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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Salmon Supper for Parents

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There has been an incident at my house. The equilibrium of our middle class lives has been shattered. My mum has sprained her ankle. It is the biggest news of the year. The ground troops have been called in for back up, i.e. me. My first good turn (a brownie guide must do three good turns everyday) as substitute woman of the house was to cook everyone dinner. Sound easy, not so. My dad had been instructed to buy Salmon, easy dinner she thought. My first thought was salmon tacos with guacamole, roasted peppers and rice. My dad doesn’t really like Mexican. So then maybe a nice warm salmon salad with grilled courgette. He doesn’t really like salad either. Basically give my dad an overcooked pork chop with overcooked veggies and boiled potatoes and ┬áhe will be happy, he’s old-fashioned that way. The recipe I came up with is traditional with a twist. It was completely made up but I think it works. It is not the cheapest dish in the world but for entertaining or pleasing fussy parents it is perfect.

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By far the easiest way to cook salmon, or any fish in fact, is in a tinfoil parcel, in the oven. You don’t get the crispy skin that frying would give but on the other hand the fish will not dry out, it stays lovely and flakey. If this recipe looks a little complex/ pricey for you you could equally make the risotto on it own but I would add a little grated parmesan and perhaps some int to give it more depth of flavour. You could also save money by using less salmon and at the last minute, just before adding the veggies, stirring it into the risotto. This is a bit less fancy but equally delicious!

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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