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Slow-Cooked Duck Ragu

Serves 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2x duck legs (use 4 legs for 4 people or a whole duck cut into pieces)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 125ml red wine
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • A spring of fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 250ml hot vegetable stock
  • Parmesan to serve

Method

  • Place a large high sided frying pan over a high heat. Add the duck pieces, season with salt and seal on all sides.
  • Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot.
  • Pour the wine into the pan and quickly put a lid on it as it will spit fiercely.
  • Leave it to bubble for a minute, then add the chopped vegetables and herbs.
  • Reduce to a medium heat and fry for 10mins, or until softened.
  • Add the cinnamon, tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Top up with more stock if needed.
  • Remove the duck to a plate and discard the herbs from the sauce. Keep it warm on a low heat.
  • Shred the duck meat and stir it back into the ragu.
  • Cook your pasta (pappardelle works really well with this) and then add to the ragu.
  • Serve with grated parmesan

Beef Wellington

Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients

  • 450-500g fillet of beef
  • English mustard
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1 fresh spring of rosemary
  • 4-6 slices of parma ham
  • Puff pastry (I buy pre-rolled but if not you’ll need to roll it out to about A4 size)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Put a frying pan on a high heat and once hot, add about a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Sear the meat in the pan – about a minute on each side and then quickly do the ends.
  • Place the meat on a chopping board/plate and brush it all over with English mustard.
  • Add the mushrooms, garlic, breadcrumbs (if using), salt and pepper to a blender and whizz up until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Get a dry frying pan on a medium heat and tip the mushroom mixture in. The idea here is to cook out all of the moisture so this might take a little while.
  • Once completely dry, leave the mixture to one side until it has cooled down.
  • In the mean time, lay out some cling film and lay your parma ham along it, making sure they overlap each other
  • Spread the mushroom mixture over the ham, leaving about half an inch at the top and bottom of where you’ll roll it.
  • Place the beef on top.
  • Use the clingfilm to help roll the beef in the ham and wrap it up in the clingfilm like a sausage. Put it in the fridge to set.
  • Roll out more clingfilm and place your pastry on top. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.
  • Get the beef from the fridge and place it on the pastry. Again use the clingfilm to wrap the beef in the pastry. Trim the pastry so that you have just enough to go round the beef without overlapping.
  • Tuck the pastry at both ends and wrap up like a sausage in the clingfilm. Leave this in the fridge for 5-10mins to set.
  • Unwrap the package and place on a baking tray. Brush with beaten egg yolk and use the back of a knife to slice patterns in the top of the pastry (don’t go through it!). You could also use the spare pastry to make shapes on top.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and then cook in the oven for 35-40mins until the pastry is golden brown.
  • Cut into 1cm slices and serve 🙂

Sage and Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 100g salted butter
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 70ml vegetable stock
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Add the butter and sage to a pan over a medium heat
  • Allow the butter to melt and just start to bubble
  • Add the stock and let it bubble for a couple of minutes
  • Add your pre-cooked pasta to the sauce and stir in the parmesan until it’s nice and creamy

Authentic Bologna Bolognese

Gennaro Contaldo’s recipe, goes perfectly with my fresh pasta

Ingredients

  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2tbsp puree
  • 900ml-1ltr beef stock

Method

  • Heat 2-3tbsp olive oil in a high sided frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the mince, season with salt and pepper, and use a whisk to break it all up. It will stick to the pan at first but it will come off as it cooks.
  • Cook for 5mins, then add the rosemary sprig
  • Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is brown and golden
  • Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute
  • Add the vegetables and stir, then add the puree. Let this cook for 2-3mins.
  • Add the beef stock and stir.
  • Turn down to a low simmer and cook for around 90mins or until it’s thickened up.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta 🙂

Simple Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes
  • 1tsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic granules (optional)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • A good pinch of sugar
  • 900ml-1ltr vegetable stock

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 170C/150C Fan
  • Cut the tomatoes in half and place them skin side down in a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, dried basil and optionally a light dusting of garlic granules.
  • Get these in the oven and slow roast for around 30mins.
  • In the mean time prep your vegetables – peel and dice the onion, carrot and celery into small pieces.
  • With around 10mins left on the oven, heat 2tbsp of olive oil on a low heat, then add the onion, carrot and celery.
  • Cook on a low heat for around 10mins until soft.
  • Add 2tbsp of puree and stir until coated.
  • Add the tomatoes, sugar and a good amount of black pepper.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for around 10mins until the tomatoes are softened and have released their juices.
  • Add the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 25mins.
  • Use a stick blender or food processor to smooth the soup.

