Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Pasta Puttanesca(ish) a storecupboard standby

Pasta puttanesca is one of my favourite pasta dishes, the punchy flavours really sing to me, and as it's something M isn't a fan of, it gets relegated to being cooked when he's away or late home. However, this Puttanesca(ish) pasta is a firm favourite of mine, as it gives more than a nod to the original, without  requiring a trip to the shops as all the ingredients are things I typically have in our store cupboard.

I originally blogged this a fair few years back, with a woeful picture, and in the same post as some eccles cakes. I was eating leftovers for lunch today, and thought I'd rewrite it here and give it the benefit of some new photos too.

It's perfect for an entirely unseasonal supper (which so often at this time of year is just the thing you need) - the kick of chilli is warming, and the saltiness of the anchovies provides a lovely savouriness. I find it's best eaten from a bowl on one's knees, snuggled under a crochet blanket. But that may just be me.

Pasta Puttanesca(ish)
Serves 2

2 cloves garlic
1/2 red chilli - I use a nice big one, this is not the place for something that blows your socks off
1 tin anchovies in olive oil, chopped up
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon tomato pesto
Basil to serve

Cook your pasta in a pan, as you would usually - this sauce takes about 10 minutes to cook, so the two should finish almost together.

Drain 1 tablespoon of oil from the anchovies into a small frying pan (the rest can be discarded) and warm through over a medium heat
Add the chilli, garlic, and anchovies to the oil and cook down for 3-4 minutes. The anchovies will start to melt down
Add the halved cherry tomatoes, and allow to cook down for about 5 minutes more, use the back of a wooden spoon (or a potato masher) to break them down towards the end of cooking.
Stir in the tomato pesto and season with just pepper (you have enough salt from the anchovies).
Once you've drained the pasta, put it back into the pan and stir the sauce over, making sure it's thoroughly coated
Sprinkle with basil leaves for a lovely freshness, and serve as suggested above. Crochet blanket optional.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday: 23rd March 2016

In a hitherto unheard of fit of organisation I'm typing this up on a Sunday afternoon sat in the garden. Harry is sleeping, I've done both the shopping list and meal plan and am now ready to head off to Aldi once the grumpy one awakes. 

This week is fairly normal - about a 7 on the hectic scale. I've got a bake sale at Guides on Tuesday to raise money for our local campsite so a couple of local Brownie units are coming for campfire fun and to spend their pocket money. 

I'm planning to bite the bullet and head back to Slimming World this week - I'm just feeling a bit bleurgh and suspect eating fewer fruit and veggies and much much more chocolate is to blame. Plus I didn't fit into my size 14 jeans that I wanted to wear for Blogcamp yesterday. 

Onto the meal plan. 

Breakfasts - baked porridge/ overnight oats. I picked up some reduced raspberries in Waitrose on Friday and Harry seems to have gone off blueberries (Shock. Horror!) so I'll use those up too. 

Lunches - couscous salad - with smoked salmon or leftover roast chicken. 

We're having a roast chicken tonight - mainly for the leftovers I must admit as I'm actually craving steak, but chicken goes so much further. 


Monday - leftover roast chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and carrots

Tuesday - Chicken, broad bean and mushroom risotto (my challenge is to get a decent picture of this!) 

Wednesday - Leftover risotto or Tomato, lentil and veg pasta sauce as I made an enormous batch last week and have portioned it up nicely in the freezer

Thursday - If we don't have it the night before the pasta. If we have the pasta then leftover sauce as a pasta bake I think

Friday - Pizza night! With sweet potato wedges and salad. 

Saturday - baked gammon with egg and syn free chips, peas and sweetcorn

Sunday - Roast something, either pork or beef, to give us leftovers for the week ahead. 

That all feels very organised. Especially for me of late, but I've taken up journalling/ planning in a big to help keep on top of the varying levels of chaos that make up our lives. Whilst I'm not particularly artistic, I am incredibly visual and a huge fan of colour and stickers to keep me focussed. 

That's us for this week - busy as always. You'll notice I'm not cooking too much for the freezer at the moment as the one we use for stocking up died a death a few weeks back and we can't really stretch to a new one at the moment. It doesn't seem to be affecting us too badly, but has made me much better at using up our leftovers rather than just chucking them in the freezer for another day. 

Have a good, healthy week all - and be sure to hop on over to Mrs M's linky to see what all our other planners are up to. 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday: 9th May 2016

It's been a few weeks since I last published a meal plan - we've all had variations on a sinusitis-y type bug and it hit me much harder than I'm used to. However, I'm back on form so am enjoying the cool of the early morning and tapping away whilst drinking tea.

