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Authentic Italian Carbonara

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250-300g giuanciale or smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 150-180g spaghetti
  • 1 egg
  • 20g parmesan + some for serving

Method

  • Add the bacon to a large cold frying pan and then put it on a medium-high heat to render out the fat
  • Boil your water and add the spaghetti, cook al dente (don’t remove it from the water, you’ll use it straight away!)
  • Bash the garlic clove to break it open and add to the hot pan with the bacon, stirring occasionally
  • Add the black pepper
  • In the mean time, whisk the egg in a bowl with 20g of parmesan
  • The bacon should be dark and crispy when the pasta is done.
  • Scoop the spaghetti straight from the water into the pan and transfer splashes of water to stop the frying process.
  • When it’s gone quiet, remove from the heat and toss in the egg mixture – be quick so it doesn’t scramble on the bottom of the pan
  • Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan on top

Pineapple Fried Rice

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 140g rice, cooked per instructions
  • 200g tin of pineapple chunks in juice, cut into smaller pieces
  • Half a red chilli (de-seed if you want less spice), chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Small handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1-2tbsp soy sauce

Method

  • Cook your rice and set aside
  • Heat a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the pineapple pieces with a very small amount of juice.
  • When the juice has evaporated and the pineapple is starting to caramelise, add a little more juice and wait again.
  • Once dry, add a drizzle of oil and add the garlic and chilli
  • Stir for a few minutes and then add the spring onion
  • Cook all of it together for 5-7 minutes until fragrant
  • Add the rice, a good glug of pineapple juice and the soy sauce (taste for amount)
  • Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt in and stir
  • Cook for another 5 minutes then stir in the coriander and cook for a further 2-5mins
  • If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle in some turmeric to make it yellow 😀

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 500g beef or pork mince (or a mix)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 75g breadcrumbs

Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or put through a press
  • Bunch of fresh basil – pick all the big leaves and leave a few small ones for garnish
  • Half a red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a blender or scrunch by hand
  • Make golf ball sized meatballs and set aside
  • Add a large wide frying pan to the hob on a medium heat
  • Cook the onion for 5-7mins until golden and soft
  • Add the garlic and chill, and as soon as they pick up a bit of colour, add the big basil leaves
  • Add the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon
  • Add the balsamic vinegar
  • Season to taste
  • Bring to the boil and let simmer until needed
  • In a new pan, fry off the meatballs until browned on all sides, and then add them to simmer in the sauce until cooked through (min 15mins).
  • Cook your preferred pasta and serve with mini basil on top

Overnight oats

Ingredients

  • 80g rolled oats
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 200ml almond milk (or any milk of your choice)
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl
  • Transfer to jars or a dish with a lid and soak in the fridge for at least 8 hours
  • Add your choice of toppings such as fruit, nuts and chocolate

Cauliflower cheese

Serves 4 people as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plan flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • 100g strong cheddar
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7
  • Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil for 4 minutes. Drain and set aside
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat and then whisk in the flour to form a roux
  • Slowly add the milk, making sure you keep whisking to smooth any lumps
  • Slightly increase the heat and whisk while the sauce bubbles and thickens
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and 2/3 of the cheese
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Arrange the cauliflower in an oven proof dish and pour the sauce over
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top
  • Bake for 20mins or until bubbling and turning golden on top

Healthy Tuna Fish Cakes

Makes around 10 fish cakes

Ingredients

  • 2x 145g tins of tuna (either in water or brine), drained
  • 2x spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon zest and juice
  • 1 medium egg
  • 30-40g breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Mix all of the ingredients either in a bowl or electric mixer
  • Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls and flatten
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat
  • Lightly fry the fish cakes until golden on both sides
  • Serve with your choice of dip – mayo, garlic mayo, sriracha mayo, sweet chilli sauce etc

Best Ever Macaroni Cheese

Serves 4. Great with garlic bread on the side.

