Monthly Archives: April 2012

Homemade Fish Fingers

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Virtually all kids (and grown ups!) adore fish fingers so why not make your own?   You can honestly put them together in little more than the time to cook frozen shop bought ones. And if time’s a problem, why not make a big batch and store them in the freezer for a later convenience dinner? The difference in quality between a homemade fish finger made with real fish fillet and a processed shop bought one made with minced/ground fish is enormous and it’s truly worth the little added effort.

I believe that getting your kids to eat and love fish from a very early age is really important. It’s been proven over recent years that the nutrients and minerals in fish, and particularly oily fish, are particularly good for the heart and can make improvements in brain development.

Homemade Fish Fingers

Homemade Fish Fingers

Great for 9-12 month babies, fingers foods, toddlers and pre-schoolers, big kids, big people, freezing, making ahead

makes 6-8 fish fingers:

200g of sustainable white fish fillet (cod, haddock or pollack are all perfect)

a tablespoon of plain flour

a medium free range egg, beaten

40g of panko, white breadcrumbs or polenta (or a combination of any of these)

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

Take the time to carefully examine your fish fillet for any bones, removing any that you find with tweezers. Cut the fish into 6 – 8 even fingers.

Now assemble three shallow flat bottomed dishes. Put the flour in one, the beaten egg in the next and the panko/breadcrumbs/polenta in the final one.

Simply dip each fish finger first into the flour, then into the egg and finally roll it around in the crumbs. Place on a plate until you’re ready to use. They can be frozen for later use at this stage.

Heat the oil in frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped in. Carefully place the fish fingers in the pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning on all sides until golden brown and crisp all over. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with mash or chips and plenty of veggies.

Homemade Fishfingers

How about trying some of my other toddler-tastic recipes? Kids Fish Pie, Sunday Dinner Leftovers Cakes, Chicken, Egg & Veggie Fried Rice or Lasagne ?


Bejeweled Eggs!

8 months +, toddlers & young children

As part of my series of baby and toddler foods, in conjunction with Oogaa silicone feeding products, here’s a perfect recipe for introducing your baby to soft lumps in his or her food. Plain scrambled eggs were one of the first foods my two really loved and devoured, and as they grew accustomed to little lumps I started scrambling the eggs with an assortment of finely diced veggies and a little cheese and they probably loved my ‘bejeweled’ eggs even more than the plain scrambled. And it’s still a firm favourite today as a quick and easy no brainer supper served with little slices of wholemeal toast and butter on the side.

For very little ones dice the veggies as finely as you can, increasing the size as they get older and more accustomed to lumps and bumps. Stick to veggies that will soften well on cooking for the very wee ones, like mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, courgette (or diced pre-cooked veggies like broccoli and carrots) etc. Slightly older babies and toddlers love it with sweetcorn and peas, as indeed I made mine with today, but these are slightly harder to break down and digest in tiny tums.

Eggs are a wonderful food for babies and young children, providing an important protein source and packed full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, various Bs, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Cheese is also an important source of calcium and protein.

Enough for one large portion, double if Mum wants to eat too!

5g of butter

a slice of onion, very finely diced (about a 1⁄16th of a small onion)

a fine slice of red pepper, very finely diced (about a 1⁄16th of a whole pepper)

10g of sweetcorn, fresh, canned or frozen (replace with finely diced courgette, mushroom, or pre-cooked carrot or broccoli if your baby is very little)

10g of fresh or frozen peas (replace with finely diced courgette, mushroom, or pre-cooked carrot or broccoli if your baby is very little)

a slice of tomato, very finely diced (about an 1/8th of a whole tomato)

a free range egg, beaten

a teeny weeny ultra fine grinding of black pepper

10g of a mild hard cheese (like cheddar), grated

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the onion and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes until soft, stirring regularly. Stir in the peas, sweetcorn and tomato and cook for a further 2 minutes. If the pan becomes dry add a splash of water.

Stir in the beaten egg, very finely ground black pepper and grated cheese. Continue to stir until the egg is cooked through. Allow to cool for a few moments then serve.

