Lamb Lollipops, Curry Sauce, Rice & Peas

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Its Sunday night. A quick glance at the clock tells me its 6 PM. Time to get into ninja action! Aiii-aah!

Sunday nights are when clothes for the work week get ironed, meals are prepared and stacked in the fridge for the work week and diaries are filled with planned tasks for the week in my house. It is when we like to get in bed at a reasonable hour, maybe read a book and sleep on time in order to start the work week feeling refreshed and recharged. This doesn’t happen that often but we like to aim towards it anyway.

Thats a lot to get through in a few hours on a Sunday night. And of course amidst these things I still need to prepare dinner for that night. Which is why I resorted to good old Jamie’s 15 minute meals again. Out came all my pots and pans (only needed two in this case, yay!) and I got into full action.

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Continuing on from lamb chops from my last try, I attempted Jamie’s take on Indian lamb chops. I read the recipe apprehensively, as this is one combination you never hear of in tradition Indian meals, but I charged ahead anyway. Now most Indians like their meat, well done. Infact lamb is no good until it is literally falling off the bones. So I cooked the lamb chops for longer than prescribed and added some chilli flakes to give them some pizzazz. The long cooking time totally blackened the onions and peppers but they tasted so good!

We try to avoid rice for dinners if possible, and eat rotis/chappatis instead. So I stuck to the routine and served up well done lamb chops with caramelised onions and peppers, with curry sauce and rotis.

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This unconventional combination surprisingly came together quite well. The lamb was succulent, juicy and well spiced. The sauce was delicious but a bit too runny for me. Next time I would make it real thick, a bit like satay sauce, so that I can dip the lamb chops in it. Rather than rice, this dish probably goes well on its own. If you wish to make it a bigger meal, try it with naan/turkish bread, couscous or even potato mash.

Needless to say, this simple recipe allowed me to multi-task, and within a few hours I had all my meals packed and clothes ironed; leaving me with enough time to get back to Lee Child’s One Shot!

The recipe

Serves 4, 632 calories

Ingredients out* Kettle boiled* Medium lidded pan, high heat * Two large non-stick frying pans, medium-high heat*

Ingredients

Rice&peas
1 mug (300g) of 10-minute wholegrain or basmati rice
8 cloves
40g dried red split lentils
300g podded raw or garden peas

Lamb
8 large lamb cutlets on the bone, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp garam masala
olive oil
4 spring onions
1 fresh red chili
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
4 jarred red peppers
1 heaped tsp runny honey
balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs of fresh coriander

Curry sauce
2 tbsp Patak’s korma paste
1 x 400g tin of light coconut milk
1 lemon

Garnishes
2 uncooked poppadoms
fat-free natural yoghurt

Start cooking

Put 1 mug of rice and 2 mugs of boiling water into the medium pan with a pinch of salt and the cloves, then put the lid on, stirring occasionally. Rub the lamb with salt, pepper and the garam masala, bash and flatten them with your fist, then put into one of the hot frying pans with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning when gnarly and golden brown.

Put the korma paste and coconut milk into the other frying pan with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, stir together, bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes, then turn the heat off. Mix the lentils into the rice. Trim and slice the spring onions, chili, peeled ginger and peppers, then toss in with the lamb. Stir the peas into the rice and lentils.

Pour half the curry sauce into a bowl (pop the rest in the fridge to use another day). Break up the uncooked poppadoms and pop in the microwave (800W) for a minute or two to puff up. At the last minute, toss the lamb with the honey and a splash of balsamic. Serve the lamb scattered with coriander leaves and scrunched-up poppadoms, with the rice and peas, yoghurt and lemon wedges on the side.

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Glazed Sizzling Chops with Sweet Tomato & Asparagus Lasagnetti

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As a child, there was only ever one pasta dish mum made at home. It was called macaroni because the pasta she used was Gomiti Lisci which is the preferred pasta for the actual mac n cheese. Except mum’s version was cooked with a tomato base and was heavily spiced to suit the Indian palette. And I loved it. There was nothing like hot, piping macaroni pasta on chilly winter mornings (yes, we even had it for breakfast sometimes!), with lots of gooey cheesy mozzarella on top. My brother and I loved to stretch the cheese out between our teeth and the fork, to see who could get the longest strand going.

