Aubergine Parmigiana

This is one of the first recipes that I was determined to try from Catherine Fulvio’s wonderful book Catherine’s Italian Kitchen.  I loved the idea of aubergines and melting mozzarella with tomato sauce and this dish was every bit as tasty as it sounded.  It is so simple and the ingredients are very easy to get hold of so it is a definite winner for me.

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Chorizo and Red Pepper Penne

 

A very simple and quick pasta sauce but so very tasty. This is a brilliant recipe for a quick midweek meal and by varying the ingredients, say by adding chilli, using pancetta instead of chorizo and using linguine instead of penne, you will have a versatile base for many different pasta dishes. [Read more…]

Chicken wrapped in bacon with Red Pepper Sauce

If I ask my family what they would like me to cook for them it is usually Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce and even my husband, who really dislikes peppers, loves this sauce.  It is great with chicken or fish and I have also served it with pasta. 

The dish itself is a handy one to have in your arsenal if friends or family are coming to dinner – the sauce can be made and chicken wrapped early on or indeed the day before and kept chilled, then all you have to do is cook the chicken and heat the sauce – easy.   Tonight I stuffed my chicken breasts with roasted peppers and tomatoes (sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for around 40 mins at 200ºC) and creamy mozzarella. I used spanish bacon but I also use pancetta or slices of serrano or parma ham depending on what is available that day. The sauce also freezes well so I often keep any left over sauce in a freezer bag ready for a quick supper for one. [Read more…]

Pizza… revisited*

* I have updated this post following the Twizzaparty – which was great fun to take part in and gave me lots of fabulous ideas for toppings, thanks to Reindeersp, Dinner du Jour, Babaduck, Like Mam Used To Bake, Bibliocook, Joanna Schaff, Clare KleinedlerI Can Has Cook and of course our lovely judge  Lorraine at Italian Foodies!  The pictures  are my chosen pizza for the evening with parma ham, mozzarella, chilli oil and fresh basil (I put the basil on towards the end of cooking to avoid burning but in future I think I would just scatter on when the pizza is removed from the oven completely as basil tends to get too crisp).  One difference to my method was only part rolling the dough and then using my hands to shape and stretch the pizza.  This I found gave a slightly thicker, chewier crust whilst still keeping the base nice and thin – this is definitely the way I will make pizza in future. The more you make it, the better you will get.  I would still love to learn to spin it like the pros though! [Read more…]

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka is a great for barbecues but can easily be cooked on a griddle or in a very hot oven (the chicken in the picture above was cooked in the oven but I much prefer the charred stripes from cooking on a bbq or griddle). This is a very simple marinade and the yoghurt  really tenderises the chicken. Unlike lamb, which benefits from a long marinade time, chicken only needs to marinade for an hour or two – any longer and I think it starts to go a bit ‘cotton woolly’. Because the chicken breast is cut in to chunks (approx. 2″)  the meat cooks fairly quickly. If you are cooking on a barbecue it is much easier to use skewers as this will speed up the turning time – otherwise you will have to turn each individual piece.  On a hot heat these should cook in around 10 minutes.  If cooking in the oven get your oven as hot as you can. [Read more…]

Spaghetti Carbonara

This has to be the most simple, delicious and amazingly quick lunch or supper dish there is.  If you haven’t made carbonara at home I would love you to try it yourself – it is such a handy dish to know and I haven’t met a child yet that doesn’t love it.  I understand that cream is not an authentic or traditional ingredient in carbonara but I confess that I always use cream – not too much, just enough to give a silkier coating to the pasta.  I do recommend that you try to use a good brand of pasta if you can as it does make a difference –  I use De Cecco which is widely available. [Read more…]

Chow Mein

Chow Mein in restaurants or from take-aways varies depending on where you order it, some use thin vermicelli, some serve with an oyster and cornstarch sauce.  I like my chow mein with medium egg noodles and served ‘dry’ without any sauce other than soy.  The trick to stir frying noodles is to only partially cook them in boiling water – say about 75% cooked, they should still be slightly firm in the middle and this will stop them becoming overcooked when you stir-fry.  So if the packet instructions say cook for 4 mins, take them off the heat at just 3 minutes.  It is also important to have everything prepared and close at hand once you start cooking. [Read more…]

Roast Chicken, Moroccan Style

This is a really tasty way to cook chicken, either on the BBQ or roasted in the oven.  I bought a whole chicken and jointed it (you can ask your butcher to do it for you if you prefer) but I often buy packs of chicken thighs for this.  [Read more…]

Prawn and Chilli Spaghetti

This recipe is my version of Gordon Ramsay’s Lobster Spaghetti.  I used frozen shell-on (but de-veined) tiger prawns and approx. 3 per person if they are very large.  I used tinned chopped tomatoes because the cherry tomatoes available in local shop at the moment are rather hard and not very sweet.  In the summer I will gladly substitute the tinned variety for some cherry tomatoes – and if you do this you need to put them in before the wine and give them a few minutes to soften, helping them to break down by crushing them slightly in the pan.  If the chillis are not very hot then I add another half or so – I like a bit of heat in this dish. [Read more…]

Spinach & Potato Frittata

I love the frugality of frittata – some eggs, an onion and whatever you have left over or in the fridge can be amalgamated to produce a wonderful, tasty offering in very little time.  I served this frittata with a pea and feta salad. [Read more…]

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