Perfect Pasta – Quick and Delectable Ragu

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (July 2020) and taken from Pasta Perfect by Laura Santini.

Loaded with umami flavours, the seared meat, concentrated tomato puree, wine and garlic in this dish combine to create a ragu like no other.  Be careful not to eat it all while tasting for seasoning!

RaguServes : 4

Ingredients :
5 tblsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled, squashed and halved lengthways
1 onion, sliced into 8 wedges
500g minced beef
1 large bay leaf
3 tblsp tomato puree
125ml red or white wine
600g boodles (butternut squash noodles; spiralised at home or shop-brought), or 600g dried pasta or 320-480g fresh pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan shavings, to serve

Method :

Bullet logo Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.  Add the garlic and onion wedges.  When these are sizzling, add the meat and seal it over a moderate to high heat, until well browned all over.

Bullet logo Season with salt and black pepper and add the bay leaf and tomato puree.  Cook on a low heat, stirring regularly to prevent the bottom burning, until the oil begins to separate from the sauce.

Bullet logo Add the wine to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the wine has been absorbed.

Bullet logo Towards the end of the cooking time, cook the boodles or the pasta, according to the packet instructions.

Bullet logo Serve the quick ragu with the cooked, drained pasta or boodles and top with parmesan shavings, plus plenty of extra black pepper.

Tasty transformation : For a juicy bolognese, add two 400g cans of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of dried oregano.  Or, better still, add enough ‘Classic red sauce’ (see separate recipe) to give the consistency required.  A quality tomato pasta sauce from a jar could also be added with excellent results.

Philippine Beef Sinigang

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (July 2016).

Serves : 4

Beef SinigangIngredients :
700g rib-eye steak
1.2 litres water or bone broth
2 medium onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
5cm piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled if organic), thinly sliced
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tamarind paste (or to taste)
A big pinch of black or white pepper
3-4 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
400g green beans, tops trimmed
400g pak choi, leaves and stalks roughly chopped
2 whole, fresh red chillies
400g spinach

Method :

Bullet logo Cut the meat into 3 cm cubes, retaining the fat, to flavour the stew.  Place in a large saucepan and add the water or broth.  Bring to the boil, cover, quickly reduce the heat and cook at a medium-to-low simmer for 20 minutes.

Bullet logo Add the onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes with the tamarind paste, pepper and fish sauce.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, adding more paste if desired.

Bullet logo Tip in the beans, pak choi and chillies, then bring back up to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5 more minutes.

Bullet logo Add the spinach and remove the pan from the heat, leaving the lid on to allow the spinach to wilt in the residual heat.  Remove the whole chillies and serve immediately.

Feast from the East – Ngau Yuk Fun – Beef Noodles across two borders

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from “Malaysia : Recipes from a Family Kitchen” written by MasterChef 2014 winner, Ping Coombes.

This is a wonderfully comforting dish influenced by a delicious food stall in Ping’s home town of Ipoh in Malaysia and one in Thailand.

Makes : 2 bowls

Beef noodlesIngredients :
1.5kg beef bones
5cm cinnamon stick
30g fresh root ginger, cut into thick slices, unpeeled
2 star anise
8 cloves
1.7l water
1 1/2 tblsp chicken stock powder
200g mooli or daikon radish, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
50g calf’s liver, trimmed, very thinly sliced and covered with cold water until required
100g prime beef fillet, very thinly sliced, at room temperature
Few pinches of sea salt
2 x 100g balls of wonton noodles
Vegetable oil for dressing
1 spring onion, finely chopped
4-5 celery leaves
Bird’s Eye Chilli and Soy Dip or dried red chilli flakes, to serve

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6.  Place the beef bones in a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes.

Step Two : Put the roasted beef bones, cinnamon, sliced ginger, star anise, cloves, water and chicken stock powder into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  After 15 minutes of simmering, remove the cinnamon from the stock.

Step Three : Add the mooli or daikon radishes, if using, to the pan after the broth has been simmering for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Simmer for a further 20-30 minutes, until softened.  If you’re not using the radishes, ignore this step and just simmer the broth for approximately 1 3/4 hours.

