Monday, 16 December 2013

Modern method for making Tomato Sauce

We had a bit of excitement last night.  
It was just after 8pm when we heard a very loud 'BANG' coming from outside the front of our home. 
 It could have been a car backfiring or an incredibly large balloon being popped.
MOH (My other Half) ran to the front door, wrenching it open,
whilst two teenagers came flying down the stairs to see what the fuss was about.

Our letter box had been blown up by a firecracker!  
This is (a) illegal and (b) downright annoying.
The front and back slots had been blasted off and there were cracks along parts of the letter box.
We put it down to bored youth and actually, this morning I am laughing about the event.
Over the years my parents have had their letter box towed away three times,
so it must be fun for someone.

This is Passata (pure bottled tomato sauce) I have previously made
Summer is all about fresh tomatoes.  Picking, bottling and admiring perfectly plump tomatoes.
Cooking this passata into a delicious tomato sauce that is the basis of so many dishes
is an enjoyable and aromatic experience.

Firstly add about 4 tablespoons olive oil into a large saucepan,

over medium heat add 1 chopped onion, fry for 3 minutes.

Add 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves finely chopped,

and 2 fresh bay leaves then fry for 3 more minutes.

You want the onion cooked, but not browned, so lower the heat when required.

At this stage, add 3 anchovy fillets (I buy them in a bottle of oil)

and break up with your wooden spoon for 1 minute, until they are melted.

Pour in 1/2 cup red wine then let it bubble and cook for 3 minutes

at which stage you pour in your bottle of Passata

(or a large 400g can of bottled tomato chunks or whole tomatoes).

Season with 1 tspn dried oregano and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves.

Bring to boiling point then lower to a simmer, simmering uncovered for 15 minutes.

Chop 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves and add, cooking only for 5 more minutes.

If this home made tomato sauce is to be served alone,
you can thicken it by adding 1 large tablespoon of tomato paste
after it has been turned back from boiling point.
Buon appetito, Enjoy, Merryn.

Cheese Filled Chicken Parcels

You have to love mozzarella, hot and melting, peeping out of the middle of food creations.

It is now less than two weeks until Christmas.  The weather is warming up, we tend to go to parties, snack on finger foods and drink more than usual.  I still maintain a good eating routine, dinner is served between 7 - 8pm, with at least 3 vegetables, meat du jour or 3 salad offerings.
A dish such as this covers so many bases, protein, dairy, vegetable and fibre all rolled into one.

Firstly fillet the chicken breast, making each fillet about 1cm thick, by the length of the fillet.

Lightly brown in olive oil, searing each side over a high heat for approximately 1 minute per side.



Meanwhile, Mix the stuffing ingredients together in a small bowl.


Place the stuffing mixture on top of the chicken.


Then roll up, place a prosciutto strip on the outside  and tie with kitchen string. 

You can pop a thyme or parsley sprig under the string.


Here is my tomato sauce, simmering away, smelling delightful. Modern Homemade Tomato Sauce

The aroma brings a few teenagers into the kitchen, enquiring as to what smells so good.

Place onto a lightly oiled baking tray and cover with your cooked tomato sauce mixture.


Place into a pre-heated 180C degree oven

and cook for approximately 30 minutes,

until the prosciutto is turning brown and the chicken is cooked through.


Cheese Filled Chicken Parcels


 1 kilo fresh chicken breast fillets
150g prosciutto sliced finely
12 fresh thyme sprigs
750ml freshly cooked tomato sauce

Stuffing Mixture

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh continental parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg
salt and pepper


Slice chicken breast fillets into 1cm thick fillets.
Sear over a high heat for 1 minute per side, place on a plate to cool slightly.
Mix the stuffing ingredients together in a  small bowl.
Place this mixture on top of the chicken fillets, roll up and place a strip of prosciutto around each one
before tying together with kitchen twine.  Optional, place a thyme sprig under the kitchen twine.
Place into an olive oil greased baking tray, pour over your tomato sauce
and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. 
Ensure your chicken is cooked through by inserting a skewer and making sure clear juices run out.
Serve with freshly cooked pasta and steamed greens such as broccoli or beans with crusty bread on the side.
Buon appetite!  Enjoy, Merryn.



Sunday, 1 December 2013

November in the Garden

It is the end of November and you can taste the sun in your vegetables.

How amazing is this corn?  Sweet, succulent and sensational. 

Buttered corn on the cob, barbecued or chargrilled or stripped and fried as corn fritters.
Corn is so easy to grow and each plant products so many lovely cobs of corn.

Fresh honey, the sweetness of honey produced by your own bees from your own flowers is amazing.
It is incomparable to any you can buy and we are blessed by the presence of bees.