Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Reaching out to my inner Italian
Well, the weekend was certainly busy. We had six friends over for diner on Saturday, so I spent a lot of time buying and preparing food, and almost got as far as washing up the dishes. It was the first time we received friends in our newly decorated living room, but we still had a lot of cleaning up to do. Luckily, my mother-in-law-to-be gave us a big hand by cleaning up the staircase, which looked like a post-war zone after I spilled plaster all over the stairs.
It also gave me the chance to try out some new recipes. As a starter, I invented a delicious ‘Autumn Soup’, with wild mushrooms. I’ll post the recipe as soon as I can translate the names of the mushrooms. Alternatively, if anyone can tell me what ‘oesterzwam’, “cantarelle’ and ‘eekhoorntjesbrood’ is in English, please let me know. I assume everyone will know what I mean by ‘champignons de Paris’.
The main course was Osso Bucco, and I’m afraid I’ll have to admit that I make the worlds best Osso Bucco, even if it was the first time I tried it. By the way, if anyone has a recipe for ‘modesty’, please send it to me a.s.a.p. please. I couldn’t really find a recipe that I liked, so I came up with the following:
For four persons (double if you’re with eight persons):
- 1.250 kg of veal shanks: they’re not always easy to find, so you may have to order them. I didn’t do this, but luckily I have a great butcher.
Fresh from the market:
- 4-5 carrots, cut into disks
- Two medium onions
- 3-5 cloves of garlic
- A kilo and a half of tomatoes, cut into pieces to make them turn into tomato sauce faster
- 2-3 whites of leek, cut into disks
- A small can of tomato concentrate (double concentrated)
- Two cubes of beef bouillon
- Olive oil and a bit of margarine
- ¾ litres of water
- Mild paprika powder
- Black pepper
- Hot chilli powder
- 2 tea spoons of thyme
- 4-5 bay leaves
- About an hour and a half of your time, including an hour of cooking time.
Peal the onions and cut them into relatively small pieces. Take a LARGE pot and put it on a small flame. Pour in the olive oil (cover the bottom) and add a small lump of margarine. When the margarine has melted, add the pieces of onions and glaze them.
Take the cooking pot off the stove and add four tea spoons of mild paprika powder. Put the slices of meat on top and then throw in the cut up tomatoes. Add ¾ litres of water, put on the lid and place the cooking pot back on the kitchen stove. Add some more heat, but not too much because it’s difficult to stir with those slabs of meat and otherwise it will all burn. After some 15 to 20 minutes, check if the tomato pieces are falling apart. Add a small can of tomato concentrate and two lumps of bouillon. Three to five cloves of garlic can join the party. Then add some black pepper, some thyme and a couple of bay leaves. Put the lid back on and let it bubble.
Add the carrots after 30 minutes of cooking time and the pieces of leek ten minutes later. Let it boil for another twenty minutes (one hour of total cooking time). Oh, and don’t forget some hot chilli powder.
I served it with white and green (spinach) Tagliatelli. It tasted absolutely fantastic. I gorged on the marrow of the veal shanks. Not everyone is fond of this greyish blubber in the middle, but I like to scoop out every little bit of it. I even stole the bones from other people’s plates (yes, I know).
The diner was an absolute success, although I was very tired from all the running about and the cooking. However, the next day an enormous stack of dirty dishes and glasses was awaiting me. I bravely entered the battle, alone because the GF was off horse riding. But I’d only done about seven glasses when one of the large wine glasses snapped in my hands and left a huge gash in my index finger. Blood was squirting everywhere (anyone still feels hungry?), but I succeeded in controlling the dam burst with a band aid and a couple of meters of cello tape. Naturally, any further dish washing was out of the question, with this gaping canyon in my hand. So I had to continue this ridiculously dangerous task yesterday, and because it was really a huge stack of dirty dishes, I didn’t get to updating the bartlog. I’m sorry, but I’m absolutely sure that when you try this recipe, you’ll feel all better.