Tag Archives: Pasta

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 substitute)

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


Penne Bolognaise

Now obviously you can use spaghetti or really any pasta you want with the sauce but I said Penne because I want to indicate up front that this is not a traditional bolognaise but rather my version of one. It’s not drastically different but there are a few changes here and there (for what I think is the better…lol). Anyways it tasted SO good and that’s what counts!

What you’ll need:

beef mince (I used low-fat Aussie mince)




fresh tomatoes

tomato puree

veggie stock cube

wow wow mustard (bought at Burough Market… also available from http://www.herbspice.co.uk)

red wine

boiling water

What to do…

I made this recipe for two small dishes or one really large plate.

Chop up a medium sized onion or three-quarters of a large one. Should be a medium chop. Smash up and very roughly chop a large garlic clove. Saute the onion in butter and a little olive oil then add in the garlic. Season a little with sea salt and pepper. Once translucent add in very roughly chopped mushrooms (5-6 large button mushrooms, but reserve some of the mushrooms to add in at a later stage). Cook down a little over a low heat (don’t burn your onions or garlic).

Then add in the beef mince. I used about 170 grams for two. Brown all over. Season the beef and veggie mixture with: paprika, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of tabasco. Then stir in a heaped teaspoon of wow wow mustard (which is basically chili mustard). Add in your very very roughly chopped tomatoes (1 large tomato) and a big squeeze of tomato puree. Stir. Then pour in some good red wine. Don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink. I used a Californian cabernet (as that was what I had opened and was drinking). I just sort of poured for a few seconds – you don’t want to drown the meat and veggies but you also need to give them a good drink. Crumble in a veggie stock cube.

Then pour in boiling water (amount will depend on how long you plan to cook the sauce for). Add in the remaining mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer away on a very low heat for as much time as you fancy. I let mine go for 1.5 hours and the result made me pretty damn happy! Finish the sauce with a little additional butter for gloss and taste.

Super simple recipe and when done grate a little parmesan on top of your pasta and bolognaise sauce. Enjoy x

Whole-wheat Gnudi

(The picture will come later… it’s at home and I’m not.)

Basil Gnudi

I stumbled upon this idea a few weeks ago when internet searching for something to make. I call it an “idea” because I’m in no way following the actual recipe and just making my own instead. The Gnudi recipes I have come across require eggs, parmesan, some require submerging the dumplings in semolina for hours, others require other things. But not mine… mine is super simple. Just some ricotta, olive oil, water, and flour. I also added pesto for flavour.

Anyways… first off… whole-wheat flour is just not as yummy as normal flour, but it is healthier, so that’s why I used it. Second of all a really tasty tomato sauce is definitely the way to go with this. I will also explain how I made a more-ish tomato sauce in all of 5 minutes. But first on to the Gnudi (which is a ricotta based gnocchi!)

Basil (Pesto) Gnudi

In a blender cream your ricotta with some: salt, pepper, and paprika, plus a big spoonful of basil pesto. Taste. Is it yummy? Good. If not, season till it is. Then once its all creamy, dump into a bowl, and add a good glug of olive oil (could also do truffle oil… mmm).

Now start adding your (whole-wheat) flour. There is no measurement for this… you’re just trying to make a dough. Which means slowly incorporate the flour until you have a workable dough (i.e. forms into a ball without sticking, or stickiness on the outside). Add a little water as well, if needed. (The dough should be moist but come away cleanly from your hands when you knead it into a ball.)

Once the dough is ready… stick it in the fridge for about half an hour. Afterwards take it out and form your gnudi (gnocchi) anyway you want. I went for “rustic” and just made a long sausage shape and then pulled off bite sized pieces.

Boil until your Gnudi float to the top. Then either top with sauce and eat OR pan fry slightly first to get a little crisp crunch, then top with sauce and eat! 🙂

Tomato Sauce

I’ve made all kinds of versions of tomato sauce from the easy peasy to the complex. This one is super quick easy peasy. Take a small sauce pan and dump in some passata or other un-flavoured tomato base. I used Pomi strained tomatoes because it was near to hand. Then roughly chop up some garlic and red chili… add to the slowly simmering  tomato sauce. Season with sea salt and pepper and a good sized piece of butter. At the end, add in some chopped fresh basil. Done!

Top your Gnudi with the tomato sauce and some parmesan. Enjoy! x

Baked Feta

Baked Feta

This is a repeat of the baked feta dish from Xmas. Only baked with thyme, olive oil, garlic and paprika.

All you have to do is cut your veggies (mushrooms and onions), dump in the cherry tomatoes, and feta into a shallow dish. Make sure to coat each piece with olive oil and seasonings and then bake till veggies are cooked and feta is brown.

