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Recipe – Comfort Food Pasta

1 Jul

I’ve debated over and over what to call this dish and the reason I’ve gone with ‘Comfort Food Pasta’ is because it really is just that. It won’t make you feel guilty after as it’s not too indulgent, but it’s one of those heart warming dishes that really makes you feel that much better.

Ingredients (serves 2 people):

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 3 x rashers smoked bacon
  • 2 x heaped tbsp of Light Philapdelphia
  • 2 or 3 x mushrooms
  • 1 x handful frozen peas
  • black pepper
  • 120g shell pasta
  • salt

And here is how you make it:

  • Heat a frying pan and pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil into it
  • On a separate hob heat some water in a saucepan and add a pinch of salt to the water
  • Chop the bacon into bite size pieces and add this to your heated pan, stir intermittently
  • Add your 120g of shell pasta into the boiling saucepan of water and leave for 10 minutes
  • Take a ladelful of the hot water and put into a small saucepan on a low heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Put a lid on this pan
  • Crush 2 cloves of garlic into the frying pan and mix with the bacon, let this fry for a couple of minutes
  • The mushrooms should be all cooked now, so pour the mushrooms and the water they have been cooking in, into the frying pan
  • Add 2 heaped tablespoons of Light Philadephia and mix until smooth
  • Throw in a handful of frozen peas and leave to simmer for a minute or so
  • Pop a pinch of black pepper in
  • Drain the cooked pasta and add to the frying pan, mix well so the pasta is completely incorporated
  • Serve and enjoy!

Comfort Food Pasta

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Recipe – Spicy Asparagus & Tomato Spaghetti

8 May

After eating out a lot I tend to go through detox patches as I’m sure most of you do. I try to ease up on meat a lot of the time, maybe it’s because I’ll eat a lot of it in restaurants and maybe it’s because I have a really sensitive stomach. I therefore try to help myself by eating as much fresh food as I can and also making use of simple dishes. Nothing too complicated, something easy and delicious.

So here’s my recipe for spicy asparagus & tomato spaghetti. Enjoy!

Ingredients (this should serve two people):

  • 1 splash of garlic oil
  • 6-8 asparagus
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 x heaped tbsp of Light Philadelphia
  • 1/2 x small tin of tomato puree
  • 1/2 a hot chili
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 120g of wholemeal spaghetti

Method:

  • Put a pot of salted water onto the hob
  • Pop a small splash of garlic oil in a pan (I make my own my using a half plastic bottle of olive oil and getting a load of garlic bulbs from the local market, peel the cloves and pop in about twenty of them, leave it for a day or so and then it tastes perfect. Great for dipping bread too).
  • Chop the asparagus into inch long pieces and pop them into the hot pan. Let them sizzle for a couple of minutes until bright green.
  • Add in the cherry tomatoes and let them warm up until they start to burst.
  • As the cherry tomatoes are cooking, finely slice a hot half chili and add to the pan.
  • At this point you should put your spaghetti into the pot of boiling water.
  • Put a big heaped tablespoon of tomato puree, this should be about half a tin, into the pan along with the same of light Philadelphia and stir this in.
  • So it’s not too dry, add a cup of water to this and mix together, let it simmer so all the flavours combine.
  • Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it and throw it into the pan and mix it all in together.
  • Serve in a bowl and drizzle with a little balsamic glaze and enjoy this spicy deliciousness!

asparagus spaghetti

Buffalo Chicken Dip – Recipe

6 Mar

A few years ago I was introduced to the wonder that is Buffalo Chicken Dip at a ‘4th July American Extravaganza’ and after gladly consuming what can only be described as a large vat of this glorious stuff, I have never forgotten how unbelievably delicious it was.

And after a bit of practice, I’ve learned to make it myself. It’s a great thing to have at a party or as a grazing snack, it’s creamy and filling and you’ll use more dip than chip when eating it. It’s not particularly healthy, but it is damn good. Also it doesn’t photograph particularly well, whether this is because I was trying to scoff it at the same time, or just that this down right dirty dip isn’t too pretty, will be left to you to decide.

