Zabaglione Ice Cream

pudding

This was served as part of the dessert on my recent Italian night. It taken from the book “Lola’s Ice Creams and Sundaes” by Morfudd Richards

I served it with Lemon tart but is equally nice on its own. There aren’t many ingredients and is simple to make ahead.

You will need an ice cream machine to make this

Ingredients (serves 5-6)

ice cream1

12 egg yolks

200g caster sugar

250ml Marsala

450ml Whipping cream

Cook!

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar
  2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the hot water does not touch the bowl. Add the Marsala and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to foam and swells into a soft, frothy mass. If you are using a probe thermometer, heat to 80C and maintain for 15 secondsice cream
  3. Add the cream, then transfer the mix to a container and place into an ice bath, in order to cool the custard as quickly as possible to 4C
  4. Put the mix in a covered container and transfer to a fridge to mature for a minimum of 4 hours (or ideally overnight)
  5. Churn in an ice cream machine until firm
  6. Transfer to a freer until needed

Enjoy!

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Cannellini Beans with Rosemary

cannelini beans This was served with the main course as part of my recent Italian meal. It’s by Nigella Lawson from he “Nigellisima” book and is an excellent side dish that can be served with most meat or fish. It could also be eaten on its own in a packed lunch may be with some salad Ingredients (Serves 2-4) 2 tablespoons regular olive oil 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary Zest & juice of 1 unwaxed lemon 1 small clove garlic, peeled 2 x 400g cannellini beans drained and rinsed Salt and pepper to taste Cook!

  1. In a non-stick frying pan placed over a medium to high heat, warm the oil, then add the rosemary and lemon zest and let them sizzle, as you stir, for about 30 seconds
  2. Now grate in the garlic (a garlic crusher works equally well) and stir for another 30 seconds, making sure that the garlic doesn’t colour.
  3. Put in the beans with some rinsing water still clinging to them, stirring gently but thoroughly enough to coat the beans
  4. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are hot
  5. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil

Enjoy! piranflag

Roast Red Onions with Basil

onion and basil salad

This was served with the main course as part of my recent Italian night. Its from Nigella Lawson’s book “Nigellisima”

I served this with steak but I think its quite versatile and can be served with many different dishes. Although you can serve this warm I recommend you making it ahead of time to allow the flavours to develop and serve at room temperature. However you serve it, add the basil leaves at the very last minutes as these are like a salad leave in this dish and you’ll certainly notice it

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

1Kg Red onions (preferably small) quartered  then peeled

125ml Olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1 teaspoon best quality balsamic vinegar or to taste

Large bunch fresh basil

Cook!

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6
  2. Tip the quartered onions into a roasting tin, pour the olive oil over them, then scatter with fennel seeds, tossing the onions in the tin to coat them thoroughly
  3. Put the tin into the oven for an hour by which time the onions should be cooked through
  4. Remove from the oven, then toss gently and leave to come to room temperature
  5. When serving, add the basil leaves, torn from their stems and toss again, seasoning to taste

Enjoy!

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Fettuccini with Mushrooms, Marsala and Mascarpone

pasta

This pasta dish was served as part of my recent Italian night

Its a Nigella Lawson recipe taken from her “Nigellisima” book and has an interesting mix of flavours.

I recommend that you ensure the bowls are warmed beforehand as it can become a bit claggy once it starts to cool down.

If serving as a meal on it’s own it can be served with salad and garlic bread

Ingredients (serves 2)

15g dried porcini

60ml marsala

60ml water

125g Mascarpone

Freshly grated nutmeg

Ground Pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus more to serve

Salt for pasta water to taste

250g Fettuccini or tagliatelle

1 tablespoon butter

Small clove garlic, peeled

4 tablespoons grated parmesan

Cook!

