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Jamie Oliver’s Bolognese Ragu With Tagliatelle

14 Dec

You don’t have to frequent my blog that often to work out that I love Jamie Oliver. Out of all of the “celebrity chefs”, Jamie is my main man. I find his recipes to be the most approachable and, generally, the most simple to follow. As much as I enjoy other chefs, such as Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay, their recipes are typically more complicated than Jamie’s (especially Keller who usually has multiple recipes within one dish) so I prefer to eat at their restaurants rather than attempt to cook like them at home.

Knowing how much I love Jamie (and how this directly affects what he gets for dinner), B downloaded the Jamie Oliver app on the iPad for me. I was skeptical at first, as I prefer cooking from a cookbook, but I must say that I’m sold on Jamie’s app. It is so user-friendly – it creates shopping lists of ingredients, it shows you each step of the recipe (with photos), and each ingredient measurement is shown again at each step (no back-tracking to the ingredient list). I love it! The only downside is swiping the iPad whilst cooking. My hands are generally covered in something when cooking and so it is inevitable that you’ll swipe some food on the screen.

Step-by-step guide, complete with pictures.

Helpful ingredient list.

The first time that I used the app I used it to cook Jamie’s Bolognese Ragu with Tagliatelle. I am a sucker for pasta and was quite happy with the end result of this one. I don’t normally serve pasta when hosting dinners but I could see the benefit of this dish as, once you’ve got it in the oven, there is really not much else to do besides cooking some pasta. Easy! That gives you plenty of time to hang out with your guests whilst you wait for your sauce to cook up. If you really wanted to save some time you could easily make the sauce a day ahead, which would also allow the flavours to develop. A great dish to pair with a bottle of Italian red.

Jamie Oliver’s Bolognese Ragu with Tagliatelle – Serves 4

1 lb good quality ground beef
1 lb fresh tagliatelle
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
2 stalks celery
1 small bunch fresh Italian parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 X 14oz can of diced tomatoes
1 dried red chile
2/3 cup organic chicken broth
2 oz Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white wine
1 pat of butter
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic. Trim and roughly chop the celery. Whiz in a food processor until finely chopped. Pick the leaves from the parsley and put to one side. Finely chop the stalks.

Put a medium oven-proof saucepan on a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Crush the fennel seeds and dried chile in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. Tip the veggies from the food processor into the hot saucepan with the chopped parsley stalks, rosemary sprig and crushed spices. Stir well and fry gently for a few minutes until soft.

Add the ground beef, turn the heat up and fry for a few minutes – the beef will start to release all its juices. Keep stirring until the juices boil away and the beef begins to fry again.When it all smells delicious, stir in the tomato paste. A minute later, add the wine. Once all of the wine has evaporated, add the canned tomatoes and the broth. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and place in the hot oven to cook for 1 hour.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Take the ragu out of the oven and check the consistency. If it’s a bit watery, place on a medium heat for a few minutes to reduce and thicken up. Otherwise, leave covered to one side. Add a few pinches of salt to the boiling water and drop in the tagliatelle. Cook following the package instructions. When the pasta’s ready, scoop out and reserve a mugful of cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander.

Tip the pasta back into the hot pan and pour the ragu on top. Stir everything together then have a taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. If the sauce is a bit thick, add a little of the reserved cooking water until you get a good consistency. Finely grate over the Parmesan, then add the butter and stir through. Chop the parsley leaves and sprinkle over the top. Serve with extra grated Parmesan to be added at the table, if desired.

Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

5 Nov

Perhaps it is just me, but I find that I am always looking for new salad recipes because, well, salad can get dull extremely fast. It’s not me, salad – it’s you – I’m just not committed to you because at times you are boring. There I said it, now let’s move on.

Returning to the kitchen after a long summer hiatus, I am now back into the swing of things and have been searching for new dressings and new sauces to spruce up veggies and proteins. Any salad recipe that has the words “cheese” and “creamy herb dressing” in the title is the kind of salad that I want to make, which is why I tried this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cookbook. I was also lured in with the home-made pickled shallots as I’d never pickled anything before. They were surprisingly simple to make, whilst also being delicious, so I am now trying to work out how I can use the pickled shallots in other recipes. I recommend serving this salad for brunch or lunch, alongside a quiche or tart, or a light protein dish, such as chicken.