Ingredients (to make a lasagne dish size):

  • ingredients2 x free range chicken breasts
  • 1 x 300g tub of Philadephia (real, not light or extra light)
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wings Sauce (US will be able to get this anywhere, UK this is sold at Tesco surprisingly. As a substitute you can use barbecue sauce too, but if you want a bit of a kick, a hot sauce is best. I used Frank’s because that is what is traditionally used, but next time I am going to use one of The Rib Man‘s sauces as it will make this dip off the scale in terms of deliciousness)
  • 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing (any type you like)
  • 2 x handfuls of grated cheddar (or a stronger cheese if you prefer)

And here is how you make it:

  • Pre heat oven to 170 degrees.
  • Grill the chicken, then with two forks, shred the chicken. The motion is simple and make sure you get the chicken as fine as possible and place in a mixing bowl.
  • chickenDollop the whole tub of Philadephia in.
  • philadelphiaPour in the hot sauce.
  • hot sauceFollowed by the ranch dressing.
  • ranchAdd one handful of grated cheese.
  • cheese pourMix it all together.
  • mixTransfer it to your dish and evenly spread it.
  • Top with the remainder of the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • cheeseServe with crisps/veggies and enjoy. Best served warm.

after bake

dipEnjoy as once you’ve dipped into this, there really is no going back. Warning: You will most likely gain at least 3 pounds. However, it’s totally worth it.

Recipe – Midnight Mango Delight Cocktail

28 Jan

January is usually a time for honing in after indulging in decadent ways over December. Having been pretty good (mostly) for the most depressing month of the year, I got a bit creative in the kitchen in honour of the upcoming Chinese New Year on 31st January.

Chinatown GerrardI recently paid a visit to the wonderful Experimental Cocktail Club in the heart of Chinatown. It’s hidden among the sea of red lanterns that currently adorn the streets and it overlooks the bustle of restaurants and shops that are all preparing for the wonderful night this Friday. It got me thinking about exotic cocktails and the use of ingredients that are just a little bit different.

ChinatownWith that in mind, I chose to make Midnight Mango Delight; a welcome infusion to my diet trained taste-buds! Here’s what you’ll need and this should make two BIG glasses:

  • 2-3 cups of Barefoot Moscato
  • 7-8 frozen mango chunks
  • 6-7 frozen/fresh peach slices
  • Ice cubes

Here’s how you make it:

  • In a blender mix the frozen mango chunks, peach slices (saving a fresh one for the garnish) and Barefoot Moscato together.
  • Pour the contents into an ice filled glass.
  • Garnish with a fresh peach slice on the side.

Midnight Mango DelightThe taste is exotic, sweet, fresh and fruity. With a light and tropical flavour, it’s a wonderful cocktail to blow away all the cobwebs that January has left behind. I really like the Barefoot Wine range as this Moscato in particular has such a light floral aroma and is the perfect ingredient for this cocktail. A chilled glass on its own though is always fantastic!

Barefoot Moscato

Happy New Year and enjoy the cocktail!

The Barefoot Wine & Bubbly range has a RRP of £6.99 featuring 8 varietals: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon
Blanc, Moscato, Merlot, Shiraz, White Zinfandel, Pink Moscato, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bubbly Pink
Moscato. Barefoot Wine & Bubbly is now available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose,
Co-op.

Apothic Wine

31 Oct

In the spirit of the cold, dark nights drawing in, acknowledging that the clocks have ticked back and having let go of the last embers of summer, I thought this post would be apt.

Halloween not only unearths the ghosts and ghouls, but also provides us with pumpkin carving. What better than to be creative and carve an eery face and make a wonderful creation. So as not to waste the insides of your pumpkin, I wanted to point you to an earlier post of mine for Spicy Butternut Squash Soup which you can find here. It’s a delicious autumnal recipe that can be used with pumpkin instead of butternut squash if you prefer.

securedownloadTo accompany the dish and drawing on the mystical air that always surrounds Halloween and Bonfire Night, I have been enchanted by a new wine called Apothic Red. It is devilishly branded, intriguing in its deep, red label and tantalises you to ‘Discover Your Dark Side.’

labelThe flavours it presents are a fruity hue of black cherry and blueberries with a sweet enough touch, but this is counterbalanced by the mild chocolate and oak flavours. It’s a wonderfully rich complement to a simple and spicy dish. It is a deliciously unique taste and not only helps you cope with the fast approaching winter blues but also is a real treat. Definitely no tricks here.

bottleTo find out more information visit http://www.apothic.com/ –  it can be found in most supermarkets.

