Tuesday, 20 September 2016

PANCETTA, MINT & BROAD BEAN PASTA

I am missing being able to cook like I used to - at the moment we are living off Cook Food or simple recipes that I have made before such as Chorizo Carbonara (our new favourite). I am still religiously saving new recipes that I want to cook…..hopefully once my baby hits the 3 month mark and life gets a little easier (apparently)…..I will be able to start making them!

This was another quick recipe and it took around 20 minutes including preparing the ingredients.

Ingredients for 4 people:

200g pancetta
1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed
300g fresh broad beans
400g pasta
Extra virgin olive oil
200ml hot vegetable stock
4 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
40g pecorino cheese, plus extra to serve



Start by preparing the ingredients - slice the spring onions, skin any broad beans if necessary (I didn't know how to do this so left it), grate the cheese, cut the mint and make up the stock.

Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water until al dente according to the packet's instructions (mine took 9 minutes).



Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pancetta and spring onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until starting to crisp up. Add the broad beans and pour in the hot stock. Cook for another 3 minutes.





Reserving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta and then combine it with the broad beans, stock, spring onion and pancetta mix. If necessary add some of the cooking water - we didn't need to.



Finally stir in the cheese, mint (save a few leaves for garnishing) and lemon juice.




Serve with an extra sprinkling of cheese and mint and season if necessary.



This was much better than I was expecting - I thought it might be a bit bland but it was really delicious - very fresh - I forget how much I love mint in a recipe. My daughter Arabella wasn't so much of a fan of the broad beans and so when I make it again I will try peas as an alternative although I thought the broad beans worked brilliantly.

Hopefully next recipe I make will be a non pasta one as that is all I seem to eat at the moment much to Arabella and Pascal's delight!
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Saturday, 3 September 2016

CHICKEN & TARRAGON PASTA

Another day, another pasta recipe…..I think we might actually work our way through this entire recipe book! We had actually cooked this before but it was when Olympia was two weeks old or something so there was no way I could blog it….things are slightly calmer now so here we are. This recipe took slightly longer than previous ones as you need to marinate the chicken for 15 minutes (I used that time to prepare all the other ingredients) and then it took a further 15 minutes or so.

Ingredients for 4 people:

450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (about 3 breasts)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 unwaxed lemon, juice and zest
1 tbsp olive oil
125g frozen broad beans, defrosted and skinned (I forgot to defrost)!
250ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped
400g pasta (any shape)
Salt and pepper



Firstly don't forget to defrost the broad beans!

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, thinly slice the garlic, zest and juice the lemon and then mix all together in a bowl. Cover and leave to marinate in a cool place for 15 minutes.



I used this time to measure out the other ingredients, boil the water for the pasta and chop the tarragon. 

Once the chicken is ready, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes stirring continuously.



Just after you start your chicken, also start your pasta. Cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions in a pan of salted boiling water - mine took around 8-9 minutes.


Add the broad beans and cook for a further 2 minutes until the chicken is golden and cooked through.



Stir in the creme fraiche, tarragon and remaining lemon zest and juice. Season and simmer for another couple of minutes - you want it hot but not boiling.





Once the pasta is ready, drain thoroughly, reserving a ladleful of the cooking water. Finally mix together the pasta and the sauce. If it looks a little dry, add a little of the leftover pasta water. We added a splash.




Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and enjoy!



I had liked this the first time we cooked it and I enjoyed it once again. I am not really a huge chicken fan but it goes so well with the tarragon and lemon, very flavoursome. Plus the broad beans are a great addition - next time I need to remember to defrost them first though as mine were slightly hard! 

This recipe would also work with salmon and dill instead of chicken and tarragon.

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

BROAD BEAN & GOATS' CHEESE SALAD

Pascal's new recipe book of 200 pasta recipes is excellent - at the moment we aren't using any other cook book - probably the reason I am struggling with my baby weight! There are recipes for everyone in it and some are very different to what I would normally choose.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, Arabella is a goats' cheese fanatic so she decided we should try this recipe. It is a pasta salad and it took about 15-20 minutes to cook.

Ingredients for 4 people:

250g ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
300g shelled broad beans, fresh or frozen (I didn't shell mine and mine were frozen)
300g dried pasta such as farfelle or penne
200g goats' cheese, crumbled
20 basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper



Start by putting the tomatoes and garlic in a food processor and blitz until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Tip into a large bowl, stir in the oil and vinegar and season. I did 3 garlic cloves by mistake - it definitely doesn't need more than 2!




Cook the broad beans in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet's instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water and repeat. Apparently now you are meant to shell the broad beans - I didn't bother with this part as it looked far too time consuming but I don't think it mattered! Stir the beans into the tomato mixture and leave them to marinate while you cook the pasta.



Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente (according to the packet instructions - mine took 8 minutes). Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.




Stir the pasta into the tomato and broad bean mixture and then add the basil and the goats' cheese and toss together. Season according to taste and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.






We were all very pleasantly surprised with this recipe - it tasted really good. I was shocked by how much Arabella enjoyed it - a good way to get veggies into kids. We all commented how we would like it as a hot pasta as well and I will definitely be blending the tomatoes like this again as it is a great way to make a sauce. Another successful recipe - perfect hot or cold and as a main or a side.

