Pasta with a creamy avocado sauce

Serves 4

How hungry are you? Can you wait 12 minutes, because that’s exactly how long it takes to make this simple and delicious meal.

You will need:

  • 400g of your favourite pasta, I used linguine
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • A few basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A 200g tin of sweetcorn
  • A few cherry tomatoes
  • Some kind of food processor

Right, fill a large pan with boiling water, stick your pasta in it and cook it however it says on the packet.

Whilst that’s doing its thing we can make the sauce, halve your avocados, peel them and get rid of the seed, stick them in the food processor along with the basil leaves, peeled garlic and a twist of salt & pepper to taste.

Process it all together until smooth.

With the processor running drizzle in 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil until the sauce emulsifies, you’ll see the sauce change in consistency and thicken. You might not have to put all of the oil in so see how you get on.

Drain your sweetcorn and quarter your cherry tomatoes.

Your pasta should be done by now (see it’s that quick), drain it and return it to the pan, stir in your avocado sauce, sweetcorn, tomatoes and serve!

Adapted from: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2012/08/creamy-avocado-pasta.html

Roasted aubergine and red pepper couscous with halloumi cheese recipe

This is fairly quick to knock up and makes enough for 4 portions, it’s also easy to make vegan by replacing the halloumi cheese with sliced tofu.

Ingredients – Makes 4 portions

220g uncooked couscous

Olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 vegetable stock cube (I use a Knorr stock pot)

330ml boiling water

1 large or 2 medium red onions

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large aubergine

2 sweet red peppers

1 250g block of halloumi or 1 block of tofu

1 can of cooked green lentils (Lentilles Vertes)

A drop of truffle oil – Optional

Method

Right, heat your oven to 200C, I’ve got a fan oven.

De-seed your peppers, chop them into pieces, make them however big you want.

Chop the aubergine into slices and then into pieces, again, any size you want but bear in mind you want all this to roast fairly quickly.

Throw the pepper and aubergine on baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, add a twist of black pepper and mix it all together.

Put that in the oven to roast and grab the onion(s).

Peel and chop the onions, put them in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a twist of black pepper, cook over a medium heat until they’re turning soft and almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes but don’t over cook the garlic.

Once the veg has been roasting in the oven for 10 minutes take it out, give it a shake and a turn and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Slice the halloumi cheese into 8 slices, add a little olive oil to a frying pan and get it on a medium heat. Add the slices of halloumi and cook until golden brown, keep an eye on them, they can brown quickly. When both sides are done remove from the pan and set aside.

Your roast veg should have had about 20 minutes now, check to see if it’s done, I like it slightly crispy and almost burnt, each to their own. If it’s done, turn the oven off and get started on the cous cous.

Dissolve the stock pot in 330ml of boiling water, add the couscous to the pan with the onions and garlic and place on a very low heat. Add the stock to the pan, stir to cover the couscous and put a lid on the pan.

After 2-3 minutes give the couscous a stir, it should have swollen up and taken on all the water, if it hasn’t, put the lid back on and give it another minute but keep checking.

Once it’s done, drain the lentils and add them to the pan along with the roasted veg and halloumi cheese.

Add the totally optional drop of truffle oil and give it all a good stir, I know it sounds really pretentious but I think it really makes a difference. If you’ve not got truffle oil and you’re tempted to get some make sure it’s a good quality oil with some real truffle, I’ve got some of the Truffle Hunter oils.

Borscht – Beetroot soup with feta recipe

A friend gave me some home grown beetroot so I decided to make a bit of Borscht, or beetroot soup!

Ingredients – Makes enough for 3-4

600g (3-4 large beets), peeled and grated coarsely

500g (around 5-6) of ripe tomatoes, halved (I suppose if you’re really lazy you could use a tin of chopped tomatoes)

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

A bit of olive oil

500ml of vegetable stock (I used 2 ‘Knorr Stock Pots’)

Freshly ground black pepper

Some feta cheese

Method

Place the halved tomatoes in an oven dish, pour a little olive oil over the top of them and throw on the chopped garlic.

Place in the oven at 190C (I’ve got a fan oven) until they’re soft, it took me about 30 minutes.

Place the tomatoes in a sieve and rub through into a bowl to remove the skins and pips.

Put a little more oil in a pan and sweat the onion with a twist of black pepper.

Add the stock and beetroot, give it all a stir and bring to the boil for about 10 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.

Stir in the tomato purée.

Using either a stick blender or a normal blender process the soup until completely smooth. If you’ve got white walls take care, it’s easy to spray the soup all over if you’re using a stick blender!

Transfer the soup to warmed bowls and crumble a little of the feta cheese on top.

Serve with crusty bread!

You might also want to…

  • Add a shot of vodka
  • Chill in the fridge and serve cold

Butternut Squash and Spinach Cannelloni Recipe

In the pan...

I’ve neglected the food part of the blog for a while so I thought I’d write this down, I had a butternut squash to use and came up with this!

Ingredients – Makes 6

A 1KG butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-2cm cubes

A little olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

A sprinkle of dried sage

200ml of vegetable stock

175ml white wine

150g of spinach

30g of toasted pine nuts

125g of crumbled vegetarian blue cheese

50g of feshly grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese

1litre of passata

6 sheets of fresh lasagne

Method

Pour a little olive oil into a large pan and add the diced onion, sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the peeled & diced butternut squash and garlic to the pan, give it a good stir.

Add the herbs, vegetable stock and wine, you may as well pour yourself another glass whilst you’re at it.

Season with freshly ground black pepper, stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the squash is just soft.

If there’s any liquid left in the pan, drain it off then lightly mash the squash with the back of a spoon.

Add the spinach, crumbled blue cheese, half the parmesan and half of the pine nuts. Stir the mix and cover until the spinach has milted.

Lay out the lasagne sheets and place a hearty spoonful of the mix on each one, roll up and place in a greased baking dish.

Pour the passata over the cannelloni until they are almost covered and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and pine nuts.

Bake in the oven at 200C for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta is tender.

Baked aubergine with almost ratatouille recipe

It’s almost ratatouille but not quite but it tastes really nice and smothered over a lovely soft baked aubergine it makes for an easy meal. It goes down equally well over some roasted butternut squash wedges or topped off with some paneer pieces and a light grilling.

Ingredients

1 aubergine, washed and cut in half lengthways

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped

1 orange pepper, washed and cut into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of sugar

A sprinkle of dried oregano

A sprinkle of dried sage

Freshly ground black pepper

A little olive oil

Method

Preheat your oven to 200C (I’ve got a fan oven).

Place the halved aubergine on a baking tray, score the flesh, rub with a little olive oil and add a little ground black pepper.

Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes but keep an eye on them!

Meanwhile in a large pan add a little olive oil and sauté the onion and orange pepper for a few minutes until the onion is soft.

Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, sugar and a little black pepper, stir until combined.

Add as much of the herbs as you like, I probably added a teaspoon of each.

Give it all a good stir, have a taste, if it’s good let’s rock and roll.

When the aubergine flesh has turned golden brown and the edges catching move them to plates and spoon over the almost ratatouille.