Step Four : Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a separate pan and set aside, discarding everything left in the sieve, except the mooli or daikon radishes, if using.  Place these back into the broth.

Step Five : Drain the calf’s liver and pat it dry.  Season the beef fillet and calf’s liver with a pinch of salt and put to one side.  Bring the broth to the boil and season with salt to taste.

Step Six : Bring a separate pan of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and cook the noodles for a few minutes, until al dente.  Drain in a colander.  If the noodles are a little slimy, keep them in the colander and pour over some boiling water to get rid of the excess starch.

Step Seven : Dress the noodles with a little vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together, and divide them between two bowls.

Step Eight : Arrange the slices of beef fillet on top of the cooked noodles.  Place all the slivers of calf’s liver in a large slotted spoon, then lower them into the broth and cook for 10-15 seconds.  Then, lift them out and arrange on top of the noodles.

Step Nine : Take the mooli or daikon, if using, out of the broth and place them around the meat in the bowls.  Make sure the broth is still boiling and ladle it generously over the beef and liver.  Garnish generously with spring onion and celery leaves.

Step Ten : Serve immediately with the Chilli and Soy Dip or a large pinch of dried red chilli flakes.

Minced Beef Pasties

Serves : 4 (makes 8 pasties)
Prep time : 12 mins
Cook time : 50 mins

Ingredients Filling:
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 oz (50g) turnip, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 potato, peeled and finely diced
6oz (175g) lean minced beef
1oz (25g) plain flour
¼ pt (150ml) beef stock
2 oz (50g) frozen peas.

For the pastry:
1 lb (450g) prepared shortcrust pastry
1 small egg, beaten

Step One : To make the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté onion, turnip, carrot, potato and minced beef for 7 mins. Add the flour, cook for 1 min, then stir in stock. Season well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool slightly.

Step Two : On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to form a 16 x 8 in (41 x 20.5 cm) rectangle. Cut equally into eight squares, then place an eighth o the filling in centre of each. Brush edges of pastry with egg, then fold over filling and crimp to seal.

Step Three : Place pasties on a baking sheet and brush with egg. Cook in oven for 20 mins until golden. Serve with salad.

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Chocolate Beef Chilli with Jalapeno And Cheese Scones

Recipe taken from Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons by Clodagh McKenna published in Psychologies Magazine (February 2019)chocolate beef chilli with jalapeno and cheese scones

Ingredients for the Chilli :
50g salted butter
300g minced beef
1 small white onion or shallot, finely chopped
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 small dried chillies, chopped
100g smoked bacon lardons
100g fully cured, ready-to-eat chorizo, diced
150ml red wine
400g can cherry tomatoes
300ml water
1 tblsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped fresh or dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp tomato ketchup
50g dark chocolate, grated
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

For the scones :
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tblsp baking powder
Pinch of fine sea salt
50g salted butter, chilled and cubed
125g Dubliner cheese, grated
2 jalapeno chillies, finely chopped
125-150ml milk or buttermilk

Serves : 6

Step One : Place a flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and add half the butter. Once melted, add the minced beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Step Two : Add the remaining butter to the casserole dish, stir in the onion or shallot, ginger and garlic and cook for two minutes, then stir in the cumin, cinnamon and dried chillies and cook for a further minute. Add the bacon lardons and chorizo and cook, stirring for about three minutes until lovely and crispy.

Step Three : Return the beef to the pan and stir well. Pour in the red wine and cook for two minutes more. Then add the tomatoes, measured water, sugar, oregano, bay leaves and ketchup. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat for two hours.

Step Four : While the chilli is cooking, make the jalapeno and cheese scones. Preheat the oven to 200oC , gas mark 6, and dust a baking tray with flour. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in half the grated cheese, followed by half the jalapenos, then gradually mix in enough milk with a fork to make a soft dough.

Step Five : Roll out the dough on a floured work surface into a round, 1 cm deep. Cut into six wedges, place on the floured baking tray and sprinkle the remaining cheese and jalapenos on top. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and leave to cook for 10 minutes.

Step Six : Remove the lid of the casserole and stir in the chocolate and kidney beans, then simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Serve with the jalapeno and cheese scones.

