I had some pears in the fridge and, honestly, they had been there for some time. I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t even know what kind of pears they were, but they surely looked like William…
Anyway, I needed a recipe for one of those days when you would like to cook, but you are not in the mood for something too complicated or fancy, but for something simple, quick, few ingredients needed, possibly all already at home, so you don’t even have to go to the supermarket to fetch something.
And instantly appeared in my mind a recipe from an old cutout from one of the Italian women ‘s magazine, Grazia: 4 ingredients (I had them all), simple procedure, quick preparation (but long cooking, but I don’t mind that as long as is oven cooking)! The perfect recipe!
So, here it is, with some adjustments…
500 g of pears
150 ml of dry white wine (I used a Müller Thurgau from the north of Italy)
150 g of sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
Melt 50 g of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a little saucepan. As soon as it is melted, transfer it in to 4 individual moulds that can go in the oven. Let it cool.
Peel the pears, halve them, discard the seeds, and thinly slice them. Put them in a saucepan with the wine and the remaining sugar (100 g). Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the pears are soft but still in shape. Let it cool a bit.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, add them to the pears and combine all the ingredients. Pour the mixture into the moulds. Place them in a large and shallow ovenproof dish. Pour enough water in the dish to fill half of its capacity, paying attention not to drop any water in the moulds. Bake in a preheated oven, 150° C, for 1 hour.
Mirto (myrtle) is a Mediterranean shrub found more particularly in Sardinia, its berries are used to prepare a local liqueur but they are also dried to be used as aromatic herb. They do look like juniper berries but have a less pungent and sweeter aroma, more like blackcurrant, and they are perfect with the rabbit.
For the wine choose a well structured, quite tannic and fresh red, with delicate aroma and no exaggerated colour or extract. I would normally use a Burgundy but any good quality Pinot noir will do the trick ; it’s also perfect to drink with the rabbit ! Above all keep away from merlot and any such like, if in doubt go to the nearest video rental and get a copy of Sideways…
1 rabbit, already gutted and cut in 8 pieces
Potato starch or corn flour
2 spoons duck fat
10 shallots peeled and cut in halves
Half a bottle of red wine
2 spoons thyme flowers
6 dried myrtle berries
Salt and pepper
Mix the starch with good amount of pepper and pass the rabbit pieces in this mixture until evenly covered.
Heat up the fat in a cast iron pot and fry the rabbit on all sides on high heat until golden, reserve in a dish. Lower the flame and throw out the excess fat and burned starch from the pot.
Put the shallots in the pot and keep on low heat until they turn translucid (few minutes). Put back the rabbit pieces in the pot, add the wine to the left-over starch, stir and pour over the rabbit, add in the thyme and mirto berries, give a good stir. Cook covered over very low heat for 20-30 minutes, turning the rabbit pieces and stirring occasionally, until the meat is well cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Serve with steamed potatoes and what’s left of the wine.
Photo credits: I took the shot but Piperita edited it, it’s rather amazing how modern technology can turn a rubbish snap into a half decent picture !
Roast beef is one of my mother’s all time favourite (and, honestly, one of the few thing she can cook… to perfection!). She normally makes it in summer, cutting the meat very thinly, and serving it cold, but in winter I prefer it hot, thick and BLOOOOODY!!!
It is so simple to make it good!
1 kg of beef, ask your butcher about the best cut to use
Take out the meat form the fridge at least one hour before to cook it.
Preheat the oven at 220° C.
Roll the meat in salt and pepper: you need to coat it evenly.
Lay many bay leaves and few rosemary branches on the bottom of a ovenproof dish. Lay the meat over the herbs bed.
Cook it for 45 minutes if you wanted rare, for more if you like your beef medium rare or well done (honestly, what’s the point if you don’t get it rare???).
Let it stand for 10 minutes before to cut it.
P.S. I would like to point out our magnificent Laguiole set! It cuts perfectly, as all Laguiole!
Before to publish the last recipe for sunday roast, the piece de resistance, I give you the schedule I followed to make everything…
To make Sunday roast you won’t need more than two hours, but really intense!
First make the horse radish sauce and let it stand in the fridge, but remember to take it off at least 30 minutes before serving.
Then take the beef out of the fridge: you need it at room temperature.
Preheat the oven at 220° C.
Begin with the potatoes: peel and cut them, then parboil them.
While they are parboiling, prepare the meat and lay it in the ovenproof dish.
Hot the fat for the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes, put them in the hot fat and then in the oven.
After 10 minutes put the beef in the oven.
Prepare the Yorkshire pudding batter.
When it lack 25 minutes to the end of the cooking, eat in the oven the oil for the Yorkshire pudding for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add the batter and cook the puddings.
When your time is up, begin serving the potatoes, then cut the meat, then serve the puddings.
And after this little marathon, enjoy your meal with your family!!!
I’ve tried to make Yorkshire pudding twice. The first attempt was following a recipe form Traditional British Cooking, a book we bought many many years ago, using duck fat for the tins. They were good, but not what I except it: they were a bit heavy, not too fluffy and too “eggy”… and the duck fat didn’t work well: they almost all sticked in the bottom…
The second attempt was the one pictured above, form Nigella Lawson’s Feast: perfect! Right consistency, right fluffiness, perfect taste!