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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

PROSCIUTTO & PORCINI PASTA

Life has changed dramatically since I have had my daughter - there has been a distinct lack of cooking and blogging. My life now is all about nappies, feeding and no sleep. My husband however isn't going to let a little thing like a baby get in the way of his pasta eating and so he has managed to cook a few meals with me now as sous-chef.

This recipe took about 20 minutes and is very easy.

Ingredients for 4 people:

400g dried pasta (any shape)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
250g fresh porcini mushrooms (we used portobello as that is all they had in the shop), sliced
250g prosciutto slices, cut into small pieces 
150ml whipping cream
A handful of flat leaf parsley
75g Parmesan, grated
Salt & pepper



Start by preparing all the ingredients such as cutting the mushrooms, slicing the prosciutto and crushing the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the mushrooms for about 4 minutes.


Then add the garlic for a couple of minutes.



At the same time put your pasta in a pan of salted boiling water and cook according to the packet's instructions. Mine took 8 minutes.



Mix the prosciutto into the pan of mushrooms and garlic and try to separate the slices - this is easier said than done - and cook for a couple of minutes.




Finally pour in the whipping cream, sprinkle in the parsley and season according to taste. We found you did not need much salt as the prosciutto is salty. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.



Drain the pasta and then mix it with the prosciutto and mushrooms. 



Serve with a scattering of Parmesan.



I nearly didn't choose this recipe as Pascal doesn't like cream however I am so pleased I ignored that fact as this was absolutely incredible and we both adored it. I think I rate it as one of my top 3 pastas which is saying something as I have had a lot. It is a simple recipe but really flavoursome and I love the saltiness of the prosciutto combined with the mushrooms and cheese. Plus it only took 20 minutes so is easy to cook when you literally have no time. Definitely worth the (little) effort. 
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

AMORINO, FULHAM BROADWAY

It is very quiet on the blog front at the moment as I am so busy with my new baby daughter Olympia. She was born nearly a week late on 28th July and since then I have barely had time to eat, let alone cook and go out to restaurants! However I was invited to sample the "Afternoon Gela Tea di Amorino" at the newly opened Amorino in Fulham Broadway and I was determined to go come hell or high water. 

Arabella, Olympia and I were warmly greeted as we entered the gelateria and our mouths started to water immediately as we saw all the delicious ice creams and sorbets on display.

This is the 9th branch Amorino have opened in the UK - there are others in London such as Chelsea and Soho and there are also a couple further afield in Bicester Village and Southampton. I can see why they are so incredibly popular and I expect they will be even more so with the addition of their afternoon tea.

To drink Arabella and I both chose a mango sorbet frappe which was perfect for a hot sunny day and a real treat in itself - it slipped down so smoothly and I almost felt like I was having a bellini. Had it been our usual typical cold English weather, I would have indulged in one of the ten flavoured hot chocolates (milk, hazelnut, caramel, almond to name a few). They also serve coffee and a variety of teas (such as earl grey, vanilla black tea, detox green tea and several others).



The tea also consists of a selection of four sorbets paired with their complimenting edible flower and served in the shape of a flower. They were almost too pretty to eat - but not quite - as we didn't resist for long! There was Mango Sorbet Alfonso d'India paired with lemon citrus tagetes, Sorbetto al Cioccolato Bio (chocolate sorbet) paired with lavender, Lampone Heritage (raspberry sorbet) paired with purple nemesia and Seasonal Exotic Lemongrass paired with oregano. 








Arabella was amazed that you could eat the flowers and neither of us held back as we polished off all the different sorbets - they were all so smooth, sweet and refreshing. It was hard to pick our favourite one - Arabella's best was the mango and I adored the raspberry although they were all extremely good. They are also all vegan friendly so it is one place I can bring my sister!

The next part of the tea was a selection of macaroons made with gelato - there are 8 different flavours and we chose mango, vanilla, chocolate and caramello but we could have also had lampone, caffe, pistachio and inimitabile. Arabella and I are huge macaroon fans and these certainly did not disappoint. Crispy yet soft and filled with delicious ice cream.



Finally we rounded off our tea with some samplers - a pistachio sorbet and a hazelnut and vanilla ice cream and then a beautifully presented raspberry and mango cone for Arabella. I would never choose hazelnut as a flavour but it was incredible and now I am a convert!





Wow - what a tea! I am meant to be losing my baby weight and so the opening of Amorino in Fulham is going to throw a real spanner in the works as I already love ice cream but these ice creams and sorbets are something else. No wonder there is always a queue outside the branch on the King's road and there are 140 stores all over the world! I can see why Amorino is so popular and I expect it will be even more so with the introduction of this afternoon tea. It cost £35 for 2 people and you definitely get your money's worth. Arabella and I have already discussed how Amorino should become an after school tradition. I won't be getting rid of my maternity jeans any time soon if that is the case!!

Amorino

8 Fulham Broadway,
London 
SW6 1AA

SaveSave Square Meal Amorino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato