My Bolognaise sauce

Serves 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Ready in: 40 minutes
I was making lasagna the other day and wanted to refresh my memory so I went to my “Cookery book for my Mother” just to check if I had everything needed to make a bolognaise sauce, and realised I had never actually written how to make this sauce. I know, it’s just something that happens and it was taught to me by both my mother and my Italian grandmother, who would turn in her grave seeing this recipe. She would insist that the sauce should simmer for between 10 and 12 hours. Sorry grandma, we don’t have the time nowadays.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable/olive/rapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1½ tin (600g) chopped tomatoes (maybe blended)
  •       or 500g pure “Tomato Passata”
  • ½ tube of Tomato Purée
  • 200ml chicken stock
  •      (or 1 crushed stock cube dissolved in 100ml boiling water)
  • 1 tsp of mixed herbs –
  • or pinch of: sweet paprika powder, oregano, basil, thyme & rosemary
  • 1 pinch of salt & black pepper

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 pinch fresh grated nutmeg or powder
  • 1-2 carrots, roughly grated
  • 1 celery stick finely chopped
  • 1 small glass sherry/brandy/wine

Method:

  1. Add the onions and garlic to a frying pan (or wok) with the oil.
    Fry until the onions are slightly tranluscent.
  2. Add the mince to the frying pan until all of the meat is brown –
    but only just brown as you don’t want your meat burnt.
  3. Once the meat is slightly brown, add the tinned tomatoes (blended – if you want),
    tomato purée, chicken stock and mixed herbs, paprika, salt and pepper if you want.
  4. Cover the pan (or wok) with an anti-splatter lid, lower the heat to just less than half
    and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 min. stirring now and again
  • Serve with pasta or use in a lasagna.

Tip

  • A small glass of sherry/brandy/wine added to the simmering sauce will enhance the taste. Keep the sauce in fridge for 2-3 days or freeze and keep for up 3 months. If frozen: thaw in fridge overnight. Don’t use from frozen.
    .
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Potatoes and leftover Stir-fry

Serves 1 Prep & Cooking Time: 10 minutes

meat41

 

  • 1 onion medium sized or 2 large Charlotte onions
  • 1-2 clove Garlic
  • 1-2 baby sweet peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1 handful frozen peas
  • 4-5 small tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Salt, pepper, marjoram, thyme & basil to taste
  • Some leftover cooked meat/chicken
  1. Finely chop the sweet pepper, onions and garlic
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a wok, then add the chopped onions, garlic and peppers.
  3. Use a mandolin to julienne the potatoes and add these to the wok.
  4. Dice the leftover meat/chicken and add to the wok.
  5. Dissolve the stock cube in ½ litre hot water and add this to the wok.
  6. Stir and add the peas and herbs.
  7. Cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Stir and add the quartered tomatoes, un-cover but leave simmering for 2 more minutes.

 

Corn Pancakes

Cook Time: 1.5 minutes per pancake Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

2014-11-25 13.48.15

  • 100 grams of corn flour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (Gram flour)
  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml low-fat milk (Soya drink/milk)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter for frying
  1. Mix corn flour and other flour with salt.
  2. Add the milk and whisk it completely so there are no lumps left.
  3. Beat in the eggs.
  4. Let rest at least ½ hour.
  5. Fry now light brown pancakes in a little butter and fill them with your favourite stuffing and sprinkle with grated cheese as in the picture. (2mins under the grill)

For the fillings: chopped beef or chicken and mix with spices such as chili, sweet chili sauce, paprika, cumin; or put the hot pancakes on the table and let your guests compose their own mixture.

Chicken, Leek & Rice Pot

Prep 5-10 mins   –    Serves 2-4 unattended cooking 30-35 mins

Chicken-Leek-Rice Pot 5

  • 4-6 Chicken Thighs
  • 2 medium Leeks
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock pot
  • 100g Basmati Rice
  • 10g Butter
  • 400-500 ml boiling water
  • Salt, Pepper
    (Onion salt, Garlic powder, mixed herbs)
  1. Season the thighs to taste.
  2. Heat a wok, when it’s hot add the butter; when this is melted add the thighs skin side up, make sure they don’t overlap, when sealed turn over (approx. 2min per side).
  3. In the meantime finely chop the leeks (cut once length wise and finely slice cross ways); halve the cherry tomatoes; boil the water.
  4. Dissolve the stock pot in the hot water in a bowl/jar.
  5. When the thighs are sealed, evenly add the tomatoes; then the leeks.
  6. Add the dissolved stock, use a little extra water to rinse the bowl/jar and add that to the wok.
  7. Stir a little, making sure all is covered with the liquid. Cover with a lid and leave simmering for 10 mins.
  8. Add the basmati rice, stir making sure the rice is evenly spread and covered with liquid.
  9. Cover again and let simmer for 16-18 mins depending on the rice (if you use brown & white mixed basmati rice cook for 20-22 mins).

