If you’re anything like us you’ll have been longing for a glimpse of summer ever since Christmas – as far as we’re concerned, winter can get lost already and make way for some warmth! While this pasta dish can’t quite transport you forward in time 6 months (still working on that one), it is full of the taste of summer and will leave you feeling fresh and with a smile on your face! It’s another of our super-quick specialities, it will take no longer to cook than the pasta.
For 2 people, you’ll need:
About 180g of tagliatelle
3-4 mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Start by putting your pasta on to cook in a large pan of salted water – a couple of large pinches of salt ought to be enough. While it is cooking, slice your courgette into thin ribbons – its easiest if you use a potato peeler for this bit. Chop the herbs while this is happening, and put to one side.
When the pasta is cooked but before you drain it, throw the courgette ribbons into the same pan. Leave them in for just long enough to be stirred in with the rest of the pasta, and then drain it all. Put back in the pan you used to cook them, and add the herbs, half of the lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, and the extra virgin olive oil. Mix it all together and serve! Garnish with some lovely photogenic basil leaves, if you have any lying around, and serve up the rest of the lemon just in case anyone wants an extra squeeze…
That couldn’t have been easier could it? We eat meals like this all the time in the summer – really simple, fresh pasta dishes that are comforting and yet leave you feeling rather virtuous… And in the winter they make a lovely change from soups and stews!
We’re back with one of our favourite autumn ingredients again – butternut squash. Bird stopped by the market again after ballet and couldn’t resist a huge squash (and this absolutely giant cabbage which we used in about 6 meals!).
We decided to stuff the squash with quinoa as we enjoyed the quinoa stuffed vegetables we made a month or two ago so much. We chose to spice up the stuffing with some chorizo and dried chilli flakes, adding courgette and spinach for some fresh greenery. We then topped them with a little smoked Applewood cheese which matched the smoky paprika flavour of the chorizo perfectly. This is one of those meals that can tick away nicely on a weekend afternoon and will make 4 portions – we had it for dinner and then lunch later in the week, but if you’re just cooking for yourself you would have a couple of dinners and lunches for about an hours work!
Ingredients (for 1 very large butternut squash):
1 large butternut squash
50-100g chorizo, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (or to taste)
1 small courgette, finely diced
5-10 sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
200ml chicken stock or boiling water
Spinach (fresh or frozen, we used 3 blocks of frozen)
Cheese (any good melter will do)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using a large, sharp knife slice the butternut squash lengthways and then scoop out the seeds. Stab the squash a few times in the middle with the knife, not going all the way through, to help it cook quicker and then brush with a little olive oil. Pop them in a large roasting dish and whack them in the oven to cook. They should take about 30-45 minutes to cook depending on size, they’ll be ready when the flesh is soft all the way through. Meanwhile heat 1tsp of olive oil in a small saucepan and add the chorizo.
Let it sizzle away until slightly crisp, then add the chilli flakes, the sun-dried tomatoes and the courgette. Stir these to coat in the oil, add the quinoa and do the same until it starts to pop. Pour in the chicken stock and add the spinach if you’re using frozen – if you’re using fresh then wait until just before it’s cooked so you don’t lose all of the goodness. This will need to cook for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to start with and more frequently towards the end as the liquid is absorbed so that it doesn’t stick. Have a little taste at this stage and season it with salt and pepper to your taste.
Once the squash is cooked and the quinoa mixture is ready take the squash out of the oven and (carefully because it’s hot!) scoop out most of the flesh, just leaving around 1 cm around the edge to keep the shape. Mix this flesh with the quinoa mixture and stuff back into the squash. Top with a small amount of grated cheese and then put it back in the oven for 15-20 minutes to let it all cook together and for the cheese to melt.
Serve with salad and enjoy! This makes a brilliant lunch when cold, if anything you can taste all of the flavours even more.
After yesterdays slightly faffy (although totally worth it) post we’ve got a really simple chuck-it-all-in-the-pot-and-ignore it recipe now! This is also one that works with whatever you have in – we used chorizo, butter beans, courgettes, potatoes and kale but it would be lovely with different beans, spinach or cabbage instead of kale, sweet potatoes instead of new potatoes, peppers or aubergine instead of courgette… anything goes really. After a bit of chopping and about an hour of leaving it to do it’s own thing you’re rewarded with a rich, tasty stew to warm you up.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, roughly chopped
50-100g chorizo, chopped into chunks
2 bay leaves
a large handful of new potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 courgettes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of beans (we used butter beans and black eyed beans)
200g shredded kale
crusty bread to serve
Put a large casserole dish on a medium heat on the hob and put the olive oil in to heat up. Once it’s hot add the chopped onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently. Once the onion is starting to soften add the chorizo and bay leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes, the smoky oil from the chorizo should come out and smell amazing.
Add the potatoes and courgettes and cook for another few minutes until coated in the oil and the courgette is starting to soften. Then add the chopped tomatoes, the drained tins of beans and enough chicken stock to cover.
Put a lid on it, turn the heat right down and let it simmer away for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes whack the kale in, put the lid back on to help it wilt, then stir it in and cook for a further 10 minutes and that’s it, you’re done! Serve with some crusty wholemeal bread, the one pictured is a spelt and wholemeal loaf that we made using our basic bread recipe but using 200g of spelt flour, 200g of seeded wholemeal flour and 100g of strong white flour which produces a really nutty loaf, perfect with these strong autumnal flavours.