All posts by Elly

Recipe: Pan Fried Asparagus and Prawns

Pan fried Asparagus and prawns
Pan fried Asparagus and prawns

Ingredients;

200g packet of asparagus tips
100g king/tiger prawns
knob butter
15g parmesan, grated finely
balsamic vinegar

Serves 1

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In a small frying pan, add about 2cm deep of water and bring to the boil. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 2 mins.

Drain the water from the pan and add the butter. Once melted, add the prawns to the asparagus and butter, and cook for 2-3 mins max. Overcooked prawns will be tough and chewy and not very nice.

Once cooked, place on a heated plate and top with the parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and eat immediately.

Recipe: Tuna Bake

Tuna Bake
Tuna Bake

Ingredients;

3 tins tuna
1 tin sweetcorn
4 medium potatoes, diced
good handful frozen peas
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 parsnips, diced
15g butter
handful plain flour
glass of white wine
glass of milk
3 good pinches of dried herbs (whatever you have in the cupboard, i.e. oregano, thyme, basil, etd)
2 slices brown bread
large handful cheddar, finely grated
Packet of Lidl bacon bits

Serves 6.

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Open and drain the cans of tuna. Peel and dice the vegetables into approx 1 cm chunks. Toast the slices of bread and use a blender to zap into breadcrumbs, set aside.

Turn your oven on to 180° C and set aside a large casserole dish.

In a large stock pot or frying pan, heat up some oil and add the onion, potato, parsnips and carrots and fry on a medium heat for 10 mins. Add the peas and sweetcorn and fry for another 2-3 mins. Add the tuna and stir well until it breaks up.

Turn up the heat and add the butter, letting it melt and coat all the vegetables. Toss in a good handul of plain flour and stir well until it vanishes.

Add 1 glass of white wine. As it starts to boil off, turn the heat back down to medium and add the glass of milk and slowly add glass of water as needed – the mix should be wet and move freely, but there shouldn’t be too much free liquid. Now add your pinches of herbs and a little salt and pepper (half a pinch or so of each).

Stir the mix well and cook for another 5 mins, then turn the heat off. Pour the mix into your casserole dish and smooth down. Top with the breadcrumbs, then the handful of cheese, and finally scatter the Lidl bacon bits over the top.

Bake for 30-40 mins, until the top is golden and the bacon bits are well cooked. Keeps well for a few days and leftovers can easily be microwaved in a bowl, approx 2 mins on high per portion.

Recipe: Banana Bread

Freshly sliced Banana Bread
Freshly sliced Banana Bread

Ingredients;

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed banana (approx 3 bananas)

You will need 2 bowls and a 2lb loaf tin. The older and browner the bananas, the better this recipe will turn out.

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Preheat your oven to 190 C.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a second smaller bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar (easiest done with a hand mixer). Stir in the eggs and banana to this bowl.

Finally add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well until the flour mix is incorporated fully.

Liberally grease your 2lb loaf tin with cooking spray or butter and pour in the mix.

Bake at 190 C for approx 50 mins. Test if it is done by sticking a cocktail stick into the loaf and swirling around gently. If the stick comes out clean or covered in crumbs, then the loaf is done.

Remove from loaf tin and leave to cool before cutting. Gorgeous served with a thin spread of butter or some Nutella. This loaf will improve after a few days storage, keeps for 5-7 days in an airtight container.

Recipe: Bacon Pineapple & cheese chicken roll

Bacon Pineapple & cheese chicken roll
Bacon Pineapple & cheese chicken roll

Ingredients;

2 chicken breasts, any skin, fat, tough bits trimmed off
small tin pineapple rings
vintage cheddar, 4 slices about 1/2 cm thick
packet of pancetta strips or streaky bacon

Serves 2

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Heat the oven to 180° C. Line a small baking tin with foil.

Place 3-4 pancetta strips (or bacon slices) down in the tin. Lay your chicken breast across the middle of these. Top with 2 rings of pineapple and 2 of the cheese slices.

Wrap the pancetta ends over the pineapple and cheese, sealing in the chicken breast parcel. Repeat with the second breast.

Cook for 25-30 mins in the oven, until juices from the chicken run clear when a knife is pressed into it.

I’d suggest serving with mashed potato and a side of vegetables.

Recipe: Risotto

Risotto
Risotto

Ingredients;

1 large onion finely diced
1 sweet red pepper finely diced
2 sticks of celery finely diced
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
butter
olive oil
250g risotto rice
2 vegetable stock cubes, mixed with 1.5l boiling water
handful of parmesan finely grated

Serves 4

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Begin by chopping the vegetables as finely as you can. You can use a julienne peeler on the carrot and then cut across the strips for very fine dice.

In a very large saucepan or stewpot, melt a knob of butter with a lug of olive oil. Throw in your vegetables and fry softly on a medium heat for 15-20 mins, until the vegetables soften. The onions should not take on any colour, so don’t have your heat up full whack.

Once the veg is soft, place 2 stock cubes in another saucepan and add the boiling water. Keep this on a low simmer.

Turn the heat right up under your veg pan for 2 mins and add the risotto rice. Stir this well, and once the grains have soaked up the juice from the veg and begun to toast lightly, throw in a glass of white wine (or a good splash of vermouth). As this starts to boil off, reduce the heat again and add your first ladle of stock.

Stir it well and wait for the liquid to be absorbed. Keep the mix moving regularly, as this will encourage the grains to release their starch. Once each ladleful is absorbed, add another ladle of stock (usually about 2-3 mins apart). You should keep this pan at a simmering temperature.

After about 20 mins of adding stock and letting it soak in, taste your rice – it should be soft, with just a hint of a bite. If it’s still too hard, keep on adding the stock as needed. If you start to run out of stock, then top off the stock pan with some boiling water.

Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add another knob of butter and the handful of parmesan. Stir well to mix it in, then put a lid on the pan and leave for 2-3 mins. This is when the magic happens and the mix all comes together… Taste it and add salt as pepper as desired at this point.

You can serve the risotto plain or add whatever toppings you fancy – fried bacon bits & Gorgonzola, pesto, flaked cooked salmon – as your own tastes dictate.