I think it just might be that time of year, when the weather gets warmer, the jackets thinner, the meals lighter and seafood is in season. I am a strong believer in getting good quality produce. I understand that for most of us local is often not affordable (although more often than not this is actually a myth) but we try to at least go national. Making sure you only pick good quality products is particularly important when it comes to seafood, fish, meat and dairy. So most of the year prawns are a REAL treat. But spring is the time when you should indulge in these little things of loveliness, because they’re on offer everywhere and they are soooo good. There’s no need to smother them in copious amounts of sauce or cheese or anything like that. Just some lemon juice and olive oil work wonders.
Now this is what we had the other day and I would have it every day of the week if I could. It’s light and healthy and reminds me of the fact that spring is here.
PREPARATION 10 mins
COOKS 15 mins
- 250g fresh or frozen large prawns (to defrost your prawns, simply fill a large bowl or your kitchen sink with cold water and leave them in there for about 1hr. Mine floated, so I had to keep them pushed down with a glass bowl ;)
- 1-2 chillis, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- olive oil
- splash of white wine or dry vermouth
- fettuccine for 3 (approximately 75-100g per person), cooked to instructions
- a handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
- a handful of chopped basil or parsley to garnish
- Get your pasta started.
- Mix the chillis, garlic and lemon zest with a little olive oil and fry in a pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add the prawns and wack up the heat. Mix thoroughly and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the prawns are warmed through. Now add the wine and half the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. Once your pasta is done, drain it and add to the prawns. Mix with pasta tongs or two forks until everything is well combined. Add the remaining lemon juice, a generous amount of olive oil and the basil/parsley. Give it a final mix and serve.
This dish is soooo simple and absolutely divine. Enjoy with a glass of crisp white wine or cava/prosecco. Etta x
Yes, you’ve guessed right… this is one of Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals and yes, I did make it in just under 30 minutes and yes this is possible. Let me share the simple secret: BE PREPARED!
Make sure to read the recipe first and make sure you own all the necessary equipment or figure out alternatives before you start ;) - A lot of us see a recipe, like the sound of it and just go for it, realising half way through that they’re missing a vital ingredient or don’t actually own the essential food processor. So before you start, get out all your ingredients and utensils and most importantly make sure your kitchen is nice ‘n tidy and you make room for your culinary adventure. Trust me, it’s the story of my life, having the most minuscule kitchen in the universe and constantly running out of space.
Right, now to the recipe: This one is delicious. I mean seriously and so unexpectedly yum! It’s fresh, using quirky ideas to make it that little bit different and sooo much healthier than a traditional lasagne. It is just the thing to have on a warm spring evening. I love the use of cottage cheese instead of mozzarella and bechamel. Definitely going to use it in my next bake.
One small tip: When out of season, asparagus can be pretty expensive. Try replacing one bunch with green beans or leek or spinach.
PREPARATION 10 mins
COOK 20 mins
- 2 bunches of asparagus, chopped (tips set aside)
- 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
- 500g frozen peas
- 300g frozen broad beans
- zest of one lemon
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
- bunch of fresh mint, chopped
- 300ml vegetable or chicken stock made with one stock cube
- 4-5 tinned or jarred anchovy fillets, chopped + a little of the oil (if you want to go all veggie, ditch the anchovies and replace the oil with a little olive oil)
- 300ml single cream
- 600g cottage cheese
- 200g grated cheddar or parmesan
- 1 pack (12 sheets) of fresh lasagne
- Boil approximately 1/2 a kettle of water.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
- Fry your spring onions and garlic in the anchovy oil (or olive oil) for a couple of minutes. Add your anchovies and combine well (This will not taste fishy, promise. It will simply add a lovely richness to your dish.)
- Now add your asparagus (leaving the tips for later) and cook for approximately 6 minutes. Then add the peas, broad beans, lemon zest, mint and cream, give it a good stir and simmer for a few minutes until the frozen veg has warmed through. Then add half your cottage cheese and stock and stir thoroughly.
- Gently mash the mixture with a potato masher to thicken the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon approximately 1/3 of the mixture into a medium size baking dish. Coat with a generous amount of grated cheese and cover with one layer of lasagne sheets. Continue until you’ve finished your veg mixture.
- Mix your remaining cottage cheese with a little water and spoon on top of the lasagne. Scatter the asparagus tips on top of the cottage cheese and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Place in the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Enjoy with a tomato salad or just on it’s own. Truly delicious!
Spring Vegetable Lasagne recipe taken from Jamie Oliver and adapted by Toni.
I’m sure most of you know the feeling of the ever occurring question: what should I have for lunch tomorrow? More often than not you end up having a ham sandwich or an overpriced meal deal from the local supermarket.
Now here’s a lovely little recipe for you to try. It’s easy, quick and sooo simple to prep while cooking dinner. - I used peppers and tomatoes, because I had tons left over from a salad that never happened. But feel free to experiment with any veg; courgettes and aubergines work a treat with this one.
PREPARATION < 10 mins
COOK 30 mins
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (normal olive oil will do, too, it just won’t taste as intense)
- 3 sprigs thyme or oregano, leaves removed
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 pepper, halved and de-seeded (I used four sweet baby peppers)
- a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 100 g salad cheese or feta, crumbled
- 1 tbsp balsamico
- 150 - 200 g pasta, cooked to instructions (use fussili, penne, farfalle… or any short pasta)
- Pour the olive oil into a large bowl, add the thyme leaves and mix with a spoon, slightly crushing the herbs while doing so.
- Preheat your oven to 180˚C. Place the peppers (skin up) and the tomatoes (skin down) on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 20 - 30 minutes until the skin of the peppers starts to blacken. Remove from the oven and slice.
- Add your veg and cheese to the olive oil/thyme mix and stir until well combined. At this point you can leave the mixture to rest until the following morning and prepare the rest then. This will allow for a more intense flavour (you don’t have to though ;))
- Add your warm pasta and balsamico and stir thoroughly. If you feel that the pasta is a tad dry you can add a little more olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon into tupperwares, ready to take to work for a delicious and healthy lunch.
I know this isn’t much of a recipe, but how often have you come home late from work and thought: “I really can’t be bothered to cook a proper meal!” The only solution then seems to be to pick up the phone and call the local Indian or root in the freezer for some pepperoni pizza. You are also probably sick of shop bought jars of arrabbiata or microwave meals.
Now here’s a bit of a gem and the reason why I always have creme legere in my fridge :)
This pasta dish is soooo easy to make and depending on what you have in your fridge, always different. Make a little more to take to work with you the next day.
PREPARATION > 10 mins
COOK 10 mins
- stuff from your fridge.
I used chorizo, tomatoes and spinach. But you can use anything you want:
ham, peppers, mushrooms, salami, rocket, peas, chilis, chicken…. go wild!
- Pasta (fussili, penne or farfalle work best) Use approximately 85g per serving
- 3 tbsp creme legere (that’s about a small tub)
- a handful of grated cheddar
- salt and pepper to season
- Cook your pasta to instructions in some salted water.
- Chop up your ingredients into bite-size portions and set aside.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and mix in your fridge ingredients.
- Add the creme legere and cheddar and mix until well combined and the cheddar has melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle some tabasco on top if you like and enjoy with a well-deserved glass of wine. ;)
I know this sounds ridiculous and too easy… but it is soooo good :)