Baked Cannelloni Cake

Friday, 11 April 2014

It is amazing how powerful words can be. How meaningless ideas floating in the depths of our mind suddenly seem to fit together and make sense.

This is something that doesn't happens too often, and maybe just because of this, when it happens, it’s like a breath of fresh air that makes us feel a bit wiser and slightly older too.

In my case, the trigger is usually something I hear or see. Whether it's a song, someone else’s conversation (yes, it’s something I cannot help, especially if it seems interesting!), a suggestive image or a mundane scene.

This time it is a quote which has put into words something I deeply believe in:

“Enthusiasm is a form of social courage”.

Sometimes, the word “enthusiasm” is used with a negative connotation, intended to discourage the enthusiast from achieving their goals. The reasons? Many and varied. From the fearful who are afraid of our failure, to the envious that just cannot cope with our achievements, or the person who feels overwhelmed by our keenness.

When I was a child, I was often told off for showing too much enthusiasm. I would like to think my parents and teachers thought I was too keen to achieve unrealistic goals, and they were just trying to protect me from feeling frustrated and disappointed in the future. In whatever I started, no matter what it was, amazing plausible futures raised up in front of me. Once, I was given an artist kit for Christmas and I spent hours oil painting and wondering in which famous art gallery my artworks were going to be displayed first. A few years later I tried to play the guitar, and I wanted to perform my very own version of “Stairway to Heaven” in the Royal Theatre. I played basketball, and I could see myself playing with Glen Rice in the NBA.

I am an enthusiast. Yes, that’s what I am.

And guess what? I have felt frustrated, disappointed, sad and useless a lot of times in my life. But I can assure you that most of the time it hasn't been due to my enthusiasm. I have succeeded some times and I have failed some more. But I strongly believe that the dreams that come true are the dreams you didn't even know you had.

And trust me, I'm pretty rubbish at painting, but this hasn't stopped me, just because I enjoy doing it. I have never managed to play the guitar, but I reconsider learning again every time I see one. And who knows, maybe I will meet Glen Rice one day!!!

This week´s recipe is an impressive baked cannelloni pasta cake stuffed with beef and red wine ragout. A favourite in my kitchen and a perfect Sunday meal.


1 Packet of Cannelloni Pasta
300gr Mince Beef
150ml Passata or Tomato Sauce
1 Carrot
50gr Mushrooms
1 Onion
150ml Red Wine
100gr Grated cheese
3tbsp Extra Virging Olive Oil
2 Springs Fresh Rosemary
A pinch of salt


For the Ragout

Chop the onions, mushrooms and carrot. Pour the olive oil in a pan and stir fry  the vegetables together medium heat. When brown and soft add the rosemary, salt and the red wine. Stir for around 10 minutes. Add the beef and stir until completely cooked. Finally add the tomato sauce and leave it set.

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 250ยบ.

Immerse the cannelloni in hot water around 10 minutes without boiling. Grease a spring form pan and tightly pack pasta into it, standing each piece on end.

 Fill in the cannelloni with the ragout and pour some more over the top. Bake for around 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake again until cheese is crusty and golden. Remove from oven, and let stand 15 minutes. Unmold and serve.

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