Friday, 27 November 2009

Pasta with Sausages & Red & Yellow Pepper Sauce

You know when you get stuck for things to cook you often revert to a list that you rotate. This dish is a family favourite easy and quick to cook.

This recipe comes originally from Marcella Hazan's book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" The sausages the recipe suggests are Italian sweet sausages. I use a very herby sausage, made by my local butcher in Shoreham as my alternative. I also make no appologies for using tinned tomatoes - life is too short to skin and seed tomatoes!

The ingredients are:
3 peppers (2 red 1 yellow or vice-versa)
Olive oil enough to cover the bottom of your pan 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch
I medium onion chopped
4 sausages
Small tin chopped tomatoes
Parmesan (some for cooking & some for the table)
Penne roughly 500 grams

First bake the sausages in the oven for about 20 minutes on 180c. While this is happening put the peppers which you have already seeded and cut into halves under a hot grill for a few minutes. Remove any charred skin from the peppers, then cut into pieces roughly 1 inch square (can''t work out what that is in cms).

Remove sausages from oven and slice into 1/2 inch pieces (roughly1cm ish)

Put your pan on a medium heat, add the oil to the pan, then sauté the onion until it becomes pale brown, cook the sliced sausage for a couple of minutes before adding the peppers which need gentle frying for seven or eight minutes. Then add the tomatoes and season well. Let the pan simmer for 20 minutes. Whilst the sauce is simmering cook the pasta. When the pasta is cooked sprinkle with Parmesan and some butter or olive oil and toss thoroughly.

Then add the sauce to the pasta. The sauce can be cooked ahead of time and reheated - I would not reccomend freezing.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding

Feeling in a pudding sort of mood and knowing that the only way I can keep three women in my life quiet I resorted to chocolate.

Gordon Ramsay's book "cooking for friends" has many simple recipes that are economic to produce and use mostly standard store cupboard ingredients. This sticky toffee & chocolate pudding has all those attributes. Apart from the medjool dates which cost around a fiver each. (Small exaggeration).

Prior to assembling the ingredients you have to rush down the corridor stripping off and getting dressed in whites (optional step, does nothing to improve taste of food). Prepare 8 small pudding basins or ramekins by buttering them, lining them with buttered baking parchment.

The ingredients are:

First ingredients:
200g dates pitted
175g dark muscovado sugar
250ml water
100g butter (lightly or unsalted)
1tsp vanilla extract
I tbsp strong coffee
3 large eggs

Second Ingredients
150g flour
50g cocoa powder
1tsp bicarb
1tsp baking powder

Sauce Ingredients
100g dark muscavado sugar
75g butter (lightly or unsalted)
250g double cream

Put the sugar,pitted & chopped dates in the water - simmer till soft. Add the remaining first ingredients and process till smooth. (Make sure you remove all the date stones otherwise you get a tsunami). Once processed put the ingredients in a bowl.

Combine all the second ingredients and then sieve into bowl containing the first ingredients folding and stirring gently. Once mixed divide evenly among the 8 basins or ramekins. Place in oven for 25 mins at190c or until the sponge is ready.

While waiting for the sponges to rise combine all the sauce ingredients in a pan and heat gently until all the ingredients are melted and combined.

Remove pots or ramekins from oven and remove sponges once they are cool enough to handle. Pour sauce on top. Serve with cream.
Mrs Woody ate one but daughter no. 2 managed two. I thought they were light and sweet and chocolaty - but I'm not keen on puds.