My Break-Through-In-The-UK dish

This is the dish that made me realise how much I enjoy cooking for other people and putting a smile on their faces 🙂

I was 23  years old and full of dreams when I decided it was time to change my life. I moved to the UK in 1999 all by myself, leaving all my family and friends behind, without knowing where I would have stayed and whom I would have met ( my English at that time was ok-ish for me to get by, let alone for me to even start thinking that it would have become a second language for me!!!) …..I did not know I would have had the most amazing time with some special people who are now friends for life.

The passion for food has always been there but it really became visible during my years at Uni and my (Spanish) flatmates helped my passion to become a real “THING”……….. ……simple ingredients made a dish that still today is one of my fortes.

Gracias  Amigas! Merce, Virgi y todas las cumpañeras de piso de Greenstead! Eso es para vosotras 🙂

TAH-LLYA-TEH-LLEH (Tagliatelle) ai Funghi e Pancetta

Pancetta and Mushroom Tagliatelle

I would normally make my own tagliatelle but it’s just as tasty (and quicker) using the pre-packed one. Any local supermarket would sell it! Follow the cooking time on the packet and make sure you add some course salt in the water as it starts to boil. Instead of the pancetta you can use cooked ham (finely chopped). Or if you want to make this dish vegetarian you can completely miss out the pancetta and replace it with some asparagus……it’s still extremely tasty and simple.

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

350g fresh tagliatelle (roughly 2 nests per person)

150g closed up mushrooms, finely chopped

150ml double cream (single cream for less fat content)

1 glove of garlic, finely chopped

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

130g smoked Italian pancetta (cubes)

olive oil 2tbsp

salt, a pinch

Preparation

In a large saucepan pour some water (1/1.5 l) and bring it to the boil. Add a large tablespoon of coarse salt and put the pasta in.

Put the olive oil on a pan, add the pancetta and cook for a couple of minutes until the pancetta is crispy. Add the mushrooms and gently mix together. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add the garlic and the parsley keep stirring and cook for a minute. Pour the cream and cook with the lid on for a couple of minutes.

The tagliatelle should be cooked by now! Drain the pasta, put it onto a large serving dish, pour the sauce and mix together. Add some parmesan cheese…..Pronto! 

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Bruschetta ai Funghi

BRUSCHETTA pronounced“ BROO-SKEH-TTAH” is not only a very popular Italian dish but it is also one of many Italian words that people mispronounce. With this recipe I combined some cookery skills along with language skills. As a language tutor I find that people learn quickly with practical examples and by referring to words that regularly pop out on a  daily basis.

Here is a word that everybody would know though: CHIANTI and I am sure we all know how to say it!  “KEY-AN-TEE” …. Just like that!

“CHI” and “CHE” always sound “KEY” and “KEH” therefore whenever we find words with these syllables we need to remember to pronounce them as there was a ‘K’ .
Have a go now with some other popular words:
MOSCHINO (brand) MÁCCHINA (car)
ORCHÉSTRA (orchestra) MÁSCHERA (mask)
MARCHE (a region) TACCHÍNO (turkey)
CHILO ( kilo) FORCHÉTTA (fork)

While we are all saying these words out loud we can make this very tasty recipe….and by now we should know exactly how to pronounce “Bruschetta” 🙂

Serving 4 people

Ingredients 

300g  closed up mushrooms, washed and chopped

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped

300g double cream

2 garlic cloves , finely chopped

2  loaves of tiger bread or ciabatta

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan cheese, shavings

1 pinch of salt

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the mushrooms and cook for a 3/4 minutes.

Add the garlic and the parsley. Stir it and pour the cream in, add a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes at low heat.

Slice the bread and toast or grill it. Place the bread on a large serving plate.
Pour the sauce on the bread and add the parmesan shavings.
Pronto!!!

Buon Appetito!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micro-Frittatas

…….. or Savoury Muffins as baked in a muffin tray!!!

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Great for lunch, light dinner or as a snack. Dead easy to make, you need 2 silicon muffin trays, eggs and all your favourite vegetables!

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Serving 4 people

Ingredients

6 large eggs

leek, half, diced

6 asparagus, chopped, 2cm long

4 medium mushrooms, chopped

smal handful of parsley, finely chopped

handful of spinach

1 chilli pepper, chopped (optional)

pinch of salt

tbsp of olive oil

Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200c (190c fan oven). In a large bowl whisk your eggs, add the salt and mix thoroughly. On a non stick pan add a little olive oil and put it on a medium heat. Put the asparagus in the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes. Put them aside. Put the mushrooms and parsley in the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes. Put them aside. Place the spinach in the pan and simmer for 2 minutes (add a little olive oil if too dry ). Now all your vegetables are half cooked, a part from the leek which will cook in the oven. Fill your tray with the vegetables by adding a little of your ingredients in each case, you can have one topping or more than one in the same case. Make sure your vegetables are equally placed into the tray (you should fill 9 cases). You can add a couple of slices of chillies for a nice kick! Pour the eggs on each case and put them in the oven for 15/20 minutes until the eggs are cooked (put a knife inside your frittatas to check if they are completely done). Pronto!!! 