And yes, you read that right - I can now tolerate tiny quantities of dairy. It seems I'm not producing enough lactase to manage some higher lactose products, but I've successfully got about halfway up the lactose ladder. I'm mainly still dairy free, save for those splashes of milk in my tea but am infinitely less concerned than I was about accidental consumption.

This week is a busy one for us (when isn't?)

Breakfasts: Overnight oats made with almond milk and fruit

Lunches: Coucous salad


Monday: I roasted a chicken yesterday, so we'll be having roast chicken, baked potatoes and lots of veggies

Tuesday: Leftover roast chicken and broad bean risotto

Wednesday: Leftover leftovers of the risotto

Thursday: I'm out for a ladies dinner at Church so M is having pizza

Friday: We have a pescatarian friend coming to stay - and M has requested courgetti spaghetti - I must remember to get the veggie version of parmesan in this week's shop.

Saturday: Baked fish, salad, and the Halloumi and sweet potato bake from the lovely BakingQueen74

Sunday: I haven't made fishcakes for Harry and I for ages - so I think I'll do those with potato wedges and lots of veggies/ salad

Baking wise - there's cake to be made for one of the ladies at my Friday class whose birthday it was yesterday, and I'd like to try making some low sugar, dairy and egg free gingerbread/ cinnamon biscuits for Harry.

Have a lovely week - hopefully at least some of the sunshine will stick with us. As always don't forget to hop on over to At Home with Mrs M to see what the other planners are all up to.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Tomato, lentil and vegetable pasta - a syn free, dairy free, vegan recipe

These days my diet is best summarised as 'nearly vegan'. Health wise, I've not noticed any particular benefits, although I'm sure my weight loss is connected. The main focus of my diet is that it's sensitive to Harry's allergies and whilst there is plenty of processed food that is allergy friendly, I mainly focus on whole foods, cooking and eating a wide variety of beans, vegetables, lentils, fruit. That's not to say I'm perfect by a long shot - vegan cake is a food group as far as I'm concerned.

Making filling, healthy food that appeals to a toddler's burgeoning taste buds and my husband's carnivorous tendencies whilst being allergy friendly is not easy. I was over the moon at the reception this pasta dish got - Harry inhaled his, M did similarly(and he didn't even suggest it could have been improved with chorizo or bacon) This is based on a recipe I've used on Brownie holiday - so for the Guiders out there, it scales up to feed large quantities easily and, topped with grated cheese is a favourite with our girls. 

Tomato, lentil and vegetable pasta
Dairy free, vegan recipe. Syn free
Serves 8

Fry light/ olive oil
2 red onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery
4 small-medium carrots
3 peppers - I only use red & yellow as a personal preference
2-3 small to medium courgettes
150g mushrooms
1 cup of frozen peas
1 cup of frozen sweetcorn
1 cup of red lentils
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 400g carton of passata
large splodge of tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Handful basil, shredded

I prep all the veggies for this in the food processor - but if you're not, then finely dice everything aside from the carrots, and grate those.
Liberally spray a pan with Fry light (or add a good glug of olive oil) and when warm add the onions and garlic and cook over a medium heat until softened
Add the celery and carrots and continue to cook for another 5 minutes of so
Add the rest of the veggies and cook down for another 5 minutes
Add the tinned tomatoes, passata and tomato puree and stir well.
Bring to a gentle simmer, and add the lentils, oregano, salt and pepper

The next two steps are purely optional - for me I do this for the Brownies, but don't bother at home - 
Cook down well for about 30 minutes or so
Take off the heat and allow to cool before blitzing with a stick blender

Add a good handful of fresh basil, before stirring into pasta

Monday, 18 January 2016

Meal Planning Monday

I don't know if it's the cold, the grey misery that January brings with it, or something else entirely, but I am completely and utterly without inspiration for this week's meal plan. After last week's fluey bug that Harry was felled by, and the sinusitis and mastitis that have affected both M and I, one would think I was ready and raring to be back on plan at Slimming World, and cooking and eating lovely warming stews, broths and casseroles. Alas, 'twas not to be. I just feel a bit bleurgh and without any kind of inclination towards cooking or eating. However, I have a husband and a toddler who won't be putting up with that for longer than the hour and a half or so it takes them to get hungry so here's this week's meal plan.

Breakfasts - last week, between one thing and another I just could not be bothered with porridge. This week, my plan is to make it the night before and just warm it up in the morning. Plan. I want to try the Oh She Glows, Three bears porridge for starters.

Lunches - I need to make a pot of soup, and have used nearly all the veggies up this week - I think a minestrone might be in order, my plan is to make it tonight (Sunday).

