Saturday, March 31, 2012

Farfalle Alfredo with Salmon

One of my coursemates asked me to make something with an Alfredo sauce, as it is her favourite at Frankie & Benny’s. Co-Op have salmon on offer at the moment (£3.75 for 360g, rather than £7.50). One of my favourite restaurants, an Italian in Dubai, does pasta with salmon in an Alfredo sauce, so I am re-creating it.
You don’t have to have salmon, chicken, bacon and mushrooms would be really nice, but cook them first, then add them to the sauce.

- 400g pasta (75-100g per person)
- 175g salmon (2 fillets)
- 55g butter
- 250ml double cream (they come in 284ml cartons, I used the whole thing)
- 1 garlic clove (I used 1/2 tsp squeezy garlic)

1. Cook the pasta for 10-12 minutes in a large pan of boiling, salted water.
2. Put the salmon fillets in a glass dish, splash a little milk over them (like in the picture above), then cover the dish with cling film and put a few holes in it. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Take them out of the oven, and cut into a fillet to check it is cooked in the middle, if not, cook for another minute or so. Discard the skin, then break up the salmon with a fork.
3. Melt the butter in a medium pan. When it is completely melted, add the garlic and the cream. Bring it to a boil and simmer it for a few minutes. Add the cheese, and the sauce with rapidly thicken. When the sauce has thickened, add the salmon.
4. Drain the pasta, put it back into the large saucepan and pour the sauce over and stir them together.
 5. When you serve it, top with some more grated Parmesan.

Zoe x

Friday, March 23, 2012

Penne Carbonara

Carbonara, my sister's favourite! 
Creamy sauce with salty bacon. I like to add chicken, mushrooms and sweetcorn aswell.
This was taken from Jamie Oliver, and altered by me!

Serves 4

- 500g pasta/spaghetti (I like penne, Jamie uses Farfalle)
- 1 egg
- 100ml double cream
- Salt and pepper
- 6 rashers of smoked bacon, sliced (I used scissors and cut it into the pan)
- 2 chicken breasts, in cubes
- Peas (I use frozen)
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the packet instructions.
2. Whisk the egg in a mug with the cream, salt and pepper.
3. Heat some oil in a second pan and cook the bacon until crispy and golden.
4. When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the peas for the last minute and a half. When cooked, drain in a colander.
5. Add the pasta to the bacon - if the pan isn't big enough, mix it in a large warmed bowl.
6. Add the egg and cream mix to the pasta. Its important to add it while the pasta is still hot, so that the heat of the pasta will cook the eggs, but not so that they resemble scrambled eggs! The pasta will actually cook the egg enough to give you a silky smooth sauce.
7. Toss everything together.
8. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Zoe x

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

I saw this recipe and suddenly got instant cravings! It is so easy to make! I only stuffed 2 peppers, instead of the recommended 6, so I have lots of rice mixture to eat on its own, or stuff peppers another day!
I saw this recipe on Gonna Want Seconds blog, and altered it slightly.

Serves 4

- 6 bell peppers (Doesn't matter what colour, but red is healthiest!)
- 1-2 tsp oil
- 1 finely chopped large onion
- 1 finely chopped bell pepper
- 500g minced beef/pork/turkey (I used turkey, but the recipe called for beef and pork)
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic (I use squeezy garlic)
- 2-3 tsp salt ( will also depend on how much the cooked rice was seasoned )
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 tbsp pesto (I like sundried tomato pesto)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- Water

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds. 
3. In a large saucepan of boiling water, parboil the peppers for 2-3 minutes until they are tender. Remove them from the pan and drain them on kitchen paper.
4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, until soft.
5. Add the meat, garlic and seasoning. Cook until the meat is brown, stirring it to break up the lumps, for about 6 minutes. Add the rice and tomato puree and stir well. Remove from the heat.
6. Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 0.5cm deep. Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, for 25 to 30 minutes.

I had 2 for my lunch, and they were really filling!!

This is the rice mixture.

I decided to put them in the dish and then stuff them.

Zoe x

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes

So the birthday celebrations are still carrying on, 3 days later!!
Last night I was surprised (again) with another cake from my boyfriend's housemates!

My Aunt made me some cupcakes for my birthday, with purple and orange swirled butter icing!
They did get a bit squashed with all the travelling that they did yesterday.
I'm eating one as I'm writing this, and they are yummy!!

