Category Archives: Meat

Cannelloni with ricotta and minced meat

The husband and I are huge fans of Italian food, So I am always happy to try out something new and exciting. Normally I use a very basic cannelloni recipe à la bolognaise. It’s a wonderful recipe and I just know I ll keep using it till I am old an grey. But sometimes I want to try new recipes and new flavours. I found the base for this recipe while looking for some stock cubes on a website. The website suggested to use the cubes in a Ricotta cannelloni and I was won over. The idea of a ricotta cannelloni without spinach sounded like something different. So I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that and I ended up with those lovely creamy cannelloni.

 INGREDIENTS
8 tubes of cannelloni
½ red onions finely chopped
125 grams ricotta cheese
1 jar of tomato sauce (I used home made sauce about 250 ml)
50 grams of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
½ red pepper chopped in small cubes
½ green pepper chopped in small cubes
200 grams minced meat
30 grams of pine nuts
2 teaspoons of Italian herb mix
2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large sauté pan over medium heat warm the olive oil. Add the minced meat and crumble it with a fork while it turns lightly brown and is cooked through. Now add the onion and the peppers and stir fry this for a about 10 minutes.
Now add the ricotta to the pan and mix it all together.
Season with a little bit of salt, pepper and the Italian herb mix.

Now add 25 grams of parmigiano reggiano cheese and the pine nuts to the mixture.
I had to pre-boil the cannelloni before using. Be sure to check the instructions on your package before using.
 Now fill the tubes with the meat-ricotta mixture. I did this using a small wooden spoon. Look out that the tubes don’t tear up completely.

 Place the filled tubes in a oven dish and poor over the tomato sauce. Make sure that the cannelloni is covered completely with sauce; else it will go hard an dry while baking in the oven. Now sprinkle with the remaining parmigiano reggiano cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes in an oven of 200 degrees. Uncover and bake further until the cannelloni is golden brown an bubbling, this takes approx. another 15 minutes.

When you ask people to name some famous British chefs most of them will come up with Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and Nigella Lawson. Not me though… No I am madly and deeply in love with the cooking of Rick Stein. Rick and I had some great times in front of my TV. I sailed the canal du Midi with him, I ate dumplings with him in Phuket and I followed him around the Mediterranean. And that is still my favorit..his Mediterranean escape. I loved the show with that typical cuisine and the lovely views. I soaked in all his tips and one moment I thought I was going delusional in front of my tv cause I could almost smell the sea! I was overcome with joy when I finnaly got my hands on the Mediterranean escape cookbook. The first recipe I tried from it was this lovely kefta Mkaouara or a spicy egg, meatball and tomato tagine.
But although I love Rick Stein and everything he does I need to tell you how happy I was with the adjustments I made to the recipe. Without the extra spices I used I think the flavour would have been kind of bland. The husband and I agreed that his recipe could never be “spicy” like the title mentioned. I wrote my added spices in the cookbook and I saw the husband smile. All my cookbooks are tweaked with little notes in the sides to make recipes “more us”.

 INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 medium sized eggs
a small handful fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
450 grams minced lamb
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of hot paprika (I used some dried Harissa herbs I bought in Tunesia for this)
2 tablespoons of raz el hanout
1 medium onion, finely chopped
800 grams of canned chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves crushed

 Start with preheating your oven at 200 degrees.

Now for the meatballs put the minced lamb, parsley, 1 teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper into a bowl and mix together well with your hands. When all is mingled together well form the meat into small balls. (Approximately 2,5 cm)

 Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a shallow tagine or a frying pan and brown the meatballs briefly on all sides. You don’t need to cook them through, they just need to get a lovely golden crust.  Remove the balls from the pan and transfer them to a plate.

 Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the onion to it. Cook it very gently for about 5 minutes until soft and tender. Now add the canned tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of pepper, the garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of raz el hanout to the pan. Let this simmer gently for 20 minutes. Season with some salt to your liking.

