1 x 400g tin (or ½ × 796 ml can) chopped/diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
1tsp chicken bouillon, or 1 × organic stock cube, mixed in 300ml (10 fl oz) (⅔ cup) boiling water
1 tsp sugar
200g (7 oz) spaghetti
½ a small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded (or other green leafed vegetable finely shredded*).
*Savoy cabbage in Canada can be very pale and so I prefer to use something like kale. The dark green colour works well with the spaghetti, although it does sound an unusual combination.
You will also need a large lidded frying pan/skillet.
In a large bowl mix together the pork, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, lemon zest, finely chopped onion, half the garlic and half the sage, a pinch of the crushed chillies, and plenty of seasoning. Once everything is well mixed in, shape into 30 meatballs. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Heat half the oil in the frying pan/skillet and add the meatballs. Brown over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally to brown all sides. This may need to be done in two batches. Remove and set aside.
Now add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat, and add the chopped onions. Cook gently for 5 minutes until they have softened. Then add the remaining garlic and sage and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée/paste, stock, sugar, a pinch of crushed chillies, and season. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 5–10 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little.
Return the meatballs to the pan, then gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted, boiling water, adding the cabbage or other green vegetable for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain.
Serve the spaghetti alongside the meatballs and sauce.
This is a lasagne recipe that I stumbled across many years ago and that has always been a great family favourite. The dish has three layers of pasta, a meaty tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, topped with Parmesan.
For this recipe you will need a deep sided frying pan/skillet or sauté pan.
Also a 32.5 x 22.5 x 5 cm (13 x 9 x 2 inch) ovenproof dish.
*In the UK the prepackaged grated mozzarella cheese contains only cheese and anti-caking ingredients. In Canada it has more additives, so I buy the block mozzarella and grate it myself. Just pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before grating to firm it up.
A Caesar salad can be served as an accompaniment.
Brown the meat in the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, ⅔ cup water, and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Many brands of lasagne pasta require no pre-cooking but I have found they benefit from cooking for a short time anyway. A baked lasagne using uncooked pasta isn’t as moist.
So, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a glug of olive oil. Drop 5 of the lasagne sheets into the water one at a time (crossing each one over the other) and boil for 4 minutes. They need to be cooked in two batches or they will stick together while cooking. Remove the sheets with a pair of tongs and rinse under cold water, then lay the sheets separately on a clean tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining four sheets.
To layer up the lasagne. First, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Then layer 3 lasagne sheets, a third of the remaining meat sauce, and a third of the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat layering the pasta, meat sauce, and cheese twice more. Finally sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.
Bake, covered with foil, in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving into portions.
Parmesan coated chicken breasts are baked in a tomato and basil sauce covered with mozzarella. They are served with tagliatelle tossed in chopped parsley and garlic butter and sautéed courgettes/zucchini.
2 courgettes/zucchini cut into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices
1 tbsp olive oil
You will also need an ovenproof dish large enough to take the four chicken breasts in a single layer
Preheat the oven to 200C/400°F/gas mark 6
For the parmigiana
Put the olive oil and garlic into a pan over a medium-low heat and, as soon as the oil starts to sizzle, stir in the tomatoes and tomato purée. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce a little. Remove from the heat and add the shredded basil leaves. Season.
Meanwhile, measure the flour into a plastic bag and season. Then add half the grated Parmesan and shake to mix. Spread out onto a large plate.
Tip the egg into a shallow dish.
Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, shaking off any excess egg while lifting them from the dish. Then coat with the flour and cheese mixture.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan/skillet and add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until they are lightly golden in colour. Transfer to the ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce around the chicken.
Lay two slices of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.
Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.
For the tagliatelle
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook for the length of time directed on the packet.
While it is cooking mix the butter with the garlic and chopped parsley.
Drain the tagliatelle, return to the pan with the parsley butter and toss together.
For the courgettes/zucchini
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the the courgettes /zucchini and toss in the oil. Sauté for 3–5 minutes turning frequently until cooked through and beginning to colour.
Lift the chicken breasts from the pan onto four serving plates and spoon the tomato sauce around. Garnish the chicken with the basil sprigs.
Serve with the tagliatelle and courgettes/zucchini.
Heat half a tablespoon of the oil in the pan and brown the beef, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set to one side.
Cut the bacon rashers into cubes and add to the pan. Once the fat starts to run and they begin to brown, remove from the pan using the slotted spoon and set aside with the beef. This will take about 3–4 minutes.
Now, reduce the heat and add the remaining oil to the pan with the onion, celery, and carrot. Gently cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes until they soften, stirring frequently.
Stir through the garlic and tomato purée/paste and cook for a further minute.
Then return the beef and bacon to the pan. Stir in the red wine and increase the heat to medium. Let the wine bubble away until it has reduced by half.