Have you tried my other baby recipes? How about the ever so tasty Sweet Potato Daal for Babies & Toddlers, Baby Pasta & Purees, Chicken, Veggie & Egg Fried Rice or Kid’s Bolognese?


Mediterranean Pot Roast Chicken

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big fan of pot roasting chicken, not only to avoid using our worse than awful gas oven, but it’s a fabulously succulent way to cook a chicken (or indeed any meat), particularly for slightly older-than-supermarket birds as ours was.

I made this a few days ago for our Sunday lunch when I was trying to think up something a little bit different and special to do with the first of our chicken brood to hit the pot, so to speak. She was a lovely lady though sadly went a bit lame. Luckily for us our kind neighbour down the  road offered to do the deadly deed and we were spared it this first time. I’m sure next time we’ll have to get involved and eventually it’ll be Phil or I bearing the knife. Something I’m wholeheartedly not looking forward to.

Sad to say but she turned into a great dinner and was very much appreciated and enjoyed by all. Slow cooked in a pan on the hob in lots of white wine, tomatoes, aubergine, courgette and peppers and flavoured with one of my favourite spices, sweet smoked paprika, and then served on a bed of fluffy couscous. Even better that there were lots of saucy and chickeny leftovers for the next day which made for a fabulous pasta sauce.

Enough for a family of 4, with plenty of leftovers for the next day:

a medium to large chicken, about 1.5 to 2 kgs

salt & pepper

4 tablespoons of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

a large onion, diced

2 sticks of celery, diced

2 teaspoons of sweet smoked paprika

500ml of white wine

200ml of water

2 x 400g cans of good quality chopped tomatoes

a heaped tablespoon of tomato puree

3 sprigs of thyme

3 bay leaves

a red pepper

a green pepper

a medium aubergine

a large courgette

100g of stones green olives

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large deep casserole or saucepan, one big enough to easily hold the chicken and that has a lid, on a low heat. Season the chicken all over with a little salt and black pepper, massage into the skin. Place the chicken in the pan and turn every few minutes until it’s golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the garlic, onion and celery in the same pan and saute on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.  Stir in the paprika and allow to cook for a minute, whilst continuing to stir. Pour in the wine, water and chopped tomatoes, and add the tomato puree, thyme, bay leaves and a generous grinding of black pepper. Place the chicken back in the pot and bring to a gentle simmer and cover. Allow to bubble away for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the other veggies. Slice the peppers into strips by slicing each pepper in half lengthways, then each half into quarters lengthways and each of those into 3 or 4 narrow strips. Dice the aubergine into about 1.5 cm pieces. Cut the courgette into 4 quarters lengthways and dice each of the quarters into 0.5 to 1cm pieces.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a low heat in a large frying pan or saucepan. Once hot add the peppers and aubergine. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Now add the courgette and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Once the chicken has been simmering for 45 minutes stir in the cooked veggies and the olives. Cover and cook for a further 45 minutes. The chicken should easily fall off the bone, if it doesn’t cook for a little longer.

Have a taste check adding more salt and pepper to the sauce to suit. Stir in the chopped parsley. Carve the chicken and serve with a generous ladleful of the Mediterranean veggies over the top. It’s great served on a bed of couscous.


Two Baby Pasta & Puree Recipes!

7-9 months +

Here’s a couple of colourful first pasta sauce/purée recipes which are perfect for babies moving on from puréed food to the world of soft lumps. The sauces are puréed and mixed with the smallest pasta you can find, teeny weeny pasta stars are ideal and easily available at most larger supermarkets or pharmacies selling baby products. They’re a brilliant introduction to pasta and most babies love their very soft texture.

My first recipe is for a super-nutritious super-green Avocado, Spinach & Cream Cheese Sauce which my kids simply adored! Avocado’s are a wonderful source of potassium and vitamins B, E and K, and spinach is a popeye-tastic source of iron, antioxidants and vitamins A, C, E and K.

It actually makes a fab purée in it’s own right without the pasta for the really little littlies, or a great sandwich filling, toast topping or finger food dip for the bigger babs. I’m also pretty partial to it myself! Unlike most baby foods this isn’t a recipe you can make in larger quantities and store as the avocado blackens pretty quickly over time.

