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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Courgette and Pecorino Fritters.

Serves 3-4       preparation time 15 minutes       baking time 20-22 minutes
Turn your bumper courgette crop into satisfying snacks, delicious hot and/or cold.

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Courgette and Pecorino Fritters (3)

  • 250g courgette; shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 70-100g grated pecorino (an Italian cheese made from ewes’ milk)
  • 100g Panko (or 80g polenta for gluten free)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed with press)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, for greasing the baking sheet
  1. Toss courgette and salt together in a large colander and place in sink to drain for 10 minutes. Then Squeeze to drain even further.
  2. Mix pecorino, panko, crushed garlic, the egg and pepper in a large bowl; and stir in the drained shredded courgette.
  3. Scoop a table spoon of ‘dough’ and drop onto a large greased baking sheet, roughly shaping each into a log.
  4. Bake in a 200°C oven for 20-22 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Dipping Sauce:
    • Stir chopped chives and basil into sour cream.

Gammon to Honey Roast Ham with Crackling

I love home cooked ham at Christmas and New Year. But I also dread cooking it mainly because I am not sure how to cook it. So this year I searched the net, both Danish and English, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. All of the recipes agreed on the cooking time, and I opted for a version of half boiled and half roasting.
I had purchased a small raw gammon joint of 1.4kg and here is how I cooked it.
I wrote this in January 2017; but forgot to post it.
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Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes per 500g
plus 20 minutes
Serves 8 Rest Time 2x 10 minutes

For boiling:

  • 1.4kg gammon joint
  • 5 cloves
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1-2 Onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds

For oven:

  • Many cloves, enough to poke into each diamond
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  1. Place the gammon in a saucepan, cover with water add 5 cloves, bay leaves, onions, pepper and mustard seeds.
  2. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for half the total cooking time.
  3. Remove from saucepan and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Now remove the rind leaving as much as possible of the fat on the gammon.
  5. Crisscross the fat with a knife making a diamond pattern.
  6. Mix the honey and mustard, and spread it over the fat
  7. Then poke each diamond with a clove.
  8. Place in a 180°C oven for the remaining time. Keep an eye on the joint and cover with foil if it colours too much.
  9. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving hot.

Make the Crackling:

  1. Once the rind is removed slice it into bite size
  2. Place all the pieces on a shallow baking tray
  3. When finished place another tray on top to prevent the slices curling
  4. Place in the oven with the ham on a lower rack and bake for 10-20 minutes
  5. After 10 minutes remove the upper tray, and salt the cracklings, and bake for 10 more minutes or until cracklings are nicely browned.

PS. The best about the rind is; that it can be purchase from Morrison’s for 40-50p
Just pre-boil the rind (5-10 minutes). The time it takes to heat the oven.

Homemade Potato Wedges

I need something more for a dinner party and didn’t want to have just boiled potatoes, I thought of wedges and checked my freezer if I happen to have some frozen wedges; but alas I didn’t. Now that the thought was implanted in my head I looked around on the net and found that making and cooking wedges wasn’t that difficult; so here is what I did.

Prep time max 5 minutes unattended cooking (baking) time 35 minutes
Serves 2-4
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  • 2-3 potatoes per person, I used new small potatoes
  • 1 tsp each of Salt, Pepper, Onion-salt, Garlic-salt, fresh Thyme … and whatever you fancy like: ginger paprika, curry …
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (or sunflower/rape seed)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC. Line a baking tray with foil (saves washing up).
  2. Cut the potatoes in half; then cut 3 wedges from each half. Place the wedges I a bow full of cold water for about 5 minutes.
  3. Put the oil in a small plastic bag; Drain and dry the wedges and place them in the bag. Close the bag with a peg so that it doesn’t leak. Then shake the bag making sure all the wedges are coated in oil.
  4. Place all your herbs in another plastic bag; and move the wedges into this bag; again close the bag and shake. Once all your herbs are used tip the wedges out into your baking tray, spread evenly and place in oven.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes – and that’s it. Serve and enjoy.

 

Fried Leftover Rice Cakes

I can’t remember where I found this recipe; but I can promise you it absolutely fabulous. I have made some changes to suit me and as you can see it doesn’t take long to prepare and cook. If served with vegetables it’s a meal and a half. The cakes are great for ovo-vegetarians and they are total gluten free.

Prep time max 5 minutes resting time 15 minutes
cooking time 3-4 minutes per side
  • 150-200g leftover cooked rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bunch spring onions; chopped finely
  • 1 large cooked beetroot; chopped finely
  • Dried herbs: onion salt, garlic salt, pepper
  • Fresh herbs: parsley, basil, thyme (all finely chopped)
  • Instead of spring onions and beetroot, try: peeled and finely chopped green and red peppers.
  1. Mix everything together; ensuring the egg is thoroughly mixed in.
  2. Place the mixture on a sheet of cling film and roll to a sausage approx. 5-8cm diameter. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easy to cut and use; do not freeze to a solid sausage. Remove from freezer and keep in fridge until required or cook straight away.
  3. When ready; cut the “sausage” into 1finger wide slices through the cling film.
  4. Gently remove the cling film. Heat a little butter and oil in a frying pan and fry the slices, on medium to high heat, for 3-4 minutes on each side.
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The rice cakes are delicious cold, warm and/or as a side dish to Indian and Chinese cooking.

A healthy evening meal

This meal is nearly vegetarian; just remove the pork and you have a very nice dish. Its not too filling and it only takes 5-10 minutes to cook and serve.
evening-meal

  • 1 medium Carrot roughly julienned
  • 1 Pak Choi – cut into 1cm slices (except for the leaves)
  • 5 thinly cut slices of a pork chop
  • ½ onion, sliced finely
  • 1 tsp butter/rape seed oil
  • Herbs: salt, pepper, garlic-salt, mixed herbs
  • Heat the oil in a high sided frying pan
  • Fry the onions until translucent
  • Add the julienned carrots and fry for approx. 5 minutes
  • Then remove from pan; but leave the juices
  • Fry the pork adding the herbs to taste.
  • When the pork is sealed re-add the carrots and onions.
  • Also add the chopped Pak Choi and leaves, stir a little
  • Cover with lid and reduce the heat to minimum.
  • Leave simmering for 3-5 minutes; and then serve.

This meal is nearly vegetarian; just remove the pork and you have a very nice dish. Its not too filling and it only takes 5-10 minutes to cook and serve.

Fish Balls in Tomato Sauce

Serves 3-4
Total time 6 minutes Fiskeboller i tomatsovs
This is such an easy, quick and tasty dinner that I thought I would share it with my readers. All that’s required is that you have a tin of fishballs and chopped tomato.

  • 1 tin 400g Bornholms Fiskeboller
    (purchased online from Danish Food Direct)
  • 1 tin chopped Tomato
  • Herbs to taste – I used Salt and Pepper, Thyme and Parsley
  • 1st make the tomato sauce, simply empty tin into a saucepan and heat, once hot add the required herbs.
  • 2nd strain the fishballs and add to the tomato sauce.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the sauce simmer on lowest heat possible for max 5 minutes.
  • Serve on a bed of rice or as in the picture with rice noodles.