Meatball and pasta bake

Pasta-meatballs_Tile

I used half of the meatballs (see Pork meatballs) to make this hearty, comforting dish. Serves 2-3 people.

  • 3 ‘handfuls’ of dried penne (cooked);
  • 12 meatballs;
  • 1 quantity of tomato sauce;
  • 30g grated cheddar.

Place the cooked pasta in an oven proof dish. Place the meat balls within the pasta. Pour over the tomato sauce and sprinkle with grated cheddar. Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) until piping hot and cheese is browned.

Pork meatballs

Enough for 4 people. I froze half of mine for a later meal.

  • 1 large slice of stale bread;Pork_meatballs
  • 1 large portobello mushroom;
  • 1 medium sized onion;
  • 1 clove garlic;
  • 1 small red chilli deseeded;
  • Small bunch of mixed herbs (eg parsley, rosemary & thyme);
  • 500g pork mince;
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup;
  • 3 ‘shakes’ of Worcester Sauce;
  • Black pepper;
  • 3 tsp tahini;
  • Oil;
  • Plain flour.

Finely chop the bread, mushroom, onion, garlic, chilli and herbs (I used my Cuisinart Mini-Processor).

Thoroughly mix the chopped ingredients with the pork in a large bowl. Mix in the ketchup, Worcester Sauce and black pepper.

In small bowl, gradually combine a small quantity of cold water with the tahini, until it becomes slightly runny. Thoroughly mix this into the pork mixture.

Using a plate of flour, take ping-pong ball sized piece of the mixture in your floured hands, and roll in the flour until ball shaped. Place on a flour tray. I made made 24 meatballs from this mixture.

Oil a baking sheet and place the balls on it, brushing or spraying them with more oil.

Bake at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for about 20 minutes, until they begin to brown.

I served twelve of my meatballs in a pasta bake, made with penne (3 ‘handfuls’ of dried penne (cooked)), 1 quantity of Tomato Sauce, topped with grated cheddar, and cooked in the oven for 20 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4). This will feed 2-3 people.

Chicken liver paté

Chicken_Liver_Pate_Tile

This is very quick (and also cheap) to make.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme (leaves only)
  • 250g chicken livers (veins removed, and roughly chopped)
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 45g butter
  • Black pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Stir in the shallot and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Turn up the heat, add the chicken liver, and stir-fry until cooked through (about 2.5 minutes).

Take off the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Tip the mixture into a food processor, together with the brandy, 20g of the butter and black pepper. Process until smooth.

Transfer the paté to a shallow dish, and smooth the surface.

Melt the remaining butter and pour over the paté. Allow to cool, before storing in the fridge.

I served mine with soda bread.

Pork and lentils

This is adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe (from Real Food). Great to eat on a cold day. Enough for 2 people:

  • 3 rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon (cut into short, thin strips)NS_Pork&Sausage
  • 250g pork belly (cut into 2 cm cubes)
  • 3 spicy pork sausages
  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 300ml chicken stock (made with a 1/2 stock cube)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 100g green lentils
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Chopped parsley

Gently cook the bacon in a large saucepan or cast iron casserole. When the fat begins to run, increase the heat and add the pork, stirring occasionally until it begins to brown. Remove the meat, leaving any fat behind (you may need to cook the pork in batches).

Add the sausages to the pan, brown them lightly and remove.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan, and cook very gently for about 10 or more minutes, until they are soft and golden.

Add the sausages, bacon and pork to the pan, together with the stock, the (whole) sprigs of thyme and the bayleaf. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the lentils and simmer for a further 40 minutes, or until both the lentils and pork are cooked.

Season with black pepper and lemon juice and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Cabbage and bean soup

Another soup made from beans, root vegetables and cabbage:

  • 1 tbsp olive oilCanellini&cabbage_soup
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped)
  • 3 bacon rashers (thinly sliced)
  • 1 largish potato (diced)
  • Piece of swede (same size as the potato – diced)
  • 550mls vegi stock
  • 1/2 400g tin of cannellini beans (drained)
  • 100g cavolo nero or savoy cabbage (roughly chopped, with thick stalks removed)
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto
  • Seasoning (black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the bacon and stir-fry until it just begins to brown. Turn down the heat and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, potato and swede, and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Then add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Turn up the heat and stir in the beans and cabbage, add more water (if necessary), and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the pesto and season to taste. Serve.

Sausage and white bean stew

Sausage_Bean_Stew

This recipe is based on one in this month’s Waitrose Kitchen. Enough for two:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped)
  • 1 small red chilli (cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 1 largish carrot (diced)
  • 3 spicy pork sausages (sliced (3cm thickness))
  • 350mls meat stock (about 1/3rd of a beef stock cube is fine)
  • 1/2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 400g tin of cannellini beans (drained)
  • 100g cavolo nero (roughly chopped, with thick stalks removed)
  • A small bunch of parsley
  • Seasoning (black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Stir in the onions and gently cook for 3 minutes. The stir in the garlic, chilli and the carrots, and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the sausage slices and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The add the stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then turn up the heat and stir in the cavolo nero, add more water (if necessary), and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the parsley and add seasoning to taste.

Serve.

Jambalaya

jambalya

Jambalaya is a fairly quick one-pot Cajun rice dish. This version is based on a recipe from the Hairy Bikers. Enough for 3:

  • Chicken thighs (boned and cut into smallish chunks
  • 40g cooking chorizo (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (sliced 1cm thick)
  • 1 green pepper (cored, deseeded and cut into rough 2cm chunks)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 90g brown rice
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 courgette (cut into chunks), so other equivalent green vegetable(s)
  • 40g peeled uncooked king prawns (defrosted)
  • 2 spring onions (sliced)
  • Lemon juice & black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Fry the chicken over a medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the chorizo and stir-fry for another minute. Remove the chicken and chorizo from the pan.

