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Comforting Cheesy Broccoli, Cauliflower and Leek bake

Doesn’t this just look like a hug on a plate? I absolutely love making this comforting bake, it’s so delicious and warming on a cold winters night.

I’ve used macaroni to bulk it out but if you’re looking for low-carb you can just use the vegetables. I also add pancetta but this is completely optional. Make sure you do have some good cheddar as the sauce is the star of the show!!


 

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Creamy Oozy Carbonara

Pasta. Crispy bacon. Salty cheese. Smooth, silky creamy sauce. Are you salivating yet? Carbonara has to be my most favourite comfort food. YUM.

It’s actually taken me years to like it, I couldn’t get over the semi raw egg. So I started making it egg-free (just cream), and then slowly I came around to it, realising you need the egg to thicken it up and get that gorgeous, glossy sauce.

I’m a bit of a purist about it now – I won’t have it unless it’s spaghetti or linguine, these penne versions of it don’t cut it for me, I think you need the long strands of pasta to distribute the sauce properly. That said, if you’re into that kind of thing, this recipe works with any pasta shape.

Be liberal with the cheese, but make sure to eschew any extra salt, as parmesan or pecorino tend to be very salty in themselves, as is the bacon, and this dish can very easily be over seasoned as a result. Go nuts with the black pepper though, it’s essential.

 

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Waitrose Berthaut’s Epoisses Cheese Review

Yes, this is a post entirely about a single cheese. If you’re reading this, you probably already like cheese, which means you need to go out and get this one in your life immediately. It’s SO GOOD. (Btw, wasn’t paid by Waitrose for this post). I had this for lunch on my birthday last month, but it doesn’t have to be your birthday to enjoy this wonderful fromage.

Let’s start from the beginning. Epoisses is a soft, oozy French cheese, whose rind is repeatedly washed with Marc de Bourgogne. REPEATEDLY WASHED. Now, I don’t know about you, but being repeatedly washed in brandy sounds like a good time to me.

This particular Waitrose Epoisses is wonderful. It also actually has so many five star reviews on the website, it’s a cheese with a lot of love. It is salty, sticky and oozy. It smells pretty strong, and tastes even stronger. It’s almost… spicy. It has a fruitiness about it that’s really good. I can’t put into words how good this cheese is. Someone once called epoisses the King of Cheeses, and they were right.

Put it on a cracker. Spread it on bread. Eat it on toast. Serve it at a dinner party and instantly make people fall in love with you. Go change your life with this cheese.

 

Stuffed Courgette Meatball Pizzas

I’m not a fan of courgette ON pizza – but I am a fan of courgette UNDER pizza! The only downside to these delicious things is that if you’re cooking for one, you need to make 6 and reheat three of them, but is that really a downside?

Also as a side point, I purchased this entire meal from my local Netto – this post is in no way endorsed by them, but the courgettes, mushrooms. meatballs, sauce and the mozzarella are all from our Scandinavian yellow friends. And it only came to £7 or something. Sadly, two days later, they shut the Netto down, so there goes my chances of repeating this recipe again!

Of course, if you’re in less of a rush you could make the  sauce yourself (soften a shallot and some garlic in olive oil, add a jar of passata, cook down for 20 minutes into a thick rich sauce…) but I was strapped for time. I actually really hate canned tomato sauces but this one was quite pleasant and did shave down the cooking time.

You could make your own meatballs too, or use this recipe to use up any left over ones. If you’re veggie obviously you can leave them out or replace with Quorn perhaps.

Anyway, don’t they look delicious? They tasted delicious too, really convincingly pizza-y which is probably down to the mozzarella and sauce situation. They’re probably not great for you with the amount of cheese I used but largely, they’re probably better for you than pizza.

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Roasted Vegetables with Chickpeas, Spinach and Feta

One of my New Years resolutions was to get better at bringing lunches to work. It’s about half way through the year and I’d say I was only managing to bring lunch in around half of the time! I mean it’s an improvement on nothing so it’s kind of good, right?

This is a perfect make-ahead salad you can throw together easily on a week night or Sunday afternoon. Chances are you already have most of the ingredients too. It’s great on its own as a lunch or might make a nice side for a BBQ or with meat.

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Halloumi, Asparagus and Harissa Brown Rice with Roasted Veg

This dish was inspired by my partner’s request for something ‘vegetabley’ and ‘maybe with halloumi’ so from that vague brief came this lovely dish. It tastes like summer, and you could easily eat without the brown rice if you wanted it for a less filling lunch of side.

Asparagus is in season at the minute, so if you can find British asparagus then do use it! Don’t miss out the Harissa paste either, it really brings this dish to life.

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Lidl Fromage de Normandie – Cheese Review 

Does anyone else have days where they need to eat an entire cheese for dinner? Just me?

I’ve been buying (and eating) this cheese for as long as I’ve been near a Lidl and it’s a great dinner. Sorry, snack. It’s a really marvellous slightly cheaper version of Camembert basically.

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It has a white thick rind which encloses a soft, oozy middle. It’s somewhere between Brie and Camembert in terms of pong, not overpowering but definitely has a character. If you don’t like really smelly cheeses you might get on OK with this one. The taste is bold and buttery as well as sweetly creamy. Divine.

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This cheese is lovely with crackers or crusty bread and it’s best friend is a slice of sweet prosciutto. I’ve never actually baked this, but I imagine it would be delightful, and probably equally delightful in say, a cauliflower cheese. But when cheese is this good, it’s best just to eat it for dinner really. Just me? 🙂

Cheese Review: Coeur de Lion Pié d’Angloys

Did you know monks make this cheese? Yup, it’s made by monks.

This cheese is widely available and if you stumble upon it, do pick it up. I got mine in Tesco. It’s a great alternative to Camembert as a nice soft cheese for your cheeseboard.

Pie d’Angloys is a soft, wine washed cheese that ripens from the inside. It tastes rich and creamy like a Camembert but as the packet states, it has sweet honey undertones. It’s also a bit saltier than your typical Camembert.

The texture is oozy and soft when ripe and radio spreadable. This cheese goes well with a crusty bread or could even be used on pasta for something really indulgent.

Chorizo Macaroni Cheese

 


Thank you, Americans, for the dish of macaroni cheese. One of my all time favourite pasta dishes, there are few ailments a good bowl of macaroni in soft oozy cheesy sauce can’t fix, especially when it comes to January blues.

And this recipe has chorizo in, because life is for living on the edge.

I am such an aficionado of Lidl’s chorizo. It’s like £2 and lasts forever and has a really full flavour, isn’t too spicy but adds lovely savouriness to any dish. If you’re spending loads on chorizo, swap for Lidl’s at the next opportunity.

My recipe uses cheddar and Wensleydale but you can substitute in any good cheese. Parmesan can make it a bit over salty however with the chorizo so be careful.

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