Tortellini or Ravioli…You Choose…

Pasta parcels stuffed with minced beef, pine nuts and parsley.


These little lovelies are stuffed with a filling that is usually used in a Lebanese Yoghurt and Dumpling Soup which I will one day blog.

But for now this is what I’ve been craving for a few days.

Pasta dough:-

(enough for 3-4 serves)

1 & 1/4 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

2 tsp olive oil

Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and olive oil. With a fork break up the eggs and slowly start bringing the flour into the middle with the egg. Once all the flour has been mixed into the egg tip it all out onto a clean floured surface and using your hands bring it together into a ball and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Cover and let it rest while you prepare the filling.



175g lean beef mince

1/2 small onion – finely diced

1 large clove garlic – finely diced

2 Tblsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 Tblsp pine nuts – lightly toasted (optional)

salt, pepper, cinnamon to taste


Mix altogether in a small bowl.


If you don’t have a pasta roller, roll out the dough very thinly. If you do roll the dough out to number 5 on the setting wheel.


I recently bought a ravioli mould so I though I’d try it out.



Think I need a little practice on it, but not too bad for a first go.

Or you can make tortellini by cutting out little circles (about 5 – 6 cm diameter). Place a little filling (about 1/2 – 1 tsp) in the centre of each circle. Fold each over to form a half moon and pinch the edges together to seal. Bring the corners of the flat egde together and press them tightly to form the ravioli.


Leave on a floured surface or clean tea towel while you get the pasta sauce ready.

Simple tomato pasta sauce:-

2 Tblsp olive oil

1/2 brown onion – finely diced

3-4 cloves garlic – crushed

1 x 400g can diced tomato

1 – 2 tsp dried Italian herbs or (if you’re lucky enough) some of your favourite fresh herbs i.e. basil, oregano, lemon thyme, chilli etc.

Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large fry pan heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring for a minute or two then carefully add the tomato and give it a good stir. Add your herbs, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down and you have a thick luscious sauce.


Bring a large sauce pan of water to a rapid boil. Add a couple teaspoons of salt and gently lower your tortellini or ravioli into the water, give a little stir. Once the pasta floats to the surface, give it 5 -6 minutes more then lift them out with a slotted spoon and add them to the pasta sauce.



Toss together for a couple of minutes and it’s ready to serve.








Baked Butter Beans with Onion, Tomato and Parsley

My first choice from The Cookbook Guru book of the month, Tessa Kiros’s ‘Falling Cloudberries’ is a baked beans recipe.

I have been wanting to make my own baked beans for ages, the thing is, I have absolutely no reasons or excuses to offer as to why I haven’t yet.

That’s all about to change.

I borrowed a copy of the book from one of the local libraries though having had a look at it wouldn’t mind owning a copy.

Such a diverse collection of recipes and so well set out. I have little bits of paper poking from between the pages as bookmarks for the recipes I want try and the beans are first off the rank.

Now, I couldn’t help myself and have altered the recipe a little (maybe one day I’ll follow a recipe to the letter, maybe???)

What you’ll need is…

1 x 400g can of butter beans – drained and rinsed well

1 Tbls olive oil

1/2 onion – thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 stalk celery – finely diced

200g canned diced tomato (diced fresh tomato will work too)

2 Tbls bread crumbs

2 – 3 Tbls finely chopped parsley


Heat the oil in a fry pan and add the onion. Saute until soft and just starting to colour around the edges.

Take off the heat, add the garlic, celery and tomato and season well with salt and pepper.  Stir in 100ml water.

Put the drained beans in a deep ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce over it. Give it a gentle stir, cover it with foil and bake at 180oc for 40 minutes then remove the foil and give it a gentle stir adding  a little more water if the beans are getting too dry.

Sprinkle with a couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce (totally optional) and the bread crumbs and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

The beans should be very tender and golden on top and the sauce should be thick and sticking to the beans.

Sprinkle the parsley on top and it’s ready.


This makes a great accompaniment to roast or grilled meats or just spooned over lightly grilled sourdough bread.

I served it with grilled lamb chump chops and a mint and garlic yoghurt sauce.



chicken cacciatore

Imagewell, my version anyway.

Around where I live, it’s really hard to come by chicken pieces that are free range. Unless of course you go to the bigger supermarkets, where you can buy chicken that’s been portioned, put on a meat tray and covered in plastic wrap. Nothing wrong with that, but where possible, I try and buy my fruit and veg from an independent greengrocer, my fish from a fish market and my meat from a butcher.

As for the chicken, I buy a whole one and portion it out myself ( it really isn’t that hard). I use the pieces I need for that nights meal and freeze the rest.

For last nights meal, I bought a Bannockburn free range chicken, and used the merryland (the thigh with the drumstick still attached). Season well with salt, pepper, cinnamon, smoked paprika and cumin.

In a cast iron pan or heavy based saucepan with lid, heat a little olive oil  and brown off the chicken.Take the chicken out and set aside. In the same pan throw in 1 thinly sliced leek – pale part only, 5 big cloves garlic – roughly chopped, 1 small brown onion – peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced, 1 celery stalk – diced and 2 rashers bacon – diced.Image

Cook for about 2 minutes until everything is soft. Add 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 6 fresh sage leaves, 1 cup white wine (I used Tempus Two Verdelho, cause that’s what we were going to drink when all the cooking was done) , 6 swiss brown mushrooms – cut in half,1/2 teaspoon sugar and about 250g canned diced tomato.Image Put the chicken pieces back into the pot and turn them over in the sauce. Turn the heat down to low, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour, stirring the sauce every now and again.

Feeling a little lazy and not wanting to dirty too many saucepans, I cooked some brown rice and when it was nearly done, I threw in some chopped green beans. What…it worked. That’s one less saucepan to wash up…..very important when you’ve had a few glassed of wine.Image