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It was only when I moved to Sydney and started experimenting with pasta that I realised that there is half an aisle, at the local supermarket, dedicated to pasta varieties. The other half is pasta sauces! It was mind boggling. So much choice! Where do you start? Well I managed to make a start but the end is nowhere near.

This recipe called for cut up lasagne sheets but I saw it as my chance to try wholemeal organic fettucine pasta instead. Subtly flavoured with honey glazed lamb chops, this dish worked beautifully.

The ingredients made for fresh flavours, and the sticky lamb chops were a delight. The recipe was a bit too bland for me so as usual I topped off both the lamb and the pasta with my ever-trusted red chilli flakes. The result was pretty good but nothing sensational. It was, however, pretty easy and quick to make!

Verdict –
Time – 5/5
Taste – 3/5

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Ingredients

Lamb
8 large lamb chops, trimmed of fat
olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus extra to serve

Lasagnetti
4 spring onions
2 bunches of asparagus (600g)
1 fresh red chili
300g ripe cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 small bulb of garlic
300g fresh lasagne sheets
30g Parmesan cheese

Start cooking

Toss the lamb chops with a pinch of salt and put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning regularly until golden (around 8 minutes). Trim and finely slice the spring onions, asparagus (leaving the tips whole) and chili, and halve the cherry tomatoes. Scrape the veg into the casserole pan with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Roughly chop most of the top leafy half of the mint and add to the veg with a pinch of salt and pepper, then squash in 3 cloves of unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Bash the remaining unpeeled garlic cloves and add to the lamb with the rosemary leaves. Cut the lasagne sheets into 2cm-thick stripes, scatter them over the veg, then cover with 500ml of boiling water and mix together.

Reduce the heat under the lamb to low and toss with the honey and balsamic to glaze, then remove to a plate to rest. Finely grate the Parmesan over the lasagnetti and turn the heat off. Serve with the lamb, adding an extra drizzle of balsamic and sprinkling over the remaining mint.

Chicken and Vegetable Stirfry

And I am back!! Its been so long since I did a post and I feel very guilty about it 😦 But I am one of those people who simply can’t leave their projects incomplete, and so here I am. A new year, a new post.

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I was craving stir fry noodles yesterday and at the same time I wanted to explore more of Jamie’s recipes. However I didn’t find anything suitable in the book. I turned to the app I have downloaded on my phone, its called Jamie Oliver recipes. This app is great for its array of recipes. I tried a barramundi fish with potato and pea mash last month and was quite happy with the results. I only have the free version, mind you, but its great for when you need ideas for weekly dinners. Alas, there was no stir fry there either.

So I resorted to Jamie’s website and like always, Jamie never disappoints. I found a gorgeous, heartwarming and minimalist stir fry recipe that I knew I had to try. This recipe called for beef but I substituted it for chicken and boy it tastes good! The weather is a bit cuckoo in Sydney right now with yesterday being cold and today hot! But this meal went beautifully with the slightly chilly weather we had yesterday.

Next time, I’ll be back with a 15min meal. I promise 🙂

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You can find the original recipe here https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/beef-and-vegetable-stir-fry

Ingredients
250 g dried medium egg noodles
vegetable oil
350 g quality steak, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1-2 large fresh red chillies, finely sliced
200 g peanut shoots or bean sprouts
soy sauce
sesame oil
juice of ½ lime
1 large red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
1 handful snow peas, finely sliced
1 handful baby corn, quartered lengthways
6 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
cos lettuce leaves, to serve

Method
Cook the egg noodles in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, place in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a large wok or a heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add a splash of vegetable oil, then stir-fry the beef slices with the sliced garlic, ginger and chillies until just cooked. Add the shoots or bean sprouts, a good splash of soy sauce and sesame oil and the lime juice for the last 30 seconds of cooking.

Tip the contents of the wok into a large bowl, including all the lovely juices. Put the wok back on the heat, add a splash more vegetable oil and all the vegetables. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the cooked noodles and toss well over the heat.

Divide the fried vegetables and noodles between 4 plates. Return the beef and juices to the wok and stir-fry until heated through. Add the coriander and toss until well mixed with the beef. Arrange on top of the noodles and garnish with a cos lettuce leaf.

