* Prices may differ from that shown
Now this isn't a meal in itself but is best served with something else and I personally think that a hot, steaming bowl of rich tomato soup would go down a treat with this.
A few days ago I had a urge for a cheese toastie, but as we don't have a sandwich toastie it meant a trip to Tesco. We'd been saying for years we'd buy one so I didn't mind spending money that I hadn't planned on.
The following day for lunch I decided I wanted another toastie but not cheese and ham. I hunted around the fridge and I found the cheese and a Kabanos sausage. So that's what I had.
I sliced the Kabanos as thin as I safely could without cutting my finger off and did the same with the cheese. The cheese was a very strong Farmhouse Chedder. I found that the flavours complemented each other perfectly and were not too overpowering. The Kabanos didn't melt as such so was still a bit cheewy, which again complemented the melted cheese.
This was just right for lunch as it was filling and only took 3 minutes at the most to prepare and toast. As I said at the beginning it's not enough for a meal so I would serve with soup.
Have you ever sat watching those Marks & Spencer adverts - with their near perfect clips of delectable food described in breathless honeyed tones by a sultry presenter - and wondered if a) you wish you could make food like that, or b) can the media and chefs stop describing everything with superfluous adjectives and annoying alternative names?
The first is simply a matter of envy, which can be broken down further into its component parts; imaginative vacancy and laziness. Cooking isn't hard - it's like gardening really. You stand there staring out of your window at the overgrown mass of greenery and wonder what the point is - but once you get stuck in the first few times, you remember what you're doing and it becomes far easier, perhaps even mildly enjoyable. The same is true of a recipe that looks exotic and complex on the TV or in a glossy picture, but is no real challenge if you set your mind to it.
The second issue is obviously just obfuscation. By telling you that the slow-roasted, hand picked, specially aged, pan-fried, hand-drizzled joint of select (regional) beef is used in the recipe, you immediately think it must be so special to be worthy of such prefixation as to be far easier to go out to the shop and buy than to make yourself from any old bit of cow you find in the meat section. You can do it yourself - isn't most of your beef either pan-fried or slow roasted anyway? Unless you have a special oven that does a roast inside 20 minutes...
Similarly - as I'm ranting already - how many ways can tomatoes be shrivelled? We have Sun-dried, sun-kissed, sun-blushed and even sun-bronzed.... Seriously....
Right - back to the recipe - before I lose the plot entirely and go off on a tangent from which there might be no return. Where was I... Ah yes - the Spud.
The humble Leek - cleverest and most versatile of all vegetables, yet oft maligned for its boring image. This is entirely of your own doing however. There are so many ways to cook a Leek - you just need to open your mind and let the ideas bubble around a bit
For this recipe - all you need is one large potato that you might use for baking, or 2 medium sized ones instead. Perhaps the bigger ones scare you in the supermarket...there there. And a Leek - a big one...well, any size is fine - just make sure you chop it into thin rings.
Obviously - the potato is merely an accompaniment in the recipe. Spud surprise would be a pretty dull meal in itself. No - for this I recommend a piece of fish. Any would do really - but perhaps something you can fry in a pan (pan-fried I believe they call it), like a mackerel or a chunk of salmon.
Right - take the bit of fish and cook it with some butter, some herbs to taste and a touch of salt and pepper. It only needs 7-10 minutes of gentle frying, turning occasionally, to turn a smelly lump of dead sea beast into a mouth watering slice of cooked fishy goodness.
Whilst this transformation occurs, boil your potatoes (already chopped) until they look ready to crumble when you tease them inquisitively with a fork. Drain and toss gently with butter. I should ask at this point that you leave the potatoes unskinned. It adds to the texture.
Now for the clever bit. Whilst both these items cook, lightly fry the leek, chopped, in some butter and herbs. If you have already got this far without reading the whole article first, then you're too late and you might as well chuck it all in the bin and order a takeaway. Tsk...
So - simultaneously, your leek slices are soft and juicy, your potatoes are drained and steaming away in the pan, and your fish approaches the zenith of its cooking requirements.
