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Spaghetti Bolognese


I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia and China last week for a family wedding - hence the lack of updates. Unfortunately, I do not have much vacation available at work, so in total I was in Oz for 6 nights!

Being very jet lagged last night, all I craved for was a hearty and comforting meal. Spaghetti Bolognese hit the spot!

I am one of those people who never knows what they wish to eat, regardless of jet lag, until that evening! It drives my wife crazy!!!

A quick zombie style trip to the butchers and deli to restock the fridge and I was set to go.

I unfortunately had run out of tomato puree, so substituted with ketchup at the end of the cooking. It worked well, intensifying flavour, but my preference would always be with the concentrate.

I have become extremely fond of
Faella pasta - it has a much better flavour than the supermarket equivalent. Most certainly worth the extra 50 pence.

Everybody has their own version and preferences for there Bolognese. My preference would be without mushrooms, but I must go with the mood of the house! I find the sauté vegetables add flavour and the Pancetta adds a cheeky saltiness.

Bolognese always tastes better the next day, so in order to try to get that depth of flavour, I simmer on a very low heat for a much longer period of time.

Spaghetti Bolognese : mandatory opera house shots

Mandatory opera house shots

Spaghetti Bolognese : Last One“></a></span><span style=

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Spicy Meatballs with Herby Ragu


Having come home quite late from work, I had to knock up a quick and easy dinner. (Work seriously gets in the way of hanging out in the kitchen!)

You know when you have one of those days, and not just any food will do. It has to be comfort food - is there anything more comforting than Spicy Meatballs?

These meatballs pack a punch of flavour and chilli heat. The herby ragu is the perfect compliment.

I skipped adding tomato puree - as I did not want to wait for it to cook through. By all means add the puree and turbo charge the tomato flavour!

I am very pleased to finally have enough herbs and chillies growing in the new house’s garden.

I had the rest for lunch the next day, and it was totally delicious!

Spicy Meatballs with Herby Ragu : Another shot

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Clam Linguine


Phew! It is great to be back and to be able to update the website again. Alas, my web solution could not handle the photo content adequately, so I have had to upload and rewrite the entire recipe blog to Flickr. I hope moving forward this a robust and scalable solution - as it has taken me 8 days to relink 1300 photos!

So, I am going in time order, catching up with recipes. To kick off the new and improved blog, a delicious Clam Linguine.

This is one of the ultimate quick and easy meals. The entire dish is cooked in less time that it takes for the Linguine to be ready.

The delicious ozone sea smells and taste combined with a subtle chilli kick, make this one of my all time favourite dished.

Although it should not be necessary to de-grit the clams - the bag that I purchased had obviously not been properly cleaned, as the water went cloudy within 10 minutes of the clams being added. If this happens, keep replacing the salted water with a fresh batch.

Clam Vongole : Close Up


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Pizza Pasta Bake


Sometimes you just want to eat simple comfort food.

It was a Tuesday evening, and I had come in from the gym, and wanted something quick, wholesome and tasty.

The great thing about this dish is that you can cook the pasta, pancetta and tomato sauce all at the same time - meaning that preparation time is vastly reduced. Once it is in the oven you can crack on with your evening.

I based the pasta bake on pizza flavours. So I added mozzarella, smoky pancetta and oregano as my base flavours. The sour bread crumbs on top give a great crunch and textural difference. The mozzarella in the middle remains melted and gooey, whilst that on top goes golden and crispy.
(I was wanting to top this with strips of anchovy - but was told this was a step too far - I might try it one day smiley_wink)

I served this with a simple fresh salad and a quick mustard dressing.

Pizza Pasta Bake : Close Up

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Crab and Scallop Stuffed Ravioli with Spicy Prawn Bisque


I was watching Masterchef last week and they were making stuffed ravioli for the quarter final. It reminded me of this dish I made for a future boss and his wife a couple of years ago. The beauty of the dish is that it can all be made in advance at your convenience. Cook the ravioli when ready to serve, and warm the bisque through - not hard
.