White Fish Tagine with Asparagus Salad, Yogurt dressing and chia-coconut drink

After a long hiatus, I delved back into Jamie’s 15 minute meals. I chose the White Fish Tagine but with my own twist. Instead of white fish, I used a marinara seafood mix I bought at the local supermarket. I also swapped the couscous for quinoa which is a nice healthy grain with lots of fiber.

I also swapped the salad for another one from Jamie’s collection and I have added delicious drink recipe of my own. Keep reading to find out what it is!

So here is the recipe

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And here are all my ingredients nicely laid out. I added some fennel and onion to the recipe to make it heartier.

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As instructed by Jamie, I started with all the ingredients in my baking dish.

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The green paste is a mint, ginger and lemon paste I made in the food processor to make the most of the large bunch of mint I got at the local market. This way I don’t waste any mint and I can use the paste in a number of different ways as you will see.

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Topped it with the passata and added the seafood mix

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And seasoned with harissa and chilli flakes

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After 15 minutes in the oven, it was done!

Now for the salad. I found some lovely asparagus in the market so I decided to use it along with some avocado and fennel in a salad. I found this idea for cooking asparagus on Jamie’s website

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/member-recipes/Three%20simple%20ways%20to%20cook%20asparagus/1577

So I made my mind butter with the mint paste I made earlier and some butter. It was delicious!

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I cooked the asparagus by boiling it for 5 minutes, added it to the fennel an avocado and drizzled the mint butter. Here is the finished salad.

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Now instead of couscous, I decided to use quinoa. It’s part of my healthy eating resolution for this year. Quinoa needs to be cooked as one part of quinoa with one and a half parts water. Cook it on the stove top until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent. I added some of the mint paste and some lemon for flavoring.

The last item on Jamie’s recipe is the yogurt. I simply used my ever versatile mint paste in the yogurt with some more lemon and it was done! That’s 4 ways of using the mint paste but we are not done yet!

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As a bonus, I decided to try out something I saw on a cooking show on TV. It was a juice making episode on Justine’s Schofield’s show called Everyday Gourmet. Here is the link to the recipe.

http://everydaygourmet.tv/recipes/304

And here is some more information http://ohsheglows.com/2013/03/01/chia-fresca-a-natural-energy-drink/

Adding some black chia seeds to coconut water will give you a crunchy jellylike energy boost that you can add to any drink. I was intrigued by the idea so I decided to try this out myself. Here is my chia-coconut mix.

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And here is the final drink. Apple-ginger juice + chia-coconut mix + mint leaves + one strawberry + a few mint leaves (or a tiny bit of the paste) It was really yummy and refreshing and perfect now that summer is heating up.

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That was my meal today. Jamie is back in my kitchen!

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Gorgeous greek chicken with herby vegetable couscous & tzatziki

Gorgeous Greek Chicken

Gorgeous Greek Chicken

Gorgeous Greek chicken? Whats with the name you ask? I thought the same. I think its pretty hilarious to name a dish ‘gorgeous’. I understand the need to describe flavours or ingredients in a title, to give people a hint of what to expect. But gorgeous doesn’t tell me much Jamie, because I expect every dish of yours to be ‘gorgeous’.

Humored by the title I decided to find out for myself how gorgeous exactly this chicken is. Much to my dismay there is nothing special about it. In fact it is pretty similar to what I made in my previous post – Blackened Chicken and San Fran Quinoa. Call it blackened chicken or gorgeous chicken – there is NO DIFFERENCE.

Herby Veggie Cous Cous

Herby Veggie Cous Cous

The couscous is interesting but lacks seasoning so I spiced it up with paprika and seasoned it. Tzatziki is amazing though. Its freshness cuts through the rest of the dish beautifully. Yoghurt on the side seems to be a recurring theme in Jamie’s recipes; not that I am complaining 🙂 Try it if you are craving some fresh Mediterranean flavours!

You can find the entire recipe here on Jamie’s website –
Gorgeous greek chicken with herby vegetable couscous & tzatziki

Verdict
Time – 3/5
Taste – 3/5

Blackened Chicken and San Fran Quinoa Salad

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On days when I cook for myself, I look for simple salad meals that I can pack for lunch as well. This salad was just that; a beautiful lunchbox meal. With summers approaching Sydney, it is definitely time for summery lunch salads.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And thank you Jamie for making me like quinoa again!! I had given up on quinoa because the last time I cooked it, it was terribly bitter and inedible. But that was because I hadn’t cooked it well. So I braved it again and this time washed out the quinoa 10 times before cooking it and it worked wonders. Tada! No bitterness at all.

