Banana and honey crumpets

 

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I invented this dessert on an evening when we had a sweet tooth and nothing naughty in the cupboard. A really quick, tasty sugar fix!  

 

Ingredients: 
1 egg

3 tablespoons caster sugar

2 crumpets

vegetable oil

1 large banana

Honey

– serves 2 – 

 

Instructions:

1. Beat the egg, along with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar in a bowl and then saturate each of the crumpets in the mixture

2. Peel and slice into four a banana 

3. Put a drizzle of vegetable oil into a very hot frying pan and then add the bananas and crumpets to the pan. Cook for approx 1 and a half minutes, or until golden brown and then then turn. Cook for a further minute and a half 

4. Pour the rest of the caster sugar onto a plate 

5. Remove the crumpets from the pan and coat in the caster sugar. 

6. Place the crumpets onto a plate and top with the bananas and a good squeeze of honey. 

If you have ice cream or double cream to hand then serve alongside. 

Deeeelicious! 


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chicken puttanesca

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Great as an easy mid-week meal, or for a dinner party. And if you have any of the lovely rich sauce left over, it’s delicious spread on warm crispy ciabatta, or stirred into pasta as a lunch time treat. 

 

Ingredients: 
a handful fresh basil

5 anvhocies

1 pot of CIRIO tomato puree

2 large cloves garlic

1 small onion (roughly chopped) 

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons mixed olives

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of half a lemon

150g CIRIO chopped tomatoes with basil  

small pinch dried chilli flakes 

4 chicken breasts 

– serves 4 –

 

Instructions: 

1. Place all of the above ingredients into a bowl and blend using a hand blender – you want the sauce to be slightly chunky so don’t blend for too long, but just enough that the onions and garlic have been pureed. 

2. Taking a sharp knife, slice the chicken breasts length ways, in half – leaving one side still attached 

3. Place each piece of chicken onto its own piece of baking paper, season and drizzle with olive oil and then spread the sauce inside the chicken, pulling back over the top so that the chicken is stuffed with the sauce. Place a small spoonful of the sauce over the top of the breast and then wrap each piece in its baking paper so that it’s nicely enclosed and the juices/sauce can’t escape. 

4. Place the breasts onto a baking tray, and add into a preheated oven on gasmark 6 for 25 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through)

5. Serve with crushed new potatoes and a mixed green bean and tomato salad. 

Deeeeelicious!

Mushroom pappardelle Pasta

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After tasting an amazing version of this in Pont de la Tour, I thought that I’d try and guess the ingredients and make my own version for my Come Dine with Me starter. It went down very well and is a good ‘make ahead’ option for a dinner party so that you can sit down and enjoy the company of your guests rather than slaving over the stove whilst they’re there. 

 

Ingredients: 

1 large clove garlic

1 tablespoon salted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

200 grams portobello mushrooms chopped

200 grams enoki mushrooms 

100 grams dried porcini mushrooms with hot water added to make 100 ml of stock

1 onion finely chopped 

200ml good quality beef stock 

200ml double cream 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon truffle oil

100 ml massala wine

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan

Parapadelle pasta (you can use tagliatelle as an alternative)

 

Instructions: 

1. Melt the butter and olive oil into a frying pan on a medium heat

2. Add the garlic and onions and fry until the onions are soft 

3. Add the chopped portobello, enokki soaked porcini mushrooms (keeping back the stock and half od the enokki mushrooms) to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally 

4. Turn up the heat and add to the pan the beef stock and mushroom stock with plenty of salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil and allow the liquid to reduce to half 

5. Once the liquid has reduced, add the cream and continue to cook on a high heat until reduced by half again. (if making ahead, then at this point you may remove the sauce from the heat and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Then remove from the fridge, return to the pan and continue with the following steps)

6. Add the parsley, truffle oil and Massala wine and put the pasta on to cook (as per instructions) 

7. Once the pasta is cooked and well drained, mix the pasta and the sauce together in the pasta saucepan and fry off the remaining enokki mushrooms in the frying pan on a high heat until golden in colour. 

8. Dish up the pasta and top with the fried mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil and a light dusting of parsley. Serve with a good wedge of parmesan for grating on top

Enjoy!

tomato and basil pasta

Refreshing and tasty, this pasta salad is a great accompaniment to any barbecue.

 

Ingredients: 

A good handful of fresh basil finely chopped 

15 baby plum tomatoes (quartered) 

Large bowl dried pasta (any pasta will do but I prefer pasta shells) 

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons good olive oil 

sea salt and ground black pepper 

 

Instructions: 
1. Cook the pasta as per instructions on the packet

2. into a bowl, add the chopped basil, tomatoes and plenty of seasoning.

