Archive for ‘winter’

March 7, 2011

Beef Cannelloni on a little Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck


Those that know me, have known me as a vegetarian for most of my life.  Until a year ago, the last time I’d eaten meat was when I was just eleven years old.  Back then I was seemingly more strong willed than I am today.  I was determined to stick with my new found vegetarianism.  But I knew that there was one dish that might tempt me, beef cannelloni. Ooh my.

As the smell wafted up from the family dinner table, the cannelloni made it’s best efforts to lure me. Somehow I held strong and stuck with my vegetables.

Clearly my determination has wavered in my adulthood and now I’m back on the meat eating side of the fence. So  a couple of weekends ago when M and I decided to have a classic movie night in, it seemed like a great reason to go to a little extra effort in the kitchen and reacquaint myself with the old favourite.

What a brilliant night in. The wine was plentiful and the cannelloni was scrumptious, not too rich as I didn’t make it with a white sauce. Perhaps slightly cheesily we continued the Italian theme in our classic movie selection … the fabulous William Wyler romantic comedy, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregroy Peck.

It had us both in fits of tears and chuckles …  if you haven’t seen it, see it!

Sx.


Beef Cannelloni

Ingredients:

1 box dried cannelloni shells
A couple of handfuls of mushrooms, finely chopped (I used the chesnut variety)
1 small onion, finely chopped
400g lean minced beef
1 egg yolk
Pinch nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/3 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter / olive oil
Tomato Sauce (see below)
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper
For the Tomato Sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
400g tin, chopped tomato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper

Method:

To make the filling:
Melt butter (or heat olive oil) in pan. Add onion and fry slowly until soft and just translucent. Don’t let it brown.
Add mushrooms and beef and continue cooking until beef is browned, stir occasionally so it won’t stick.
Add a little water to allow a little sauce to form. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Remove from heat and leave to cool a little.
Stir through egg yolk and parsley, leaving a little parsley to garnish later.
To make the Tomato Sauce:
Melt butter (or heat olive oil) in pan. Add garlic and onion and fry slowly until soft and just translucent. Don’t let it brown.
Add tomatoes and a little water. Let to simmer about 10 minutes. It’s good for the sauce to be on the runny side as it’s from here than the dried cannelloni will take the moisture to cook.
Season to taste. Add a little red wine vinegar to counter the sweetness of the tomatoes. Do this to taste.
To make the Cannelloni:
Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Place a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the base of your tray to stop the cannelloni from sticking.
Fill the dry cannelloni shells with the filling mixture, you can pack them quite tightly. Pack them close together in the tray.
Cover shells with the tomato sauce.
Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
Garnish with lots of Parmesan cheese and the reserved chopped parsley.
Note: If you want to make it a little richer, add a layer of Mozzarella above the tomato sauce.

A Classic Style Beef Cannelloni
By Good Bite In
Published: March 7, 2011
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 50 min

December 19, 2010

Bacon and Eggs with Lashings of Honey and Mustard


Yesterday was cold and snowy in London and today is the same. Looks like it will be either a white or a slushy Christmas.

Even the ducks were cold

So this morning after an early morning walk through the park, M and I were ready for a piping hot cup of tea and a bit of a Sunday bacon and egg treat.

This version was a bit of an experiment for us and it worked brilliantly. While M lashed the bacon with honey, I soft boiled the eggs and made mustard butter to griddle the bread. Honey and Mustard are always a great combo but with bacon and eggs … it’ll make the bacon go super sweet and crispy and you go gooey for more.

S.

So what do you need?

Bacon Rashers

Eggs

Baguette (or alternative)

Wholegrain Mustard

Honey

Butter

Salt and Pepper

So how do you make it like this?

Put a heaped tablespoon of honey in a bowl. Add a tiny little bit of just boiled water to make it a bit runnier. Be careful not to make it too runny. Put the bacon rashers in the bowl and coat thoroughly. Place rashers on a sheet of baking paper and put under the grill until cooked and crispy. Keep an eye on them … with the honey they are easy to burn.

