A firm favourite with children of all ages. These lamb meatballs flavoured with oregano and Parmesan cheese are cooked in a passata based sauce. Usually served with spaghetti but any pasta you choose will work.
2 slices, about 55g (2 oz) white bread, preferably one day old
120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
450g (1 lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
14g (½ oz) flat leaf parsley/Italian parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 egg, beaten
28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated (¼ cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato sauce
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small stick celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 700ml bottle passata
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
120ml (4 fl oz) whole milk (½ cup)
Pasta and a green salad or Caesar salad
You will also need large sauté pan with lid and a large frying pan/skillet.
Heat the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and, when hot, add the onion and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat and leave to cool.
Now remove the crusts from the bread and tear into pieces. Put the bread in a shallow dish and cover with the milk.
Next for the tomato sauce, put the carrot, celery, and garlic in a food processor and blitz. Put the butter and oil into the sauté pan and, when hot, add the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook over a medium–low heat until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the passata and add the bay leaves and seasoning. Cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the meatballs. Put the lamb in a large bowl. Squeeze the milk from the bread and discard adding the bread to the lamb. Put half the parsley on a chopping board, sprinkle over the dried oregano and chop the parsley finely. (This will activate the oregano.) Now add the herbs to the lamb with the egg, Parmesan, cooled onion, and some pepper. Mix together until well combined. Make into 20–24 meatballs, flattening them slightly, and place them on a baking tray lined with clingfilm/cling wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.
When the tomato sauce has cooked for the 20 minutes, stir in the milk and continue to cook gently, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.
Once the meatballs have firmed up, put two tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan and brown the meatballs all over, about 5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce. Cover and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
Chop the remaining parsley and, just before serving, sprinkle over the meatballs.
I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Cacciatore) and this one I call Chicken Hunter’s Style. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.
Chicken Hunter’s Style – breasts of chicken are cooked with diced bacon and onions, sliced mushrooms and plum tomatoes in a seasoned tomato sauce.
You will also need a large sauté pan with lid and a medium-sized serving dish
Warm the serving dish in the oven.
Now heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and set to one side.
Put the bacon in the pan and sauté for 1 minute, tossing frequently. Then add the onions and mushrooms, reduce the heat a little, and cook until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Stir through the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Next stir in the wine and tomatoes, then return the chicken to the pan and sprinkle with the parsley and seasoning.
Cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through. Add the basil during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove the chicken to the warmed serving dish and pour over the sauce.
Serve with buttered, baby potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli/broccolini.
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet with a lid for this recipe.
First, warm a plate in the oven.
Then trim any fat from the pork and slice into 2.5cm (1 inch) slices.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Next, quarter, core and slice the apples (do not peel).
Now, heat the oil in a pan and then fry the pork slices over a medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. This will probably need to be done in two or more batches. Once the slices are brown, put them on the warmed plate and cover with foil.
Add the onions to the pan, reduce the heat, and then gently cook them for about 5 minutes to soften.
Stir in the flour until it soaks up all the juices in the pan, then gradually add the stock, stirring continuously, until the sauce is smooth.
Next stir in the mustards and the cream. Then add the apples, thyme and seasoning. Return the pork to the pan along with any juices.
Stir everything together, cover the pan, and then gently cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened.
For that time when you need something quick and simple to prepare, this British favourite fits the bill. A gammon steak, topped with a soft poached egg, and roasted baby potatoes instead of fries, makes for a very enjoyable meal.
Wash the potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic cloves, and seasoning. Toss together to coat the potatoes.
Tip into a small roasting tin/pan and roast for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender, turning a couple of times to make sure they brown evenly.
Preheat the grill/broiler.
Remove any rind from the gammon steaks, then brush with the remaining olive oil. Grill/broil for 3 minutes on each side until they are starting to brown and are crisping at the edges.
While cooking the gammon, also cook the eggs. Pour some boiling water into a non-stick frying pan/skillet to a depth of 2.5–3.75cm (1–1½ inches). Gently heat the water so that it produces just a trace of tiny bubbles over the base of the pan. Next stir the white wine vinegar into the water, which will prevent the whites from spreading as they cook.
Now, holding the cracked eggs as near as possible above the water, slip them gently into the water and cook for exactly 1 minute to let the eggs settle.
Cook for a further 3 minutes, occasionally basting the top of the eggs with the water.
