Nigella’s Curly Edged Pasta with Lamb Ragu

Lamb ragu

After the festivities of Christmas, we start to think about non Christmas food. I like to make Lamb ragu made using Nigella Lawson’s recipe from Nigellissima and it is definitely something I recommend you try. Nigellissima is my most used Nigella book and I talked about that when I reviewed her Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta.

The lamb ragu incorporates the flavours of mint and red currant jelly, giving this dish an English Italian vibe. There is a hint of chilli too, so it ticks lots of boxes for me when it comes to taste.

Until recently I was unable to find in my supermarket mafaldine pasta, the distinct curly edged ribbons of pasta used in this recipe. So I thought I would try my local Italian deli and of course they came up trumps. Better still when I went to pay for the packet of mafaldine, the sales assistant told me the pasta was on a 3 for 2 deal, hooray!! So expect to see a few recipes featuring mafaldine in the future.

Overall this dish works and it works very well indeed. Like most of Nigella’s recipes it is straight forward, which I think cooking should be particularly when cooking mid week meals.

If you don’t have a copy if Nigellissma, then there is a very similar recipe using pappardelle at Nigella.com. So, if you are stuck in a mid week meal rut, have a go at making Lamb Ragu. If you are like me it will become a recipe you can add to your cooking repertoire.

Before I go, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Until next time.

Julie
x

Cranberry Sausage Rolls

Cranberry sausage rolls 1

Sausage rolls are the perfect party food and these festive inspired sausage rolls are ideal for your New Year’s Eve Party.

If like me you enjoy cranberry sauce with your turkey, then I’m sure you will like these cranberry sausage rolls too. Yes, I have cheated by buying the puff pastry but I was short of time. It is the holidays after all.

Ingredients (Makes 18)

6 pork and herb sausages (400g best quality)
6 tablespoons cranberry sauce
375g puff pastry
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
A little plain flour

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to Fan 180c. On a floured surface roll your pastry out in a rectangle measuring 30cm by 45cm, then cut in half so that you have two long thin rectangles measuring 15cm by 45cm.

2. In the centre of each pastry rectangle, spread a line of cranberry sauce.

Pastry topped with cranberry sauce

Pastry topped with cranberry sauce

3. Slice the sausage casing with a knife to remove the sausagemeat, then with your hands shape the sausagemeat so it is longer and thinner. Do this for each sausage and place on top of the cranberry sauce.

Sausagemeat added

Sausagemeat added

4. Beat the egg with the milk to make the egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the long edges with the egg wash.

5. Fold one of the long edges of the pastry over the sausagemeat, then fold the other on top to encase the meat. Repeat with the other one. Then flip both over so that the seals are underneath.

Encased in pastry

Encased in pastry

6. Egg wash the pastry and then cut each long roll into 9 pieces approximately 5cm in length. So you end up with 18 sausage rolls.

7. Place on two baking trays and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

Baked and cooling

Baked and cooling

Cranberry sausage rolls

Cranberry sausage rolls

These sausage rolls are really quite yummy, do give them a try I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Let me know what you think of this recipe by leaving your comments in the box below.

Until next time.

Julie
x

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Frosty the Snowman and Red Robin Christmas Cake

Frosty and Robin Christmas Cake

Back in October I blogged about the Women’s Weekly Spiced Fruit Christmas Cake which I make every year and is now a firm family tradition.

After covering my fruit cake with marzipan and white sugar paste, I was ready to get creative with the decorations.

I began by cutting out snowflakes from the white sugar paste to decorate the side of the cake. Then using Renshaw’s Christmas activity pack, which contained five festive colours I moulded Frosty the Snowman, Red Robin and a tree. If you want to see how I’ve done it click on the links to go to the Renshaw website.

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman and Red Robin Christmas Cake

Frosty the Snowman and Red Robin Christmas Cake

I’m rather proud of my cake and it will be a shame to cut it. That said, I am really looking forward to a slice of Christmas cake on Christmas Day. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and I’ll be back afterwards with lots of recipes and reviews for you.

Until then.

Julie
x

Christmas Recipe Round Up

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

My Christmas recipe round up starts with the most delicious Christmas cake, it is the Women’s Weekly Spiced Fruit Christmas Cake and you can see it here.

The lovely people at Women’s Weekly kindly gave me permission to print their recipe in October and it has been extremely popular here at Julie’s Family Kitchen. So, if you haven’t made your Christmas Cake yet, what are you waiting for.

