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    Monday, November 01, 2021

    Simply Spaghetti - Using New Season Asparagus

     The Asparagus season is here and it is beautiful.  Time for lunch
     I felt like a simple Pasta dish what a great way to hero the Spaghetti with Asparagus and some Tomatoes and Garlic

    You will need
    100 gms dried Spaghetti per person
    Olive oil 1 tbs
    Butter 1 tsp
    2 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
    8-10 Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
    2 Asparagus spears (tough ends removed then sliced )
    Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Parmesan Cheese - finely grated 

    Bring a well salted big pot of water to the boil
    when it comes to the boil add the Pasta
    after 7 Minutes, add the Asparagus
    Cook for another 3 minutes 

    In a pan add the Olive oil and Butter on medium heat
    Add the Garlic 
    Let it  cook gently till it becomes soft and fragrant - don't brown
    Add the Tomatoes and let simmer for a few minutes till they are just soft
    Meanwhile grate the Cheese
    Toss the Spaghetti and Asparagus into the Tomatoes
    Season well with freshly ground Black pepper
    Into serving bowl and top with the grated Parmesan Cheese
    Lunch is served

    Tuesday, October 19, 2021

    Croutons - What do to with leftover bread

    This is a bit like... as the saying goes "teaching  your Mother how to suck eggs" 
    But just another way to use up your leftover baguette.

    Yesterday I forgot I had bought a baguette to have with our lunch...silly me... so there it was sitting on the stairs. Shame to waste, so this morning I made croutons 

    So so simple, just slice the baguette,  lay them on a tray, spray with olive oil and 
    sprinkle sea salt flakes over them 
    As easy as that
    Bake in 160 degree C oven for about 15 minutes
    turn the tray around for even baking
    and back in for about another 5 mins

    They should be golden and crunchy 
    Pop them on a rack to cool

    Great with soup
    or with your favourite dip, in this case Hummus dressed with Lemon Olive Oil
    And a couple of leaves of Coriander and few littles of Fresh Chili
    Just to pretty it up


    Monday, September 20, 2021

    Fettucine Cabonara with a Green Twist

    What to do in Lockdown

    Why not make your own Pasta.  
    It's easier that you think. You can either make it totally by hand 
    More of a "cheats" way, use the food processor
    you still have to do some hard work kneading but it's all worth it in the long run

    I had a helper, Granddaughter Cleo was a dab hand at making the pasta
    Both methods are shown here, on this occasion...we did the Food processor method 

    Once you have made your Pasta, roll it into a ball
    Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour
    Take it out and start the roll process
    We have a Pasta Roller, that I purchased in another life

    Not only does it roll it out as thin as you would like it then cuts it into the required style
    Cleo and I decided that Fettucine was what we wanted

    Thought a form of Cabonara was just the ticket 
    When looking for the perfect recipe... I found Ina Garten's Spring Green Spaghetti
    So we adapted it to our taste and it was very tasty indeed 
    Cabonara is quite rich so the addition of the greens made it feel just a bit more healthy

    So once you have made the pasta, Grab a broom, wipe the handle and dust it with flour and hang the noodles over it, to dry out

    So its time to cook and assemble
    You will need
    Approx 400 gms pasta

    8-10 snow peas julienned lengthwise

    1 cup shelled fresh peas (1 pound in the pod), or frozen peas

    12 to 14 thin asparagus, bottom third discarded and tips sliced in 2-inch pieces

    2 tablespoons good olive oil

    5 rashers of Pancetta. (I used streaky bacon) 

    1/2 cup heavy cream

    2 extra-large eggs

    2 extra-large egg yolks

    3/4 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

    5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced diagonally

    1/4 cup minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

    Bring a large pot of well salted water to the boil
    Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes
    Take out a cup of the water and set aside
    Add the snow peas, asparagus and the peas (I used frozen)
    Cook for another 2 minutes longer 
    Drain the pasta and vegetables together

    Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium (10- to 11-inch) sauté pan over medium heat,
    Add the bacon and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.
    Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside

    While the bacon cooks, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water and set aside to heat the bowl. Just before you drain the pasta, pour the water out of the bowl.
    Put the cream, eggs, egg yolks, freshly ground black pepper and some sea salt and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water into the bowl and whisk to combine.

    Immediately, add the hot pasta and vegetables and toss with tongs for a full minute or two, until the pasta absorbs the sauce.

    If necessary add enough reserved hot pasta water, to keep the sauce creamy 

    Add the 3/4 cup Parmesan, the scallions, chives, lemon zest and juice and toss well.

    Add the bacon and serve hot sprinkled with extra chives and Parmesan.