Once the eggs are cooked, lift them out of the water with a flat slotted spoon, resting the spoon on a sheet of kitchen paper to absorb any water before slipping the egg off the spoon onto the top of a gammon steak.
I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Hunter’s Style) and this one is called Chicken Cacciatore. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.
Chicken is sautéed and then cooked with chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes in a seasoned sauce. Rocket/arugula is then stirred through before serving.
You will also need a deep-sided sauté pan for this recipe.
Heat half the oil and half the butter in the pan, and when the butter starts to foam, add the chicken. Over a medium heat brown the chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes, then remove and put to one side.
Next add the remaining oil and butter to the pan, and once the butter starts to foam, add the onions and mushrooms to the pan. Reduce the heat and gently cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions begin to soften and the mushrooms turn a golden colour. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock, then add the oregano and bay leaf. Now return the chicken to the pan. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the bay leaf, then season well and stir through the rocket/arugula.
This chicken dish just takes 20 minutes to cook – one to choose when time is short. The chicken breasts, chunky potatoes and garlic are sautéed in olive oil and butter until crisp and then covered in a white wine sauce.
You will also need 2 large frying pans/skillets and a medium-sized serving dish.
Warm the serving dish in the oven.
Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and simmer the potatoes until just tender, about 15 minutes.
Now divide the butter and oil between the two pans/skillets.
Next season the chicken breasts. Heat the oil and butter in one of the pans and, when the butter is foaming, add the chicken breasts and brown for 5 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through. Reduce the heat and continue to cook the chicken for about 15 minutes until it is cooked through, turning once.
Meanwhile, drain the potatoes when they are just tender and leave for a couple of minutes to dry out. Heat the oil and butter in the other pan and, once the butter is foaming, add the potatoes with the garlic. Turn to coat and continue to cook over a medium heat until the potatoes are golden and crisp, turning occasionally.
When the chicken is ready, transfer it to the warm serving dish and keep warm in the oven. Add the potatoes and garlic once they are ready.
Pour the chicken stock and wine into the pan the chicken was cooked in and let it bubble over a high heat until reduced by half. Stir occasionally and scrape all the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pour over the chicken, potatoes, and garlic and serve immediately garnished with the parsley.
Buttered baby potatoes and sautéed courgettes/zucchini go well with this dish.
Warm a plate in the oven.
In a shallow bowl, mix the oil, crushed peppercorns, rosemary leaves, and a little salt. Add the lamb noisettes and turn to coat.
Next melt the butter in a large frying pan/skillet and cook the lamb over a medium to high heat for 2–3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chops. The lamb should still be slightly pink in the centre. Remove the lamb, place on the warmed plate and cover with foil while making the sauce.
Pour away any excess fat from the pan/skillet, then add the red wine and chicken stock, and stir in the sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring, while scraping up any residue from the bottom of the pan/skillet. Let the sauce simmer for 5–10 minutes to reduce, until it is slightly syrupy.
Pour over the lamb and serve garnished with rosemary sprigs.
A lovely, tasty meal to embrace the joys of spring and the growth of the first fresh vegetables of the season. The sweet meat of boneless lamb chops are roasted with garlic and rosemary, and served with roasted asparagus and baby new potatoes along with glazed carrots.
450g (1 lb) asparagus (16–20 small spears or 12–15 large)
2 olive oil
450g (1 lb) new carrots (about 8)
300ml (10 fl oz) vegetable stock (1¼ cups)
knob of butter
1 tsp soft brown sugar
You will also need 2 roasting tins/pans. One large enough to just take the noisettes of lamb and the other for the potatoes and asparagus.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Wash the potatoes and halve any that are large. Add them to a large pan of boiling salted water and parboil for 7 minutes.
Wash the asparagus and snap off the any whitish, woody parts at the end of the stems. Add them to the pan of potatoes during the last 2 minutes Drain everything well.
Next make a bed of rosemary sprigs in the roasting tin/pan for the meat. Now lay the lamb on top and add the halved garlic. Season well and sprinkle over the olive oil. Roast in the bottom half of the oven for 20–25 minutes until the lamb is cooked through.
Put the potatoes in the second roasting tin and coat them well with the olive oil. Roast on a racak above the lamb for 10 minutes.
Now add the asparagus to the tin/pan with the potatoes and baste them with the oil. Roast for 10–15 minutes, turning the potatoes and asparagus a couple of times.
