Bolognese – Authentic Edinburgh Cook Style

Bolognese EdinburghCook Style

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: Prep: 20 mins Cooking:  2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bolognese

Bolognese when I was a boy came from a Colman’s packet, a dry substance that was mixed with hot water and mince that had been browned for 5 minutes or so served with a bland starchy spaghetti. My sister and I desperately trying to convince my dad that it would be great idea, worth a change and add some variety to our menu. I can’t remember how we convinced him, but we did and it was horrible! Maybe it was us, we weren’t cooks, the sauce I remember was so watery and tasteless, we put a brave face on and made out it was great! We didn’t get to try again, probably a good thing!

As a student I moved onto jars of Dolmio probably buy 1 get 1 free and then later after graduation more sophisticated jars of pasta sauce with bake in the oven magic skills. At some point though I became aware that these jars came with sugar, salt and all manner of preservatives. I’m pretty sure they came with the word authentic across the label, or just like mama used to make. Somehow I became aware that all that was really needed was a tin of good quality tomatoes, some seasoning, good mince and some slow cook time.

I’ve come across many variations of a Bolognese recipe all claiming to be authentic and I’ve tried a few of them, hoping to come across the secret sauce, the be all and end all of all Bolognese recipes to end them all. I’ve come to realise that the authentic Bolognese is your own recipe…the one that works for you and your family.

Mine, I adapt for the mood, it’s always made with view of having enough to freeze, use up the onions and the carrots from the veg box, even the odd chilli and then I add kidney beans as well…..please don’t shoot me….I know it’s not traditional authentic…..it works for us though! I hope you get something from my recipe!


Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: This roughly covers 12 portions, we get 3 meals for 4 in terms of freezer prep. Good sized casserole dish, heavy based pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 100g pancetta or bacon (I use ham ends from the butcher), diced
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 2-3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1kg mince (Our butcher now does minced pork, so I use 500g of pork and 500g beef)
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 300ml red wine (could use white)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100g split red lentils (controversial! Optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 150ml whole milk

To serve, up until recently we were big fans of Spaghetti or Fusilli. My recent discovery being that Spaghetti is a British/American take on the dish. More traditional would be Tagliatelle or Pappardelle and mixed into the pasta rather than served on top in a big dollop.

Goes without saying freshly grated parmesan adds that true authentic taste!

Directions

  1. Heat the oil, and gently brown the bacon
  2. With the heat at a gentle setting, add the veg to this and soften the onions, garlic, carrots and celery with the idea of creating a Soffrito, a soft base of veg
  3. At this point I tip this into a bowl and put to a side….just so I can really get stuck in with the meat. You can crumble the mince straight into the pan if you like.
  4. Turn the heat up slightly and using a wooden spoon break the mince down, browning it as you go. The mince needs to have lost all its colour.
  5. Once browned throw the veg back in if you went for the separate bowl option.
  6. Add the Oregano, stir through.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper
  8. Add the Wine and stir through, bring to a simmer.
  9. Add the tomatoes and the purée, stir through and bring to a simmer then lower the heat and pop the lid on for an 1hr 30mins. You just want the ragu to talk to itself for an hour so. Keep an eye on it…I like to nurture it.
  10. At this point I stir in the milk….some people add a bit of dark chocolate. The milk adds a subtle creaminess that I like
  11. At this point I gage whether it’s too runny and add the lentils in, simmer and stir for 30 mins. This both soaks up the liquid at the same time as bulking out the meal for the boys who just seem to be eating more and more! You could just take the lid off and simmer slowly for 30 mins to thicken up

Chicken Potatoes & Rosemary

Chicken Pot Roast

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: Prep: 20 mins Cooking: 50 mins to 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Pot Roast for 2

A dreich weekend, a head cold to boot and looking after our nephews called for a simple bang in the oven treat. Chicken was the staple of my youth, but there was not a herb in site let alone garlic, just bisto! 

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep: You’ll need a large bowl for tossing the ingredients together and a lidded roasting dish.  The recipe will scale easily, so chose an appropriate roasting dish. This is perfect for 2 in a small le Creuset

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 3 medium roasting potatoes cut into chunks
  • 100g Bacon Pieces/diced streaky
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 Onion Quartered and then chopped again
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary, or few sprigs of thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Crème Fraiche

