DOuble baked potatoes with courgette Salad

Just sat watching the Eurovision semi-final today which is cheering me up after a hard day. Can’t believe how rude some people are. Reaalllly hope Russian Woman gets through, it’s too funny. Was half-tempted to buy a boiler suit for my Eurovision party on Saturday as that’s what the singer wears though it wouldn’t be great if she wasn’t in the final. This meal is really two side dishes but the double baked potatoes with Gorgonzola just sounded too tasty (they were). Gino d’A Campo specifies Gorgonzola dolce in his recipe though it’s the only Gorgonzola I seem to find in the UK. The courgettes are meant to be marinated but they’re tasty as is – my husband got the benefit of it more as he eats my cooking the day after as he doesn’t like waiting for dinner (or he just throws it away when he gets to work – who knows!). I used McCain’s frozen baked potatoes as I wasn’t organised enough to bake potatoes in the oven for an hour and a half. I would recommend getting them over microwaving standard potatoes for those of you who love the crispy skin.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 3 courgettes
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 3 tbsp tarragon
  • 3 baking potatoes (I recommend McCain’s frozen)
  • 25g butter
  • 1 leek
  • 100g mascarpone (probably fine with sour cream/mix of cream and yoghurt)
  • 100g dolce gorgonzola

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Chop up the courgettes into large chunks as per my lovely picture

3.) Add to a bowl, chop up the herbs, peel and chop up the garlic and add them, the olive oil, the honey and the white wine vinegar and some seasoning

4.) Leave to marinade for 4 – 6 hours, turn over once

5.) If using normal potatoes, prick with a fork and bake on a roasting tray for 1.5 hours

6.) If using McCain’s, microwave them for the recommended time.

7.) While they’re cooking/microwaving, clean and slice the leek, melt the butter in a frying pan and fry until soft.

8.) Tip them out into a bowl, crumble in the gorgonzola, add the mascarpone and season with pepper

9.) Once the potatoes are done, scoop out the inside and mix up with the mascarpone etc

10.) Stuff back in the potatoes – they will be full to the brim!

11.) Bake for another 20 minutes until going golden.

12.) Serve with the courgettes.

Leek, Cheese and Pine Nut Risotto

I really love risotto and I loved the look of this one from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘Italian Escape’. I love Gino D’Acampo and our cat’s named after him (kinda). We had to give him an Italian name as his brother is named Figaro after the cat from Pinocchio. I picked the recipe in his book because it used Taleggio cheese which is one of my favourites – a creamy cheese with a slight blue taste to it. As I couldn’t find it, I instead used half St Agur (a mild blue cheese) and half Iberico (similar to Manchego). It was so tasty and now I just need to make it again but with Taleggio to compare.

Serves 4 (large portions)

Ingredients

  • 30g butter
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 courgette
  • 400g arborio rice
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 200g Taleggio (100g St Agur/100g Iberico cheese)
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Wash and slice up the leeks. Dice the courgette.

2.) Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the vegetables.

3.) While these are softening, strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs. Measure out the rice and weigh out the rice.

4.) Add the rice and thyme to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes.

5.) Add the wine to the pan and let it cook off. In the meantime, make up the stock.

6.) Add ladles of the stock at a time to the pan and let them be absorbed.

7.) In the meantime, weigh out the cheese and cut into cubes.

8.) Once all the stock is absorbed, add the cheese and pine nuts and stir through until the cheese is melted. Season and serve.

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.

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.