Next up is another popular post my Festive Chocolate Bark, take a look here at the original post. Chocolate topped with pistachio and cranberry not only looks festive but tastes great too.

Pistachio and Cranberry Milk Chocolate Bark

Pistachio and Cranberry Milk Chocolate Bark

If you like mince pies, you’ll love these Cherry and Spice Mince Pies. Here I have added a little twist by incorporating ground mixed spice into the pastry dough and adding glacé cherries to the mincemeat.

Cherry and Spice Mince Pies

Cherry and Spice Mince Pies

Go grab a glass of your favourite Christmas tipple and have a read of my Cherry and Spice Mince Pie recipe here.

I baked my Christmas Fair cupcakes for the school Christmas Fair and they went down really well. The basic recipe can be enjoyed at anytime but topped with Christmas decorations they are perfect for festive celebrations. I used my Amazing Vanilla Sponge Cupcake recipe, see here, my fool proof cupcake recipe if there ever was one. To take a closer look at the Christmas Fair Cupcakes, see the original post here.

Christmas Fair Cupcakes

Christmas Fair Cupcakes

I hope you have enjoyed my Christmas Recipe Round Up. It’s been great fun putting the list together. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I’ll be back very soon with more recipes for you.

Best Wishes

Julie

Sublime Chocolate Orange Meringue Dessert

Chocolate orange dessert

This sublime dessert is like a cheats ice cream, flavoured with dark chocolate and orange. It may not look the prettiest dessert but it certainly tastes heavenly. I think it is perfect for serving after dinner over the holidays as an alternative to Christmas pudding.

I’ve used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Belgian Dark Chocolate with Orange, which contained pieces of candied orange. However, if you can’t get this I would suggest using a dark chocolate flavoured with orange or just a good quality dark chocolate instead.

Ingredients (Serves 8 to 10)

12 meringue nests (180g approx)
600ml double cream
100g dark chocolate with candied orange or dark chocolate flavoured with orange
8 tablespoons orange curd (best quality available)

Method

1. In a large bowl whip the cream until you get soft peaks.

2. Crumble the meringue nests into the cream.

3. Chop the chocolate with a sharp knife into small chunks and add to the bowl.

4. Then, add 8 tablespoons of orange curd to the bowl. Gently stir the mixture around.

5. Line a 2lb baking tin with cling film with plenty of over hang. Then, carefully spoon the mixture into the lined tin pressing lightly so the mixture spreads to fill the whole tin.

6. Using the over hanging cling film, cover the top and then freeze for at least 4 hours until firm or overnight.

7. To serve remove the dessert from the tin and cling film about 15 minutes before cutting into 8 to 10 slices.

I really hope you give this recipe a try, it’s so simple you really can’t go wrong with it. Don’t forget you can leave your feedback in the box below.

Julie
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Gnocchi with Chorizo, Spinach and Tomato Sauce

Gnocchi

If you had asked me what chorizo was ten years ago, I probably would not have known. My taste buds, eating and shopping habits have changed dramatically in recent years. I now shop for ingredients that would never have had entered my shopping basket before. I think it makes life a little more interesting trying out and learning about new foods.

The chorizo and spinach make this dish something really special. The paprika oils of the chorizo infuse into the tomato sauce and compliment the fresh wilted spinach perfectly. I’ve teamed this great combination with gnocchi which are little Italian potato dumplings. Everything works so well together. I promise you, you will absolutely love it.

Gnocchi with Chorizo, Spinach and Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsGnocchi with Chorizo, Spinach and Tomato Sauce

500g fresh gnocchi
75g cubed cooking chorizo
1 onion
400g tin chopped tomatoes
Handful of fresh spinach
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of grated mozzarella cheese

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan.

2. Finely chop the onion and then sauté in the oil for about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the tinned tomatoes to the onions and chorizo, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes on a gentle heat.

5. Meanwhile, cook your gnocchi in a saucepan of salted boiling water.

6. Add the spinach to the tomato sauce and stir.

7. When the gnocchi floats to the top it is cooked. Drain the gnocchi and add to the tomato sauce. Carefully combine.

8. Transfer the gnocchi to 2 plates, sprinkle over the grated mozzarella cheese and place the plates under the grill until the cheese has melted.

This is definitely the sort of food I enjoy, I hope you like it too.

Until next time.

Julie
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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

I’m entering this recipe into the Family Foodies challenge organised by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash. This month’s challenge Fab Fast Food is hosted by Vanesther from Bangers & Mash.