Lemon Drizzle Cake – Recipe

14 Oct

I have slightly adapted this recipe from its original form, I had looked at a few and then combined them to make mine.

I really hope you enjoy it as whilst the flavours are familiar, it is a different set of ingredients than a traditional lemon drizzle cake and is gluten free.

This will make a proper cake, with about 10-12 slices.

Ingredients:

  • 200g unsalted butter (chopped)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 100g cornmeal/polenta (finely ground)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 large lemons (zest & juice)
  • 125g icing sugar

And here are the instructions on how to make it:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • Grease your cake tin with butter and a little flour to dust, I have used the cake tin that has a hole in the middle, but you can use a normal springform one if you like.
  • With a mixer/electric whisk mix together the butter and caster sugar.
  • In a separate bowl mix the almonds, cornmeal/polenta and baking powder.
  • Pour a little of the almond mix into the butter mix, then crack an egg in and whisk. Repeat until all the eggs and the mix are incorporated into the mixture.
  • Add in the lemon zest and whisk one last time.

mixing

  • Spoon the mix into the cake tin and spread so it’s all level.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  • Once cooked pull the cake out, leaving it in its tin and set aside until it has cooled slightly.
  • To make the drizzle, which can be done whilst the cake is baking, pop the icing sugar into a small pan and squeeze the juice from the lemons in.
  • Stir on a low heat until all the icing sugar has dissolved.
  • With a toothpick/wooden skewer make holes in the cake all over the top of it, as gently as you can.
  • Pour the warm lemon mix over the cake and leave it to sink in.
  • glazingLeave it for a while, minimum of half an hour, and then take the cake out of the tin.

cake

  • The cake should be oozing with lemon and have a nice stickiness to it. ENJOY!

slice

 

Recipe – Chocolate Merlot Brownies

10 Oct

I wanted to do something a little different for this recipe. I’ve been focusing a little more on health, savoury and vegetarian options lately, so I wanted something a little decadent and full of indulgence!

I’ve just been introduced to Barefoot Wine and wanted to look at how I could incorporate wine into recipes. It always adds a rich underlying taste to dishes and this one is definitely no exception.

barefootMakes 6 large brownies (or 12 small ones)

Ingredients

For the Brownies:

  • 100g Dark Chocolate (broken into chunks)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Barefoot Merlot
  • 2 free range eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Glaze:

  • 2 tbsps Barefoot Merlot
  • 55g Dark Chocolate
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

And here is how to make it:

  • First thing’s first. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees celsius.
  • Pop a saucepan on the stove with a few inches of water and wait until it is simmering, place a bowl on top with the butter and chocolate added and let them melt until the mix all becomes smooth.
  • melt mixAdd the Barefoot Merlot and blend together with a small whisk or fork until it is all fully incorporated and then remove the bowl from the heat. Keep the pan with the water on the stove as you’ll need it later (you can turn the heat off for now though)

wine pour

  • Add in the eggs, one at a time and whisk into the mix after each egg.

whisk

  • Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and whisk it into the mixture.
  • sugar:vanillaAdd the flour, cocoa powder & salt and again whisk until the mix is all smooth.
  • cocoa:floursaltPour your batter into your tray. I chose to line my lasagne dish with foil as it was the perfect size. You want the brownies to be about an inch thick, so depending on what bakeware you have, choose whatever you think is right.
  • pour mixPlace your mix into the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  • ovenWhile the brownies are baking, you’ll need to make your glaze. Same set up as before with the saucepan simmering and bowl on top. Melt the chocolate & butter together, pour in the wine and blend together and set it aside.
  • After 25 minutes in the oven, the brownies should be perfect, take them out and leave it to cool. The centre of mine looked as if it had risen quite a bit, but this flattens as it cools.
  • bakedOnce the brownie has fully cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top and spread it evenly.
  • glazeI then left my brownies overnight in the fridge and this morning I cut the first piece (is brownie so wrong for breakfast?) to my excitement.
  • The proof is in the pudding. It turned out wonderfully! That perfect gooey, rich inside with a delicate crust all around. The subtle hint of the Merlot comes through delicately and the chocolate is heavenly.

browniebrownie 2And there you have it. A simple to make dessert that’s rich and delicious. Sit back, relax, enjoy the brownie and as the bottle is already open, why not pour yourself a glass?

For a full list of where Barefoot Wine is stocked, follow the link below

http://barefootwine.co.uk/locate-our-wine

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