Whilst the bacon cooks soft boil the eggs. The method I use is to boil some water in a small saucepan and carefully place in eggs. Let boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Cover with lid and let sit 6 min.

Mix lots of the wholegrain mustard into a smaller amount of butter so you have a mustard butter. Spread generously over bread. Place on warm griddle if you have one or else under grill with bacon. You want them nice and toasty.

Remove eggs from water when the time has passed and run under cold water. Peel the eggs carefully as they are more delicate when soft boiled.

Layer the honeyed bacon and slice soft-boiled egg on top of the bread. Serve hot.

Bacon and Eggs to warm you up?

December 19, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Beef Daube Fights the Cold


Bit of a change of plan with French Fridays this week. Having just got back to UK from Australia we’ve been given a cold shock by the snow that’s engulfing London. Being that those of us cooking along to Dorie’s latest book have the choice of when to cook each dish this month I was thinking the Speculoos would have to be first. They are after all, one of my favourite Christmas treats. But as the snow prevailed and our central heating struggled, we made a switch to Dorie’s Go-to Beef Daube.

Beef Daube is a classic beef stew, slow cooked with lashings of red wine and Cognac. Due to our rather bare post-travel cupboards, we had to sub in extra carrots for parsnips, and extra onions for shallots. However, any hesitations about this were dismissed as soon as we opened the oven door; the smell was intense … the only problem was waiting the two and a half hours in needed in the oven.

Dorie's Go-to Beef Daube

We ate it with a crusty baguette, warmed in the oven and broken into thick hunks. The garlic, wine and cognac that belt out of this dish make it super warming and rich. The slow cooking gives the beef no choice but to melt in your mouth.

Beef Daube fights the cold

As we polished it off using the crusty bread to mop up the sauce, the snow started to fall once more.

Need I say more?

S.

Coming Up next time on French Friday is ‘Speculoos’, really I am making them this time.  French Fridays with Dorie is a collection of people cooking along to Dorie Greenspan’s latest book. Feel like joining in, or making Beef Daube for yourself, then check out Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As requested by Dorie recipes for this group are not republished online.

December 13, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken the Lazy Way


Watching S cooking up a storm for the last few weeks and posting the results, I was beginning to get kitchen withdrawal. Ok, and the slightest bit of envy that her fledgling blogging was taking off more than mine. What can I say? I’m male and as much as I would claim not to be competitive I really am. So it was time for me to get in the kitchen, pull on the Cath Kidston apron and attempt French Fridays with Dorie.

Roast Chicken Les Paresseux is essentially Chicken the Lazy Way, which suits me fine. My approach to the kitchen is one pot cooking as who wants to spend their evenings scouring pans? This dish is perfect for this as once the chicken is cooking you can prep the veg, taking the chicken from the oven midway and laying the veg around. You then place it back to finish cooking.

Lazy way does it just fine

My other kitchen trait is to cook by instinct, recipes being a useful guide which I’ll often disregard  half way through. This wasn’t  an option with S popping her head into the kitchen to remind me that it’s French Friday with Dorie…. Not M!

What I love about the recipe, apart from the simplicity is Dorie’s chefs treat. This is the bread which the chicken is elevated on. The chicken benefits from not wallowing in the fat which is absorbed by the bread. It becomes crisp on contact with the roasting tray and can be crisped up with a little extra oven time while the chicken rests. We have cooked this dish twice now, first devouring the bread fresh from the oven and secondly served to guests as a quick starter with  gooseberry relish S had hidden in the fridge.

A couple of slices of good bread slipped under the chicken right at the start.

This is a great dish whether serving to friends; or just the two of us, using the leftovers for the next days lunch… if there’s any left!

Simplicity does it

M.

