Neopolitan Scrambled eggs

My last recipe from the Cicchetti book (at least for a while). I was intrigued by the use of tomato, anchovies and mozzarella in this recipe and it is delicious. You could change the cooking method slightly and finish under the grill to make an omelette.

Serves 2 (main meal) 4 – brunch

Ingredients

  • 1 tin anchovies in oil
  • 125g passata
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 8 large eggs
  • handful spinach

Method

1.) Add the anchovies and oil to a heated pan, cook until the anchovies have broken down

2.) Add the passata and turn down the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes

3.) While this is cooking, chop up the mozzarella and crack the eggs into a container and beat

4.) Add the mozzarella and oregano to the pan and stir to distribute around the pan

5.) Add the beaten eggs to the pan and cook until set. For the last 5 minutes, sprinkle the handful of spinach over the top to let it wilt.

Broad bean stuffed pancakes

Another recipe that caught my eye in the Cicchetti cookbook was this one for stuffed pancakes. It’s probably not so much a normal weeknight dinner meal but being on holiday this week, I’ve been a bit more flexible. This would be a good one to make if you have guests as you can make them the day before. The recipe suggests to use cocktail sticks to hold the wheels in place but I didn’t personally feel the need.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin broad beans (250g drained)
  • 60g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 5g chives
  • salt and pepper
  • butter
  • 8 slices quorn ham
  • 3 sprigs basil

Method

1.) Make the pancake batter by beating the eggs in a bowl, whisk in the milk and flour. Chop up the chives and mix in the batter.

2.) Melt some butter in a small frying pan, add 1/4 of the pancake mixture at a time and make 4 pancakes. Set aside on a plate to cool.

3.) In a food processor, add the drained broad beans, the cream cheese and the parmesan. Blend until a smooth paste.

4.) One at a time, move a pancake to another plate, lay 2 slices of quorn and dollop on 1/4 of the broad bean mixture in the middle. Spread out the broad bean paste all around the pancake.

5.) Roll up the pancakes one by one then cut into slices. At this point, seal with the cocktail sticks if wanted.

6.) Chill until cool, then rip up the basil and sprinkle over the top.

Broccoli and blue cheese soup

Being on holiday this week, I bought tickets for a National Trust site, Lyme Park – the stately home used as Pemberley in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the BBC one, not the rubbish film with Keira Knightley). However, being in England, shortly after we arrived it started to hail and it was too cold to stay more than an hour despite it being April and I didn’t even manage to stay long enough to find the Mr Darcy statue in the lake. When I got home, I just wanted to warm up with this winter soup that I adapted almost to non-recognition from ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’. This recipe works best with the strongest blue cheese you can get i.e. the British Stilton.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • seasoning
  • 1.5 litres flavour chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 100g Stilton cheese

Method

1.) Chop up the stalks of the broccoli into pieces and heat the oil in a large pan/crockpot

2.) Add the stalks on a low heat and peel and chop up the onion

3.) Add the onion to the pan with 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

4.) Strip the rosemary leaves from the sprigs and finely chop. Strip the thyme leaves and chuck all the herbs into the pan

5.) Add 200ml water to the pan and put on the lid. Cook on a low heat for 40 minutes

6.) When the 40 minutes is nearly up, make up the stock and chop up the florets of the broccoli

7.) Add both to the pan and put the lid back on, cook for another 15 minutes

8.) When done, take off the heat and blitz with an immersion blender until smooth.

9.) Add the cheese and stir until melted, season and serve.

Scallop gratin with artichoke salad

So far my week off work has been more stressful than I was originally hoping. My cat, Figaro got a stomach upset on Easter bank holiday when all the vets were closed except the emergency one miles from our home. Giving him a new flavour of the pet food he normally eats was enough to do it. After two trips to the vet and being hand-fed for 4 days he finally seems to be on the mend. I nearly had a heart attack when my other cat, Gino came bursting through the cat flap with what looked to be a broken paw. Fortunately he’d just gotten his paw stuck in his collar and there was nothing wrong with him. At least I had a nice treat with this delicious scallop gratin.