Makes enough for 2 portions:
30g of frozen spinach, defrosted (or a handful of fresh spinach leaves washed, shredded and steamed in a little water in a microwave for a couple of minutes)
½ a small avocado, skin and stone removed, cut into a large dice
25g of full fat cream cheese
a tiny pinch of very finely ground black pepper
30g of baby pasta (stars are perfect if you can source)

Cook the pasta in boiling unsalted water to packet instructions, pasta stars take about 6 minutes. I tend to ever so slightly over cook the pasta when first weaning babies on to lumps.

Put all the other ingredients together and blend to a super smooth purée (using a stick blender, Baby Bullet or processor).
Stir the hot pasta into the purée and serve!

My second recipe is for a gorgeously Creamy Tomato Sauce. Tomatoes are a great antioxidant and supplier of vitamins A and C. Being a bit of a garlic fiend I like to add a little to a babies diet very early on. Babies love lots of flavour, not that you would guess this from the multitude of disgustingly bland jarred baby foods that are sadly for sale. You can make this sauce in larger quantities and happily refrigerate or freeze.

makes enough for 5-6 portions:
2 tomatoes
a desert spoon of olive oil
½ a clove of garlic
1⁄6th of a small onion
a tiny pinch of very finely ground black pepper
80g of baby pasta
40g of full fat cream cheese

Start by removing the skin from the tomatoes (which may be hard to digest for little tums). You can do this by emerging the tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water for a couple of minutes, this softens the skins and makes them easily peelable. Once peeled finely dice.

Finely chop the garlic and onion. Heat the oil in a small saucepan on a very low heat and add the garlic and onion. Stirring regularly cook for 3 minutes until softened.

Stir in the tomatoes and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook on a very gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling unsalted water to packet instructions, pasta stars take about 6 minutes. I tend to ever so slightly over cook the pasta when first weaning babies on to lumps.

After the tomatoes have cooked for 10 minutes remove from the heat, stir in the cream cheese and blend to a super smooth purée (using a stick blender, Baby Bullet or processor).

Combine the pasta with the sauce and serve!

Here’s my baby (he’s nearly two!) still enjoying my creamy tomato sauce:


Boeuf Bourguignon

Another French classic that along with Coq au Vin is my standard dinner when we have lots of people. Ever so easy to prepare and even better made in advance this is perfect for dinner parties, especially if like me you have littlies and are always short on time. In truth it’s one of my favourite dinners ever, meltingly tender beef that’s been braised for hours in an obscene amount of red wine with the added richness of oodles of bacon lardons, shallots, garlic and mushrooms. What’s not to like? Even our wee ones enjoy this super rich beef stew.

Boeuf bourguignon originates from the Burgundy region of France where it was traditionally made with a bottle or two of burgundy. I’ll probably be extradited from France for saying this but you really don’t need to use a particularly good bottle of wine, and indeed it would be a very expensive dish if you were to do so. I use the fabulous red plonk we get from our local market competitively priced at a euro a litre.

Whatever you do don’t hurry the cooking time, the beef should be gently braised for hours and literally melting.Try to start preparations a day in advance and marinade the beef overnight in the wine and herbs. I’m convinced it makes a huge difference.

Enough for 4 adults or a family of 4 with some lovely leftovers:

800g of beef shin or chuck, cut into a large 5cm dice

a litre of red wine

3 sprigs of thyme

3 bay leaves

salt & pepper

olive oil

a small onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

a large carrot, sliced

2 celery sticks, sliced

175g of lardons, or streaky bacon diced onto fine strips

250g of shallots, peeled and cut in two if large (left whole if small)

200g of whole button mushrooms

a little beef stock (optional)

Place the beef, herbs (the thyme sprigs left whole), a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper and the red wine in a large non-metalic bowl. Stir around a little, cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.

The next day drain the beef retaining all the lovely wine marinade and herbs. Pat the beef dry on kitchen roll.

In a large casserole or saucepan (one that you have a lid for) heat two tablespoons of olive oil on a high temperature. When very hot fry the beef for a few minutes on all sides until browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce the heat to low and into the same pan add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. If there’s not much fat left after frying the beef add another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir regularly and cook over a lowish heat for 10 minutes until a little softened.

