Spagetti Bolognese

A hardy perennial round these parts. The recipe on the BBC does it well. I made a big batch with 2.5kg of mince which made c. 5kg of Bolognese for the freezer packed into 4 packs, sufficient for four dinners for our family for 7. The recipe below is for 500g mince. Multiple as you want for a big freezer batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 500g beef mince

For the Bolognese sauce

  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes, blitz
  • small pack basil leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
  • 125ml red wine

To season and serve

  • 75g parmesan grated, plus extra to serve
  • 400g spaghetti
  • crusty garlic bread

On high heat, fry the bacon in the olive oil till golden crispy.

Reduce the heat a little, then add the sofrito (onion, celery, and carrot), the garlic and rosemary and then fry for 10 mins. Stir the veg often until it softens. Add the tomato puree and stir until it starts to caramelise.

Increase the heat and add the mince and brown using a spoon to make sure it is well separated.

Then add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaves, stock cube, chilli, wine.

Stir and simmer for up to 4 hours if doing a large batch. The sauce will thicken and change to brown but delicious tomatoey colour.

Serve with spaghetti and parmesan cheese and maybe some garlic bread.

Mexican Bean and Rice Salad

Salad to accompany Burritos

  • 400g Rice, cooked
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin
  • 1 x Red Onion, fine dice
  • 1 x Green Pepper, dice
  • 1 x Lime, juice
  • 1 x Lime, zest
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Coriander, chopped
  • 2 x Jalapenos, fine dice
  • 1 x Black Beans 400g tin
  • 1 x Corn Can 200g tin
  • 1 x Kidney Beans 400g

Combine, chill for 1 hour and serve

Chicken Noodle Salad

Dressing

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Mix dressing ingredient in a bowl and mix well

Vegetable

  • 1 Carrot
  • 3 Peppers
  • 6 Green Onion

Julienne the carrot, peppers, and green onions.

Herbs etc

  • Peanuts
  • Mint, chopped
  • Basil, chopped
  • Coriander, chopped

Noodle

  • Capellini (Angel Hair) or Spaghetti or Medium Egg Noodle

Cook pasta and wash in cold water, set aside.

Chicken

  • 2 x Breast of Chicken

Poach the Chicken Breasts in chicken stock for 20 mins and let cool in stock. Then pull chicken breasts apart in thin strips along the grain.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients (chicken, noodle, vegetables, herbs, nuts, dressing) together with your hands. Take time to gently mix well getting all ingredients evenly mixed. Cover and leave in fridge for an hour or so. Then mix again and leave for another 30 mins.

Piri-Piri Chicken

Marinade

  • Juice of 2 whole lemon
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons salt

Piri-Piri Sauce

  • 4 red Thai chilies, you can use more if you like a spicier dish
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • juice of one whole lemon
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Chicken

Buy a whole chicken. Spatchcock the chicken. Press flat and place in zip lock with marinade for a few hours. Then move to tray and bake in oven for 30 mins.

Then finish chicken on BBQ. Turning frequently, char the skin, basting with the piri-piri sauce as you cook. The chicken will easily break into parts as you cook on BBQ. Use a knife to prise apart leg from breast. On a board before serving, cut along breastbone to spilt the breast in two parts.

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish.

Serve with salads.

Vietnamese Rolls

A more refreshing version of the fried version full of fresh herbs, prawn, pork and noodle, with delicious dips.

Ingredients

  • Rice vermicelli
  • Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Coriander
  • Prawns
  • Loin of Pork
  • Rice wrappers
  • Cucumber
  • Vinegar
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Soy
  • Coconut Milk
  • Lemon
  • Fish Sauce
  • Limes
  • Garlic 
  • Sugar
  • Red Chillis

BBQ Pork

Cut loin along grain into 2 cm thick strips. Cook on BBQ. As it cooks, turn and baste will mixture of soy, honey, sweet chilli sauce. Remove from BBQ, baste some more and sprinkle some sesame on top. Let cool a little and cut into thin slices.

Prawns.

Cook tiger prawns on the BBQ or in a pan for 2 mins each side. Remove from heat. Let cool and the slice in half.