Fresh Pasta Dough

The rule for this recipe is 1 egg per 100g of flour. Around 300g makes enough for 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 300g ‘Tipo 00’ flour (some supermarkets call it pasta flour)
  • 3 large eggs

Method – mixer

  • Assemble the mixing attachment, add all of the ingredients and mix on a low speed (2-3) until it forms a ball of dough.
  • If it’s struggling, add a tiny dash of water.
  • Swap the mixer for the dough hook attachment and use a low speed to knead the dough for 5-10mins.
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and rest it for at least 30mins.
  • When ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the dough super thin and cut it as required.

Method – hand

  • Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the middle
  • Break the eggs into the well
  • With a fork or your hands, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs until well mixed
  • Knead (stretch and roll) until it’s a soft smooth dough
  • Wrap in clingfilm and rest it for at least 30mins.
  • When ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the dough super thin.

Chilli Con Carne

Serves 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 500g beef mince
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1tsp cumin seeds OR 1-2tsp cumin powder
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 450ml stock made with one beef stock cube (or try 300ml water with 1 cube plus 150ml red wine)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin of red kidney beans
  • 3tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Method

  • Put a large non-stick saucepan on a medium heat with a little oil and add the mince.
  • Once browned, add the garlic, 1-2 teaspoons of chilli powder (depends how hot you want it), the cumin and coriander. Cook together for another 2mins.
  • Sprinkle over the flour and stir well
  • Add the wine/stock slowly, stirring constantly.
  • Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, puree, sugar, oregano and bay leaf.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and stir it all together.
  • Bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat and put a lid on it.
  • Simmer gently for 45mins, stirring occasionally until the mince is soft and the sauce is thicker.

The Perfect Jacket Potato

Ingredients 

1x large baking potato per person – you might want to try a floury potato like a King Edward or Maris Piper if you can find them big enough.

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan
  • Rub the potato skin with a little bit of oil and season with salt
  • Place on the middle shelf in the oven and cook for 1hr-1hr30 depending on the size.
  • Check the potato with a fork to check if it’s cooked all the way through and serve with butter and as many toppings as you can handle 😉

Date and Almond Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 50g pitted dates
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 25g coconut oil, melted
  • 100g oats
  • 1tbsp almonds (whole or ground)

Method

  • Line a plate or tupperware with baking paper
  • Place dates, honey and coconut oil in a blender, mix until it forms a paste
  • Add the oats and almonds to the blender and mix until you have a combined sticky dough
  • Roll the mixture into balls with your hands and place on the baking paper
  • Refrigerate for at least 30mins before eating

Delicious Roast Beef

Chef’s Tip: serve with my Perfect Roast Potatoes, plenty of veg and some Yorkshire Puddings 🙂

Ingredients

  • Roasting joint of beef (silverside/topside/small roaster)
  • 2 onions
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 240C/220C Fan
  • Peel the onions and cut them in half. Place them face down with the garlic (unpeeled) in a roasting dish
  • Place the beef joint on top, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Add about 50-100ml of water to the bottom of the pan to stop the veg from burning
  • Put it in the middle of the oven and turn down the heat immediately to 200C/180C Fan
  • Check the cooking time of your joint but generally follow the rule of 20mins per 450g/1lb for rare and then add an extra 10-15mins for medium and another 15mins for well done.
  • Make sure you baste the beef with the juices at least twice during cooking and add more water if necessary.
  • Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let it stand for 10-15mins before carving.