Recipe of the Week – 24th June 2019 – Quick Tagliatelle with Homemade Pesto

This is a variation on a regular tea for us, and probably my daughter’s favourite meal! I do make my own pasta at home, but it’s not an option on a busy weekday evening, so I’ve cheated and used shop-bought! This is definitely one of those meals that looks and tastes impressive, but only takes 10 minutes to make. I hope you use it as much as we do…

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

300g fresh tagliatelle

100g watercress, rinsed (I used a combination of watercress, spinach and rocket)

50g whole cashews

1 clove of garlic, crushed

50g frozen peas

1 courgette, cut into ribbons, or spiralised

Small handful of basil

20g grated vegetarian Parmesan

3 tbs olive oil

2 roasted red peppers, finely sliced

10g green olives

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Defrost the peas in a microwave for 4 minutes then add half to a large saucepan with the pasta and courgette strips. Add salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then drain and set aside.

2. Add the cashews to a small frying pan and toast gently.

3. To make the pesto – In a food processor add the cashews, half of the watercress, garlic, Parmesan, basil, oil, remaining peas and seasoning. Blend until smooth (I prefer mine a bit lumpy!)

4. In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the pesto and add the remaining watercress and peas, then add the pepper strips and olives. Stir well to combine and serve immediately with toast or garlic bread.

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Recipe of the Week – 3rd June 2019 – Easy Vegan Coconut and Mango Puds!

It has been a while since I have been able to post a new Recipe of the Week here as 2019 has so far proven to be very busy. Hopefully this recipe will make up for it though! My children recently helped out on a coconut shy run by my father-in-law and as a result we have some spare coconuts around the house which need eating! This no-cook recipe is very easy and was certainly popular with my children after all of their efforts!

Makes 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 fresh medium-sized coconut, shelled, with the milk retained

1 large mango, peeled and pulped

1 x 400ml tin of reduced fat coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

Sprig of fresh mint leaves to garnish

Method

1. Place the coconut pieces, mango pulp, coconut water, coconut milk and vanilla essence in a smoothie maker or blender and whizz until smooth(ish!)

2. Pour equally into ramakins and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to set.

3. Garnish with the mint leaves and enjoy!

Recipe of the Week – 29th April 2019 – Vegetable Jambalaya

To me, this recipe is the definition of comfort food – it is warming, varied, mildly spicy, and very filling! Originating from Louisiana, Jambalaya has French, African and Spanish influences, and is originally chicken-based. I have previously tried Quorn as a chicken substitute, but actually this is good enough with vegetables alone (as is often the case!). Just the thing for a rainy April weekend!

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 peppers of varying colours, finely chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped

100g French dwarf beans, roughly chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 x 400ml can of good quality chopped tomatoes

500ml good quality stock from bouillon

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tsp each of dried basil, thyme and oregano

300g long grain white rice, rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, celery and peppers. Sauté gently for 10 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and chilli and sauté for 2 minutes.

3. Add the herbs, paprika and sweet potato, stir well then add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Finally add the rice, beans, stock and seasoning and simmer, covered for a further 10 minutes.

5. Stir well then serve immediately with fresh bread or a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 4th March 2019 – Easy Pear Cake

Baking is not something that comes naturally to me – I don’t know if it’s my lack of confidence, the numerous disasters of the past, or the seemingly precise measuring but I feel that anything could greet me when I open that oven door after 40 minutes or so! This recipe though is a bit more robust than most, and is straightforward enough for me to feel a bit more confidence that something edible will result.

Serves 8

Ingredients

5 medium pears, peeled and cut into large chunks

215g plain flour

200g sugar

2 cloves, finely ground

Pinch of salt

60ml milk

2 eggs

50g butter, cut into small cubes

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190C.

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl then add the milk.

3. Add the flour, sugar, cloves and salt and mix together well.

4. Gently fold in the pear chunks.

5. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin then scatter the butter cubes on top.

6. Bake for 50 minutes until golden brown.

7. Allow to cool then turn out and serve with custard or ice cream.

Recipe of the Week – 11th February 2019 – Sweet Potato and Courgette Rostis

I was secretly very pleased when these came out of the oven as every time that I have ever tried to make rostis of any sort it has been a complete disaster! I have had ones that have burnt, shrunk, but mostly collapsed. This recipe, however seems to combine the right ingredients to hold them together, but provides a nice mixture of flavours and textures, and they go with almost anything (I made a quick ratatouille).

Makes 6

Ingredients

2 large floury potatoes, peeled

1 large sweet potato, peeled

2 courgettes

2 spring onions, chopped

4 tbs sunflower oil

3 tbs plain flour

1 tsp whole grain mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Roughly grate the potatoes, sweet potatoes and courgette into a large bowl.

3. Pour the mixture out onto a clean tea towel and compress to wring out as much moisture as possible. Return to the bowl and add in the remaining ingredients. Mix well to combine.

4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan then place the ingredients in large rosti rings (I used cake rings!) and fry until brown, turning once.

5. Carefully transfer the rostis to a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately.

Recipe of the Week – 14th January 2019 – Thai Spinach Soup with Noodles

Sometimes in the Winter months nothing but a warming bowl of soup will really do after being outside and this recipe is a great twist on the soups that I’m used to making. It’s low in fat in packed full of spinach, so it’s also very good for you, although you probably wouldn’t guess!

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tbs olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 medium potatoes, chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

300g fresh spinach

1 small green chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

800ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

1 x 400ml can of coconut milk

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to season

Lemon juice

For the noodles;

300g straight to wok noodles

1 large free range egg

2 tbs milk

1 tsp Chinese Five Spice

Method

1. Place the oil in a large saucepan, and sauté the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes. Add the potato and cumin, cover and cook gently for a further 10 minutes.

2. Add the stock, bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk, coriander, lemon juice and spinach, stir to combine, then allow to cool.

4. Pour in a liquidiser and blend until smooth. Season to taste. Return to the pan and reheat gently.

5. To make the noodles, add to a preheated wok, then beat the egg, Chinese Five Spice and milk together and pour over. Fry for 4 minutes until set.

6. Serve the soup hot topped with the noodles.

Recipe of the Week – 7th January 2019 – Peperonata Spaghetti

Happy New Year everyone! If like me, you have had two weeks of festive excess and want something light, healthy, yet tasty and filling, then you might like to try this recipe. It’s really simple to make, but certainly fills you up. It’s also vegan, and there’s not a sprout to be seen!

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 large onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 large peppers, of various colours, deseeded and thinly sliced

A small handful of olives, halved

2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Add the oil to a large frying pan, then gently sauté the onion and garlic for 10 minutes until soft.

2. Add the pepper slices, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper, stir well and simmer for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add the olives and stir well to combine.

4. Serve immediately over a bed of your favourite pasta (I used fine spaghetti).