Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

Courgette and Bacon Spaghetti

Ready in 20 minutes

1 Courgette
3 Smoked Bacon Rashers
100g Philadelphia Cheese
2 Cloves of Garlic
Spaghetti
Salt and Pepper to season
Olive Oil

Ingredients

1. Boil the spaghetti in a pan. In a wok or large saucepan gently fry the courgette and garlic.
2. Once the courgette is browning add the bacon. It’s important to use smoked bacon as this is what gives it a lovely flavour.
3. I normally use Soured cream for this recipe but I had forgotten to buy it, so used Philadelphia instead which also tasted really nice. Beat the cheese until soft, and add to the courgette and bacon once cooked.
4. Drain spaghetti. Once the cream cheese (or soured cream) has mixed and heated up add the cooked spaghetti and mix.
5. Serve and season to taste.

Spaghetti

This dish is one of my favourite meals as its so quick and easy to do- but tastes amazing. The garlic and smoked bacon are such strong flavours that you don’t need to add anything else to it.

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January 18, 2011

Stuffed Beef Tomato

Tomato

This was made from ingredients that I happened to have in my fridge. It’s so easy but tastes amazing.
I sliced the top off the tomato and scraped out the inside into a bowl- this reminded me of when doing pumpkins at Halloween just without the funny faces on the front.
I made the cous cous with some fresh mint and seasoning and then mixed in the tomato pulp. I then added some extra tomato puree and some chopped red onion.
Finally I added some ricotta cheese that I had left over from last week lasagne.
I put this cous cous mixture into the empty tomatoes and then sprinkled some grated cheddar cheese on the top and put the lids back on.
Then bake in the over for about 25-30mins.
And voila!
I really like it because it’s so refreshing with the tomato- it keeps it moist inside. You could put anything with the cous cous really, but I found this worked quite well as it didn’t overpower any of the other flavours.
Tomato

Tomato

January 16, 2011

Mien Tay

122 Kingsland Road, E2 8DP

This was my first ever experience of a Vietnamese restaurant.
I’ve been to many Thai, Chinese and other oriental restaurants, but until that night I was a Vietnamese Virgin. I have a good group of experienced friends however to guide me through, some of who have Asian ancestry and have grown up on such food, so I trusted their suggestion of the choice of location.
Walking along this street in Shoreditch I noticed that it seemed to be a mini Vietnam haven. How to choose which one to go in? I had been recommended this place, but otherwise I would not be able to decide from the front.

Once inside we were seated at our pre-booked table and the giggling began. We all love our food, and we love to giggle about food, and thankfully this place is very accommodating. It was a cold snowy Wednesday night and very busy, I’m not sure if this was just due to it being the lead up to Christmas, or the popularity of the place.

Mein Tay

For starters we had Vietnamese spring rolls- absolutely delicious, stuffed with vermicelli noodles, minced pork and mixed vegetables, wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried – not something I’d ever had before and they did not disappoint, accompanied with lightly picked carrot and cucumber and burdock leaf to wrap the rolls in if you so wished.
Mein Tay
For main I decided on the Pho- rice noodle soup with sliced Beef and Brisket. I’d never heard of Pho before, but I was informed that it is a very complex broth that is made over the course of many hours. Accompanying the beef was a selection of vegetables – chilli, coriander, bean sprouts, which you drop as little or as much into your Pho. It was a hard choice as there was such a wide range of wonderful sounding dishes, but I was very happy with my selection- it was flavoursome without being too overpowering, and it was so very filling I struggled to finish it. We all shared and tasted each other’s dishes, and I would recommend any of the other dishes at the table- rice noodle and goat dish, rice noodle and seafood, goat with lemongrass ad chilli and a rice noodle and beef dish. All fantastic flavours and great portion sizes.
Mein Tay

Mein Tay
To end a fantastic evening was the surprise of the bill- although should not have been such a surprise- I had seen the menu when ordering. It came to £10 per head, which for the size of my belly afterwards, efficient service and lots of laughter you really can’t complain.
Mien Tay on Urbanspoon

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January 11, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne

I didn’t have a recipe for this- all the ones on the
internet had ingredients that I didn’t have in my cupboard, so I
thought I would just make it up. I made a basic cheese sauce using
milk, flour, butter and cheddar cheese. In a separate pan I lightly
fried an onion in some butter, then added the spinach. Once wilted
I added the ricotta. I layered the lasagne sheets, sauce and
spinach, and then sprinkled the top with cheese. Put it in the
oven, watched Eastenders, and then came to see what had become of
it. I don’t think I’d made the sauce quite thick enough, but other
than that it tasted pretty yummy. Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne

January 9, 2011

Goat’s Cheese & Tomato Tart

This was my first attempt at making a tart- and it tasted
pretty good even if I do say so myself. I found this recipe in one
of my files- I had torn it out of a Good Homes magazine from May
2007, and thought I would give it a whirl. I found it easy to
follow, easy to make, and it tasted delicious. I used big beef
tomatoes, and found I didn’t actually use the whole 500g but that’s
up to personal preference. I used a 20cm cake tin rather than a
baking sheet- but this made it a little too thick so I would
recommend either using a larger cake tin or just a flat tray. Goat's Cheese and Tomato Tart Goat's Cheese and Tomato Tart
Serves 4
Ready in 50 minutes
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
85g/3oz cold butter chopped
7 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
140g/5oz plain flour
500g/ 1lb 2oz tomatoes thickly sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
100g/4oz soft goat’s cheese
Olive oil for drizzling
1. Turn theoven to 200°C (180°C fan)/390°F/Gas 6. Boil the potato for 12
minutes then drain.
2. Fry the onion in 25g/1oz of butter for five minutes until it starts to brown. Strip the leaves from four sprigs
of thyme and add to the pan, or add half the dried thyme.
3. Rub the remaining butter into the flour. Mash the potato, add to the
mixture with seasoning and the onion and any pan juices. Mix to a
soft dough, then press into a 23cm round on a greased baking sheet.
4. Arrange the tomatoes on the dough and drizzle over the vinegar.
Sprinkle over the remaining thyme and season. Crumble over the
cheese, drizzle with oil, then bake for 35 minutes until the base
is golden.

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