Jamie Oliver’s Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing (Serves 4)

8 small shallots, peeled and very finely sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
White wine vinegar
1 romaine or cos lettuce, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
1 Boston or bibb lettuce, outer leaves removed, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves, such as arugula, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
4 ounces Roquefort (or any blue) cheese, crumbled
A good handful of walnuts, toasted and crumbled
Optional: a small handful of chive or allium flowers

For the creamy herb dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons  crème fraîche
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Method:
Placed the thinly sliced shallots in a small bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pour over just enough white wine vinegar to cover. You’ll pour away the excess salt and vinegar once the onions are pickled, so don’t worry if you think it’s a bit much. Scrunch everything together with your hands and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Whilst waiting for the onions to pickle, get a start on your dressing. To make the dressing, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the crème fraîche and the red wine vinegar. Whisk everything together and season to taste.

Squeeze the shallots hard with your hands and drain. Place the salad leaves on a serving plate. From a height, sprinkle over the shallots and the crumbled Roquefort. Scatter over the crumbled walnuts – it’s really nice if they are still a bit warm from being toasted. Drizzle the dressing over the salad at the table. Finish by throwing some torn-up chive or allium flowers, if you have them.

Recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cookbook.

Scallop Pasta with Champagne Sauce

5 Jan

I have a habit of taking photos of enticing recipes whilst reading magazines in waiting-rooms. My intention is to cook whatever it is immediately but the reality is that the photo sits on my phone for months, even years, without me ever glancing at, let alone actually making the dish. This is just pure laziness on my behalf and I’d like to change that.

On New Years Eve, rather than going out to party, B and I stayed in and I attempted to make at least a few of the recipes that have been lying dormant on my phone. I knew that B and I would be sharing a bottle of bubbles to celebrate New Years Eve so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to stop procrastinating and make the Scallop Pasta with Champagne Sauce recipe that I’ve been eyeing off for ages. This recipe comes from the Spring 2013 issue of “Taste” magazine, which you can pick up from BC Liquor.

Of course you don’t need to use actual Champagne for this recipe. A good sparkling wine or Prosecco will suffice (and it is much cheaper). Another substitute you may have to make is with the pasta. I had difficulties finding angel hair pasta so I opted for spaghettini instead – I don’t think it really makes much of a difference. I found this recipe to be quite simple, yet impressive enough that I’d recommend it for a date night, or if you are trying to impress some guests (it could be served as an appetizer in a smaller portion). Happy New Year!

Scallop Pasta with Champagne Sauce – Makes Serves 4

1 1/2 cups (375ml) of Champagne, or sparkling wine
4 shallots, minced
4 Tbsp (60ml) whipping cream
1/2 cup (125ml) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 lb (500 grams) of angel hair pasta, or spaghettini
2 tsp (10ml) butter
1 tsp (5ml) olive oil
1 1/2 lb (750 grams) of quality scallops, hinge muscle removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 Tbsp (60ml) chives, chopped

Method
In a small saucepan, combine Champagne and shallots and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup (125ml), 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in whipping cream and cubed butter, a few cubes at a time. Return pan to low heat and continue whisking until all butter has been added. Remove from heat and reserve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add salt and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and reserve pasta.

When sauce is ready, add pasta and stir to coat. In a heavy non-stick pan, heat 1 tsp (5ml) butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add scallops and sear until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange seared scallops on a nest of hot pasta and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Jamie Oliver’s Herb Salad on Tomato Bruschetta

29 Aug

Please don’t judge me too harshly on how basic this recipe is. I have been feeling less than enthusiastic about spending time in the kitchen this summer and this recipe shows just how lazy I’ve become over the past few months. I was going to hide behind the guise that this recipe is seasonal – tomatoes are in full swing here on the West Coast – and whilst that is part of the reason why I made this dish, the reality is that it took about 5 minutes from start to finish and that was the appeal.