  1. Put the porcini into a small pan and cover with the marsala and water, put on the heat and bring to the boil. As soon as it starts boiling, turn off the heat and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes
  2. Put on the water for the pasta
  3. Measure the mascarpone into a bowl, adding a good grating of fresh nutmeg and ground pepper, and when the porcini have had their soaking, strain the contents of the mushroom pan into the bowl, letting the mushroom-Marsala liquid trickle over the mascarpone. Whisk or fork this together to combinepasta sauce
  4. Squeeze the porcini out over the bowl, then remove them to a chopping board, top with the parsley and chop both together with a mezzalunapasta sauce 2
  5. The pasta water should be boiling by now, so salt it and add the pasta
  6. In a large pan (a wok is ideal) ], warm the butter and grate in (or mince) the garlic, stirring it over the heat for about 30 seconds.
  7. Mix in the chopped porcini and parsley and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the contents of the mascarpone bowl and stir until it comes to a bubble. Turn the heat off
  8. Reserve a small cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta and tip it from the colander into the pan of mushroom-mascarpone sauce and toss to coat, adding a little pasta water to loosen the sauce should you want to
  9. Now add the parmesan and toss again.
  10. Check seasoning, serve into warm bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley

Enjoy!

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Tomato and Basil Crostini

antipasti

This was part of the antipasti course on my recent Italian night

It’s very simple but tasty and can be prepared ahead of time. The better the quality of tomato the better the dish and don’t be afraid to add the salt. Also making the tomato and basil mixture ahead of time allows the flavours to develop further

Ingredients

Sliced baguette or ciabatta bread

punnet of good quality cherry tomatoes or San Mazano tomatoes

Garlic

Fresh Basil

Good quality olive oil

Cook!

  1. Grill the bread on both sides until golden brown
  2. Rub sliced garlic on one side of each of the pieces of bread
  3. Pour a good glug of olive oil over each piece of bread and put in an oven heated to about 200C. Keep an eye on the bread so it doesn’t burn but bake the bread until it become hard and crisp
  4. Take the bread from the oven, pour a good glug of olive oil over each piece again and set aside
  5. Halve the tomatoes and chop the basil. Combine in a bowl with olive oil and season with salt to taste
  6. When ready to serve, place a portion of the tomato and basil mix on each slice of bread

Enjoy

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Italian Night

mix on plate

I recently had friends over for dinner and decided to do and Italian themed night

I love Italian food and probably my favourite food experiences have been when on holiday in Italy. I always loved the long drawn out nature of an Italian meal and thought it would be ideal for our dinner party.

The dishes were simplistic and a lot of the pre-prep meant that i wasn’t tied to the kitchen

I went for the classic Antipasti/Pasta/Secondi/Dessert structure of an Italian meal and with nice breaks between courses meant that we didn’t feel overstuffed afterwards.

For the meal I went for

  • Selection of Antipasti
  • Fettuccini with mushrooms, marsala and mascarpone
  • Florentine style steak (T-bone) with Cannellini beans & Rosemary and Roast Red Onions with Basil
  • Lemon Tart with Zabaglione Ice cream and a shot of Limoncello

I went to my favourite stall at Doncaster Market which has a fine selection of Italian salamis and asked them to give me a few different types. I also bought olives, sun-dried tomatoes and pickled garlic. I also did a tomato and basil crostini

antipasti 2

I thought the pasta would be a nice contrast in between the antipasti and meat course. I would recommend that you warm the plates beforehand to keep it warm as it can be a bit claggy when it cools

The steak was simply grilled on my Big Green Egg although you could do it on a BBQ or on a hot skillet if you haven’t got time to set one up. I simply brushed with olive oil and seasoned well and cooked for a couple of minutes until seared on the outside and medium rare on the inside

tbones

steak cooked

The courses all worked well together and the lemon dessert with zabglione ice cream worked a treat at the end. The lemon tart was courtesy of my wife and the ice cream complemented it perfectly

pudding

However word of warning, long drawn out Italian meals means that there is ample opportunity to drink and much wine was drunk that night!

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Roast Lamb Dinner

table set

Easter has been and gone and we had our traditional Sunday roast. I think after Christmas Day this has always been the other main festive roast dinner of the year

As its the start of spring I wanted to keep everything as seasonal as possible. I like to have lamb at this time of year and thought that I’d build the rest of the dinner around this. I didn’t want to go mad and load up the plate with lots of different dishes and just thought about having flavours that kept the spring theme in mind and complimented each other

In the end I went for;

  • Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary
  • Crunchy roast potatoes with saffron
  • Rosemary & Onion Sauce
  • Braised peas with spring onions & lettuce
  • Gravy
  • Stuffing

I confess that the stuffing was of the shop bought ready mix variety but hey we can’t all be perfect!

