Tagliata di manzo PLUS marinade for steaks

marinade for steaks

I’ve been sent a George Foreman 5 portion removable plates grill, it’s a fat reducing grill apparently and the latest model has plates that can be removed making the cleaning process a doddle, plus it has a drip tray.

I was very excited to put it to the test and for my first trial I wanted to do one of my favourite Italian dishes – a tagliata.

A tagliata di manzo is a good piece of beef steak grilled lightly, left pink in the middle (medium rare) and then sliced across the grain into thin strips. It can then be served in lots of different ways, sprinkled with rocket and Parmesan shavings, or with pink peppercorns, or with rosemary, olive oil and drizzled with a thick balsamic vinegar before serving.

I decided to go with rocket and baby tomatoes but first I wanted to marinade the meat.

It would be the perfect way to use the last bottle of my Lindeman’s Shiraz which is utterly delicious by the way. Here’s my marinade recipe

Steak Marinade

Olive oil 50 cl
Balsamic vinegar 20 cl
Juice of one lemon
Rock salt
1 spoon of spiced Dukkah (toasted nuts, seeds and spices) leftover from a previous recipe you can make your own spice mix
2 sirloin steaks
1 onion quartered
garlic cloves if desired
Lindeman’s Shiraz – enough to cover the steaks

Making the steak marinade

  • Take a plastic sealable food bag large enough to hold the two steaks and place in a jug whilst you pour in the liquid and ingredients.
  • Add the ingredients as listed above in the order you find them. My quantities are approximate, they are dashes and glugs but hold back on the vinegar and wine as they tend to dry the meat and act as stronger tastes.
  • On adding the meat, remove the bag from the jug and hold the opening whilst placing the steaks inside with the other hand.
  • Add the onion and garlic.
  • Add the wine to cover the steaks and then seal the bag tightly.
  • Lay the bag on the side and allow the steaks to absorb the different tastes.
  • Turn the bag occasionally to ensure all sides get covered.
  • Marinade for a maximum of 24 hours. I prepared my marinade at lunchtime for dinner.

The George Foreman grill

It is very simple to operate, you plug in and switch on with the lid down, once the green light shines it is hot enough to put the food on.

Place your steaks on the grill and shut the lid. Keep an eye on the times. The steak was perfect for husband who likes his well done but I should have taken mine off earlier. Use these guidelines as a rule of thumb – note there’s very little in it.

For a 2cm thick sirloin steak

  • Blue: About 1 min each side
  • Rare: About 1½ mins per side
  • Medium rare: About 2 mins per side
  • Medium: About 2¼ mins per side

For a well-done steak, cook for about 4-5 minutes each side, depending on thickness.

Top tip: I found with my marinaded meat that a lot of liquid was coming out of the steaks during cooking, for this reason I suggest setting your grill up close to the sink for easy emptying of the drip tray, I had to empty once during cooking.

george foreman grill

Tagliata alla rucola e pomodorini

Prepare some fresh rocket on the serving plate and chop some baby tomatoes up in quarters. Have some balsamic vinegar on hand to decorate.

Take the cooked steak and place on a chopping board, with a sharp knife slice the steak into thin strips.

Place the strips on the rocket, grind some fresh sea salt over and scatter the quartered baby tomatoes. Drizzle a line of balsamic vinegar over

I served mine with chips.

tagliata alla rucola

I also had a go at grilling vegetables on the George and was really pleased with the outcome.

veg on the grill


WIN your own George Foreman 5 portion removable plates grill

The lovely people at George Foreman are giving Mari’s World 1 x 5 portion removable plates grill, like the one you see used here, for one lucky reader to win, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be picked at random from all the entries.

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Disclosure: I have been given a George Foreman 5 portion Removable Plates Grill (RRP of £64.99) for the purpose of this post.

Apricot crostata – or apricot jam tart

apricot crostata

One of my favourite memories of Italy is called merenda.

