A guest appearance from Uncle Patrick

On March 16, 2015 by battenburgbelle

I’m way behind again – work does seem to get in the way of real life at the moment. Anyway, I’m going to go backwards and try to catch up with myself. If that makes any sense. I was pleased with this cake (second attempt, but that’s ok, the first one become the base for a most delicious trifle).

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge

The highlight this week has to be my conversation with Missy B in which we discussed what to cook for Grandma ad Grandpa Battenburg. The list of items not to cook for Grandpa B is rather extensive these days, but after much dithering and cookbook flicking, we settled on lasagne. Missy B promptly asked me to make it “like Uncle Patrick did” when we visited him a couple of weeks ago. I was a little offended, especially as she stood over me while I texted him to request his recipe! Anyway, it was very lovely and apparently Uncle P’s version was only “marginally” better than mine…

I don’t think he considers his recipe to be copyrighted, so this is what I did to make the ragu:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 rashers of smoked back bacon
olive oil
750 kg minced beef
250g beef stock
a glass of red wine
2 tins of tomatoes
a couple of tablespoons of tomato pureé
a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Sweat the onions, garlic and bacon, till soft and starting to get brown.
Add the beef and stir till it’s all brown.
Stir in the stock and wine, followed by the tomatoes, tomato pureé and balsamic.
Leave it all bubble away gently for at least and hour.
Season to taste.

I didn’t actually make the lasagne, but I think that’s acceptable on a Thursday evening. I also didn’t measure the ingredients for the béchamel sauce, but I did use lots of parmesan and nutmeg. And it turns out I didn’t take a photo of the lasagne either…

A large green salad

A large green salad, with asparagus, avocado and toasted hazelnuts

Served with a standard green salad, it went down very well with the guests. I seem to have to away with a hint of garlic (sorry Grandpa B…)

Dessert was a gorgeously rich malted chocolate tart with dulce de leche, from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet book. The first time I did this, I had to do the whole simmering a can of condensed milk for hours without it boiling dry or exploding – but luckily this time, Waitrose had a jar of dulce de leche – much easier. The tart was divine, served with a dollop of clotted cream on the side. Why not?

Malted chocolate and dulce de leche tart

Malted chocolate and dulce de leche tart

In other news, I went on a food photography course – one of the excellent Guardian Masterclass, sessions with the lovely food photographer Joan Ransley. Hopefully my pics will start to look more like this, once I practice more and get a few items of kit (mostly a tripod, actually).

Some cheese and bread

Some cheese and bread, sort of styled and properly lit

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