Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Deconstructed Cheesy Cabbage Rolls


Deconstructed Cheesy Cabbage Rolls

Jump to the recipe here:

I had to try this recipe from Not Quite Nigella's blog, one of my favourites by Lorraine Elliott,  as soon as I saw it. I had a busy day coming up, and a meal waiting for me in the slow cooker when I arrived home from Mahjong just sounded perfect. It didn't disappoint, and now I can't get enough of it. It is pure comfort food, even though it is very hot weather in the North. Because I made a large quantity I have been able to experiment with a little tweeking for variation. Today we ate it with my homemade mango chutney which was delicious.

I also added a few extra ingredients when I cooked it. A couple of rashers of chopped bacon, as bacon marries so well with cabbage, two chopped large red chillies for some zing, and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, perfect. However, it can stand alone without the chillies, bacon, or thyme as on Lorraine's original recipe. Cabbage is such a resilient vegetable and doesn't disintegrate at all during long slow cooking, or if cooked in the pressure cooker.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes (pressure cooker), 1 hr. 10 mins (stovetop), 7 hours (slow cooker)

Ingredients:

OIL FOR FRYING
1 ONION, PEELED AND CHOPPED
2 AUSTRALIAN GARLIC CLOVES, PEELED AND CHOPPED
2 LARGE RED CHILLIES, DESEEDED AND FINELY CHOPPED (optional)
500g BEEF MINCE
2 RASHERS BACON, FINELY CHOPPED (optional)
2x410g TINS DICED TOMATOES
850g CABBAGE, CORED AND SLICED INTO WEDGES
2 TABLESPOONS TOMATO PASTE
2 SPRIGS OF THYME (optional)
1 CUP MACARONI  OR OTHER PASTA
1 CUP GRATED CHEESE

LET'S COOK:
  • Heat a frypan on medium heat and add the oil. Fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the mince, chillies and bacon breaking  up the mince with a large spoon. Transfer the whole mixture to your slow cooker or pressure cooker, or just a very large cast iron pot for the stove. I am lucky that I have an outside power point on my patio bench, so I plug the slow cooker in there to keep the heat out of the kitchen.
  • Add the tomatoes, cabbage, thyme leaves and tomato paste to the pot.
  • Cook the slow cooker for 6 hours, the pressure cooker for 20 minutes, and for the cast iron pot, cook for 1 hour.
  • Add the macaroni and cook for the following additional times: pressure cooker 5 minutes, slow cooker 40 minutes, cast iron pot 10 minutes. Stir through the cheese  and serve.
Enjoy.
Best wishes

Pauline





It's time for biscotti at Christmas time

Nigella's Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

To my way of thinking, this biscotti spells Christmas, with the lovely red cranberries and pistachio nuts specifying a festive event. A lot of ingredients are interchangeable in biscotti, eg pistachio nuts can be substituted with almonds as can the dried fruits, but this is a spectacular combination. The orange zest freshens up the whole biscuit. 

Traditionally, biscotti is meant to be dipped when eating in a sweet dessert wine, however Nigella Lawson in Nigelissima suggests a ruby port. Whatever takes your fancy really I think, even a cup of tea will do, these biscuits are just meant to be savoured over and dipped.

Makes 15, excluding the end pieces. I know I will need to bake another batch. 

Ingredients

1 EGG
75G CASTOR SUGAR
2 TEASPOONS FINELY GRATED ORANGE ZEST
125G PLAIN FLOUR, PLUS MORE FOR ROLLING
1/2 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
FRESH NUTMEG (it should be grated off a whole nutmeg for best flavour)
75G PISTACHIO NUTS
50G DRIED CRANBERRIES

Let's cook:

Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C. /gas Mark 4.

Beat or whisk the egg and sugar until pale and moussy. Beat in the orange zest, then slowly fold in the flour mixed with the baking powder and a good grating of fresh nutmeg.

Fold in the whole pistachios and dried cranberries. Flour your kitchen bench well, and also your hands, as it is a sticky mixture. Now form the dough into a flattish, oval ciabatta-like loaf, approx. 25x5cm, and taper the ends slightly.

Lay the biscotti dough loaf carefully onto a piece of baking parchment on a baking tray and cook for 25-30 minutes, it should be a pale, brown colour. (I use a long and wide icing spatula knife to do this.) Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking time, as the base can brown quickly.

Transfer the cooked loaf to a wire rack and leave for 5 minutes to harden slightly, then using a fine serrated-edged knife, slice the baked loaf diagonally into fingers about 1 cm thick.

These look bigger in the photo than they actually are.

Place the slices back onto the baking parchment covered tray and cook again for another 10 minutes, and then turn the biscotti over and cook for yet another 5 minutes.

Allow the golden-brown biscotti to cool on a rack and then store them in an airtight container. They will keep for a few weeks, as long as they are well hidden.

So, my friends, how are your Christmas preparations progressing? We are travelling away for Christmas so I need to have my baking finished well in advance. I would love to hear from you about your Christmas baking plans. I know many more people are reading my blog than comment, so it would be nice to hear from you. Comments box at the bottom of this blog.

Best wishes

Pauline xx