Tag Archives: mushrooms

Indulging, exotic mushroom, zesty and nurturing Lumaconi pasta

11 Oct

Over the last few weeks its been one of those where you just don’t realise where the time has gone. October? That’s less than 90 days till Christmas! I have my days where I obsess about salads, veg and high protein dishes to pull me through my week at work and at the gym, but sometimes I believe you need to take some time, cook something you just really feel like enjoying, not necessarily what your body needs, but what you just WANT!

On days like these I tend to stroll lazily through the supermarket looking for something interesting, or sometimes just some veg or food I wouldn’t normally have on my weekly shopping list. I always find something that inspires me to create a new dish or even new twist on an old dish.

This week, I present to you my lumaconi.  In this case, it really IS all about the pasta!! I love it with a light, zesty sauce, and not drenched in cream. Surprisingly, I’ve received a number of compliments for this simple little dish. Today, slow down a bit, but some music on, pour yourself a beautiful glass of wine and start cooking. Take your time. Don’t rush. I believe this dish is all about the love you put into it.

Zesty exotic mushroom, spinach & feta lumaconi

exotic mushrooms

 

Ingredients

juice and zest of 1 x lemon

1 x pack of baby spinach leaves

250g mix of fresh exotic mushrooms, very roughly chopped

1 x tablespoon of butter + 1 teaspoon of butter

1/2 x glass of dry white wine

250g of soft, greek feta cheese

3 x tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino

1/2 cup of reserved pasta water

salt & pepper to taste

exotic mushrooms

Add your butter to a heated pan and allow to melt. Gently start frying your mushrooms. Remember, if you don’t give mushrooms space, they wont brown.

exotic mushrooms

Fry your mushrooms until brown. Now remove the mushrooms from the pan and blanch your spinach in the remaining butter and mushroom juices.

mushroom & spinach

Remove the spinach and place aside. Add the teaspoon of butter and turn up the heat. Now add your mushrooms back in the pan again.

spinach and mushrooms

Add the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix through. Allow the liquid to reduce and then set aside to cool.

butter & mushrooms

Now start cooking your pasta according to the packet instructions, making sure to cook it 4 minutes less than stated on the packet.

grated lemon zest

When this is done, reserve half a cup of the pasta water, keep aside and drain your pasta.

lumaconi pasta

Add the spinach to the mushroom mixture & crumble your feta into the spinach and mushroom mixture.

lumaconi pasta

Now put it back on the heat. Add the pasta and start mixing it through gently, slowly adding the reserved pasta water.

fried mushrooms

The pasta water will mix with the feta, allowing a gentle thickened sauce.

mushroom, feta & spinach

All you need to do now is flavour it with freshly ground black pepper and a few pinches of salt.

grated parmesan

Time to dish up!

spinach, feat and lumaconi pasta

Sprinkle over the grated parmesan, take a sip of your wine and enjoy!

zesty and tangy summer chicken

4 Aug

From THE worst blogger in the world! I never seem to have enough time to do posts every day, not even once a week! Especially since summers in London are so short, I tend to say away from all technology, and I’m hoping this will pose as an excuse for my #noblognessdisease

asparagus

It has definitely caught up with me, since I’ve started to become a bit “low”, which is what happens when I’ve not been creative for some time.

I do hope this post will lift my spirits, and encourage your appetite!

 

mushroom

Zesty & tangy summer chicken

2 x teaspoons olive oil

season with Schwartz season all / chicken spice to taste

1 x pack of chicken thigh fillets

2 x tablespoons of capers

2 x handfuls of sliced button mushrooms

juice of a lemon

2  x handfuls of fresh oregano

2 x bunches of fresh, green asparagus

1 x red onion, finely chopped

2 x teaspoons of butter

30ml dry white wine

sprinkle of grana padano / freshly grated parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

mushroom onion

Heat the olive oil in the pan. While its heating up, season your chicken thighs with the season all / chicken spice.

mushroom asparagus

Cook the thighs about 7-10 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. You want it to become crispy on each side.

Meanwhile, while your chicken is cooking, take another pan and melt the butter in it. Add your mushrooms and gently fry them. While you’re frying them, check your chicken thighs. As soon as it has cooked crispy on both sides, add your browned mushrooms to the chicken.

asparagus and oregano

Mix through and add half of the lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a minute or two and then add the capers and white wine.