Indian Cookery Class at the Waitrose Cookery School

I do love entering competitions, I’ve won a few small things in the past but nothing significant. You can imagine my sheer delight when I received an email from myWaitrose telling me I had won two places at the Indian Cookery Class to be held at the Waitrose Cookery School in North London. Apparently 13,000 people entered the competition, the same odds as getting on the Great British Bake Off so maybe I should try my luck with that too.

A Trio of Indian Kebabs

A Trio of Indian Kebabs

So my mum and I headed off for what was to be a culinary adventure in the world of aromatic spices. The class was hosted by guest chef Jay Ghosh who is chef/proprietor of Potli an Indian kitchen style restaurant. Our day began with Jay demonstrating how to make a trio of kebabs, Chicken Hariyali (the green one), Chicken Malai Tikka (the red one) and the Potli Chicken Tikka (the white one). We then went back to our kitchen work stations, thankfully the chicken had been prepared for us and all we needed to do was skewer the meat ready for the oven.

Once cooked we all sat down to enjoy our early starter. The chicken kebabs were full of flavour due to the complex mixture of spices used. My favourite was the Chicken Malai Tikka, which was similar in taste to an ordinary chicken tikka but better.

After eating our starter we watched chef Jay demonstrating how to make the Chicken Lababdar and the Kashmiri Pulao. This time I paid extra special attention as we had to then go and make this ourselves. Cooking in the kitchen was great fun especially working with my mum, it was a real team effort. I think the biggest achievement for me was successfully cooking the rice. Well cooked rice is something that I have at times struggled with. I’ve learnt that stirring the rice agitates the grains and that in turn makes the rice sticky.

The best bit is of course the eating, once our food was cooked we were able to sit down and enjoy our meal with a glass of wine. The Chicken Lababdar was gorgeous and can only be described as a luxurious chicken tikka masala.

Chicken Lababdar and Kashmiri Pulao

Chicken Lababdar and Kashmiri Pulao

Later in the day we made Srikhand for our dessert which consisted of sour cream, mascarpone and spices. This was absolutely delicious and definitely something I would like to make again. You’ll see from the picture that it is topped with fried vermicelli, which beautifully contrasted with the creamy mixture below.

Srikhand

Srikhand

The Indian Cookery Class at the Waitrose Cookery School was an amazing experience. It was lovely to try some Indian food that I had never eaten before and learn to cook it for myself. The staff and chef Jay made it a very memorable day.

Until next time.

Julie

Hot Smoked Mackerel and Rocket with Orzo Pasta

Mackerel and rocket with orzo

Hot smoked mackerel is something I buy frequently and usually have it grilled served with a side salad. Today, I’ve tried something different but very easy by accompanying the mackerel with orzo pasta and rocket. This little recipe is ideal for a quick lunch or supper.

Ingredients (Serves 1)

100g orzo pasta
2 hot smoked mackerel fillets
A handful of rocket
Black pepper

Method

1. Cook the orzo pasta in a saucepan with plenty of salted boiling water until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, grill the mackerel fillets for about 6 to 7 minutes on a medium heat, turning a couple of times.

3. Once the orzo is cooked drain it and return the orzo back to the pan.

4. Remove the skin from the mackerel and cut into bite size chunks. Then, add the mackerel and rocket to the orzo.

5. Add a grinding of black pepper. Then, stir everything around so the mackerel oils coat the orzo and rocket. Now it’s ready to serve.

A very straight forward recipe using a real flavoursome fish. Not forgetting that mackerel contains healthy omega oils so it’s good for you too.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and like always I love to hear what you think.

Until next time.

Julie

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Biscuits

Chocolate and Pistachio Biscuits

These delectable biscuits are super easy to make and are great mid morning with a cup of tea or coffee.

Ingredients (Makes 14)

225g plain flour
175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g golden caster sugar
100g dark chocolate chips
50g pistachios (chopped)

Method

1. Mix the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes a dough.

3. Add the chocolate chips and pistachios and knead briefly to evenly distribute throughout the dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the biscuit dough into 14 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of biscuit dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked biscuits to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the biscuits for about 20 to 25 minutes, the biscuit will be pale gold when cooked.

9. Leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Tea and biscuits

Tea and biscuits

I really hope you enjoy making these biscuits and eating them too of course. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the box below.

Until next time.

Julie

I’ve entered this recipe in #recipe of the week with A Mummy too.

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I’ve entered this recipe in the Tea Time Treats monthly challenge organised by Kate at What Kate Baked and Karen at Lavender and Lovage.

Tea Time Treats