This quick and healthy recipe comes from a school dinner menu in Naples. I once interviewed the headmistress there about the challenges she faced dealing with kids from warring mafia clans. I doubt they sat together eating this stew at lunch time, but I’m told that it’s one of the most popular school meals. I’ve tested and tweaked the recipe, and I have to say that I’m impressed with how soft the meat is, and how sweet the peas are. I’m also big fan of easy dinners that tick both protein and veg boxes, but don’t make a lot of mess, or create a lot of washing up. This is definitely one of those ‘one pan wonders’. Serve with a jacket potato (no more pans needed). Also goes well with a dollop of mash or scoop of brown rice. Do let me know what you think.Read More
A little good quality meat, a lot of vegetables, and a zing of fennel that’ll make your family’s tastebuds sit up and take notice. This quick but delicious pasta dish I learned in Sicily is a revelation and I’m really excited to share it with you. Sicilian sausages are often flavoured with fennel, but as I couldn’t find any like these in butchers and supermarkets near me, I added fennel seeds instead whilst cooking and the end result tastes just as good. You can add less if you want to introduce the flavour more gently, but my 3 year old loved the taste and only frowned at a stray spinach stalk that escaped the blender. If you have spinach rebels in the house, then try carrot, courgette or any other veg instead, as long as its softened enough to whizz up. Let me know what you think!Read More
This delicious recipe has completely transformed how my family eat the humble ragù. It’s all about using a familiar everyday meal to introduce exciting new flavours. Cinnamon marries the richness of meat and tomato sauce perfectly. It’s subtle, aromatic and not overpowering. I’ve adapted this recipe after interviewing a young chef originally from Rome who now works in a remote hillside restaurant in Sicily. He takes cooking for his young family very seriously. Aside from the fact he’s almost evangelical about cooking proper grown up grub for kids, he claims his wife is a hopeless cook. Of course she wasn’t there to defend this slur on her culinary expertise when we met. But given his passionate approach to feeding their child she may well have forgiven him this slander.
The key to this ragù is in the preparation of the meat before you cook it. I’ve found that it’s almost easier to prepare the night before and leave in the fridge so the flavours properly infuse. Then you’re ready to hit the ground running when cooking the next day. I know I usually adapt most recipes on my blog so they’re super quick, but I’m sorry to break it to you that I really can’t do the same with this one. I’ve done a taste test after 30 minutes cooking, after an hour and after 2 hours. And there’s no doubt. It really is a case of the longer the better. But it’s no hassle I promise. Just leave it cooking over low heat and get on with other stuff around the house. This ragù will simmer away quietly for hours needing absolutely zero attention. How many members of your family can you say that about?Read More