Take the remaining butter and add to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in.

asparagus and onion

Cook the asparagus with the freshly picked leaves of the oregano in the butter, season with salt and pepper and allow to grill in the pan for a few minutes. Now add the finely chopped red onion and mix.

oregano

mushroom and asparagus

After frying slightly,  add the remaining lemon juice and white wine. Allow it to simmer away slightly, but make sure the asparagus doesn’t overcook, or it will be soggy. You want it to stay firm. Sprinkle over a little bit of freshly grated parmesan, and you’ll sing!

assembled chicken

All you do now is dish it up!

assembled chicken

If you feel like it, you can always lean over to the posh side and add a cheeky poached egg on top, either one is really tasty!

assembled chicken

Chicken & Vegetable kebabs

16 Feb

chicken kebab

Who said you have to wait for summer before enjoying some chicken kebabs to get that barbeque spirit in the air? If you’re anything like my man, you eat a lot of chicken breast fillets. It is healthy, very low in fat and high in protein. Sometimes, I need a little change from the normal chicken fillet though.

mushrooms

Last summer the man and I really felt like some chicken kebabs on the barbeque, but those tiny ones you buy prepared in the supermarket just didn’t hit the spot.

chopped mushrooms

So I bought some stainless steel skewers, £1 for 4!! I can’t walk away from a bargain, I know!

bell pepper

After I made our own skewers, I never looked back!

green bell pepper

Now to spruce up your chicken fillets, you can make very tasty chicken kebabs that will be gobbled up in no time, and then you have the recipe already for when the long summer evenings start poking out.

peppers and onion

Its also very convenient, because once you’ve placed it in the oven, you just leave it to cook and you can get on with other wife duties, if you’re anything like me and always busy with doing washing or packing things away.

chopped red onion

Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs

chopped red onion

Ingredients

4-6 kebab skewers

3 x tablespoons bbq sauce

1 x 500g pack chicken fillets, cut into cube pieces

1 x tablespoon Nando’s medium peri-peri sauce

juice of half a lemon

1 red onion, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

2 x green bell peppers, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

2 x red bell peppers, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

1 x pack of mushrooms, cut in medium size ( for skewers, see picture)

1 x tablespoon soya sauce

1 x tablespoon olive oil

Salt & Black pepper

Place the chicken fillet cubes in a bowl.

chopped red onion

Add the bbq sauce, nando’s sauce, lemon juice and mix through thoroughly.

chicken marinade

Cover with cling film and allow to stand for about 15 – 20 minutes. Meanwhile, start cutting up your veg for the skewers.

kebab

You want to start with a piece of red onion, then chicken, then a pepper, a mushroom, and a pepper again.

kebab

Repeat this until your skewer is full, same with the others. Preheat the oven to 160 degree celcius.

When your oven is ready, place the skewers in a tray,  Drizzle the skewers evenly with olive oil and the soya sauce.

chicken kebab

Season with some salt and black pepper and pop it in to the oven for 30 minutes.

chicken kebab

If you want, you can turn it half way through, which is what I did, but if you don’t feel like it, I wouldn’t say its absolutely necessary.

chicken kebab

It all depends on your laziness factor ;-p

chicken kebab

I served the skewers with some buttery cous cous, but I’m sure it will be equally delicious with some sticky jasmine rice.

chicken kebabs

chicken kebab

Tuna Melt Casserole

1 Feb

You know what they say: A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it. Where in this case, I know everyone has their little special touch for their casserole. Mine? Two things, wine & cheese! Best combination, whether you use them together in food or just as is, from where I come from in SA, it is definitely a winning pair!

This was last weekend’s indulgent Sunday coach potato food. As you know, its pretty cold in London at the moment, so no one is going out. Best thing to do is have a proper lie in, coffee in hand and then when you get up start cooking a heart warming casserole! My big guy tends to have the best ideas when I ask him on a Sunday morning what he’ll like for lunch. Even if it is a very straight forward dish, I strive to make it extra yummy and extra indulgent! Lets just say there’s no shortage of cheese in this dis. It can be gluten free by using gluten free pasta, and corn flour for the béchamel sauce ( if not using cream).

For those that choose to make the béchamel sauce, you can click on this link for a step by step guide. Just before I turn off the heat, for the béchamel sauce, I add a handful of grated cheese and mix it through until melted.

onion

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-B%C3%A9chamel-Sauce

Tuna Melt Casserole

Ingredients

Rigatoni pasta ( cooked to packet instructions)

1 x onion roughly chopped

1 x handful of chopped mushrooms

1 x teaspoon of butter

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

1 x cup bacon lardons / pieces

2 x tins of chunky tuna

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup of cream ( if not making béchamel sauce)

