Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I got up 10 minutes earlier than usual to take these photos so I could squeeze them on the blog this week; dedication or what!? I quite like the shadows cast by the early morning light, though. This meal does what it says on the tin: it's pesto, made with broccoli. It takes about 15 minutes to knock up and it's equal parts hearty and comforting, yet light. It's pretty cheap too!

Ingredients to serve 4
1 head of broccoli
3 cloves garlic (or more, if you like - I do!)
50g parmesan or gran padano cheese, grated
Handful of basil leaves
50g pine nuts, toasted
Olive oil
Salt and peper to taste
500g shell pasta

Tear or cut the broccoli into florets and discard the thick stem. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for about 5 minutes, until just cooked. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and reserved the water for cooking the pasta. In a separate pan, toast the pine nuts until golden.

In a food processor, blend the garlic, pine nuts, a big handful of cheese, the juice of half a lemon and the broccoli, along with a generous glug of olive oil. Keep adding olive oil until you reach your desired consistency; if you want a looser mixture, but feel like you've already added enough olive oil, you can add a tablespoon of the cooking water from the broccoli/pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, bring the pot of water back to the boil, tip in the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Mix everything together and serve with grated parmesan and a few torn up basil leaves.

The pasta keeps well in the fridge for a few days and is just as tasty cold as it is hot.

p.s. what do you think of these less picture-heavy posts? I actually prefer it for recipes, so there's less scrolling. Plus, it's a lot quicker too! 


Thursday, 24 March 2016

I am a container hoarder of epic proportions. Pickle jars, tupperware, glass bottles all get recycled in this house for all manner of things. The most perfect little vessels I've found are those that belong to the Glenilen Farm yoghurts. Apart from the fact these yoghurts are a bit dreamy, they're not any more expensive than your average individual yoghurt pot and you get the little glass jars to keep. I cleared out my desk at work and found more jars than I care to explain lurking in my drawers, so here are a few recycling ideas, should you find yourself in the same predicament.

From top to bottom: Bud jars for tiny flowers, jars for salts and spices - this is my homemade furikake - transportable chia pudding pots for breakfast at work, tea light holders, make-up holders. Not quite 101 ideas, but you get the gist. Any tricks I'm missing?

COMFORT FOOD: bbq bean chilli

Monday, 21 March 2016

Sometimes you want to be warmed from the inside out and only a big ol' plate of beans will do (I can see a pattern here!). The great thing about beans is that a little goes a long way; they're cheap to make and they fill you up fast and keep you fuller for longer, and even diehard meat lovers can admit to the fact that this dish is no poorer for not having meat in it.

Makes a large pot for 2, with leftovers

Olive oil
2tsp smokey paprika
2tsp cinnamon
2tsp cayenne pepper
Coriander stems, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
2 peppers, sliced into strips
2 x 400g cans of beans - I used kidney and haricot beans, but any you like will do
2 large handfuls of mushrooms (don't like mushrooms? Add another can of beans)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Stock cube (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
2tbsp barbecue sauce - I used Jack Daniels'
Sour cream, coriander and tortilla chips to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan with the spices and coriander stems. Add the onions and garlic and soften for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the peppers and mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes until just cooked. Add the beans and tomatoes, stir to combine and add the stock cube (if using), plus half a can of boiling water. Bring to the boil, add the barbecue sauce, lower the heat and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. If it's too watery, remove the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes until thickened.

Serve with a big dollop of sour cream, a handful of coriander and some tortilla chips - if you want to make this a little more indulgent, spread the tortilla chips on a baking tray, sprinkle with cheese and jalape├▒os and grill for 5 minutes for a tasty plate of nachos to share.