Pickled Cucumber

Peal some of the green skin off cucumber. Cut cucumber down the middle. Using a teaspoon, remove the seeds. Then slice thinly. Place in bowl and add 1 tsp of salt. Leave for 30 mins. Then remove and to strainer and rinse. Then put in bowl with 2 tbsp of vinegar.

Dipping Sauces

Three dipping sauces below.

Hoisin
Place 2 tbsp hoisin sauce in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp water and stir together.

Peanut Sauce

  • 200g Smooth Peanut butter
  • 400ml Coconut Milk
  • 200ml Water
  • 3 tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 tsp Lemon Juice

Place all the above ingredients in a pot and bring to simmer. Stir and reduce until it starts to thicken. After about 15 mins, remove from heat and let cool, then decant to a bowl for dipping.

Nước Chấm

  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 red chilli, diced.

A traditional Vietnamese condiment. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Making wraps

Dip a rice wrapper in tepid water to soften, place on flat surface. Then layer on prawn or pork, noodle, lettuce, mint, basil, coriander. Roll and close the wrapper. Place the pork or prawn first will mean it will display through the transparent wrapper in visually appealing manner. See nice video of technique here.

Dip in sauce and eat.

Indian Style Lamb Shanks

Braise cook lamb shanks for 3 hours in Indian spices for a delicious curry. Thanks to Latifs Inspired for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces lamb shank (on the bone), seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 Onion, sliced.
  • 2 tsp whole cumin
  • 4-5 bay leaf
  • 4-5 pieces cinnamon
  • 15 cloves
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 12 cardamom
  • 15 clove garlic
  • 2 inch ginger, chopped
  • 10 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomato, blitzed.
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Water, enough to cover the meat.
  • Butter

Spices:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp fennel powder, toast some fennel seeds on pan and grind in pestle and mortar
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala

Get a big pot on medium/high heat, sear the shanks, browning them on all sides. Remove shanks to a tray.

In the same pot on medium heat, add the oil onion and all the whole spices and aromatics (cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, peppercorn, cardamom, garlic, ginger), sauté until the onion starts to brown. Then stir in the tomato puree and let it caramelise a little. Add the chillies and powered spices and cook for 5 mins. Then add the tinned tomatoes and stir. Add the six lamb shanks. Add water to cover the shanks. Bring to a boil and then move to low heat and simmer for 3 hours. Give the pot a stir every now and then,

After 3 hours, remove the lamb shanks to a tray. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and blitz the sauce. Then over a medium heat let the sauce reduce and thicken for c. 20 mins. Add big knob of butter and stir. Add the shanks back to sauce and stir in chopped coriander.

Serve with basmati and naan.

VIETNAMESE chicken

8 Chicken Thighs, deboned

Chicken Marinade

  • 3 Lemongrass stalks, fine chop
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Fish Sauce

For the Wok

  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 Lemongrass stalks, fine chop
  • 3 cm Ginger, fine chopped
  • 3 Red Chillies, fine chopped
  • 4 Shallots, sliced.
  • 4 Green onions, white part, shredded.
  • 6 Garlic cloves, fine chopped
  • 4 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Coriander bunch, chopped.
  • Limes, cut in segments.

Marinade the chicken for an hour with the lemongrass, sugar and fish sauce.

Cook chicken thighs in two batches in in a medium hot pan with a little vegetable oil, about 4 mins each side. Remove to tray and place both batches in oven for 15 minutes.  Remove oil from the pan and deglaze pan with some water and save for the sauce later used in wok.  Remove chicken from oven and cut the thighs in four parts.

In a wok, cook in two batches so only use half of each the ingredients set out above. Heat a little vegetable oil in the wok over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, lemongrass, shallots and green onions and cook for a minute. Add half the chicken and stir. Reduce heat, add 2 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tbsp fish sauce and half the deglaze. Add a little water if needed to make a sauce.

Stir in some coriander and serve with rice and lime segments.

After you eat the 1st batch, cook the second batch and keep eating.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Credit to The Art of Cooking for this recipe and beautifully explained on his YouTube channel. It delivers a great crunchy coating for the chicken.