Coming Up next time on French Friday is ‘Speculoos’, the best of spicy biscuits you can find.  French Fridays with Dorie is a collection of people cooking along to Dorie Greenspan’s latest book. Feel like joining in, or making Roast Chicken Les Paresseux for yourself, then check out Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As requested by Dorie recipes for this group are not republished online.

October 21, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Hands off my Hachis Parmentier


Hands off! The Hachis Parmentier is fresh out of the oven and the smell is pretty damn incredible. M is trying to sneakily pick the peaks of crispy mash off the top, and I am having serious Shepherds Pie flashbacks. Who knew that French Fridays would keep getting better and better.

Hachis Parmentier

Straight out of the oven ... nice and crispy on top

Hachis Parmentier  is pretty much like Shepherds or Cottage Pie. It’s not hard to make – a little time consuming but not laborious. A rich filling made with Beef Chuck (stewed for an hour and a half), home made Boullion (resulting from the stewing) and sausage meat, then topped off with mash and cheese.  I did have to resort to mince instead of sausage however after I discovered my butcher didn’t stock beef sausages … apparently they are out of vogue … Who knew!

The only hiccup I had was that once I had created the pie mix it wasn’t quite filling the palette in the way I expected. That may have been to do with the lack of sausage  (though I did season my mince with sausage like spices). So to build it up I added a bit of salt, thyme, extra tomato paste and a dash of Worcestershire sauce (is that sacrilege?). This improved the depth and added the touch of sweetness it seemed to need.

Hachis Parmentier

Peppery Rocket Salad and Hachis make a perfect combo

One thing is for certain, it tasted fabulous …

Hachis Parmentier ... Fabulous Friday night dinner (though it's actually Thursday!)

… and by the end it was me was trying to pick off the tasty little crispy bits of mash from the top … aren’t they everybody’s favourite bits?

Who’s for leftovers tomorrow?

S.

Coming Up next time on French Friday is Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake … just in time for my birthday I’m thinking …. Feel like joining in or making these for yourself check out Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As requested by Dorie recipes for this group are not republished online.

October 14, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup


French Fridays with Dorie is  a project involving a seemingly huge number of bloggers cooking their way through  Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours . This week’s recipe is Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. I couldn’t be happier.

It isn’t what most would imagine to be a French dish to be, but France’s involvement in Vietnam and the resulting influences on both countries cuisine could be said to make it so. This recipe is Dorie’s own mix up of pho ga (a chicken broth based soup) and la sa ga ( a coconut based curry soup). It reminds me of the traditional Pho, found in it’s many varieties across Vietnam.

 

Busy Hannoi ... There must be some pho nearby ...

 

When I traveled  in Vietnam several years back I ate Pho almost every day for breakfast, normally at roadside stalls. If your eyebrows are raised, Pho is Vietnam’s equivalent to cornflakes or toast and over the course of a month I became addicted to it. Back in London I regularly try to make my own version of it. Or else I head to Mien Tay Restaurant for a bowl. It’s got to be the best in London.

 

Pho ... even in the mountains of the North

 

So this recipe by Dorie was right up my street. I couldn’t wait to get started.

 

Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

 

It’s an easy soup to put together and all the elements can be prepared ahead of time and assembled at the last minute. What I love about this style of soup is that you make the base and then layer all the elements on top. In Vietnam all these extras are normally served alongside the soup and it’s up to the individual to decide how much of each they want – extra herbs, beansprouts, fresh chillies, sauces etc. I’ve had a cold this week so I went crazy on the chili!

 

Extra Chilli and Chilli Oil on top

 

M couldn’t wait for me to take the photo, he had to get stuck in.

 


Stuck in ... more chilli please

 

We loved this … full of flavour and our favourite so far for French Fridays. Thanks Dorie!

S.

Coming Up next time on French Friday  is Hachis Parmentier … comfort food if ever there was some …. Feel like joining in or making these for yourself check out Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As requested by Dorie recipes for this group are not republished online.

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