Merenda is an afternoon snack, nothing as fussy as afternoon tea, just a simple, sweet snack to tide you over to dinner time. The time for merenda is usually about 4 ish and you can eat anything from fresh bread with jam, biscuits, budino or crostata if you are lucky enough that someone had the thought to make one. Normally washed down with a fruit tea, juice or espresso.

Crostata is basically a tart, a big tart.

apricot crostata

Made with a base of pasta frolla and covered with your favourite jam, in this case I used the Apricot jam we bought back from France last week.

The quantity of pastry given here is enough for two crostata so I have frozen the other half for next week’s dopo scuola merenda.

The beauty of a crostata in the house is it’s good for merenda, as already mentioned but also good for a slice with a cup of tea whilst watching tv in the evening like husband and I did last night. It’s good for breakfast instead of toast and it’s good for elevenses too.

apricot crostata

Make one and tell me when you enjoyed a slice, here’s the simple recipe which I am also submitting to Mummy Mishaps Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 5 which follows the GBBO on the TV, this week was pies and tarts so Apricot Crostata here you go. Head over to her blog for lots of other fantastic ideas.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Apricot crostata - or massive apricot jam tart
Prep time
Cook time
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A simple and delicious idea for dessert or merenda or even a snack.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
  • 300 g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g butter
  • 130g sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 800g apricot jam
  • egg to brush the pastry with
  1. Place the flour, salt and butter in a mixer and whizz until it's like a breadcrumb mixture.
  2. Turn into a bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest and eggs.
  3. Mix well together with your hands until a pastry is formed.
  4. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  5. Take your pie dish (I have a removable bottom one) and coat the insides with butter and then flour to prevent the pastry sticking.
  6. Roll out the pastry until ¾ mm thick, roll it around your rolling pin and transfer over the pie dish.
  7. Push gently into place making sure it's not stretched and trim the edges for a neat finish.
  8. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork and then cover with the jam spreading evenly over the base.
  9. With the remaining pastry cut long strips about 1cm thick to make the lattice pattern on top.
  10. Place your strips about 3cms apart first one way and then go over the top in the other direction.
  11. Trim the edges and push to the top of the jam for a neat edge.
  12. Brush with eggwash and place in a preheated oven at 180C for about 45 minutes
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Peperonata – a delicious side dish

peperonata side dish

Another delicious recipe I learnt in Italy is peperonata, a popular side dish served with meats and in my humble opinion perfect for barbecues. 

My Italian mother in law would serve peperonata alongside nodini di vitello (veal chops) or pork chops. This saucy accompaniment is a staple recipe in any Italian cookbook as it is simple, quick and tasty PLUS it will do as the main side needing no other food to go with it.

The slow cooking of the peppers softens them and draws out their taste which can be subtly tasted in the sauce and the original recipe can be added to or spiced up as you please.

Peperonata can be served hot or cold and used to accompany meats, fish or like I said at the beginning, a perfect side for a bbq. It can be prepared in advance and if there’s any leftover just add it to a casserole or freeze it.


Prep time
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A fantastic side dish served hot or cold which is great alongside fish or meat and perfect as a bbq side
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion red or white, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 1 k assorted peppers seeded and cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  1. Sautè the onions in a little olive oil and once softened add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  2. Add the peppers to the onion, cover and soften for 10/15 minutes.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes and season, once simmering leave on the lowest heat to keep it ticking over slowly for about 20 minutes.
  4. So long as it doesn't dry out the recipe cannot overcook as all the goodness goes back into the sauce however 30 minutes should be perfect.
  5. Buon appetito!
Try adding chilli flakes to it if you want a bit more spice
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 30 Fat: 0g Saturated fat: 0g Unsaturated fat: 0g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 6g Sugar: 3g Sodium: 43mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg

Risotto Primavera – Sage Multi cooker recipes

risotto primavera

I love risotto and have tried many many different kinds including with stinging nettles and even strawberries and gold leaf once which was a real eye opener and delicious too.