Marinade

  • 1 kg Chicken Breast
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp White Pepper
  • 120 ml Water
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Breading

  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Egg
  • 500 ml Water
  • 1/4 tsp White Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 60g Corn Starch
  • 6 tbsp Veg. Oil
  • 320 g Plain Flour

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2 L Water 
  • 2 Oranges, sliced
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • 4cm Ginger, sliced
  • 230 ml Vinegar
  • 473 g Sugar
  • 300ml Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Corn flour

Vegetables

  • 3 Peppers, red green yellow, thin sliced
  • 1 large onion thin sliced
  • 4 green onions, white part shredded, green part cut in half
  • 4 cloves of garlic, fine chopped
  • 4 cm ginger, fine chopped
  • 2 red chillis, deseeded and fine sliced.
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

1 L vegetable oil for frying the chicken

Cut chicken into thin strips and place in a large bowl with all the marinade ingredients and mix well. Set aside for an hour.

To make the sauce, place ginger, orange, lemon and water in pot and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins and then remove from heat. Let cool a little. Strain liquid pressing fruits to extract maximum flavour. A liquid back to pot and heat over high heat. Add sugar and vinegar. Dissolve the sugar. Then add the ketchup and mix well. Mix some cornflour with water to make a slurry. Add some to sauce until it thickens. Then reduce heat and keep on a low heat until serving.

Place all the batter ingredients in a mixer and mix well. It should be the consistency of a thick cream. Pour the batter into the bowl containing the chicken and mix.

Heat oil in large pot or wok to 190C. Cook chicken in batches. Turn chicken in the oil after 3 mins cooking for 6 mins in total. Remove to grate.

Clean wok, add some oil, stir fry the vegetables. Pour wine around edge of wok. Then add soy sauce and sugar.

Serve chicken with rice and some stir fried vegetables with some sauce drizzled over. Serve sauce in bowls so more can be spooned over as desired.

Chicken udon noodles

Very moreish. Make it with prawns, pork belly, chicken or a mix of all.

  • 750g chicken, cut in thin long strips.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp Sugar
  • 4 clove garlic, fine chop
  • 8 green onion, separate the green and the white parts 
  • 1 onion, cut in half, then thin slice
  • cabbage, cut out ¼ cabbage, then thin slice
  • 2 200g pack udon noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame
  • oil

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil or 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin (if you have it)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp water or chicken stock

Cut chicken into thin long strips into a bowl with the soy sauce and sugar, mix well and set aside.

Prepare the sauce. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, mix and set aside.

Place Udon noodles in bowl and cover with boiling water. Tease the noodles apart, and then drain off the water. Drizzle sesame oil over noodles and mix.

Chop the vegetables. For the Green Onion, separate the green and white part. Cut green part in half. Shred the white part by using a sharp knife to cut along its length.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Cook chicken in batches, careful not to over crowd the wok, so the chicken browns well and caramelises a little. Set cooked chicken aside on hot plate.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Start with garlic for a minute then add the onion, cabbage, and the white part of green onion. Stir fry for a minute or two. Reduce heat to medium and add the noodles and mix.  Then add the cooked chicken and mix. Then turn heat to high and add the sauce and stir well. Finally add the green part of the green onion and stir in.

Serve in hot bowls.

Dover Sole Meuniere

Black sole aka Dover sole isn’t cheap to buy but is a real treat.

  • 1 x Dover sole, get fish monger to trim off the edge pieces.
  • 25 g Seasoned Flour
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 40g Butter
  • 1 tbsp Parsley, chopped.
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges

Dredge the Dover sole in the seasoned flour and shake off excess.

Heat the oil in non-stick frying pan. Add the sole, lower the heat slightly and add a small piece of the butter. Fry over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, without moving, until golden brown. Turn the fish over and cook for 4–5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to warm plate.

Wipe the pan clean.  Add the remaining butter and allow it to melt over a medium heat. When the butter starts to smell nutty and turn light brown, add the lemon juice, parsley and some seasoning. Pour some of this brown butter sauce (beurre noisette) over the fish and serve with the lemon wedges.