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iphone timer

As my regular reader will know, Tuesday night is pasta night. I just open the fridge and concoct something from its contents. For people who don’t have time to cook, here’s a 15-20 minute supper.

Bear in mind I have an ceramic hob, so you can skip the “put the rings on” bit if you’ve got gas.

  1. Switch on the big ring, put a deep frying pan on it, add a slug of olive oil
  2. Switch on the medium ring, put some cold water and salt in a pan, set it on the ring
  3. Slice up a big leek and put it in the pan with the oil.
  4. Weigh out the pasta (if you do such things – we do, because carbs/diabetes)
  5. Slice up some mushrooms, and add to the leeks
  6. Notice pasta water is boiling – add pasta, set timer for ten minutes (this is dried pasta – your pasta may vary)
  7. Remember you haven’t put any garlic in, so quickly peel and chop two cloves and throw them in with the vegetables
  8. Put a colander in the sink for drainage purposes
  9. Grate black pepper into the veg
  10. Open the fridge for some lemon juice, find a bottle of white wine open, and add some of that instead.  Too much, so turn up the heat to boil it down a bit
  11. Remove block of feta from fridge and cut up about one third of it
  12. When timer goes, drain pasta then add it to vegetables, together with the feta.
  13. Stir it all together, decant into bowls, scoff.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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danish blue cheese

We bought some chicken breasts from our fabulous butcher up t’road, wrapped them individually, and froze them. And then fetched one out at the weekend to make a stir fry and, readers, it was *huge*. Well, huge to us, because we don’t eat much meat. So we used half in the stir fry, and the other half was confined to the fridge for another day.

Regular readers will know that Tuesday night is pasta night, so last night I chopped up the remaining chicken into small pieces and fried it off in some olive oil. Added four wizened mushrooms, half a wrinkly red pepper, and a chopped onion (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop). Added about 30g of Danish blue and stirred it round till it had melted, and a good grinding of black pepper.

Served over spaghetti – delicious.  It’s worth keeping a chunk of blue cheese in the fridge, as it livens up pasta sauces, and makes great cheese scones (although you get quite sticky making them).

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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green beans and pasta

This is another ridiculously quick and easy supper, and pretty cheap too (depending where you shop) – certainly well under £1 per serving. Works well with runner beans as well.

serves 2:

1 pack green beans (89p from Aldi, I think)
125g of pasta (fusilli, quills, whatever – Aldi fusilli is 49p for 500g, so that’s (counts on fingers) 12.5p)
1 chopped onion (20p)
1 dessert spoon (ish) of olive oil
lemon juice – a bottle is easier, and cheaper, than fresh
black pepper
about 25g grated parmesan (35p?)

Top and tail the beans, while you put a decent amount of water on to boil. When it has, put in the pasta and set a timer (mental, if necessary) for 10 minutes. I put the beans in that pot when there was eight minutes left, which left a nice crunch to them.

While the beans and pasta are cooking, cook the onion off in the olive oil. Add to the drained pasta/bean mix, stir in a good slug of lemon juice, the parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Light, quick, simple, healthy, cheap. Vegetarian, and vegan if you leave out the cheese.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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The mystery butcher’s bag in the freezer turned out to contain about 150g of sausagemeat, clearly bought for sossidge rolls for the festering season. Hmm … what to do?

I added some chopped mix herbs to the meat, and mixed it all together. Into the slow cooker went onions, garlic, a diced courgette and some mushrooms, and I formed the sausagemeat into eight small balls, and laid them on the top. The last of the tomato paste had a slosh of red wine, and some water, added and went on top. Into the slow cooker for six hours, and very nice indeed.

There’s a fair bit of the sauce left, which we shall have tonight with the addition of some Matessons* sausage (no, not gourmet, I know, but dead handy as a standby!).

* or Aldi equivalent

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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courgettes

We make this recipe (or a variation on it) fairly often, and it involves far too long standing over the cooker in a cold kitchen (the hole in the wall is being mended tomorrow – hurrah!). So in the interests of experimentation, I thought I’d have a bash at doing the sauce in the little slow cooker.

I diced onion, crushed garlic and chopped courgettes, and put them in the slow cooker with a glug of olive oil, and another of red wine. Left them on low for a couple of hours, then added a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes, then left it for another couple of hours And it was really nice,  but I should have turned it up to high for the last hour, I think, just to get the last of the slightly raw tomato taste to it (I cannot abide raw tomatoes).