Recipes below, all to serve about 4-6 people with left-overs

dinner plate

Roast Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary

I cooked my leg of lamb on my Big Green Egg so if you are an owner you’ll know how to cook it low and slow and there is no need to cover with foil. For the purposes of this I have assumed you are using a conventional oven

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb weighing about 4lb (1.8kg)

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways into about 24 slithers

2 large stems fresh rosemary, cut into about 24 sprigs

1 small onion peeled

salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook!

  1. Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 5. 375F or 190C. For a Big Green Egg or similar heat  to 160C
  2. Make about 24 small, deep cuts in the skin of the lamb using a small, sharp knife. Then push a sliver of garlic followed by a small sprig of rosemary, into each cut. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper
  3. Next cut the onion in half and place it in the bottom of a roasting tin, then transfer the lamblamb precook
  4. Cover the tin loosely with foil then cook in the oven on a high shelf for 1 1/2 hours. After this take the foil off and let it cook for another 30 minutes
  5. If cooking on a Big Green Egg, cook for 3-4 hours
  6. Remove the lamb, cover loosely with foil again and allow to rest for about 20 minutes

Crunchy Roast Potatoes with Saffron

Ingredients

2lb (900g) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 1.5 inch (4cm) pieces

1 teaspoon saffron stamens

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt

Cook!

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425F (220C) and place a baking tray with 2 tablespoons of oil in it to pre-heat as well

  1. Crush the saffron to a powder with a pestle and mortarsaffron pestle
  2. Then place the potatoes in a saucepan with sufficient boiling water to almost cover them, add a dessertspoon of salt and half the saffron powder. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 6 minutes.saffronpotatos pre cook
  3. When the time is up, lift a potato out using the skewer to see if the outer edge is fluffy. If so then drain off the water, place the lid back on the pan and, holding the lid firmly shake the saucepan vigorously. This will create a fluffy surface so the finished potatoes will be really crunchypots after boil
  4. Now mix the oil with he rest of the saffron powder, then remove the tray from the oven and place it over a direct medium heat. Next, put the potatoes into the hot oil, tilt the tray and baste them well. Then using a small brush, quickly paint the potatoes with the saffron oil, making sure they are well coated.
  5. Now return the tray to the highest shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crunchy.

Rosemary and Onion Sauce

Ingredients

1 rounded tablespoon rosemary leaves

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

25g butter

25g plain flour

175ml milk

175ml vegetable stock

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

salt and freshly milled black pepper

Cook!

  1. In  a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onions over a very gentle heat for about 5 minutes, you don’t want them to colour so keep an eye on them.
  2. While this is happening, bruise the rosemary leaves with a pestle and mortar to release their oil, then chop them very, very finely and add them to the onion
  3. Continue to cook as gently as possible for a further 15 minutes, again, without letting the onions colour too much.
  4. Next, using a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the onions and their buttery juices till smooth. Then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, still stirring, followed by the stock, bit by bit, whilst vigorously whisking with a balloon whisk
  5. Now taste and season with salt and pepper and barely simmer on the lowest possible heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Next remove from the heat and and liquidise. You can either liquidise all of it for a smooth sauce or half for a more chunky sauce.
  7. Gently reheat all of the sauce, add the creme fraiche and pour it into a warmed serving jug

Braised Peas with Spring Onions & Lettuce

Ingredients

a knob of butter

olive oil

1 heaped teaspoon flour

285ml chicken or vegetable stock

6 spring onions, trimmed, outer leaves discarded and finely sliced

400g fresh or frozen peas

2 little gem lettuces

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

good-quality extra virgin olive oil

Cook!

  1. Slowly heat the butter and a good glug of olive oil in a pan
  2. Add the flour and stir around, then slowly pour in the stock
  3. Turn up the heat and add the spring onions, peas and lettuce with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender
  5. Taste and season as necessary and squeeze in a little lemon. Served drizzled with a splash of olive oil

Gravy

Ingredients

the juices left in the roasting tin from the lamb

1 rounded tablespoon plain flour

570ml (1 pint) hot stock (you can control the thickness of you gravy by reducing or increasing the amount of stock you use

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

splash of red wine

Cook!

