Black pudding and sausage pasta

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A GREAT AND RICH TAKE ON SUGO DI SALSICCE 

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This is a richly satisfying, luxurious pasta dish and a great way to eat the mighty black pudding. I adore the stuff. It goes well with the pasta and the sausages and looks velvety dark on the plate. Be bold and brave – give it a go as soon as possible!

You will be glad you did!

FOR 4

2 tbsps Olive oil
4 Italian fresh pork sausages, meat removed from skins and crumbled (if you can’t get them easily – just use good quality pork sausages)
100 gm of a good black pudding sliced
1 small  onion peeled and chopped.
Good pinch of dried red chillies
2 bay leaves
Small handful of fresh rosemary or tbsp of dried
Half a glass of red wine
500 gm passata
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 gm rigatoni

Parmesan to serve

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the sausage meat, stirring and breaking up the pieces.
After the juice from the meat has evaporated and the fat begins to run, add the onion, garlic, chilli, rosemary bay leaves and a little grind of sea salt and black pepper.

Cook gently for almost 30 mins until the onions are browning. Add the black pudding. Stir for about five minutes to let the black pudding cook and crumble slightly with the sausage mixture.

Pour in the wine, increase the heat and cook until the wine evaporates. Now add the passata, lower the heat, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta and  drain well. Add the pasta back to its pan and stir in the sauce mix then serve to a hushed reverence!

Beef and Guinness…a marriage made in a casserole

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Beef and Guinness...a marriage made in a casserole

Right, normal service soon to be resumed – thank you all for your patience – a tough 10 days at work now over…all is well with the world and today I said hello to winter with a stonking beef stew that warmed cockles and fortified frozen bones. It is a common dish but one that still needs a tender hand and a little attention along the way to adjust the flavour to exactly what you want it to be.

Ingredients for 4

800 gm of stewing steak- you could also use shin – just leave it in about 20 minutes longer
4 slices of smoked bacon chopped into bite sized pieces
50 gm butter
1 500 gm bottle or can of Guinness
Beef or chicken stock
Plain flour
A tablespoon of chopped thyme
2 bay leaves
About 12 chestnut mushrooms
500 gm of baby onions or 4 medium sized onions quartered
8 baby plum tomatoes
Salt and black pepper

Toss the beef in seasoned plain flour. Heat the butter in a large frying pan with a little olive oil. Brown the bacon pieces and transfer to a large casserole. Then brown the onions – add these to the pot.

Then add the beef and fry gently until golden. Once you have added the beef to the casserole deglaze the frying pan with a little of the Guinness. Add these magical juices to the pot too.

Now add the rest of the Guinness to the casserole plus the thyme and bay leaves. Add a little more salt and black pepper.
Bring to the boil then simmer with the lid on gently for about two hours. Then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 45 minutes then add the mushrooms whole. Add a little hot water if it looks too thick but you do not want it to be thin.

Make some dumplings and add these for a further half an hour or so.

I served it with buttery horse radish mashed potatoes.

Warming and filling and wonderfully wintery in all respects!

Pot roast, rockets and remembrance…

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Pot roast, rockets and remembrance...

Today had pot roast written all over it – a crisp, bright autumnal
day following a damp, chilly bonfire party last night in the grounds – perfect for a piece of brisket to sit patiently in a pot and eek out all its goodness for us to savour later on this afternoon. This morning was our remembrance service and time to say a few words of my own in quiet reflection for those in my family who gave their lives in the Great War – Charlie and Paddy Conville and Alfred Bradbury. A brisk walk home through yellow and golden leaves cheered me up and there is nothing more therapeutic than chopping and fiddling in the kitchen.

Oven on to preheat at 140c. I then seared a locally reared 1kg piece of rolled brisket in hot lard in a casserole, removed it to one side , whilst I browned two carrots cut into chunks, 3 sticks of celery, two onions sliced and 3 cloves of garlic left whole. After about 5 minutes on a medium heat, I then added two quartered plum tomatoes, 3 bay leaves and returned the meat to sit king-like on this flavoursome throne. A little salt and pepper and a good sprig of thyme from my garden tucked under the beef were added before I placed a sheet of foil over the pot followed by the lid. It has gone in the oven for about 3 hours. When it is ready, I shall remove the meat to a warm plate and the veg – then make a little roux and thicken the juices into a gravy. I will let you know how it goes! Right, time to settle in front of the woodburner and watch the football!

I leave you with some random shots of last night’s fireworks! Kaboom!

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Shoulder of fortune…

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Shoulder of fortune...

I last made this dish back in March (recipe March 30th) but I have always only ever done previously cooked it with a leg – but a good friend of mine – a lovely lady called Liza – let me, very kindly, have a shoulder of lamb from one of her own recently slaughtered beasts. And it was tremendous – cooking lamb straight on the rack for me is one of, if not the best, ways to treat this fine meat. It went in for 3 hours on 160c. Perfection. It oozed taste and succulence. Below it, I had popped the leeks, chopped, 2 red onions sliced and 5 cloves of garlic, halved in a tray of olive oil and roasted then for 10 minutes before adding bay leaves, a bouquet garni and 2 tins of drained cannellini beans this time, plus 1 and a half litres of chicken stock. It sat under the lamb and caught all its fabulous juices. I had scored the lamb first and rubbed in a garam masala mix, which gave it a wonderful warmth for a Sunday.

If you have never tried it – please, please do! It is magical.

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IMG_4494All the good things in life on a plate…

A Polish dish that’s easy to polish off!

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A Polish dish that's easy to polish off!