Mushroom Gravy with Port and Cranberry

Serves 4 – Preparation time less than 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 200g Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 1tsp duck fat or olive oil
  • 10g butter
  • 1 chicken stock pot/cube
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 1 ice-cube of frozen ducks stock (optional)
  • 25-50ml port
  • 2 tsp cranberry jelly
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp corn/potato flour
  1. De-stalk and peel the mushrooms; cut (like a cake) into 8 wedges.
  2. Heat a frying pan with the duck fat and butter; add the mushrooms and sauté until translucent, stirring now and again.
  3. In the meantime dissolve the chicken stock and the ice-cube in the water.
  4. Add the stock to the frying pan
  5. Add the port and the cranberry jelly.
  6. Lower the heat and let simmer for 10-20 mins.
  7. Add some freshly ground pepper (to taste).
  8. Dissolve the cornflour in a little cold water and add to the frying pan, stir constantly.
  9. If the gravy is too thick; add a little extra water.

If you like your gravy a little more creamy; add 100-150g crème fraîche.

Fishy Greens

Fish Pie 5Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes -> 1 hour
Serves 2-3

  • 100g fresh leaf spinach
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed / squeezed through a crusher
  • 1 tbsp potato/rice flour
  • 300ml semi skimmed milk (for the sauce)
  • 100ml semi skimmed milk (for the broccoli)
  • 2 skinless boneless cod fillets cut into bite size chunks
  • 10 green olives – chopped
  • Herbs: salt, pepper, mixed herbs, paprika
  • 1 broccoli head cut into florets (incl. the stalk finely cut)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6.
  2. Bring a little water to boil in a wok or a large saucepan,
    1. Wash the spinach
    2. Add the spinach and blanch for 3 mins.
    3. Drain, squeeze out the excess water
    4. Line the bottom of a 1.5 litre Pyrex dish with the spinach
  3. Spread the cod over the spinach
  4. In a wok/pan, melt the butter and add the onion.
    1. Sauté for 5 mins before adding the garlic for the last minute.
    2. Add the chosen herbs and chopped olives
    3. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk.
    4. Add the rice flour, and stir until well mixed
    5. Return the pan to the heat. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring, until thickened.
    6. Pour this over the cod.
  5. Steam the broccoli in a microwave for 4-5 minutes
    1. Place the broccoli in a food processor and blend until smooth
    2. Add 100ml milk, salt & pepper to taste
    3. Spread evenly on top of the contents of the dish
  6. Bake covered for 25 minutes
    1. Remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Cauliflower/Broccoli Mash

mashPrep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets, also finely dice the stems
  • 25g butter
  • 4 tbsp milk or single cream
  • Salt, Pepper, herbs and maybe Nutmeg
  1. Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes (until the cauliflower is tender but not soft)
  2. Warm the milk with the spices and butter until the butter is melted
  3. When the cauliflower is ready, transfer it to the food processor
  4. Blend a little then add the milk for flavour, continue blending until the desired consistency is achieved – smooth or coarse mash.
  5. Place the mash into 4-6 Ramekin dishes
  6. Use a spatula to make a pretty pattern on top
  • If you feel really generous – push a little butter into the centre of the ramekin dish
    or melt a little butter and pour it over the mash, don’t drown the mash, just cover it
  • And if you are really “going overboard” cut some thin cheese fingers a la ‘julienne’ and top the mash.
    Not too much/many as it will overpower the taste of the mash.
  • Place in a hot oven until the cheese has melted and is brown


This recipe can be used for both Cauliflower and Broccoli.
Replace references to cauliflower with broccoli.
Steam the Broccoli for 3-4 minutes only.
The mash can be frozen and reheated when required.