Tomato Tart

Tomato Tart

1 x 400g roll Today puff pastry
egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 15ml water beaten together
4 large tomatoes
a handful of basil
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 200℃ and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Unroll the puff pastry and place it on the paper. (Trim the pastry to fit the baking sheet)
Lightly score the pastry down the centre in the length. Now score it in half and then halve each square. You should have 8 squares – be careful to score and not cut through!
Whisk together the egg yolk and water and lightly brush the pastry all over.
Refrigerate until needed.
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to the boil.
Make a cross incision (x) in the tomato skin on the bottom.
Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Now lower the tomatoes into the boiling water and simmer for 1 minute.
Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge it into the ice water.
Remove the skins once they start to curl back from the flesh.
Halve the naked tomatoes horizontally.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator.
Place a basil leave in the centre of each of the marked squares.
Place half a tomato, cut-side down on the basil and drizzle the tomato with a few drops of oil.
Season with salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the tart from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar while very warm.
Slice the tart into 8 portions and serve as a side.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

45ml vegetable oil
250g smoked bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
30ml rosemary leaves, chopped
1kg minced beef
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomato
10ml dried origanum
2 bay leaves
15ml sugar
60ml Worcestershire sauce
50g tomato puree
5ml salt
250ml beef stock
400g spaghetti, cooked
parmesan cheese

Place a large saucepan on medium heat and add the oil.
Add the chopped bacon and cook for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat down and add the onion, carrot, garlic and rosemary. Cook for another 10 minutes while stirring often.
Add the minced beef and stir-fry for 5 minutes, ensuring it is broken up.
Now add the tinned tomato, origanum, bay leaves, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and stock.
Bring the bolognese to the boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for one hour until you have a rich, thick sauce. Stir the sauce every now and then while it cooks.
Cook the spaghetti, drain and spoon onto plates.
Serve the bolognese sauce on top of the spaghetti with grated parmesan cheese.

Chorizo and Spinach Carbonara

Chorizo and Spinach Carbonara

This is a cheat’s version of carbonara and makes a perfect weekday dinner. Feeds 4 adults.

300g dried pappardelle pasta (or spaghetti)
150g chorizo sausage, sliced
15ml thyme, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
15ml lemon juice
45ml yoghurt
1 egg
100g baby spinach
50g parmesan cheese, grated

Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
Add the chorizo to a saucepan set over medium-high heat and fry for 3 minutes.
Add the thyme and garlic and stir-fry for another minutes or so.
Add the lemon juice, yoghurt and egg to a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.
Take the saucepan from the heat and add the yoghurt mixture while stirring.
Add the spinach to the saucepan and place it back onto the heat while stirring until the spinach is wilted.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle the parmesan over.
Mix through before serving.

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

There is one sauce that doubles up as marinade and dressing!!

500g chicken breasts

Marinade/Dressing:
30ml olive oil
juice of 2 lemons (60ml)
30ml water
30ml apple cider vinegar
30ml chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
5ml dried origanum
5ml salt
black pepper

Salad:
lettuce
tomato, chopped
cucumber, chopped
red onion, sliced
avocado pear, sliced

Add all the ingredients for the marinade/dressing to a mixing bowl and whisk together.
Pour half of the mixture into a jug and keep aside as the salad dressing.
Place the chicken breasts in the marinade for 30 minutes.
Place a pan on medium-high heat and add the chicken breasts. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 minutes before flipping them over and cooking for another 4 minutes. Rest the breasts in the pan, with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
Arrange the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion and avocado on a serving plate.
Slice the chicken and place on the salad.
Drizzle with the salad dressing and serve.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Honey Mustard Chicken

6 chicken breasts, skin and bone removed
30ml vegetable oil
5ml salt
2,5ml garlic powder
2,5ml onion powder
2,5ml dried thyme
2,5ml onion seeds
2,5ml smoked paprika

Sauce:
125ml honey
60ml butter, melted
60ml wholegrain mustard
20ml hot sauce
5ml apple cider vinegar

Pat the chicken breasts dry and brush them with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, onion seeds and paprika in a small bowl.
Season both sides of each chicken breast with the seasoning – rub it all over. Set aside.
Add the honey, butter, mustard, hot sauce and vinegar to a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Place a cast iron pan/skillet onto medium heat and wait for it to heat up.
Add the breasts to the hot pan and cook for 3 minutes without moving the meat around.
Flip the breasts over and pour the sauce over.
Place a lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes, basting the chicken once or twice as it cooks.
Remove the lid and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
Serve the chicken on couscous or rice.

