Category: Mondays

Great meals for a Monday night

Penne a la pescadora

Picture 54

This is a variation on the Italian Spaghetti a la Pescadora, a rich tomatoey fish pasta, the recipe of which was passed on to me by my Dad after it was given to him by a chef in the Alfresco restaurant, Brighton. The original recipe uses parsley as the main herb, however CIRIOs new tomato and basil product inspired me to try it as an alternative. It works really well and is great as a quick mid-week meal, or as a simple but impressive dinner party dish. 



3 cloves garlic (finely chopped) 

1 tetra pack of CIRIO tomato and basil 

1 tin of anchovies (finely chopped) plus oil 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

6 tablespoons white wine

2 large squid tubes 

12 king prawns 

The juice of 1/2 fresh lemon 

Greenlip mussels (optional) 

Freshly ground black pepper 

Penne pasta (enough for two) 

Grated parmesan for serving

– serves two – 



1. Cook the pasta until al-dente 

2. In a deep wide pan, heat the olive oil and then add the garlic and anchovies 

3. Add to the pan the CIRIO basil and tomatoes, the white wine and black pepper and heat through until bubbling. 

4. Add in the squid and prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. 

5. Finish off with the lemon juice and then stir in the pasta, ensuring that it’s coated in the sauce. 

6. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a grating of parmesan. 



Chicken and asparagus pasta bake

This is a great Monday dish to make if you have chicken left over from your Sunday roast.



100ml double cream 

150ml dry white wine

3 large shallots (finely chopped)

3 cupfuls of penne pasta

1 small clove of garlic (crushed)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

8 spears of fresh asparagus (roughly chopped)

1 small tin of crispy sweet-corn 

Shredded cooked chicken (approx 2 breasts/two legs worth) 

Approx 20 button small mushrooms (roughly chopped)

1 chicken stock cube 

Small cup of parmesan, finely grated

Seasoning – ground black pepper and sea salt – 


1. Put the pasta on to boil in a large saucepan with hot water and salt to season

2. Heat the oil in a hot frying pan and add to it the garlic and shallots. Cook until the shallots are soft and then add in the wine. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes 

3. Add the cream, stock cube, mushrooms and seasoning to the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. 

4. Add the asparagus and shredded chicken to the pan and leave to heat through for 5 minutes whilst you drain the pasta (the pasta should be al-dente, not fully cooked through

5. once the past has been drained, pour the sauce and ingredients from the pan into the pasta and give it a good stir so that all of the pasta is coated 

6. Transfer the contents of the pan into a large baking dish and then evenly sprinkle the grated parmesan ontop 

7. Place the baking dish into a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes

8. When the parmesan is nicely golden, serve up large spoonfuls onto a warm plate 


Sweet & sour pork with egg fried rice

The inspiration for this dish came from watching the new TV series ‘Chinese cooking made easy’. I’ve adapted the dish to use a slightly cheaper cut of meat and to include ingredients that you’re likely to have in your cupboard rather than having to take a trip to China town or a specialist store.

A really great, healthy alternative to a take away.


For the pork 
3 table spoons sesame seeds 
1 table spoon crushed dried chillies 
1 large pork fillet
2 table spoons vegetable oil

Seasoning (ground black pepper & sea salt)


For the sweet and sour sauce
125g tinned pineapple chunks, in natural juice (keep the juice!)
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Good splash of light soy sauce (to taste – use as you would salt)
3 table spoons dry sherry
Ground black pepper
To serve
Egg fried rice

(simply boil some rice, then pop into a wok with either frozen peas or soya beans, vegetable oil, 3 eggs and 6 roughly chopped spring onions. Mix together until cooked through and then it’s ready to serve).

1. For the pork, place the sesame seeds onto a baking tray and pop into the oven on a high heat for 3-5 minutes (lightly browned, not burnt!), Take some cling film and pour the toasted sesame seeds out onto it, adding the crushed chilli and pepper and then roll the pork fillet up in the cling film so that it’s completely covered in the sesame seeds.

2. Pop on a wok with the vegetable oil and then sear the pork so that it’s nicely browned all the way around. Remove the pork and then slice it into approx 1cm thick slices. Add the slices back into the wok and keep turning until it’s cooked through. Whilst it’s cooking, you can begin your sauce.  

3. For the sweet and sour sauce, place all of the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.

4. Remove the pork from the wok and plate this up whilst you pour the sauce into the wok and leave to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a thicker sauce. 

5. Pour the sweet and sour sauce al over the pork and then add to the dish your egg fried rice. 

Much better than a take away!

Cheats tortilla

We all love a Spanish tortilla but the traditional recipe uses up so many eggs and takes so long to cook, so here’s a shortened version that has a few extra added ingredients… 


2 x large white potatoes 

100g cubed pancetta

A handful of fresh mint (finely chopped) 

half a cup of peas 

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

100g button mushrooms (thinly sliced)

5 large free range eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Seasoning (sea salt and ground black pepper)

– serves two-



1. Put a small saucepan of water on to boil and slice the potatoes into approx half a centimeter thick round slices. pop them in the water to boil until they feel soft (but not so soft that they’ll break up). 

2. Heat a frying pan and add the olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the onion, pancetta, mushrooms and fry until slightly brown and soft. Pour the mixture out onto a plate and leave to one side. 

3. Take half of your boiled, sliced potatoes and layer them along the bottom of the frying pan. Take half of your onion and pancetta mix and evenly scatter it ontop of the potatoes. Whisk your 4 eggs into a bowl and pour half of the mixture into the frying pan. Leave to cook until you can just see some of the mixture in the middle of the fying pan unset. 

4. Pop the frying pan under a grill for approx 2-3 minutes, or until the top of the tortilla looks cooked. 

5. Dish up onto a plate and then repeat again with the remaining ingredients to create your second tortilla.


Great served with a simple tomato and onion salad. 


Pork fillet with fennel and green lentils

The inspiration for this dish came from a recipe that I saw in Donna Hayes magazine. It’s nice and simple and can be prepared in advance and then popped in the oven 20 minutes before you want to eat… 

Serves: 3-4 people

prep + cooking time: 50 minutes


2 x decent size pork fillets

3 x cloves of garlic 

1 x large white onion 

1 x fennel bulb 

A mug full of green lentils 

2 mugs of boiling water 

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper for seasoning

1 x chicken stock cube


A deep baking dish and heavy bottomed frying pan



1. Finely chop your garlic. Chop your fennel and onion into chunky pieces. Add the olive oil and some seasoning to a baking tray then toss the garlic, fennel and onions in the oil and pop into the oven on gas mark 6 for 20 minutes. 

2. Add your mug of green lentils to a saucepan with 2 x mugs of boiling water and the chicken stock cube and simmer for 15 minutes 

3. Rub some olive oil into your pork fillets and then season. Heat a frying pan and then sear the fillets in the pan for around 2 minutes each side (until golden in colour) 

4. Once your lentils are cooked and your pork seared, remove the baking tray from the oven, pour the lentils and any stock from the pan over and give it a quick mix, then place the pork fillets on top of everything and place back into the oven for 20 minutes, or until you’re happy that the pork is cooked through

5. Remove from the oven, slice the pork and serve on-top of your onion, fennel and lentil mix