Thursday, 22 September 2011

Recipe Shed - Spices

I missed out on Recipe Shed last week because of a busy week and lack of inspiration. On Meal Planning Monday I lamented the fact that one of this week's dishes would have been great to link up to Recipe Shed last week, as it is a veggie dish. I realised tonight that it is also slightly spicy, so I am linking it up to this week's Recipe Shed, where the theme set by Reluctant Housedad is "Spices" :)

I have taken a *tiny* bit of liberty here as the "spices" in this dish are verging on negligable. But it does involve spices I use in practically every dish I make so I'm linking it anyway. Also the lovely Seren who always comments on my MPM posts said how nice it sounded so this recipe is for her as well.

This is a big favourite of mine, loosely adapted from a Rosemary Conley recipe. I add lots of chilli flakes or use sweet chilli Philly because I like mine really spicy. The beauty of this dish is that you can tinker with the ingredients to suit your taste.

Garlic Mushroom Pasta
(serves 1)

Cook some pasta - any type, I used wholewheat fusilli - according to pack instructions. As this is for one person, just cook as much as you would have normally.

In a small frying pan or wok, heat 1 TSP oil and fry off a clove of chopped garlic and 1 chopped spring onion.

Add some sliced mushrooms - I used half a packet of baby button mushrooms, I guess you just add as many or little as you like and fry off til softened.

Dollop 2 teaspoons of Philly cream cheese and stir to coat the mushrooms and spring onions. Add a splash of milk to make a creamy sauce, and a big pinch of chilli flakes. Simmer gently while the pasta is cooking. If it starts to thicken too much, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan, or add more milk.

When your pasta has cooked, drain and tip into the sauce. Stir thoroughly and serve immediately.

Apologies for the crap picture. We have bought a new fancy-pants Canon camera with wedding present money so in a month or so my pictures will be MUCH more impressive! (We've made an executive decision not to use it til we're both in the country....!)

For more spicy recipes head over to Reluctant Housedad's blog!

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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Spaghetti aribiatta

This is one of my staple dishes, and one of the first things I made myself when I moved into my new house. I watched an episode of Saturday Kitchen whereby James Martin made pork in an aribiatta sauce and I adapted what he did to create this recipe. I have tried to give quantities to make it easier for you, as I tend to make this off the top of my head for just me.

Spaghetti Aribiatta
(serves 2)

Cook enough spaghetti for 2 according to pack instructions

Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan, and fry off 1/2 an onion and 1 chopped clove of garlic. Add some cubed salami (optional but REALLY tasty) and fry until golden.

Add 400g of chopped tomatoes and lower heat. Sprinkle in 1 tsp chilli flakes (or less if you prefer - I like mine spicy!) and 1/2 TBSP of sugar - this really brings out the taste of the tomatoes.

Simmer until the sauce is reduced, and take off the heat if spaghetti is still cooking.

Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain (retaining some of the cooking water) and add to the sauce. Add a dribble of cooking water to help the sauce adhere to the pasta. Toss the spaghetti and sauce together.

Serve with grated parmesan and some torn up basil leaves, if you have them (I didn't).

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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Recipe Shed - Sausages

Many thanks to the Reluctant Housedad who has devoted this week's Recipe Shed to sausages, after I had a small paddy at him the other week *blush*

Jewhurst and I made this a few weeks ago while he was staying over. The original recipe for this stew comes from the good people over at BBC Good Food, but after making it the first time Jewhurst remarked that it would be nice with some spuds in it as well, a la Irish Stew.

We had a little play around with ingredients and timings and came up with this:

Sausage Stew with Potatoes
(Serves 4)

Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in deep frying pan or large casserole. Fry 12-16 chipolata sausages until browned (you'll probably have to do it in batches) – remove and chop into pieces when cooled slightly.

Cook 1 onion and 4 chopped cloves of garlic in the same pan, adding splash of water if they start to catch.

Add a 350g jar of ready made tomato sauce (I used Dolmio), 450ml chicken stock, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, and 1tsp tomato paste. Bring to a bubbling simmer.

Add the chopped sausages and 500g potatoes to the pan (small baby new potatoes or larger ones cut in half), lower heat, and simmer for 40mins or until potatoes are cooked.

Enjoy with a plenty of crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

This is perfect warming food - a great dish to have now that the weather is starting to turn. It also freezes/reheats well.

If you have a sausage recipe to share, or are looking for inspiration, why not head over to Reluctant Housedad's blog and take a look?

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Macaroni and cheese

When I was a wee young thing I would often go to my Nanny's house to stay overnight or for a weekend. My big treat to have when I was there was macaroni cheese. As a child I loved carbs and I loved cheese - even if I didn't eat much else - so this was heaven on a plate. I don't want to do my Nanny a disservice as she was an amazing woman and great cook, but her way of making macaroni cheese was to cook the pasta and simply stir through some grated cheddar. I use this method myself when I fancy something comforting but not time consuming. However this evening I was watching an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, in which Ina Garten made macaroni and cheese for herself and her husband Jeffrey, and I took a real notion to make myself proper macaroni cheese. I didn't follow Ina's recipe because, bless her heart, she always makes enough to feed a small army. Instead I googled it and came up with one from the BBC Good Food website. I made a few changes but you can see the original recipe here. It is perfect Friday night comfort food.

Macaroni Cheese with Bacon
(serves 4)

Cook 250g of macaroni (or in my case, fusilli) in a large pan of salted boiling water until cooked. Drain and set aside

Meanwhile, grill 4 rashers of bacon until crispy.

Melt 40g of unsalted butter in another saucepan, slightly larger than the one you have cooked the pasta in, and add 40g of plain flour. Stir to form a roux and cook for a minute.

Gradually whisk in 1 pint/600ml of milk, and continue to whisk for 10-15 mins until a thick sauce is formed. By the way, don't panic if it all looks like a watery lumpy mess. As my lovely Twitter friends assured me, just keep whisking and it'll be fine!

Add salt and pepper to the sauce, as well as a pinch of paprika.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to hot.

Remove the sauce from the hob, add 150g grated cheddar and 50g of Parmesan cheese (leave behind a handful to sprinkle later), plus the crumbled up bacon. Stir through the cooked pasta and transfer to a suitably sized baking dish.

Top with some breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese, and pop under the grill until the cheese is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

Enjoy :)

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Recipe Shed: Hand-me-downs

This week's Recipe Shed over at Reluctant Housedad asks us to think about those recipes which we have had handed down from someone else. I have chosen one which my Mother in Law (to be) gave to me the weekend Jewhurst and I got engaged. Unfortunately as soon as you put the word "balls" into a title it automatically makes you want to snigger like a small schoolboy but try to look past the unfortunate wording and you will find that this recipe makes a delicious and incredibly moreish snack to enjoy with a cup of tea! There is pretty much always a box of these on the go at Jewhurst's house, and I am touched that his mum shared the recipe for me so that when he moves here he can have some treats to remind him of home!

Coconut Balls
(makes approx 22)

Crush 10 digestive biscuits into sandy crumbs; add 5 level TBSP drinking chocolate and 5 level TBSP of dessicated coconut

Melt 2 oz margarine and add to mixture along with a small tin of sweetened condensed milk*

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut and toss in some more dessicated coconut to creat a coating on the outside.

* My MiL makes a footnote at the bottom to say that you can't buy small tins of condensed milk, so she either doubles the quantity of coconut balls, or finds another recipe calling for a small tin of condensed milk!

If you have a hand-me-down recipe to share, or fancy noseying at other people's, why not head over to Reluctant Housedad's blog and take a look!

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Recipe Shed