Suppers -

Sunday: Leftover Tomato and butternut squash pasta - I made this without bacon

Monday: Chicken, and veggies, roasted with harissa. Served with couscous

Tuesday: Freezer surprise

Wednesday: Beef and Guinness casserole

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Schnitzel and homemade Slimming World chips, with peas and sweetcorn

Saturday: Slow cooker chilli

Sunday: Leftover chilli in baked potatoes

 I've got no baking planned for this week. A week spent snuggling on the sofa with a poorly, grumpy bubba has meant that more than my allocated quota of goodies has been inhaled. Lots of fruit on the shopping list this week instead.

As always, I'm joining up with Mrs M and the other Meal planners. Be sure to pop on by and garner some inspiration for your week.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Meal planning Monday: Week 1, 2016

Happy new year! I've had a lovely break over Christmas and the New Year - we had M at home and a lovely family time, with my sister as well as both sets of parents. It's back to business as usual today with weigh in at Slimming World for me and a bundled up trip to the swings for Harry.

I think it's safe to say I fell off the Slimming World wagon over Christmas - my mother-in-law is wonderful for finding allergy friendly treats for me, and she even went to the trouble to make me dairy free brandy butter which was amazing. It would have been rude not to heavily sample everything! This does mean a 2lb gain last week and so I'm back with my Food optimising as of this morning.

Breakfasts: I've been reading Oh She glows and am going to try being a bit more inventive with my porridge from now on. This morning we had her apple pie oatmeal which was lovely, although Harry reacted to something in it and Piriton has had to be located and administered. He's had nearly all the component parts before so I'm thinking it's either the chia seeds or a bigger amount of cinnamon. Truth be told I'm not sure. The irony being of course that he adored it.

Lunches: In a shocking turn of events, I've not made any soup this week. so that will need to happen. I think I'll do a carrot, chilli and red lentil concoction. Syn free with lots of goodness in there, and the lentils will make it lovely and filling.


Monday: Tomato, veg and red lentil pasta. It's a pack holiday favourite - I make it in massive quantities and our Brownies go loopy for it (heavily doused in cheese). I just really fancied it so will knock that up while Harry's napping this afternoon.

Tuesday: Leftover pasta

Wednesday: Chilli con carne with rice and kale for me. Just rice for M

Thursday: Leftovers in a burrito for M, with rice for me

Friday: Schnitzel, Slimming world chips and veggies

Saturday: Casserole of some description. Possibly beef

Sunday: Leftovers with baked potatoes and green veggies

That's our week - we'll use the slow cooker for the chilli, and casserole to make life easier. And there should be lots of leftovers to stock up the freezer with some quick and easy suppers.

Right, bubba is up from his nap and we need to get off to this weigh in. Wish me luck and enjoy your weeks.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Meal Planning Monday

It feels a bit like Autumn sidled out the door last night - we woke up to a second morning of fog and a distinct snap in the air. Not impressed as it means no more drying washing outside this week. Mind you I don't know where I think I'd get the time as I'm going to catch myself on the way back this week.

Breakfasts - Everyone got back on the porridge wagon yesterday. So that's it now until March pretty much! I'm still grating apple into mine and Harry has sultanas in his.

Lunches - we've got enough of this soup left for today - then I've got some Pumpkin leftover from the weekend. I think I'll mix up some more parsnips, carrots, onion and sweet potato and add the leftover Pumpkin to vary what we had last week. I'll keep the spicing the same though.


Monday: I've got some chicken defrosted that needs using up so this I'm going to make a variation on this Squash and chicken one pot recipe from from BBC using quinoa (as that's what I've got in) and some extra veggies.

Tuesday: I'm going to make us all a dairy free Pasta genovese, using this recipe as a guideline. I've got some broccoli to use up and will make up the rest of the veggies with anything green that's sat still in the kitchen *makes mental note to move scourers* ;-)

Wednesday: Sadly I've run out of Heck sausages and they're not stocked anywhere near us, so it's back to Pork and Apple done as a tray roast with butternut squash, sweet potatoes and some kale.

Thursday: Gammon steaks, homemade chips and veggies

Friday: I think a casserole of some sort - a variation on my Beef and Guinness stew as that does lovely leftovers

Saturday: Leftover casserole

Sunday: Roast chicken with all the dairy free trimmings.

For some reason I'm craving a crumble, so as Aldi have plums on their Super 6, I think I'll do a plum and apple crumble this week. We've got Parkin made up, ahead of next weekend (not that we'll be at any bonfire parties, but I like to get in the cake focussed spirit), and a vegan pumpkin cake which is refusing to photograph nicely and so as yet hasn't been blogged.

