Homemade Pesto

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Herbs are a bit of a nightmare if you don’t grow them yourself. I can see that. I do try to use dried herbs as much as possible as they are cheaper but sometimes the real thing is just so much better. One herb I always seem to buy fresh is Basil, it just works so well as a pick-me-up for any italian style dishes. Unfortunately it also seems to last about one hour from opening the packet until the leaves are all brown and mushy.

Pesto2This is why, whenever I have a bit of basil left over, I make some home-made pesto. It can be the tiniest bit in the world but pesto goes pretty far and although making it yourself might seem a faff, it uses up any old basil that would have gone to waste and it almost preserves it so you can get its flavour in to future dishes. Also, although I love sacla as much as the next guy, homemade does taste so much better than the stuff you get from the supermarket.

Pesto3Sorry the measurements aren’t particularly specific for this one. This is because it is really down to personal preference. Here I have gone simple, only using basil and pine nuts but often I use walnuts too or I add a couple of handfuls of rocket if I have any left overs. Another great tip is to add some roasted courgette, this gives great flavour and makes for a silkier more voluptuous pasta sauce.

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Courgette and Pancetta Summer Pasta

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It is far too hot to cook at the moment. Even I have been finding it very hard to motivate myself. I have been seeking out really simple recipes that don’t require too long in the kitchen as weather like this should be enjoyed to its best extent, in a beer garden. Pasta is always the best simple dinner option, perfect for soaking up any inadvertent after-work drinks.

Courgette Carbonara

This dish is a sort of twist on a carbonara. It is a great lighter alternative, perfect for anyone working on a bikini body as I have avoided the cream element. A much more interesting alternative to pasta and pesto but still really quick to make and requires very few ingredients. Hope you enjoy it, I am off back outside to frolic in the sunshine!

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AMAZING Eggs for Brunchers

P1030168If you are anything like me, Saturdays call for lazy mornings in the kitchen accompanied by good food, great music and even greater dance moves. Saturday breakfast is one of the best things civilisation has given us, but in the last few years it has morphed into a new strange, unplaceable meal called brunch.  The reasoning behind brunch is as follows: we are all either fucked from the night before or just unashamedly lazy and can’t call this meal breakfast because we’re eating it at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I am usually not a fan of portmanteau words in the vain of “kimye” or “frenemy” but I am pretty chillaxed about this one because it has become so much part of our culture that it has adopted its own space in our language.

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I like brunch, it sanctions laziness and it tastes good. You can do anything you want with brunch, it is the perfect combination of amazing breakfast things, that we wish we could eat all day, and more substantial lunchy stuff that properly fills you up. Take these eggs for instance, they are far to rich for early morning fare but they taste amazing and are, therefore, perfect for brunching. They are also really quick to make, unlike a full english, so you can get on with your day. Today my music of choice was Jimi Hendrix, the god that is, but I was barely half way through the album by the time I had cooked eaten and cleaned up!

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On Summer and Salads

IMG_1011This week, it has felt like summer is finally here. You might say summer has been here for a while but that heavy, grey, mugginess that has been surrounding us for the last few weeks, and making me want to spend every second in a fridge or a cold shower, is not my idea of summer. For me, summer is sunshine, long walks, drinking in the day and eating dinners outside on sultry evenings. Thus my first al fresco dining experience of the year marked the beginning of my summer.

IMG_1022My first summer dinner had to be a salad. Salad’s are as synonymous with summer as orange airoplanes rammed with lobster skinned Brits and rain. This is a shame because, like the aforementioned, they don’t fill me with enthusiasm. I don’t particularly like salads, a bowl full of tasteless leaves and half a tomato does not a meal make. Food is supposed to make your heart sing and your stomach full, for the most part salads fall short on both counts. This, however, is not to say that salads have no potential. A few years ago they were in their gawky teenage years, they had glasses and braces and shaved carrot and oily, flavourless dressing. Now perhaps they are in their mid-twenties, a few mistakes have been made but they are growing into themselves and starting to look and taste good.

IMG_1019The people who know salads are really the italians, they realise the importance of proper flavour. This tomato salad is inspired somewhat by a Jamie Oliver recipe but I have switched it up a bit and added some mozzarella because I love cheese, I can never make a salad without cheese, it’s a real weakness. I think this is great on its own for a light dinner or starter, or equally brilliant as a side for fish or anything barbecued. Cost wise I splashed out a bit on this one because I wanted loads of different types and colours of tomato and I am lucky enough to live very near to an amazing fruit and veg shop. If you don’t have access to this kind of ingredients don’t fret, normal tomatoes are just fine, however, I would advocate buying the posh ones from the supermarket as they have so much more flavour. What you lose in terms of cost efficiency with this dish, you more than make up for in time saved, it is so easy to make but still looks impressive if served to friends. Continue reading