Sunday, 12 September 2010

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."

This weeks recipes are a hotch potch of things I feel like eating and recipes that I have to hand.

The guys put in a few requests last week and so we're eating some of their favourites including my Dan Dan Mian, my secret recipe Ragù and an all you-can-eat-quesadillas-buffet where I throw tonnes of ingredients on the table and cook the molten cheesy concoctions to order.

Aside from these we will be having...

Pasta with Bacon, Courgette and Creme Fraiche


  1. 12 streaky bacon rashers
  2. 2 large courgettes, coarsely grated
  3. Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  4. 250ml tub crème fraîche
  5. 500g pack fresh tagliatelle
  6. Fresh Parmesan shavings, to serve (optional)


  1. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Dry-fry the bacon in a large, hot frying pan over a high heat for 5 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crispy. Set aside on kitchen paper to cool, then roughly chop.
  2. Reduce the heat slightly and add the courgettes to the frying pan. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until just wilted. Stir in the lemon zest and crème fraîche. Simmer for a few minutes – it will look quite runny. Season to taste and keep over a low heat.
  3. Meanwhile, add the tagliatelle to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, until al dente. Drain well, return to the pan and add the courgette mixture. Toss well until the pasta has soaked up the sauce, then stir in the bacon. Divide between shallow bowls and scatter with the Parmesan, if you like
Pasta Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots , chopped
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 1l vegetable stock
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 200g frozen mixed peas and beans
  • 250g pack fresh filled tortellini (we used spinach and ricotta)
  • handful of basil leaves (optional)
  • grated parmesan , to serve                                                  
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the carrots and onion for 5 mins until starting to soften. Add the stock and tomatoes, then simmer for 10 mins. Add the peas and beans with 5 mins to go.
  2. Once veg is tender, stir in the pasta. Return to the boil and simmer for 2 mins until the pasta is just cooked. Stir in the basil, if using. Season, then serve in bowls topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan and slices of garlic bread.
Roasted carrot soup with herby crème fraîche   


  • 1 onion , cut into wedges
  • 800g carrots , peeled and roughly chopped
  • butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 2l vegetable or chicken stock
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 4 tbsp chopped mint , basil and chervil (use any one or a mix of 2 or 3)                               

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and put the onions and carrots in a roasting tin with a few knobs of butter. Roast for 30 minutes or until the veg are tinged brown. Tip into a pan, add the bay leaf, honey and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots are very tender, then remove the bay and whizz the lot in a blender until smooth. Sieve if you'd like it really smooth. Season and keep warm.
  2. Mix the crème fraîche and herbs and season. Serve the soup with quenelles of herbed crème fraîche.
And as a treat (and to use up copious amounts of leftover carrots)...

Carrot Cupcakes


  • 175g brown muscovado sugar
  • 100g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • zest 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 200g carrots , grated
  • orange coloured sprinkles , to decorate


  • 100g butter , softened
  • 300g soft cheese
  • 100g icing sugar , sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract                                                                                 

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flours, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and orange zest. Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients with the grated carrot. Divide the mixture between cases and bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.
  2. For the icing, beat the butter until really soft, then beat in the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Use a palette or cutlery knife to swirl the icing on top of the cakes, then sprinkle with decorations.  


  1. These all look delicious. I wish I could get my Nipper to eat real food.

  2. Thanks Tilly. Really? How come?


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