Dump the potatoes and leeks in a bowl and mash using a fork. Important this - the fork bit. Don't be tempted to use the mashing utensil. You don't need to remove all evidence that your potato was once real and solid, and not just from the Smash tin in the cupboard. Once soft but still lumpy, with the bits of leek mixed in, serve up in a flattish dollop on the plate. Place the piece of fish gently over the top of the potato - preferably with an artful overhang at each end - and garnish with a sprig of parsley or something else green and herby. You will probably have a bit of buttery sauce left in both the fish and leek pans. Combine these and pour in a circle around your mash beds. Maybe make some striped patterns if you really want to show off.
Not only have you done this inside 15 minutes (crossing out the 'I never have time to cook properly' objection), but the meal is also pretty healthy and delightfully tasty (so that's 'healthy food is too slow to make', and 'I wish I could do something a bit different' dealt with then).
Marvellous. You've just made pan fried, herbed fillet of fish served on a bed of hand-crumbled, unskinned potato mash with a seasonal filling of leek circles, and a hand-drizzled clarified butter jus. How pretentious are you?!
Bacon and new potato omelette
4 slices smoked back bacon
1 white onion
4-6 new potatoes
I usually use leftover new potatoes for this, if you do have leftover potatoes it makes this dish even quicker but if not just peel and quarter the potatoes and cook till tender in a lightly salted water and drain and put to one side.
Next peel and finely chop the white onion before frying it in a little oil till it becomes tender.
Cut the bacon into small bite size pieces before adding to the now tender onions and frying till crisp.
Now add the new potatoes to the onion and bacon.
Crack the six eggs into a bowl and add a little salt and pepper to taste. 'Scramble' this mixture in the bowl, before add to the pan with the bacon, onion and potatoes.
Stir to combine the ingredients, before leaving for the bottom to 'set'.
When the bottom of the omelette is 'set' transfer to a preheated grill until the top is also set and lightly golden brown.
Turn the omelette out on a plate or chopping board, before cutting into portions. This serves four when it is served with a side salad or even some chunky chips or wedges.
This even saves even more time as any leftovers can be used for lunch the next day.
This recipe is per person but just multiply for extra portions. I use salmon, but it works well with most fish.
Fillet of salmon
½ Red Peppers
¼ Red onion
6 cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions
Vegetable or fish stock
Prepare your vegetables by dicing your red pepper, finely slicing your onion and removing the roots from the spring onion and shredding lengthways.
On a length of foil making sure it's wide and thick enough to hold and wrap the salmon and vegetables. Add a couple of dots of butter before placing the vegetables on the middle of the foil for a bed for the salmon.
Season the salmon with a little salt and pepper before placing on the vegetables. Place the cherry tomatoes around the salmon.
Gather the foil to make a parcel which closes at the top.
Now add a generous dash of soy sauce and a couple of table spoons of the stock to create steam.
Securely close the top of the foil, and place the parcel of a baking tray to prevent it leaking onto your oven.
Put in a preheated oven at 200oc for 20-25 minutes.
Being Italian does have its advantages, one of the main ones in my opinion (no not that!) is understanding just how easy cooking really is. An knowing that you don't need expensive ingredients, advanced skills, or masses of time to prepare it.
A great example is the Southern Italian dish of Spaghetti "Aglio e Olio", (pronounced "ally-E-o" -"eh" -"olly-O") chances are, you may have heard of Spaghetti "Aglio e Olio", but more than likely you will have never tried it.
This is mainly because, it is so embarassingly easy to prepare very few restaraunts would allow it to grace their menus, or justify placing it there amongst the already inflated menu prices.
This is however one of the most delicious, economical, super quick pasta dishes you can hope to make.
So with less chat, this is what you will need!
\\\ COOKING UTENSILS ///
- Large Saucepan
- Medium sized frying pan
\\\ INGREDIENTS ///
-Spaghetti (if you make an O with your finger an thumb, the amount of spaghetti that will fit through the hole, is generally enough for 2-3 persons)
- 3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely.