Now return the meatballs to the pan and mix them together with the sauce. If you don’t have a tagine now is the time to transfer the mixture into a shallow oven dish. Make 4 slight dips into the mixture en break the eggs into each one. Now place the tagine or the oven dish in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the eggs or cooked.

Scatter with the chopped coriander and serve with some couscous like we did or some lovely Moroccan bread to dip into the sauce.

Recipe adapted from Rick Steins Med. Escape

Sundried tomatoes chicken with twice baked feta potato

I love sundried tomatoes. Not the all dried out version. No I have a thing for the half dried tomatoes who bath in oil. I know it probably is not healthy. Its not good for your figure… but it is delicious as hell. So for once I just don’t care. Normally I serve these tomatoes with a little aperitif, but to make it all a little healthier I made them into a lovely marinade.

These lovely marinated chicken breast are very quick to make and taste very Mediterranean.

I served them with twice baked potatoes and some feta. I just love feta and I love potatoes, so why not combine them into this lovely dish!

 INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHICKEN BREASTS

2 chicken breasts
12 half sundried tomatoes
6 leaves of basil
½ onion
1 clove of garlic
350 grams of tomato coulisse
250 mls of olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TWICE BAKED POTATOES

6 medium potatoes
Olive oil
200 grams of crumbled feta cheese and an extra 50 grams
2 teaspoons of finely chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons of finely chopped thyme
2 teaspoons of finely chopped sage
Salt and pepper

 

For the chicken breasts

Lets start of with the lovely chicken breasts. This is a really fast and easy marinate that you can use for any kind of meat. I just love it with chicken. The tenderness of the chicken goes wonderful with the sweetness of the tomatoes. But enough chit chat start chopping those sundried tomatoes and the basil leaves in rough pieces. When your done, do the some to the onion and the garlic.

Now take a large, deep plate or a large bowl and combine the chopped ingredients. Now add the tomato coulisse and the olive oil. Whisk it all together till everything is nicely combined.

Now take your chicken breasts and here comes the nice part…. Bash them with something heavy till they are nicely thin. Think about your bad day at work, about your husband loosing his socks for the seventh time this week, about your kids who never clean up their toys, about the dog who jumped on your pretty white dress with his dirty pawls. Anyone let the anger flow and just bash those chicken breast!

When the chicken breasts are nice and thin, you just toss them into the marinate, cover it up and place it for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

 Now heat a pan (even more lovely is a grill or a grill pan!) without adding any more oil or butter. Now take the chicken breast out of the marinate and fry them for about 2,5 minutes at each side.

FOR THE TWICE BAKED POTATOES

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Now scrub the potatoes and poke some holes in them with a fork. Isn’t this a lovely aggressive diner?

Now place the potatoes hole side up on a baking sheet and drizzle them with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and some sea salt. Now bake them for about 50 minutes in the oven. The potatoes are ready when you can insert a fork easily into the crispy skin of the potato.

Now remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Slice the potatoes in halve in length and scoop out that lovely, fluffy flesh into a bowl. Keep the skins on the side.

Now add 200 grams of crumbled feta cheese, the finely chopped herbs and some salt and pepper to the potato flesh. Mix this together into a creamy mixture and fill the potato skins with it. Top this of with the remaining feta cheese, some salt and pepper and return this to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Good old chilli con carne according to Jamie

There are few things I don’t really like in life. One of them is wasps, another one is dirty underwear and I certainly must not forget beans. I don’t like beans. Don’t get me wrong.. I ll eat them when they are on my plate. And over the years I did eat some delicious beans, but I wont make it for myself if I don’t need to. The problem is that my dearly beloved husband has a thing for beans. One of his favourite dishes is chilli con carne.
I don’t eat chilli con carne. To many beans and to much corn, another thing I am not to found of. Sometimes my mother in law makes some extra portions for her eldest son and we freeze it, so he can have some when I am not around the house. Only problem his, the husband is not really keen on his mothers chilli con carne. So for the love of my husband I crossed my boundaries and I made chilli con carne. Not just any chilli con carne, but “good old chilli con carne” from the ministry of food cookbook from Jamie Oliver. There are few things in life I really like, one of them is Jamie. And so everybody was happy. The hubby loved the chilli and thought it was better then his moms. I got to cook a recipe from Jamie and I saw my husband happy. What else isn’t there to like?