What are you up to this week meal planning wise? Be sure to pop on over to At Home with Mrs M, or I'm an Organising Junkie to see what everyone else is

Monday, 26 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

I'm skating in by the skin of my teeth today - only writing our meal plan, after our weekly Aldi trip at half eight at night. This weekend was our annual Brownie holiday and my first time as QM for the Brownies. Harry and I returned home late yesterday afternoon - my two sole requests being that I didn't cook and that we didn't eat sausages, but let's not dwell on that. Today's been a bit of a slow one as I've tried to locate my get up and go... it does seem to have been left in the Brownie holiday house.

As it's half term - Harry and I are a bit up in the air, lost of our baby groups are on half-term break so we're going to be hoping for some sunny days where we can wrap up and go to the park.

Breakfasts: I've been a bit porridge-d out this last week so have bought some puffed wheat cereal to try with almond milk and chopped bananas.

Lunches: I'm going to make a root veg soup tomorrow - possibly in the slow cooker so I can have something hot.


Monday - Gammon, chips, peas and sweetcorn (a quick and easy tea for our post shop evening)

Tuesday - Butternut squash and bacon pasta

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Chilli con carne - which I'll be doing with cauliflower rice

Friday - Leftover chilli as a burrito for M, and with a baked potato for me

Saturday - Sausage hotpot

Sunday - Leftover sausage hotpot

That's our week - lots of winter warmers, easy nights with leftovers and things that can go in the slow cooker. Winners all around.

As Saturday is Halloween - we'll be making sure we're prepared with our Teal Pumpkin, and some non foodie treats for any trick or treaters with allergies. Will you be joining me? Why not have a look at some of the details of the Teal Pumpkin Project here.

Baking this week is taking a back seat after making a ridiculous amount of sugar cookies, fairy cakes, and flapjacks with the Brownies I'm all baked out!

I'm popping off over to At Home with Mrs M, and I'm an Organising Junkie to link up with their Meal Planning Mondays. Why don't you head that way too to see what everyone else is up to.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Another Monday, another meal plan. Today is a busy one - baby music, then Slimming World then an afternoon of errands, and painting.

Last week we stuck to the meal plan well - just running out of potatoes and the emergency stash of oven chips at the same time meant M doing a dash to the chip shop on Friday. However, I won our weekly raffle this morning at Slimming World so we're well stocked up on veggies now. I'd never won before, I'm dead chuffed!

Hopefully M won't be working away this week but the plan is flexible enough to accommodate his work schedule hopefully.

Breakfasts - still porridge for me this week. Sadly no figs on special in Aldi so it's just apple and plums as topping but with some cinnamon that'll be lovely.

Lunches - Harry's napping so I'm about to take advantage and make some dairy free pesto with broccoli and broad beans for me.


Monday: I made my Super slow roast brisket on Saturday - so am using the leftovers from that to make a speedy chilli con carne tonight (in Slimming World terms, speedy means stuffed full of lots of veggies) with greens and rice.

Tuesday: Leftover chilli and rice for me - in burrito wraps for M

Wednesday: Butternut squash and bacon pasta

Thursday: Leftover pasta

Friday: Gammon, homemade Slimming World friendly chips, and veggies

We've got no plans set in stone next weekend, so I was thinking about doing a roast and a casserole. Perhaps my chicken and butternut squash casserole and maybe some slow roast pork - let's see what's on offer.

Baking wise, I made Harry the Sweet potato stars last week which he loved and also hacked another Betty Crocker cake mix for a dairy and egg free Cream soda cherry cake - of which I've already given a fair amount away as we had a visit from another dairy free person - and if there's an almost universal rule, it's that dairy free people don't have enough cake in their lives.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Do you ever do that thing where you think - "That's OK, we'll eat from the freezer tonight"? I did that this morning, only aside from some sloes, frozen overripe bananas, and the ubiquitous bags of peas and sweetcorn, nada, rien, not a sausage. Oh. So aside from the fact that we'll be off to Aldi tonight, I thought I'd better get my pinny on this week and do some batch cooking.

The autumn always says batch cooking to me anyway, so as far as I'm concerned it's a win win situation. I popped a loaf of my 50:50 wholemeal in the bread maker this morning so that's under my belt already. 

Breakfasts - have wildly overdone it on the French bread in France last week I am definitely back on porridge with almond milk and some fruit.

Lunches - Soup for me - I'm going to make a batch of my Slimming World minestrone either tonight or tomorrow morning as I love it and it's just what I fancy. I'm not sure how Harry (or my carpet) will cope with soup!

Suppers -

Monday: Tonight will be super quick and easy, so probably schnitzel, oven chips and those peas and sweetcorn. A throw it all in effort!