- 1 or 2 medium size dried Italian red Chilli chopped finely (Get these from an Italian shop, but at a push, you could use a teaspoon of chilli flakes as a substitute).
- Good few glugs of Extra Virgin Olive oil. (approx 5 tablespoons + ) Remember to be generous, because this will act as the "sauce" to coat the spaghetti. Use your best judgement, but no less than 5 tablespoons for 2-3 persons.
-Few decent sized sprigs of flat leaf parsley chopped.
-Salt an Pepper.
\\\ HOW TO MAKE IT ///
-Boil the water in the saucepan, add some salt, add the Spaghetti.
-While the spaghetti is cooking, lightly heat the olive oil in the frying pan and add the garlic and chilli. Cook very, very lightly. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC. Gently stir around until garlic is light brown (very light brown). Remove from heat.
-When the spaghetti is cooked, drain well, and pour spaghetti into the frying pan, stir around and add the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
\\\ SERVING IDEAS ///
-This is delicious served alongside a toasted Ciabatta slice, and you could even rub it with garlic (yes more) for extra zing.
-In addition if you prefer you can add some grated parmesan over the top of the Spaghetti when you serve it.
Corned beef hash has always been one of my favourite ever dinners and now my kids love it as well.
I used to make it differently and the long way for many years, which meant putting everything in an oven dish with mashed potato and cheese on top and putting it in the over for half an hour plus. Which totalled to about an hour after preparing, etc.
In recent years I have found a much quicker, easier and nicer way to make corned beef hash, which makes this an ideal meal to make if you are late home or in a rush.
By making it this way you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes (Or less) from start to finish.
Firstly, you will need....
Potatoes - How many depends on how many you are cooking for.
Note - I use baby potatoes and leave the skin on, they taste so much nicer once fried.
1 tin of corned beef
1 x whole onion
Splash of Olive oil
2-4 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Wholegrain mustard
1 or 2 Eggs per person
Teaspoon of mixed herbs
Black pepper to taste
Small cup or bowl
See through saucepan lid (Optional)
Tea towel/Kitchen towel
Usual cutlery (Spatula, mixing spoon, etc)
I have made this many times over the years and have perfected this to the way we like it although I suggest changing the Worcester sauce measures to find the taste you like, it basically depends how strong you like it.
OK so here's the process I use to cook from start to finish in about 15-20 minutes.
1. Fill a saucepan half full (Or enough to cover the potatoes you are using) of water and boil.
2. Dice up the potatoes in roughly 2cm squares and add to the boiling water, then reduce heat (Medium) and leave for about 5 minutes, so potatoes are still quite firm.
3. Whilst the potatoes are cooking add some Olive oil to a frying pan and set to just over medium heat.
4. Cut up the onion into as smaller pieces as you prefer it and fry in frying pan.
5. Meanwhile dice up the corned beef into 1cm squares and put into a small bowl.
This process should only take around 5 or 6 minutes.
6. Whilst stirring the onions every once in a while add the Worcester sauce and wholegrain mustard to a cup and stir.... then pour over the corned beef, stir to mix in a little and then leave to soak.
7. After 5 minutes turn off the potatoes, pour onto a tea towel or kitchen towel and dry... then add to the onions in the frying pan.
8. Stir them into the onions and then cover with a saucepan lid (It helps them cook quicker), turning and stirring every once in a while until the potatoes start to go brown.
9. As soon as the potatoes start to brown add the corned beef and any excess Worcester Sauce & Wholegrain mustard that have formed at the bottom of the bowl... and stir. Cover again with saucepan lid to speed up cooking.
10. (Optional) At this point I add a teaspoon of mixed herbs and some black pepper and stir in. It just gives it a nicer final flavour.
11. Continue to stir every so often so that the potatoes and corned beef don't burn, I usually serve once the corned beef has started to break apart and mix into the potatoes, about 5 or 6 minutes.
12. After serving the hash onto plates, add a little more Olive oil to the frying pan if needed and then fry one or two eggs per serving.
