Food: Roasted Vegetable Fusilli

Here’s a simple recipe you can knock up with very little effort in around 30 minutes! I used courgette, tomatoes and pepper, but feel free to use any Mediterranean veg you can get your hands on. Aubergine would be great, but if using aubergine, remember to salt & wash it first!

You’ll need:

  • Handful of cherry tomatoes,
  • 1 Courgette, sliced
  • 1 Pointed pepper, deseeded & sliced
  • 1tbs Balsamic vinegar
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • Handful of basil, ripped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 100g Fusilli pasta (per person)

Turn your oven on to 140°C and let it come up to speed. Whilst this is doing, in a roasting tray, add the chopped veg, oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. Toss it around until the sweet, oily, vinegary mixture has coated each vegetable piece. Place in the oven and leave for 20 minutes, only checking halfway through. This is the time you can get on with the pasta.

Weigh 100g of pasta per person, I used 200g as it’s for myself and my partner, Tom. Boil around 1 litre of water in a kettle. Once boiled, add the water to the pan and salt liberally. Nigella famously said (albeit it a Anna Del Conte quote 😉 ) that the water should be as salty as the Med Sea. Add the pasta and cook until al-dente.

Once done, drain and add back to the pan. The roasted vegetables should be ready by now. Take them out of the oven and stir through the pasta. Add in around half of the ripped basil and stir again. It is now ready to serve.

Add to a bowl and finish with a crack or two of black pepper and the other half of the basil.

I paired this rustic yet tasty evening meal with half a loaf of focaccia I had got from Wright’s Food Emporium (an amazing bistro/deli in Llanartne, Wales.) and a chilled Peroni doppio malto.  They paired beautifully with the pasta!

Buon appetito!

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Food: My tomato soup

Nothing is more classic than a tomato soup, often one of the recipes you’ll start with when learning to cook, it’s even been immortalised by the likes of Warhol. This is mine. My recipe for a soup that is comforting and luxuriously silky, but simple to make and cheap on the wallet!

you’ll need:

  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 (heaped) tbs of sundried tomato paste
  • 1tbs of dried oregano
  • 1ltr of water
  • Vegetable stock pot
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • Glug of Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

To serve:

  • A swirl of cream- Vegan or Dairy, you decide! ( I use Oatly)

Start by roasting the cherry tomatoes, in a dish covered with foil. A sprinkle of salt & a glug of oil is all they need. Cook for about 20 mins with foil on & for 10-15 mins with the foil off.

Fry an onion & 2 the minced cloves of garlic until translucent, then add in a big tablespoon of sundried tomato paste, a tbs of dried oregano and two tins of chopped tomatoes.

Fill up a tin with water and add to the mix, getting out all the tomatoey goodness.

Add a vegetable stock pot and some freshly chopped basil and a couple of fresh/dried bay leaves. Season & stir.

Cook low & slow for up to 2 hours (this is in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven in at 140°C-  for Slow cookers, I’d try it possibly for a bit longer as the heat isn’t as harsh – but I’d add in a bit more water to stop it drying out.

Once it’s finished doing its magical thing fish out the bay leaves, pour into a mixing bowl and whizz the soup up with a stick blender until it’s velvety & smooth.

Fill up a bowl, drizzle with some cream & enjoy!

I served mine with a great beer from Omission, which also happens to be gluten-free for those with Coeliacs/ Gluten Intolerance.

Food: Turnip and Sage Soup

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Christmas has passed and we’re all beginning to feel the pinch, either in the wallet or around the top button of the jeans! So why not treat yourself to some cheap, easy to make and heartily nutritious soup? Here’s a recipe for a cockle warming Turnip soup.

You’ll need:

  • 5 – 6 small turnips,

  • 1 – 2 potatoes,

  • 1 onion,

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard,

  • Sage (fresh, naturally),

  • 500ml – 1 Litre of water,

  • Rapeseed oil,

Garnish:

  • 3 – 6 fried sage leaves

Begin by roasting the turnips (skin on) in a bit of oil and a crunch or two of salt. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan) and cook for at least half an hour, checking after 20 minutes and tossing around so they get equal coverage. When they’re done they should be soft enough to run a knife through with little to no resistance. The skins should have browned a bit too. At this point you can allow them to cool a bit while you get on with the base of the soup.

Using a Le Creuset or similar cast iron pan, chop the onion and fry in a little rapeseed oil until soft. Cube the potatoes (skin on or off, depending on how smooth you want the soup to be) and add to the pot. Add the mustard, then the turnips and let them get coated before adding the water. Pour the water (I like to pre-boil the water in the kettle) over until the vegetables are covered and bring to a gentle boil. You’ll want to keep the soup on a medium heat rather than boil it to death.

As the turnips were roasted with a little salt be careful with the seasoning at this point. Season with plenty of black pepper, roughly chop a handful of sage leaves and stir those in too. Leave to simmer for twenty minutes or so, until the potatoes are cooked. When they’re done remove from the heat and whizz the whole thing up with a stick blender until smooth.

For the garnish, simply fry the sage leaves in a little oil until dark green and crispy.

I served it with a Nøgne Ø pale ale and a hearty, dense loaf of seeded rye from Brød, Cardiff.

Enjoy!

Food: Roasted Parsnip and brown mustard Soup

So, the evenings are starting to draw in and we’re already wrapped up with  scarves and mittens. What better way to see in the end of the year than with a hearty soup to warm the cockles of the soul?

You’ll need:

  • 4-5 medium parsnips (roasted)
  • 1 onion
  • 1tbsp German mustard (use wholegrain mustard as an alternative)
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Parsley (fresh, naturally)
  • 1 Litre of water
  • Rapeseed oil

Garnish:

  • A handful Hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-2 small golden roasted parsnips

 

The real trick with this soup is the roasting of the parsnips. You can bung them in the oven and let them do their thing while you’re catching up with some reading.

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C with your baking tray loaded with a generous glug or two of rapeseed oil, then peel and parboil the parsnips. Toss the parsnips in the hot oil and roast for 25 minutes or so.

While they’re cooking, chop and fry the onion in a Le Creuset style deep pan with a little oil until they’re soft and mellow. When the parsnips are done, remove from the oven and snip into the pot with a pair of scissors (keep one or two smaller parsnips and leave to one side for the garnish). Pour over the water, stir in the mustards, a handful of parsley and season generously with salt and black pepper. Put the lid on and let it simmer for a further thirty minutes.

When the soup’s done its thing, take a hand blender and blitz the whole thing into a thick, creamy soup. For the topping, chop and toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan. Keep an eye on them as they cook very quickly and burned hazelnuts aren’t nice! Sprinkle a little fresh, chopped parsley, the hazelnuts and the whole roasted parsnips you kept from earlier.

Serve with rye bread or sourdough and a nice beer, I used a great Pale Ale from the Norwegian brewers Nøgne Ø.

Enjoy!