If you are looking for a healthy, tasty snack or a light lunch, and you have some fresh tomatoes and a handful of assorted herbs, then give this recipe a go. Although it is extremely easy to make, this dish will only taste as good as your produce. If your tomatoes are out of season, then this dish will not pack the same punch as fresh off-the-vine tomatoes and herbs bursting with flavour. Get the best tomatoes you can and go nuts on the herbs!

I honestly hope to be a bit more thrilled about my return to the kitchen come fall, but for now, I’m going to continue enjoying the last breath of summer. Hope you are too!

Jamie Oliver’s Herb Salad on Tomato Bruschetta – Serves 4

3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, mixed colours, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and chopped (optional)
4 slices of ciabatta bread, about 1 inch thick
1 clove of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
Juice of half a lemon
A small handful of arugula, washed and spun dry
A few sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves picked
A few sprigs of fresh herby fennel tops
A few sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
2 good handfuls of other interesting fresh herbs, such as sorrel, basil, parsley, dill, or chive flowers

Method:
If you have a griddle pan, put it on the heat and get it nice and hot. If you don’t have one, you’ll be using your toaster in a minute instead.

Put your chopped tomatoes into a bowl with a glug of extra virgin olive oil and a swig of balsamic vinegar. Mix together and sprinkle with a little salt. If you are using chilli, add it at this point.

Toast the ciabatta slices in your hot griddle pan or a toaster for a minute or so on each side. Once the bread is nicely golden, rub each piece lightly with the cut side of the garlic.

Make a dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, three times as much extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the arugula and herbs in the dressing.

Divide the ciabatta slices between four plates and top each one with a heap of chopped tomatoes. Press the tomatoes down into the bread and finish with a good pile of your herb and arugula salad.

Jamie Oliver’s Eggy Breakfast Crumpets

25 Jun

Crumpets are a delicious way to start a morning. We always used to have crumpets in my house when I was growing up and I ate them frequently as I considered them a more interesting alternative to regular toast. Thick, spongy, and porous they are perfect dripping with butter and covered in either honey, or a spread of Vegemite (for the Aussies amongst us).

Unfortunately, crumpets aren’t that easy to come by here in Vancouver but I have discovered them in the Whole Foods on Cambie Street. If you’ve not had a chance to try crumpets yet, this dish is a tasty, and slightly fancy, introduction. Essentially this dish is French Toast made with crumpets, rather than bread. The chilli adds a nice touch and isn’t too obvious, and as the crumpets are neither sweet nor savoury, you really can personalize it with your choice of topping.

My only tip with this recipe is that you may need three eggs instead of just two to make the egg mixture, depending on how quickly your crumpets absorb the eggs. Overall, this is a yummy, fast way to enjoy crumpets and breakfast.

Jamie Oliver’s Eggy Breakfast Crumpet – Serves 2

2 large organic eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground back pepper
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
6 slices of good quality bacon
Olive oil
4 round crumpets
Brown sauce (HP sauce) or maple syrup, to serve

Method:
Crack your eggs into a bowl and give them a little whisk with a small pinch of salt and pepper and most of the chopped chilli. Then heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the bacon in a tiny amount of olive oil. Let it crisp up on both sides.

Meanwhile, get your crumpets and really push them into the egg and chilli mixture. Turn them over a few times – they’ll soak it up like a sponge. Push the golden bacon to one side and tilt the pan so the fat runs into the middle. Add the crumpets to the pan and fry them for a few minutes until golden, then turn them over and fry them on the other side.

Serve the eggy crumpets topped with the crispy bacon, with a dollop of brown sauce or a drizzle of maple syrup. To finish, you can sprinkle over the extra chopped chilli (if desired).