San Fran Salad

San Fran Salad

So many flavours come together beautifully in this dish. Summery and fresh herbed-quinoa with spiced chicken; sweet peppers with salty feta and fresh avocado; and dollops of yoghurt which prevent the dish from tasting dry. What an amazing combination. It truly is an explosion of flavours in your mouth!

Blackened Chicken

Blackened Chicken

This recipe also called for mangoes which I saw mangoes just last week at my supermarket, but they haven’t properly arrived and so when I went again on the weekend, alas, there were no mangoes to be seen. I think the recipe is just fantastic without them though – I think mangoes would make the dish too sweet.

I definitely cannot afford to make Jamie’s recipes frequently because he calls for too many ingredients per recipe and only uses a tiny amount in each; which means several $$$$$$$$$$$ spent at the supermarket. Not economically feasible folks.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

Having said that, I am very pleased with this recipe because it turned out way better than I expected 🙂 I packed it for lunch and assembled it at work. Needless to say, several colleagues were eyeing my plate with admiration (and jealousy)! 🙂

Verdict
Taste – 5/5
Time – 4/5

Jamie’s San Fran Quinoa and Blackened Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

Quinoa salad
1 mug (300g) of quinoa
1 fresh red chilli (I omitted this)
100g baby spinach
4 spring onions
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 ripe large mango (I omitted this)
2 limes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
50g feta cheese (I used Danish feta – it has a creamier texture than Greek feta)
1 punnet of cress (I omitted this)

Chicken
2 x 200g skinless chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp ground allspice (I used mixed spice instead)
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
olive oil
2 mixed-colour peppers

To serve
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt (I used low-fat Greek yoghurt)

Method:

Put the quinoa into the pan and generously cover with boiling water and the lid. Put the chilli, spinach, trimmed spring onions and coriander (reserving a few leaves) into the processor, tear in the top leafy half of the mint, then blitz until finely chopped. On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, the allspice and paprika. Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until blackened and cooked through.

De-seed the peppers, cut each one into 8 strips and add to the frying pan, tossing regularly. Peel and cut the mango into chunks. Drain the quinoa and rinse under the cold tap, then drain well again and tip on to a serving board or platter. Toss with the blitzed spinach mixture, squeeze over the lime juice, add the extra virgin olive oil, mix well and season to taste.Sprinkle the mango chunks and cooked peppers over the quinoa. Halve and de-stone the avocado, then use a teaspoon to scoop curls of it over the salad. Slice up the chicken, toss the slices in any juices and add to the salad. Crumble over the feta, scatter over the remaining coriander leaves and snip over the cress. Serve with dollops of yoghurt.

Modern Greek Salad with Spinach, Chickpea & Feta Parcels

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

O.M.G. I just hit the 15 minute mark with this one. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I’d given up trying to be at 15 minutes because it is way too stressful. But this recipe requires no cooking other than baking which means all you do is assemble and bake. Super easy and super quick. This recipe didn’t WOW me but it did make for a simple meal which is just what I was after, having eaten so much this weekend.

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

Lots of alterations with this one; I was trying to use up food in my fridge. Instead of using filo pastry I used puff pastry from my freezer and made triangles rather than parcels. Difference lies only in the pastry – puff is more flaky and thick whereas filo is thin.

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

Spinach Chickpea and Feta Triangles

I also swapped lettuce with red cabbage. I STILL have half of that cabbage left and will have to make lots of salad this week to finish it off.

Modern Greek Salad - modified

Modern Greek Salad – modified

The honey yoghurt was a pleasant surprise. Its slight sweetness complemented the savoury triangles really well.

Modern Greek Salad - modified

Modern Greek Salad – modified

Verdict
Time – 5/5
Taste – 3/5

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals: Modern Greek Salad with Chickpea & Spinach Parcels
Serves 4
516 calories per serving

Ingredients Out – Oven at 220 Centigrade – Food Processor (bowl blade, thick slicer and fine slicer) – Ovenproof medium frying pan, medium heat – Medium frying pan, medium heat.

