Rigatoni al Forno

This is my titivated version of a recipe by Nigella Lawson. The alterations I’ve made are basically adding a puree of sun dried tomatoes, more garlic, no water but more wine instead!
I also like a mixture of beef and pork, that's what I used but you can, of course, use all beef if you prefer.
Be sure to buy good quality minced beef and pork with a low fat content or the dish will end up oily and horrid. I also think that sun dried tomatoes add a nice sweetness to this dish. A note on tinned tomatoes – you can buy really cheap ones but if you can try to get really good quality ones as some just seem to be in a very watery water instead of nice thick tomato juice.
Serves 4 slightly greedy people but would easily serve 4 adults and 2 children.
You will need;
One large or two medium sized ovenproof dishes
500g rigatoni
100g Parmesan, freshly grated

For the Meat Sauce;
2 onions
1 carrot
1 stick celery
4 fat cloves of garlic
80g of either smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
1 tablespoon tomato puree
5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes drained from their oil (or re hydrated dried ones)
30g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes – including the juice
160ml red wine
3 bay leaves

For the Béchamel sauce;
100g butter
70g plain flour
560ml milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg

How to do it;
Peel the onions and carrots and chop into big cubes. Do the same with the celery. Peel the garlic cloves and put everything including the bacon into a food processor and finely chop.
Don’t bother washing the processor up just yet – hold up on that as you’ll need it again in a minute!

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry this mixture along with the tomato puree over a low heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft.
Now add the beef and pork and stir it about a bit until it browns evenly.
While this is cooking nicely add the sun dried tomatoes to the food processor and give them a good whizz up so you end up with a tomato paste. Add this paste to the meat. Give everything a good stir.

Add the tomatoes, red wine and bay leaves. Stir well and bring to the boil.
Now turn down the heat and cover with a bit of kitchen foil or a lid but only partially cover. Let this mixture cook for about on a low heat for about 1 and half hours stirring now and then.
It shouldn’t go dry but if it does you will need to add a teeny bit more wine or water if you must.

For the Sauce;
Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and stir and cook together.
Take off the heat briefly, and whisk in the milk with a hand held balloon whisk. Now put back on the heat stirring all the time.
Once the sauce is bubbling leave it for a few minutes to cook stirring all the while.
Season with salt and pepper and turn down the heat and cook until slightly thickened. You want a fairly running sauce to be able to coat the pasta easily. When that’s done remove from the heat and stir in some freshly grated nutmeg.

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/ Gas 6
Put a large pan of slightly salted water on to boil ready for your pasta.
When it’s boiling add the pasta. Cook the pasta until it’s almost done (al dente). You don’t want soggy pasta.
Drain the pasta and while still a bit wet, put it back into the saucepan.

Now pour the white sauce over and give it a good mix to coat the pasta.

Remove the bay leaves from the sauce. Now add the meat sauce and mix again until the pasta is covered in both.
Don’t fuss about getting it all even colour as it looks better with more white sauce in places.
Pour the lot into your oven proof dish – or dishes as this does make enough for about 4 or 6 people. Sprinkle the top generously with grated Parmesan – you can mix in some grated cheddar too if you fancy.
Cover loosely with foil and cook for about 25 minutes.
Now remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes until it’s cooked through, piping hot and the top is bubbling, golden and crispy.


Pork in Black Bean Sauce with Green Peppers

Pork with green peppers in black bean sauce is so good to eat!

I wanted to add spice to this dish.  Ginger, garlic and chilli came to mind and so I came up with this.


Miele Cookery Experience at The BBC Good Food Show

What a fantastic day I had this past Saturday at the BBC Good Food Show!
I was invited by Steph at Miele along with other food bloggers Jules, Anne, Celine, Sylvie, Naomi, Nic and Sunita.

The Forever Better Team at Miele were all such a lovely bunch of people. We were all invited also to join in with the Miele Cookery Experience.
Miele have such a fantastic range of kitchen and electrical products that no other manufacturer can beat on both style and quality.
With us all being so interested in food the Miele Steam Ovens were our favorite product!

Ooooh but they also do an induction wok too
and I just wish I had a bigger kitchen as I'd be getting one!

Here's how our day went;
Firstly I was met by Steph from Miele and then I met up with Sylvie and Nic.

We only know of eachother because of our food blogs so it was really good to meet them in person at last! We all felt like we'd known each other for years. They are both such lovely people.

After everyone had arrived we went backstage for coffee and Gino D'Acampo, Dave Myers, Simon King (The Hairy Bikers) and Simon Rimmer just happened to be there too!
Of course, we took a few pictures but everyone chickened out of asking for their autographs!.....Why didn't we just ask?!

Below is Simon King (wearing the bandanna) Gino D'Acampo (standing with his back to us)Simon Rimmer and Dave Myres all having a good chat.

Serious conversation between Simon and Gino!