Tuesday: Chicken and sweet potato casserole (recipe to be written up)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Tomato and butternut squash pasta (with lardons for the grown ups)

Friday: Sausages, baked potatoes and chard/ spinach from the veg patch.

We're seeing family this weekend so I'm leaving that flexible for now.

Baking wise I need to make some flapjacks as Harry's having a growth spurt and I think my milk supply is taking a little while to respond!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Butternut squash & tomato pasta: A dairy free, soya free CMPA weaning recipe

Butternut squash & tomato pasta sauce, weaning recipe, dairy free, soya free, CMPA

Butternut squash & tomato is a lovely combination for weaning, sweet and flavourful and one of Harry's favourites. I make this in batches, usually while he naps, and freeze it in portion pots for quick and easy lunches along the line.

This is also the sauce I use on his 'cheesy' polenta chips, and I also use it with chicken meatballs I make him. Harry seems to prefer his food to be a bit wet so this is a great moist-maker (to quote Ross Geller) 

I also make an adult version of this with salt, pepper, a pinch of chilli and lots of crispy bacon: Dairy free Butternut squash and bacon pasta

Butternut squash & tomato pasta sauce, weaning recipe, dairy free, soya free, CMPA

Butternut squash & tomato pasta
Dairy free, soya free - suitable for CMPA
Weaning recipe
Makes 20 baby portions

1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 red onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic diced or crushed
1/2 tsp dried thyme 
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into a 2cm or so dice
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 carton passata
1tsp tomato puree
Oatly cream
Violife cheese - I use 2 slices of the Mozzarella style, finely chopped

In a large pan, warm the oil and add the onion, garlic, butternut squash and dried thyme - cook gently over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onion starts to go translucent
Add the tin of tomatoes, pasta and tomato puree. Fill the tomato tin half full of water and add that to the pan too
Bring to a gentle simmer, pop a lid on the pan and cook for 30 minutes
Remove from the heat - and add 2 tablespoons of Oatly cream and stir through the sauce
Add the Violife cheese and stir through.

Butternut squash & tomato pasta sauce, weaning recipe, dairy free, soya free, CMPA

If you are doing purees as your weaning method, then let this cool down before blitzing. If you're doing baby led weaning then you can serve it as is.

I make up a batch of this, leave it to cool, portion it off and then freeze so it's ready to go for a quick lunch or supper. I use this from Nuby as initially one, now 2 of these is a perfect Harry sized portion.

If you find prepping butternut squash a faff - you have a couple of options. Tesco and Waitrose/ Ocado both sell it frozen. Or, have a look at this post for my super easy way to prep it. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Meal Planning Monday - normal service is resumed

It's been a few weeks since I posted a meal plan - we had our first family holiday in Dorset, and then last week was just a bit of a blur. To top it all off, yesterday I had a massive allergic reaction to a bee sting and ended up in hospital. Today I'm resting up as I still feel a bit wobbly - that said, I have two dairy and egg free cakes to make and a batch of lactation cookies to bake for a friend who's new to breastfeeding.  Sorry, what did I say about resting?

We've got a quiet week this week, so I'm hoping to get right back on the Slimming World plan - I've been doing really well with my meals, but have been snacking or picking between times and definitely using all my syns if not going over. This week, my aim is to keep my syns low and really focus on what I'm eating.

Harry is doing beautifully - he's just starting to be really mobile, walking and climbing around and up everything! We are going to be childproofing in the evenings this week.

Breakfasts - I'll be back on overnight oats, with melon and apple.

Lunches - I need to make a low syn free lunch, probably my Spring veg orzotto


Monday: Roast chicken, veggies and roast potatoes

Tuesday: Leftover roast chicken, baked potatoes, and veggies

Wednesday: Chicken and mushroom risotto

Thursday: Sausages, sweet potato wedges and sweetcorn

Friday: Pasta with a tomato and vegetable sauce

Saturday: (weather permitting) BBQ - and I'm thinking chicken kebabs with a lemony, garlicky, herby marinade

Sunday: Undecided as yet, but possibly roast chicken again

So that's us - an easy week. I feel a bit wiped out by yesterday still, so wanted to make it easy on myself. Be sure to pop on over to At Home with Mrs M and see what the other meal planners have up their sleeves.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Spring vegetable orzotto - Slimming world lighter lunches (dairy free, soya free)

Low syn Slimming World orzotto, dairy free

I've not done much in the way of Slimming World posts of late, and to be honest my weight loss is all the worse for it. So last week I bit the bullet and returned to my planningy ways, making a big batch of this to keep in the fridge. Eaten while Harry napped it made me realise just how much easier it is to stay on plan when I actually eat a lunch as opposed to grazing and picking.

