This recipe is a tribute to Antonio Carluccio. What a legend! His complete Italian Food book is one I return to often and for me this is the only Bolognese recipe to follow. I usually multiply the ragu ingredients and store the sauce in the freezer.
For the Ragu: 55g Butter 55g chopped pancetta 1 large carrot 1 celery stick 1 onion 100g minced lean veal or beef 100g minced lean pork 1 glass of dry red wine A little chicken or beef stock 3 tblsp tomato paste sat and pepper to season
To make the ragu, heat the butter in a large pan, add the pancetta, carrot, celery and onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes. Add the minced meats and stir with a wooden spoon to break them up into smaller chunks.
Cook for about 15 minutes to brown the meat, then add the wine and bubble for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate a little. Stir in a little stock to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan. Stir in the tomato paste and dilute with a few tablespoons of stock to give a sauce like consistency.
Leave to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding more stock if the mixture becomes dry. At the end of the cooking time, add a little more stock to obtain a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the tagliatelle in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and mix with the sauce. Serve with parmesan cheese.
The Food Gatherer’s Note: Kim and I often enjoy a working lunch at mine while working on Food Gatherer projects, but today pretty much all I had in the fridge was the asparagus left from my BeefsteakVeg.com and some ropey looking ends of cheese left over from the weekend’s cheeseboard, courtesy of Holtwhites Bakery and Deli. It turned into a lunch of legendary proportions as it was the most delicious tasting asparagus we had both tasted in years – there were lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs ‘ and, “That’s what asparagus used to taste like!”. I cooked it in a little bit of boiling water in a shallow pan for about 5/ 6 minutes, then towards the end of cooking time, when there was just a little water left in the pan, added a knob of butter to melt and coat the spears, then seasoned with seas salt and pepper – that’s it. The flavour came from the asparagus.
We then nibbled on the cheese ends, which resulted in more pleasurable sounds and noises that were totally inappropriate for a professional working lunch but these were blooming good cheeses and we were happy. They were all British – Wigmore, Applebys Cheshire and a delicious, mild goats milk cheese called Rachel which I was told by Holtwhites was named after the cheese maker’s friend who is pale, curvy and a bit nutty. There can be no greater compliment than having a cheese named after you surely?
While thrown together leftovery lunches can be unexpected winners (rather like a good night out), most require a little more preparation and this salad Kim makes, using asparagus and halloumi will bring the most average asparagus to life. It’s from Katie Quinn Davies ‘s blog, What Katie Ate and is a delicious wholesome lunchtime salad. If you can get your hands on halloumi for this from Kupros Dairy even better… – Emma
ASPARAGUS, LENTIL AND HALLOUMI SALAD RECIPES
200g tin of green or puy lentils
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
a bunch of asparagus (approx 250g)cut into 2.5cm pieces
Juice and zest of 2 limes
250g cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions trimmed and sliced
1 green chilli (optional)
A handful of mint leaves chopped
1 packet of halloumi – thickly sliced
Serves 2 for main course or 4 for side dishes
If using dried lentils then boil them in 750ml of water, then simmer over low heat for 25mins. Drain and rinse. Leave to cool in bowl. If you have the ready to go version like me, then add olive oil and red wine vinegar and a twist of salt and pepper.
Boil the quinoa in 500ml of water then reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the grains are translucent. Fluff up the grains and add to the lentils.
Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, then plunge into cold water. Drain and add to the lentils and quinoa.
Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat and add the slices of halloumi. Drizzle the lime juice over the the cheese and sear for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Cut into small squares and add to the lentils and quinoa along with the tomatoes, spring onions, chilli, mint and zest.
Serve with some crusty bread from Holtwhites’ Bakery.
The Food Gatherer’s Note: Holtwhites’ hot cross buns are supremely good, but occasionally it’s fun to have a go at making your own! FG’s Kim Mansfield Davies uses this simple recipe to make hers.
hot cross buns
Easter is around the corner and soon our house will be filled with broken promises for lent and a great deal of chocolate, but I love Easter for the excuse to scoff as many hot cross buns as we can. Sometimes we like to make hot cross buns ourselves and my girls delight in anointing them at the end with the cross.
This recipe is simple and straight forward, you will need to leave it to rise twice, once for an hour and again for 45 minutes, giving you time to get on with hiding all those Easter eggs!
For the buns: 180ml of warm milk 4 tsp dry instant yeast 75g sugar 3 eggs 125ml oil 560g plain flour Zest of 1 orange ¾ tsp salt 1 tsp mixed spice 160g dry sultanas /raisins For the cross: 3 tbsp of plain flour and 50mls of water For the glaze: 110g sugar and 50ml water
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºc /fan 160º.
Nothing could be simpler, just measure all the ingredients into a bowl except for the dry fruit and Stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together as a dough.
Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until the mixture is smooth then add the dry fruit and knead until it’s all blended together.
Tip the mix onto a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film and leave for 1 – 11/2 hours to double in size.
Knead it again for 1 minute to “knock it back”.