Then we were all taken to watch Simon Rimmer cook. All the lovely shiny kitchen appliances were by Miele.

Then we had time to walk around the show - me and Sylvie had a fine time sampling many different wines!
We kept saying 'I shouldn't think it amounts to a glass yet, so we'll be fine'!.....
Then we went onto taste 'Toffee Vodka' and again 'I shouldn't think it amounts to a glass yet'.....
and so on to the next drinks stand we went!

Here are a handful of pictures
of the different food stands:
I didn't take too many pictures as we were too busy drinking and having a good time!
Pickles and chutneys

Many different cured sausages and Chorizo sausage.

Cheese too!

Do I spy more wine in the background? - Missed that on the day!

Below, there was lots of gardening stuff there too and I want this!

Then after all that drinking - we went on to 'The Miele Cookery Experience' to cook in front of an audience with Sophie Michell.

First we were shown the absolutely fantastic range of Miele kitchen appliances.
Including a cooking zone with an induction wok, and a retracting salamander grill.
Miele steam ovens are just amazing - we all wanted one!

Then onto the stage and cook!
Here is Sophie who was heading the demonstration and we all had our own work space and followed what Sophie did.

We cooked Thai lemon sole, that was stuffed with crab meat and steamed in a Miele oven and served with green mango salad.

Below: Here I am concentrating!

Me, Sylvie and Jules with Nic (just behind) all paying attention to Sophie!

My finished dish!

Then, we all had a seat at the table to sample the food we'd cooked. But in true food blogger style, no one ate until we'd all taken at least 10 photo's of it first!

A huge thank you once again to Miele and especially Steph for organising such a wonderful day.
The Miele Cookery Experience was fantastic!

Lamb Kofta Kebabs - Easy and Delicious

My 'make it up as you go along' recipe for Kofta Kebabs worked! Not the best plated up pictures in the world but you get the idea.

Lamb Kofta Kebabs

There I was in work on Monday filling up the meat fridges when I spied kebabs and so felt the need to be making them.  Once again I read the back of the packet to see what they'd put in and went home with a mission to make them.

Abel and Cole - Recipe Book

Oooh look what I received in the post the other day -The Able and Cole recipe book, I am so pleased with it!
The book is packed full of lovely looking and interesting recipes covering a wide range, from 'Swede Chips with a Mug of Mustard Mayo' - I'm loving the sound of that one!
'Vanilla-Roasted Loin of Pork, served with Braised Red Cabbage' - sounds yummy!
There's a recipe for 'Rhubarb Salsa' too, very interesting!
My favorite I think is the Port, Stilton and Olive sauce - triple yum factor there I think!
Desserts aren't given a miss either, there's 'Baked Strawberries with Honey and Whipped Cream' and a 'Custardy Pumpkin Pie' recipe and many more too!
Abel and Cole are a great company selling Organic vegetable boxes, free range chicken, organic pork, lamb and beef products as well as fish.
Also they sell a wide range of dairy products, cold meats and pates, homemade quiches and pies - All delivered straight to your door!
They really do have a fantastic range that even covers gifts and gift vouchers and your weekly store cupboard essentials too!
Pop over to Abel and Cole right now!

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Goats Cheese

Another fridge clear out recipe!
The cherry tomatoes were doing nothing in my fridge along with the goats cheese and the sweet peppers.
So, I roasted them all in some lovely olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper - simple as that.
Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/or Gas 6
You will need:
Any amount of the following but here's what I used;
2 small red onions, 1 courgette, 2 sweet pointed peppers - de-seeded, 2 cloves of garlic - sliced and a bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine. Then a good glug of good quality olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2 goats cheese rounds
Cut everything into chunks - not too small and just slice the courgette. Peel and slice the garlic.
Put the lot into a roasting dish - except for the tomatoes. They wont take long to cook so leave them out for now.
Pour over a good glug of olive oil - season with salt and pepper then mix it all about so everything gets coated nicely.
Remember not to put those tomatoes in yet - keep them to one side.
Cook for about 10 minutes then give it a stir. Cook for another 5-10 minutes (just make sure they're not getting too done) then add rub the tomatoes with a little oil then place them onto top of the veg.
Cook for another 5 minutes - and add the goats cheese drizzle with a teeny bit of olive oil and cook for 5 minutes more. Just check but the cheese should have just started to melt.
Remove the lot from the oven and use a cooks blow torch to finish off the goats cheese giving it a nice bit of colour. Serve straight away.

Crispy Crunchy and Cheesy Parmesan Chicken

Chicken with crispy, crunchy cheesy crumbs; now this was good. Based on a recipe by Barefoot Contessa I tweaked it a tiny bit by using Panko crumbs and I still used the same amount of Parmesan even though I only made two fillets.

I mixed some salad leaves with ingredients you'd normally find in a Greek salad. Feta, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives and dressed the salad with the lemon dressing from The Barefoot Contessa's recipe.

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