Parcels
1x 400g tin of chickpeas
100g feta cheese
100g baby spinach
1 lemon
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
4 large sheets of filo pastry (from a 270g pack)
Olive Oil

Salad
1 cucumber
1 small red onion
Small handful of fresh mint and coriander
20g blanched almonds
1 handful of olives
650g mixed ripe tomatoes
1 romaine lettuce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To Serve
Fat-free natural yogurt
Runny Honey

1. Drain and add the chickpeas to the processor along with the feta, spinach, lemon zest and paprika – then blitz until combined.
2. Fold a large sheet of filo pastry in half, dollop ¼ of the mixture into the centre, then push your thumb into the middle to make a space for the filling to expand as it cooks, then bring the sides up and very loosely pinch into a parcel. Repeat to make 4 parcels.
3. Add the parcels to the ovenproof pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry for a couple of minutes to crisp up the bottom, then bake in the oven until beautifully crisp and golden.
4. Swap to the thick slicer in the processor (or use a mandolin) – then run the cucumber through the processor. Swap to the fine sliver, and run through the peeled red onion.
5. Tip the cucumber and onion into a bowl and season with salt, a squeeze of lemon and toss to mix.
6. Finely chop and scatter over most of the top leafy half of the coriander and mint.
7. Put the almonds and olives into the other pan with 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
8. Thickly slice the tomatoes and arrange on a large platter.
9. Slice the lettuce 1cm thick and add to the platter, then sprinkle over the cucumber and onion, drizzle with the olive oil an spoon over the almonds and olives from the pan.
10. Serve the parcels with a good dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and the salad.

Happy Cow Burgers and Old-School Coleslaw

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My eyes fell on my Jamie Oliver book last week and suddenly I felt guilty for having neglected it for so long! I was looking for a break from Indian cooking anyway and I thought what better than to try out a JO recipe.

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I decided to do things differently this time. I totally ignored the 15 minute time period because after a busy, full-on week at work the last thing I wanted is a busy, full-on time in the kitchen! My kitchen is where I get creative, relax, de-stress and really enjoy the art of cooking. JO’s 15-minute meals were making my experience too dramatic and I was always left with a messy kitchen because there is NO time to clean as you go. So I decided to LET GO and go with the flow. Instead of 15 minutes it took me an hour, but I enjoyed the process and that’s what cooking is about 🙂

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JO is famous for his ultimate burgers so I opted for his Happy Cow Burger with old school coleslaw. Interesting name – Happy Cow burger. Most people seem to think its because it is vegetarian so that means happy cows. Whatever the story behind them, these little babies are soft, succulent, hearty and spiced well. The coleslaw is very low in fat which gives this dish a healthy, fresh and light twist. And if you weren’t satisfied with this, the recipe also calls for spiced corn on cob. Boy, ’twas a filling meal!

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A funny thing happened. I had never used broadbeans before so instead of buying frozen ones as he asks for, I opted for fresh ones thinking it is a healthier option. Later I realised I was going to have to de-seed them all because only the seeds/beans must go in the patties!

Recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals

1 burger patty contains:
147 calories, 1.3g fat, 12.4g protein, 15.8g carbs, 11.5g fibre

Burgers

1 big bunch fresh coriander
1 x 400g tin of mixed beans
200g frozen broad beans
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 lemon (zest for the burger mix, juice for the coleslaw)
1 heaped tbs plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Olive oil
2 large ripe tomatoes
Lettuce leaves
4 gherkins
75g fetta cheese
4 burger rolls
Tomato ketchup, to serve

Coleslaw

1/2 small white and red cabbage (roughly 200g of each)
1/2 a red onion
4 heaped tbs fat-free natural yoghurt
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
Ingredients out – Oven at 130C/250F – Food processor (bowl blade and coarse grater) ready – Large frying pan on medium-high heat

Put the coriander stalks into the processor (reserving the leaves), then drain the mixed beans and add, along with the broad beans, a pinch of salt and pepper, the cayenne, cumin, ground coriander, grated lemon zest and flour. Whiz until fine and combined, scraping down the sides of the processor if needed.

Tip the mixture on to a generously flour-dusted board, divide into 4 pieces, then roll each ball into a ball and flatten into a patty about 2.5cm thick, dusting your hands and the burgers with flour as you go. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the frying pan, followed by the burgers, pressing them down with a spatula and flipping them when golden. Slice the tomatoes and gherkins and place on a serving board with lettuce and crumbled fetta. Put the rolls into the oven.