Then… add in some cooked pasta for a neat little pasta dinner or lunch. Enjoy x

Seafood Pasta

So this is mildly (and I stress mildly) based on bouillabaisse. Mainly because there is seafood and the tomato sauce has lots of alcohol in it. Pernod would be traditional but I don’t have any of that so vodka it is instead. I also don’t have any fennel. So really not that much like a bouillabaisse at all!

Seafood Marinade

Cut chunks of monkfish (or any firm white fish) and add into a bowl along with some cleaned prawns (per person maybe 2-3). Into the bowl add a splash of vodka, grated garlic and lemon peel, salt, pepper, and some thyme and rosemary seasoning. Along with that add a few strands of saffron that have been sitting in a little bit of warmed water. Also add the water. Mix it all together and let it sit.

Tomato Sauce

On a low heat, add a chunk of butter to a pan. Let it melt slowly. Into that butter add 2 cloves of roughly chopped garlic and chillies. Cook it gently then add in a tablespoon or so of flour to make the roux.  Stir quickly to remove lumps, then add a small tin of tomatoes. To that add a bit more vodka. Then add in one roughly chopped tomato. Season with salt and pepper and a little lemon peel. That is it. Cook gently so that it all breaks down and at the end add in some chopped basil. Remove to one side. Clean out your pan and put back onto the heat.

Putting it all together.

Boil your pasta in another pot.

Into your pan, add the prawns and monkfish. Cook 2/3 the way through. Start the prawns first, as they take longer. Once 2/3 cooked, add the sauce back into the pan and finish the seafood off through a gentle simmer. Do not over-cook, this will only take max. one minute. Especially as the seafood will continue to cook in residual heat and you don’t want over-cooked fish.

Once the pasta is cooked combine into the sauce. Stir it all together and then place as much as you want onto a plate. Sprinkle on a little more pepper and enjoy! x

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Confession: totally did not make my own dough. I could have but, without my pasta maker (which is living in London right now), its all just a little time consuming. And I’m busy! hee.

So, the cheat is wonton wrappers! Get them from the freezer section, de-frost to room temperature and presto! Ready rolled and cut ravioli.

Onto the filling…

In a food processor pulse basil, baby spinach, and parmesan together. I’ve added some green chillies and salt to the mixture for flavour, and that is it. Then dump into a bowl and add ricotta. The mixture should not be too watery or loose as it will need to hold shape within the pasta. Season with pepper, salt, and a little nutmeg. All done!

Fill your ravioli. Spoon some of the mixture into the middle of the wonton wrapper. With your finger run some water around the edges of the wonton wrapper (helps with sealing) and then fold over and close. If you want to make smaller shapes (which are tidier) fold your wonton wrapper like a tent (pinch 4 edges together), but I’m happy with a half-moon as it means I get more filling in! yum!

Cook your pasta in boiling water and then eat with a little melted butter, basil, and parmesan. Enjoy x

Lasagna for one!

Hectic weekend this time around… barely enough time to myself let alone to cook. Breakfast on Friday was a cafe affair. There is a Canadian cafe near my apartment that does a really good egg white omelette so after a walk to Waitrose to pick up my ingredients for my lasagna, I sat there with my magazines, a coffee and my egg white omelette with mushrooms. yum!

But on to the lasagna (sorry no pictures… there was no time for pretty food!)

I LOVE lasagna but if I made a whole one, I would end up eating the whole thing, and that would be 3000+ calories I don’t need. So I thought of a quick way to make a lasagna just for me. It easy peasy too.

Roast cherry tomatoes in the oven with a sprinkling of olive oil and truffled sea salt (if you have, if you don’t regular sea salt will do). Add in a few cloves of garlic.

Boil up maybe 4 sheets of lasagna pasta. Whilst boiling, grill some aubergine slices and mushrooms.

Remove roasted tomatoes from oven and put into a blender (mind the stems). Add in the roasted garlic, a little shallot, and some herbs (if you feel like it) and then blend. Tomato sauce, done.

Take the cooked lasagna sheets and cut into large-ish circles. Place one circle on plate, with some tomato sauce, a grilled aubergine slice and some buffalo mozarella.Next lasagna circle do the same but with the grilled mushrooms. Continue layering until all out of lasagna circles… there won’t be many. With 4 sheets you’re going to have maybe 5 circles.

Top with more sauce and buffalo mozzarella. Sprinkle salt, pepper, a few other herbs, and microwave (if time poor) or grill to melt the mozzarella.

Super easy and portioned for one…. but maybe not as delicious as a real lasagna with white sauce and cheese and bolognaise…. etc. :-p