Chilli Con Carne

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 392;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ½ lb (675g) lean minced beef
  • 2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¾ pt (450ml) beef stock
  • 397g can chopped tomatoes
  • 430g can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • soured cream and freshly chopped parsley to garnish.

Step One – Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 mins. Stir in the minced beef and chilli powder and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 mins, or until sealed.

Step Two – Stir in the flour and tomato puree, cook for a further 1 min, then add the stock, tomatoes, beans and chilli. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with soured cream sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Other Mexican Food recipes can be found in

Simple Beef Casserole

Simple Beef Casserole

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

If you’ve never made a casserole before, this is the place to start.  This one couldn’t be simpler, as most of the cooking takes place slowly in the oven.  It has a lovely flavour and plenty of juice – don’t leave out the orange zest as it really lifts the flavour of the meat.

Serves:  6-8      Prep time: 35 mins      Cook time:  3 hours    Cals per serving: 619    Fat: 28g

Ingredients:  2 tblsp olive oil; 4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped; 6 small brown onions or shallots, peeled and quartered; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 3 carrots, sliced; 1 ½ kg (3 lb) chuck steak or braising / stewing beef, cut into 3 cm (1 ¼ in) cubes; 2 tblsp plain flour; 500ml (16fl oz) beef stock; 250ml (8 fl oz) red wine; grated zest of ½ an orange; 4 sprigs thyme; 2 bay leaves; 2 tblsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Step One: Heat the oven to 160oC (gas mark 2-3).  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the bacon for 2 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion is tender.  Transfer to the casserole dish.  Add the beef to the casserole dish and sprinkle with the flour.  Mix well.

Step Two: Stir the stock, wine, orange zest, thyme and bay leaves into the casserole and bring to the boil over the medium heat.  Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Stir the meat occasionally as it cooks.

Step Three: Remove from the oven.  Stir in the parsley and season to taste. Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and plenty of crusty bread.

Lobscouse

Lobscouse, or Scouse as it’s commonly known, was originally a sailor’s stew of meat, vegetables and hardtack – a hard, salt-less biscuit. These days, it’s usually a stew made from stewing beef or lamb and leftover vegetables.

Daisy-Anne Borge says of her version of Lobscouse “I used to make this dish when times were lean. But my family still enjoy the recipe as it is cheap, quick and easy – and very satisfying too.” You could also add a little extra flavour by beating in some freshly grated nutmeg, the juice of a lemon or even a little chilli or curry powder.

Serves 4

Ingredients: 1 1/2-2lb (675-900g) potatoes; 1 onion, diced; 5 fl oz (150ml) milk; 13oz (340g) tin corned beef, diced; any cooking vegetables, chopped; 1 oz (25g) butter; salt and black pepper

  •  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6. Boil potatoes until tender, then drain thoroughly and mash.
  • Boil onion in milk until soft, drain and add to the mash with corned beef, vegetables and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the mixture into a buttered ovenproof dish and cook for 20-25 mins. Serve with fried eggs on top.

Beef & Beer Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients: 1 lb (450g) lean stewing steak; 1 jar Marks & Spencer Beer and Onion Casserole Sauce; 1 dsp horseradish sauce

Preheat the oven to 150-180oC/300-350oF, gas mark 2-4. Place steak in a casserole dish. Add Sauce, cook in oven for 3-4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the horseradish sauce. Serve with unlimited potatoes and other vegetables.

Beef and Bean Stir-fry

To keep this dish crisp, be sure to cook over a constant high heat. It works just as well with veal or pork.

Serves : 4

Ingredients: 1 tblsp sunflower oil; 3 garlic cloves, sliced; 2 red chillies, sliced; ½ tsp finely chopped ginger; 14oz (400g) beef, cut into strips; 14oz (400g) green beans, cut into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces; juice of ½ lemon; 4 tblsp stock; ½ tsp sugar; salt and black pepper; freshly chopped basil, to garnish.

  • Heat oil in a wok or a large frying pan. Add garlic, chillies and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add beef, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add beans, stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except basil, and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve with Chinese noodles.