Contrary to popular belief risotto is really simple to make and the traditional Italian method needs a constant eye during the 20 minute cooking time which is why restaurants in Italy often only offer risotto for a minimum of two people.


Risotto is also extremely versatile, you can add practically anything in and come up with an excellent tasty meal. One of my friends from Bologna taught me that with any leftover sauce and meat from the Sunday roast could be the perfect ingredients for a Monday risotto, a tip I have used many a time with leftover gravy and bits of meat chopped up fine.

vegetables diced

One of my all time favourite risottos has to be the risotto primavera which uses a collection of fresh vegetables. You will find many different recipes on the net but basically primavera means Spring so a mix of any vegetables that are in season would be perfect. For this particular risotto primavera I used onion, carrot, courgette, squash and peas but once you gain confidence you will see there are endless combinations of risottos to dream up

risotto primavera

As you know I have been sent a fabulous Sage Multi Cooker and one of the settings is for risotto, having learnt the traditional method I will admit to being sceptical as to what kind of risotto it would produce, a risotto needs to absorb the liquid slowly and it needs adding ladle by ladle to ensure the perfect ‘chicco di riso’ how could this work?

Well the only way was to try it out and I am a changed woman, it produced the fluffiest, tastiest risotto that didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan either!

There again Heston Blumenthal wouldn’t put his name to it would he unless it was a serious piece of kit.

In fact reading on the site you learn that the Sage Multi Cooker risotto setting has a unique cooking system…

It produces risotto by agitating the rice grains with bubbles to release the starch and create a creamy texture, turning itself off once ready. Simple, delicious, home made risotto, without even stirring.

As for timings I had to use the risotto setting twice to cook it to perfection but I am a learner and time will help me get the quantities and timings right I’m sure. Fact is my risotto was spot on Sage Appliances, spot on.

Risotto Primavera
Prep time
Cook time
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A quick and easy risotto to prepare that's full of vegetables
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 1 leek finely diced
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium sized courgette, diced
  • 350g Arborio rice
  • 100ml dry white wine - like Lindeman's Chardonnay
  • 1.3l chicken stock
  • 140g frozen peas
  • a few basil leaves for decoration
  • 100g grated Parmesan
  1. Heat the oil and saute the onion, leek and garlic until soft and golden.
  2. Add the remaining diced vegetables and continue to saute.
  3. Add the rice and saute, mixing so all of the rice is 'toasted'.
  4. Add the wine and allow the rice to absorb the flavour.
  5. Sage Multicooker method (see below for on the gas method)
  6. Add the stock and switch the Sage Multicooker to risotto setting. The Multicooker will cook the rice, once it beeps at the end add the frozen peas and stir through. On the arm setting for a couple of minutes will be sufficient to thaw the peas to a delicious crunchy consistency.
  7. Serve into bowls and garnish with a sprig of basil, offer grated Parmesan.
  8. Risotto on the stove method
  9. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add the stock a couple of ladles at a time and allow the rice to slowly soak it in. Risotto on the stove needs constant attention, stirring frequently to avoid it not sticking and adding ladles of stock when it gets low. Your risotto is cooked when the rice is soft but not soaked.
  10. Serve and garnish as method above.

Pasta speck e radicchio

spaghetti speck and radicchio

Many of you will know I had my daughter and granddaughter over from Italy last week and in their suitcases they brought over some treasures for me, all in the way of good food that I miss over here.

The first product is Speck a juniper flavoured ham originally from Tyrol, it is used in panini, antipasti – served with gherkins and other salamis. It’s also used in risottos and canederli – recipe to follow soon.

The second product is some fresh radicchio, you can find it over here but not as widely and I have only seen it here in the pre prepared salad bags and not nearly enough quantity for me to do anything with. Radicchio is a white veined red leafed chicory, it has a bitter, spicy taste and is delicious in salads or grilled as a side.

I have used the two for a pasta speck e radicchio, ideally I would have used tagliolini but they’re hard to come by in my neck of the woods too so I used spaghetti as personally I think this recipe is better on a long pasta.

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