Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture

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This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.

Ingredients

500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in American Cuisine, Cheese, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, spicy, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Pizza

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My favourite cuisine is definitely Italian and No 1 is Pizza… Here is a recipe to make the pizza dough, which should be enough for 4 small or 2 medium sized pizzas if  you like thin and crispy bases as we do.

Ingredients for the pizza dough

1 pkt dried yeast

1 1/4 cups of warm water

4 cups of flour

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp of sugar or honey

1/4 cup of milk

pinch of salt

Method for the pizza dough

Put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the dried yeast in it, stir and wait for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, put the flour in large bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the olive oil, sugar or honey, milk and salt.

Add the yeast mixture to the bowl of flour and gently mix with a fork then form into a ball with your hands.

Flour a clean surface and place the ball of dough on top.

 **The dough will be very sticky, this is normal as more flour will be added during the kneading process.

Sprinkle more flour over the dough and start kneading, using your knuckles to push out as much air as possible.  I generally knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour to the surface/dough as needed to stop it from sticking.

Form dough into a ball shape and place in a large glass bowl.  It needs to be large as the dough will rise while it is proofing. Brush some olive oil over the top, this stops it from drying out and cracking. Cover the bowl with cling film (stretch film) and leave for at least an hour to proof.

Remove from bowl onto a floured surface and knead for another minute.  Break into 2 or 4 even balls (depending on size of pizzas you are making. and using a rolling pin roll them out to desired thickness.

Place on grease-proof paper on a baking tray. Fold around the edges to form a rim. If desired you can egg-wash the rim and sprinkle sesame seeds around the edges.

Ingredients for the pizza sauce

2 or 3 heaped tbsps tomato pureé

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp olive oil

A little water

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Method for the pizza sauce

Mix the tomato pureé, basil and olive oil in a small bowl.  Slowly add water until you have a smooth sauce, not too thin and runny.  There is nothing I hate more than tomato puree just being slapped straight on pizza dough.

Spread the sauce using the back of a spoon over the dough.

Decorate

Cover your pizza with grated cheese then decorate with desired toppings. Here are a few suggestions;

red and green peppers,

pepperoni,

tuna and sweetcorn,

ham and pineapple,

chicken…

…there are many more, it’s up to you.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 200 °c for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and topping is golden.  You can switch to grill for last couple of minutes but be careful as the pizza can burn very quickly, and nobody likes burnt pizza!!

Suggestions

You can also make garlic bread, and a variety of dips too…

 

Posted in Italian Cuisine, Pasta

Penne Carbonara

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Ingredients

2 tbsps olive oil

small knob of butter

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

300g/11oz bacon, chopped

3 free range egg yolks

a handful of button mushrooms

50g/1¾oz parmesan cheese (grated), plus extra for serving

100ml/3½fl oz double cream

Salt and ground black pepper

350g/12oz penne pasta

3 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Heat a frying pan until hot. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and the bacon and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, fry the button mushrooms in the butter and remaining olive oil with the garlic until tender.

Whisk the egg yolks, parmesan and cream in a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook the penne according to the packet’s instructions in a pan of salted boiling water.

Drain the pasta and add it to the cream mixture, stirring continuously until smooth. Add the bacon, mushrooms (including the oil) and parsley and stir until well combined.

To serve, spoon pasta into bowls and sprinkle with a little extra parmesan.

Posted in Beef Dishes, Cheese, Italian Cuisine, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Peppered Salami and Sausage Rigatoni

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Today I wanted to eat pasta but was bored with the same old style.  So I pulled some stuff out of the fridge and this is what I came up with.  It not only tasted good with a slight peppery tang, but I was able to use up some odds and ends from the fridge.  Served 2 so adapt for more people.

Ingredients

Rigatoni pasta (small tubes of pasta)

3 hot dog sausages (sliced into small pieces)

2 slices of peppered salami (cut into squares)

2 small chilli peppers (finely chopped)

½ red pepper (chopped)

3 spring onions (chopped)

5 cherry tomatoes (quartered)

Worcestershire Sauce

½ tsp olive paste

1 tsp pepper paste

2 tsps pesto (basil sauce)

3-4 tbsps water

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

A few cubes of strong white cheese

2 tsps parmesan cheese (to sprinkle over the top)

 

Method

Put the pasta (however much you like – I used half a box for 2 people) into a pan of boiling water.