Note - A good tip is to place a saucepan lid (Glass/see through if possible) over the eggs when they are frying, it saves having to turn them, and you can see how runny they are and when the ideal point is to take them out of the pan (Obviously this depends on how you personally prefer your eggs).
13. Once eggs have fried, place on top of corned beef hash and serve.
I find the mixture of the Worcester sauce and wholegrain mustard into the corned beef really adds to the flavour. Whilst the mixed herbs and black pepper give a nice after taste to the potatoes, which can sometimes taste dry on their own.
The preparation should take no more than 5 minutes. Then 5 minutes to boil the potatoes and start the onions frying. Anything from 5-8 minutes to fry the potatoes, and then the corned beef and then a couple of minutes at the end to fry the egg.
This is extremely cost effective for a family wanting to tighten their budgets during the recession. I cook this for myself and two children and it breaks down like this....
1/3 of Tesco Baby new potatoes - 33p
1 Onion (From bag of Tesco cooking onions) - 10p or probably less.
1 tin of corned beef - £1.18
4 Eggs (From tray of Tesco Eggs) - 40p
Worcester sauce/Wholegrain mustard/Mixed herbs/Black pepper - Say 20p?
A meal for 3 or 4 for about £2.00. Excellent value for money if you ask me, for such a tasty meal.
Delicious Corned beef hash in 20 minutes!
Although this sounds like a side dish at a Chinese, I always serve it as a main meal, but it could be done as a side too. This was actually passed on to me by my mother in law when I got married because it was such a quick easy meal to make during the week and required only basic store cupboard ingredients.
It has to be said as well, that this is a very filling meal by itself, and is able to be doubled or halved, depending how the number of mouths to feed.
The quantities of ingredients given for this fried rice recipe are for 4/5 people as a main meal (obviously if being served as a side these quantities need to be great reduced)
2 onions (red or white)
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
250g brown riced cooked.
salt and pepper (I usually only put in the pepper)
6-8 slices of bacon
50g frozen peas and sweetcorn
2 spring onions chopped
1. Boil the rice as normal.
2. Whilst this is cooking, cut up the bacon into matchstick strips.
3. Beats the eggs and salt and pepper, and set aside.
4. Fry chopped onion and bacon for a couple of minutes until starting to brown.
5. Add the spring onion and frozen veg to the pan and give a good stir.
6. Rice should nearly be cooked at this point. Drain rice and add to the pan.
7. Mix in the soy sauce amongst the rice in the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. (Make sure you keep stirring at all times so it doesn't start sticking to bottom of pan)
8. Slowly pour in the beaten egg into the rice in a thin stream, stirring continually to mix it well (this will give it the Chinese fried egg rice look)
9. Serve with a few salad leaves, or just on its own with some bread.
I rely on this meal many a night, when I realise that I don't have much in the cupboards, but this requires such common everyday ingredients I usually have these either in my fridge or cupboard on tap. It is great and speedy weeknight meal that will fill you up (until supper!)
This dish I used at the weekend to feed 5. I use this idiot proof meal when there are more people than chairs as it is easy to make, takes hardly any time so you can enjoy time with your visitors.
I buy a pack of either Mission Deli wraps, if they are on offer (usually BOGOF) or Morrison's own brand (which tastes no different). There are ready made and cooked wraps which just need to go into a dry frying pan for about 15 seconds on each side to get warm and brown. - This I do first and get a long piece of foil and wrap the wraps up as I go along, these will stay warm either in the oven on low or jut in the foil.
I cut into cubes one small breast of chicken per person and fire up the wok. I stir fry the chicken until cooked (get the biggest piece of meat and just cut in half to check if white inside. Then I add either a stir in sauce or soy sauce, at the weekend I tried an 'Old El Paso' fajita powder mix which worked very well, I also add peppers at this point so they retain their crunch.
Leaving this in the wok when cooked, I prepare vegetables to go into the wraps, I slice onion, peppers, cucumber, tomato, I also use grated cheese spring onion and a tin of sweetcorn, which I leave in plastic bowls. Along with a 4 pack of dips purchased from the supermarket.
