Pasta puttanesca

Pasta puttanesca, or prostitutes’ pasta (so named perhaps because it is so quick to make it left ladies of the night more time to earn their living) is one of my store cupboard standby recipes. I nearly always have the ingredients in stock and it’s also really handy to make on holiday. If I know…

Pasta bake

With the temperature plummeting it’s time to roll out some comfort, carb heavy recipes. As pasta bakes are cheap, tasty and very easy to make they can be top of your list. I say easy but I have just remembered an occasion years ago when I was cooking with my then teenage niece and we…

Chicken pilaf

Pilaf is a a kind of Middle Eastern risotto. I make pilaf with chicken leftovers after a roast, in this case after the weekend’s spatchcock chicken. You only need a handful or two of chicken, and the scrappy bits of chicken at that, as the key ingredient is rice. So it’s a great way to…

Spatchcock chicken with anchovy butter

Spatchcock (or butterfly) chicken is a way of cooking a chicken by cutting out the backbone and pressing the chicken out flat. It’s handy for cooking on the barbecue but also great for cooking in the oven because you can reduce the cooking time by about 30 minutes, keeping energy costs down. Cooking chicken this…

Griddled chicory with Gorgonzola dressing

This was a recipe I planned to use as a first course but with sourdough bread it was really substantial and I was too full to eat anything else. It’s based on a Jamie Oliver recipe which uses radicchio (which I couldn’t find so I used chicory instead) and raisins (which I didn’t have in…

Kedgeree

This is my version of kedgeree which uses a mix of cayenne pepper, curry powder and fresh chilli to give it heat and spice. I use brown rice for a healthier option (I love brown rice anyway) and often include different vegetables. I like using peppers and often use more than just one (a combination…

Meatballs in tomato sauce

I made a big batch of meatballs the other afternoon. It was a perfect way to spend a cold and wet January afternoon and to replenish supplies of home made ready meals for the freezer. All I need to do now is defrost a portion and boil up some spaghetti. I based this on a…

Roasted whole celeriac

This is my version of a Jamie Oliver’s ‘Zombie’ brain recipe – a whole roasted celeriac. I served it with courgettes and Cavolo Nero, instead of pearl barely. It’s a perfect vegetarian alternative to a traditional roast dinner and is very quick and easy to prepare.   I have kept the garlic whole because I wanted…

Cheap and cheesy vegetable bake

I popped into Sainsbury’s on my way back from a trip to Somerset on Sunday and found a packet of Brussels sprouts in the  bargain section – 300g reduced from 80p to 19p – so I decided to use them in a vegetable bake. Added to a few florets of cauliflower (taken from a cauliflower…

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (baked aubergine with Parmesan)

This is my version of baked aubergines cooked in tomato sauce and Parmesan. I never get sick of aubergines. They are hearty and versatile and a good staple for a vegetarian diet. Aubergines are brilliant for dips, tagines, stews like ratatouille and of course cooked simply on their own. I often just brush them with…

Salmon en croute

I made salmon en croute for Christmas Eve dinner – the plan was to have a quiet evening in, just me and my (grown up) children. We normally go out to eat on Christmas Eve because it’s my birthday. But this year was a big birthday and I had a party the week before so…

Super green lasagne

I had a similar lasagne last week at The Magic Garden pub in Battersea – it was delicious  – and as usual when I find something particularly good I want to see if I can make my own. The Magic Garden used asparagus and I did too because I found a packet at a reduced…