Ossobuco

Ossobuco

When I made ossobuco yesterday, it was the first time I’d made this classic Italian dish, but it certainly won’t be the last. The gentle, long cooking required makes it ideal for the Aga. I accompanied it with risotto alla Milanese, even though I tend to think risotto is not ideal for Aga cooking, because of the need constantly to stir it, but in this case it was in my view necessary and worth it. I know there are ways to make risotto in the oven, and I have successfully made it that way, but on this occasion I wanted to be as sure as possible to achieve the authentic Italian dish, so I stood at the simmering plate, stirring away contemplatively, for twenty minutes or so.

The ossobuco recipe I used was Anna Del Conte’s from her book Gastronomy of Italy which my son gave me for Christmas. It’s a wonderful book. The risotto recipe I used was also from this book.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

(You will need a large sauté pan or shallow casserole with a tight fitting lid which will hold the ossobuchi in one layer)

  • 4 ossobuchi (mine were Marks and Spencer from Ocado)
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150ml chicken stock

For the gremolata (don’t skip it)

  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

  • Tie the ossobuchi around and across with string as you would a parcel, then lightly coat them in flour mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Heat the olive oil in the pan you have chosen and brown the floured ossobuchi on both sides. I started them on the simmering plate and then transferred them to the floor of the roasting oven. Cook them for just 4 or  5 minutes on each side. Remove them to a dish
  • Add 25g of the butter to the pan followed by the onion and celery. Add a little salt and soften without browing (shouldn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes in the simmering oven)
  • Return the meat and any juices to the pan on the simmering plate
  • Heat the wine quickly in a pan on the boiling plate and pour it over the meat and boil to reduce by half  (could move it to the boiling plate for this but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t completely evaporate)
  • Heat the stock in the same pan you used for the wine and pour this over everything and add some black pepper. Put the lid on the pan and transfer it to the simmering oven for at least three but maybe four or five hours (as you know, it will not spoil in the simmering oven), depending on when you want to eat
  • Transfer the ossobuchi to a warmed dish, removing the string. Keep warm in the warming oven, on the warming plate or near the Aga covered in foil
  • Add the remaining butter, having cut it into a few small pieces, to the sauce and as soon as the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat; you don’t want the sauce to boil
  • Pour the sauce over the meat
  • Mix the gremolata ingredients together. I spinkled mine over the ossobuchi, but have re-read the recipe and see I was supposed to stir it into the sauce before pouring it over. Perhaps it would have tasted even better if I’d done it the “correct” way!

 

 

 

 

Spiced Apple Cake

Spiced Apple Cake

My plan for today was to tell you about the most delicious veal ragù I’d made but I’m afraid it was disappointing and I can’t quite work out what went wrong. I guess you win some and you lose some. I won’t give up though and when I get it right, I will let you know. Meanwhile, there’s my trusty old favourite ragù which I wrote about here.

So instead I want to tell you about an apple cake recipe I’ve recently fallen in love with. Forgive me for giving you another apple cake recipe but this one is too good to ignore. You probably aren’t surprised though, because I believe I’ve mentioned in previous posts how much I love apple cake.

There’s something about the slightly caramel flavour of this one that reminds me of the plum torte I wrote about here; the soft brown sugar is probably responsible. I came across the recipe on the Spectator website.

Spiced Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 large cooking apple
  • 1 eating apple
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted (by placing it in a bowl on top of the Aga at the back) fullsizeoutput_317d
  • 225g light brown sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

 

 

 

Method

(Pre-heat conventional oven to 160ºC)

  • Lightly grease and line a 9″/23cm cake tin with bake-o-glide
  • Place the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and rub between your fingers to get rid of any lumps in the sugar
  • Briefly whisk the eggs in a small bowl using a fork and then add them and the melted butter to the dry ingredients, quickly mixing the whole lot together with a spatula
  • Peel and core the apples and cut each into 12 wedges
  • Pour three quarters of the mixture into your prepared tin and arrange the apple slices in a circle, alternating cooking and eating apples and starting from the outside. Place any spare segments in the centre of the circle
  • Spoon the rest of the mixture into the middle of the cake and don’t try to spread it to the sides. Sprinkle over the caster sugar
  • Bake in the baking oven, or whichever oven you use for cakes, for about 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and taught. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes

Can be served warm or cold. I love serving any apple cake with whipped cream, but it’s up to you.