I never thought I would love anchovies, I mean the first time I tried them on a pizza I thought they were overly salty and overpowered everything else. Someone should warn you, that anchovies on a pizza are not like anchovies in cooking, anchovies that you have cooked into a meal are silky smooth, tangy and add so much depth to a meal.
I first used anchovies when making the spicy topping for Jamie Olivers cauliflower risotto (fantastic by the way), made by frying anchovies and bread with garlic and chilli, I knew I liked three of those ingredients so I thought why not. I loved it. This then grew into a pasta sauce, having bought anchovies to use with the risotto I then realised I wanted something quick, so using the three best ingredients from the topping, anchovies, garlic and chilli along with red wine and a tin of tomatoes I made a sauce that will knock your socks off. The anchovies and garlic give it depth and the chilli adds a fiery heat, and then the wine softens it back down. I cannot do it justice in writing all I can say is make it yourself. My sister loves this sauce so much that when she once came to visit me in St Andrews, we went to every shop searching for them, we went to Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco, No Luck. We went to the delis, Mitchells, Butlers, Tail end, NO LUCK. Finally we went into kerachers fish and game shop, and there we bought a small Styrofoam cup of fresh anchovies! I’d never used fresh anchovies before but I persevered on and it made 5 Tupperware’s of fantastic sauce. So Laura this recipe is for you.
Anchovy pasta sauce
makes enough sauce for 2-4 people depending on how much you love it
- one tin of anchovies, or about half a jar if you buy them like that
- Three cloves of garlic crushed
- Chilli flakes
- A tin of tomatoes
- one large glass of red wine (Something you might drink yourself)
- Pasta tubes, or something with ridges that hold the sauce.
- Start off the pasta, the sauce takes as long to make as the pasta takes to cook.
- Tip the anchovies oil and all into a non stick sauce pan and separate, allow these to melt down to nothing, add the chopped garlic and the chilli flakes as much or as little as you like. Be warned it may spit at this point.
- After the garlic has softened add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir well. Allow to reduce slightly then add the glass of wine, stir again.
- Allow the sauce to reduce down by about a third or a half, if it seems too dry add more wine or some of the water from the pasta, it should coat the pasta with a thick layer of sauce.
- Serve by mixing with the pasta and adding a generous grating of parmesan. Enjoy.
So this is the third time I’ve attempted to write a post on here and hopefully it will be a successful attempt, what with uni work and the weather and just general winter blues I haven’t had the motivation to write, and sometimes I haven’t even had the motivation to cook. However, my little sister was visiting this weekend which gave me the opertunity to cook for more than one person, which to me means only one thing. MEAT!! As many of you know I live with a vegan, which means we rarely cook together, so when I do get to cook for other people I kind of go all out and cook a fancy meat dish. This time it was Braised Oxtail, and the recipe was in fact from the times so here it is with a few modifications.
- 4 chunky rounds of oxtail
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Salt and pepper
- 50ml olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 big carrots, finely chopped
- 4 plump cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bushy sprig of rosemary
- 2 large bay leaves (or 3 small ones)
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 500ml red wine
- Juice of 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Cut off the larger bits of hard white fat from the oxtail. Put the flour in a bag with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Throw in the oxtail rounds and shake until they are all dusted with flour.
- Heat the oil in a casserole large enough to hold all the meat and vegetables. Brown the meat and then set to one side.
- Add the vegetables, herbs and star anise. Sweat over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes until starting to soften, then stir in the tomato purée. Add the browned meat (plus any accumulated juices), wine and orange juice, then season well. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Place in the oven. Cook for about 3 hours, stirring halfway through. Depending on the oxtail, it may be ready half an hour earlier or later. Prod it – you want the fat to be soft and gelatinous and the flesh falling off the bones. Check the seasoning and spoon off as much of the fat as you can.
I removed the star anise half way through cooking as the smell coming from the pan was starting to be over powered by its scent, but it is up to your own tastes what you do. I like this recipe as it seemed very festive, the wine and spice mix put me in mind of mulled wine and the combination of flavours is lovely and warming. The Oxtail was from the new farm shop out side of St Andrews, somewhere that is well worth a visit, the butchers is amazing and very reasonably priced, and the veggies are impressive, with onions the size of my head!