My problem with Slimming World is still that all treaty, low syn things are chock full of sweeteners that prompt my migraines, or dairy, soya or eggs which are all on our allergy list. Last week I was very honest (and nearly tearful) in group about just how hard I'm finding it and was hugely grateful for the support there.

I found this recipe online, but had to change it up to first off make it dairy free, and secondly to give it a bit more flavour - I've made it twice since the adaptation and am happy with it. According to the app, it works out as 1 syn per 4 portions.

Low syn Slimming World orzotto, dairy free

You could use any combination of green veggies - I've used mange tout, brocolli, asparagus, broad beans, spinach and anything else we've had to hand. It's a great fridge bottom dish to use up those odds and ends languishing in the vegetable drawer.

Low syn Slimming World orzotto, dairy free

Spring vegetable orzotto - dairy free, egg free, soya free (adapted from the Slimming World website)
Serves 4

Fry light
300g orzo
100g spinach, leaves picked
1 head brocolli, chopped
100g frozen peas
300 ml vegetable stock
500g broad beans
Big handful asparagus/ french beans
1 Red onion, finely chopped
2 tins anchovies in olive oil (entirely optional, I know some people abhor them)
2 chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper

Cook the orzo in a ban of boiling, salted water. Once cooked (about 9 minutes) drain and set aside
At the same time, cook the spinach, brocolli, peas - and if you're using asparagus, the bottom of the stems in 300ml of veg stock (I use Marigold bouillon) for 5 minutes
Allow to cool - don't drain. Once cool pour the lot into a food processor or blender and whizz up. Put this to one side
Drain both tins of anchovies of oil, and chop the anchovies finely - put one tins worth to one side.
Spray a big frying pan liberally with fry light and over a medium heat soften the onion, garlic, chilli and one tin of chopped anchovies for about 10 minutes
Add the orzo to the pan, and then pour in the blended vegetable puree and stir to warm everything through
Stir in the second tin of anchovies, add pepper. Taste, and add salt if necessary - oddly I find it does need salt in addition.

I have this as is, eaten off my knees while Harry naps. It's also lovely at room temperature as a pasta salad, and if you're having it cold it goes really nicely with chopped tomatoes.

I'm linking this up with Pasta Please - hosted this month by Slice Off Me and Tinned Tomatoes  

Have you made anything from the Slimming World website? What are your favourites?

Monday, 8 June 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Harry turned one on Friday - no I have no idea how that happened either. We had a lovely party yesterday, with family, friends and a Hartbeeps session for the little ones which was amazing. We all enjoyed a dairy free feast, and this week's meal plan will largely be featuring the leftovers from that. Well aside from the bread, I ended up giving most of that away!

Breakfasts: I'm sticking with fruit or overnight oats at the moment. It's not thrilling, ,but I know Harry doesn't react to them and as he's reacted recently to egg through my milk and strawberries I'm erring on the side of caution.

Lunches: The warm weather means salad and leftover ham or roast chicken for me. Harry is having chicken or ham and slices of pepper, chopped up cherry tomatoes or cucumber sticks. Also houmous. All the houmous.


Monday - Leftover roast chicken with salad and baked potatoes

Tuesday - I'm doing Outdoor cooking with the Guides, but will leave M some stir fried chicken with mushrooms, brocolli and rice.

Wednesday - Ham (leftover from a ham in coca cola) and salad - possibly with sweet potato wedges

Thursday - Chilli crab linguine with salad

Friday - Salad and something fishy *vague*

Saturday - I think I might do a slow roast shoulder of lamb, portion it up and freeze it. Then I can have it with salad.

Sunday - leftover roast lamb

That's this week. M will be enjoying the culinary delights of a campsite at Le Mans - burgers and sausages will feature heavily I'm sure.

As always, don't forget to pop on over to At home with Mrs M to see what everyone else's menu looks like

Friday, 5 June 2015

Easy peasy (almost) cheesey pasta - dairy free baby led weaning supper

Easy peasy almost cheesey pasta - dairy free simple baby led weaning suppers

One of the advantages of baby led weaning is that by and large Harry eats what we do. Today that included salmon with this couscous salad. However, sometimes I've either entirely lost inspiration or we're going to be eating something unsuitable. There's actually very little we eat that's wholly unsuitable but sometimes a spicy chilli, curry or something nutty might be on the menu and on those occaisions I do need a quick go-to for Harry.

