Category: Italian

Bangers Bolognese – Recipe Remedy

The original recipe for Bangers Bolognese comes from the Time Saving Tips Chapter of The A-Z of Food (1977).  I  wanted to make it purely for the name alone. The British habit of calling sausages bangers is adorable even if the origin  of the name is kind of unsavoury.  According to the ever reliable (ahem) Wikipedia, meat shortages during World War One lead to sausages being made with such a low meat content and such a high water content that they would sometimes explode when cooked.  They were literally bangers!   Best not to ask what actually went into them…..

The A-Z recipe for Bangers Bolognese was kind of gross though.  Chopped up sausages…oops, bangers in a sauce made out of tinned tomato soup. I have an aversion to tinned tomato soup stemming back from school days.  One time (not at band camp)  my school tuck shop ran out of ketchup and instead of buying more, used tinned tomato soup as the condiment for the day.  It was disgusting!  And put me off tinned tomato soup for life!

Bangers Bolognese2

So, I thought, what would happen if I took the idea of Bangers Bolognese but omitted the awful tomato soup component for something a bit more amenable to the modern palate? The result is a recipe remedy which is absolutely delicious!

Bangers Bolognese1I used chorizo for my bangers but feel free to use your favorite sausage.  Without wanting to sound too snooty about it, this is really a recipe where using the highest quality of sausage you can afford will result in a better tasting dish. 

Here’s the original for anyone that cares to eat sausages cooked in tomato soup:

Bangers Bolognese OriginalBefore we get to my tweaked version of Bangers Bolognese, lets take a trip in the way back machine to 1968 when Margaret Fulton had to show the unworldly Australian public how to twirl spaghetti like an urbane Italian.  Beware though, the next set of photos contain both werewolfy hairy arms and super pointy 1960’s nails. 

You have been warned.

Okay, so now you know how to twirl pasta like a pro lets update this beast.  No tomato soup in sight!

Bangers Bolognese
A delicious and time saving take on a traditional spaghetti bolognese, using sausages
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Ingredients
  1. 4 high quality sausages of your choice, the spicier the better
  2. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1 sprigs of thyme
  6. 1 sprig of rosemary
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 400g can tomatoes
  9. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  10. 400g spaghetti
  11. Cheese - parmesan is traditional however for extra creaminess, Donna Hay suggests using Buffalo Mozzarella
  12. Parsley and additional chilli flakes to garnish.
Instructions
  1. Remove the casings from the sausages.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the sausages, chilli, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions and garlic are softened.
  3. Add the wine, tomatoes, sugar and herbs.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook for 1/2 and hour or longer until the sauce is reduced.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
  7. Drain well.
  8. Toss the pasta with the bolognese mixture, top with cheese, parsley and chilli flakes.
Adapted from The A-Z of Food & Donna Hay
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Bangers Bolognese 7Have a wonderful week . I’ll be back next time with another recipe remedy from The A-Z of Cooking.

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Neapolitan Easter Bread

Looking for something different to make this Easter?  This Neapolitan Easter Bread  aka Casatiello Napoletano could be just the thing!  Who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread?  And when that bread is stuffed with salami, bacon, cheese eggs and olives it becomes even more irresistible!  

Neapolitan Easter Bread1

Meantime though, who can believe it’s already Easter?  Where has this year gone?  March is always super busy for me at work and this year has been no exception.  I’ve been working into the early hours of the morning some days!  So, despite my best intentions of blogging MORE this year, it has actually turned into less. It’s also been hard to settle into a routine; with my step father’s passing earlier in the year I am living part of the week at my mum’s house and part of the week at home so my usual routines have had to change.  It has been a hard time in many respects but also has been great spending more time with mum from catching a movie to a manicure to painting classes and most importantly cooking and eating together. 