Stir in the onion, celery and green pepper, and cook very gently for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes, cut into quarters and remove the seeds (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve, and reserve together with any other accumulated tomato liquid on the chopping board). Roughly chop the tomatoes flesh.

Stir the garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf into the onion, celery and green pepper mixture. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the reserved liquid and cook over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened.

Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, stir in the rice, and cook gently for 1 minute. Pour over the stock and cook for about 20 minutes (stir occasionally, and if the rice is drying out add more water or stock) until the rice is just cooked.

Stir in the prawns and spring onions and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. Serve.

Warm Duck Salad

Duck_Salad2-horzThis is a recipe I thought up on a hot day – for 2 people:

  • 2 duck legs
  • 60g wild rocket
  • 90g quinoa (cooked according to the instructions, rinsed, drained and cooled)
  • 1 red pepper (charred (over a gas ring or with a blowtorch, skin rinsed off, and sliced (1/2cm wide))
  • 20 fine green beans (cooked, cooled and cut into 3cm lengths)
  • 40 (approx) pumpkin seeds (I used butternut squash seeds, as I roasted a squash at the same time as the duck legs)
  • 2 spring onions sliced (actually I used some cocktail pickled onions (quartered) that were lurking in the fridge)
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 fresh pineapple ring (cut into thin wedges)
  • For the dressing:
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 2cm cube of fresh ginger (finely grated)
    • 1 small red chilli (finely chopped)
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
    • Juice of 1/6th of a lime
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • Pineapple juice squeeze from the left-over peelings

Prick the skin of the duck legs all over, and place on a trivet over a roasting tin. Roast for 1.5 hours at 160C (Gas mark 3) or until the skin is crispy and the flesh cooked, basting occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the quinoa, rocket, red pepper, green beans, pumpkin seeds and onions.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix half the dressing with the salad.

When the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Then cut into rough slices, (I found a pair of kitchen scissor were useful here, as you need to cut around the bones).

To serve, divide the salad between two plates. Place the duck pieces on top and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and the remaining dressing.

 

Simple chicken pilaf

Chicken_pilaf

This is based on a recipe which appeared in Sainsbury’s live well for less magazine (Issue 04). Enough for 2:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 boned chicken breast (cut in to smallish chunks)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/chopped)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • 120g basmati rice
  • About 20 raisins
  • chicken stock (equal to twice the volume of the uncooked rice)
  • 80g kale (washed, cut and with the stalks removed)
  • 100g frozen peas

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When hot, add the chicken, and brown. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon.

Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Stir in the garlic and the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook slowly for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, raisins and add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer (covered) for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is almost cooked.

Add the kale and frozen peas and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Serve.

Sausage, bacon, egg & tomato pie

Sausage_Pie_Tile

The other day I recalled eating something like this decades ago – probably in the 1960s. I suppose you could call it ‘Full English Pie’ and maybe serve it hot with baked beans. It seems fine served at any temperature – hot, warm or cold. I think I recall eating it on family picnics. Serves 4 to 6:

  • Shortcrust pastry (made with 100g butter and 200g plain flour)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • Boiling water
  • 4 sprigs of thyme (stems removed and chopped (or a pinch of dried thyme))
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 450g sausagemeat (I used Waitrose Gourmet Pork Sausagemeat)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon (each cut into 4 shorter pieces)
  • Black pepper
  • A little cold water
  • A little double cream (for brushing the top of the pie, prior to baking)

Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Stir in the onion and cook very gently for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile skin the tomatoes by scoring each one with a cross at its base, and steeping in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and cover in cold water. The skins should then have split and can easily be removed.

Quarter the skinned tomatoes and cut out any part of the green stems. Scrape out the seeds and place these on a sieve over a jug. When all the seeds have been removed, rub the seeds and the juice that surrounds them through the sieve. Then add the juice to the cooked onions together with the maple syrup and the thyme. Bring the mixture to the boil and carry on heating so that most of the liquid evaporates. Turn the onion mixture into a dish to cool.

Cut each tomato quarter lengthwise into about 5 slices, and set aside.

Roll out 2/3rds of the pastry to line an ovenproof pie dish or tin (I used a tin with a 20cm diameter base which got wider towards the top). Trim the pastry (so that it covers the rim of the pie dish) and knead the trimmings into the remaining 1/3rd (of the unused pastry). Place the lined pie dish and remaining pastry in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6).

Knead together the sausagemeat and the onion mixture and place in the base of the pastry case, making 3 depressions to hold the eggs. Break an egg into each depression and season with black pepper. Cover the eggs and sausagemeat with the bacon pieces. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the bacon.

Roll out the remaining pastry (to cover the top of the pie). Dampen the pastry lying over the rim of the pie dish with cold water. Place the pastry on top of the pie, and ‘knock together’ edges with a knife. I also made a pattern round the edge with a fork and scored the top with a sharp knife.

Finally paint the top of the pie with a thin film of double cream and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn down the temperate to 160C (Gas Mark 3) and bake for a further hour or until the pastry if golden brown and begins to shrink away from the edges of the pie dish.

If serving hot, allow the pie to cool slightly – say for 10 minutes before serving. Otherwise cool and store in the fridge.