Roasted Tomato Pasta

Roasted Tomato Pasta

400g vine tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
20ml capers, roughly chopped
2 leeks, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
30ml sugar
10ml salt
a handful of basil leaves, chopped
200g mixed mushrooms
300g penne pasta
parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 160℃.
Spread the tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of salt.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until the skins burst open.
Remove the tray and sprinkle the capers over the hot tomato. Set aside.
Add the leeks and a splash of oil to a saucepan and cook on medium heat until soft.
Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Now add the tinned tomato, sugar, salt and basil leaves and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
Blitz the mixture with a hand blender until you are left a with a thick, chunky sauce. Set aside.
Place a frying on high heat and allow to become hot. Add some butter to the pan and then the mushrooms and fry until the mushrooms are caramelised.
Cook the penne according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and pour the pasta into a serving bowl.
Spoon the roasted tomato, capers and all of the juices onto the warm pasta.
Add the blended tomato sauce and the mushroom and stir everything together to coat the pasta.
Grate a generous amount of parmesan cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with extra basil leaves to serve.

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

2 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 carrots, chopped
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of butter beans (or any other white bean, cooked)
4 x 250ml vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
5ml dried thyme
250ml small pasta, e.g. elbows, shells, vermicelli
125ml fresh parsley, chopped
salt and black pepper

Add some olive oil to a saucepan set over medium-high heat and fry the onion until soft.
Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Now add the carrots, tomato, beans, stock, bay leaves and thyme. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the pasta and cook uncovered until done – about 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the soup and serve piping hot.

Spicy Mexican Soup

Spicy Mexican Soup

3 litres chicken stock
1,5kg chicken breasts, skin removed
5ml black peppercorns
5ml salt
2,5ml smoked paprika
3 x 400g tins chopped tomato
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 x 400g jars sweet jalapeño, drained
30ml + 30ml vegetable oil
120g spaghetti
fresh coriander
lime wedges

Add the stock to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Cut the chicken breasts into chunks and add it to the stock.
Add the black peppercorns, salt and smoked paprika and simmer together for 30 minutes. Set aside.
Add the tomato, onion, garlic and jalapeño to the bowl of a blender and process until smooth.
Add 30ml oil to a large saucepan set over medium-high heat and add the tomato mixture to it.
Bring to a low simmer and cook half-covered for 10 minutes.
Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the stock and finely shred the meat.
Pour the stock into the tomato mixture.
Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
Now add the shredded chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning – salt, black pepper, smoked paprika.
Place a frying pan over medium-high heat, add 30ml vegetable oil and add the spaghetti to the pan.
Stir continuously while frying the spaghetti until it is a golden brown colour – about 3 minutes.
Drain the pasta on paper towel and then add it to the soup.
Simmer the soup for about 8 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
Serve the soup immediately with fresh coriander and lime wedges.

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

One of the secrets to perfect fried rice is the temperature: cold rice fries brilliantly and thus this is the perfect dish for those leftovers in the refrigerator! The other secret? Butter!

45ml butter
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrots, cut into small cubes
about 750ml of cooked, cold rice
250ml frozen peas
1 x 400g tin of corn kernels
15ml sesame oil
15ml soy sauce
15ml fish sauce (optional)

Add the butter to a large non-stick pan set over medium heat and allow to melt.
Add the onion, garlic and carrot and stir-fry until the onion starts to catch a little.
Add the rice, peas, corn, sesame oil, soy and fish sauce and turn the heat up to high.
Fry the mixture and stir it around every now and then for 3-4 minutes. The high heat will crisp up and caramelise the rice.
Take the pan from the heat and taste the fried rice. Drizzle with some more soy sauce if it needs it.
Serve warm.

Broccoli Pasta

Broccoli Pasta

This recipe is easy, quick and really big on flavour. The recipe will feed 8 hungry adults.

500g dried pasta
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
a handful of parsley
a handful of basil
2 heads of broccoli ( I know it sounds like you are about to feed an army!!!)
5ml salt
2,5ml black pepper
1 stock cube
250g cream cheese
30ml lemon juice

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
Cut the broccoli florets from the stems and add them to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking time.
Reserve 250ml of the pasta water before draining the pasta and the broccoli florets. Keep aside.
Chop the broccoli stems and add them to a large saucepan with a good dash of vegetable oil.
Turn the heat on to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft.
Add the 250ml pasta water and the stock cube and cook until the broccoli stems are soft.
Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the mixture into a liquidiser.
Add the parsley and basil and blitz. You are aiming to have a chunky, very thick sauce.
Pour this sauce back into the saucepan, add the salt and pepper and then stir the cream cheese into the mixture. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and is incorporated into the rest of the sauce.
Add the lemon juice and stir through.
Now add the pasta and the broccoli florets. Stir the mixture so that everything is coated in the sauce.
Serve immediately.