Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Open Lasagne with King Prawns, Butternut Squash and Spinach

I've been wanting to make an open lasagne for ages but I think the fear of the pasta sheets sticking together put me off. And true to form, when I did make it...the pasta sheets stuck together. But I have discovered the trick - only boil 3-4 sheets at a time. Yes, it takes a while if you're cooking for lots of people but trust me, its worth it. I love this dish, apart from the mischievous pasta sheets, its incredibly easy to make and looks very pretty. Perfect for a dinner party or weekday treat!

Tip: When you cook the pasta, take it out about two minutes before you think its cooked and place into a dish with olive and hot water (it can then sit there keeping warm whilst you cook the other batches!)

Open Lasagne with King Prawns, Butternut Squash and Spinach

4x Lasagne Sheets per person
1xButternut Squash (diced into bite sized chunks)
300g Raw King Prawns
100g Spinach
Cherry Tomatos (as many as you want)
1 x bunch of Coriander (half very finely chopped and half roughly chopped)
1 x red chilli
1 x Garlic Cloves (sliced)
1 x tsp Ginger (grated)
1 x massive knob of butter
The juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the Squash and garlic in an oven proof dish, drizzle with lots of olive oil, season and pop in the oven for about 15-20mins. Start cooking the pasta sheets in batches (see tip above picture!). About five minutes before the pasta is all done, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and place in the oven with the squash. Then heat up a little oil in a pan and gently fry the finely chopped coriander, chilli and ginger for about 2 minutes on a low heat. The add the prawns, lemon juice and butter and turn the heat to medium. Cook for about 4 minutes. Now everything is cooked, simply layer it all up, I like the messy/rustic look but if you want it to really impress use a circular or square ring and layer it up inside the ring. I start with a bed of spinach, place a layer of pasta on top, then the squash, another layer of pasta, then the prawns, add another layer of pasta, then top with the squash and prawns and sprinkle with the roughly chopped coriander. There should be lots of juice from the prawns so drizzle this all on top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

French Food, Wonderful Wines and Fun times

I havent blogged for a few weeks as I have be in St. Tropez, basically getting slightly rounder and building up my wine tolerance. We decided to eat in for five nights and go out for the other five and on every occasion the food was sublime. 

Here are the highlights:

1. I became obsessed with the prawns out there, they are literally the size of my arm! 

2. Its all about the BBQ

3. The Most beautiful Hotel/Restaurant in St. Tropez - Les Moulins de Ramatuelle.

4. Lamb or Beef, the quality of the meat is just too good. I usually always eat fish when I'm by the sea but I couldn't resist the steaks at the Geant supermarche. The lamb shank at Bello Visto in Gassin was superb, beautiful quintessential French cooking.

5. The Puddings were mouth watering, everything looked so delicious I had to ask for a selection of three tarts! St. Tropez is renowned for La Tarte Tropezienne. It's the most delicious pud on the plant, classically made with Brioche and a cream/custard filling. Brigitte Bardot is famously loves a bit of Tart Tropezienne, with this knowledge in mind, i couldn't help feel classy whilst eating it! 

6.The Pasta in France would rival any top italian restaurant. I never think of pasta as a French dish but I suppose give a french man some flour and eggs and whatever he does will be delicious! This sauce was so amazing they served with with the starter and main!!

7. There are some really cool galleries. We found this one just off the main Square in St.Tropez. The Sculptures were very cool and made me smile just looking at them. Im trying to find the artists name so will update in due course! 

8. The Market is every Saturday and is foodie heaven.

8. Then of course there are the cars. This AC Cobra is the most beautiful car I've ever seen...and it had a disabled badge, bet the owner was a legend!

10. And finally...the glamour. I saw this photo when I was out there and loved it, true glamour Girl, Francoise Hardy.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Peppa Pig Party

Loved catering for the a 2 year old Peppa Pig themed party. Ate way to many marshmallows whilst preparing though!

Kiddies Food

And Something for the adults...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Pork Medalions with Mustard Mash, Cabbage, Apple and Mushrooms.

I love Pork, every bit of the pig is delicious. Hand me a pork and apple sausage, some pork crackling, a juicy pork chop and some black pudding on the side and ill be a pretty happy, chubby little girl. I do however, struggle with the how to cook pork properly. Can it be a little bit pink? How do you keep it moist? etc etc. 

I discovered its an on going debate about the best way to cook Pork, back in the day Pork was routinely overcooked in order to avoid food-bourne illness's but the risk these days in minimal and as long as the pork is cooked to medium rare at 145 degrees the harmful bacterias are killed. It's becoming a trend in restaurants at the moment to cook it medium rare but i have to say, it doesn't feel right eating it this way and the texture of the meat is just better served at medium. 

Keeping the moisture in can be tricky but my tip is to always buy good quality pork and to continually bast the pork when cooking. 

So after learning all this I thought I would put it to the test and create my idea of a heavenly dinner, although it looks a bit posh, it was only a Tuesday night TV dinner! mmmmm

Pork Medalions with Mustard Mash, Cabbage, Apple and Mushrooms. 

6 x Pork Medallions
1 x White Cabbage Sliced
1 x Apple peeled and diced
2 x Leeks finely chopped
1 x Clove of Garlic finely Chopped
150g x Chestnut Mushrooms sliced
150g x Shitake Mushrooms sliced
about 10-15 Sage Leaves roughly chopped
300g x Maris Piper Potatoes peeled and quartered
30ml x Double Cream
30ml x Milk
Tsp French Mustard
Big knob/two big knobs of butter

Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to the boil. Whilst they're cooking Fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil and add half the sage leaves. Cook them for about 3-4 minutes until golden then move them to the side of the pan and place the pork medallions in the middle. Fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown and ever so slightly pink in the middle.Throw in the rest of the sage, a knob of butter, turn the heat off and leave to the side. 

Meanwhile, fry the leeks and apple in a pan for about 3-4 minutes on a medium heat. In a separate pan boil the cabbage in a little boiling water for 1 minute until slightly softened, then add the cabbage to the leek and apple mix and season. When the mash is done, drain and and mash with the cream and butter. Then bring it all together either in a fancy or rustic way! Enjoy with a glass of merlot or a glass of cold cider! 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Seabass with French Bean, Hazelnuts and Orange Zest Salad. Perfectly Healthy and super Summery!

Whenever I'm in need of a quick health kick, I always turn to a trusty piece of Seabass - it helps that its delicious too! I'm also desperately trying to cut out evening carbs in order to squeeze my rather squidgy bum into a bikini next week! Its a great dish because its light and super healthy but also full of flavour and will certainly satisfy you.

Seabass with French Bean, Hazelnut, Cherry tomato and Orange Zest Salad.

2 x Seabass Fillets
A drizzle of Olive Oil and a little knob of butter

For the Salad
The Zest of 1 Orange and a squeeze
Half a garlic clove finely chopped
Cherry Tomatoes chopped in half
A handful of Hazelnuts crushed
French Beans
A drizzle of olive oil

Pop the beans in some boiling water for 2-3 mins, drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Place all the salad ingredients in the bowl and mix with hands. Season well with lots of good sea salt and pepper! 

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil on a medium to high heat, then place the Seabass skin side down, season. Cook for about 3 minutes and then turn the heat down slightly and add the knob of butter. Cook for a further minute, then flip over and cook for a final 30 seconds. 

Serve and enjoy!