Salsa Verde

Sauce, you love a sauce don’t you? Yum yum, sauce.

“Excuse me waiter, could I have some more sauce?” You ask embarrassingly in a restaurant.

“Please, just a drop more sauce, I love sauce you see. Don’t I love sauce, darling? Go on, tell him,” you plead.

“Yes, he really does like sauce.”

BUT, what is the best sauce? The more intelligent among you will have probably put the title of this post and that question together and come up with an answer.

For the more simple that darken our world, I’ll eliminate any doubt: the best sauce is Salsa Verde.

No, it’s not a dance. No, it’s not a bloke who plays the piano from the 1800s. It’s a green sauce.

You see, ‘Salsa Verde’ cleverly means ‘green sauce’, and there are many varieties. French, Argentinian, Mexican all sorts. However, most of these are wrong.

There is only one acceptable type of salsa verde, and it is my version of how Italians do it.

Ingredients 

  • Capers
  • Anchovies
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Fresh basil
  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method

Get a food processor, plug it in. Put a handful of basil and parsley in, chuck in some olive oil.

Blend it a bit.

Chuck in two or three cloves of garlic, a table spoon of red wine vinegar and 7/8 anchovy fillets.

“Whoa! That sure is a lot of anchovies,” I hear you whimper.

Yes, it is and it is time you fucking grew a pair, you’re probably the sort of person who sees a recipe that calls for one clove of garlic and actually only uses one. Put all the anchovies in if you want and thank me later.

Stick some capers in, maybe a tablespoon? I’m not sure, I think I just use whatever spoon I’ve got closest.

TASTE

Now, does it need more of anything? More anchovies probably, keep adding anchovies until you’re happy with it.

What now?

You’ve got yourself a delicious green sauce, but now what? Sure, you could just eat it with a spoon, but the real beauty of this stuff is that it goes with pretty much anything.

Steak – YES

Fish – YES

Chicken – YES

Badger – Probably

And most recently for me – duck – YES.

Pasta Amatriciana – recipe

Having recently spent some time in Italy on business, yes that is correct, I now do business, I ate some of their food.

When someone says “Italian food” to you, you probably conjure up images of pizza and pasta because that’s all you know. Well, let me set the record straight, there is so much more than just pizza and pasta – but there’s no time for that.

Amatriciana recipe

Here’s a recipe for pasta Amatriciana.

First off, let’s talk pig. Being a successful businessman and foodie meant that I was able to acquire a hefty chunk of guanciale (cured pork cheek). I appreciate many of you won’t have access to this, so simply use pancetta – but do remember it’s not what you’re supposed to be using and try harder in future.

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Guanciale

Next you’ll want some cheese – you’re supposed to use pecorino but I used parmigiano because I prefer the taste (not because I couldn’t acquire pecorino). You’ll probably end up using cheddar because you’re a peasant.

Other ingredients: onion, garlic, bit of chilli, tomatoes, pasta. (I put the olive oil in the picture to show off the olive oil – it wasn’t used).

How to cook amatriciana

  1. Cook guanciale until the fat renders.
  2. Boil some pasta.
  3. Add onion and garlic to guanciale.
  4. Add tomatoes to guanciale, onion and garlic.
  5. Squash tomatoes.
  6. Remove pasta (keep some of the water to bathe in later, and some for the sauce).
  7. Toss pasta in the tomato sauce.
  8. Add a bit of the pasta water.
  9. Shave some cheese on top.
  10. Eat.
pasta amatriciana

Pasta Amatriciana

Crustless Leek, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Quiche

When a new year hits the shelves, the first thing we think of is our resolutions. Toby ain’t so different from you, and accordingly has vowed to eat healthier foods. But Tobes loves a quiche (I have a theory that, under different circumstances where there were less Italians in the world, the quiche may well have become the takeaway option of choice ahead of pizza.)

You will need: Frying pan, chopping board, pie dish, wooden spoon, mixer, sharp knife, peeler.

Ingredients: 5 eggs, creme fraiche, mushrooms, leeks, chilli, thyme, onion, sweet potato, parmesan, salt

Eggs not pictured

Eggs not pictured

Method:

Peel the sweet potato and dice. Chop the onion, mushrooms, chilli (to add a kick!) and leeks. Add some oil to a hot pan.

Fry up the onion, later adding the other previously chopped vegetables.

Wicked leeks (wiki leaks)

Wicked leeks (wiki leaks)

Place your cooked mixture in to the bottom of the pie dish. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees.

Now mix up the creme fraiche (low fat option, replaces with whipping cream and sour cream combo if you like), the eggs, some salt and mix it all up until smooth. Poor this over the vegetable mixture, top with parmesan and place pie dish in oven.

Wait for 45-50 minutes and out will come a golden, delicious, low-carb quiche that will have your housemates and work colleagues salivating while you eat it in front of them.

Quiche calm and carry on!

Creamy Meatball Pasta

Meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, like Momma used to make!

So far, so BORING!! Controversial opinion number 1: meatballs need a rethink.

It’s Toby here and the recipe I’m about to show you might just be the thought about meatballs we need. Done well, this is a twist on an old favourite which will have your guests’ mouths watering and stomachs fit to burst.

