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Bœuf à la Gardiane

 

Another classic from Elizabeth David, this stew originates in the Gard region of France and is very simple but full of flavour. Elizabeth suggests serving it with rice (a la Camargue) but it also worked well with roast potatoes and rosemary. There won’t be a lot of sauce as it is almost all absorbed by the meat as it cooks but this part of the charm; intensely flavoured, tender beef.

Wine suggestion: This dish would go well with any of the local red wines of the Gard and surrounding southern-French regions (Rhone, Languedoc, etc). Any combination of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah will work, particularly if they come from older, lower yielding vines and a sensitive hand in the winery. We drank a VdP La Clape from Domaine de Boède, Le Pavillon which is a great value combination of Cinsault and Syrah and which stood up to the flavours and adding it’s own character.

Bœuf à la gardiane – serves 4-5

  • 1kg top rump of beef, cut into small neat cubes approximately 2.5cm square
  • butter and olive oil
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 1 large glass of full-bodied red wine
  • bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, a little strip of orange peel and a whole garlic clove crushed with the back of a knife but left whole (tie together with thread)
  • 175g stoned black olives

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the beef in batches.

Warm the brandy in a soup ladle, pour over the meat, then carefully set alight. Shake the pan carefully until the flames go out.

Add the red wine and bubble for 30 seconds before seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Add the bouquet garni, turn the heat down as low as possible and cover the pan with at least two layers of greaseproof paper or foil and the lid.

Cook as gently as possible for about 3½ hours. Ten minutes before the end, remove the bouquet garni and add the olives.

Season to taste and serve.

(Original recipe from At Elizabeth David’s Table: Her very best everyday recipes, compiled by Jill Norman, Penguin, 2010.)

Crab Linguine

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Crab with fennel & chilli is a winning combination. Another perfect pasta dish by Ruth & Rose of the River Café.

Wine Suggestion: We find a great match for crab is a top quality Garganega and we highly recommend the Pra Soave “Staforte” which is made from low-yielding, 100% Garganega, old vines. Utterly pure and delicious.

Crab linguine – serves 4

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 dried hot chillies, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, grate the zest and squeeze out the juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g crabmeat
  • 320g linguine

Remove the tough outer part and stem from the fennel. Slice the bulb across the grain very finely (use a mandolin if you have one). Reserve the green tops.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based pan, add the garlic, fennel seeds, and chilli and cook to soften. Add the crab, lemon zest, and juice, then season. Stir just to heat the crab through.

Cook the linguine in boiling water for 5 minutes, then add the fennel slices and cook together until al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water when you drain the pasta.

Add the drained pasta to the crab mixture and toss together until well combined. You can add a little of the reserved cooking water at this stage to loosen if necessary.

Serve with your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

Ragú Bolognese

Bolognese

 

This is our go-to recipe when we want a Bolognese ragú to go with pasta like penne (as opposed to in a lasagne). We’ve done many variations over the years and even though this isn’t entirely traditional it’s ease and relative speed, alongside a great flavour, mean that we make this more often than any other.

Pasta Bolognese – serves 6

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 100g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 spring of fresh thyme
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml milk
  • salt and black pepper
  • 400g dried pasta
  • Grated Parmesan to serve

Cook the onion, carrot and celery in the oil and butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before turning up the heat and adding the mince and thyme.

Brown the meat for a few minutes until it loses its raw appearance, then add the wine. Stir and reduce for a few minutes.

Add the other ingredients and season well. Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour.

Cook the pasta according to the pack and toss with the hot sauce and parmesan.

(Original recipe by Jane Baxter in The Guardian, 31st May 2014.)

Panetone bread and butter pudding

This would probably have been more useful a few weeks ago when you still had some panettone leftover from Christmas. Much fancier than the standard version!

Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding – serves 4

  • 50g butter, softened
  • 250g panettone
  • 2 eggs
  • 142ml double cream
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • icing sugar, to serve
  • lightly whipped cream, to serve

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 4/fan 140C.

Grease an 850ml baking dish with a little butter.

Cut the panettone into wedges and butter the slices lightly with the remaining butter. Cut the slices in half and arrange in the dish with the buttered side up.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla extract and sugar and pour evenly over the panettone.

Put the dish in a roasting tin and pour hot water around to a depth of about 2.5cm.

Bake for 35 minutes or until just set and browned on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This takes a dish we all love and gives it something special. As celeriac is in season, and very cheap at the moment, we’ve made this a lot recently and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. We haven’t tried it with the optional bacon yet but it tastes great without it.

Celeriac, potato & rosemary gratin – serves 4-6

  • 6 rashers bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 420ml double cream
  • 350ml milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 celeriac (about 500g) peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

If you are using the bacon, grill it until cooked and lightly browned, then set aside.

Bring cream, milk, garlic, rosemary, chilli and mustard to the  boil in a medium saucepan, then turn off.

Pour a little of the cream mixture into the bottom of a gratin dish. Arrange a layer of celeriac, scatter with bacon and season. Pour over a bit more cream and repeat the process, alternating layers of potato and celeriac, finishing with a potato layer. Cover with the rest of the cream mixture, then bake for 1 hr-1hr 15 mins or until golden and tender to the point of a knife. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Roasted brussel sprouts with shallots

 

This is one of the many Brussel Sprout recipes that celebrate this much maligned veg. We think that in the right dish and cooked properly they are fab and roasting them with shallots brings out great flavours. A good autumn/winter side dish for roasted or barbecued meats.

Roasted Brussels sprouts with shallots – serves 4

  • 400g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 350g shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • several sprigs of thyme
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5.

Put the Brussels sprouts and shallots into a large roasting dish, drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat, then tuck in the thyme sprigs.

Roast for approximately 35 minutes, giving the tray a shake half way through, until everything is crispy and caramelised.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.

(Original recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

Chianti Beef

 

The technique used to cook the meat is quite clever as the amount of beef is small and is only quickly, flash fried which keeps the juiciness, adds the caramelisation flavours and gives great depth to the whole dish. It’s an expensive cut but the quantity required is so small that it won’t break the bank. It’s hard to believe a dish with so much flavour takes such a short time to prepare.

Wine Suggestion: we drank one of our favourite Tuscan wines: the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina which is refined and elegant and complements the beef fillet and provides a foil to the rustic black pepper background in this dish.

Rigatoni, tomato, beef and red wine – serves 4

  • 320g rigatoni
  • 200g beef fillet
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 600g top quality tinned tomatoes
  • 350ml Chianti wine
  • 1tbsp ground black pepper
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Trim the beef fillet and cut across into 5mm slices. Cut the slices into 1cm strips.

Heat the butter in a thick-bottomed pan, add the garlic and fry gently until brown. Add the tomatoes and season. Cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes, then add half the red wine. Continue to cook on quite a high heat, adding more wine as the sauce reduces. Cook for 15 minutes in total, using up all the wine, then stir in the pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until very hot. Add the beef pieces and fry very briefly, just to brown each piece on both sides. Stir the beef into the sauce with any juices from the pan.

Cook the rigatoni in boiling salted until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce.

Serve with the Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes from the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Random House, 2006.)

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