I stumbled across these delightful dumplings at Lidl recently in their Polish range – oh wow are they something! They are potato based dumplings filled with a terrific tasty mixture of pork and beef mince with leek, onion and carrot. They are called Pyzy Zmiesem – not easy to say when you have had a few glasses of vino….! Anyway, they come frozen. You just need to pop them in a large pan of boiling water with a tbsp of oil and a little salt. After about 10 minutes they rise to the top, then you reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. I made a lardons and tomato sauce to accompany these beauties. I pan fried garlic, cumin seeds, crushed dried chillies and a bay leaf for a minute then added a 100 gm of lardons.

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As it turned a gorgeous lightly crispy colour I added a 40o gm can of chopped toms plus a little sugar. I brought this to the boil and then turned down the heat for 20 minutes and let it thicken a tad.Then I turned off the heat, popped a lid on and left it whilst the Pyzy got busy. I drained them, gently laid them on a dish, added a splash of red wine vinegar and good olive oil to the tomato mixture and ladled this silky sauce over them, adding a basil leaf or two for colour.

The family wolfed it – I would love to have a go at making my own – though it would be hard to match the texture and flavour of these demon dumplings.

A fine supper dish when time is at a premium!

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Roast in peace…!

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Roast in peace...!

Which is exactly what you can do with a classic English beef pot roast. It is cooking serenity. No dramas. Just the ticket for a damp, dreek, early autumn Sunday. And the flavours are on the A+ side of phenomenal – and the ingredients do it all for you! Magical!

Ingredients
1.2 kilo piece of silverside – mine was from those wonderful folk at Parsonage Farm
6 carrots, cut into three hearty chunks
4 onions quartered or you could use 10 or 12 shallots left whole
1 bay leaf
beef dripping or lard
275 ml of beef stock
Thyme – fresh if you can
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp plain flour
25 gm butter
Black pepper

Right, here we go. Preheat oven to 140c. Into a large high sided casserole heat a good wodge of dripping or lard then brown your meat all over in it. Remove to a plate. Then add the carrots and onions and brown them lightly. You could add celery stalks chopped too, or swede..but I find too much veg takes over.

Pop the joint back on top of the bed of vegetables in the pan – add the hot stock, bay leaf, sprig of thyme or teaspoon of dried, and the bouquet garni. Then grind in some black pepper. Cover tightly with foil, then pop the lid on. Bring to the boil – you should hear it begin to bubble – then slide it into the oven for 2 and a half hours.

When ready remove the beef and cover in foil and put to one side Remove the veg with a slotted spoon and also put to one side. Add the butter to the flour in a cup and with a teaspoon blend together until you have a paste. Bring the stock to the boil and add the butter paste. Stir vigorously until it looks smooth, thicker and creamier. Adjust seasoning if you so desire.

I let the beef rest for half an hour whilst the Yorkshire puds cooked – I leave these in the capable hands of my wife – she has a gift for making these gems! I then arranged the beef on a platter, arranged the veg around the side, then the Yorkshires, and then drizzled a little of the gravy over the meat. I served it with buttered boiled potatoes and steamed kale – and more of the gravy at the table.

The beef simply melted in the mouth – it was just divine. (Thank you to Sarah and John for such fabulous meat!)

So, if you have never had a go at this – do – and roast in peace!

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Sloe gin sausages in tomato sauce

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Sloe gin sausages in tomato sauce

Decided that last night it was a ‘let’s go with what’s in but let’s be imaginative’ supper..so the gorgeous 6 pork sausages keeping themselves to themselves in the fridge were chopped and pan fried in olive oil with a sprinkle of cumin seeds, chopped green chilli, bay leaf, garlic clove slithered, an onion finely sliced and black pepper. After 30 minutes the ensemble was looking and smelling seriously inviting – so in went 2 large splashes of sloe gin to deglaze and flavour the mix. This made the difference. After 2 or 3 minutes, in went 600 ml of chopped tomatoes and a can of drained cannellini beans. I left it for 20 minutes or so to thicken up. It was served  with some seriously large pasta shells and a side dish of asparagus spears with large loving slices of pecorino and swirls of olive oil. The sloe gin I used was from Wiltshire Liqueur Company – the link is on the side bar – lovely to use local produce.

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Penne con Sugo di Salsicce….a brilliant mid week dish..

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Penne con Sugo di Salsicce....a brilliant mid week dish..

These tinkers nestling in the dish are from Parsonage Farm…. Tuscan Style sausages ..perfect for one of my kids’ favourite dishes. I first saw this dish eons ago in the first River Cafe book…and it has stayed with me ever since..though it gets a tiddly bit altered each time, depending on how I feel!

Right then, here we go…

2 tbsps Olive oil
5 or 6 Italian spiced fresh pork sausages, meat removed from skins and crumbled (if you can’t get them easily – just use good quality pork sausages)
1 small red onions peeled and chopped.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped.
2 small dried chillies, crumbled or a good tbsp or two of crushed dried chillies.
2 bay leaves
Small handful of fresh rosemary
Large glass of a good red wine

2x 400g tines peeled plum tomatoes, drained.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
120g parmesan, freshly grated – be generous
150ml single Cream
75 gram per person of penne rigate – but this is for folk who may not be hungry or not require seconds – I usually cook a 500gm bag.

Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the sausage meat, stirring and breaking up the pieces. 

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After the juice from the meat has evaporated and the fat begins to run, add the onion, garlic, chilli, rosemary and bay leaves.

Cook gently for almost 30 mins until the onions are brown. Pour in the wine, increase the heat and cook until the wine evaporates. Now add the tomatoes, lower the heat, and simmer gently until you have a thick sauce, about 45-60 minutes.

Season with salt (and pepper, if the sausages were not spicy), and add the Parmesan and cream.

Cook the penne and then drain well. Add the pasta to the sauce, mix and serve. 

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This is so good..I mean…really truly scrumptiously delicious on a big scale.