~Feeding time. ~
I usually just get people to come and make their own wraps so they can get what they want. Usually 2 wraps per person is plenty packed with chicken and veg. I also take the dips out and have tortillas as well.
All in all this makes a nice dish which is simple and easy and the wraps can be used as fast food with any filling. They have always gone down well as people can choose what they have in their wraps.
I like to cook this quite often because it is filling and makes a nice breakfast or lunch. It only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish and is very easy to prepare and cook, sometimes I'll have it before going to bed because it's tasty and more interesting than having a bowl of cereal.
It's called Creamy Mushrooms On Toast. I usually use button mushrooms but my mom makes it using a mixture of different types of mushrooms and that makes it taste extra special.
Vegetable Oxo cube
2 slices of fresh bread
Peel and slice the mushrooms and put them into a frying pan with 6 tablespoons of stock made of the Vegetable Oxo cube.
Let the mushrooms absorb all the stock by bringing to the boil and stir frying them in the bubbling stock.
Add a dollop of soft cheese and stir it through the mushrooms making sure they are evenly coated.
Heat gently for 2 minutes while making your toast. Butter the toast if you like and spoon the creamy mushroom mixture over them. Grind some black pepper over the top and eat.
You can use any soft cheese you want, I like the Philadelphia Garlic and Herb one with this dish but the plain one is nice as well. The bread can be any type as well but I usually use the loaves you have to cut yourself and slice thick doorstop sized slices.
Speedy tuna and onion fishcakes
These must be the most simple of fish cake recipes that I know and they taste amazing. When you have mash for dinner, make a little extra and put aside for the next day to make these amazing tuna fishcakes. All you need is left over mash, or make up your own on the day if you would like, it does not need to be left over's.
All you need to make these fish cakes is
(no quantities needed - just goes on how you like your fishcakes and how many you want to make)
Left over mash
A tin of tuna (everyone has a tin of tuna in the house!)
A red onion
Salt and black pepper
A little flour - Plain
How to make the fish cakes
In a bowl add the mash
Drained tin tuna
Chop the onion up as fine as you can
A pinch of salt and black pepper
Mix all together in a the bowl.
Once you have your own personal texture (I like quite a lot of mash) then form into fish cake round shapes. On your counter sprinkle a little flour and then coat the fishcakes in the flour. (flour gives them a golden brown coating when fried). Now the fishcakes are done and ready to be fried. It is as simple as that, and you do not need many ingredients either. If you do not have any tuna you can easily switch to corned beef.
Sausages are such a versatile food, and serving them with beans/peas and mash can get a bit dull, so this is a great way to spice them up, but still making a speedy meal!
This meal takes around 15-20 minutes to make, including preparation time, you can add tinned sweetcorn to the sauce if you wish, or any other veg you like. It's healthy and tasty! Can also be served in tortilla wraps as a lunch dish.
8 THICK sausages.
2 tins of chopped tomatoes.
Sprinkle of basil.
Sprinkle of chilli power.
Chop defrosted sausages into 1cm thick slices.
Slice pepper thinly, and chop onion.
Boil pan of water.
Put pasta in boiling water.
Heat up some oil in a pan and add chopped sausages and onions, fry gently until sausages are cooked and onions are beginning to turn golden.
Add peppers, fry for 2 mins.
Pour in tinned tomatoes, add basil, garlic and chilli powder. Cook until simmering. Stir all the time.
Drain pasta, and serve with sauce on top in a bowl.
This is a review about an instant semolina bread recipe...we can eat it in breakfast or evening snack.The good thing about this is anyone who is not in habit to cook can also prepare it perfectly,,its soo easy..
SEMOLINA (1 cup)
CURD (3/4 cup)
WHOLE MUSTARD SEEDS(half tbs ) for each piece of bread
SALT TO TASTE
Tomato and Onion
Beat semolina in the curd properly, add a little water to make it a semi thick paste , add salt, pepper to taste, tomato and onion (properly cut), curry and the coriander leaves. Keep it aside.
