Fuel

Settling into a new job and training for a marathon has led to a lot of pasta being eaten in this house lately.  One of our favourite dishes at the moment is the following courgette, garlic and chilli pasta.  It’s super-easy, super=quick, carb-tastic and (hooray!) helps us use up some of our garden courgettes.

Courgette, Garlic and Chilli Pasta

(serves 2)

2 tblspn olive oil

2 garlic cloves

A pinch of chilli flakes

2 medium courgettes, julienned (if you can do this without a mandoline, I am mightily impressed)

200g wholewheat pasta

Parsley and Parmesan to serve

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil.  Add the pasta.
  • Add the oil, garlic and chilli and heat gently.  Once the garlic becomes fragrant and starts to sizzle, add a good pinch of salt and pepper followed by the courgette.  Stir well to combine.  Increase the heat and cook until the courgette is tender.  This won’t take long.
  • Drain the pasta and combine with courgette.
  • Serve topped with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

PS  It’s only four weeks until I take part in the Loch Ness marathon raising money for Cancer Research UK.  If you would like to sponsor me  you can do so at:

http://www.justgiving.com/Wendy-Harrison

Pretty Little Raspberry Soufflés

I’ve left this post rather late.  Raspberry season (and summer) is fast coming to an end.  There are still a few berries to be found in the raspberry hedges though and bramble time is just around the corner .  Brambles would work perfectly here too, I’m certain.

Light and fluffy, sweet and pretty, these little desserts are like a cross between a soufflé and a meringue.  Just make sure your serve them right away so their puffiness is at its best.  🙂

Pretty Raspberry Soufflés (adapted from Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Puddings)

(makes 4)

400g raspberries

25g caster sugar

4 medium egg whites

50g caster sugar

Butter

Icing sugar

Mint

  • Use a food processor to whizz together 350g of the raspberries and 25g of caster sugar.  Strain through a sieve.  Reserve juice and discard seeds.  Set aside.
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking very briefly after each addition.
  • Pour half of the raspberry juice into the egg whites and fold gently.  Do not fully combine!  You want a ripple effect rather than a uniform raspberry flavour/colour.
  • Spoon the mixture into buttered ramekins and bake in a 180 oC oven for 10-15 mins until risen and golden on top.
  • Serve drizzled with the remaining juice and sprinkled with mint and the leftover raspberries.

Aloo Matar

“Aloo” is the hindi word for potato.  So popular is aloo gobi (Indian spiced potatoes with cauliflower) and aloo saag (with spinach) in the UK that the word “aloo” has recently been entered into the official Scrabble dictionary.  That tickles me.

Aloo matar is my favourite of the aloo dishes and this is how I make it.  It’s a cracker of a recipe, I must say.  🙂

Aloo Matar

(serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main)

1 large onion, thickly sliced

1 tblspn vegetable oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tspn coriander

1 tspn cumin

1/4 tspn turmeric

1/4 tspn chilli powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

500g potatoes, cut roughly into 3cm bits

250g peas (frozen ones work a treat)

1 tblspn garam masala

Handful of fresh coriander

  • Fry the onion gently in the oil until golden brown.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli.  Cook for another minute.
  • Add the potatoes, salt and pepper to the pan along with 50ml water. Stir to coat the potatoes thoroughly.  Once the liquid is very gently simmering put a lid on the pan and let the potatoes steam gently in the spices for 10 mins.  Stir occasionally.
  • Add the peas to the pan and continue to steam under a lid until potatoes are soft.
  • Stir through the garam masala and serve sprinkled generously with coriander.

(Chicken recipe to come.  It’s a cracker too.)

Roasted Vegetables (Staple # 2)

Much like my recipe for garlic butter, I was very hesitant to share this idea for roasted vegetables.  Not only are they something that I suspect many people make without giving much thought to, this isn’t exactly a seasonal dish.   But roasting is a great way to liven up hothouse-grown peppers and we eat these every week without fail.  I promised to share our staples; roasted mediterranean vegetables are most certainly that.

I tend to make a big batch of them and have them as a side to grilled chicken (will share this “recipe” soon too) or a Friday night steak.  The leftovers are piled in sandwiches, stirred through pasta, tossed with lentils or spooned over my breakfast scrambled eggs.  The latter being a great way to get in some veg first thing in the morning.

Roasted Vegetables

(serves 4 as a side or two with leftovers for lunch/breakfast/whatever)

1 large aubergine, chopped into 2cm chunks

2 red peppers, chopped roughly

1  yellow pepper, chopped roughly

1 big red onion, chopped roughly

1 bulb of fennel, chopped roughly

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Dried oregano

  • Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and set  aside for 20 mins.  Using a tea towel, squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the chunks.  Scatter onto a baking tray (don’t have them all piled up on one another) add a sprinkling of pepper  and oregano then drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Toss immediately.
  • Add the onion, peppers, and fennel to a seperate baking tray (or two if they are looking too crowded).  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over a little oregano and, again, drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat the veg.
  • Roast in a 200 oC oven for 30 – 45 minutes, tossing occasionally.  The aubergine is roasted on a seperate tray as it can be a little temperamental.  The veg is ready when soft and the edges are slightly caramelised.
  • Good hot, warm or cold.  🙂

My Heaven: His Hell

D’s not a fussy eater but he does not like mushrooms at all and I don’t think there is a verb strong enough to express his loathing of blue cheese.  I, on the other hand, love both and had an utterly divine lunch featuring both today.   Can’t recommend it highly enough.  Unless you are D, of course.

Preheat oven to 200 oC.  Dot a field mushroom with butter and season.  Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, basting occasionally.  Remove mushroom from oven and top generously with blue cheese.  Place back in oven for another 5 minutes until the blue cheese is oozy and bubbly.  Eat in a floury bun topped with the roasting juices and large amounts of flat leafed parsley.