Sunday, 28 August 2011

Courgette, Lemon and Chilli Fettuccine

I had a friend round for dinner the other night and made her this simple, summery pasta dish. We also had a bit too much Prosecco but that's optional. Oh and if you're interested in what we had for dessert check out my previous post!

To serve two:

2 large courgettes

200g fettuccine pasta or similar

4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped

1/2 a red chill, deseeded and finely chopped

1 egg yolk

Approx 40g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp creme fraiche

zest of 1 lemon

1.Coarsely grate the courgettes, then place in a sieve over a bowl. Press to squeeze out all the liquid - this may take a few mins, but try to drain away as much as you can.

2.Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Meanwhile, heat a large, non-stick frying pan, then dry-fry the bacon, stirring often, until crisp.

3. Add the chilli and cook for 1 min more, then tip in the courgettes and cook on a high heat for 2-3 mins.

4.Mix together the egg yolks, cheese, cream and lemon zest. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Tip everything back into the pasta pan and toss together. Divide into bowls to serve, with extra Parmesan.

Apricot and Almond Tart

Definitely the nicest thing I've made for a while. We ate it warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream. I suggest you do the same!

Line a 23cm/9inch loose-bottomed tart tin with sweet shortcrust pastry. I have a confession here...this was the first time I've actually made my own pastry. I've always thought it was one of those technical things that I might mess up, but I used Rachel Allen's recipe from her "Bake" cookbook and it was so simple. Maybe it was beginner's luck, but it turned out perfectly crisp. Find the recipe here.

Then here's how to make the filling:

1 medium egg, plus 1 egg yolk

50g unsalted butter, melted

100g golden caster sugar

100g ground almonds

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Spoon into the pastry case.

Now top with some drained tinned apricots and sprinkle over some flaked almonds.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/Gas 6 for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

That's it! Be prepared to feel very proud of yourself..and you don't have to tell anyone how easy it was!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Simple Pleasures #3

Just an awesome sandwich I made today. Pesto, mozzarella, tomato, watercress. Organic wholemeal. Very nice.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Traditional Rock Buns

If you're British, it's very likely you will remember making these as a child. If not, you were perhaps raised on a more exotic diet and these may not seem like the most appealing of teatime treats. After all, they only contain a few rather unexciting ingredients. But sometimes simple is best... and even if it's just because chipping my tooth on a rock bun makes me feel five again, I can't help but feel comforted by the sight of these coming out of the oven.
I used a recipe from the beautiful Leon "Naturally Fast Food" cookbook, and was very pleased with the results. However, the recipe claimed to make 12 but for some reason we only got 9 (and they weren't enormous). Though this may just be because I left Wonderboy to do most of the work so a lot of flour did end up out of the bowl!

180g plain flour

85g butter

85g granulated sugar

a pinch of ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

85g sultanas or raisins

1 small egg

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

2. Sieve the flour into a large clean bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and sultanas and mix thoroughly.

4. Whisk the egg and add it to the bowl, mixing it in with your hands. The mixture will seem dry but don't worry that's how it's supposed to be!

5. Lightly flour one or two baking trays and arrange the mixture in 12 heaps, leaving space between for them to spread.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool. The buns should be hard when cool, but slightly soft in the middle.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Try This..

Broaden your mind! Expand your horizons! Throw caution to the wind!

Seriously though you need to try this chocolate/sea salt combination from Lindt, recommended to me by a friend. It's pretty intense and slightly strange at first, but if you leave the chocolate to savour in your mouth then the salty flavour comes through gradually, leaving a bizarrely pleasant savoury taste. You won't be able to resist another piece. Then you'll eat most of it, leave the wrapper torn and messy looking on the coffee table and therefore totally unphotogenic for your blog. Ok well that's just me, but you get the idea..

Monday, 15 August 2011

Creamy Pasta with Prawns and Broccoli

A great thing happened in my kitchen the other day...the Wonderboy ate prawns for the first time! Hooray and hurrah! He said they tasted "like fish and peas" which, weirdly, is kind of right. Once again, I have learnt to never underestimate the sophistication of a child's palate.

This makes for a handy emergency dish, as it requires very few ingredients and I even used frozen prawns and frozen broccoli. Simply put some pasta shapes onto boil (I used rigatoni). Add the broccoli for the last 3 minutes of the cooking time. Now drain the pasta and broccoli, making sure to retain some of the cooking liquid seperately for later.

Return to the pan. Now add the prawns, a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche, some freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used half a lemon for 2 adult-sized portions), and plenty of salt and pepper. Put over a low heat, stirring until hot. This is where you can add some of the cooking water back to the pan if the sauce is a little thick.

Stir through a fresh herb of you have some-I used basil, though I think mint or parsley would also work well.

Then just act super casual, like it's no big deal and "hey all 4 year olds eat seafood, chill out man", and see if your little one digs in..

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Pretty much the perfect Sunday today. A picnic in the park (where we seemed to bump into everyone we knew so felt very popular)....

....followed by picking blackberries from the ridiculously wild bramble that has taken over the side of our garden. This is where my laissez faire approach to gardening has really paid off. We managed to get over half a kilo today and I'd say there's about another kilo still to ripen!

Now I just have to decide what to do with them all...any great blackberry recipes you guys know of? So far I'm most excited by blackberry ripple ice cream. Actually that's a lie. Honestly I am most excited about making blackberry gin!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Cosy Club

Went here for the first time last night- the newly opened Cosy Club in Bath's Southgate district. Having heard good things about it, and already being a fan of their other bar in Bath 'The Velo Lounge', we were very excited to give it a try. Mostly I was keen to get my hands on their tapas menu and enjoy a nice cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the balcony terrace, which overlooks the streets below so is an excellent people-watching spot!

There is a good selection of tapas (aswell as other mains on the menu such as burgers, salads and pasta dishes) and you can choose three dishes for £8 which is, I think, very good value.

FYI if you go on a "Tapas Tuesday" you also get a free glass of wine!

Some of our choices included chorizo cooked in garlic and red wine, slow cooked five-spice pork belly, minted peas with feta and spring onions, and crayfish tails in a chilli tomato sauce. YUM!

After our food we moved inside for some cocktails. I have to say the decor is one of the best things about this place-an eclectic mix of colours and textures, with oil paintings on the walls, mismatched cushions on the bar stools and Victorian lampshades hanging over the gorgeous bar.

Did I mention the delicious raspberry margherita? It was...well, delicious. I came for the food, but it may just be this new cocktail discovery that keeps me coming back...

Monday, 1 August 2011

Emergency Strawberry Tarts

Ok, I know my life must sound incredibly twee that I would need such a thing as "emergency strawberry tarts". But...well, yes sometimes people show up and I want to give them something sweet. I like to give people cake when they come my house. Sometimes I even wear a pinny. That's just how it is.

Anyway I trust you guys enough to make this confession...sometimes I buy ready-made sweet pastry cases and keep them in the cupboard. Now, reader, you might be the type of person to spot such a thing in another person's shopping basket and briefly judge them. But hear me out! Would you not also be super pleased to arrive at someone's house, pretty much unannounced, to be greeted with a plate of these beauties?

Make a strawberry coulis by simmering some chopped strawberries and a handful of caster sugar, for approximately 8 minutes until soft. "Mush" (technical term there) with a fork until you have a thick sauce.

Now whip up some cream with a drop of vanilla extract. Fill the cases with the cream. Top with some coulis, fresh strawberries, and a good drizzle of more coulis.

And by all means, if you have more time and haven't been at work all day, make your own pastry. You'll be the better person for it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...