Return the beef to the pan along with the wine marinade and herbs. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook on a very gentle heat uncovered for an hour, until the wine has reduced by about a half.

Meanwhile in another large pan or saucepan fry the lardons or streaky bacon, there’s no need to add any additional fat. Fry for 5 minutes then add the shallots. Cook the shallots and lardons for a further 5 minutes before adding the mushrooms for a final 5 minutes.

Once the beef has been cooking for an hour stir in the lardons, shallots and mushrooms. Cover the pan and continue to simmer very gently on the lowest heat setting you have for another two hours. Taste along the way adding more salt and pepper as necessary. If the liquid appears to be evaporating too much add a little beef stock, but this may not be necessary. The Bourguignon is ready when the beef is meltingly tender and it’s so worth continuing to cook gently until you reach this point.

Remember to remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs!

Great served with a pile of buttery mash, Boulangere or Dauphinoise Potatoes (recipe coming soon)

If you like this, how about my Coq au Vin, Braised Venison or Beef in Guinness recipes?


Lou’s Lasagne

Toddlers & Young Children, Grown Ups

Doesn’t everyone love lasagne? It’s certainly a favourite in the Foti household. This probably isn’t the most traditional of recipes as I make mine with oodles of oozy cheese sauce, and in so doing would probably be in a good deal of strife in Italy. Rather than just a bechamel I add strong cheddar or even a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan. If the truth be known I have a bit of a thing for cheese sauce. Top tip: try adding a teaspoon of english mustard to your cheese sauce, it really enhances the flavour.

I usually make separate lasagnes for the kids in my Oogaa bowls (being silicone they can amazingly be baked in the oven) and a larger one for the grown ups. The kids just love having their own dish. If you are baking individuals I would advise pre-cooking the dried lasagne for a few minutes before layering. You could obviously bake just the one large lasagne for the whole family, and no lasagne pre-cooking required.

Enough for a hungry family of four, with a few tasty leftovers:

For the cheese sauce:

50g of butter

40g of plain flour

500ml of full fat milk

a teaspoon of English mustard (optional)

80g of cheddar cheese, grated

pepper

½ quantity of bolognese sauce, either my Classic Bolognese or Kids Bolognese which works out at about 750g of made up bolognese

8 – 10 dried lasagne sheets

125g ball of Mozzarella, thinly sliced

a heaped tablespoon of grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

Pre-heat your oven to 180C.

Start with making your cheese sauce. Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat over a very gentle heat until melted. With the pan still on a little heat add the flour and stir quickly and vigorously with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk until combined. Add a little milk and continue to stir or whisk vigorously, gradually add the milk in this way until you have incorporated it all. Don’t worry if you have a few lumps at this stage, they’ll eventually go. Continue to stir or whisk the sauce over a gentle heat until it is fully thickened and starting to simmer, this will take a few minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese, mustard (if using) and a pinch of ground pepper. You probably won’t need to add any salt as the cheese contains plenty.

Now you’re ready to construct. Choose your dishes and decide how many layers of pasta and sauces you need. If making small individual lasagnes for the kids I would suggest just two layers. If making in a deep dish then three. Either way start with a layer of bolognese on the base of your dish or dishes. Cover this with a single layer of lasagne, preferably pre-cooked for small individual dishes. Now pour on a generous layer of cheese sauce. Repeat this layering system once or twice more, finishing with the remainder of the cheese sauce on top.

Place the mozzarella slices evenly over the top or tops and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes for small individual lasagnes or 45 minutes for larger ones, until the cheese is bubbling and golden on the top. Check with a fork that the pasta is soft and cooked through (if not already pre-cooked).

Great served with a salad for grown up folk and a few steamed veggies for the wee ones.

Here’s some other favourite toddler and children recipes: Sunday Dinner Leftover Cakes, Kids Fish Pie, Chicken Fried Rice

And other pasta recipes: Pasta & Meatballs!, Roasted Veggie Lasagne, Sausage & Courgette Pasta Carbonara, Smoked Salmon & Broccoli Penne


Sweet Potato Daal for Babies & Toddlers!

