Tag Archives: Cheap and tasty

Pasta with a chilli butter and sweetcorn sauce

So continuing with the theme of saving money and eating what’s actually already in the house. I made a very random pasta sauce out of:

  • butter
  • garlic
  • chillies
  • sweetcorn
  • coriander
  • green onions
  • red wine vinegar (because it was close at hand)
  • garlic peri-peri sauce (I would have preferred lemon but I didn’t have any in the house, so used this as an acidity┬ásubstitute)

Really simple… boil pasta, mix with sauce. But how to make the sauce…

Take a chunk of butter and slowly melt it in sauce pan. Add salt + pepper and chopped garlic and red chillies. Cook it slowly so that the butter doesn’t burn but slowly froths. Add in a little splash of olive oil and some canned sweetcorn. Mix. Then add in some garlic peri-peri sauce and whisk so that it all emulsifies. Keep the heat low and allow to cook through / warm. At the end add a teeny splash of vinegar and the chopped spring onions + coriander. Once the pasta is boiled mix through.

I know this sounds like a really strange “sauce” but it’s actually quite tasty. I got the idea from a friend who for my birthday made pasta with grilled cajun prawns, in a lime-butter sweetcorn sauce. A little tequila would have been perfect with that as well…. but never mind.

Anyways budget friendly and tasty! Enjoy x

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Watermelon and Feta Salad

Quick one today….(and sorry for the lack of photo)

Cut up your watermelon into cubes and place in a bowl. Try to avoid seeds if you can.

Sprinkle some feta (the crumbly kind, not the smooth kind) on top of your watermelon. Then drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the top.

Mix it all together.

All done. It’s a really healthy and tasty salad. Perfect for summer as well.

Enjoy x


Quesadillas

Quesadillas

Yummy, yummy! One of the greatest combinations of cheese and carbs out there! lol.

Dead simple too. In a bowl mix the grated cheese of your choice (I chose Edam in this case) with some chopped coriander and chillies. Season with salt and pepper and mix all together. Spread mixture onto a tortilla, splash a little olive oil, and top with other tortilla. Grill on a pan, until outside is browned and insides are gooey.

Eat with a little salsa, guacamole, or just as is. Enjoy! x


(Feel better) Spicy Paneer

Its been a bit of a week! Lots of things happening but the real tragedy (well maybe not tragedy) has been that AC pipes above my bathroom are blocked and decided to start leaking. So I have a wet bathroom and soggy ceiling ­čśŽ The AC repairmen have been doing their bestest, but this is Dubai… its really not good enough and for three days now with a combined 12 hours of work (plus whatever they have done today) still no good. In fact the leak is worse. Sigh.

So I get home from work yesterday and after spending a fair bit of time disinfecting my bathroom, all I want is a nice dinner and then straight to bed. Start cutting up my paneer and veggies… all well… turn the gas on to heat my pan… all well. Or is it? Nope, my gas is not working (it was in the morning). Fine, fiddle around a bit, turn a few switches on and off… it starts to work. Yay! Then… my alarm starts shrieking (gas alarm, smoke alarm..? no clue but its loud!) So I switch my gas off. Now, how do I cook? Well I decide to order pizza. Apparently they won’t deliver unless I buy more than I want. Bearing in mind that I have been up since 5:20am and am exhausted this all SUCKED. Fine… a few more switches, prayers, etc. I get it all sorted. So I got to make my paneer, after all. Now my fridge doesn’t work… siiigh. Anyways onto the recipe ­čśÇ

Spicy Paneer

Chuck the paneer cubes into a pan. No oil. Nada. You want to dry-fry the paneer. Add in the red peppers (which have been julienned) into pan so they also grill / blacken. Then add in some chopped chili, mushrooms and grated ginger + garlic. Now judiciously throw in some garam masala, lemon salt, lemon juice, salt and chili powder. Done and Eat.

This is usually just a really easy to make and light dinner. But the added effect is after a horrible day you get a nice healthy, spicy, heart-warming plate of paneer that only took about 10 mins in all to cook (well if you ignore all of my drama in between!). In any case it made me feel a little bit better! Could also make skewers and BBQ this! Enjoy x


Churros!

I’m not a major fan of deserts but every once a little shot of sugar is needed. Today was one of those days, as I’m in a little bit of pain. Went for a physio massage to work on a shoulder problem that I have, apparently I also have lots of knots in my back… working those out was not fun! But, pain plus (apparent) stress is a GREAT excuse for baking!!! :-p

As I’m not really a fan of desserts, I’m not that into sugar which is why churros are a great and easy option.