The recipe card recommends serving with a green salad, or braised cabbage like I did.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c
  2. In a large bowl, mix/turn over the potatoes with
    • Chopped onions
    • Diced bacon
    • Finely sliced garlic
    • Finely chopped rosemary or thyme
    • Good glug of olive oil
  3. Once everything coated with the oil tip into the casserole dish
  4. Place the chicken pieces on top, brush with a little oil if you want the skin to colour
  5. Place in the oven with the lid on for 40 mins
  6. After this make a judgement call,
    1. I took the lid off and placed back in the oven to colour the skin
    2. Could have taken the chicken out and roasted separately if the veg was well on its way.
  7. Take the chicken out and place on a plate
  8. Add the lemon juice and the crème fraiche to the potatoes and turn over

 

Beef Curry – Granny’s Way

Beef Curry Granny Style

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: Prep: Less than 20 mins Cooking: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Slow cook Beef curry, with apple and raisins

Sunday and a blue sky chilly day, a chance to walk with the sun in our faces.  We made it over the top of Blackford Hill and along the Hermitage to the Lodge for a cheeky scone.  At the back of my mind the desire to try Granny’s curry which would definitely fit the bill of a warming wintry slow cook allowing us to get on with watching a Boys film from the recorded Christmas TV.  

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep:  Large casserole dish hob and oven friendly

Oven: 180°c or 350°f

Ingredients

      • 650g Stewing Beef diced
      • Rapeseed/Olive Oil
      • 2 large onions diced
      • 1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped
      • 1 tbsp curry powder
      • 25g plain flour
      • 1 (400g) tin of chopped tomatoes
      • 500ml Water
      • 1 tbsp chutney
      • 50g sultanas or raisins
      • Juice of a lemon

Directions

      1. Heat a glug of olive oil in the casserole dish on a high heat
      2. Sear 1/2 or 1/3 of the beef until brown on each side
      3. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in bowl to add back in later
      4. Add another glug of oil if needed and repeat until all the beef is seared
      5. Once all the beef is seared, add another glug and soften the onion and apple
      6. Add the curry powder, stir through and cook for a minute or so
      7. Add the flour and again stir through and cook for a minute or so
      8. Add in the tomatoes and stir through
      9. Add the dried fruit, the beef with it’s juices, the lemon juice and the water, stirring through
      10. Then place in the centre of the oven for 2 hours

Post-Recipe Notes: Granny loved to add raisins to everything.  This a glossy, sweet and sour curry the apple disappears and there is a hidden back note to the dish.  Curry powder feels cheatsy, quick and easy to rustle this up before banging in the oven. 

Butternut and Bacon Risotto

Autumn is a lovely time for cooking and a great excuse to bring-on the heart warming comfort food that make the shorter nights bearable. I’d planned on making a risotto for Sunday night tea, but purely bacon and mushroom. The squash was an after thought after I didn’t manage to use it in a soup, but what a discovery…..roasted and stirred into the risotto at the end creates the most amazing tasting sauce that’s thick and unctuous and just what you need to chase the cold nights away. Risotto is so versatile, once you have a basic recipe you can mould it to your needs.

Serves 2 hungry boys, and 2 adults

Ingredients
1 leek, chopped into small pieces
1 clove of garlic
6 rashers, good quality smoked bacon
Knob of butter
1 tblspn olive oil
300g Arborio(Risotto) Rice
1 Glass of wine or sherry
200g Chestnut Mushrooms, quartered
Optional – Butternut Squash, roasted see below
Optional – Butter Beans (Which I had left over from cooking too many – use tinned for ease)
75-100g Gruyere or Parmesan grated
1l of stock (I used Bouillon). Hot.

You need a good sized pan that will take a litre of stock, mushrooms and rice and allows a good stir….I chose a pot that was too small! I managed though!

1, Chop up the bacon into bite size pieces and fry the bacon in the olive oil until it starts to colour, decant the bacon onto a plate. Try to keep the juices in the pot.
2, Add the butter and melt, stir in the leek and soften, crush the garlic and add to the leek.
3, Add the rice and coat, in the leek, butter and garlic. The idea is to the heat the rice right through so that’s ready to start absorbing all the liquid we are going to throw at it
4, Pour in the wine, and stir…this will be quickly absorbed
5, Add a ladle of the stock, and stir until absorbed….repeat this until you have a little of the stock left……I find this process quite satisfying, and if you like a glass of wine whilst you cook….this is the perfect time!
6, Add the mushrooms
7, Stir in the butternut squash
8, Stir in the butter beans if using
9, Add the extra stock if you need it
9, Add you bacon back in
11, Stir in the cheese and serve

Roasted Squash
1, Chop the squash in half and scoop out the seeds
2, Rub a little olive oil on the flesh of each half
3, Place on a roasting tray and into a hot oven (180c) for 40 mins
4, Allow to cool and then you can scoop out the soft flesh

I had quite a large squash so only used half for the above recipe and used the other half for soup.