P.S. You can add some grated cheese, pancetta or ham but make sure you cook the pancetta first. You can serve them with a salad and you can eat them hot or cold ( I usually make enough to have them the next day and they still taste delicious!!!).

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My Uni Tagliatelle

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This is the dish that made me realise how much I enjoy cooking for other people. The passion for food has always been there but my (Spanish) flatmates at “Uni”  helped my passion to become a real “THING”…….simple ingredients made a dish that still today is one of my fortes. Gracias Merce, Virgi y todas las cumpañeras de piso de Greenstead!

TAH-LLYA-TEH-LLEH (Tagliatelle) ai Funghi e Pancetta

Pancetta and Mushroom Tagliatelle

I would normally make my own tagliatelle but it’s just as tasty (and quicker) using the pre-packed one. Any local supermarket would sell it! Follow the cooking time on the packet and make sure you add some course salt in the water as it starts to boil. Instead of the pancetta you can use cooked ham (finely chopped). Or if you want to make this dish vegetarian you can completely miss out the pancetta……it’s still extremely tasty and simple.

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

350g fresh tagliatelle (roughly 2 nests per person)

150g closed up mushrooms, finely chopped

150ml double cream (single cream for less fat content)

1 glove of garlic, finely chopped

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

130g smoked Italian pancetta (cubes)

olive oil 2tbsp

salt, a pinch

Preparation

In a large saucepan pour some water (1/1.5 l) and bring it to the boil. Add a large tablespoon of coarse salt and put the pasta in.

Put the olive oil on a pan, add the pancetta and cook for a couple of minutes until the pancetta is crispy. Add the mushrooms and gently mix together. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add the garlic and the parsley keep stirring and cook for a minute. Pour the cream and cook with the lid on for a couple of minutes.

The tagliatelle should be cooked by now! Drain the pasta, put it onto a large serving dish, pour the sauce and mix together. Add some parmesan cheese…..Pronto! 

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Riso ai Funghi senza Funghi

Yes, IMG_1298I know the title doesn’t leave much to the imagination (mushroom rice without the mushrooms?????) but this was my first attempt to make Risotto. It all started at Uni when I was a language student and between one lecture and another I would experiment my cookery skills nearly every day. My flat mate Rita would make her famous VOV for dessert ( a creamy liquor made of eggs). Although it was actually a quite strong liquor, the fact that it was home made it made it completely legitimate!!!! I, on the other hand was responsible for the main. The intention was to make a earthy mushroom risotto, but I didn’t get to go out to buy the mushrooms and the only thing that tasted like a mushroom was some “knor” mushroom cubes!!!! Hence why the mushroom flavour without the mushrooms 🙂 After that episode I would carefully add “propel” mushrooms!

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

300g Arborio rice

500ml chicken stock or 500ml hot water (1 gelatine type chicken cube to mix in the water)

white onion, half,  finely chopped

70g butter

saffron, 1 bag (optional)

150g mushrooms (any type, I would use chestnut mushrooms), sliced

fresh parmesan, as much as you like!!!!!

Preparation

Place the butter on a no-stick pan and melt in on a low heat, add the onion and simmer until golden. Add the rice and stir it. The rice will start roasting and it’s important that it doesn’t burn. Add the mushrooms and mix them with the rice. Have your stock ready and make sure it’s hot, alternatively melt the gelatine cube in the hot water and mix it thoroughly. Gradually add the stock in the pan and keep stirring the rice, repeat this until you have used all the stock.  Sprinkle the saffron and mix it throughly. Cook for another 2 minutes. The rice will look creamy and will taste “al dente” . Serve it with some fresh parmesan, shavings or grated. Pronto!

P.S. Rice takes 14/15 minutes to cook, should you have used all of your stock and the rice  feels still quite hard, I would recommend to add a little water but don’t over cook it! Never cook your rice for longer than 15 minutes !

P.S.2. I like to use the same basic recipe with other flavour combinations: Asparagus and Mushrooms, Broccoli and Sweet corn, Asparagus and Salmon, Prawns and Courgette……and so many more……..IMG_1382