Ingredients

  • 350g macaroni pasta
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • 3tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 250g mature cheddar
  • 50g parmesan

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Boil the pasta for 2mins less than the cooking time, and drain
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan (slightly bigger than the pan to fit the pasta)
  • Add the garlic and mustard, and cook for 1 minute
  • Stir in the plain flour
  • Cook for 1 more minute, then slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking the whole time until the sauce thickens
  • Take it off the heat and stir in most of the cheddar, and half of the parmesan
  • Taste and season the sauce
  • Stir in the pasta and tip into an ovenproof dish
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 20mins or until golden on top

Sausage, fennel and red wine risotto

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1 litre of chicken or veg stock
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 a bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
  • 250g quality sausages
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 250ml red wine
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 50g fontina or manchego or emmentaal, chopped into small pieces

Method

  • Simmer the stock
  • Put a large high sided pan on a medium heat with 1tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter
  • Once hot, add the onion and fennel, then strip the thyme leaves in as well.
  • Cook for a few minutes as it starts to soften.
  • Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and add to the pan. As they start to cook, break them up into small pieces.
  • Cook for 10mins, stirring occasionally
  • Add the rice and stir for 2mins
  • Add the wine and stir until absorbed
  • I tend to turn the heat down a little at this point
  • Now add the stock a ladleful at a time, letting each one cook away and absorb before adding more.
  • Make sure you are constantly stirring or it will stick
  • Do this for around 16-18mins, until the rice is cooked but retains its shape (you might not use all of the stock)
  • Add a final splash of stock to make it oozy, then add most of the grated Parmesan (save some for serving) and stir in with a knob of butter
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking
  • Remove from the heat and add the second cheese, cover the pot for a few mins and let the cheese melt
  • Mix it all up and serve with some thyme tips and Parmesan garnish

Steak Ciabatta Sandwich with Zingy Tomato Relish

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the sandwich

  • 1 large or two small ciabattas (I use bake at home and bake it at the beginning).
  • 2 fillet steaks, at least 2cm thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Butter
  • 2tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2tsp whole grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Baby gem lettuce

For the relish

  • 1/2 a red onion, diced
  • 1/2 a red chilli, chopped
  • 200g mixed colour baby tomatoes, sliced in quarters
  • 1tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Method

  • Important steak prep: take your steaks out of the fridge and out of their packaging 30mins before starting to bring them to room temperature. Then drizzle with olive oil and season very generously with salt (not pepper!). Leave to rest.
  • We’ll make the chutney first, so get a large frying pan on a medium heat and heat some olive oil.
  • Add the onion and chilli and cook for 5mins until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6-8mins until the tomatoes have softened and collapsed.
  • Add the balsamic and stew slowly for another 6-8mins.
  • While it’s stewing, mix the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl or ramekin.
  • Remove from the  heat and stir in the fresh basil. Set aside.
  • Heat a pan that comfortably fits both steaks with space around them on a very high heat until the pan is smoking. Do not add oil.
  • Add the steaks to the pan, oil side down and then oil and salt the other side. Sear for 1 minute.
  • Turn the steaks over and set another 1 minute timer. After about 10 seconds, add a generous knob of butter, the garlic and thyme. Swirl around the pan and use a brush to cover the steaks in the flavour.
  • Take a second to heat your griddle pan on a medium-high heat while your timer is going.
  • Turn the steaks again for 30seconds-1 minute (continue brushing) and once more to the other side for 30seconds-1 minute. This will give you a medium-rare finish.
  • Leave the steaks to rest on a chopping board for 4-5mins, and while they rest, toast your ciabatta on the griddle.
  • To serve, spread a layer of the mayonnaise on the bottom of your ciabatta, then a layer of lettuce, followed by thinly sliced steak, and topped with the relish.

Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients (serves 10-12 people as a side dish)

  • 500g red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 white or red onion, sliced
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • Zest of an orange or lemon
  • 1stp ground mixed spice
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 3tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 25g butter

Method

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large pan (make sure it has a lid) and dot the butter on top
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer for 1.5hrs with the lid on.
  • Warm and drain before serving