The Golden Thread

Bluebonnet Cooks the Book
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Author:  Bluebonnet [ Thu May 31, 2012 3:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Bluebonnet Cooks the Book

We've been watching Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals on BBC America. Yum oh!

Felix and Oscar (the doxies) got me the cookbook for Mother's Day! :mrgreen: Man my doxies give great gifts, don't they? :crylaugh

Anyhoo, tonight is THE night to cook the first 30 minute meal.

I'm cooking:

Pregnant Jools Pasta
Salad with shaved parmasean cheese (baby lettuces 'cause I couldn't find prewashed arugula and watercress) :dunno
Frangipane tarts

If I don't burn anything, I will post pics and the recipes to share! :roflmao

Author:  Bluebonnet [ Thu May 31, 2012 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bluebonnet Cooks the Book

Here's my table full of food (copying Jamie here):


Pregnant Jools' Pasta (Jools is his wife)


Baby lettuce salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and slivers of parmasean cheese


Frangipane tarts with creme fraiche (that turned into frangipane cookies - see below) :crylaugh


Start-to-finish it took me 45 minutes to make this entire meal.

My frangipane tarts turned into cookies because the little flower is a doofus! :crylaugh :crylaugh :oops

I bought frozen tart shells and they come in aluminum tart pans. I didn't like the look of that so I took them out of the little pans, filled them and shoved them in the oven.

After about 10 minutes, I peaked and went :awe :slap :roflmao :whistle . Yup, that's what the little pans are for! :roll Who knew? :dunno :gah

The 45 minutes does not include:

20 minutes to defrost the tart shells (he used store bought ones but not frozen, couldn't find those).

Time to boil the water in my tea kettle. He uses an electric one.

Changes made:

I couldn't find the red Thai chili's he uses so I used serrano chilis. I did remove the seeds and membranes and, honestly, it was not hot at all!

I substituted Splenda for Baking for the superfine sugar he calls for in his recipe for the tarts. Gotta cut back the sugar somewhere for the boy, ya know?

If anyone is interested, I will be happy to post the recipes.

According to East Texas "That was the best thing I ever ate!"

As Jamie would say "Brilliant!" :clap

Author:  fr33kSh0w2012 [ Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bluebonnet Cooks the Book

Bluebonnet wrote:
Here's my table full of food (copying Jamie here):

BlueBonnet why is your table so bare?!? where is your doilies? That's terrible!

Here is my table!!!!!


Well it's not my table but that is the amount we eat at night!!!!

I always get the stuff that's used by date is in three days and we eat like kings!!!

Author:  fr33kSh0w2012 [ Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bluebonnet Cooks the Book


As nights get nippy, take comfort in a hearty casserole, perfect for warming up your midweek, without breaking a sweat!

Preparation Time
25 minutes

Cooking Time
140 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tbs olive oil
4 bacon rashers, trimmed, chopped
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 kg beef chuck steak, trimmed, cut into 3cm cubes
2 tbs plain flour
250mls (1 cup) dry red wine
375mls (1 1/2 cups) beef stock
1 x 400g can peeled whole tomatoes, undrained, mashed
3 medium (about 300g) carrots, diagonally sliced
Salt & ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh continental parsley
Boiled or mashed potato, to serve

