Tuesday, 20 September 2016


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


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


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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