Easy Creamy Garlic pasta (Microwave meal for one)

Easy Creamy Garlic pasta (Microwave meal for one) 

I am aware that the amount of meals for one on my blog at the moment does make me look a little bit like a loner but I’m afraid that is what finals does to you. Is it bad that the evening meal has become the highlight of my day amidst drowning in a sea of books, papers and opera dvds? Talking of which I should probably make this short and sweet.

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Ingredients

1/2 aubergine

1 courgette

100g mushrooms

100ml stock

salt/pepper

parsley

3 cloves garlic

lemon juice

50g penne

2 small tubs of lightest Philadelphia cheese

 

Chop the veg and garlic, place in a microwavable dish. Add the stock and a small amount of pepper and lemon juice. Sprinkle with parsley. Microwave on high for 2-250mins, until roasted. Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 10-12mins. Drain reserving a tbsp of water. Stir the pasta water and pasta into the veg and add the cheese. Enjoy.

Same ingredients, different dish

This time chop the veg, microwave for 20-25mins. Toss with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar (a bit of chilli if you like it hot) and 2tbsp sugar. Serve with rice or noodles (and if you are feeling particularly healthy money wise) prawns.

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Recreating American treats

Recreating American treats

Some of you may have read my earlier blog post about San Francisco – foodie heaven! Of course as soon as I got home I was desperate to recreate some of the dishes I had tasted. Luckily the foodie neighbours were coming to dinner, although I’m not sure they were necessarily expecting such modern cuisine (despite the fact they came with us on the trip, they were mostly eating the provided school food with the boys) with my standard dinner party fare being french classic with a twist. However it seemed to go down rather well and I for one can’t get enough of the pecan pie and the candied bacon is addictive (i ate a lot in the kitchen).

Pappardelle with green garlic cream, sweet roasted parsnips and a poached egg
This is inspired by the dish we got given in Boulette’s larder in San Francisco. The extra dish we got given on top of what we ordered, a parmesan cream with candied parsnip, it just made sense to recreate it as a pasta dish

Pappardelle for 4 (depends how hungry you are…)
Butter
Minced green garlic
(you could also add minced shallots but as you know – my father won’t eat onions)
165ml heavy cream
4 parsnips
couple of sprigs of thyme
5tbsp brown sugar (soft)
4 eggs
Spinach

1. Chop the parsnips into thin strips, toss in olive oil, sugar, thyme, salt and pepper and a little white wine vinegar, make sure they are evenly coated. Put in the oven at 200oC for 35mins. 
2. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and drop in the pappardelle, for dried pasta it should take 8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile bring another pot of salted water to the boil for the eggs, you may need to do this one at a time. Either use an egg poacher (handy) OR add a little vinegar to the water and swirl as you break the egg in to keep its shape. The egg should take 2-3mins to cook for a soft centre. One of the options you could do is cook the pasta and sauce first and keep it warm while you then cook the eggs in order to keep the eggs warm to put them straight on the pasta (this is probably a better option)
4. For the sauce, melt butter in a pan, then add the garlic, salt and pepper. cook till soft. Then add the cream and cook for another minute. Stir in the parsnips. 
5. Drain the pasta reserving 2tbsp of cooking water (the starch in the water helps the sauce bind to the pasta). Add the water and pasta to the sauce and stir over the heat for about a minute.
6. Stir through the spinach and put on the plates with the poached egg on top.
Pecan Pie with candied bacon and bourbon whiskey ice cream
This was inspired by the amazing pecan pie I had in one market …. So america, so decadent, soooo tasty. I like taking shortcuts sometimes (pastry from a packet is so simple and always perfect, also I have no ice cream maker) so I apologise if this dessert just seems too simple to be so delicious.

(makes 6)
1 packet shortcrust pastry

  • 230g dark muscovado
  • 400g golden syrup 
  • tablespoons dark rum
  • 65g softened unsalted butter
  • large eggs
  • teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cups broken pecan nuts

vanilla ice cream
boubon whisky

1. Whizz vanilla ice cream in a food processor with a shot of whisky, work quickly and don’t let it get too liquid. Return immediately to the freezer (it will be softer than regular ice cream but I needed a quick fix cheat)
2. Roll out the dough and use it to line 6 mini pie tins. Chill
3. Combine sugar, rum, syrup and butter in a pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, boil for 1min then set aside to cool to lukewarm (important)
4. Beat the eggs, then combine with the syrup with vanilla, salt and nuts. 
5. Pour into the prepared cases and bake at 180oC for 40-50mins until set but with a slight wobble in the centre. 
6. Meanwhile cover your grill with foil and lay strips of bacon on it, season both sides of the bacon with dark brown sugar. Grill until crispy turning halfway through cooking and then chop into little pieces.
7. Serve the pies straight from the oven with a sprinkling of bacon pieces and a scoop of bourbon ice cream – heavenly.



Truffled Bacon Pasta

Truffled Bacon Pasta
It’s only a few days till I go to Uni and I’ve been to London all day, for once the last thing I feel like doing is cooking. But mum and I have to eat. Because we have realised once I leave, virtually no-one is eating at home I decide that the only thing is to cook a simple pasta dish with what I can conceivably find in the freezer. The other problem is that my mum has headed out to help out at the schools ‘Boden evening’ – possibly the most middle class you can get – and I have no idea when she is back so a speedy dish is of the essence. The good news is dad is in France so we are allowed to have onions! There was a little cream and some bacon in the freezer – a carbonara would work rather well.
            When she finally walked in the door I was given my instructions with military precision, we had all of 15minutes before she returned to hoard the perfectly twee mums clothes that make up Boden. She was rather chuffed with her purchases, and at a discount. So I was looking for a very quick meal. I chopped up the half frozen bacon and fried it, simultaneously boiling pasta in another pan. I sprinkled a little salt on to the bacon and at this point spotted some dried mushrooms in the cupboard so I rehydrated them with a small amount of boiling water. When the bacon was crispy I added the whole lot of mushrooms and water to the pan, a little more salt, some chopped garlic and some dried herbs de provence. Thyme would be the best herb at this point but I had none. (pardon the pun) I let it bubble a little before adding a splash of sherry vinegar, some cream and a drizzle of truffle oil (my new favourite ingredient – lifts any dish). I added beans to the pasta’s last few minutes of cooking then poured a little pasta water into the sauce, drained the pasta and mixed the sauce in. Good thing there was enough leftover for lunch the next day – even better cold.