3. Drain the pasta and run it under a cold tap until it’s just luke warm (this will help to bring out the flavour of the basil and tomatoes when added)

4. Add the pasta into the bowl with the tomatoes and basil.

5. Pour on the olive oil, white wine vinegar and more seasoning.

6. Give a good stir, ensuring that the pasta is all coated in the oil, vinegar and basil.

7. Season to taste and add more vinegar/oil if required. The final dish should look glossy

Enjoy!

Limoncello tart


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Just one of the desserts that I made for my Come Dine with Me menu. It was the most popular of the two on offer and is impressive and simple to make. 

  • Ingredients: 
  • 5 Eggs
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 4 Lemons, zest and juice
  • 250ml Double Cream
  • 2 tbsp Icing Sugar, to serve
  • 2 tbsp limoncello
  • 1 pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry (roll again to half the thickness)
  • Grease proof paper
  • – serves 6 –

Instructions:

1. Beat the eggs and sugar together until combined. Beat in the lemon zest and juice, along with the limoncello and then whisk in the cream. Chill for 1 hour.

2.  Grease a 9 inch tin, and lay out the pastry so that it’s snuggly fitted into the tin. Cut some grease proof paper, and lay out over the pastry. Pour on top some dried butter beans and bake in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes on gasmark 5. 

3. Remove the tin from the oven, pour away the beans (save for another time!) and remove the baking paper. Pop the pastry back into the oven for a further ten minutes, or until it’s looking lightly browned. 

3. Reduce the oven to gasmark 1. Place the tart tin on a baking tray. Pour in the lemon filling, being careful not to spill over the edges. Bake for 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes then transfer to the fridgt and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

4. To serve, dust with icing sugar a sprinkle of lemon zest  and a glass of iced limoncello – add a sparkler for a special Come Dine with Me touch!

Squisito!

Tagliata agli aroma

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In English, this means ‘steak with herbs’. I chose to do this as a main course for my Come Dine with Me because you can prepare everything ahead, it’s really quick to cook and because it uses fillet streak served on a platter, it feels a bit special! 

 

Ingredients: 

2 cloves of garlic

3 sprigs of rosemary

a small handful of sage leaves

a few sprigs of thyme 

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons good olive oil 

the juice of half a lemon

400g fillet steak (or lean steak if you want to go for a cheaper option)

mixed lettuce leaves

– serves 4 –

 

Instructions: 

1. Remove the rosemary from its stalk and finely chop the leaves together with the garlic, sage and thyme.

2. Add the herbs to a bowl along with the olive oil, vinegar and the Knorr chicken stock cube, and mix together with your fingers until the cube has dissolved in the oil.

3. Coat the steak fillets in the mixture, pace in the bowl and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to marinate before cooking. 

4. When ready to serve, season the steaks with salt and pepper, and place onto a hot griddle pan. Cook until desired (i.e. 2 minutes each side for medium/rare). 

5. Remove from the griddle pan and leave to rest for 2 minutes.

6. Whilst the meat is resting, pour the lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper over the lettuce leaves, giving a good toss to coat all leaves

7. Spread the coated leaves out onto a platter and then thinly slice the steaks and lay out over the lettuce. 

8. Place in the middle of the table with a bowl of sauteed potatoes and a bowl of mixed tomatoes, green beans, onions and black olives tossed in lemon and olive oil. 

Enjoy!

chorizo sausages with olive, onion and feta mash

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I made this dish as a Mediterranean alternative to the British sausage and mash. Still homely and comforting, but packed full of sunshine flavours. 

 

Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon olive oil 
6 chorizo and chilli sausages

1 large red onion

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) 

15 cherry tomatoes (halved)

50 ml beef Bisto gravy

100 kilograms feta cheese (cut into cubes) 

15 black olives (pitted and roughly chopped) 

6 medium potatoes 

1 tablespoon butter 

6 tablespoons milk 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

– serves 2 – 


Instructions:

1. place the sausages on a baking tray and cookin the oven on gasmark 6 for 25 minutes.

2. Peel, chop and boil the potatoes so that they’re ready for mashing 

3. Add the olive oil to a hot frying pan, then fry one clove of garlic and onions until soft 

4. Add the olives to the frying pan and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add in the feta 

5. Mash the potatoes along with the butter, milk and plenty of seasoning. Add the olives and onions mixture to the mash and stir well.

6. In the empty frying pan, add the cherry tomatoes, garlic and bisto gravy. Bring to the boil, and when the tomatoes are softened, lightly mash them and give it all a good stir. 

7. Serve the sausages, a good dollop of mash, and pour over the tomato gravy. 

Enjoy!