Did the pasta on the hob as usual, then dumped the lot in the small Remoska, and dotted it with mozzarella and basil leaves.

Worth mentioning that courgettes are lovely veg – dice them up small and include in soup or casseroles, cut them into strips for a nice stir fry, bung them in roast veg …

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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I had a boneless pork chop, about 120g worth, loitering in the freezer. We’re trying to eat up all these oddments, so I fetched it out on Monday to do a stir fry. Pete volunteered to cook it, and while it was very nice, it would have been even better if he’d remembered to put the bloody pork *in*.

So last night I fashioned it into a quick pasta dish. I cubed the pork and fried it off in a little olive oil, then set it aside. Put chopped onion, courgette, garlic and mushrooms in the pan and sweated them down, then put the pork back in with some salt and pepper. It was a bit … blah, so I rummaged on the spice shelf for inspiration, and added some aniseed. When the pasta quills were cooked, I added them to the mix, with about three dessert spoons of creme fraiche, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

About 454 calories per serving.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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We had a chicken stir fry a couple of days ago; when I got the chicken out of the freezer, I discovered there were two breasts melded together. One went on the stir fry, and one was left.  On Sunday, I made a quick cheesecake, as the friend coming for supper had requested same. So there was a tub of ricotta, and half a lemon, left over from that.

Diced up the chicken, and fried it off in a very little olive oil. added three cloves of garlic, some sliced chestnut mushrooms, and a chopped red onion. Stirred it about for three minutes or so, then added the lemon juice, and a small slug of white wine from an open bottle in the fridge. We seem to be slightly overrun with white wine – no idea why, because we don’t buy or drink white.  I think people bring it, and then decide they like the red on offer better!

Put a lid on the pan, and let it simmer down while the fusilli cooked. At the end, stirred in about half a tub of ricotta and some torn basil leaves. 

About 210 calories, plus pasta. 

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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There seems to be Quite a Lot of Stilton in the fridge, so yesterday I made a start on it. I had oatcakes with stilton for lunch, accompanied by rather a lot of silverskin onions, and some of the coriander chicken soup (which is a triumph, though I say so myself).

Then last night, I rummaged through the fridge, and a carton of rather sad chestnut mushrooms presented itself.

So … I chopped an onion and set it to cook down in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Chopped the mushrooms and a couple of cloves of garlic and added them in.I kept the heat low and stirred all the time, because I’m trying to use less oil in cooking, and mushrooms just slurp it up. Stuck a pan of hot water on to boil, and added 120g of fusilli pasta when it did so.

Kept stirring the mushrooms, while also dicing up 30g of stilton (that’s seen off the slab, now just the jar to go :). When the pasta had five minutes to go, I put the diced cheese in, and kept it all moving so that it melted down and coated the mushrooms. Then drained the pasta, put it in the mushroom pan, and added 2 good teaspoons of half fat creme fraiche.

Really tasty, and about 520 calories a portion.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Pete brought home a small bag of trimmed green beans from Morrisons last Sunday. We wouldn’t normally buy trimmed veg, but these were 50p. And I always feel guilty about the food miles with Kenyan beans, but it’s very efficient (the Food Programme told me so), and Kenyan farmers are entitled to a living.

Anyhow, we needed to be fed and out quickly last night, so here’s a 15 minute meal start to finish.

  1. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta
  2. Chop one onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic (or more – entirely up to you)
  3. Make sure the beans are in fact trimmed – sometimes packets lie (snarl)
  4. Weigh 125g of pasta quills (that’s what we have for two of us)
  5. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, and put the onions and garlic in to cook gently
  6. When pasta water is boiling, add pasta *and* beans (thus saving time and washing up). Set timer for 10 minutes
  7. Realise that the small packet of beans is really quite small, and add some pancetta cubes to the pan
  8. (Ideally get husband to) grate lots of parmesan
  9. When timer goes, drain pasta and beans, add to frying pan, add parmesan, stir around, eat, run.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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So – 2/3rds of a huge jar of roasted red peppers. Opened. What to do?