6-8 months +, older babies, toddlers & young children

In launching my series of baby and toddler food blogs in conjunction with Oogaa feeding products, I thought it only right to kick off with my own two little monster’s favourite baby purée, a simple gently spiced and fragrant sweet potato and lentil daal. As wee babies they both adored their lentils and just couldn’t get enough of them, though admittedly the nappies were sometimes a little on the interesting side! I’m a firm believer in introducing flavour and spice into a babies diet from a very young age to prepare them for the big world out there, though obviously going extremely easy on any chilli with the very little littlies.

Once you’ve got your baby onto eating simple pureed fruits and veggies this is a very good second stage purée introducing them to the world of proteins. The sweet potato gives your wee one a bombardment of vitamins and fibre and lentils are a great source of protein and more fibre.
For the very little ones serve just on it’s own, but be careful not to give too much at first as lentils could cause wind to little tums unused to legumes. Serve with rice to older babies and toddlers.

I tend to make all baby foods in fairly large batches so that any leftovers can be frozen in individual portions for later use.

To make a large batch (around 10 to 12 servings):

a tablespoon of olive oil

a small onion, finely diced

a clove of garlic, finely chopped

½ a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated

a carrot, finely diced

a sweet potato (about 250g), finely diced

a teaspoon of ground cumin

a teaspoon of ground coriander

a pinch of finely ground black pepper

400ml of water

65g of red split lentils

Heat the oil in a saucepan on a low heat, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes until very soft, stirring regularly so nothing catches.

Add the carrots and sweet potato to the pan and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Now stir in the cumin, coriander and pepper and allow to cook for a minute before pouring in the water and lentils.

Bring to a simmer, and cook on a gentle heat for about 20 minutes until the lentils are mushy and vegetables very soft.

Purée with a Baby Bullet, stick blender or processor and serve.

Here’s Jacques chowing down on his rice and daal, he still loves his lentils now!


March in the Garden

I’m pleased to be able to report a fair bit of garden action last month after the long lull of winter. The weather’s warmed up, my patch has been rotivated (thanks to our trusty tractor driver friend), anti-chicken and other feathered or furry beast fencing has been installed (thanks to Phil), the poly tunnel has been re-installed, the plot layout finally decided on (roughly!), seeds a plenty have been sown and I’ve even started a little planting out. Yippppeeee, I love gardening season! The knock on effect is sadly my lack of blogging action. There seem to be so many things to juggle these days. So apologies now for my reduced posting over the spring and summer, but I’ve got veggies to grow!

So here’s the new fencing and enlarged plot, ha ha you’re well and truly scuppered my feathered friends:

Most of my seedlings are fairing pretty well out in the poly tunnel though mysteriously several of my wee tomatoes died off a couple of weeks ago. So far I’ve set off 3 types of tomato (plum, beef and cherry), peppers (also having problems with germination, but hopefully I’ll have enough come good), celery (this year they’ve miraculously germinated unlike my total failure last year), cucumbers, aubergines (again a 100% success), peas, globe artichokes (for the first time!) and butternut squash. And they’ll be lots more seeds sown this month!.

Peas...in toilet rolls!

Aubergine seedlings

A cucumber seedling

A Surviver of the Tomatoes

As for the stuff in the ground. I’ve given the herb bed a little overhaul and below the mountain of weeds and leaves I’ve found quite a few plants survived the minus 16 temperatures we had a few weeks ago. We have chives, flat leaved parsley, lots and lots of thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon and oregano. I’ve also sown coriander and basil and more parsley and tarragon and have extended the bed somewhat.

Meet the Herbs

Shallots and red onions have been sown, notably in lovely neat straight lines this year….I have succumbed to the inner Virgo and said goodbye to my random sporadic planting of last year (that no doubt disturbed my fellow gardener neighbours).

My Virgo lines of loveliness!

I’ve also split the plot this year into four main groupings, to be rotated on an annual basis. Apparently this is the only way to do things if you want to be organic. So I have one space for potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. One for roots and onions. Another for legumes (peas and beans etc) and last but not least one for the brassicas (broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers and the like).  There’s also a perennial bed for my herbs, strawberries, artichokes, raspberries and rhubarb. And all those other things like melons, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, salads etc can just be slotted in wherever there’s space. And please note that each of my plots has been exactly calculated, measured and divided with string. The unleashed virgo.