Preheat oven to 160°C. Measure and prepare all your ingredients.
There is much confusion about the difference between a casserole, a stew and a braised dish.
These three terms are often used indiscriminately as they all refer to cooking food slowly in liquid in a covered container.
After much research, I came to the conclusion that for a casserole, as it is most universally recognised, the food (namely meat) is browned first on the stove top and then simmered with other ingredients in the oven.
For a stew, the food is not browned first before it is simmered on the stove top.
To braise, the food is browned first and then simmered on the stove top. Usually, less liquid is used when braising.
To cook the casserole, you will need a large, heavy-based ovenproof saucepan or flameproof casserole dish with a lid.
An enamelled cast iron pan is ideal as it can be used on both the stove top and in the oven and distributes and holds heat well.
There are also many suitable flameproof casserole dishes made of earthenware, glass or ceramic available.
If you don't have a saucepan or casserole dish that can be used both on the stove top and in the oven, don't worry.
Just transfer the mixture from one to the other after bringing it to the boil in step 5.
Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large, heavy-based ovenproof saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over medium-low heat and cook the bacon for 3 minutes.
Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add garlic and cook for a further minute or until aromatic. Remove the bacon mixture from the pan/dish and set aside.
Add 1/2 the remaining oil to the saucepan or casserole dish over medium-high heat and cook 1/2 the beef for 1-2 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until browned.
Browning the meat will start to develop the flavour as well as add colour to the casserole.
Sprinkle the meat with 1/2 the flour and cook for a further minute.
The flour is used to thicken the sauce as it cooks.
If you don't cook the flour at this stage before adding the other ingredients, an unpleasant raw or floury flavour will be left in the casserole.
Remove the beef from the pan/dish and set aside. Repeat with the remaining oil, beef and flour.
Remove the beef from the pan/dish and set aside.
Add the wine to the pan/dish and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.
Cook for 1 minute, scraping the base with a wooden spoon to dislodge any residue left on the base of the pan/dish.
This is called deglazing.
The tasty bits that have accumulated on the base of the pan/dish are incorporated into the sauce in which the meat and vegetables will be cooked, thus adding to the flavour of the casserole.
Return the onion mixture and the beef to the pan/dish.
Add the stock, mashed tomatoes and carrots, and stir to combine.
Bring to the boil over high heat.
Cover the pan/dish and cook in preheated oven for 2 hours or until the beef is very tender.
An oven temperature of 160°C will ensure the casserole simmers steadily.
It is important that it doesn't boil rapidly as the meat will become very tough and stringy.
Long, slow cooking of the casserole ensures that the meat is tender and the sauces develop a full-bodied, rich flavour.
The main advantage of cooking a dish like this in the oven, as opposed to on the stove top as with a stew, is that there is no chance of the ingredients sticking and burning on the base of the pan/dish.
Remove the pan/dish from the oven and use a large metal spoon to skim any excess fat from the surface of the casserole.
Season with salt and pepper and then stir through the parsley.
Serve with boiled or mashed potato.


Casserole is also the term applied to the covered dish in which food is cooked slowly in the oven.
To avoid confusion, we refer to it as a casserole dish in this article.
Cuts of meat that are suitable for use in a casserole are those which benefit from long, slow, moist cooking.
Beef chuck steak is a good cut to use.
It is a tough, less expensive cut of meat with much connective tissue that will soften and become tender if simmered gently over a long period.
Even though this connective tissue softens, it will still hold the meat fibre together so that it doesn't disintegrate.
Meat cuts like fillet, rump and sirloin are unsuitable as they have little or no connective tissue and will fall apart if cooked in this way.
Another advantage of using inexpensive cuts of meat is that they are usually more flavorsome.

Author:  Bluebonnet [ Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bluebonnet Cooks the Book

Freak - :crylaugh

No doilies in the States, mate! :nono

I usually put a lace tablecloth on the table for Sunday dinner.

There are just two of us so placemats and napkins are for us. ;)

Thanks for sharing the lovely recipe! I've copied it and added it to my file. Sounds yummy for sure! :wavey

Author:  Bluebonnet [ Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bluebonnet Cooks the Book

I need to update this as I've been cooking more of the book!

No pics this time - sorry.

Tuesday night I cooked this:

Trapani-style rigatoni with griddled chicory
and a rocket and parmesan salad
by Jamie Oliver

Serves 6

500g dried rigatoni
40g parmesan cheese
100g whole blanched almonds
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 fresh red chillies
2 large bunches of basil
4 anchovy fillets in olive oil
450g cherry tomatoes, red and yellow if possible

Add the pasta and boiling water to a large saucepan, turn up to a high heat
and cook according the packet instructions, with the lid askew. Fill and reboil
the kettle, for topping up, if needed.

