Lamb ragu with fettucine

I am very much a Summer baby but I am enjoying the fact that it has started to cool down so I can start doing my low and slow dishes! Last time I tried doing a ragu it unfortunately didn’t turn out very well so I was put off a while… (a year or so) but I appeared to have redeemed myself with this one because the meat was succulent, pulled straight off the bone and the sauce was rich as.

I find that with a lot of good tomato based sauces you have a few staple ingredients and it’s just about alternating the ratios to switch over the dominant flavour. This time, I really wanted the tomato flavours to sing through and so you will see based on the measurements below that that is the result you will yield if you follow my recipe.

I chose to serve this dish with pasta but you could easily serve it with mash, roasted veggies or even on a burger.

Lamb ragu with fettucine (serves 6-8)

What you’re going to need

Roasting the lamb

2kg lamb shoulder (bone in)

2 cloves garlic, roughly sliced

5 sprigs rosemary

5 sprigs thyme

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

1 cup chicken stock*

1/2 cup red wine

cracked salt and pepper to season

olive oil

The sauce

2 rashers of middle bacon with fat on, sliced into small pieces

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 carrot, finely grated

500ml Passata

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken stock*

handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

cracked salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

For serving

500g fettucine, cooked per packet instructions (I used Barilla’s Collezione range for this recipe found here)

*I used chicken stock in this instance as it was all we had at home at the time. If you have a preference to beef, lamb or vegetable stock feel free to switch it out. 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. In a large baking tray that can hold liquid, place the lamb shoulder inside, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the herbs. Place the stock and wine in the tray around the meat. Throw the garlic and onion into the liquid. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the outside has browned.
  2. After 45 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and cover with foil (caution, tray will be very hot!). Return the tray into the oven and reduce the temperature to 120-130 degrees Celcius and cook for at least 5 hours. (if you have time to cook it longer, do so!)
  3. Once the meat has cooked in the oven for at least 5 hours, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the meat to a clean chopping board so you can begin shredding. Using two forks, begin to shred the meat (removing any excess fat) until you have collected as much of the tender meat as you can. Set aside.
  4. In a large fry pan or casserole dish, heat up some olive oil on a medium heat. Add in the bacon, garlic and carrot and fry off until fragrant and bacon has changed colour. Add the passata and shredded meat and stir well.
  5. Once the passata and shredded meat are bubbling, reduce the heat and add the wine and stock. Mix until well combined and leave on a low simmer for at least 30 minutes. (The ragu will be quite thick already so this is more about building extra flavour into the meat)
  6. With 5-6 minutes to go, cook the fettucine and add in the fresh basil into the ragu. Serve immediately to ensure best results.

 

 

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce

I just love the versatility of using a tomato based sauce. It works beautifully on its own as simple passata with seasoning or you can amp it up and throw a heap of veggies in, or pretty much any kind of meat and maybe even some cheese!

So the Sunday night ritual continues and the dilemma of how can I make an amped up sauce that suits one who doesn’t like cheese, one who won’t eat a non meat dish and the other who wants more than “just” bolognese.

I’ve over killed it with mince at the moment so decided not to use it and went with chorizo instead as the meat option. I love the flavour it gives the dish and it’s a bit more substantial than bacon or pancetta. I also used Barilla Napoletana Sauce as my tomato base and added in a heap of veg to make it an even more nutritious meal.

To make this a complete dish, I used Barilla Egg Tagliatelle as the base and to mix through the chunky sauce! I love the texture it has and it holds the sauce really well. It also cooks really quick (5 minutes in boiling water).

So if you’re salivating and to want to give this dish a go, keep on reading for the recipe!

Tagliatelle with Napoletana Sauce (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

250g pack Barilla Egg Tagliatelle

1 jar Barilla Napoletana Sauce

125 g chorizo, sliced evenly (1 sausage)

3 medium cup mushrooms, sliced thinly

generous handful baby spinach

1/3 medium zucchini, finely grated

1/3 medium carrot, finely grated

handful pitted kalamata olives

6 basil leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Prepare a large saucepan with salted water and place on a low heat.
  2. In a large frypan, add the olive oil and bring up to a medium heat. Once hot, add the carrot and zucchini and fry for 2-3 minutes. Once softened, add the napoletana sauce. Before discarding the jar, half fill with water and shake with the lid on to get the extra sauce stuck to the sides of the jar. Add the water from the jar to the sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, add the sliced mushrooms and spinach and reduce to a low heat.
  4. In a small frypan, fry the chorizo until cooked. Drain on some paper towel and set aside.
  5. Once water is boiling, cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the chorizo and olives to the sauce. With 1 minute to go, add the basil.
  6. Serve immediately on warmed plates. (your choice if you want to mix the pasta through the sauce or serve the sauce on top)

Disclaimer: The Barilla Pasta and Napoletana Sauce were provided as a gift. I only support and endorse products that I have used or cooked with myself. 