Spread the semolina paste over the bread pieces at one side. Now heat fry pan at high flame , add butter and after heating add msutard seeds and put one bread piece over it lightly so that the semolina side is on lower side. it would be brownish after a while...eat and serve hot with any kind of green or tomato sauce.
Note : the same activity can be performed from the other side after pouring a little butter on the same pan..
This is a very speedy and tasty recipe that takes the time for the pasta to cook to make.
You will need:
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- 300g of dried pasta (or more or less depending on how hungry you are!)
- a hand full of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
- 2 table spoons of chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 table spoons of chopped chorizo sausage
- Salt and Pepper
How to make it:
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the dried pasta and cook as per the instructions on the packet - usually about 12 minutes
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and chorizo sausage and heat through for a minute or so. The idea is not really to cook these ingredients, but to warm them through, softening the tomatoes and wilting the basil.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the saucepan, toss a table spoon of olive oil add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cherry tomatoes, basil and chorizo sauage mix to the pasta and serve straight away and enjoy.
I like this dish quite simple, but you can easily make it more substantial by adding mushrooms or spinich etc to the frypan. You can even spice it up a little by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed dried chillies.
My speedy meal can be made in twenty minutes
Tuna bake bunny style.
Bunny is my friend and this is her recipe.
first the ingredients
large tin tuna
pasta about 250g
garlick cloves x 2
small carton of cream or creme fresh
cheese grated for topping 200g
bread crumbs made with stale bread 100g approx
this is a really cheap easy dish and is done in a flash.
First prepare a pan of boiling water over the heat and salt it, then when water is boiling put pasta shapes into it and cook as pack suggests. The next step is to prepare the onion garlick and tuna, you do this by chopping onion into small dice as small as you can get it. then smash the garlick and dice too.
Put into a seperate pan and fry in a little oil from the tuna. Then when this is translucent or lightly cooked and the pasta is almost ready add drain tunaand add to the onion mixture and then cook out the small amount of oil you fried of the onions with.
Add cream salt pepper and a small amount of milk to thin things down a little when pasta is cooked drain and add to mixture. turn into a casserole dish and cover with the cheese and breadcrumbs which were previously mixed together, place under a hot grill for about 5 to 10 minutes to grill golden brown and serve with green salad or chips or garlick bread or if your really hungry all three.
We have this with just a light salad or bread most times as it is really filling and very rich and tasty.
a cheap reliable meal which can be varied with red peppers and tomatoes if liked when you put the tuna in. a few chives on the top add a little bite to the meal too. A few herbs when you prepare the tuna can be added for a different flavour also some chopped boiled egg to bulk it out a bit can be added too. as I said it is a very versatile dish and you can play till your hearts content with the base ingredients. go wild have fun enjoy
A disclaimer first: I've put this into speedy meals as the "chef" doesn't do much more than chop the bits up, but it does take a little while in the oven.
This is fast becoming a favourite in our house, it serves between 2 and 4, and is so easy to increase. I'll do the recipe as if I'm cooking for 2.
You will need:
Oven proof dish
1 large ish or 2 small sweet potatoes
2 bell peppers of your choice
2 red onions
4 portabello mushrooms or a punnet of chestnut mushrooms
1 packet of vine tomatoes
1 chunk (descriptive huh!) or pack of unsliced chorizo sausage
Between 3 and 7 garlic cloves, depending on your tastebuds
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
1) Peel and chunk the sweet potato, think bitesized pieces, smaller than a roast potato and throw into your oven proof dish with a tablespoon of oil and the garlic cloves.
2) Put the potatoes and garlic into the oven at about 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.
3) Whilst the potato is in the oven dice everything else (except the tomatos), think chunks the same size as the potatoes, you want to get nice mouthfuls.
4) Bring the potatoes out of the oven after 20 mins and add the rest of the ingredients, again except the tomatoes.
5) mix together so they are evenly distributed.
6) back in the oven for another 15-20 mins, then add the tomatoes for the last 5-10 mins
serve and enjoy!