Swap to the grater in the processor, then grate the cabbages and peeled red onion, and tip into a bowl. Chop the coriander leaves and add, with the yoghurt, mustard, and the juice of the zested lemon, then toss well and season to taste. Get the buns out of the oven, cut them in half, dollop with tomato sauce, add the burger patties, and let everyone build their own.

Youtube video of Jamie cooking this recipe! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU1je0oniPM

Similar posts-
http://catslovecooking.com/2013/05/16/jamie-oliver-happy-cow-burgers/

Chicken Pasta with Herby 6-Veg Ragu

Have you ever cooked while talking on the phone? It is not an easy task. At least not for me. I lose my chain of thoughts and fumble around the kitchen like a lost one.

But I managed to pull together Jamie’s Chicken Pasta with 6-Veg Ragu while on the phone with a friend. Needless to say it took me triple the time it was meant to! I also forgot to take photos in the process. So in compensation, I thought I’d give away the recipe!

A simple healthy pasta dish. I omitted celery, bacon, pine nuts, and cheese and it was still yummy. Perfect for dinner or packed lunches.

Chicken Ragu Pasta

Chicken Ragu Pasta

My packed lunch for today

My packed lunch for today

Ragu ingredients

1 large leek
1 stick of celery
1 carrot
1 courgette
3 jarred red peppers
olive oil
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
700g passata

Pasta ingredients

320g dried wholewheat pasta
2 x 150g skinless chicken breast
3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1/2 a fresh chilli (i left out as too hot for Leroy)
4 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp pine nuts
balsamic vinegar
parmesan cheese, to serve

Steps

Split the leek lengthways, rinse under the cold tap, then finely chop in the processor with the trimmed celery and carrot, the courgette and peppers. Put into the casserole pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, the thyme leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir regularly. Put the pasta into the large pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions.

Dice the chicken into 2cm chunks and put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, tossing regularly until golden and cooked through. Stir the passata into the vegetables and simmer. Finely slice the bacon (and chilli) and add to the golden chicken, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Strip in the rosemary leaves, add the bay leaves and pine nuts, fry for a minute or two, until bacon is golden, then drizzle with balsamic.

Season the sauce, drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of starchy cooking water, then toss the pasta with the sauce, loosening with the cooking water, if needed, and pour on to a platter. Scatter the chicken and bacon on top of the pasta and serve with a grating of Parmesan.

Simple Spaghetti with Tomato, Basil and Creamy Curd Salad

We human beings are weird. We love to be busy yet we complain when we are busy. We crave for a routine, some free time, ‘alone’ time, some ‘me’ time. Yet when we have it we easily get bored and want excitement in life again. Its a vicious cycle. At least that’s how it is for me.

Simple Spaghetti

Simple Spaghetti

Just like Jamie's

Just like Jamie’s

I had a very busy last few weeks which unfortunately meant Jamie Oliver had to take a back seat in my kitchen. I made trips to Melbourne and New Zealand and I am travelling again soon. With the small window of time I have in Sydney, I decided to make a quick 15 minute meal to keep my culinary affair with Jamie alive.

Tender Stem Broccoli

Tender Stem Broccoli

Simple Spaghetti

Simple Spaghetti

I chose an extremely simple meal that called for minimal ingredients. You must know by now that I am a minimalist when it comes to food. Less is best, is my motto. Even the name of this dish has the word simple in it. With linguine and anchovies in my pantry & fridge, I only had to buy a handful of ingredients and I was ready to go.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Creamy Curd Salad

Creamy Curd Salad

While the pasta was boiling away, I prepared my curd salad. Cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes and a dash of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. That took all of 5 minutes to ready. With the pasta still cooking, I sauteed tender-stem broccoli with chilli and garlic. It really didn’t take much to cook this dish; Jamie, you surprised me!

Simple Spaghetti with Creamy Curd Salad

Simple Spaghetti with Creamy Curd Salad

A delightful dish of pasta delicately flavoured with anchovies. Tangy, sweet and sour salad that accompanies the pasta beautifully.

Note – I skipped rosemary and basil and used linguine pasta instead of spaghetti.

Verdict
Taste – 4/5
Time – 5/5