Jamie Oliver’s Strawberry Salad with Speck & Halloumi

24 Jun

Strawberry Salad with Speck & Halloumi

Summer is officially here! To me, that means:

  • Enjoying warm, sunny days
  • Getting out into nature
  • Sun-kissed skin and sun-induced freckles
  • The sizzle of the BBQ grill
  • Colourful, heavily-scented flowers
  • Indulging in seasonal foods, like berries and stone fruits

Strawberries

Besides the fact that BC strawberries are unbelievably tempting at the moment, I decided to make this salad because I promised you some recipes that include halloumi, and because summer is the perfect time to experiment with salads.

Considering that frying the halloumi was the toughest part of the recipe, I think we can safely say that this is an easy dish to make. Although I wouldn’t rave about this salad, I did enjoy the textures of the crispy halloumi paired with the tender flesh of the strawberries. What I think is key with this salad (and a general rule when cooking) is to find the best ingredients you can. If you have the freshest, juiciest strawberries and a good quality meat (try Oyama if you are in Vancouver), then those ingredients will take this salad to the next level.

Jamie Oliver’s Strawberry Salad with Speck and Halloumi – Serves 4

12oz strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
Good-quality balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
A few sprigs of fresh basil, leaves picked
9 oz halloumi cheese, cut into 8 thin slices
A few sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
A handful of mixed salad leaves, washed and spun dry
8 slices of speck (you could also use a prosciutto)

Method:
In a bowl, drizzle the sliced strawberries with a good splash of balsamic vinegar, the lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. This will draw out and flavour the lovely strawberry juices.

Preheat a large non-stick frying pan to medium hot and add a splash of olive oil. Press a basil leaf onto each slice of halloumi. Place the slices, leaf side down, in the frying pan and fry for a minute. Turn over carefully and fry for another minute until the halloumi is light golden and crisp.

Get yourself four plates and place a couple of pieces of the crispy halloumi on each. Put the mint, the rest of the basil leaves and the salad leaves into the bowl with the strawberries and toss together. Pile some of the strawberry mixture in the middle of each plate and drape the speck over the top. Finish with more salad leaves. To serve, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe from Jamie at Home.

Inside-Out Scotch Eggs

12 May

As much as I love brunch, there are times when I crave something different to the usual brunch items of bacon and eggs, French toast, or bennies. But it can be difficult to find a dish that is “different”, yet still late morning/early afternoon appropriate. When I discovered this recipe in my April edition of delicious magazine, I knew that it was going to be a good one, and indeed, I was right. The idea is a simple one – simply squeeze out the filling from a sausage and cover it in breadcrumbs – but if you choose your sausages correctly (flavourful, fatty ones) then this will be an impressive dish. I cooked this at a recent brunch that I hosted and it was very well-received (even the kids loved it). Seriously, who could turn down a crunchy-coated sausage??

As with most of the recipes that I enjoy cooking, this one takes hardly any time to make and is not overly complicated. The only advice I need to give on this one is to make sure that you use the tastiest, juiciest sausages that you can get your mitts on (Vancouverites, think Oyama Sausage). Also, for a bit of extra crunch you could substitute panko crumbs for the breadcrumbs.

Inside-Out Scotch Eggs – Serves 4

500 grams thick pork and herb sausages (the best you can afford)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, or panko
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon white vinegar
4 eggs
Rocket (arugula) leaves, to serve

Method:
Squeeze sausage meat from the casings, then roll into 4 portions and flatten into patties. Coat patties in half the crumbs, then chill for 10 minutes to firm up.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Fry patties, turning, for 8 to 10 minutes until golden, crisp and cooked through. Transfer to a plate to keep warm.

Return the pan to the heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry remaining 1/2 cup crumbs for 3 to 4 minutes until golden, then toss with herbs and lemon zest. Set aside.

Fill a wide shallow saucepan with water, add vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer. One by one, crack the eggs into a teacup. Swirl the water using a spoon to create a whirlpool, then carefully slide the eggs into the water. Cook for 3 minutes or until poached but yolks are still soft. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on a tea towel.

To serve, divide patties and eggs among 4 plates, top with crumbs, rocket and a drizzle of oil, then season well.

Recipe from April 2013 delicious magazine.

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