Pasta with Salmon and Spinach
- pre-cooked salmon fillets/steaks or a packet of salmon flakes
- parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
1st: Chop your onion and garlic and add to a saucepan. Bring your pasta to the boil.
2nd: When your onion is soft and translucent pour in your cream. Flake in your salmon.
3rd: Grate parmesan into the saucepan and season well.
4th: Add a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves to the saucepan and turn off the heat. Set aside.
5th: Once the spinach leaves have wilted mix pasta and sauce together – serve with grated parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Pasta Alla Puttanesca
- pitted black olives
1st: Chop your onion, chilli and garlic and fry gently in olive oil.
2nd: Chop your tomatoes and add to the pan. Add some sugar and season well.
3rd: Boil the spaghetti whilst the tomatoes reduce.
4th: Add the black olives, capers and oregano. Add some of the pasta water.
5th: Drain the pasta and mix with the tomato sauce. Serve with some chopped, fresh parsley, a grating of parmesan cheese and a ribbon of olive oil.
Garlic, Chillies & Parsley Butter
- 1/2 a pack of unsalted butter
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tspn dried chillies
- 1 tblspn chopped parsely
1st: Mix all the ingredients together with your hand until all the ingredients are spread throughout the butter.
Use on anything to add an immediate flavour-punch!
Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti
- 135g granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 230g plain flour
- 60g pistachios
- 75g dried cranberries
1st: Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2nd: Mix the sugar and eggs together and add the vanilla extract.
3rd: In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and make sure they are combined.
4th: Add the pistachios and dried cranberries to the dough mixture.
Top Tip: mix the fruit and nuts with a little flour first before adding to the mixture as this will prevent them from falling to the bottom of the mixture whilst cooking.
5th: Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape approx 30cm long. Flour your hands to prevent sticking. Transfer this log to the baking sheet and bake for 30mins.
Top Tip: the mixture is very wet and you may be unable to roll it into shape, just add more flour and knock the mixture into shape. Quickly transfer it onto the baking sheet and knock into shape again.
6th: Once firm to the touch, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Lower the oven temp to 160°C.
7th: Once cool enough to handle, cut the loaf into slices on the diagonal. Transfer the slices to the baking sheet and bake for a further 10mins per side or until golden.
NB: if you want your biscotti drier and crunchier then leave them in the oven for longer.
Steak and Ale Pie
Browned steak and mushrooms cooked in ale/stout for a few hours, topped with a puff pastry lid – heavenly! When we talk about comfort food , this is right up there with the best of them. But to take it to the next level of comfort top it with creamy, mashed potatoes with a rasp of nutmeg and singe under the grill….mmmmm…
- 500g Stewing Steak
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 punnet of mushrooms
- Tomato Puree
- 1 Bottle of Dark Ale or Stout
- 3 medium carrots
- Bay leaves
- Worcester Sauce
- Beef Stock
- Butter and olive oil for frying
- Salt & Pepper
1st: Pass steak through seasoned flour. Shake off the excess flour and seal the beef in a hot pan with butter and olive oil. It is easiest to do this in batches as otherwise you will either dry the pan out with the flour or poach the steak rather than seal it.
2nd: Finely chop an onion and fry gently in the buttery, meaty juices until soft. You may need to add more butter or olive oil. Crush the garlic in once the onion is soft.
3rd: Add tomato puree and mix into the onion mixture.
4th: Add the beef and stir to mix the flavours.
5th: Add the punnet of mushrooms, thyme and bay leaves.
6th: Pour over the bottle of ale or stout. I used a bottle of Tavern Porter beer minus 1 guzzle! Add a few shakes of Worcester Sauce and beef stock. Top with water to cover the beef.
7th: Slice the carrots in half lengthwise and chop these in half again. Add to the stew so that they can impart their sweetness.
8th: Cover with a lid and cook either on the hob or in the oven, on a medium heat for ~2 hours.
Once the beef is falling-apart-tender, remove the lid and cook until the sauce is a thick consistency. Fish the carrots out and have as your cook’s treat or dispose of them. Even though I try not to be wasteful in the kitchen, a few carrots are not going to worry me unnecessarily! You may need to adjust for seasoning at this point.
The great thing about pie fillings is that they are just that, a filling. What it goes in is up to you. This evening I’m topping it with homemade mashed potatoes. Tomorrow it shall be snuggled up in either a short crust or puff pastry lid; I haven’t decided yet. whichever way, I know it is going to be absolutely delicious!