This recipe works with the tiny frozen scallops you get from the supermarket, I just defrosted them before using. The version in the book is served in the scallop shells but I used ramekins. The recipes are from the book ‘Cicchetti’ – a book of small Italian dishes that I really love.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 10 small scallops
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 30g butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5g parsley leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 5g chives
  • 2 tins artichoke hearts
  • 30g parmesan
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Peel and chop the garlic, finely chop the parsley

3.) Melt the butter in a pan and then add the garlic and 1/3 of the parsley

4.) Arrange the scallops in 2 ramekins

5.) When the oven is ready, pour the breadcrumbs into the butter and give them a stir

6.) Divide the breadcrumbs between the ramekins and place the ramekins on a baking tray

7.) Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown

8.) While the scallops are baking, grate the parmesan

9.) Add to a mixing bowl, drain the tins of artichoke hearts and chop up

10.) Put the artichokes in the mixing bowl and add the rest of the parsley, some seasoning, mustard and the oil and give it a good mix

11.) Chop up the chives to serve with the scallops and artichokes.

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Creamy mushroom and sausage courgetti

After falling off the wagon a bit recently with the diet, there’s been a bit of a low-carb theme this week with the Summer Rolls and the Cauliflower Pizza. This courgetti is also a good option. The cream sauces always tempt me but generally I try to avoid. This is so much lighter just using courgetti and doesn’t feel heavy at all. I do have a spiraliser that I don’t use enough but the success of this recipe made me feel inspired to use it more. You can get ones that are just like pencil sharpeners though and sometimes you can even find the pre-done noodles in the supermarket. This recipe was on BBC Good Food with standard pasta but I added some veggie sausages to make it more protein heavy and bulk it out a bit.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 4 veggie sausages
  • 4 rashers quorn bacon (honestly I don’t think this added much – I just had some in the house)
  • 2 courgettes
  • punnet mixed mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100ml white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200g parmesan

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

2.) Line a baking tin and place on the veggie sausages

3.) When ready, stick the tin into the oven for the prescribed cooking time.

4.) Spiralise the two courgettes

5.) Heat some spray oil in a pan and sauté for 5 minutes or so then set aside.

6.) Chop up the mushrooms

7.) Melt the butter in the pan and add the mushrooms

8.) Let them start to brown, in the meantime, peel and chop up the onion and add to the pan. Cook until soft.

9.) While this is cooking, peel and finely chop the garlic. Chop up the quorn bacon.

10.) Once the onion is done, add the bacon and the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.

11.) Add the wine to the pan and cook down until it’s mostly evaporated.

12.) While this is cooking, grate the parmesan

13.) When the wine has cooked down, add the cream and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes

14.) Take the sausages out of the oven and chop them into biteable pieces. Add to the pan.

15.) Add the parmesan to the cream sauce and let it melt into the sauce

16.) Finally, add the courgetti to the pan and toss with the sauce.

Cauliflower Pizza

So if you overindulged at Easter but you still want to tuck in to some pizza, here’s the solution. The base of this thing is just basically cauliflower and egg. Obviously it’s not as good as a real bread based pizza but after visiting Naples and noticing the pure number of gluten-free options available there, maybe it’s not such a good idea to eat pasta and bread all the time. Load this up with your favourite toppings – I went for cheese, tuna and olives. Very un-Italian as it’s basically a sin over there to pair fish with cheese – something I categorically disagree with. I love the creaminess of the cheese with the salty fish, also great on a panini/toastie.

Serves 4 as a light meal with some salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower (mine was around 730g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp parmesan
  • 150g cheese (I went for mature cheddar – it’s a staple in my house)
  • Some kind of jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 tin tuna
  • 15 olives

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C

2.) Line a pizza tray with parchment paper (I used foil but had some issues with sticking)

3.) Roughly chop the cauliflower and blend in a food processor, it’s easier to do this in batches.

4.) Get a clean tea towel and spread it out, put the blitzed cauliflower in the middle of the towel. Scrunch up the tea towel and press out any excess water over the sink. I didn’t have a lot, it more just dampened the tea towel.

5.) Put the cauliflower into a microwave proof bowl and cook for 5 minutes.

6.) In another container, crack and beat the eggs.

7.) Grate the parmesan.

8.) When the cauliflower is done, add the parmesan and the onion powder. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes.

9.) Add the eggs and mix in.

10.) Tip the cauliflower onto the pizza tray and pat out to the shape of it.

11.) Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and firm.

12.) While the base is cooking, grate the cheddar, chop the olives roughly and open and drained the tinned tuna.

13.) Once the base is done, spread over the tomato sauce to cover, sprinkle over the cheese, tuna and olives

14.) Bake for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.