Creamy Courgetti “Carbonara” with Ham and Goat Cheese

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered that’s changed my life this year (that isn’t using a banana skin to dust plants) it’s courgetti. It’s so easy to make! So filling! So nutritious! So much more fun than boring old pasta (sorry pasta).

This recipe came out of having nothing in the fridge but some sandwich ham (probably not the best quality either but great for this recipe) and goats cheese that was rapidly reaching its use by date. I’d recommend using mature or creamy goats cheese for this so you get a bit of a ‘sauce’ effect of it melting through the courgette.

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Baked Garlic Camembert Cheese Moment

Oh Camembert, king of cheeses. I got a Camembert baker last year for Christmas, if you have a cheese lover in your life they make really great gifts. I use mine as an ornament most of the year, it looks great on my kitchen windowsill.

And then winter comes, and so does the baked cheese.

Driving over the North York Moors last weekend, I was struck by the overpowering desire to bake Camembert and spend the afternoon in ooey, gooey, cheesy heaven. Well, you only live once, so I did.

Recipe

I baked an Asda own-brand Camembert (a steal at £1.20) and studded it with garlic before baking for 20 minutes at around 150 degrees.

The rest of this post is just pictures of cheese. I’m not sorry.

 

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Review: Rusty Shear’s Cafe Whitby

After reading some lovely reviews of Rusty Shear’s cafe/tearoom on TripAdvisor we stumbled in one wet, windy Saturday afternoon (Whitby isn’t Whitby if it’s not wet and windy, in my opinion, so it was spot on). The cafe is adorably decorated with a myriad of bric-a-brac items as far as the eye can see, fun lampshades and blackboard menus.

It has a really unpretentious, laid back feel with customers ordering and paying at the till. They had a lively menu of cakes and sandwiches and hot food. They also sell WINE.

I didn’t go for wine (rare for me, but it felt a bit early at 12.30) and was rewarded with a super pretty tea set. My partner had a latte which was tasty like lattes usually are, and came in a glass with a little cardboard jacket. Cute.

I ordered the pie and peas and my partner had garlic mushrooms on toast. Both were gorgeous – the pie filled with juicy mince pork and not too much pastry, the peas just right and served with a tiny pot of mint sauce.

The mushrooms on toast was a huge pile of wild mushrooms on granary bread – perfectly cooked in what tasted like a wine and garlic reduction – not a hint of sickly cream in sight.

For £15 for the entire lunch it was very reasonably priced, the service was also really speedy. My only regret is not getting sampling any of their cakes, but I just didn’t have room. Worth a visit if you are in Whitby and looking for a nice lunch, they even do doggy-cinos for your four legged friends!

 

 

 

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3 Ways to Make Mayonnaise Magical

If you’re a bit sad like me you can easily have fun pepping up normal mayonnaise you buy in the supermarket, and create delicious new mayos with minimal effort (and egg beating). Great for sandwiches, impressing dinner guests or just eating off the spoon.

I’ve listed my three favourites here.

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1. Spicy mayonnaise (pictured)
The paprika in this adds a nice warmed, smoky flavour. Great with cauliflower fritters or anything fried.

Mix your mayo well with a teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon (or however much you can stand) of Tabasco or hot sauce of your choice. You can also use cayenne, but a liquid sauce tends to mix a bit better.

2. ‘Big mac’ mayonnaise
This probably isn’t what is in Big Macs, but tastes great on a burger. It’s basically a mix of the three best – ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

Combine 2 teaspoons of ketchup with 3-4 tablespoons of mayo. Add a teaspoon of mustard and stir until you have a golden, salmony coloured sauce. Add more ketchup or mustard to taste.

3. Basil mayonnaise
Got a sorry basil plant in the corner, not sure what to do with it? Basil mayo! It’s lovely on sandwiches and salads.

Very finely chop up a handful of fresh basil leaves and stir into mayonnaise. I also like to add black pepper for an extra kick.

Happy mayonnaising!!

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Cheese review: Waitrose Saint Vernier

You know how it is with Waitrose. You go in to just buy some blister plasters, you walk out with a French cheese.

 

I’d not heard of Saint Vernier before but was intrigued by its wooden flower-like container and alluring pong. Already being a fan of other rind washed cheeses (epoisses, Gruyere, taleggio) I figured with this one being washed IN WINE would be pretty up my street.

And it was.

Saint Vernier comes from the Jura region of France and has unique, strong taste. It’s not as strong as our friend epoisses, or even a decent Camembert, rather it’s somewhere in between.

It’s not too overbearing, with a creamy melting texture and firm, fruity rind. The overall flavours are musky, earthy and yeasty.

This cheese would be a fine addition for when you want a soft ripened cheese on your board that gives a little more than Brie.

 

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