  1. Remove the lamb from the roasting tin. Tilt the tin and you will see the fat separating from the darker juices. Spoon off the fat leaving about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of fat in the tin
  2. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the sides and base of the tin to release any crusty bits which are very important for flavour
  3. Next, place the tin over direct heat turned fairly low and, when the fat and juices begin to sizzle, add the flour & mustard powder. Quickly, using a wooden spoon, stir using brisk circular movements
  4. Soon you will have a smooth paste, so now begin to add the hot stock, a little at a time, whisking briefly and blending after each addition.
  5. Now turn the heat up to medium and you will find that, as the stock is added and it reaches simmering point, the gravy will have thickened
  6. If the gravy is too thin for you let it bubble more and reduce, if its too thick add a little more liquid
  7. Add the redcurrant jelly to melt into the gravy and a splash of red wine to add body

Enjoy!

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No Frills French Onion Soup

IMG_0677

This is an easy to make French Onion style soup.It may be a bit sweet for some palates and it can be enhanced with the addition of melted cheese on slices of baguette

Ingredients (Serves 2)

50g butter

3 large Spanish onions, sliced

1 tablespoon caster sugar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

150ml dry white wine

600ml (1 pint) hot, fresh chicken or vegetable stock (a stock cube can be used instead)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon French Brandy

Cook!

1. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the sliced onions. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook over a high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently until you get a caramel brown tinge to the onions. Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds

IMG_0667

2. Pour the wine into the pan and cook vigorously for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the hot stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the onions are tender

IMG_0671

3. Stir the brandy into the soup and season to taste.

Enjoy!

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Goan Style Hot and Sour Pork (Vindaloo)

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For years I’ve enjoyed curry, normally after umpteen pints and a stagger into the local Indian restaurant. I normally prescribed to “the hotter the better” club with Vindaloo being my usual order (normally making me hate myself the next morning while crying on the toliet suffering from the after effects)

As I got into cooking curries myself imagine my surprise when I found out that I hadn’t actually been eating a Vindaloo but just a blooming hot curry sauce.

Proper Vindaloos have a semi-Portuguese origin and are vinegar based. It is still very hot but the hot and sour nature of the dish makes it very different from what you normally expect

This dish from Madhur Jaffrey uses Pork although you could quite easily change this to lamb or beef. There are a few stages to the cooking of this but the vindaloo paste once made can be stored ahead of cooking and you could make a large batch and freeze it so its on hand.

You can control how many chillis you want to add if you want it hotter or less. I like to serve mine with a pullao rice and a naan and of course a nice cold beer!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2-3 dried, hot red chillis

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

3inch cinnamon stick

1 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 1/2- 2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

10 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion peeled and sliced into half rings

4-6 tablespoons plus 250ml (8 fl oz) water

900g boneless pork cut into 1 inch cubes

1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 small whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Cook!

1. Grind the cumin seeds, red chills, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a spice grinder. Put the ground spices into a bowl and add the vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix and set aside

spice mix

spice girnd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Put the oil into a wide, heavy pan and set over a medium heat. Put in the onions and fry, stirring frequently until they turn brown and crisp.

3. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and put them into a food blender or processor. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the blender and puree the onions.

4. Add this puree to the ground spices in the bowl. This is the vindaloo paste

onion in paste

vindaloo paste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Dry off the meat cubes with kitchen paper and remove large pieces of fat, if any

6. Put the ginger and garlic into a blender or processor and blend until you have a smooth paste

7. Heat the oil remaining in the pan over a medium-high heat. When hot put in the pork cubes, a few at a time and brown them lightly on all sides. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl. Do all of the pork this way.

8. Now put the ginger-garlic paste into the same pan and turn down the heat to medium. Stir the paste for a few seconds. Add the coriander and turmeric and stir for another few seconds.

9. Add the meat, any juices that may have accumulated as well as the vindaloo paste and 250ml (8fl oz) water and bring to the boil

10. Cover and simmer gently for an hour or until the pork is tender stirring occasionaly

Enjoy!

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