Being a Bank Holiday weekend and what with the weather being cold and not inviting to jump, I had extra time to play in the kitchen. This is not a particularly difficult dish to make, although it is made significantly easier by having a pasta machine and a ravioli cutter. The stuffing has a fantastic fresh flavour from the crab and tarragon. You will need a pasta cutter, but a rolling pin will suffice for the pasta.

The spicy prawn bisque is amazing, a wonderful voyage of flavours. The prawn bisque with the brandy adds depth and the star anise wows the tastebuds. When you bite into the ravioli, a wonderful sea fresh taste is received followed by the aniseed.

Only homemade pasta will do for this dish. It cooks in under 2 minutes, keeping the scallop slices tender and delicious.

Crab and Scallop Ravioli : Close Up


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How to Make Pasta


Pasta is so delicious when you take the time to make it fresh.

Unlike bread, it is ready in 20-30 minutes.

Whether to make lasagne, spaghetti or ravioli, for instance, the extra oomph in flavour from homemade pasta never fails to impress guests.

Do stick with the fork method I describe. I tried a couple of times and failed, as I had no patience. The reward in using this method, is that you keep your hands clean!

Investing in a pasta machine really is imperative in order to achieve the best results.

After a couple of attempts, this is really quite easy. At the beginning, however, a second pair of hands is advisable when using the pasta machine!

How to Make Pasta : Pasta Shaped as Ravioli


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Tomato and Chorizo Fusilli Pasta


Preparing for a weekend away skydiving.

The one thing that is disappointing about our home dropzone is the outrageous cost of sandwiches, tea and coffee. As such, I decided I would make lunch for the two days.
(I also made a large greek salad - and the two dishes together were very satisfying).

A quick trip along the High Road and I had all I needed. (Chorizo and a can of tomatoes!).

This is an easy recipe, wholesome, warming and tasty - all in all - ideal for standing around a windy airport.

The pasta survived admirably in the tupperware for the two days. In all honesty, it tasted better the second day.

Tomato and Chorizo Pasta : Lunch Ready!


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Creamy Penne Pasta with Pancetta and Romaine Lettuce Salad


When I popped into
Wyndham House Butchers last week, Rod gave me a packet of Faella Penne Pasta. I have to say the pasta is extremely good - it went down extremely well with last night’s unexpected guests. I will definitely be picking up another packet in the near future.

I asked the butcher for the end piece of Pancetta - it was excellent. Great flavour, lots of meat and crisped up extremely well. Each lardon was like an explosion of salty goodness in your mouth!

This dish is ridiculously easy to make, from start to finish it can be made it 20-25 minutes.

The combination of cream, garlic, herbs and Parmesan always pack a punch in the flavour department. A classic and super tasty Italian meal ideal for a midweek dinner.

Penne Pasta : Creamy Paste Penne


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Breaded Chicken with a Herby Tomato Sauce and Garlic Bread


The tomato sauce is extremely versatile. It is the same sauce that I use for my pizzas.

Now that spring is here, my Marjoram and Oregano are growing great guns. You can substitute dried if you wish. The general rule of thumb is 3 : 1 fresh to dry.

If I recall correctly, I saw this recipe, or very similar on ITV by Gina D’Acampo. The mozzarella reinforces the pizza flavours of the dish.

Mid week, this meal can be made from start to finish in 25 minutes. Start with the tomato sauce, and everything will be ready at the same time
(The garlic bread will take 30 minutes).

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7382/13989313139_c91e19dba2_c.jpg


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Homemade Lasagne


Sometimes nothing at all hits the spot like a homemade Lasagne. Although, especially the way I do it, it can be a bit of a faff - it is well worth the effort.

I had left over passata, mushrooms and grated mozzarella - so they were used - but are optional and not worth purchasing specifically.

Slice of Homemade Lasagne


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Homemade Tomato, Felino Salame and Anchovy Pizza


You simply cannot beat the flavours of a good home made pizza! So quick and simple - although I would never recommend it without a pizza paddle and pizza stone.

Homemade Pizza with Nduja, Felino Selame and anchovies topped with egg and rocket


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