Friday, 29 July 2011

Game Ragú with Parpadelle

Game in the summer doesn't sound right (even though it is just coming into season) probably due to its associations with pies, roasts and rich sauces but the Italian idea of cooking it very slowly with swede and onions, into a ragú, works brilliantly as the meat becomes very tender and is delicious as a sauce for pasta.   

My 'parpadelle' is actually snapped dried lasagne (it took a while to perfect the knack of snapping so that the sheets don’t split into shards but even ribbons) which gives it a rustic look. You can use any furred game - I used rabbit and venison ready prepared by the butcher - as long as it is cut into very small bits. 

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Beetroot Salad with Goats Cheese, Pecan Nuts and Pea Shoots

With rock and roll names such as the white ‘Albina Ice’, the beautiful candy striped ‘Chioggia’ and ‘Burpee’s Golden’, these Heritage Beetroot from my local supermarket looked far more exciting than the standard burgundy ‘Boltardy’ (which had, incidentally, sold out – beetroot is under demand!).

Not wanting to ruin the amazing marbled patterns I decided to finely slice them with a mandolin (instead of roasting) and then I marinaded them to soften and add flavour to their raw earthiness. Grilled goats cheese and nuts are a classic pairing to beetroot and the pea shoots added freshness. Very moreish.

Serves 4
  • Peel and finely slice 6-8 Small Heritage Beetroot. Place in a bowl and add 6 tbsp Olive Oil, 3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, 1 tsp Agave Nectar (or sugar) and a sprinkling of Dried Mixed Herbs. Mix and leave for at least an hour.
  • Preheat the grill. Cut 2 Goats Cheese Logs into 8 pieces (about an inch thick). Place on baking parchment on a baking tray and season with pepper. Grill for 3-4 minutes until golden.
  • Toast a handful of chopped Pecans in a hot heavy based pan and dry roast for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, arrange the beetroot on 4 plates, overlapping the slices in a circular shape.
  • Place the goats cheese in the middle of the beetroot, sprinkle with the nuts and place a few pea shoots around. Drizzle with the remaining marinade and serve. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Spicy Egg, Meatball and Tomato Tagine with Flatbread

Last weekend I was in Cyprus where temperatures hit 40˚C! A nice Cypriot commented in a sort of awe stricken way that in the winter the mountains had snow and ‘it got as cold as 15˚C!’ Well it is summer here and it is officially 14˚C. Take me back please. The freaky summer means that I am craving something warming but with a Mediterranean feel to remind me it is summer in most of Europe. So Rick Stein’s Moroccan tagine (or Kefta Mkaouara) hit the spot with the unctuous combination of meatballs with a thick spiced tomato sauce and homemade flatbreads to mop up the juices.

Spicy Egg, Meatball and Tomato Tagine from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes
Serves 4
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  • Mix 450g minced beef, 2 tbsp finely chopped Parsley, 1 tsp ground Cumin, ½ tsp Paprika. Shape into 28 2.5cm balls.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs until brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper.
  • Add 1 chopped Onion to the pan and cook until golden. Add 800g can of chopped Tomatoes, 1tsp Cumin, ½ tsp hot Paprika, 1 tsp freshly ground Pepper and 2 Garlic cloves, crushed.
  • Leave to simmer for 15mins. Season well to taste. Add the meatballs and mix. Transfer to a shallow baking dish or tagine. Make 4 dips in the mixture and break 4 Eggs into each.
  • Bake in the oven for 15mins or until the eggs are set. Scatter with chopped Coriander.

  • Sift 350g Plain Flour, 1 tsp Salt, 2 tsp easy-blend Yeast into a bowl. Make a well and add 250ml Warm Water and 2 Tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil and mix to make a soft dough.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5mins.
  • Put back into the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 240˚C. Punch back the dough and knead until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Leave to rise for 10mins.
  • Roll each ball until it is about 22cm across and lay on an oiled baking tray (you may need to cook in batches). Spray with water and cook for 2mins until golden. Keep warm in a tea towel.