Neapolitan Easter Bread4

However, March madness is over at work, it all should be smooth sailing from here, right?   Maybe not…I have a crazy May coming up but that is filled with travels and fun rather than work.  Can’t wait.    However, let’s get back to the bread!  I used the Food 52 recipe for Neapolitan Easter Bread except I swapped out the ham for salami. Another difference between this recipe and more traditional versions is that chopped hard boiled eggs are included in the filling whereas traditional versions have them whole on the top of the loaf:

Traditional Neapolitan Easter Bread

I thought having the  eggs on top like that would make it quite difficult to eat!  And believe me, you will want to eat this, it is soooo good!

Neapolitan Easter BreadAnd the good news is that, if you don’t eat it all at once, it keeps really well. I’ve had it in my fridge for nearly a week now and it is still great when you place it under the grill to toast. 

The bread dough was easy to make and  turned out perfectly. 

 

Neapolitan Easter Bread2Then it was simply to put on the filing, roll it up and pop it in the oven. 

The Neapolitan Easter Bread is lovely warm just as it comes!  Food 52 suggest pesto or chimichurri as n accompaniment.  Warm with butter is superb!  Warm with a little bit of guac is also pretty damn special.!!!!

We ALL wanted a slice of it!

Neapolitan Easter Bread3Speaking of Easter, how cute is this little vintage bunny vase of my mum’s?

Bunny VaseHave a wonderful Easter everyone.  I hope the bunny brings you all the chocolate (Or Neapolitan Easter Bread) you wish for! 

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Goldilocksing Vitello Tonnato

Dear People of the Internet,

Have you ever been utterly obsessed by a recipe?  So much so that even when it confounds you time and time again, you have to keep trying to cook it to perfection? Just as Nic Silver is obsessed by Tanis, so have I been consumed by a search for a, no THE, perfect Vitello Tonnato.  My obsession started during the 2015 (2014?) season of My Kitchen Rules when Ash and Camilla made it.  Veal with Tuna Mayonnaise?  Really girls?  Really? But no. Despite my initial misgivings, the judges loved it!  And it’s kind of kooky and very retro.  Which are pretty much my criteria for food obsession.

vitello-tonnato4

They say the course of true love never runs smooth and so it was with my adventures with Vitello Tonnato.

Vitello Tonnato – The Bad

The first Vitello Tonnato I made came from, yep, you guessed it, The A-Z of Cooking, 1977. From the chapter entitled N is for Night Before to be precise.  It looked good enough but oh…..that veal.  That  veal was so stringy and fatty and revolting it was damn near inedible!

vitello-tonnato vitello-tonnato2This was a huge fail on the veal but props to the A-Z of Cooking, the tonnato was good!

Vitello Tonnato – The Ugly

Next up, I  went super modern.  This version of Vitello Tonnato came from a Tasty Reads Book club choice from earlier in the year which espoused the virtues of “clean” living.  The author has apparently lost quite a bit of weight eating this food and I am not surprised.  Pretty much everything I have made from it has been singularly awful. 

 The vitello tonnato was no exception.

The surprise was that the Tonnato was made from tofu.  And I’m not going to go on a tofu bashing rant because, as with everything, tofu has it’s place – miso soup, vegan curries? Awesome, brilliant, the more the better!  It just does not belong in Vitello Tonnato!  I made this to take to a Tasty Reads Cookbook Club meeting. 

Here is what I took:

almond-butter-prawnsWhat?  I hear you say.  That looks like the weirdest Vitello Tonnato in the world. It looks more like almond butter grilled prawns.  And you ‘d be right.  If they gave gold medals for things that tasted flipping disgusting and smelled like sick, that Tofu Tonnato would win hands down.  And the roast veal was again dry and fatty.  The veal went to the dogs, the tonnato went in the bin and I went down to the supermarket to buy the prawns for the dish you see above.  Incidentally, the prawns were one of the handful of decent recipes I have cooked from this book!

