Simple beans on toast

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We made this on our way back from a nice long walk and we needed something warming and filling, fast! This was so easy to make and inexpensive which we like. By using some store cupboard staples and some stale bread you can create a delicious, hearty lunch in no time. We also had some courgetti left over from a previous dinner and decided to chuck that in as well but really you can do this without if you don’t have any or throw in whatever you have left over.

Serves 3/4 for lunch

Ingredients

1x400g Cannellini beans

Half 400g tin plum tomatoes

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning

1 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of salt & pepper

1/2 stick of left over bread cut into round slices

Greek yogurt to serve

Method

Add a tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add chopped garlic, fry for a minute. Meanwhile drain and rinse the Cannellini beans and add the the saucepan. At this point I added a small handful of courgetti (courgettes cut into thin strips) if you have a small amount of left over veg add it at this point and fry for 2/3 minutes until softened.

Then add the juice and 1 plum tomato from the tin. You don’t want too much tomato sauce. Add the spices and salt and pepper to taste and let if simmer slightly for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat a griddle pan on a high heat and toast the bread for a minute or two on each side. Once the bread is ready, place onto plates and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on each side. Top with the beans and a dollop of Greek yogurt and enjoy!

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Repost: salted peanut and marshmallow rocky road


This time of year always calls for some indulgence and what better than some salty sweet rocky road. It’s ridiculously easy to make and even more easier to devour, I just had to repost this one from last year. To get the recipe Click here.

Smoked swordfish patè

imageThis is absolutely divine! I love how indulgent this seems…or maybe is. It is always a favourite of mine at this time of year and it goes perfectly at any Christmas party. I see this everywhere in Italy at Christmas time and decided to use it instead of smoked salmon. The results were just amazing and I munched my way through it on a cold Christmas afternoon. It also only took about 2 seconds to make, perfect!

Ingredients:

100g smoked swordfish

1 tbsp lemon juice

6 tbsp single cream

1 big pinch of pepper
Method:

Put all ingredients except the cream in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of cream and whizz with a hand mixer until combined. Add the rest of the cream until it is a smooth consistency. If you feel it is too thick you can continue to add a little cream a tbsp at a time. Serve on a small serving dish with some crackers.

Peperoncino & Fennel rounds.

imageThese little biscuits are so delicious and perfect at this time of year. I first tried these from a Nigella recipe which calls for only handfulls of parmesan in the dough resulting in a soft, crumbly cheesey shortbread. I loved them and couldn’t believe how easy they were! I added my own little twist here by adding chilli flakes and fennel seeds. I love the spicy kick it gives. Enjoy these on their own with a glass of prosecco in hand or with some nice cheeses and chutney.

Makes 35-40

Ingredients

150g plain flour

100g soft butter

1 free range egg yolk

1tbsp fennel seeds

1tbsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

 

Put all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until it forms a clump.

Turn it out and give it a kneed for only around 30 seconds, until smooth, then divide into two.

Take the first half and roll into a sausage shape about 3cm in diameter. Make sure ends are flat so the cylinder resembles a roll of coins. Roll this in in cling film so it resembles a christmas cracker and put in the fridge. Do the same with the other half and leave to rest in the fridge for 45mins.

Pre heat the oven to 180 degreesC. Cut the cylinders into pound coin rounds and arrange on lined baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are a soft golden colour around the edges. Leave to cool and enjoy!

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Smoked salmon patè with black pepper crackers.

 

 
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I absolutely love smoked salmon and especially at Christmas time. This recipe is perfect for parties, entertaining, new year or even on Christmas Day as finger food. After craving smoked salmon for a few days, this really hit the spot and it’s so easy to make.