My perennial bed has been planted with lots more strawberries this month so I’m hoping Phil and I might actually get to taste a few this year, and get past the greedy fingers of our kids! I’ve also put in a few raspberry canes and rhubarb plants. I was amazed to find the rhubarb at our local market last weekend, I’ve been looking for some plants for ages and came to the conclusion the French just don’t do rhubarb.

One of my new strawberry plants

A raspberry cane

Rhubarb!

And last but most certainly not least I’ve finally started on the extremely arduous task of potato planting. Actually the planting of potatoes itself is none too bad, it’s the digging and breaking down of the tough clay soil in areas that have been previously unworked that’s a killer. But bit by bit and row by row I should be there within a couple of weeks….I have a LOT of potatoes to plant! Two types of ‘old’ and one of new.

So that’s it for the March round up. I’m reckoning April will be even busier. Happy days.

Lou x


Classic Bolognese

I feel a bit of a con blogging a recipe for bolognese sauce, as I’m pretty sure everyone can rustle up a simple spag bol. Nevertheless I’d like to share with you the recipe I invariably use after many years of bolognese making. I’ve experimented with adding pork mince, white wine, different veggies, chicken livers etc and whilst they’re all lovely in their own right this is very definitely my personal favourite and indeed the most traditional.

The key is in plenty of red wine, good quality low fat beef mince (ideally get your butcher to mince it in front of you so you know exactly what you’re getting), lardons or streaky bacon, good tinned tomatoes, and a very long slow simmering, at least two but preferably nearer three hours. It might take a long time to cook but the preparation is literally only minutes, especially if you happen to have a food processor to do all the chopping for you. Another top tip is to throw in any Parmesan cheese rinds you have lurking, it’s amazing how much flavour can come out of the rind with a long slow cooking. Never ever throw them away again!

I make mine in large quantities (at least double the ingredients below) so that I can make lasagnes too (recipe blog coming up) and store the rest in the freezer for lazy instant dinners.

My kids eat this with us, but I also make them a Kids Bolognese sauce sometimes minus the wine and lardons and packed full of lots of lovely veggies.

Enough to feed a family of 4 twice:

1 large onion

1 carrot

2 sticks of celery

3 tablespoons of olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

600g of good quality low fat beef mince

180g of lardons or streaky bacon

320g of mushrooms, finely sliced

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of dried oregano

a large pinch of black pepper

a teaspoon of Worcester sauce

400ml of red wine

2 x 400g cans of good quality chopped tomatoes

parmesan rind (optional)

grated parmesan – to serve

Begin with very finely dicing the onions, celery and carrot. If you have a food processor use it, it’ll pulse up everything in a flash. I like my onions and veggies diced particularly small so they unidentifiably blend into the sauce.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and throw in the onion, celery and carrot together with the finely chopped garlic. Cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes stirring regularly so nothing catches. Turn the heat up and add the minced beef. You want the meat to caramelise slightly and be fully browned all over. Stir every few minutes.

Whilst the beef is browning fry the lardons or streaky bacon in a separate frying pan. You don’t need to add any additional fat. Mop up any excess water or fat from the bacon with kitchen roll as you go along, if there is any. Fry until slightly golden.

Once the beef is browned add the finely sliced mushrooms, cooked lardons, bay leaves, oregano, black pepper and Worcester sauce. Cook for a further couple of minutes stirring regularly. Pour in the red wine and bring to a gentle simmer.

Once most of the wine has evaporated add the chopped tomatoes and any Parmesan rinds you have lurking.

Bring back to a simmer, cover, and leave to gently bubble away on the lowest heat setting you have for two to three hours.

Serve with a generous grating of fresh Parmesan on the top on a bed of spaghetti or pasta of your choice.

Have you tried some of my other pasta dishes? How about Roasted Veggie Lasagne, Sausage & Courgette Pasta Carbonara, Pasta & Meatballs, Smoked Salmon & Broccoli Penne or Jamie’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes & Mozzarella?


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