the base, blitz the biscuits with the sugar and salt in a food processor until fine. Pour the melted butter through the feed tube, pulsing as you go, until it looks like wet sand. Tip into the tin and press in firmly with the bottom of a glass so you get an even layer. Chill the base while you make the filling.

In a mixer, beat the mascarpone until smooth and light. Beat in the ginger, ginger syrup, orange juice and zest. Slowly whisk in the cream until the mixture has just thickened. Spoon into the biscuit-lined tin and spread into an even layer. Chill for four hours or overnight, until firm.

While the cheesecake is chilling, prepare the rhubarb. Heat the oven to 130C/260F/gas mark ½. Lay the rhubarb in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold it in a single layer, scatter on the sugar and orange zest, and add the orange juice. Stir to coat. Roast for 30 minutes until tender, then drain off the juices and cool.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake, release the sides of the tin and the base, and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Serve with the cold roasted rhubarb on the top or on the side.


Roasted figs with honey and ricotta (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012

A great hasty pud. Roasting the figs with honey emphasises their perfumed sweetness. Serves six.

6 figs
6 tbsp honey
150g ricotta
50g thick Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cut an X into the top of each fig and squeeze gently to open it up. Trickle a little honey into each fig – reserve about half of it for serving – place in a tin and roast for 10-15 minutes, until hot and bubbling.

Beat the ricotta with the yoghurt, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon some of the mixture into the top of each fig and trickle on some more honey just before serving.

Figs poached in red wine (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012
A simple, delicious pudding that’s a great way of using less than perfectly ripe figs. Serves four to eight.

400ml red wine
Juice of 1 orange
1 strip each orange zest and lemon zest, pared with a vegetable peeler and any white pith removed
4 tbsp runny honey
1 vanilla pod, split
2 cloves
1 star anise
8 ripe figs, stalks trimmed
A knob of butter
Vanilla ice-cream or thick Greek yoghurt, to serve

Put the wine, orange juice, zest, honey, vanilla, cloves and star anise into a saucepan and simmer gently for five minutes.

Pierce the figs a few times with a cocktail stick or thin skewer, to help the liquid penetrate the fruit, and carefully lower them into the simmering poaching liquid. Cook, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size, gently turning them over once or twice, until the skins are tender.

Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a bowl. Raise the heat and boil the syrup until it’s reduced and slightly thickened, then stir in the butter. Serve the figs hot or cold with a ball of ice-cream or dollop of Greek yoghurt, and some of the sticky, syrupy juices spooned over the top.

Fig Tart (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

June 29, 2012
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's fig recipes
Almonds and figs go wonderfully together in this tart. Serves eight.

For the crust
350g plain flour, sifted
A pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, plus a little more for greasing the tin
100g icing sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Zest of a lemon

For the filling
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster or vanilla sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
4 eggs, lightly beaten
250g ground almonds
50g plain flour
12-14 figs, top of the stems trimmed, cut lengthways into quarters or eighths, depending on size
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

To make the pastry, pulse together the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then the egg yolks and lemon zest, and pulse until just combined and pulling away from the edge of the bowl – add a splash of iced water only if necessary. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a deep, loose-bottomed, 28cm flan tin and coarsely grate in the pastry. Press the pastry evenly into the sides and base. Chill for 15 minutes. Line with greaseproof paper and baking beans or dried pulses, and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for five to 10 minutes longer, until the base is dried and slightly golden. Leave the shell to cool, and turn down the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 3.

To make the filling, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almonds and flour. Beat the almond mixture into the butter mixture.

Spread the almond mix over the base of the cooled tart. Press in the figs in concentric circles, nestling their bottoms into the almond mixture so they point upwards. Sprinkle over remaining sugar. Bake for an hour to 75 minutes, until the centre is set and the tart is puffed up and golden. Dust with a little icing sugar, if you like, and serve warm or cold.

American Pancakes (Nigella Lawson)

June 28, 2012
  • 30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 300 ml full-fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 rashers streaky bacon or approx.
  • 100g water-thin-cut pancetta
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil for frying bacon
  • Butter for frying pancakes
  • Best-quality maple syrup

Serves: makes approx. 20 pancakes

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly while you get on with the rest of the batter and the bacon.
  2. In a wide-necked jug, measure out the flour and add the baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. In another jug, measure out the milk, beat in the eggs and then the slightly cooled butter, and pour this jug of liquid ingredients into the jug of dry ingredients, whisking as you do so. Or just put everything in the blender and blitz.
  4. In a vegetable oil, fry the bacon (cut into half crosswise) or the pancetta strips until crisp, remove to kitchen towels and cover with more kitchen towels (not because I’m fat phobic – as if! – but because this will help them keep their requisite crispiness). Now, heat either a griddle or non-stick frying pan, smear with a small bit of butter and then start frying. I just pour small amounts straight from the pan (but you could use an American quarter-cup measure if you prefer) so that you have wiggle circumferenced discs of about 4cm in diameter. When you see bubbles erupting on the surface, turn the pancakes over and cook for a couple of minutes, if that, on the other side.
  5. Or just use a blini pan and, as above, turn when the bubbles break through to the uncooked surface. There is a Russian saying to the effect that the first pancake is always botched, so be prepared to sacrifice the initial offering to unceremonious stove-side gobbling.
  6. Pile the pancakes onto plates wigwam with pieces of crispy bacon or pancetta and dribble or pour over, depending on greed and capacity, that clear, brown, woodily fragrant syrup.
  7. Makes about 15 pancakes if cooked in a blini pan; or if not, about 25 pancakes the size of jam jar lids.

Perfect American Pancakes (Felicity Cloake)

June 28, 2012

Makes about 10

45g butter
115g plain flour
115g fine cornmeal
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
300ml buttermilk
100ml whole milk

1. Put the oven on low to keep the pancakes warm, and cook or otherwise prepare any bacon or other accompaniments. Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly.

2. Put the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.

3. Put the egg, buttermilk and milk into a smaller bowl and whisk to combine, then stir in 2 tbsp melted butter. Then add the contents of the bowl to the dry ingredients and mix briefly until just combined.

4. Put a heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat and brush the base with melted butter. Use a large spoon to dollop pancakes into the pan (you’ll probably need to do this in at least 2 batches) and cook until they begin to look dry and bubbly on top: depending on the heat of your pan, this should take about 3 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side and cook for another couple of minutes until golden. Put into the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining pancakes, unless you have customers ready and waiting.

5. Serve and devour immediately, while they’re still hot.