While everything is roasting in the oven, wash and trim the carrots. Put the carrots, vegetable stock, butter, and sugar in a pan, bring to the boil and then gently simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Add the cooking juice from the carrots to those left from roasting the lamb and use to make a gravy.
225g (8 oz) carrots (3 medium), sliced thinly into rounds
2 small courgettes/zucchini, cut into 1.25cm (½ inch) rounds
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For this recipe you will also need a heavy-based frying pan/skillet for the steaks, if not barbecuing, and a deep-sided frying pan/skillet with lid for the vegetables
Lay the steaks in a single layer in a shallow dish.
Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the next 5 ingredients and pour this over the steaks. Cover the dish and leave to marinade for 30 minutes, turning the steaks halfway through.
Once the steaks have finished marinading, prepare the vegetables.
Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets discarding any stems. Place in a bowl along with the sliced carrots and courgettes/zucchini. Pour over the olive oil and season, then toss to coat the vegetables with the oil.
Now wash the potatoes, place in a pan, cover with water and add a little salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender.
Next put five plates in the oven to warm.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry (reserve the marinade). The steaks can be barbecued or cooked in a heavy-based frying pan/skillet. If using a pan, first heat the pan until it is really hot and then brush with olive oil. Reduce the heat and add the steaks to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your steaks. Remove them on one of the warmed plates, cover the plate with foil and leave the steaks to rest for 5 minutes, turning halfway through.
While the steaks are cooking, the vegetables can also be cooked. First, heat the deep-sided frying pan/skillet, then add the vegetables and sauté over a medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Reduce the heat, pop on the lid, and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and sauté for a further minute to crisp them up.
When the steaks are resting, stir the reserved marinade into the steak pan and, over a gentle heat, let it bubble to heat through. (If the steak was barbecued, once the vegetables have been cooked and removed from their pan, use this pan to heat through the marinade.)
Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over and the vegetables alongside.
Place the raspberries in a small pan. They don’t have to be thawed but break up any raspberries frozen in a clump. Sprinkle over the sugar and add the zest of the lemon. Then squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan.
Bring the juice to the boil over a medium heat and then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and becomes syrupy.
Now pass the raspberries and juice through a sieve to remove the seeds. This will leave a lovely thick purée. Leave to become cold, about 20 minutes.
While the raspberry purée is cooling, transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator so it can soften up a little.
To assemble: scoop the ice cream into a large bowl and break up with a spoon (keep the container). Pour half the purée over the ice cream and quickly cut in with a palette knife using a few strokes. (Avoid over working or it will turn into a raspberry mess!!) Now sprinkle over the remaining raspberry purée and this should just run through any gaps.
Using a large spoon, scoop the ice cream back into the 2 litre container and then return to the freezer. It will take about 3 hours to refreeze.
For these delicious sundaes, banana slices are coated in maple syrup, mixed with vanilla ice cream and crushed meringue shells, then topped with whipped cream and decorated with chocolate, a cherry and a wafer.
Preparation time: 15 minutes, or 25 minutes if making the meringues
Cooking time, if making meringues: 1hr 15mins
For the sundaes
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 small meringue nests, roughly crushed*
8 small scoops vanilla ice cream
150m (5 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
1 tbsp grated plain/dark chocolate
4 glacé cherries
4 fan wafers (U.K. only). I have been unable to locate anything similar in Canada
*This dish is a great way to use up any leftover meringue. However, if making the meringues especially for this dish, follow the recipe below and prepare them first.
For the meringues
1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), white only
55g (2 oz) caster sugar/white sugar (¼ cup + ½ tbsp)
You will also need 4 sundae glasses.
For the meringues
Preheat oven to cool, 140°C (275°F) (gas 1)
Whisk the egg white in a grease-free bowl until stiff. Then gradually whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until stiff and glossy.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dab a little meringue on each corner of the baking sheet first to keep the lining in place.
Spoon 3 mounds of meringue onto the baking paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringues should now lift easily from the paper. If you have time, leave them to dry out in the oven for a further hour with the oven off, which will ensure the meringues are crisp all the way through.
For the sundaes
Slice the bananas into a bowl. Then add the maple syrup and stir to coat the banana slices.
Crush the meringues.
Whip the cream until stiff.
Divide the banana slices, ice cream, and meringue pieces between the four sundae glasses, layering as you go.
Top each sundae with a spoonful of the whipped cream.
Now sprinkle the chocolate over the top, then decorate with a glacé cherry and a fan wafer.