Tag Archives: cooking

Sausage Pasta Bake

Sausage Fest

So I’ve been living a bit outside my comfort zone where it comes to food in recent weeks. Last week I decided to do a pasta bake for the first time. Following on from the success of that one, I opted to do another last night.

The sausage pasta bake.

For the ingredients: 5 decent sausages ( mine were with onion to begin with ), 1 onion, 1 large carrot, 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 stock cube, 200grammes of spinnach, pasta and 1 glass of wine (and 1 for yourself). Cheese (emmental) grated . For the white sauce 30g of butter, 300ml of milk and 50g of flour. All ingredients are approximate.

Chop your onion rather fine and get it browning nicely on the pan. Take the sausage meat out of the skin of the sausages. You could just buy sausage meat as well from your local butcher if you want I guess. There’s generally a pack of sausages in the fridge here though so you make do.

Chop up the sausage meat into small thumb size or smaller pieces and get it browning on the pan as well.

Around about now throw some spinach into a boil to cook. I will nearly always use frozen as it’s one of the things we’ll always have in our freezer.

Get your penne pasta on ( The tube ones )

Go back to your onion / sausage mix and grate a carrot into it. Add the stock cube and mix in some water and throw in your tomatoes. Add in a glass of wine if you have one handy. Let it bubble away for a bit and season. I mixed in some parsley and a herb de province mix.

Now you’ll want to start on your white sauce. Quantities are really going to vary and I tend to wing it by ear these days. 300ml of milk give or take … a lump of butter …and get that almost bubbling away … throw in some flour, whisk to remove and lumps and start to thicken it up slightly.

Once your spinach and your pasta are cooked … drain and mix together. Place half the mixture into an oven dish. Layer in your tomato sauce and flatten it out. Sprinkle in some grated cheese of your choice. My choice is emmental.  I proceeded to mix the remaining pasta / spinach mix and the white sauce and layer this in on top. Did I mention you’ll probably want a deep enough oven dish.

Finally sprinkle some more cheese on top. It’s around this stage that I thought to myself, hang on this is almost a lasagne. Place in the oven for 20 or so minutes at 200C until it looks golden brown on top. Take it out and leave for 5 minutes to cook down a bit before eating. Serve.

Hopefully you’ll have the same reaction as there was in our house, with little people saying “C’est tres bon papa!” and second and third helpings being asked for.

Lack of photos due to the camera batteries dying!

Roast Chicken

Chicken!

I ended up cooking my first chicken by myself today. Nothing amazing there I know it’s just the first time I’ve ever gone and cooked a whole chicken by myself. Charlotte is sick at the moment so she slept late on Sunday and we had brunch instead of a nice roast lunch. She went to the doctors today so we thought it’d be nice to have something special for her. (She hates going to the doctors)

Wash / Rince .. put in tray .. put in oven at 180C hey presto it’s CHICKEN!

Roast Chicken

Why on earth I’ve never cooked a chicken by myself before I’ll never know. I left it completely plain. Didn’t put anything on it and the results are pretty amazing the taste is lovely. Of course it’s not one of the 2.99€ chickens you can find in the supermarket so it’s practically a case of what you see is what you end up with once it’s cooked. We’ve made a conscious effort since last year to use better quality meats / poultry. I was for example picking up a roast chicken from the market every second sunday. It was nice it was convenient but the taste is nothing like our own oven roast chicken. I wasn’t actually buying a free range roast chicken either as the price on those was putting it up at 15 – 20€. Understandable in some ways. You want good quality you pay for it.

The local supermarket is currently doing 25% off their free range chickens so I may end up picking up another one. The above was guaranteed to have lived for  at least 81 days.

One chicken breast has fed the three of us for lunch so at 7.23€ for the chicken (including the 25% off) that’s pretty good value. We’ll be getting another nice chicken breast .. 2 legs and so on out of it. I see a merguez / chicken cous cous in our future :)

Next up … I’m going to get seasoning it. No idea what to do I don’t want to kill the flavour too much. I’m seeing thyme and lemon … garlic chicken and all the while coated with butter. I’ll be throwing in some veg the next time as well I think.

Pumpkin seeds in a dish

Pumpkin Seeds you Say …

It was a few weeks ago (though quite possibly a month or two at this rate as the weeks are flying by) that Jenny from I code and I cook mentioned roasting pumpkin seeds. I immediately went WHAT! started doing a quick search online and yes it’s obvious. Roast the pumpkin seeds and eat them. They are the bits of the pumpkin I’m always scooping out and throwing into the bin and thinking to myself what a waste, what a waste.

So I’ve not seen that many Butternut Squashes recently and it has been a surprisingly warm winter so we’ve not been over doing the stews too much but I did throw a Pumpkin and Kale pot on tonight and thought to myself why the hell not. I did a search for a recipe / how to and found http://ohsheglows.com/2012/09/17/how-to-roast-perfect-pumpkin-seeds-easy-crunchy-addictive/. Perfect, To Work!

OK cleaning up the pumpkin seeds is hell, it’s time consuming picking out all the little bits of pumpkin ( I’m assuming we don’t want any innards on the seeds as it’ll burn in the oven.

Pumpkins in a colendar

Washing / cleaning the pumpkin seeds takes time.Pumpkins in Boiling Water

Once they are clean boil in some salted water for 10 minutes give or take.Grind up some salt

You’ll want some fine salt to sprinkle over them in the oven.Dry the seeds

Once they’ve been boiling for 10 minutes dry them off with some kitchen towel.

Meanwhile check on your Kale and Pumpkin Stew / Add the Kale

Mean while check on your pumpkin / kale / sausage fest :)

Pumpkin seeeds baking on a tray

Put the dried seeds onto a tray and lightly drizzle some olive oil on and sprinkle some salt. (I’m guessing I used a bit too much of both so will be reducing next time) 10 minutes at 160C give or take and check on them after that and keep on trying one every minute or two after this.Pumpkin seeds in a dish

Hey presto when it’s right it’s right. I had to dry off a bit of oil from them but they are VERY tasty and most definitely going to be a new favourite whenever we’re having pumpkins.Pumpkin Seeds the end product

NOM!

Creamy Pasta with onion, mushrooms and bacon

So this isn’t a carbonara as such (note the lack of egg) but to me it is sort of :D

This is a nice quick dish and the Ingredients for it are pretty basic

  • Onions (I used shallots once again .. softer flavour)
  • Pancetta (Bacon / cured ham of some sort you could chop up a couple of rashers if you wanted)
  • Mushrooms (I’d have generally used button mushroom but I used some Shiitake Mushrooms here as there’s a nicer flavour from them
  • Cream
  • Pasta (ideally you’d use tagliatelle in this case I used fusilli)

Ingredients

Steps:

  1. Chop the onion and throw it on the pan with a bit of olive oil (I chopped the onion in half and sliced it rather than chopping up really small)
  2. Throw the Pancetta onto the pan as well and cook a bit (I usually end up removing excess fatty bits cus I’m like that)
  3. Chop the mushrooms up again I kept it fairly big and throw on the pan cook for a few minutes
  4. Stick on your pasta (depending on cooking times)
  5. Throw the cream in and wait for it to thicken up a bit
  6. Drain your pasta and mix the sauce into it in the sauce pan
  7. If you’ve got parmesan cheese now would be a good time to use it

Mushrooms, Pancetta and Shallots Cooking

Cream added to the Mushrooms, Pancetta and Shallots

And enjoy .. :)

The final Carbonara of sorts

This turned out rather nicely 9/10 from me .. the Fusilli may not have been the best choice in the world but it was still a really nice dish about 15 – 20 minutes from start to finish.