For these reasons I have a  drawer of the freezer stocked up with portions of chicken couscous, tomato and butternut squash pasta sauce, and my dairy free brocolli pesto. However, even they require defrosting and yesterday I completely failed to get anything out. I know. Mum of the year right here!

From somewhere in my head popped the phrase - Easy, peasy cheesey pasta - a tribute to Bing bunny if ever I heard one. We love Bing bunny in this house. Me possibly as much as Harry. Easy peasy cheesey pasta was a lunch recipe that Bing and Sula helped Ama prepare in one episode, and it struck me as perfect for a quick and easy supper for my little bunny too. That said, naturally we needed to make sure our cheese was dairy and soya free.

Easy peasy (almost) cheesey pasta

Pasta shapes - we use letters and I stop M from spelling out rude words
1 tsp Olive oil
1.5 slices of mozzarella style Violife cheese
Quarter cup of frozen peas
Quarter cup of frozen sweetcorn

*I totally meant to add some finely diced carrot, and compeltely forgot! I've since made it again and included the necessary carrots - Bing would be proud!

Cook the pasta in a panful of boiling water. Our pasta takes 4-6 minutes to cook which is as long as the rest of this takes to assemble
2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the frozen peas and sweetcorn to the pasta pan
Drain the veg and pasta in a colander and return to the pan on the hob, but turn the burner off
Slice in the cheese and add the olive oil - stir until the Violife starts to go melty
Allow to cool a little, then serve. I pop this straight on Harry's highchair tray, but if you do spoon feeding then this would work beautifully

Peas and sweetcorn are great for helping your baby to develop their 'pincer grip' but as with all baby led weaning meals, be prepared for a mess!

Easy, peasy (almost) cheesey pasta - it's a Pantry thing

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Butternut Squash & Bacon pasta - dairy free, syn free


Butternut squash and bacon pasta is a current favourite pasta sauce - dairy free, and low syn or even syn free. I often have it on brocolli instead of pasta if I'm feeling in need of a lighter supper, or on pasta it's great comfort food. I vary it for Harry too, and will pop that down below.

First off butternut squash is an evil vegetable - I used to but the prepared, frozen one from Tesco or Waitrose, but now we shop at Aldi I've found a way to prepare it avoiding the dreaded chopping and peeling.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees 
Cut your squash in half, and put it cut side down on a baking sheet
Roast in the oven for 45 minutes
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes
The skin should peel straight off - with very little effort on your part

If you're worried about the squash sticking to your baking sheet then I use non-stick Bacofoil and a little Fry light on the cut side of the squash

Butternut Squash and Bacon pasta - serves 4

1 Butternut squash (about 500g) prepped as above
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g smoked bacon lardons or 200g lean bacon - grilled until slightly crispy
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 carton (500g) passata
Large splodge tomato puree
1 tsp dried thyme (1 tablespoon of fresh)
Spray Fry light or olive oil

Spray your pan with Fry light, and cook the onion, garlic, and thyme for 5 minutes until slightly softened
Add the tomatoes, passata and tomato puree and bring to a gentle boil
Stir in the butternut squash and bacon
Cook down for 15 minutes or until a thick, pulpy sauce
Taste and season with pepper - I don't add salt as the bacon is salty

 Serve either with pasta, or a bowlful of steamed brocolli

Slimming world maths - if you're using lean back bacon it's syn free. This does 4 generous portions - which works out at 4 syns per portion. 

If I'm making this for Harry, I use olive oil, omit the bacon and add Violife cheese and Oatly cream. The butternut squash is soft enough cooked this way for it to be easy for him to eat.

I'm entering this into Pasta please, which is Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes challenge, being hosted by Jen's Food this month

Monday, 11 May 2015

Meal Planning Monday

We've planted up the veg patch this weekend - so although I'm expecting not to be able to move tomorrow we have veggies for the summer. And potatoes! All of which is very exciting, I just need to remember to water them now.

This week is as busy as ever - Guides, Brownies and an overnight camp at the weekend for me - M's getting ready for Les Mans next month and we're both battling against the sea of stuff that comes with the baby.

Breakfasts - I'm back on overnight oats for the most part, with the occaisional scrambled egg and mushrooms.

Lunches - This week I'm having syn free minestrone soup - Harry has it with most of the liquid drained out.

Suppers -

Monday: Leftover roast chicken, baked potatoes, carrots, broccoli and stuffing

Tuesday: I'm on a chip walk with the Guides - M is having pizza

Wednesday: Bacon and butternut squash pasta

Thursday: Chicken, broccoli and mushroom stir fry with rice

Friday: Cottage pie

Baking this week was dairy free almond macaroons - recipe up later this week.