 

 

 

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

I love a good Sunday roast and since I cook dinner at home every Sunday, guess what was on the menu tonight. Lamb! Served up with roasted veggies, it is a treat. It is a all round crowd pleaser at my house and it is easier to cook than you think!

I’m just providing the recipe for the lamb rack. Feel free to serve this with any sides that you like but simple roast veggies always do the trick if you get stuck!

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

What you’re going to need

1 frenched lamb rack roast (~400g)

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 loaf bread, crust removed (I used pane di casa)

zest of 1 lemon

handful fresh parsley

handful fresh thyme

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Remove lamb rack from packaging and trim any thick excess sinew. (a bit of fat is good so don’t cut it all off, just the harder bits that won’t render down in the oven)
  3.  On a lined baking tray, place the lamb in the centre and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Whilst the lamb is browning, prepare the crumb. In a pulse blender/food processor, place the crust-less bread, herbs, lemon and seasoning and blitz until well combined and a creates a chunky crumb.
  5. Once the 15 minutes have elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven and spread the dijon mustard over the top and sides. Add the crumbs evenly and cover as much of the lamb as possible leaving the bones exposed.
  6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Pull out of the oven and leave to rest on the tray for 8-10 minutes before slicing.

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack

Chicken Sausage Casserole

It’s the long weekend, it’s cold and I am being especially lazy. Alas, I still wanted to cook something delicious and healthy for dinner tonight. I went with an adaptation of my mum’s sausage casserole.

Let’s get straight into it

Chicken Sausage Casserole (serves 4-5)

What you’re going to need

8 medium chicken sausages (mine were parsley flavoured)

1/2 cauliflower, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped evenly

1 potato, chopped evenly

1 potato, sliced thinly using a mandolin

50 grams fresh green beans, chopped evenly

500 mls/2 cups reduced salt chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons cornflour

1 tablespoon cream

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Place mandolin sliced potatoes in water and bring to a boil. Once boiling for 30 seconds, remove from heat and strain. Set aside.
  2. In a large cooking pot that can be used on the stove top, add some olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until lightly brown. Remove from pan, slice into even pieces (~1cm each) and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  4. In the same cooking pot, add an extra drizzle of oil and add all the vegetables. Fry the veggies for 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, cream and cornflour. Leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce begins to thickens. Add the sausages back in. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. In a large baking dish, add the casserole mix and top with the mandolin potato slices. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and spread with a pastry brush. Season with salt and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes on the top are golden brown. Serve hot*.

*Recipe is freezer friendly, save your leftovers!

 

Super-Easy, Healthy & Vegan Matcha Ice Cream At Home (No Ice Cream Machine)

There’s no denying the fact that ice cream is one of the most popular comfort foods out there – but lots of recipes require you to have a special ice cream maker, which makes it difficult to make at home. Not this recipe!

This is the easiest ice-cream recipe, as it includes just two ingredients. And there’s no need for any expensive ice cream machines (all you need is a food processor and a freezer).

Plus while most ice creams can be unhealthy with high levels of fat, sugar and dairy, this recipe is dairy free, and sugar free. It’s sweet enough from the natural sugars in the bananas, and it also contains matcha powder which gives it an added boost of superfood goodness.

Matcha powder is made from green tea leaves which are stone ground to form a fine powder. Just half a teaspoon of this powder contains 137 X the antioxidants that’s found in a cup of standard green tea, and that’s why matcha helps strengthen your immune system, increase energy levels, and boost your metabolism.

So now you can easily enjoy guilt-free, homemade ice cream!

Makes 2-3 servings.

Matcha Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas (peeled, cut into chunks, & frozen overnight in a freezer bag)
  • 1 tsp matcha (Using Zen Green Tea matcha)

Instructions

  1. Place the banana chunks into a food processor fitted with the S blade, and turn machine on. Let the motor run until the bananas reach a creamy texture, just like soft serve ice cream. It might take a little time and the processor may make loud noises but it will work – don’t worry!
  2. Once the bananas become creamy, add the matcha powder and blend.
  3. Serve immediately. Any leftover can be refrozen and then re-blended for a perfect texture.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post written by Zen Green Tea. The matcha was provided as a gift. I only support and endorse products that I have used or cooked with myself. 