Next, stir in the beef stock and add half the oregano, nutmeg, bay leaf, and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the remaining oregano and half the parsley.
Serve the spaghetti sauce over the pasta and scatter the top with the remaining parsley and some grated Parmesan.
Finely chop two thirds of the basil and mint and 2 lemon thyme sprigs, reserve the remaining third. Using a pestle and mortar, pound together the herbs, crushed garlic, and two tablespoons of the olive oil until a paste is formed. Or use a food processor. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and spread the herb mixture over the top of the chicken. Cover, refrigerate and leave for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Put the peppers, courgettes/zucchini, and potatoes in a bowl. Season and pour over the remaining olive oil. Toss together until the vegetables are well coated. Then add the tomatoes.
Lay the chicken pieces in the centre of the roasting tin/pan in a singe layer and then spread the vegetables around the outside.
Roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
To serve, squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter over the reserved herbs.
Tinned/canned plum tomatoes can be substituted for the fresh plum tomatoes, just add them to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
* 3 sprigs of fresh parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf, tied together. Or the leaves only in dried form enclosed in a square of cheesecloth and tied. In the U.K. these are already prepared in a small sachet.
You will also need a casserole with lid.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Heat half the oil in a frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté on both sides for about 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Transfer to the casserole.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, tip in the vegetables and bacon. Stir to coat in the oil and then sauté for about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat and stir in the flour and cook for 2–3 minutes. Then gradually add the stock, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil and continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and add the tomatoes and sherry. Season and give it a good stir.
Finally, add the bouquet garni and sliced mushrooms to the casserole and then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
Cooking time: 30 minutes on hob, 25 minutes in oven
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
700g (1½ lb) lamb mince/ground lamb
1 large aubergine/egg plant, sliced
2 x 400g cans or
1 x 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée/paste
1 Kallo beef organic stock cube or 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon Beef*
salt and freshly ground black pepper
900g (2 lb) potatoes (6 medium)
240ml (8 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (1 cup)
115g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
*I just choose these options because I don’t like all the additives and sodium found in other brands.
For this recipe you will also need a deep-sided frying pan/skillet, a griddle or heavy-based pan and a
1.75 litre (3 pint) (7 cup) ovenproof dish
Heat the oil in the deep-sided frying pan/skillet over a low heat. Add the onion and oregano and gently fry for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened but not brown. Stir occasionally.
Turn up to a moderate heat and add the lamb. Stir fry for 10 minutes until the meat starts to brown.
Drain any fat from the lamb, add the tomatoes, tomato purée/paste and stock cube or teaspoon of bouillon. Stir well and season. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 25–30 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into large even-sized pieces. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes. Drain, leave for a couple of minutes until they are cool enough to handle and then cut into thin slices.
Next, preheat the griddle over a medium-high heat for 2–3 minutes. Then cook the aubergine/egg plant slices in batches, in a single layer, for a couple of minutes each side until they just starting to colour. Put them to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Make layers with the aubergine/egg plant, lamb mixture and potatoes in the ovenproof dish, finishing with potatoes. Pour over the cream and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 20–25 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Prepares: 4 servings (photograph shows a serving for 2)
Preparation time: About 25 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
900g (2 lb) potatoes, (6 medium)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
6 plum tomatoes, halved, OR
12 tinned/canned plum tomatoes*
4 x 170g (6 oz) salmon fillets, skinned
20 black olives, pitted (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150ml (5 fl oz) dry white wine (⅔ cup)
2 tbsp lemon juice
knob of butter
basil leaves to garnish
accompany with a fresh green vegetable
You will also need a 2.4 litre (4½ pint) ovenproof dish for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized large pieces. Then parboil in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and leave to cool for about 5 minutes until they become cool enough to handle. Now cut into 5mm (¼ inch) slices.
Brush the dish with 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Then layer the potato slices in the dish and drizzle over another 1½ tablespoons of the oil. Spread the garlic slices over the potatoes and top with the tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining one tablespoon oil, season and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Ten minutes before the end of cooking, start preparing the salmon fillets. Slash each salmon fillet three times across the top and season. Heat a large non-stick frying pan/skillet and add a good sized knob of butter. When the butter begins to sizzle, lay the salmon fillets in the pan/skillet and sear for one minute on both sides.
Remove from the pan/skillet and lay the salmon fillets on top of the potatoes. Scatter with the olives (if using), and pour the wine and lemon juice over the fish. Then cover with foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
To serve, garnish with basil leaves and accompany with a green vegetable.
These tasty little shepherd’s pies are made in a small gratin dish and are quick to prepare. The lamb is mixed with beans and a minted tomato sauce, and then covered with a creamy mash potato and topped with cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice, simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for one minute. Carefully, remove from the water and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. It will not be fully cooked at this point. Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and sprinkle the wine over the fish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange over the fish.
Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet add the onion and garlic, and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping golden brown.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.