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 red peppers
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 heaped teaspoon of grounded cumin
1 heaped teaspoon of grounded cinnamon
sea salt and black pepper
400 grams of tinned chickpeas
400 grams of tinned red kidney beans
400 grams of chopped tomatoes
500 grams of minced meat
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Start of with peeling and finely chopping the onions, the garlic, the carrots and the celery. Deseed the red peppers and chop them up roughly.
Don’t forget chilli con carne is a rough dish, so no need to be very careful while chopping. Rustic pieces wont ruin the dish, it will just make it more authentic.
Add two tablespoons of olive all to a casserole and put it on a medium high heat.
When the oil is hot add all the chopped vegetables at once.
Now season it with the chilli flakes, the cumin and the cinnamon and end it with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened and lightly coloured.
Poor in the drained chickpeas, red kidney beans and the tomatoes. Stir it all together and let it simmer for about a minute.
Then add the minced meat, breaking the larger chunks up with a wooden spoon.
Fill one of the empty tomato tins with water and poor this into the pan.
Slice the stalks of the coriander and finely slice them before adding them to the pan.
Now add the balsamic vinegar and a little bit of salt and pepper again.
Bring this all to the boil, when it starts boiling turn down the heat and let it simmer with a lid slightly askew for about an hour, stirring the stew every now and than.
When the hour has almost past, taste and season it a little extra to flavour.

The husband ate the chilli with some tortillas, sour cream and cheddar grated on top of it.

Goulash

I love the smell and the colour of goulash. Deep red, a lovely heat… strange it’s the first time I ever make it.
When I still lived at home my mother used to make it once in a while. I would sneak into the kitchen and dip some bread into the sauce just to taste it.
So when I opened our freezer and saw a package of meat mend for stews I instantly thought of goulash.
“Honey, do you like goulash?” (Since we been living together for over 4 years now this should indicate how long it had been since we last ate goulash.)
“I love goulash!” he yelled from the back of our garden where he was planting flowers.
Goulash it was then! Just a quick visit to my mom across the street to ask for her recipe and then thinking of what to serve with it. Traditionally it is served with rice or potatoes. But my darling husband preferred fries with it. And what the heck? The real Hungarian goulash is actually a soup, so this stew is not traditional at all. So why not serve it with home sliced fries!

INGREDIENTS

1 kg beef for stew
9,5 dl beef stock
0,5 dl white wine
2 green paprika’s
2 red paprika’s
2 small jars of tomato puree (In the middle of summer I would use 3 fresh tomatoes. But the flavour of tomatoes now is kind of bland so I opt for puree.)
1 tablespoon of sweet paprika powder
1 tablespoon of spicy paprika powder
1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
1 bay leave
salt and pepper
oil
butter
According to taste: peas, carrots, mushrooms….

Heat in a stew pot the oil and the butter. ( The oil will make it really hot, while the butter while take care of a lovely brown colour.)
When this is searing hot, add the beef and fry it until it has a nice brown coating.
Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside. If needed heat a little bit more oil.
Peel the onions and slice them into rings, mince the garlic and dice the paprika’s.
Now add the vegetables to the pot and mingle them well. Let this stir for about 5 minutes.
Add the beef again and season it with the tomato puree, the caraway seeds, the white whine, the paprika powder, the bay leave and the stock. Stir it well.
Bring this to the boil and place the lit half on top of it. This way there is room for the water to get away and you will be left with a thick, flavourful sauce!
let this bubble away for about 1,5 hours or until the meat is very tender and soft.
The last 5 minutes I add a cup of peas to the stew.
Mix a little bit of sauce together with a tablespoon of cornstarch and add this to the sauce. Bring it to the boil once again and you are done!