Ingredients

For the patè:
100g Scottish smoked salmon
125g good quality soft cream cheese
Lemon, squeeze
Salt and pepper, to season

For the crackers:
200g plain flour
50g cold butter, cubed
5 tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degreesC. To make the patè, put the smoked salmon and cream cheese in a bowl and blend together with a hand blender until it is a nice, smooth consistency. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside. Now to make the crackers, place the flour,butter, pinch of salt and large grating of pepper in a bowl. Using your fingers mix the butter through the flour. Now add 3-4tbsp of water and bring the dough together. It’s important not to get it too wet. Once you’ve formed it in a ball add another tbsp of water so it all comes together nicely but not wet or sticky. Now roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle as thin as possible. Pick all over with a fork and lightly brush with water. Cut into squares and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve with patè.
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Simple artichokes and peas

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I hadn’t tried this pasta before and I now love it. It’s very dense and has such a lovely texture to eat, it would be great with a rich tomato sauce or a ragù. I decided to go for a nice fresh tasting pasta last night which was again so easy. I used my artichoke dip and added peas to it for the sauce and that was it, simple. I thought about warming it up with a little mascarpone or ricotta but I wanted a lighter pasta so if you want to add any of those in your version please let me know how it goes.

1 quantity of my artichoke dip + a little extra artichoke oil
50g frozen peas
200g fusilli lunghi bucati

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and a little pot for the peas. Add the pasta to the large pot and peas to the small pot. After 1-2 minutes, remove the peas and add to your artichoke dip and mix. Add more of the artichoke oil to your dip than normal so it’s not as thick. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and place back in the pot. Add your artichoke and peas on top and coat the pasta thoroughly. Serve in large bowls with a grating of parmesan. Easy peasy!

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Salted peanut & marshmallow rocky road.

imageThis really does taste as good as it looks. Salty chocolate and soft marshmallow..mmm just what I need after the week from hell I’ve had. Let’s just say there’s some serious Italian sickness bugs going around and I’ve managed to catch them all!! So after not being able to even think of food for the past week ( not exactly the Xmas diet I was looking for ) I suddenly got all festive again. The Christmas songs went on and my little reindeer came out to play. This honestly takes two minutes to make, it’s ridiculously easy and the reward is well worth making….well not much effort at all.

Ingredients Makes 12

300g good quality dark chocolate
1tbsp runny honey
125g butter
200g salted peanuts
100g mini marshmallows
1 tbsp icing sugar
17 x 22 cm foil tray

Method

Add the butter,chocolate and honey in a saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat. Add the peanuts into a freezer or sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin ( you want some little pieces and some larger ). Once melted turn the heat off and add the peanuts and marshmallows. Spoon the mixture into a foil tray and leave to cool slightly before placing in the fridge for 2-3 hours or over night. Cut into little squares and sprinkle with a little icing sugar if desired.

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White chocolate, candied orange and amaretto trees.

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Well it’s officially December ( so no one can moan at me for talking about Christmas anymore ) and I have to apologise for our lack of posts recently, but December will be jam packed with lovely little recipes. This is my most absolute favourite time of the year. My apartment is filled with Christmas fragrance so every time I get a whiff or walk in the door I get a whoosh of happiness. Little glass bowls of chocolate coins and reindeers are dotted around, the fruit bowl is filled with clementines, the banister is wrapped in garlands and little red berry fairy lights and I am armed with mince meat, Christmas pudding, spices and indulgent liqueurs ( Baileys being my number one ) to make beautifully decorated and simply devine treats all dusted in glitter of course!

These little trees are so fun to make and are perfect with a cup of tea or a little shot of amaretto to sip in the evening when your all wrapped up and cosy. You can of course choose any shape you prefer and you always change the candied orange to cranberries, dried apricot or anything that takes your fancy.

Ingredients

225g butter, softened
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur + a little one to sip whilst baking
280g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g white chocolate chips
50g candied orange bits

Method

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and amaretto. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture and add the chocolate and orange and combine. Shape into a ball and cut in half and shape into two separate balls. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 degreesC and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Roll each ball out separately between two sheets of baking parchment and cut out the trees with your cookie cutter. Place on the baking tray and bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Let them cool for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired. I mixed 3 tbsp of icing sugar with a little amaretto and drizzled with a teaspoon over the cookies then added edible glitter. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!