    Voila, dinner is served 


    Saturday, June 05, 2021

    We Love Pasta

    Well I love Pasta and I love to try it in so many ways. I was planning on roasting some prawns but "quelle domag...not in our freezer today, so I had a good look in the fridge and look what I found

    In the fridge was a piece of carrot, a piece of courgette, 1/3 green pepper, half a leek, 1 lonely mushroom and and some the freezer some frozen corn, and some breadcrumbs
    You can use what ever you like but this was such a good and colourful selection
    Plus in the pantry I found some some spaghetti

    So put on a pot of well salted water to boil for the pasta
    Then prep your vegetable

    Grate the carrot and courgette
    Remove all the outside leaves of the leek, wash it and slice 
    Slice the mushroom and the green pepper and you are ready to go 
    Put a pan on the stove and bring up to medium heat
    Chop the bacon and sauté 
    When the water has come to the boil add the spaghetti and cook till just al dente around 6-8 minutes
    Remove the bacon and place in a bowl, add the mushroom

    It does look a little lonely but it was worth it
    Remove and place with the bacon  
    Then add the chopped leeks
    Saute them gently till soft 
    Add the rest of the ingredients including the bacon and mushroom
    Saute till soft
    Throw in a good slurp of wine and turn heat up so that it evaporates

    Meanwhile while this is happening
    In a another pan add some oil... about 2 tbs, 
    Heat till just about smoking and then add the breadcrumbs
    Toss well and cook till they are just nice and toasty
    When the pasta is cooked
    Using your tongs, add it to the vegetables and toss well
    Place on your plate
    Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top and enjoy
    Lunch is served and very good it was too

    Monday, May 10, 2021

     We have a bucket full of onions. Well it was full but we have been using them

    Have to be used...French Onion Soup methinks 

    There a nice lamb bone from last nights roast and after stripping the meat off...(nothing better than cold meat sandwiches)

    I popped the bone into a large pot add some aromatics and

    Voila Lamb stock

    So I peeled...with a few tears...some onions 

    Sliced them and popped into a pot with some butter

    Nice slow cook about 30 minutes and they are soft, sweet and delicious 

    Don’t forget to stir them regularly 

    Don’t want any burnt bits

    Caramelised but not burnt

    Add a dash of white wine and leave to simmer for about 10 mins

    And Voila 

    Lunch is served 

    The traditional way to serve French Onion soup is with a cheese toasted crouton on top but I’m happy with a little chopped parsley 

    And a cold lamb sandwich on plastic white bread


    Saturday, March 20, 2021

    Making The Best Of Leftovers

     I have always been The Leftover Queen, I can't abide throwing good food out. This is not a recipe, just a good tasty idea for Waste Not Want Not... I am also a believer that soup is not just a Winter Dish. It's an AnyTime Dish

    In the fridge were 2 containers of food, leftover from yesterday. Some mushroom soup, incidentally which was store bought. Plus cold boiled potatoes, corn cobs and a little broccoli for that touch of green, all leftover from last night's dinner

    Instead of making croutons to sprinkle on the soup, I decided to chop up the Vege and sprinkle them on simple as that

    The soup needed a little extra zing, so I heated it up with some cream, just enough to thin it down a bit and make it extra creamy.

    Meanwhile I chopped up the potatoes, stripped the corn off the cob, broke up the broccoli, popped them into a pan, on medium heat, which contained some butter

    Turned the heat that the potatoes would get some colour, seasoned them with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    About 4-5 minutes was enough

    I grabbed a pretty serving bowl, filled it up with the hot soup, scattered the Vege on top and                        

    Voila... Lunch and Delicious it was too 

    Sunday, January 17, 2021

    New Way To Use Bagged Salads

    There was a chicken carcass in the fridge, so immediately popped into the pot and I made some beautiful chicken stock
    There was enough to put in the freezer for later and another litre or so to make soup for lunch.
    Except for an onion and 2 sad looking carrots, I was a little low on soup vege
    BUT  also in the fridge was a bag of an Asian Chopped Salad, why don't I use that, after all a 
    really nice mix of vege plus... there is a sesame ginger dressing and some croutony crunchy things...perfect for lunch I thought

    2 tbs olive oil
    1 med onion finely chopped
    2 small carrots grated
    1 bag Asian Vege with little bag croutony things
    1 litre chicken stock
    Sesame and ginger dressing

    In a pot heat the olive oil and add the chopped onions
    Cook till soft then add grated carrot
    Stir and season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Add the Asian Vege and stir plus a little more seasoning 
    when soft add the chicken stock
    Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20-30 minutes

    Before serving add the Sesame and Ginger dressing

    Into your soup bowl, and maybe a few crunchy "croutony" things on the top 
    Plus some chopped chives for colour 

    Perfect lunch
    Will do that again