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Entries in beef (5)

Tuesday
May312016

La nonna Pettineo's ragu

For my 30th birthday my friend, Geraldine, sent me a care package from the USA, which included a handwritten recipe and photos of her nonna’s ragu. Like everyone with an Italian grandmother, she says hers makes the best. And like every Italian grandmother, hers doesn’t follow a recipe, so you have to watch her to learn it.

A few years ago, Geraldine and I got into a friendly debate about what constitutes the best ragu and what one should call it. (You can read about that here). I argued with her about it, but mostly for the sake of it. Actually, I was very keen to learn her nonna’s secrets.

When she next visited her, she watched her make it and wrote down all the details step-by-step. The recipe is written in Geraldine’s beautiful cursive handwriting and comes with lots of notes and tips:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr262013

A traditional ragù from Bologna

“I hate the way they call it ‘Bolognese’ here. It’s not Bolognese, it’s ragù.  That is what they call it in Bologna" says my friend Geraldine as we peruse the lunch menu in Arbutus.

She’s French, but her father is Italian and so, more importantly, is her grandmother.

I once tried to argue with her about whether or not water must be at a rolling boil before putting pasta in it. I can’t remember what the correct answer was. I presume it was that it should be and that Geraldine was right. In her words:

“Well, I know you know a lot about food, Vicky, but I think I am going to listen to my Italian grandmother over you.”

It was a valid point, which I only admitted to her now, at least 10 years later.

Geraldine and I like to disagree. It is what our friendship was founded on. Each as stubborn as the other, and always looking for a good argument. So I had replied:

“Well, your grandmother probably makes her pasta from scratch. We’re just using dried pasta.”

Or I wished I did. I can’t remember.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb072012

Albondigas árabe – my Moorish meatballs

 

It is a bit cheeky of me to give my meatballs this name, because they are exactly that – mine. They are neither traditionally Spanish nor from the Moors, but they are packed full of Moorish spices and these are used a lot in the south of Spain where the Moorish influence is most prevalent. Indeed the Spanish are rather quick to add this suffix; a little pinch of cumin or all spice seems enough to mark a dish Moorish and so I am following suit. Oh, and a double whammy of alliteration in both languages was too much to resist.

I started out with the intention of making traditional Spanish albondigas, but even those would rarely involve chorizo or paprika, despite these both being typical Spanish ingredients. Then I got carried away and decided on a Moorish theme adding all spice, cumin, nutmeg and ground coriander too. The result was spicier than the meatballs you would typically get in a tapas restaurant in Spain, but it was wonderfully hearty and warming and the chorizo and paprika gave it a deep, smoky flavour. If you prefer something milder you could tone it down by using sweet smoked paprika and skipping the chilli. And for something smoother with less intensity, you might like to try adding thyme in place of the fresh coriander.

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Friday
Mar252011

Beef and Guinness pie

 

Fellow blogger, Jo Romero, has dedicated her little corner of the web to one of my favourite things – comfort food. So when she asked me to do a guest post for her blog, comfort bites, I jumped at the chance.

Comfort bites for me means hearty and warming foods like pies, stews and casseroles; those things best eaten when it is cold and miserable outside. And if I had to choose it would be a pie every time – stew with an added bonus, pastry. As you know, I am a big fan of pastry!

Most traditional English fare is very comforting indeed, hardly surprising given the weather we have to put up with. So for my guest post I chose an old British staple, the Beef and Guinness pie.

You can read my guest post here, and while you are at it have a look round Jo’s blog, there are lots of delicious recipes to try.

For those who prefer to cut to the chase, I have provided the recipe below. Makes four individual pies or one large pie for four.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Aug082010

Ray's meatballs, inspired by Jamie Oliver

Updated on Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 6:04PM by Registered CommenterVix

Updated on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 9:05PM by Registered CommenterVix


 

Let's get a few things straight before I start this recipe.

I am in the camp of people who find Jamie Oliver a rather annoying personality (the pseudo-geezer thing), but who appreciate what he has done for food in Britain (example). I like his early books (I only got as far as the first two), but I sit firmly with the Italians when it comes to 'Jamie's Italy'. Basically, if Italy is, as he says, his biggest inspiration ("I should have been Italian"), then why can’t he respect the time-honoured recipes developed over generations instead of coming in and throwing all manner of herbs and spices into dishes that traditionally would have been made up of a few ingredients, cooked simply and allowed to shine. In the words of Angela Hartnett,

Nonna taught me to understand what great Italian cooking is all about: start with the very best raw ingredients and do very little to them; just let them speak for themselves, and make the best of their natural flavours and textures.

Click to read more ...