I don't know what recipe my Aunt used, but this is the recipe that I use for vanilla cupcakes.
It should make 12 cupcakes.

For the cake:
- 125g butter
- 125 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

For the icing:
- 90g butter
- 150g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until it is pale and fluffy. (I normally do this with a fork).
3. Add the vanilla extract and one egg, mix well, then add the other egg and mix again.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, then gently fold them together with a spoon.
5. Spoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases, and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
6. When the cakes, have finished baking, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool.
7. For the icing, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy.
8. Gradually mix the icing sugar into the butter, then add the vanilla extract. If the icing is too thick to spread, add a splash of milk. 
9. When the cakes are completely cooled, either spread the icing on or pipe it on to the cupcakes.

Look how cute the box that my cupcakes came in is!!

Zoe x

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Different Way of Making Lasagne

My boyfriend makes lasagne in a very different way to me. I do minced beef in a tomato bolognaise sauce (which is usually full of vegetables such as onion, mushrooms, sweetcorn, peas and carrots, to bulk it out and make it healthier), with a white béchamel or cheese sauce. He does sausage meat and spinach in a crème fraiche sauce, with a tomato ragu sauce. Basically the same idea, but swapping the sauces around. Even so, I had never thought of doing it like that.

As I am trying to be healthy, I am cutting back on beef, and using turkey where I can. So instead of the sausage meat that this recipe normally calls for, I decided to use minced turkey.

This made about 5 servings, but it depends who is eating it.

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 350g minced turkey
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp garlic (i use garlic from a squeezy tube, otherwise use about 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped)
- 250g mushrooms, sliced 
- 1/2 bag spinach (you can use more if you want)
- 300ml crème fraiche
- 1/4 tsp garlic (this is optional, but I love my garlic!) 
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (you might need 2 cans depending on how big your lasagne dish is)
- 2 tbsp tomato purèe
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Lasagne sheets
- Grated cheese (I use mature cheddar cheese)

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Soak the lasagne sheets in a big bowl of water.
3. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a frying pan, add the minced turkey and brown.
4. When the turkey is almost completely brown, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
5. Add the mushrooms, then the spinach.
6. When the spinach has wilted down, add the crème fraiche and stir together.
7. In a separate pan, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic.
8. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purèe, herbs and seasoning. 
9. You now want to start layering it all up. The first layer is the turkey, then pasta sheets, then a thin layer of the tomato ragu. Repeat this order until you have 2 or 3 layers, obviously it depends on how thick your layers are and how big your dish is.
10. Top with grated cheese and put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Zoe x

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake!

This is the best cake ever!! 
I'm not a massive fan of big cakes, I normally prefer cupcakes, but I absolutely love this cake!! There is no other way of describing it, other than the Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake!! 
This is another Nigella Lawson recipe, I saw it on one of her TV shows, where she describes it as the 'break-up cake', because you should be able to lick the bowl clean afterwards (maybe don't pour as much into the tins!) and that you should be able to eat the entire cake on your own!! Honestly, no one would have a problem with doing that, but it probably gets a bit sickly after more than 3 slices....You will have to find out!!

- 210g of plain flour
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150ml sour cream
- 175g butter, softened
- 40g cocoa powder
- 2 eggs

- 170g semi-sweet chocolate
- 85g butter, softened
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 125ml sour cream
- 310g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Put all of the cake ingredients into a bowl and mix.
3. Pour the cake batter into two 8 inch tins and bake for 30 minutes.
4. Melt the chocolate for the icing and stir in the butter.
5. Pour the golden syrup and vanilla into the chocolate, then sift in the icing sugar. Mix together.
6. When the cakes have cooled, use 1/3 of the frosting on the bottom layer of the cake, then place the second layer of the cake onto the icing. (If the cakes are still warm, it will turn your icing all runny and ruin the cake)
7. Use another 1/3 of the frosting to decorate the top of the cake.
8. Then cover the edges in the frosting.
9. I like to grate some chocolate over the cake as a nice finishing touch.

I like to add some orange essence/juice/peel into the cake and the icing to make it into the Ultimate Chocolate Orange Cake!!

I will repost the recipe when I get some better, clearer pictures!!

Zoe x
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