Stir fry with black bean garlic sauce and zucchini

A little while ago I bought a jar of Black beans and garlic sauce from the brand Lee Kum Kee in our local Chinese shop. What I was going to do with that? I had no idea to be honest. But it sounded exciting, exotic and the hubby always orders beef in black bean sauce when we order take out Chinese… So I was going to give it a try. I found some inspiration at Cooking Light, where they prepared chicken and zucchini with the sauce. The recipe needed some adaptation, cause it was a little bland in flavour. That’s the problem when you see the dish prepared in your head but the results in the pan don’t look anything like your imagined dish. But I worked some magic with all kinds of jars and pots and the result was a very tasty, slightly hot chicken with zucchini.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHICKEN

Chicken filet
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of dark soja sauce
1 teaspoon of cornstarch

FOR THE SAUCE

2 tablespoons of black beans and garlic sauce
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek
½ tablespoon of ginger powder
½ teaspoon of lemongrass powder
1 teaspoon of ketjap
½ tablespoon of brown sugar
100 ml vegetable stock

FOR IN THE STIRFRY

1 zuchinne sliced into thin rounds
2 tablespoons of wok oil
2 spring onions
cooked rice

Slice the chicken into small pieces and mix it with the rice vinegar, the soy sauce and the cornstarch into a ziplock. Let it rest for at least one hour in the fridge.

Mix in a small bowl all the ingredients for the sauce. ( Black Bean sauce, sambal, ginger, lemongrass, ketjap, brown sugar and stock)

Heat a tablespoon of wok oil in the wok and bake the zucchini in it. The zucchini is ready when she is slightly brown and tender.
Take the zucchini out of the pan and add another spoon of oil. Now stir fry the chicken in it. When the chicken is done add the zucchini together with the black bean sauce.
Bring it to the boil and serve it with rice and spring onions.

Gordon Ramseys cottage pie with Guinness

My husband loves Guinness. When we go into the city he visits the Irish pub and in my fridge I can always find a bottle or two of Guinness. When we were still in college I once convinced a friend to bring me some glasses from the Guinness Brewery to surprise Michael with. I still go all mushy when I see him handling those pints with care.
He showed me the recipe for cottage pie with Guinness with great enthusiasm. He had found that in one of my cooking books, namely “Great British Pub Food by Gordon Ramsey”. I was not over the top with joy to prepare this dish. I kind of dislike the Irish Black Gold. But I am a huge fan of Mister Ramsey… so I was willing to give it a try. And thank God I did, cause this is just delicious! Although I added some veggies, cause the dish lacked a healthy portion of greens. But it was so good… so utterly amazing good… I made it twice in one week, does that say anything about its goodness?

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons of olive oil
900 grams of minced meat (I used pork – veal minced meat)
1 onion, peeled and finally chopped
2 garlic gloves, peeled and finally chopped
3 carrots, diced
150 grams peas
some stacks of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
330 ml Guinness
5 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
300 ml chickenstock
fresh mashed potatoes
some grated cheddar cheese

Place a big, high pan on a high fire and heat the olive oil in it. Fry the minced meat in it until it because nice brown with a little crust. Poor the meat into a sieve so that all the excess grease can poor out.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan and heat it up.
Now add the onions, the garlic, the carrots and the thyme and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Now add the meat together with the tomato puree and let it bake for about 5 minutes, while constantly stirring.

Add the Guinness, the peas and the Worcestershire sauce and boil till the liquid has reduced by half. Then pour in the stock and bring it back to the boil.

Now turn the heat town and let simmer for 20 minutes.
By this time the mixture should be thick . If this is not the case you can easily add a tablespoon of brown sauce binder to it.
Now take a pie dish and spoon the meat mixture into the dish. Then spoon over the mashed potatoes and top it of with the cheddar cheese.
Pop this in a preheated oven of 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. The dish is ready to serve when the cheese is melted into a lovely golden brown oozing paste and you see the sauce bubbling into the cracks of the potatoes.