One of my all time favorite pastas. You will need some good quality Italian sausages with fennel for a great flavor. I learnt this dish from my amazing Italian friend years ago, after tasting some at her house. It was so good, I simply had to have the recipe! Have been making it ever since.
It takes about half an hour to make and is so delicious you will have your family asking for this over and over. All you need is a salad and garlic bread for a nice meal for friends! I barely bother with that when I am cooking this for myself, as I find it most satisfying and comforting to tuck into a bowl of this just by itself on a cold winters night.
SPICY SAUSAGE RAGU
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
400g Italian sausages, skinned
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper and salt
4oog tin of plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
150 ml double cream ( I use single cream sometimes)
500 g rigatoni
grated parmesan cheese to serve
Heat your oil in a large heavy frying pan. Add chopped onions, cook till soft for a few minutes, do not brown. Now add the garlic and after a couple of minutes add in the crumbled sausages. Add salt and pepper. Really stir and break the sausages up with a wooden spoon and cook till they start to get brown. Now add the fennel seeds, oregano and chilli flakes. After a couple of minutes add the tinned tomatoes, and the tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes or till the sauce has thickened to a nice consistency. Add your cream and stir.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of salted water, until al dente (do not over cook your pasta). Save some water in a cup once pasta is cooked, you can use this to make the sauce thinner if you need to. Add drained pasta to the sauce, toss till all the pasta is coated well in the sauce. Serve straight away with parmesan cheese.
This is a 15 minute bread recipe! No yeast, no rising, no kneading! Need I explain more on why I had to try this?
It is super tasty, you will not be able to stop eating it weather its warm and fresh out of the oven or for a nice picnic as I did. The left overs tasted great the next day popped into the toaster for a bit. Truly superb and made in a jiffy! I will have to be giving the Feta Cheese, Potato and Rosemary bread variation a go soon ( see at the end of recipe).
This is another Delia recipe, from her How To Cook, Book One. She is amazing and can always be relied upon. I just love this book, and actually it was one of the first cookbooks I ever bought! She hooked me forever by teaching me how to whip up the most perfect omelettes and a variety of eggs! Just for the eggs alone this book deserves a spot on you kitchen book shelf!
Perfect for a picnic!
GOATS’ CHEESE, ONION & POTATO BREAD WITH THYME
4 oz or 110g firm goats cheese
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 medium red potato weighing 6 oz or 175 g
1 rounded teaspoon chopped thyme leaves, plus a few small sprigs
6oz or 175g self-raising flour, and a bit extra to dust top of loaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon or generous pinch of cayenne pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 heaped teaspoon grain mustard
Start off by taking your sharpest knife, then pare the rind from the cheese and cut it into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes. Then sift the flour, salt and cayenne pepper into a big, roomy mixing bowl, holding the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing. Then thinly pare off the potato skin using a potato peeler and grate the potato straight into the flour, using the coarse side of the grater.
Then add the spring onions, chopped thyme and two-thirds of the cheese. Now take a palette knife and blend everything together thoroughly.
After that, beat the egg gently with the milk and mustard, then pour the mixture into the bowl, just bringing it all together to a loose, rough dough, still using the palette knife. Next transfer it on to the baking sheet and pat it gently into a 6 inch (15 cm) rough round. Now lightly press the rest of the cheese over the surface, dust with a little flour and scatter the small sprigs of thyme over.
Bake the bread on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Then remove it to a cooling rack and serve it still slightly warm if possible (but I have to say it’s still divine a day later, warmed through in the oven).
Feta Cheese, Potato and Rosemary Bread Variation
This is a delicious variation on the recipe above, using a different cheese and a different herb. Simply substiture the goats cheese for the same amount of cubed feta cheese, a quarter of a red onion, peeled and finely chopped instead of the spring onions, and use rosemary instead of thyme. Before baking, scatter over a quarter of an onion, sliced into half-moon shapes, along with some small sprigs of rosemary and a few halved olives.
This is a really unique cake made with semolina and almond meal making the texture quite a contrast to cakes made of regular flour. The orange honey syrup gets soaked in and really makes it moist and perfect. The orange blended and pureed and mixed into the batter with the pith and everything makes it really zingy. It is just so different to any other cake I made before. And oh, did I mention that it tastes totally fantastic!!
This cake just looked so glorious in the picture in Delia’s How to Cook, Book three and made me think of my Greek summer holiday. I also keep up my stocks of Greek honey shipped in all the from Greece, courtesy of Amazon, ever since I have tasted the stuff. So drooling over the book I decided, I just had to give this recipe a go!
This cake would even be fantastic if you leave the yogurt topping off. I know this because as I left it out to cool overnight and let it soak up the syrup only to discover in the morning after unwrapping the foil around it that a slice had gone missing from my beautiful whole cake! My sneaky husband had clearly been lurking about the kitchen for a midnight treat and helped himself to nice piece under the cover of night, before I got the chance to ice it!!!
Anyhow, thank god for the cake thief, cause now I know the orange and honey syrup alone makes it taste glorious enough that next time I make it I will not ice it unless I had people coming over and wanted it to have more of a wow factor, for home baking it is divine with out it. So give it a go!
GREEK ORANGE & HONEY SYRUP CAKE WITH YOGURT AND PISTACHIOS
For the cake:
2 small oranges (weighing about 9 oz/250 g)
4½ oz (125 g) ground almonds
6 oz (175 g) well-softened butter, plus a little extra for greasing
6 oz (175 g) golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
9 oz (250 g) semolina (I used fine cornmeal)
4½ level teaspoons baking powder
For the syrup:
8 fl oz (225 ml) Greek mountain honey
5 tablespoons orange juice
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1½ inch (4 cm) cinnamon stick (I used a tsp of ground cinnamon)
For the topping:
7 oz (200 g) Greek yogurt
1½ oz (40 g) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
2 tablespoons Greek mountain honey
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C)
First, cut the oranges into chunks, removing the pips. Then tip the whole lot – flesh, pith and zest – into a food processor and whiz it to a thick puree.
Next, put all the other cake ingredients into a large bowl and, provided the butter is really soft, just go in with an electric hand whisk and whisk everything together until you have a smooth, well-combined mixture.
When combined, fold in the orange puree, spoon the mixture into a prepared 10 inch springform tin and smooth the top with the back of the spoon.
Now place the cake on the center shelf of the oven and bake it for an initial 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) and bake for a further 40-45 minutes, or until it is golden brown, springy in the center and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. To do this, simply combine the honey and 5 tablespoons water with the cinnamon stick in a small saucepan, place it over a gentle heat, bring it up to simmering point and let it simmer gently for about 5 minutes. After that, take the pan off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the orange and lemon juices.
Leave the cake aside to cool for 5 minutes, then remove it from the tin to a wire rack to cool, with a large plate underneath. Make a few holes all over it with a skewer before pouring the syrup over it. (It will look like there is far too much, but don’t worry, the cake will absorb more than you think, and any that is not absorbed can be poured from the plate back over the cake.) Then, when the cake is absolutely cold, place it on a serving plate, cover it and leave it in a cool place overnight.
Just before serving, spread the top of the cake with the Greek yogurt, sprinkle over the pistachios, drizzle with the honey and serve cut into chunky slices.