Finely chopped an onion and about three cloves of garlic, and fried them off in olive oil, then added a slug of red wine and deglazed the pan. Sliced up the peppers and threw them in till they were warmed through thoroughly. Liquidised it in batches, then “cleaned” the goblet with about a glass of water and added it to the sauce; it made enough for at least two meals for us, and possibly three.

I cut up a thin leek into thin rings (we have just started a veg box again, so there might be interesting (or not :) posts re that soon). It went into a pan with some olive oil, and was fried until just caramelised. There were some chickpeas left over from the tagine, so I added them, some seasoning, and some torn basil leaves from the pot on the windowsill at the end. I could have taken some chilli, I think, but was really delicious eaten with fusilli pasta, and I shall freeze the rest of the sauce today. So nice we shall have it again, and possibly again after that.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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leek

We decided last night that, come what may, we should make an inroad into the remaining Christmas pud, so a  light supper was called for. I made it to the greengrocer yesterday, so we were stocked with veg.

So, trimmed a leek and cut it lengthways, then cut into thin slices. Set to cook off in some olive oil, and added three finely chopped cloves of garlic.  Put some pasta on to cook.

Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, added to the leek mix some black pepper, the end of a tub of cream that was just going over, and the juice of half a lemon that was lying about. Dumped in lots of parmesan and stirred everything together with the pasta. Nice, light, tasty.

The pudding was good too! (Luxury one from Aldi, with candied orange slices on the sides. I love Aldi).

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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And here’s what I did with the half carton of passata!

I go Morris dancing on a Tuesday (yes, really – I do), and I prefer to eat at lunchtime on those days. Still not done any shopping, so …

Chopped onion and garlic, softened off in olive oil. Added a packet of pancetta cubes and a little dried chilli. Bunged in the passata, and rised the carton with some cider (well, it was in the fridge and needed using up!).  Let it cook down while we rustled up some pasta.

Stirred in fresh basil leaves at the end, and smothered in grated parmesan. Very nice.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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broad beans, originally uploaded by ramtops.


I shelled these last night, because I knew I wanted to cook them for lunch – I have taken up Morris Dancing (yes, really!), and practice is on Tuesdays, so I prefer to have my main meal at lunchtiime then.

So: chopped an onion, and put it in some olive oil to fry down. Put some pasta on to cook, and then added the beans about 7 minutes before the end.

Diced half a block of feta cheese, and tore some fresh basil into pieces (we keep a pot of basil on the kitchen windowsill – it is just the most gorgeous herb).

When the pasta/veg was cooked, hurled it in the onion pan with the cheese and basil, and added a little lemon juice, and some black pepper. Stirred it all round, ate from bowls.

Lovely summer lunch.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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We normally have this without the pancetta, but I’m trying to cut my carbs at the moment so I added some meat.

I make this in a frying pan with a lid.

Chop and onion and some garlic, and fry it off in olive oil. Add the pancetta (I used cubes – you could use bacon too) at this point. When the onion is soft, add quite a lot of shredded cabbage; anything does – I’ve made this with hispi, with white, with savoy … they all work well.

Stir it all around, then add either some water – about maybe 1/2″ at the bottom of the pan – or a splash of wine. We used about half a glass of home made pineapple wine last night! Season to taste, put a lid on and leave it for about 10 minutes.

Then add some mozzarella – I usually just cube a whole one – and stir it around till the cheese melts.

In the bad old days, I would stir the pasta into this, but last night it went in separately, as Pete had a “normal” helping, and I just had a spoonful. I’ve discovered cabbage is great for bulking up if you’re avoiding carbs.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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using up: half a head of broccoli, some everlasting chicken

We had a mound of cold roast chicken left from Saturday’s roast – we had cold with steamed new potatoes and red cabbage, and chicken sandwiches, and dhal with shredded chicken, have put all the bits and bones in the freezer, and were still left with a bowlful of chicken that would feed us for two more meals.

We also had a half a head of broccoli to use up, and we wanted something quick last night as we were both going out.

So, cut the broccoli into florets, and steamed for 6 minutes. Fished it out into a colanader, topped up the pan with some more boiling water and put in some pasta. As an aside, I have taken to weighing pasta (120g) and rice (80g), as I’m watching my carbs – this is about half the amount of both we used to eat, and it’s plenty!

Fried off a roughly chopped onion in olive oil, and added some thyme from the garden. Then lobbed in some chopped up cold cooked chicken and stirred it all around. When the pasta was almost done, I added the broccoli to the chicken pan, then in went the pasta, and about 100g of blue cheese. Stirred all that around till the cheese melted, then served in bowls.

