Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lemony pork pasta

As a food blogger one of the toughest things is making dishes look as amazingly appetising as they taste when you’re a mediocre photographer using an iPhone!  This is one of those times.  This pasta dish is years in the making, it originally came from a google search one Friday afternoon which brought up the bones of this recipe that I’ve since spent ages adapting and tweaking (as I tend to do with most).  I think I’ve nailed it to my tastes and if I ever remember where I found it originally I will absolutely provide credit.  One of the best bits is that as a busy mum of a seriously energetic 3 year old, you can make the sauce in stages over a few hours, tips in the method.  This recipe should feed 4 if you add a big salad or some veg, in reality in my house it’s 2 starving adults with leftovers for a quick lunch the next day.  Please forgive the pics and promise me you’ll try it, you won’t be sorry….

Ingredients

olive oil

1 small onion

1 stick celery

2 fat cloves garlic

4 rashers streaky bacon

500g pork mince

Small glass white wine

3 tablespoons reduced fat creme fraiche

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Lots of ground black pepper

2 large handfuls freshly grated parmesan cheese

Parsley – finely chopped flat leaf or dried to taste

Fresh taglietelle – 500g will generously serve 4

Method

  1.    In a large pan heat the oil only very slightly, add finely chopped onion, celery and garlic and cook EVER SO GENTLY for as long as you like (this is where I go and bath child), add a splash of water if it seems like it might stick, you want it super soft but not coloured.
  2. Chop bacon into smallish pieces, add to the pan and again cook very slow and low for as long as you like – tonight when I made this it was the time I had a bath myself (candlelit and with a glass of vino, thank you hubby).  As long as it’s super low heat and you add that splash of water it won’t hurt – you don’t want a sizzle.

 

IMG_3887.jpg3.    Add the pork mince.  Stir to break up just a bit but not too much, turn heat up to barely medium and cook until the raw pink colour is gone.

4.    Add the wine and a splash more water if needed, you want a little bit of sauce but not swimming in it.

5.    Cook pasta according to instructions.  Meanwhile add lemon zest, juice and creme fraiche to the pork mix.

6.    Drain the pasta, add to the sauce with a good handful of freshly grated parmesan (if you use the ready grated, dry, sawdust like stuff you risk ruining a beautiful dish, don’t have it in your house.)

7.  Taste for seasoning, add more pepper if needed, it’s a dish that can take a lot.  Throw in parsley of choice and serve in warmed bowls with plenty of parmesan and more parsley on top.  Now herb wise I usually always use fresh but somehow the dried parsley works here – unlike the parmesan, I don’t think I’ll ever condone dried parmesan….

Garnish with a bit of finely chopped spring onion if it’s knocking about in the fridge….

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Poached eggs….

….and other yumminess!

So I woke up this morning (earlier than I’d hoped on my day off due to the 3 year old) but with the most amazing food combo idea already in my head for lunch.  I knew I had everything in the fridge or about to be delivered with my shopping, husband working at home so I could go ahead.

And ahead I went.  The result a plateful of maybe a bit odd but the most delicious and utterly nutritious food imaginable, just what my tastebuds seemed to be screaming out for and whilst not 100% Slimming World friendly without a doubt better than a fat laden sandwich!

Barely even a recipe so I’ll just tell you what it is:

A slice of wholegrain toast spread thickly with avocado, squeeze of lemon juice, thinly sliced red onion, a sprinkle of salt (remind me to tell you my fascination with salt, this was my current fave Fleur du sel), topped with a roasted salmon fillet, perfectly poached eggs and generous grind of fresh black pepper.

I cannot describe the pleasure, a reasonably simple lunch really, 10 mins to prepare and hardly hard work, but so tasty.

Going to try versions in the coming weeks, watch this space….

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Another January, another….

….need to get rid of some of the holiday weight!!

I love Christmas.  No, I adore it, cherish it, celebrate it – and EAT IT!  From around 19th December, the approx date our tree (real and huge) goes up and the hamper (from parents, generous and extremely indulgent) arrives, it’s an ‘all bets are off’ situation for me.  I don’t so much as fall off the wagon, more I fall off, chop the wagon into tiny pieces and set fire to it whilst stuffing stilton in my gob and doing a happy dance!

Now I realise the error of this plan after a year of trying to be reasonably good and seeing some success in the battle of the bulge, but I can’t – no I won’t change.  It’s just too much fun!

Anyway.  It’s now 3rd January.  I’ve had my first couple of coffees made with milk instead of baileys (bleugh), finished the last of the cheese in the fridge, just polishing off the rest of a rather nice bottle of Zinfandel and it’s time to crack on with the health kick.  I don’t do starvation, I simply can’t which is why the principles of Slimming World appeal to me so much.  It’s just basic common sense.  I’m not however a rep, nor am I an expert – self proclaimed or otherwise – so I won’t add a syn value to any of my recipes.  All I’ll assure you of is that I’ve done my very best to make the ones I claim to be SW friendly as close as possible to that as I can, removed as much fat content as I can and tried to keep flavour and satisfaction high on the agenda.

Case in point my roasted veg and tomato pasta sauce.  This has become such a staple in my house.  I make it in huge batches in my beloved slow cooker and freeze in 2 person portions.  It’s great as a sauce on it’s own but even better with a protein added.

Hope you love it, here’s to a happy, healthy 2016!

Ingredients – makes enough to feed 8 hungry adults

6 peppers – mix of colours but not green

4 large onions (peeled)

6 cloves garlic

4 stalks celery

4 carrots (peeled)

2 leeks (cleaned)

2 tins chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

Large bunch basil

Light oil spray

Salt and black pepper

Method

Chop onion and peppers into very large pieces, you really want them quartered unless they’re massive in which case a bit smaller.  Chuck in a large roasting dish with the whole peeled garlic cloves, lots of pepper (no salt) and some light oil spray.

Roast at 180 for approx 40 mins.  My oven is like napalm so I check after 25 and stir around if necessary, you want the veg really soft and starting to colour quite black and charred around the edges, great flavour.

Meanwhile celery carrots and leeks can be chopped very big and chucked in the slow cooker with tomatoes, plenty of seasoning and the bay leaves. This 20 mins of gentle chopping effort really is the most you’ll have to do I promise.

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Once the veg are roasted add them to the slow cooker mix.

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Bung the basil on top, I don’t chop it, just throw the whole bunch, stalks and all in.  Isn’t that just beautiful, you know it’s going to taste amazing!  It needs no stock cube, no water.  Cook on high for 3 hours or if you’ve got time 5 on low.

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Let it cool and blitz in a processor or with a stick blender.  I like it left a little chunky but it you go really smooth you could make it into a soup.

And that’s it, a beautiful pot of deliciousness that you just know will be doing you good.  Below some extra things I add at oven roasting stage if I’ve got them knocking around, and a few ways to use the sauce:

To add:

Courgette, sweet potato, cauliflower (roasted cauli is truly gorgeous)

Uses:

As a pasta sauce on it’s own or with added chicken, white fish or prawns

As a bruschetta topping with some crumbled feta and a few olives on top

Blended a bit smoother with a drop of water if needed and dated as a delicious soup with some seeds or croutons on top

 

 

 

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