Churros

As I am baking will give measurements. This makes enough churros for two people.

Boil 2/3 cup of water with 1.5 tbl spoons of brown sugar, and roughly 10g of butter.

Whilst the above mixture boils, add 2/3 cup of flour to a bowl. Once the water is boiling and everything is melted in, add to the flour and mix vigorously – it is a bit of workout. Then add 1 egg and stir, stir, stir. This is more of workout because everything needs to smooth and runny. You also need to stir vigorously so that the egg does not cook. I also added a few cranks of a grinder filled with rock sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. (Vanilla extract or essence also works)

In the end you should have a smooth, runny, paste. It should pass through a piping bag easily but still be thick.

Heat up enough oil to coat about an inch or so of your pan. Once HOT, start piping in the churros mixture. You can make pretty designs if you like. As you can see, I didn’t. Mainly because my “piping bag” was a crunched up piece of baking parchment that I cut a hole into. lol.

The cooking should not take very long at all. Once brown on both sides, remove and drain. Then whilst still hot, sprinkle with more sugar and cinnamon.

The churros should be a little crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside.

Chocolate Sauce

In a bain marie, melt some milk and dark chocolate together with a teeny amount of cream and butter. Once smooth, runny and glossy, remove from heat and “artfully” flick all over plate, or just put it in a bowl and dip. (or both)

Can also enjoy churros plain or with a coulis… however, you like!!


Almond Soup / White Gazpacho

Lunch today: Almond Soup; all the Clasico coverage has inspired me for some Spanish food!

Almond Soup

First toast blanched almonds and then throw in a handful of almonds into the blender; blend until a fine dust. Add in some lightly roasted garlic and a few cubes of white bread (maybe a little parsley or some green chillies – I prefer the chillies) and keep blending! Then add in some water to form a watery paste.

Transfer the mixture to a stove and add more water and some cream (so that thickness is to your taste). Heat up mixture, ┬ástir and season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and a dash of sherry vinegar (I don’t have any vinegar (other than balsamic) so am using┬áTabasco┬áand a dash of lemon instead for the acidity). Finish in one of two ways:

1. Fry off some small bread cubes with garlic until everything is golden. Add some salt, pepper, chilli and lemon and sprinkle over soup; or

2. A crouton topped with gremolata (parsley, garlic, and lemon zest)

(Make this a White Gazpacho Soup by serving chilled and adding some diced cucumber. But, its winter… who wants cold soup?!)


Cheese toast… a single girl’s dinner!

Mmmmm… the “humble” cheese toast. Pretty much God’s gift to the hungry masses… its cheap, its easy, it’s SO DAMN GOOD!! I single-handedly blame bread and cheese for all my clothing related crises and yet, I will never give them up! I could eat cheese toast any time and I kind of do. It’s a great come home late meal, Hiatt-Baker Hall taught me it could be breakfast, and my Mom used to make it for me as an after school snack (but with more veggies and less cheese). Anyways, so onto my recipe.

Grilled Cheese on Toast

I like to use a strong flavoured cheese like Gouda or Gruy├Ęre for my cheese toast. I also like mine simple. Bread, (lots of) cheese, and a grill, but you can definitely add: onions, olives, chillies, mushrooms, etc. You can also spread mustard onto the bread before adding the cheese but for my single girl’s dinner (lol) I prefer the following:

Get a nice bread, in this case I have some sourdough, whilst it grills very lightly (just a slight crunch to touch and almost no colour) grate your cheese. I have some gouda and a little parmesan going on tonight. Take the bread out of grill and liberally top with cheese. Melt in microwave until all gooey and bubbling (but make sure the microwave hasn’t “crisped” the cheese). Then take plate out of microwave and stick back under grill (plate and all — be careful when removing from oven. It will be HOT) Let it bubble and brown under grill for a few minutes. Then remove, season with salt and pepper plus few dashes of tabasco and eat. Only one slice mind, as its kind of bad for you (but oh soooooo delicious). I would also normally eat with a small salad but can’t be bothered tonight.

So I now have my cheese toast sliced into two, its cool enough to eat and I’m sitting in front of the tv with a glass of red (leftover from socializing on the weekend). A perfect way to end the weekend and with minimal mess and washing up!! ┬á­čÖé

p.s. the microwave trick only works if the bread is sliced thickly and firm. Using a thin or soft bread in the microwave will result in soggy cheese toast. Which is no good.