I am no chemist neither physicist (always had low grades in those subjects in high school…), so I don’t know how the tiniest different proportion between egg, milk and flour can make such a difference, but Nigella’s were much much much better!!!
245 ml of milk
Salt to taste
190 g of flour
Olive oil for the tin
Preheat the oven at 220° C.
Beat together milk, eggs and salt and let it stand for 15 minutes. Add the flour, give a good whisk and let it stand for at least half an hour.
In a 12 muffin tin, heat the oil in 8 of the holes in the oven. When the oil is sizzling, add the Yorkshire pudding mixture in each tin, filling it for about two third. Return it to the oven and let it cook for 20 minutes or “until they have puffed up gloriously” and they are golden.
As you maybe understood, I am a big fan of some English tv chefs, as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and the often forgotten Nigel Slater. Nigel had a BBC program (among others), Real Food (even a book), in which he underlined in each episode a single type of food: potatoes, garlic, chicken…
I am a well known potatoes eater, so much that my father, when I was little, nicknamed me potato (in Italian doesn’t exist the neuter gender, so for us potato is a female noun)! I love potatoes in any shape or form: roasted, fried, boiled, steamed, jacked… Give me a potato and I will be an happy woman!
My search for the perfect roasted potatoes is going on since my first attempt of cooking. I read many recipes that were suggesting to shortly boil the potato chunks before to roast them in the oven, but it always sounded like too much fuss for something so simple… But it is not! It is the ONLY way to get a perfect crispy crust and a smooth, tender inside. They were so good! And they were wonderful even reheated in the oven the day after: still crispy!!!
Duck fat (but you can use olive oil… Sure the taste of duck fat is unique…)
Preheat the oven at 200° C.
Peel the potatoes and cut them in big chunks. Putt all the chunks in a saucepan full of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
In the meanwhile, put enough duck fat to cover with a thin layer the bottom of a big roasting dish. Heat it in the oven. When the fat is sizzling, add the potatoes (be careful with the hot splashes!), coat them with fat and cook in the oven, turning once, for 45 minutes or until golden.
Take them out of the oven, sprinkle with Maldon salt and serve straight away.
I am not a big fan of horseradish sauce: too bland yet too hot for such a non exciting flavour. But I religiously follow Nigella Lawson, so, if she makes horseradish sauce, I will make it too…
The taste was good, very different from the commercial one, but I couldn’t say I will eat it for ever and ever… I liked it, nonetheless I didn’t eat as much as my husband… But he is a well known big big big eater: you know, he’s French, he’s strange!!! ;-))
The inspiration for this recipe comes from Feast, by Nigella Lawson.
Make 250 ml
300 g of fresh horseradish
300 ml of double cream
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 apple (more id the horseradish is insanely hot)
Peel the horseradish and the apple and cut it into chunks. Blend together all ingredients in a food processor until you obtain a creamy texture. Spoon it in serving bowls and refrigerate until lunch.
Lately we realized that in all the time we spent in England in the past we NEVER had Sunday roast, neither at home nor at the pub… We absolutely had to amend!
So, last Sunday we make the effort to make everything for the “perfect” Sunday roast, or at least for the Sunday roast of our choice…
And so, here it is, in the fall sunlight (Jesus DOESN’T want me for a sunbeam…):
Homemade horseradish sauce
Homemade Yorkshire pudding (gloriusly puffed, as Nigella suggested!)
Roast potatoes (should I underline the fact that we bought the potatoes but we cooked them?)
Roast beef (my mother’s way)
Stay tuned for the recipes!
I know, banana bread, especially this extremely reach version, is not strictly bread, but has the name bread in the name, so, is bread in some way, or at least for some cultures.
The originl recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a domestic goddess, and for once I followed it to the last pinch of salt. And the result was awesome, really…
100 g of raisins
6 tablespoons of rum
100 g of flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
100 g of butter, melted
100 g of sugar
4 large, very ripe, bananas
70 g of roughly chopped walnuts
120 g of chopped dark chocolate
Heat the rum with the raisins in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and let it rest for 1 hour.
In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda.
In a large bowl, beat with an electric whisker butter and sugar. Add one by one the eggs, whipping. Add bananas, walnuts and chopped chocolate, mixing with a wooden spoon. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Cover a plumcake tin with greaseproof paper, add the mixture and bake, in a preheated oven, at 170° C, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Let it cool before serving it.
world bread day ’06
Dear fellow bloggers/ friends/ readers/ commenter,
One of the thing I was never able to make (except from macarons, but I’m still studying…) is puff pastry.
I never found a recipe that satisfy me at the point of making it instead of buying it…
Depending on the recipes, the pastry turned out to be too hard, too heavy, not so puff, too buttery, not enough buttery… I experienced everything can turn bad in a puff pastry recipe! Except the right result, off course…
Is there anyone who’s able to make (or found the recipe for) the most perfect puff pastry in the world, dummies and dumb proof (so Piperita proof), and would like to share it?
The recipe can be sent to me (peppermintpatt [at] gmail [dot] com) or just leave the link (if you had already publish it) in the comments, and it can be either in English, French or Italian…
If you didn’t yet publish it, we can make up a nice joint blogging venture and make joint posts about it… Just an idea…
I must admit I didn’t dig all the blog in my sidebar before to write this so I don’t know if someone in the rest of the world already explored the subject…