Family

Dinner

Often when touring our shows, we'll find ourselves in a strange part of the world exhausted and damn hungry.

 

Sometimes the rain pours outside, the collective interest in sightseeing (and indeed exploring local pubs) reaches its uncomfortable zenith and the prospect of sitting together in front of someone's greasy laptop to watch Mean Girls (again) becomes an appropriate idea for the evening's entertainment. In these moment, the mantle is placed on one or two Wardrobe Ensemble company members to feed the rest. When someone shouts "I'll cook tonight." A cacophony of grateful sighs are heard across the theatre, flat, hostel or digs that we find ourselves.

 

What you'll find here are a few recipes that feed a large theatre company, family or indeed small, hungry cult. Most are vegetarian, all are pretty cheap and easy.

Tom's Melanzane Parmigiana

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • thyme sprigs

  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped

  • 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 3 tsp golden caster or granulated sugar

  • 6 large aubergines, sliced lengthways as thinly as you can

  • 100g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated

  • 85g white breadcrumb

  • 50g pine nut

  • 2 x 125g balls vegetarian mozzarella cheese, torn into small chunks

  • handful basil leaves

 

 

Method

 

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (or wide saucepan), add the garlic, thyme and sage, and cook gently for a few mins. Tip in the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and gently simmer for 20-25 mins until thickened a little.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a griddle (or frying) pan. Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil, then griddle in batches. You want each slice softened and slightly charred, so don’t have the heat too high or the aubergine will char before softening. Remove to a plate as you go.

  3. In a large baking dish, spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base. Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside. Top the sauce with a layer or two of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over a bit more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and basil leaves. Repeat, layering up – and finish with the last of the tomato sauce. Scatter over the cheesy breadcrumbs and chill for up to 24 hrs, or bake straight away.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bake for 30-40 mins until the top is crisp and golden, and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 mins, then scatter with basil leaves and serve.

 

We serve with A hefty green salad, garlic bread and pesto pasta to bulk it all up. 

 

Hannah's Fish Parcel 

 

Ingredients

 

  • fish

  • veg

  • ginger

  • coriander leaves

  • soy sauce

  • garlic

  • fresh chilli

 

Method

 

  1. Put some fish in a square a tin foil (you will ultimately turn the square into a parcel so make sure it's big enough.) Add spring onions and vegetables of your choice - green beans or asparagus or carrot sticks or similar. Crush a garlic clove and spread on the fish. Add fresh ginger and chilli and coriander leaves. Pour in some soy sauce and then some water, and then scrunch your parcel closed. Cook in the oven for 15 mins or in the dishwasher for a cycle.

 

 

 

Hannah's Braised Beef Ragu (not suitable for vegetarians (obviously!))

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

Serves 4-6

  • 100g pancetta, diced

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 white onions, peeled and finely diced 

  • 1 celery rib, finely diced1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

  • 8 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

  • 600-800g boneless beef in a single piece (braising steak)

  • 500ml red wine

  • 400ml passata

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Salt and black pepper

  • Extra stock or simply water

  • 500g dried or fresh pasta

  • Parmesan, for serving

 

 

Method

 

1. In a large, heavy-based pan with a lid, fry the pancetta in the olive oil until it has rendered its fat, then add the vegetables and parsley and cook until soft and wilted – about 10 minutes.

 

2. Add the beef to the pan, turning to brown on all sides. Raise the heat a little, add the wine and let that bubble and evaporate for a few minutes before adding the passata, bay leaves, a pinch of salt and grinds of pepper.

 

3. Lower the heat so the sauce simmers gently, then cover the pan for two hours or until the meat is very tender and the sauce reduced and thick but still very much a sauce – check by lifting the lid from time to time, adding stock or water if the sauce seems too thick. Remove the meat and save it for the second course or another day (you could of course add some back into the sauce).

 

4. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt, stir, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reheat the sauce if it has cooled. Tip the pasta into a large warmed bowl, add a handful of grated parmesan and toss, add the sauce and toss again. Divide between bowls, handing round more parmesan for those who want it. Serve meat as a second course with green sauce, perhaps.

 

 

Hannah's Chocolate Guinness Cake

 

Ingredients

 

Serves 12­-14

  • 250ml (9fl oz) Guinness

  • 250g (9oz) unsalted butter

  • 80g (3oz) cocoa powder

  • 400g (14oz) caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 140ml (5fl oz) buttermilk

  • 280g (10oz) plain flour

  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • 50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter, softened

  • 300g (10½oz) icing sugar

  • 125g (4½oz) full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)

  • Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

  • one 23cm (9in) diameter spring-form cake tin

 

Method

 

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base of the tin with baking parchment.

2. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid. Mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk by hand in a jug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.

3. Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Using the mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, set on a low speed, pour in the contents of the pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cake is cold to the touch before you frost it.

5. Using the electric whisk or the freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter and it is fully combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix in a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

6. Place the cooled cake on to a plate or cake card and top generously with the cream cheese frosting. The cake can be decorated with a light dusting of cocoa powder.

 

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