Sunday, 28 August 2011


As nice as it is to stick to what you know about baking, every now and then it’s good to challenge skills with something ridiculously complicated (or, ridiculous for me – someone who’s more the “throw it all together and see what happens” kind of cook).

I must confess that I’m very easily swayed by what I see on tv – foodwise. Watching The Great British Bake Off right now makes me want to create whatever it is they’re cooking up each week. An episode of last season’s Desperate Housewives inspired me to make a pineapple upside-down cake when we visited my mother-in-law that weekend. And so, watching a re-run of Everybody Loves Raymond one early weekday morning put the thought in my head to try braciole.

I spent a while researching recipes – it’s not one found in an average, all-purpose cookbook. I settled on this one by Hal Licino as he explained a bit of braciole background as well as giving an achievable-looking recipe, and also because the first comment is from someone who was also put onto braciole because of Everybody Loves Raymond (I don’t really even like the show very much…)

Braciole is essentially a thin piece of tenderised steak that’s spread with a mix of breadcrumbs, cheese, pine nuts, parsley, prosciutto and currants. It’s then rolled up and cooked for hours in a sauce.

I didn’t actually make the sauce in Hal’s recipe – I just did a basic tomato sauce with thyme, garlic and carrots. I also had the braciole cooking for only 2.5 hours. It was very good, but I didn’t measure each ingredient evenly so some flavours came through more than others. Next time I’ll probably whiz everything together in a food processor first.

(Any veggies out there…you might not want to look at these pics)

Pounded, filled and rolled. Nobody seems to sell baking string,  so I had to use rather dangerous-looking combination of toothpicks to hold them together. Thankfully, all were accounted for later and we didn't eat one accidentally… 

Be warned, though – removing toothpicks from hot meat is actually a little painful.

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