2x cups of mature cheddar, grated

pinch of nutmeg

2 x tomatoes, finely sliced

1 x cup of chicken soup sachet

1 x teaspoon of Italian herbs

1 x white wine

chopped mushrooms

Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Fry your onion in the pan for about 5-8 minutes and add the bacon lardons with the mushroom. Add the garlic and mix through.

chopped garlic

Add tuna and fry together for 5 minutes. In the meantime, add your pasta to boiling water and cook according to cooking instructions.

chopped mushrooms

Now add the soup sachet and mix through. Increase the heat and add the white wine. Mix through and lower the heat again. Keep mixing, as the wine will thicken due to the soup powder.

butter

If you’re using cream instead of béchamel, add it now and mix through. Add the pinch of nutmeg and mix through. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Flavour with salt and black pepper to taste.

grated cheese

If you’re using béchamel, mix the tuna, mushroom & bacon mixture into the sauce and mix through. Add this to your cooked pasta and mix through. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.

bechamel

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, distributing it evenly.

cooking wine

Place all the tomato slices evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Italian herbs, season with salt and black pepper.

pasta

Cook in the oven under the grill until the cheese is super crispy!

pasta

To add a little extra indulgence, I’ve sliced over a little avocado for extra creaminess!

pasta

Rich & hearty beef stew

28 Jan

chopped onion onion

On a very crisp and cold day, the only route to take is by following the aroma of a indulgent, warm & juicy stew!! Now come on, two things that I know everyone loves – stew and pie! You’ve had your treat for lamb pie, so I’m thinking today we’re moving on to a slightly healthier dish. Believe it or not, but this is a very lean dish due to the cut of the meat.

mushroom

The only catch is it cooks in the oven for about an hour, which will cause a little bit of repetition when it comes to the age old question of “when is the food ready?” This carnivore of mine is quite impatient when it comes to stews.

onion

As soon as he hears that word or even gets a slight whiff of those cooking juices, its game over!!! He wants it right away!!! Alas, there is a very good reason why the saying “good things take time” is used so often, so be prepared to get badgered by the family and friends in your home.

mushrooms and butterAs soon as they get the whiff of this stew, you’re going to wish you never told them you were making it!

Rich & indulgent beef stew

Ingredients

1 onion, roughly chopped

4-5 big mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 x packs of lean beef chunks

1 x tin of chopped tomatoes

1 x  pack of 500g green beans cut to mid-size pieces

2 x tablespoons of tomato paste

2x teaspoons of ground coriander

1 x teaspoon of crushed garlic

1 x tablespoon of butter

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

2 x Oxo beef stock cubes ( if you’re in SA, only use one stock cube)

1/2 glass of dry white wine

1 x teaspoon of sugar

salt & pepper to taste

2 x tablespoons of all purpose flour

1 x sprig of fresh rosemary

chopped mushrooms

Add the olive oil to a casserole / Le Creuset dish ( or any type of heavy bottomed dish that can go from stovetop to oven) Start frying your onions and mushrooms. After about 5 minutes, add the coriander and cook for another few minutes until golden brown.

ground cumin

Scoop it out and place in a separate bowl. Take your beef and dab it with paper towel. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and mix it through.

beef chunks

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

beef chunks

Melt the butter in the casserole dish and brown the beef.

beef chunks

Re-add the onion and mushroom mix to the beef.

tomato paste

Mix through. Add the tomato paste & garlic and mix through.

tomato paste

Increase the heat, add the white wine, mix through and add the chopped tomatoes.

beef stock cubes

Crumble the beef cubes over and mix through.

beef stock cubes

Place the rosemary sprig on top.

green beans

Put the lid on and place it in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the green beans and mix through.

green beans

Place back in the oven without the lid and cook for the remaining 20 minutes.

beef stew

As soon as you remove it from the oven, add the sugar and mix through.

beef stew

Have a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

beef stew

Serve with steaming basmati or wild rice.

beef stew

Cheeky lamb pie

25 Jan

pie

Most of us have this notion that we cook a leg of lamb for Christmas or Easter. NOT my man with his rumbling tummy!! He tends to come home with a huge piece of meat, and then stares at me with a cheeky smile. In this case, you’ve guessed what it is! He also has a way of putting in his order at the right time too!!

Our friends Franco & Sonia moved back to London from Spain, so I cooked a Sunday roast with this leg of lamb. ( recipe on the blog) Is it strange that they don’t eat as much as we do? We might eat a little too much! I won’t comment further, because we then had a fair amount of meat left. The ultimate – when you can make a pie from venison, lamb or a good cut of beef roast. My oh my!!!!

