What’s Cooking – A quick leftovers lunch

The other night Mark had made his signature dish, a Spaghetti Bolognese with mince and liver braised in a red wine with loads of other goodies thrown in. I like it though maybe not as much as Mark does but hey it keeps him happy, and quiet, so I go with the flow.

The next day I was pottering around the virtual world on the net as I do when suddenly the pangs of hunger came knocking, time to get the cook working I mused. “I’m hungry” was thus yelled out and a welcome reply of “give me an hour” echoed up the stairs. Settled in the knowledge that something would turn up in an hour(ish) as my cook does not work to strict deadlines, its ready when it is ready is the usual retort.

Look what turned up!

Believe me when I say they where super tasty and very more-ish
Believe me when I say they where super tasty and very more-ish

So thinking of my readers (yes, it would be you) I enquired to how they were made so that I could share this heavenly lunch idea with you all. Evidently the left over Spaghetti Bolognese was a key element. So let me outline what Mark did.

He took a pack of ready-made puff pastry (I know unusual for him but poor chap has been a bit under the weather of late so I let it pass) and rolled it out into a large square that was then quartered. So now he had 4 squares of puff pastry rolled out measuring around 15cm by 12cm, I guess I should say rectangles but you get the idea. Then with a sharp knife he cut a line down one of the long edges around 1cm in from the edge, starting and stopping around 1cm from the top and bottom edges. He then continued the cut along the bottom edge. So basically he had cut an “L” shape into the pastry. Next he cut an upside down “L” along the two remaining edges. The two “L” cuts must not meet though. Now take the corner of one of the “L” and fold it over to the opposite corner, repeat for the other “L”. You should finish with a pastry case with a raised border and two corners with an overlap which you can make into a nice shape for the eater to use as a handle.

Take a large baking tray and line with baking paper. Place your 4 parcels on the tray spaced out so they have room to grow in the oven.

Next thing on the list is to steam some spinach and to fry some bacon till the colour has changed; don’t over cook the bacon as it is going into the oven. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and whilst you are at it chop up the spinach. Drain any excess water from the spinach as you chop it.

For the filling a layer of the Spaghetti Bolognese sauce was placed in each parcel. Add the bacon to the spinach and mix well and add a layer to your parcels. With a spoon gently form a well in the middle of your parcel and crack an egg so that the yolk sits in the newly formed well. Let the egg white flow over the rest of the filling. Then to complete the masterpiece we need an egg wash to paint the edges of the parcel to aid the formation of a golden brown crust. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper to taste and stand back to admire your creations.

Now pop them in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

You can use this time to set up a couple of plates with a handful of salad leaves and your favourite dressing, Caesar Salad dressing is our chosen topping. Oh and don’t forget to pop the kettle on for a nice fresh brew to complete the dish.

As a note Mark says that it was handy that we had some left over Bolognese sauce to use but you could use any tomato based sauce instead. Pizza topping sauce would also work well with some tinned plum tomatoes and some basil. You will need to inspect your cupboards to see what is available.


What’s Cooking – Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

From what I can gather Caesar Salad Dressing is one of the most popular dressings used by English people.

At first I wasn’t a big fan of this taste, but as the years passed by I simply got used to it and now I cannot imagine a salad without it. You can buy it in just about every food shop I can think of but what about making it from scratch? It is actually very quick and easy and once you have all the ingredients you can create it in the matter of minutes. Mark uses this as a base recipe and fiddles with the ingredients depending on the taste desires of those eating such as in/decreasing the amount of anchovies.

Ingredients list to create your very own Caesar Salad Dressing
Ingredients list to create your very own Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients list:

  •  1 egg – we used a duck egg but a chicken egg will do just fine
  • 4 anchovy fillets, buy the best you can afford it makes a big difference
  • 100ml of olive oil
  •  1tbsp of lemon juice
  • Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  •  2 cloves of garlic
  •  Salt
  • Pepper

Now for the method:

Place an egg, garlic and anchovies in your food blender.

Time to blend it up...
Time to blend it up…

Pulse mix until just combined. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and continue mixing. Whilst your blender is running slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture looks smooth and has the consistency of double cream.

Almost done...
Almost done…

Add salt and pepper to taste. Try your creation and if you don’t screw your face up then place the dressing into an air tight container and keep in the fridge until needed.

That’s all!

You just made your very own homemade Caesar salad dressing. Enjoy!