Posts tagged ‘comfort food’

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

January 24, 2011

Australia Day: The Sweet Crunch of an ANZAC Biscuit


The smell of Australia Day is in the air. I may be in London but that isn’t going to stop me baking an Aussie treat or two. It’s an excuse for ocker baking if ever there was one.

I make ANZAC Biscuits every year around Australia Day so was actually considering giving them a miss this year and trying something different.

I couldn’t have imagined the uproar!

Needless to say, the first Aussie treat I’m baking this year, is ANZAC Biscuits. The great thing about these biscuits is  you only need few pantry staples, including that essential Aussie baking element, dessicated coconut. What would an Australian biscuit be without it? And, with only about 20 minutes from getting the flour out of the cupboard to having a hot biscuit in your hand what could be better? I shouldn’t ever have thought I’d get away with not making them!

ANZAC Biscuits ... all ready for Australia Day

So, with Australia Day day only a couple of days away, we’ve got our jar of ANZAC Biscuits at the ready. M will be taking some into work come the 26th January. And come the weekend, we’ll have some to munch on for the Australia Day BBQ.

‘BBQ?’ you say? Yes it is the middle of winter  in London but but our winter Australia Day BBQ has become something of a tradition.  It happens every year, no matter rain, snow or freezing temperatures! At least we’ll have something yummy to munch on while we gather round the barbie with our scarves and gloves on!

Hope you enjoy making these for yourself!

Sx.

ANZAC Biscuits ... the sweet crunch

ANZAC BISCUITS RECIPE

So what do you need?

1 cup plain flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

125g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons water

How do you put it together?

– Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

– In a big bowl, place your flour, oats, cocunut and sugar. Give a good stir to combine.

– In a small saucepan melt butter with golden syrup and water over a gentle heat.

– When it’s all melted together remove from heat and immediately add bicarbonate of soda. Stir quickly to incorporate and you’ll get a nice foamy top to the butter mixture.

– Pour butter mixture over dry mix and stir until it’s all combined.

– Place level tablespoon scoops of the mix onto a lined baking tray. You want them to be about 4 or 5 cm apart as the ANZACs will spread during cooking.

– Press each of the little scoops down gently using a fork. You want them to be a little flattened and with a nice ridge from the fork prongs.

– Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave on tray to firm up for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool.

The trick to making ANZAC Biscuits just the way you like them is how long you cook them for. Cook them more on the 10 minutes side and they’ll be chewy. If you do it this way, they’ll seem slightly soft when you remove them from the oven. Don’t worry about this softness, as long as they are the right colour they’ll firm up when cool. If you like crunchy ANZAC Biscuits then you want to cook them longer; 15minutes as long as your oven doesn’t start to give them too much colour.

December 23, 2010

Amazon Delivery Disappointment No More: Cooking the Presents


One of the things I love about Christmas is that it’s a good excuse for gratuitous baking.

M and I are going North to his sisters for Christmas this year and so I wanted to put together some little baked hampers for his folks up there and our friends down here. It’s a plan I’m now feeling thankful  for  as  in this snowy weather few internet orders are making their destinations in time for Christmas and I would rather avoid the Oxford Street Christmas Crush.

And so the bake-off began …

Granola with Nuts and Honey

I love making granola but it was Clotilde  at Chocolate & Zucchini that gave me the idea of making it into a present. Simple to put together you really can make granola however you fancy. I do it by eye according to what I have in the cupboard and how I fancy it at the time. Lots of oats, a little wheatgerm, a mixture of chopped nuts, some desicated coconut and a sprinkling of cinnamon and ginger. Mix all this together and stir through a splash of vegetable oil and several tablespoons of honey. Do this according to how healthy or sweet / crispy you like it. I don’t like it too sweet so I just add it very gradually, stirring really well until all ingredients are well coated. Spread it out on a baking tray with edges, and cook in a slow oven, checking and tossing ingredients every 10-15 minutes so they don’t burn. When the mixture is a nice golden brown remove from the oven and let to cool in the tray. Once cool you can add dried fruit or sultanas.

If you’re a bit unsure how to progress doing it by eye, try out Clotilde’s granola formula.

Next, Chocolate Orange Biscotti with chunks of Almonds … I’ll post my recipe for this after Christmas when I have a bit more time. If you already have a basic chocolate biscotti recipe though all you do is add orange rind to the sugar during initial stage.

Choc-Orange Biscotti with Almonds

A few smaller packets with little origami squares behind to make them look pretty. Have you noticed my obsession with origami paper at the moment?

More Biscotti!

Some of Dorie Greenspan’s Speculoos

Spicy Speculoos

And finally a few treats from our recent trip to Australia … Okay I know these aren’t homemade but they are a bit of fun. There are some Cherry Ripes, Mondo’s Crunchy Vanilla Nougat, and of course, Minties!

Aussie Treats

Now, for a bit of a rest!

S.

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.

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