When I was growing up we hardly ever had takeaways; in rural areas takeaway meals aren’t the convenience food they are sometimes seen as. Our nearest take away anything was a half hour round trip, so we tended not to bother. With the exception of my first year at university, when I really went to town, I still don’t indulge too often. I can’t begin to explain my youthful excitement when I realised that not only was I surrounded by different options but I could RING THEM AND THEY WOULD DELIVER MY FOOD TO MY DOOR!!!!!
A couple of stone and a good chunk of my student loan later I realised something had to change! However; I still believe that sometimes, when you can’t be bothered to cook ( yep it does happen); a good takeaway ( or a deliciously bad one) is a thing of beauty. One of my favourite dishes is Singapore Noodles. The Man and I have a Chinese takeaway about once a month but because the place we go to does amazing salt and chilli chips I don’t order it in case I slip into a carbohydrate coma.
I use this Nigella recipe minus the chicken stock (too wet) and the dried shrimp (a bugger to find round here) and use an assortment of whatever vegetables we have in. It’s very easy, quick and tasty. Even living in the centre of town it’s almost as quicker to make than walking to the Chinese. To save time I put the noodles in a bowl of boiling water and leave them there while I’m cooking the rest and they are cooked by the time the rest is done. Voila!
Winter squashes can be kept for a long time and this one has been hanging round the flat since late September, but it’s the New Year, and a long with the Christmas cake it has taken on the air of a guest you can’t get rid of after a party!
I did think I might need a saw to cut it up but thankfully it wasn’t as tough as I was expecting, so after a bit of wrestling and some “don’t try this at home” knife work I managed to hack it into reasonable sized chunks. I roasted and froze most of it as there is only so much I can face eating, even if we have grown it ourselves and the rest go made into a pasta sauce with chorizo, ricotta and sage.
- Cook enough pasta for two (linguine or spaghetti are best, amount depends on how hungry you are).
- While the pasta is cooking fry chorizo chunks till they start to crisp and fat runs out, (drain fat at this point if you wish), add cubes of cooked squash to heat through and add a table-spoon of ricotta to make a sauce. Keep warm and season with additional salt, pepper or paprika to taste.
- When the past is almost cooked throw in some spinach or green leaves ( a concession to New Year healthiness) and drain when cooked. Add two more spoons of ricotta to the pasta, fresh or dried sage and some grated cheese and nutmeg and until the pasta is coated.
- Serve with the squash and chorizo mixture on top of the pasta.
I loved it, The Man said it was “a triumph” and I’d definitely make it again. Deeply savoury chorizo, sweet soft squash and comforting creamy linguine, gorgeous.
A rewind to summer on the allotment because it’s too cold to dig much up at the moment with the ground frozen solid. We have tried to grow aubergines twice, last year wasn’t a success. This year with a better green house and ( a bit more warm weather) we managed to grow these beauties.
I wanted a recipe which would show off the aubergines, many books suggest salting aubergines to draw out any bitterness but modern varieties have been developed not to have this bitterness. I simply roasted the aubergines untill they were soft (they are done when the flesh starts to collapse) and ate them with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Marinated mozzarella.
A wonky picture of a delicious supper, not sure how much wine The Man and I had drunk before this got to the table but it looks like quite a lot!
This is a retrospective post as I made this in spring using British Asparagus, it tastes so much better than anything flown in because it doesn’t have to travel as far so is fresher when it gets to you.
Very simply I fried the asparagus with olive oil, garlic and chilli until just about cooked and then added half a little gem lettuce per serving and cooked untill there is still a bit of crunch in everything (I had reservations about cooked lettuce but trust me its great). Served on top of a chunky slice of toasted bread and Caerphilly cheese it makes a gorgeous quick supper.
I’ve already posted about the fab squash we grew on the allotment this year, and now it’s time to eat them. First up, the crown prince squash.
I hit my cookery books and the internet and finally settled on a Nigella recipe from her Christmas book but also published in the New York Times; Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin . She recommends cooking it as a vegetarian Christmas Dinner but it was Sunday dinner for us as well as lunch and dinner on Monday and Tuesday.
The hardest part was hollowing out the squash, but it looked beautiful, bight orange flesh contrasting with the steel-blue skin.
The filling, with rice, cranberries, clementine zest, ginger and allspice smelt very Christmassy was very simple again with the ingredients simmered for 15 minutes before being put into the hollowed out squash, the whole thing then went in the oven for 3 hours.
TADA! It looked lovely and tasted wonderful and it still did on Tuesday. We ate it with a ginger and tomato sauce from the original Nigella recipe (passata, a clove of garlic and ground ginger blitzed together) and it was gorgeous. It would work very well as a Christmas meal and would serve a lot of people, although it did need the sauce to stop it becoming dry, especially on Monday and Tuesday.
I’ve been dining alone this week as The Man has been at a conference in the Netherlands. It’s always tempting not to bother too much when I’m on my own but pretty soon I get fed up of tins of soup and baked beans and need some fresh veg and a bit of spice.
Monday night dinner was pasta with purple sprouting broccoli, garlic, chilli and a little ham. It was really quick to make and very tasty.
Cook as much pasta as you fancy and while it is cooking heat a little olive oil, and gently fry the chilli and garlic ( again as much as you feel like), and add the ham to heat through, add the broccoli to the pasta to cook and when it is as cooked as you would like it drain and mix with the chilli and garlic oil, stir to coat and serve. Add parmesan to taste.