Tag Archives: recipes

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

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.


12 Days of Cookies – Rolo Stuffed Snickerdoodles – Day 9

9 Dec

We are closing in on the end of “12 Days of Cookies” and one of the most important things that I’ve learned from this baking challenge is that any cookie stuffed with candy is likely going to be a winner. The Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies from Day 6 have been my favourite cookie so far and so when I saw that this was another recipe that called for more candy to be added to cookie dough, it was quickly added to the list.

This recipe isn’t rocket science. You start with the very simple recipe for Snickerdoodles (this cookie dough is lethal for eating out of the bowl – I couldn’t say no to numerous taste tests) and then wrap the dough around a Rolo. Voila! Rachel Schultz’s blog has helpful (and tempting) pictures to guide you through mastering wrapping dough around a Rolo. That brings me to another thing I’ve learned from the baking challenge – there are some really talented food bloggers out there. The daily search for cookie recipes had led me to discover some pretty cool new blogs.

Now, back to the cookies, see that indent in the middle of the cookie in the picture? Yeah…that is a gooey chocolate/caramel pocket. Get in my face!

12 Days of Cookies – Chewy Oatmeal Cookies – Day 8

8 Dec

Confession: I am a lazy baker. We are all friends here so I can admit that I lack the attention to detail that other bakers possess. For example, when my cookies come out of the oven, they are rarely the same size or shape. Mine always end up looking a bit Franken-cookie. I’m the laziest when it comes to frosting things, like cupcakes. I love frosting, but I just want the cupcakes in my face – NOW! – so I rush through the frosting stage so I can get to eating stage. This recipe is a perfect example of where I was being very lazy. These were meant to be finished with a cinnamon glaze but I decided to give it a miss. See?! Lazy!

Take a look at Dessert for Two’s post on these Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. See how pretty they look? Yeah, mine don’t look like that. Sorry. My cookies also end up being less chewy, and more crunchy, which I’m going to attribute to my honey not being runny enough. Based on how mine turned out, I wouldn’t bake these again. If I was going to put the effort in for something decadent, it would be for the Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies from Day 6. These just aren’t “naughty” enough for me.

12 Days of Cookies – Peanut Butter & Jam Thumbprints – Day 7

7 Dec

We are now just over halfway through the baking challenge and I must admit that today I found it difficult to be enthusiastic about baking cookies. See, we hosted a sparkling wine party last night for my sister’s birthday and it was awesome. Today, however, wasn’t as awesome as last night. Regardless, I pushed through and baked these little cuties.

Perhaps it was due to my slight hangover, but these didn’t end up looking much like the picture in the recipe. Hmmmph. My dough seemed a little dry and I think it might have been because I used a natural peanut butter. The dough ended up being a little crumbly and so when I tried to poke the hole in them, they sort of fell apart. I’m blaming the peanut butter and not my compromised state.

Besides the crumbly dough, this was an easy recipe to follow but you do need to let the dough chill for 2 hours, so plan ahead. The recipe called for strawberry jam but I’m a fan of raspberry so I switched it out. No biggie.

Side note: these cookies go out to Celeste. You asked, babe, I delivered.

12 Days of Cookies – Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies – Day 6

6 Dec

Snickers and chocolate chips in a cookie. Need I say more?These were sooooo good fresh from the oven; all warm and gooey inside. If you can’t serve them straight from the oven, a few seconds in the microwave will do the job to warm them up and get them all gooey again.

You can find the recipe for these bad boys on Bakers Royale blog. Go on, you know you want to.

12 Days of Cookies – ANZAC Biscuits – Day 5

5 Dec

For those new to this blog, I was born and raised in Australia and am very proud of my Australian heritage. I do consider myself truly lucky to have grown up in Australia, although I’m incredibly grateful that I now get to live in Canada. If you’ve not been to Australia, you are missing out! Yes, I’m aware that the majority of North American’s consider it a very long flight to get there but once you get there, you’ll forget all about the hours spent on the flight. Australia is incredibly unique in its geographical make-up, the fauna and flora, the people, the culture, and the history. As an added bonus, she is breathtakingly beautiful.

I was very proud to introduce this Aussie biscuit (cookie) to the Canadians that I work with. Understandably, all of the Canadians that tried one had never heard of an ANZAC biscuit, but I can guarantee you that if you asked any Australian they would know exactly what you were talking about because these biscuits are a big deal in Oz. ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and it is claimed that these biscuits were sent from families in Australia/New Zealand to their troops in World War 1 because they would keep for the long journey. See, your baking class comes with a touch of history. You’re welcome.

Like most cookies, these are best when they come straight out the oven, all warm and sticky. Sure, they aren’t the prettiest of cookies but, damn, do they taste good.

ANZAC Biscuits – Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, coconut, and salt.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with syrup. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, and add to butter mixture. Stir to combine (be careful, it will bubble up considerably).

Add butter mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Using a 1 1/2 inch ice-cream scoop or rounded tablespoons, drop balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Flatten with the heel of your hand.

Bake until golden brown and firm but not hard, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s “Cookies” recipe book.

12 Days of Cookies – Auntie O’s Ginger Cookies – Day 4

4 Dec

The inspiration for this “12 Days of Cookies” post series came from the November issue of Canadian House & Home. In that issue they had the winners of the reader-submitted cookie contest and, as I was turning page after page of tempting cookie pictures, I scrambled to find a valid excuse to bake that many cookies for a good reason. And so the “12 Days of Cookies” series was born.

I love the simplicity of a good ol’ ginger cookie, although these aren’t just any regular old ginger cookie; the feisty combination of fresh ginger, dry ginger, and candied ginger help make this ginger cookie stand out from the pack.

Out of four cookie types that I’ve baked so far, these were some of the first cookies to be snapped up by my colleagues. The consensus was in favour of these, however, I was skeptical and asked anyone who tried them “But can you taste the vegetable oil?” because I got the distinct taste of vegetable oil in the cookie that I sampled. After some querying, I was reassured that others didn’t seem to taste it as strongly as I could.  Most people commented that they liked the texture as they were crunchy on the outside, but chewy inside. Even though I thoroughly enjoy ginger cookies, the vegetable oil taste does scare me off attempting these again.

Auntie O’s Ginger Crackles (Makes 35)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fancy-grade molasses
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup chopped candied ginger
Coarse turbinado sugar, for rolling

In a medium bowl, sift flour and baking powder and soda. Stir in spices and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, sugar, oil, molasses and fresh ginger until smooth. Using rubber spatula, stir in dry ingredients until combined. Fold in candied ginger.

Preheat oven to 350F. Form heaping teaspoons of dough into balls. Roll in turbinado sugar. Place 3″ apart on parchment-lined baking trays. Flatten with bottom of a glass. Bake until lightly browned and crackled, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe in Canadian House & Home, recipe by Olga Petrik.