Vitello Tonnato – The Good

Normally, after two fails at a dish I would give it up as bad job.  But obsession is obsession and I still not done with Vitello Tonnato. And so, I turned back to the initial inspiration for making this dish – The MKR website.

vitello-tonnatoAnd you know what?  The third time was a charm!  This Vitello Tonnato was everything the other’s weren’t.  The veal was lovely and tender, the tonnato was tasty and the accoutrements – pickles, fried capers and micro herbs were perfection!

It was also the gift that kept on giving – it made a lovely dinner, and the next day, wrapped in lettuce leaves it made a super tasty lunch!

vitello-tonnatoHere is a link to the MKR recipe for Vitello Tonnato

The only problem with the MKR Vitello Tonnato is that you poach the veal in a gorgeous stock made with herbs and vegetables and white wine and stock.  And then presumably throw it out.  Not on my watch!  I kept it in the fridge over night and the following evening I roasted up some tomatoes, added this to the stock mix and voila, I had a super quick, easy and delicious tomato soup! Add some grilled cheese and it made the perfect work lunch!

tomato-soup-work-lunch-2

So tell me.  Have you ever been obsessed by a recipe?  And how many times do you try something before giving up on it?

And have a super week! Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2  Related articles

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Torta Mimosa

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we are celebrating with an Italian treat called a Torta Mimosa.  In Italy, men give the women they love a sprig of mimosa on International Women’s Day (March 8th).  In Australia, it is autumn and we will not have mimosa (what we call wattle) for another six or so months so swapped in some gorgeous lilies instead. 

The Torta Mimosa is also traditionally served on International Women’s Day in Italy. Or as the Italians would say, Festa Della Donna – it sounds so much more glamorous when you say it like that doesn’t it?

Torta Mimosa2The Torta Mimosa, as the name suggests is meant to look like a sprig of mimosa.  I’m not entirely sure that it does but damn it tastes good!

Torta Mimosa

It’s a sponge cake, filled with creme pâtissière (and I added some lemon curd), then covered with small squares of sponge to create the mimosa look.

It’s light, fresh and a lovely way to celebrate all the wonderful,amazing women in your life!

Torta Mimosa4

I am so very lucky to have a many inspirational women in my life – from family, friends, work mates, the tasty reads crew, friends from the gym, to the people who I have met through doing this blog.  I feel privileged to know such a number of smart, witty, sassy, strong women, each of whom help to make my life, and the lives of all around them better and brighter.

Torta Mimosa3

Oh boy…this recipe is not hard to make but there are lots of parts.

  • I made Margaret Fulton’s sponge cake from The Great Australian Cookbook.  Twice. 
  • I used the creme pâtissière from The Joy Of Cooking
  • And I also used some bought lemon curd in the layers to add some tanginess.

Here is a link to a very similar recipe on Epicurious:

Torta Mimosa

Torta Mimosa5To all you wonderful women, I wish you a very happy International Women’s Day! 

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Molten Umami Meatball Sandwiches

 Hello, hello it’s good to be back!

Umami Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

Did you miss me? I’ve been on holidays – three weeks out of the grey Melbourne cold and into the warmth of sunny Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The holiday was amazing and I will fill you in on the details over the next few weeks, most particularly about the amazing food.

Here is (literally) a taster….

You know how in most supermarkets you get tasting plates?  For example, earlier today in my local supermarket I got to sample 3 kinds of dumplings (prawn, scallop and mushroom), 5 flavours of kombucha tea and some chia pudding…(yeah, my local supermarket is awesome!)  Well, in Cambodia, the taster plates consist of Bamboo Worms…and only  $2 a kilo!

Bamboo Worms
Bamboo Worms

 And these are deep fried crickets….an even better bargain at half the price of the worms…

Crickets
Crickets

 This is me about to taste one of the bamboo worms:

Cambodia Taste Testing
Cambodia Taste Testing

 But before we go there, I wanted to talk to you about meatballs. As much as we love Asian food, after three weeks of it we were craving something that wasn’t.  Funnily enough, we both had cravings for pretty much the same thing. 

