Recipe for Jim.... who a few weeks back had apparently trawled through my blog in the hope I had already posted the recipe.
I acquired this very simple dish during my time in Italy from my first flatmate Fabio. Fabio, being unusual for young Italian males had taken the decision to move out of his mothers house before the age of 30 and without a wife!?!. This filled my first few months in Italy with big dinners for all his (non English speaking) mates who did still live with their parents and late night visits to Bars, clubs and parties in the suburbs of Florence (not seen by the likes of tourists) as well as a firm grounding in Italian cookery, mostly provided from recipes handed down by Fabio's grandmother.
Fabio was a great cook, if not a little dogmatic in his views on all things edible... When cooking in our flat I was often asked 'che fai?! ('what are you doing') and then told 'non si fa cosi!' ('you don't do it like that')- meaning in fact 'in Italy one doesn't do it like that which is the way it was meant to be and should always be, everywhere, until the end of time'!! One of these rules in the kitchen was never to use onions And garlic in the same tomato sauce... this may vary from household to region but in our little flat it was a mortal sin to do such a thing.... never again will I try to make mum's spaghetti in tomato sauce for a Tuscan again. Humph.
Fabio also had a penchant for the classic Rum e Pera at the end of the night... A shot of bitter dark rum washed down with a smooth and creamy shot of pear juice... I challenge anyone not to enjoy such a rewarding combo (please drink responsibly!).
So to the recipe.... First I will write it as I was taught, then below I have made a few changes that I think improve the dish.... Sorry Fabio (and Fabio's grandma), it had to be done.
(Apologies for the lack of photo but I am looking through old albums for one and will add it when and I find one.)
4 Slices of good quality steak (Go for the most tender you can get your hands on. It takes very little cooking so you don't want any fatty chunks on the meat that would require rendering. Get the butcher to thinly slice it for you... fillet is obviously the best, sirloin also a fave of mine).
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 Jar of good quality Italian tomato passata
2 balls mozzarella, sliced
Cut the steak into two pieces, If the butcher has sliced it thinly for you you are good to go... if not place each piece of steak between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until flat (like an american pancake) Fry the onion in a shallow pan with olive oil. Add the tomato and simmer for 20mins or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn up the heat on the sauce and lay the beef on top with a slice of mozzarella on top of each slice of beef. Cover with a lid/ piece of foil and cook for a minute only... just until the beef has lost its pink on the outside and the mozzarella has melted a little. Eat with crusty bread (Never pasta!!), a good Chianti and if you really want to piss off all Italians everywhere a side salad actually served at the same time as the meat??!???? Ha!
Now my changes....
Use 2 cloves of garlic INSTEAD of the onion (Fabio I will obey!)
Add a glass of red wine to the garlic and fiercely boil to burn off the alcohol before adding the tomatoes.
Add a pinch of oregano to the sauce.
Season the beef with a little salt and pepper before putting in the pan.
Sometimes I use the grill to melt the cheese and finish the beef..
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
The lovely Elsie and I went to this beautiful country estate in Gloucestershire (check out the beautiful house and venue here) to provide meals for a family weekend away.
Here is the Sunday lunch we prepared for them:
Here is the Sunday lunch we prepared for them:
Roasted tomato & Garlic Soup
Roast Sirloin of beef
(From the lovely Henry's Butcher in wyatts Farm Shop)
served with Yorkshire pudding, autumn greens, roast carrots, parsnips & potatoes & a rich beef and red wine gravy
Mothers vanilla custard, plum & shortbread tart
I have been away at a weekend event catering for a lovey family at the beautiful Elmore Court in Gloucestershire and have had a request for this recipe that I served with dessert on Saturday night.
I'm not sure where she acquired this recipe but it is the only ice cream I make regularly as it requires no churning. Brilliant! You simply combine the ingredients and let it set in the freezer. No taking it out every 30 minutes for a stir as some recipes require... Or fancy ice cream machines that need to be frozen themselves 48 hours in advance... agggh
You will need:
6 Egg yolks
8oz caster sugar
1/2 pint double cream
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges and one lemon
Whisk the yolks and the sugar until creamy. Add the juice and rind and whisk. Whisk the cream separately and fold into the mixture. Pour into a tub and freeze over night. Simple! If you can get your hands on individual chocolate cups... (amazon do sell them) pour the mixture into the cups, freeze and serve as a delicious frozen canape or after dinner treat....
Friday, 25 January 2013
Marmalade season is upon us! Yes it is the time of year when all good grocers stock that sour fruit the Spanish Seville orange and us keen cooks and preservers go mad (well I do at any rate) making huge batches of delicious marmalade. The season is short and runs only from December to February. I have just scraped clean the last jar of 2012 marmalade for this morning's buttery toast and tea so it's time to make a fresh batch. I'm a bit of a purist where marmalade is concerned; no ginger (too spicy for breakfast) or whiskey (why you would you water down this lovely jam with some strong malty booze when it is already perfect is beyond me!) and my father has the best recipe passed down through the generations.
It's all very simple really:
1kg Seville oranges
1 lemon, juice only
2 lt water
2 kg granulated or preserving sugar (not jam sugar; this has added pectin and is not necessary with marmalade as all the pectin (setting agent) comes from the pith and seeds..)
First, halve the oranges and squeeze out all the juice into a large pan or jam pan, reserving the seeds in a separate container. Add the lemon juice to the pan along with the water. Quarter the orange skins and scrape out the insides leaving a clean peel with a little of the white pith. Add the scrapings to your container with the reserved seeds. Slice each of the quarters into shreds as thick or thin as you like (this will depend on how thick cut the final jam will be; I like a very shredded marm...mmm). Add the shredded peel to the juice pan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours. With the reserved pith and seeds you can either tie them up in a muslin bag with a bit of string and hang over the side of the pan into the simmering liquid or alternatively (as I tried this morning) place in a smaller pan, cover with water and simmer for 1 hour before straining through a sieve into the peel and juice, discarding any of the solids. Whatever way you choose to do it this part is important in making sure the marmalade sets to the right jelly consistency.
Time to prepare your jars while the jam bubbles away. Remove any labels if you are recycling old jars; a thoroughly bothersome job and one the producers neglect to consider when selecting their particularly sticky and stubborn glue for their own labels; Helman's I'm looking at you. humpf! Line the jars up on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius. This works to dry, sterilise and hopefully stop the jars from cracking when you pour in the hot jam.
After the jam has simmered for 2 hours remove from the heat and add the sugar. Stir the sugar into the liquid, allowing it to dissolve slowly. Once the sugar has dissolved return the pan to the heat and bring up to a rapid boil. Using a jam thermometer heat the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit or 104 degrees Celsius. If you are working without a thermometer you can try the skin test; place a saucer in the freezer, after the jam has boiled for 10 minutes place a spoonful of marmalade onto the saucer, allow to cool for 10 seconds or so before pushing your finger through it; if a skin has formed on the top of the jam and wrinkles up as you push through it the jam is done, if not repeat every 3-5 minutes until it does. Allow the jam to settle for a couple of minutes before transferring to a jug and pouring into your jars. Immediately place the little disk of greaseproof paper you get in the jam lid kit (or make your own) on top of the jam. Allow the marmalade to cool before lidding, labelling and storing.
With 2kg of oranges i managed to make 19 small jars and a litre tub for cooking with; great in a Victoria sponge recipe to make delicious orange cake, or secret ingredient: one spoonful into a lamb tagine.