It was nice, but I thought it was lacking something – not sure what. I shall ponder.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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We had some button mushrooms and a little cream waiting to be used up, and this seemed an ideal way to do it on a hot day.

Finely chopped two shallots and three cloves of garlic, and cooked them down in olive oil. Added some chopped rosemary and thyme from the herb garden^H^H pots, which are coming along nicely. Sliced the mushrooms and added them to the pan, with a glug of white wine, and let them cook very slowly, while I boiled some tagliatelle.

Added the cream to the mushroom mix and warmed through, then drained the pasta and stirred it in. Ate out of bowls, topped with grated parmesan. Followed by the last of the plum and pear crumble, with ice cream.

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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roasted asparagus with pasta

“What’s this?” you cry; “two posts in one day? You’re spoiling us.”

We are going to a meeting tonight at 6 p.m. and thought we’d eat our main meal at lunchtime, and just grab a sandwich before we go out. I bought a bunch of  English asparagus at the greengrocer yesterday – don’t suppose there’ll be much more this year, so must gorge while we can. We have a handful of standard recipes we cook with it, but fancied a change. So:

Trimmed the asparagus and put it in a baking tray lined with foil – I generally do this now, as the washing up is so much easier. Drizzled it with a generous quantity of olive oil, and sprinkled some sesame seeds on it. Pete finely chopped a couple of cloves of garlic, which were duly added, then I mussed it all up with fingers; sometimes that’s the only way to do it.

It went into the oven at 180C for 15 minutes, while I cooked some fusilli to accompany it. Then further inspiration struck, and I whipped up a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Pasta, covered with asparagus, covered with the dressing. It really was rather nice, and there’s still half a bunch of asparagus left!

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Our local Co-Op had special offers on chicken last week – two packs of diced breast for a fiver, and the same for whole breast.  I picked up two packs of each and stowed them in the freezer, not least because I’m trying to cut down my red meat consumption.

There was also a head of fennel in the fridge; I love fennel, but tend to forget about it and just lob it in the soup, so I wanted to actually, you know, make something with it deliberately.

In the morning, I took half of one pack of diced chicken – it was in a plastic tray divided into two, so that was simple, and I stuck the other half into a poly bag and replaced it in the freezer.

This evening, I cut the chicken into slightly smaller chunks, and browned it in some olive oil.  Put it in a brown bowl, then added sliced fennel and a chopped red onion to tha pan.  Sauted the veg until soft, then added a spoonful of Dijon mustard and stirred it round.  Added a knob of butter to the pan, and when melted, returned the chicken, and added about a wineglass full of cider, and some seasoning.

Stuck a lid on the pan, and left it for about 12 minutes, then took the lid off and reduced the liquor down, finally adding a little double cream.  We ate this with pasta – my share of that was about 35g, which ain’t too bad.

No idea of the calorific value of the rest of the meal, but as Pete and I went for a 6 mile walk this morning, I reckon I’ve earned it :)

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Last night’s supper was already planned, insofar as I knew we needed to use up some of the veg in the fridge, and we’d been eating rice for a few days, so it was time for pasta for a change.

I chopped up a fat leek, a red romano pepper, and several cloves of garlic, and set them to sauté down in some olive oil.  Then I went to answer the door, as someone had just knocked.  It was a friend from up the road, who wanted to watch himself on the local news (he doesn’t have a television).  So we offered him supper.

I added another red pepper, and some strips of pancetta, while Pete grated up lots of parmesan.  Boiled some big pasta shells, chopped some sage from the garden, put it all into the pan and served in bowls.  Instant supper, and very nice.

Well, we thought so!

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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Another big bag of broad beans in the box this week. I wanted something quick and simple for supper, but of course failed to allow the time required to shell a big bag of broad beans. Ho hum.

Once they were released from their furry prisons, I set (far too much) pasta on to boil, and simmered the beans for about 7 minutes. Chopped an onion and sauteéd it in olive oil. Chopped the half a pack of feta that was in the fridge. Hurled everything into one pan when done, and stirred round with a little more olive oil and the juice of the half lemon lurking in the fridge.

Nice quick, fresh, summer supper (even with the bean depodding time).

Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.

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