You will need: A frying pan, a saucepan, a wooden spoon, a colander.

Ingredients: Meatballs, cream cheese, vegetable stock, mushrooms, onion, sprigs of dill, 3 sachets mustard, oil.

Fry your meatballs until browned all the way through, set to one side on a little plate or bowl. Fry the mushrooms and onions until soft. At this point, we’re going to add the vegetable stock and the cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Light), as well as the Dill.

Dill or no Dill?

Dill-ightful

Dill-ightful

Whoa there? What’s this? Dill?

Sure, meatballs and dill might seem an odd combination, but you’ll thank me for this tip later.

Controversial opinion number 2: Dill will be the street food herb of choice for 2015.

Actually, I should get Tone to join up with me for a predictions post for the New Year. It’d be really interesting to see which of our tips were proved correct at the end of next year.

IMG_20141123_194922
You should end up with something like the photo you see to your left.

Cook through for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens fully.

Tobes’ Twist

I added 3 sachets of mustard to the mixture. Why? Firstly, because some time ago I bought a bulk order of mustard sachets for an ill-advised ham sandwich venture.

Secondly, I love mustard and I felt the cheesey, Dill-y, oniony sauce could do with an extra tang. The mustard did the job superbly.

While the ‘balls are being nicely marinaded in the sauce, cook your fresh tagliatelle until at your desired softness.

Serve

I enjoyed with a tall glass of Coca-Cola, for that old-fashioned diner experience.

Meatbowls!

Meatbowls!

Recipe: Chilli QUORN Carne Wraps

Arriba! Arriba! Today’s recipe’s got one of those big Mexican hats on! But what’s this? No meat? You got that right, mi amigo!

Toby here, and I’m trying out being vegetarian one day a week, which means I’ll be contributing creative ways to get fresh without flesh! (please do not reproduce this phrase without my permission.)

You will need: A frying pan. A spatula.

Ingredients:
Oil, Quorn Mince, Kidney Beans, Tinned Tomatoes (400g), Onion, Courgette, Pepper, Green beans, Spices, Corn tortilla wraps, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Cheese.

Not a drop of meat in sight.

Not a drop of meat in sight.

Method:
Sizzle the onion, courgettes and pepper for a minute or two in the oil, adding the quorn mince in soon after.

That's cooking up nicely

That’s cooking up nicely

Once pleasingly brown, add in the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat, adding in the kidney beans, green beans and spices.

In my case I used a shop-bought chilli mix, but you could just as easily add chilli powder and cumin. We don’t all have time for that.

Once it all looks cooked, get it out of the pan. Microwave some corn tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds or more. Check if they are hot by simply sticking a thumb into the core of them. Your skin will tell you whether they are ready or not.

Serve:
Heap plenty of your chilli mix on to your wrap(s). Dollop generous amounts of sour cream, guacamole and cheese on top.
Enjoy this healthy alternative to chilli! I had a nice packet of Chewits for afters.

That's a wrap.

That’s a wrap.

Pig in a Paddy Field

Hi guys, Tobes here.

There’s a lot of bullshit talked about food. A good example is that cooking ham with Coca Cola makes it delicious. Not true. I recently fried some ham in Coke (okay it was Pepsi, because it was on offer) and it was absolutely revolting.

Another common myth is that sausage somehow can’t complement rice. My own personal recipe, Pig in a Paddy Field*, shows this is entirely false.

*Please do not reproduce this recipe without my prior permission.

What you’ll need: A frying pan. A saucepan. A wooden spoon. A colander.

Ingredients:
Oil
Sausages
Tinned tomatoes
Tinned peas
Tinned mushrooms
Rice (boil in bag)
Chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Mixed herbs.

Method
Fry oil until brown, cut the sausages and add them in. Make sure they are cooked please. Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes, mushrooms, peas and chicken stock. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. In the meantime, boil the rice. Once the rice is boiled add to the sausage mixture and cook until it is soaked through.

Serve
Dust with parsley. Serve with crusted bread.

I’ll be back soon with more innovative recipes.

Beijing spaghetti

Hey, Tony here. I don’t always play by the rules with my cooking and nothing shows this more than my infamous Beijing Spaghetti.

I’ve taken a classic Italian number – spaghetti – and added an interesting Asian twist.

What you’ll need: A frying pan. A spatula. A saucpan. A colander.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Spaghetti (or other pasta but you’ll have to change the name on your menu)
Bacon
Garlic
Chilli powder
Hoi Sin sauce

Method

Boil the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water. While that’s happening heat up some oil in a frying pan. Open the bacon and add to the hot oil.  Add some garlic to the bacon and (if you’re feeling brave) some chilli powder.

Once the bacon is cooked put the heat off. Drain the pasta in the colander. Add the bacon to the pasta (Ok, that’s not that crazy). (Here comes the science part) Put two or three tsps (tea spoons – the small ones) of Hoi Sin sauce on and mix the combination together!

Grubs up!

Grubs up!

Put on a plate and grate some parmesan on top (What? Never heard of a Chinese man who enjoys cheese before?!

Serve.

I enjoyed mine in bed with a glass of Barry McGuigan’s Shiraz.