Divide the dough into 12 rolls and place onto a lined tray and space out as they will rise again and leave for 45 minutes.
In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp of plain flour and 2 tbsp of cold water until you have a paste and pour it into an icing bag, you can use a freezer bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe crosses onto the buns.
Place the buns into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and prepare the glaze by gently heating the sugar with water then brishing the mixture over the buns while they are still hot.
Leave to cool for as long as you can. In my case, not long!
The Food Gatherer’s Note: I’ve been cooking this recipe for years and it never fails. It was taught to me in Wales by Beefsteakveg.com but I believe that the recipe may have originated with Delia! My friend occasionally added some finely chopped walnuts to the pastry which gives it a wonderful nutty edge, if you fancy ringing the changes. They can be made as individual tarts, however I find that a slice of this tart served with some rocket and a dollop of red onion marmalade on the side looks just as pretty and it’s far speedier to make than 6 smaller tarts. – Kim x
goats cheese and leek tart
Ingredients For the pastry: 25g goats cheese 110g plain flour 25g vegetable fat (lard) 25g butter For the filling 350g chopped leeks 175g goats cheese (crumbled or thin slices, depending upon the type of goats cheese you have) 10g butter 3 large beaten eggs 200ml creme fraiche or double cream 4 spring onions finely sliced Thyme leaves to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375ºf or 190ºC.
You can of course buy the pastry to save time, but this is really so easy and quick that I make it myself. Simply sift the flour with a pinch of salt and add the vegetable fat and butter and with cold hands and using mainly your fingertips, rub it all together until you get a breadcrumb mix. Then crumble in the goats cheese and sprinkle on a tablespoon of cold water and with a palate knife mix it all together until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Then pop it into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
For the filling, melt the butter over a gentle heat and add the sliced leeks and a pinch of salt. Leave to cook gently without a lid for 10 minutes. Drain any juice.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out to fit your tin – this amount of pastry should fit a 19cm fluted tin. Make sure the tin is buttered and dusted with flour so that it will release easily!
Place your pastry into the tin and press it down, pushing back in the sides so you haven’t stretched it or it will shrink. Trim any excess and prick the base with a fork to stop it bubbling up. Paint the base with some beaten egg and place in the oven on a baking sheet for 20 minutes until it is golden.
While the pastry is baking, crumble or slice the goats cheese and mix with the leeks and spring onions. In a jug mix the beaten eggs and creme fraiche together and season gently.
As soon as the pastry case is ready, tumble over the leek and goats cheese mix, spreading it out. over the pastry.
Gradually pour half the creamy egg mix over then put the tart back into the oven and gently pour in the rest of the mixture, then sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Adding the rest of the mix in the oven is to stop it spilling, as you carry the tart from the worktop to the oven as the tart will be very full. Bake for 30-35 minutes until its firm and turned golden brown.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes so it is easy to slice. Serve with a green salad and some tangy onion marmalade.
The Food Gatherer’s Note: From classic crepe style pancakes to American style, here’s some recipes and tips for flippin’ good pancakes – Kim x
Flip them, roll them, fold them, stack them, sweet or savoury, drop scones, crepes, or traditional, there are so many things you can do with a pancake that it’s no wonder they’re such a popular dish, not just reserved for Shrove Tuesday.
For me the classic pancake with sugar and lemon is called for on Shrove Tuesday, but at other times I like to experiment a bit and my girls favourites are an apple compote with cinnamon or sliced banana with chocolate sauce. This Tuesday though we will always go the whole way on this day of pancakes and have savoury pancakes for supper too. Tuna sweet corn or cheesy pancakes with ham and leeks goes down a treat!
classic pancake recipe
125g Plain flour
A knob of melted butter (optional)
Pour the flour into a mountain in the bowl, make a whole in the middle then crack the egg into it. Gradually pour the milk in with one hand while you stir from the outside of the bowl inwards to combine the batter mix (any lumps, get the whisk out and give the batter a good beating!)
Sometimes I add a knob of melted butter into the mix to enrich it but you should always let the batter stand for at least 30 minutes. Most importantly, make sure the pan is piping hot before you start and turn it down as you cook the pancakes and only rub a bit of oil onto the pan with kitchen roll.
In our house a drop scone or Scotch pancake is a regular visitor to Sunday mornings, a small stack of these with some crispy bacon and a glug of maple syrup, may not be the healthiest way to start the day but it does set you up nicely for a good Sunday walk. If I’m feeling a little more health conscious they taste great with a healthy handful of berries and some crème fraiche or natural yoghurt.
125g self-raising flour
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
Add the flour and sugar to the bowl and as above, make a well and add the egg and melting butter. Stir in the milk to make a thick batter. Drop a tablespoon of the batter into a hot frying pan to make small round discs, flip when the bubbles in the batter are breaking on top.
I recently spotted this amazing looking honey cloud pancakes from a blog called Things we Make and I can’t wait to try it out. Made with an extra whipped egg white, it looks too good to eat…. Well almost!