Risotto Style Pearl Couscous with Roasted Vegetables

I randomly bought pearl couscous on a whim about 6 months ago. Guess what was still sitting in my pantry unopened today?

It wasn’t because I didn’t have any ideas about what to cook with it, it’s just that I seldom cook with pearl couscous and last time I made it I wasn’t too happy with how it turned out so needed to get motivated to try cook with it again.

Alas, I have taken a risotto style approach for preparing the couscous instead. What I ended up with a huge burst of flavour within a filling and healthy meal. Perfect!

I was hesitant to include the word risotto in this recipe at all because quite frankly it’s not a risotto. But it is similar to the style of cooking I used to prepare the couscous today. Grains absorbing the cooking liquid and leaving them al dente with additional ingredients mixed in. Works for me.

This recipe is conveniently vegetarian.

Pearl Couscous – Risotto Style (serves 2-3)

What you’re going to need

3/4 cup pearl couscous

1 400 ml bottle passata (or 1 tin tomatoes, pureed using a stick blender)

1 clove garlic, minced or grated with a microplane

1/2 zucchini, sliced into thick matchsticks

1/2 eggplant, sliced lengthways into rectangular pieces

3 small vine ripened tomatoes, kept whole

50 g haloumi, processed into a rough crumb

small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. On a lined baking tray, add the eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until soft and browned (~20 minutes)
  2. Using a saucepan that has a lid, heat up a small drizzle of olive oil on a medium heat. Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the Passata and mix well.
  3. Add the pearl couscous, mix and allow to get to a simmer. Place the lid on whilst cooking and stir every 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste. Cook until pearl couscous is al dente and tomatoes are still saucy. (Note: if you’re finding it too thick, add small amounts of water). Mix in chopped basil.
  4. In a small fry pan, quickly pan fry the haloumi for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Once couscous, eggplant and zucchini are ready, mix together in the saucepan with the haloumi. Serve hot with the roast tomato in the centre.

Pearl couscous with roast vegetables

 

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Spinach Fritters

Firstly, I’d like to say I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! I had a very relaxing three weeks off work where I ventured off to New Zealand for the first time and fell in love with the exquisite landscapes and sense of adventure. Now it’s back to work, routine and most importantly, cooking!

It has been a little while since I’ve shared a recipe and this tends to happen when I get really comfortable with things I have already shared so I end up making mostly the same types of meals. Alas, new year and time for something different!

As usual, I was really keen to leverage on ingredients I had at home with only minimal additional purchases required. I go through phases where I enjoy eating certain types of food and then go off them for a while and in this instance, it’s quinoa. I had half a packet of perfectly good quinoa ready to go but wasn’t feeling a salad or adding it to my granola so went with this recipe today!

For any type of patty or fritter (if you want to keep it vego), potato works as the glue to keep it all together so I used sweet potato to give it some solid flavour!

This recipe is will take approximately 30 minutes as the sweet potato and quinoa require cooking first before making the patties.

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Spinach Fritters (yields 6)

What you’re going to need

1 medium sized sweet potato (mine weight approximately 600 grams), roughly chopped into small pieces

1-1 1/2 cups quinoa, cook according to packet instructions

generous handful baby spinach

zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for baking

Method

  1. Bake the sweet potato at 200 degrees Celcius on a lined tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle of salt. At the same time, cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Both of these should take 20 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, add all the ingredients. Pulse blend on medium until well combined but not too smooth. (You don’t want a paste, more of a chunky mixture that can be moulded in your hands)
  3. Using gloves or clean hands, grab a handful of mixture and shape into a ball then flatten with your palm until approximately 1cm thick. Repeat until all mixture has been used.
  4. In a non stick/lightly oiled fry pan that is on a medium heat, add the patties and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (Note: the mixture is already cooked, this is mainly to add the crispy outside)
  5. Serve with sweet chilli sauce or a simple yoghurt sauce*

Sweet Potato Quinoa and Spinach Fritters


*Simple yoghurt sauce

What you’re going to need

2 heaped tablespoons Natural Yoghurt

juice from ~1/2 a lemon

sea salt

pinch mixed herbs

extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients at desired quantities. Serve cold.