Put the parmesan, 100g of almonds, 2 peeled cloves of garlic and 1 or 2 chillies
(stalks removed) into a food processor and whiz until fine. While the processor
is still running, add 1½ bunches of basil, 4 anchovies and two thirds of the cherry
tomatoes (300g). Whiz to a paste, then add a lug or 2 of extra virgin olive oil.
Taste and season if needed, then put aside.

By now the pasta should be perfectly cooked, so drain, reserving some of the
cooked water, and return it to the hot pan. Add the paste, mixing well to coat
the pasta. Add a splash of water to make it silky and loose.

Tip the pasta into a large serving bowl, toss quickly then scatter the reserved
cherry tomatoes and basil on to and take to the table.

Chicory salad - didn't cook this because I couldn't find the endive (chicory)
2 red chicory
2 white chicory
Balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
½ clove garlic

Trim the chicory and halve each one lengthways. Lay them flat side down
on the griddle pan. Turn every few minutes and take off the pan once nicely
charred on both sides.

Move the chicory to the board. Roughly chop it, then dress it with a couple
splashes of balsamic vinegar and a couple lugs of extra virgin olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper. Pick and finely chope the rosemary leaves
and crush over ½ a peeled clove of garlic. Toss together and take to the table.

Rocket salad - this is arugula and it is awesome!
1 x 100g bag of prewashed wild rocket
40g parmesan cheese
½ lemon

Put the rocket into a bowl. Use a speed peeler to shave the parmesan over.
In a small jug, mix 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with the juice of ½ a lemon,
then season to taste. Take the salad and dressing to the table.

He also has a Limoncello kinda trifle to go with it but I didn't make it.


3 oranges

75ml limoncello

100g sponge fingers

250g mascarpone

2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

100ml semi-skimmed milk

1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

1 punnet of raspberries, or other seasonal fruit

1x 100g bar of good-quality dark chocolate, for shaving over


1. Squeeze the juice from 3 oranges into an appropriately sized serving dish. Stir in the limoncello and taste to check the balance of sweetness and booze, adjusting if necessary.

2. Cover the base of the dish with a layer of sponge fingers.

3. Put the mascarpone and icing sugar ino a separate bowl with the milk.

4. Finely grate over the zest of the lemon, then squeeze in the juice from one half. Add the vanilla paste or extract to the bowl and whisk well.

5. Spread the mixture all over the sponge fingers, then scatter over the raspberries and finely scrape over a little dark chocolate. Put into the fridge.

6. After dinner take the dessert out of the fridge. Serve over a little icing sugar, then serve. If you’re feeling a bit indulgent you can melt the rest of the chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it over the top.

I made half the pasta but all of the sauce for Tuesday night. I refrigerated the leftover sauce and made the rest of the pasta on Thursday. Still awesome!

Oh and there was a loaf of ciabatta bread, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and thyme. You just preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and plop it in the oven while the rest of the meal cooks.

I must be getting faster because I did, indeed, cook the meal in 30 minutes.

I cooked the raspberry tarts again - see recipe above. Yummmm - we love them.

Author:  Bluebonnet [ Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bluebonnet Cooks the Book

Tonight, East Texas cooks the book! :clap

He's making:

steak indian-style
spinach & paneer salad
naan breads
mango dessert

But we are having watermelon instead of mango for dessert. Can't abide mangoes after living in Venezuela for so long. Blech!

I also could not find the paneer cheese so I bought Queso de Mano.

Went to the Farmer's Market today looking for the guy who sells fresh naan. Sadly, he was not there so we went to an Indian grocery store for the first time.

Waaayyyyyy cool! I didn't know what 98 percent of the food was, but I found the paneer cheese for next time. They also had fresh naan! Whoo hoo!

They had English foods as well - Bisto, Coleman's mustard (not just the dry), ginger biscuits , etc. ,etc.

Loved it! They were very nice to us and answered a TON of questions. I will definitely be back.

Edited to add: Forgot to take pics before we chowed down. It was really, really, really good and I am stuffed! :mrgreen:

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