Fry the sausages in a little olive oil until slightly browned.  Then add the peppered ham and chilli peppers.  Cook for a few more minutes on a medium-low heat then remove from the frying pan to a seperate dish.

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In the same frying pan (without cleaning it) add a little more olive oil and fry the red peppers and spring onions then add to the sausages.  Now fry the tomatoes.  Add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

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Now add the olive paste, pepper paste and pesto and stir in.  Add the water (you may need more depending on the consistency).

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Return the sausage and ham back into the frying pan and mix well.

Allow it to simmer on a low heat until the pasta is ready.  Salt and pepper as you like.

When pasta is ready strain it well and return to the saucepan.

Add the sauce to the saucepan and stir well.

Pour into large bowls and decorate with the small cubes of cheese and the grated parmesan.

 

Posted in British Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Quick and Easy, Soups, Vegetarian

Tomato Soup

 

There is nothing I like more than a lovely creamy tomato soup, and with the price of tomatoes at this time of year (mid-May) being dirt cheap it would be insane to buy packet soup.  This recipe is easy and take very little time…

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Ingredients

1 onion (finely chopped)

Knob of butter (for frying)

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

Fresh parsley or basil (finely chopped)

1 kilo tomatoes (any kind)

1 Tbsp tomato puree

500 ml vegetable or chicken stock

100ml cream (approx)

1 tsp dried basil (optional)

 

Method

Fry the onions and garlic in butter.

Chop the tomatoes into quarters (or small pieces) and fry for a few minutes.

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Add tomato purée and stir for 1 minute.

Add the stock and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Transfer the mix from the frying pan to a blender/food processor. (You may need to do in batches depending on how much you machine holds)

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Blend for a minute or so then press the pulp through a sieve to get rid of the skin, seeds and any lumpy bits.

Add cream and basil and return to the pan to simmer for about 10 minutes until warmed through. (Don’t let it come to a boil)

 

Suggestion

Decorate with a sprig of fresh basil or parsley and some grated cheese.

Serve with fresh chunky bread, crispy croutons or garlic bread.

 

Posted in Italian Cuisine, Uncategorized

Chicken with a pizza topping

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Ingredients

(For the marinade)

1 tbsp olive oil

½ small glass of red wine

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 sprigs fresh oregano (stem removed)

(For pizza sauce)

2-3 tomatoes

1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

1-2 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 medium onion (finely chopped)

A dash of red wine (or water)

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

3-4 chicken breasts (diced)

Grated cheese (I used Mild Cheddar and Red Leicester)

2 Pork sausages (cooked/optional)

Red and/or green peppers thinly sliced

Any other general pizza toppings you like such as pepperoni, sweetcorn etc)

Oil for frying

Method

Mix the marinade ingredients together, add the chicken and marinade in fridge for around 2 hours (longer if you have time).

To make the pizza sauce, roughly chop your tomatoes and the onion and place in a food processor and blend.  Add all of the other pizza sauce ingredients.  You may need slightly more red wine/water depending on consistency,  (If it becomes too watery add more puree).

Fry chicken in a little oil until it turns white.  Place in an oven proof dish.

Pour the pizza sauce over the top.

Cover in grated cheese and then add your preferred pizza toppings (I used sliced sausages and red peppers).

Bake at 180c for approximately 25 minutes (until chicken is cooked through and topping is golden).

You can also grill the top if required.

Suggestion

You can also use whole chicken breasts, I used diced as that was what I had to use up at the time.

Posted in Italian Cuisine, Potato Dishes

Cheesy Wedged Potatoes

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A nice side dish for most meals or even just to accompany a salad.  The quantities are a bit vague as it depends on the size of the potatoes and how many people you are cooking for.

Ingredients

Several potatoes (I used small new potatoes)

Garlic butter

2 garlic cloves

2 slices of bacon (fried and cut in small pieces)

A handful of grated cheese (of your choice)

Method

Wash potatoes then thinly slice about ¾ of the way through (don’t slice completely through or they won’t remain in one piece).

Place in an oven proof dish or roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake until tender (changes depending on size).  Every now and then you can spoon some of the olive oil over them.

Once cooked push small amounts of garlic butter between the slices, (You can use normal butter if you don’t like garlic).  Place pieces of the fried bacon between some of the slices.   Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and remaining bacon pieces and grill until browned and cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.

Suggestion

Also lovely with a dressing drizzled over, such as blue cheese salad dressing.