He wanted spaghetti bolognese.  I wanted spaghetti and meatballs.  I was doing  the cooking so spaghetti and meatballs it was!  As I was cooking these, I realised why this is such awesome comfort food (it’s not like either of us has Italian heritage). My meatballs are crammed full of umami flavours – parmesan, mushrooms, tomatoes, red wine….Hmmm…is red wine umami?  Well it’s pretty damn good even if it isn’t.  Also, the original recipe for this called for an anchovy fillet.  I didn’t happen to have any so I added saltiness with a dash of fish sauce…guess what?  More umami!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs (and the joys of a plate on your knee  in front of the telly…it really is good to be back)

The spaghetti and meatballs were delicious and everything I wanted – something to warm our bones in the winter cold, something that was quick and easy to cook after a day of travelling and something familiar – comfort food at it’s best!!!

They also require very little in terms of fresh ingredients so you can keep shopping to a minimum.  And, if you were super organised, you could make a batch and pop them in the freezer before you left.  (Massive sigh).  I would love to be that organised!!!!  

So, it was spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then, (this mixture makes a lot of meatballs) I made a molten meatball mountain (i.e, a meatball sandwich ) for my lunch the next day.  The meatballs were great with the spaghetti but for my mind, even better in the sandwich the next day.  And Oscar was on hand for any leftovers.

Of which there were none!

Molten Meatball Sandwich
Molten Meatball Sandwich

 Remember these?   Bamboo Worms

 They tasted like this: Aftermath of the Bamboo Worm

I wouldn’t say this was the worst thing I have ever eaten…but it sure wasn’t good.  The outside was kind of crunchy and not so bad.  It was the inside that was gross.  It didn’t taste so much of anything, it just had an unpleasant texture – mushy and slightly gritty. Not to mention the thought that was impossible to dispel.  “That thing in your mouth?  That’s worm guts…you’re eating worm guts…that thing you just bit into, that was probably work heart….”

Not good.  

Thank goodness I found much better things to eat in Phnom Pehn.  Which I will tell you about next time…

Have a fabulous week!    

PS – Is anyone doing the kombucha thing?  I kind of want to grow my own….if you are please let me know!

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Umami Meatballs

Umami Meatballs

These delicious meatballs are crammed with umami goodness and are the prefect comfort food for a wintery night or a delicious lunch the following day

Ingredients

  • 500g lamb mince (or you can use ground beef or a mix of pork and veal)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried herbs or 1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs
  • 120g grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 small mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • For the Sauce:
  • 400g can Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • To Serve:
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or a mixture
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (as much or as little as you like)
  • or
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or basil or both
  • Rocket (Arugula), Baby Kale or other green of your choice
  • Shaved Parmesan or melting cheese of your choice

Instructions

  • Place the minced lamb, garlic, mushrooms, onion, herbs, grated parmesan, chilli flakes and fish sauce in a bowl.
  • Season with some pepper - the fish sauce will add saltiness.
  • Using your hands shape into walnut sized balls.
  • Place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large deep frying pan over medium - high heat.
  • Fry the meatballs in batches turning for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  • Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and then add the sugar, fish sauce and wine.
  • Cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Add the meatballs and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened. If you like a thicker sauce (like me) simmer for longer.
  • For Spaghetti
  • If you are having your meatballs with spaghetti, cook this according to the directions on the packet.
  • To serve, place the spaghetti into bowls, top with the meatballs and sauce and sprinkle over some chopped parsley and some shaved parmesan.
  • For A Meatball Sandwich the following day
  • Split your baguette in two lengthwise and lightly toast.
  • Add the oil to a fry pan and heat, add the mushrooms and saute until soft.
  • Remove and set aside
  • Add the meatballs and sauce. Heat through.
  • Add your greens and mushrooms to the toasted baguette.
  • Load on your meatballs and sauce.
  • Sprinkle with herbs,
  • Top with Parmesan
  • Place under grill until the cheese has melted.
  • ENJOY!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/08/10/molten-umami-meatball-mountains/

 

 

 

 

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