This doesn’t occur, ever! A very cheeky dish and most people will say its a waste of good meat to use lamb in a pie, but I can tell you, no wastage there!! Try it for yourself and we’ll see.

mushrooms

Ingredients

1 dish of lamb leftovers ( mine was about 2 big handfuls of lamb)

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

2 x handfuls of mushrooms, chopped

1 x onion, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons corn flour

1 x pack of all butter pastry

1 x egg

3 pinches of all purpose flour

salt & pepper to taste

mushrooms

Add olive oil to the pan. Fry the chopped onions until glassy. Add the mushrooms and fry until light brown. Now add  your lamb and start mixing through. After 5 – 7 minutes, add the corn flour.

onion & mushrooms

Mix through, ensuring it coats the mushrooms and  meat. Now add the red wine. Along with the heat and the corn flour,  it will now start to thicken the red wine into a tasty gravy.

Cook this on a low heat, until thickened. Put aside and allow to cool.

diced lamb

Take a little bit of butter or non-stick cooking spray and spray a 30cm square Pyrex dish or any dish of a similar size.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Sprinkle the flour on a kitchen top surface and swish it around a little bit to give you an area where you’ll be rolling out your puff pastry. Now get your rolling pin and start rolling!!!

puff pastry

I usually place one piece of pastry in the bottom of the dish, then I dish in the pie filling. Beat the egg and get yourself a little basting brush. Brush the edges on the bottom half of the pastry. Place the other half on top and gently squeeze the edges together. If you have any pastry left, cut little forms with cookie cutters and place it on top.

rolling pin

Brush your whole pie with the egg.

beaten egg

Last step : take a sharp knife and make a tiny hole in the middle of the pie or use an adorable pie bird!

lamb pie

Bake in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown. The final step is to remove it from the oven and look at the hungry buggers’ faces, waiting for the very first piece of that pie and then decide who you’ll give it to first!

lamb pie

Catch a “falling” chicken… put it in your “pocket”

31 Mar

save it for a rainy day.. because all us have a day like that sometimes – tired, no time, you have to cook supper, but you have no idea and you dont even know where to start. Start with the recipe in your “imaginary pocket” and make some chicken pockets 🙂

I thought of this last night, because Conan made supper, because this eager beaver went to the gym.. returning in pain.. AGAIN. So I noticed he purchased little coriander & garlic pita pocket breads… naturally I have to use them tonight.  So cute don’t you think.. pocket breads 🙂

Literally, I suppose if you wrap them in foil, they will fit perfectly into your pocket and it really is saving for a rainy day, when you need to take lunch to work, unless it is all finished in one evening, which happens almost every night in our household.

This is a recipe that really is easy, believe me, especially if I thought it up trying to think of no effort tonight ;-p

Feeling the effects of a slight flu today, I want to cook something tasty, AND different, because there is a certain someone that says he is so spoiled, he doesn’t know what to answer when I ask him what he feels like for supper. His usual answer : ” I dont know, I’ve had everything, I dont feel like anything” . SO – in a way, this is  motivation really… I have to think of something different to make everytime… until Conan, big man of the household yearns for his favourite dishes again and I can rely on my memory.

Well… that day is not today, so for everyone that has a rainy day – today or any other day when you need inspiration, or you have to make something quick… take this chicken recipe from your “pocket”

Mediteranean chicken pockets

2  1/2  tablespoons of houmous  per pita/ naan bread

2 avo’s cut into bite sized pieces

2 handfuls of broccoli, steamed

1 cup of roasted peppers

1/2 hanful of feta cheese per pocket 

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon of chicken spice

salt & pepper for seasoning

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 red onion / brown onion, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of fresh mint, finely chopped

1 pack of chicken breast fillets, cut into bite sized pieces

 1 handful of watercress

Garlic & Coriander Naan/ Pita breads or plain pita breads

Olive oil for drizzling

Add your olive oil and garlic to a heated pan. Add your onions and fry gently for 10 minutes. While this is frying, preaheat your oven to 160 C . Place your pita breads in the oven to warm… but keep an eye om them, they can burn easily.

Now, after the onions have cooked for 10 minutes, add your mushrooms to the pan and fy for about 7 minutes. Add your chicken and chicken spice. Cook the chicken until almost done, and add your sundried tomatoes and mix through. Now add the roasted peppers and the broccoli and mix through gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut your pita pockets open halfway, allowing enough space to place your filling inside.

Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.

Take half of the houmous and put it in the pita.

Now, add your filling – chicken, mushrooms and onion.

Take the other half of the humus and layer it over the chicken filling.

Top off with the avo, watercress, feta and some of the mint. Season with black pepper and salt.

You can serve it with a plain and simple side salad. How quick was that… and almost no washing up  🙂