Times are based on my oven, it needs a bit of experimenting to get just right, but tastes amazing!!
Italian food is without a doubt my favourite. When I was at primary school, I shared my class with a lot of Italian children and was lucky enough to be invited round to their houses for meals. Until then, the only spaghetti I had encountered came from a tin. Although we have some excellent and authentic Italian restaurants in the UK, it has been on my travels around Italy in the last five years that I've realised what I've been missing. Dining at the Casale le Torri in Ponsacco, Tuscany where there was no menu and no wine list. For three hours we were subjected to course after course of gastronomic delights, each course being explained to use by the owner whilst his wife and daughter cooked. The choice of wine was house red or white which came from the owner's own vine yard. Afterwards a trio played music whilst we drank brandy with the family and the rest of the diners until the early hours.
I posted a suggestion to dooyoo for Italian recipes as there wasn't one in the food category. My suggestion came back with the note "already suggested". I emailed dooyoo to say this wasn't so and the response I got read "We want to keep categories as broad as possible, for example we have categories for meat recipes, vegetarian, pasta etc. I am sure your delicious Sicilian recipes will fit under one of these". Well actually they didn't. I had previously contributed to veggie meals and as no meat featured in these, they didn't "fit" there either. The fact that my suggestion included a couple of dishes meant that the only category I could put them was under "speedy" as the recipes are quick and easy to make. I'm disappointed by this - there goes my suggestion for Greek recipes. So here goes for a quick Italian:-
My favourite pasta dish is also my signature pasta dish and takes me back to a little taverna on the beach at Milazzo in Sicily. Pasta alla Norma is very popular in Sicily and usually cooked with spaghetti although some restaurants choose different pasta. It is really easy to cook and I usually prepare the sauce a few hours before, which leaves only the pasta to cook when we are ready to eat. The recipe does involve aubergines which can be messy but don't worry because like Delia, I cheat.
Pasta alla Norma
This menu serves two as a main course or four as a starter.
500g small tomatoes or a 500 g can of a good quality.
1 small red onion chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic gloves
¼ teaspoon of chilli powder
A handful of fresh basil
A 100g of ricotta or gorgonzola cheese crumbled
Ground black pepper
400g of pasta
And for my cheat. 1 280g tin of cooked eggplants in oil. I buy Palirria. These can be bought at Tesco for £1.29 per tin.
Method for the sauce
1. Fry the onion in the oil
2. Add the chilli, garlic and tomatoes
3. Pour in the can of aubergines and chop whilst in the pan
5. Add the pepper and half of the cheese
6. Before serving add the basil
When preparing in advance, I stop at number 5. When I'm ready to cook the pasta, I heat the sauce at the same time. Once ready, drain the pasta and turn into bowls and cover with sauce. At this stage top with remaining cheese and a couple of basil leaves to decorate.
I particularly like this dish with gorgonzola as it gives it a subtle bite.
Bruschetta with a difference
Bruschetta is a great starter or served as a canapé and again is simple to make. The toasted bread which is often topped with chilled chopped tomatoes, onions, olives or pesto really gets the taste buds going. In the Tuscan restaurant I mentioned earlier, we were served bruschetta with fresh figs. It was wonderful and here is my version which serves four:-
You will need
4 thick slices of country bread
2 garlic cloves halved
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and brushing
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 ripe figs
Shavings of Parmesan cheese
To make the bruschetta, grill, toast or pan grill the bread on both sides until lightly charred.
Rub the top side of each slice with the garlic.
Drizzle with oil and keep warm in a low oven.
Take the figs and make two cuts across each one, not quite quartering them and keeping it intact at the base. Ease open and brush with balsamic vinegar and oil.
Place the figs down side in a frying pan or grill pan and cook for around three minutes. Alternatively you can place them under a hot grill until they begin to brown.
Put two figs on each slice of toast, sprinkle with parmesan shavings. Drizzle with olive oil.
And finally for a simple dessert dish, Italian ice cream served with a tot of amaretto liquor on top. If you don't want the alcohol, serve with a couple of amareeto biscuits.