tagliata di manzo

tagliata di manzo

tagliata di manzo

After a long day in the saddle with my horse, what better than to come over all gaucho-like and feast on a delicious steak for supper?  Actually, I tell a bit of a fib, as my steak was more  continental Europe, than South America… I decided to cook up a tagliata di manzo (literally: slices of beef) and one of my “dessert island five” dishes.  Although I cannot take a trip to Tuscany without eating this dish, tonight, surprisingly was my first attempt at cooking it – but I think I cracked it (however I would say that this is actually an incredibly simple dish – the key to getting it right is in the quality of the ingredients).  Because the t-bone steak that I purchased was slightly on the small side (it was late in the day and it was all the butcher had left) I ended up taking home a couple of small fillets as well (I cooked these in the same way and the outcome of which can only be described as uncious).   Despite the fact that tagliata di manzo is best served with patate fritte (shoe string chips), I was feeling in a slightly healthier mood (and more to the point, couldn’t face chopping up a load of potatoes to make them) and so served the beef up with some cannellini beans.

Ingredients for the tagliata di manzo

T-bone beef

Salt & Pepper

Olive oil

Rocket

Parmesan

Balsamic

(Serving of lemon, optional)

Throw some salt, pepper and olive oil onto the steak just before cooking, heat up a griddle pan until smoking (this dish would perform better on a charcoal grill, but it’s winter and the cooking staying indoors for the next few months thank you very much) and then throw the steak onto the grill for a few minutes each side.  The steak MUST be cooked RARE – it would be sacrilege to do anything otherwise.  In the meantime, place a bed of rocket onto a plate, shave some parmesan cheese and when the meat is ready, slice it into thin slices and then place it onto it’s rocket bed and under its parmesan duvet.  Dress with olive oil and balsamic.  Due to the simplicity of the dish, it’s immensely important to purchase the best quality ingredients that you can.

Ingredients for the cannellini beans

220g Cannellini beans (I cheated and bought the jarred version from “Le conserve della nonna” which is the best ready to use bean you can buy (according to the man at the Italian shop))

garlic

sage

good quality olive oil (around 100 – 150ml)

pepper and salt

Thinly slice the garlic and sage.  Put the olive oil into a gently heating saucepan and then add the garlic and sage as well.  The aim of this exercise is to flavour the oil, rather than to cook the garlic.  Leave this warming through for as long as you like – I let it sit for around 15 minutes.  At this point fish out the garlic as the flavours here should be subtle (although I did leave a few slices in) then add the beans to the oil and when all heated through, take off the heat, pepper and salt as required and add a few more fresh pieces of sage to finish.

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a simple supper

cheesy pasta supper

5 cheese tortelloni

I am always surprised at how good Sainsbury’s fresh, filled pasta is… perfect for a quick supper when you’ve got back home late and all you want to do is eat as soon as possible.

Tonight was 5 cheese tortelloni with my homemade tomato sauce, (thanks to the vast quantities that I still have left over (as ordered by Allegra and Paul from my Sunday’s efforts) pancetta and plenty of parmigiano. Quick, easy, filling, tasty and ever so mmm.

mennula

Mennula is the Sicilian word for almond.  Now, I’m not especially fond of almonds; I like them encased in chocolate but not so much roasted and salted (but will eat them if they are there), and definitely not in the form of marzipan… and the reason that I’m going on about this is because last night saw a few of us at Mennula (on the lovely Charlotte Street, London).  We had been told in no uncertain terms that we had to be seated by our allocated time (or else what? I’m not sure, but they were Sicilian, so we thought we’d better behave).  The restaurant was quite quiet when we got there.  The decor was pretty, although I found the squashed bug on the wall next to my shoulder, less so.  We were having a meal of four courses.  The first course – the stuzzichini – included several small platters of nibbles (including roasted and salted almonds), green olives, arancini rice balls and sour dough bread.

For my primo piatto, I had strozzapreti in a braised venison and mushroom ragout which was quite lovely (although some of my strozzapreti was a little hard in consistency, but I was the only one who had this experience).

For secondo, I had pork belly.  As a bit of background, I LOVE pork belly and it tends to be a benchmark dish of mine (pretty much, wherever I go, if it’s on the menu, pork belly will end up in my belly) and unfortunately this pork belly didn’t really compare.  ES had a plate of fritto misto but the complaint there was that there wasn’t quite enough of it!  Conversely, and unusually for me, I was feeling quite full by this point, so I think my pork belly was gratefully received.

For my dolce, I chose traditional Sicilian cannoli filled with sweet ewe’s ricotta.  It was a bad choice by me and I had definite food-envy over everyone else’s warm Sicilian sfinci (doughnuts) served with honey, vanilla crème anglais and Sicilian granita.

So all in all, I feel about Mennula the same as I do about almonds – good in some respects and lacking in others, and I probably wouldn’t eat there again unless it was put on a table in front of me.