As always, don't forget to pop on over to At home with Mrs M to see what the other planners are up to. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Meal Planning Monday - an easy week

I've had a few weeks off meal planning on the blog, it feels like 10 months of sleep deprication caught up with me and I metaphorically hit a wall. I felt like I could have slept for a 100 years, and was walking through treacle just trying to keep going. Last week, something shifted and that fog started to lift. I'm sure the weather helped. Anyway - back to meal planning. Some things don't change - money is still tight, and we're shopping carefully, making use of special offers.

Breakfasts - I'm having overnight oats, and piles of fruit. Harry has porridge, toast and a banana. Seriously, that baby can eat for England at breakfastime.

Lunches - Last week we had Syn free tabbouleh with salmon - Harry had his mixed up with a little olive oil, houmous or warm tomato puree to help it stick together.  The weather isn't quite what it was, so I'm going to make minestrone this week...

Suppers -

Monday: Mum very kindly gave us a bowl of beef casserole for supper last night. I had it with brocolli, M with pasta.

Tuesday: Leftover bacon and butternut squash pasta, the recipe for this is going up on the blog this week as it's awesome.

Wednesday: Schnitzel, homemade Slimming World friendly chips and veggies

Thursday: Roast chicken, roast potatoes and veggies

Friday: Leftover chicken, baked potatoes and veggies

Saturday: Stir fried chicken, brocooli and mushrooms with rice for M and more veggies for me.

Sunday: A fresh batch of Butternut squash and bacon pasta

So that's it, another week, planned late but planned nonetheless. Be sure to pop on over to At home with Mrs M and see what the other planners are up to.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Meal Planning Monday - a person can develop a bad, bad cold...

This weeks learning about being a parent - baby groups = lots of germs. Germs = a poorly baby. Poorly baby that sneezes in your face = a poorly mummy and daddy. So from the 'unclean' house here's our, very gently, hopefully healing meal plan for the week. One where the baby will eat best!

We're on week 2 of our switch to Aldi, and it's still going well. The only dud product thus far is the own brand weetabix which apparently tastes like cardboard. The (much contended on facebook) meat is all really good quality, and the fruit and veg are lovely. All good thus far.

Harry's doing really well in terms of his weight and we've added in a proper supper. I knew he was poorly this week when he was off his food and then wanted to be spoon fed. He's never let me feed him porridge, and the poor love just couldn't cope with doing it himself. Hugs all around.

Breakfasts - as always are porridge and fruit for me. I'm going to do a post on Harry's breakfasts as the mix of pancakes, mini omlettes, and porridge fingers seems to be a sure fire hit.

Lunches - I've made a yummy batch of syn free minestrone soup for my lunches which I'm really looking forward to feeling well enough to eat. Harry has the usual fishcakes, veggies, and some leftover chicken casserole.


Monday - I've got a little turkey breast to roast (ostensibly so that Harry can have some pieces of meat with his lunches) and we'll probably have that with some plain baked potatoes and lots of veggies to up our vitamin C to fight of these lurgies.

Tuesday - leftover turkey, pretty much the same again. The nice thing about these dinners is we eat with Harry (depending on M being home) as this way he's eating the same as us. The grin on his face if you're eating what he is, is one of the simple ways that Baby led weaning is a winner for me.

Wednesay - oddly I stocked up the freezer with some butternut squash pasta for Harry (it's always really useful to have some emergency meals for when dinner for us needs to be later) and I think I'm going to remake it for us, with (at the suggestion of Dawn and Mandy on the facebook page) some lardons added for the benefit of the resident carnivore.

Thursday - hopefully leftovers

Friday - Veggie lasagne was supposed to be made this weekend, using a butternut squash puree to replace the cheese sauce, so I think we'll give that a go then. Hopefully there'll be freezable (it's a word) leftovers

Saturday - Gammon steaks, roasties and veg (I'm also having that pineapple)

Sunday - Tomato pasta I think - maybe there'll be some lardons left

That's our week, what are your choices when you're all under the weather? And do you have to placate a resident carnivore in your meal plans too? All suggestions welcomed.

As always, don't forget to pop on over to At Home with Mrs M to see what everyone else is up to. I'm off to mainline some vitamin C and feel sorry for myself over Call the Midwife.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Meal Planning Monday: A thrifty Advent

Hello there, we've had a few weeks hiatus on the meal planning front. Since we went dairy free to help Harry's reflux, I've stuck to the same few recipes as I realised quite quickly just how much I relied on dairy products in my cooking. Whilst I wouldn't change how I'm eating for all the world as Harry's just so much better, I've kind of lost much in the way of impetus for cooking.

This week the run up to Christmas has hit home - we've scaled back our Christmas plans this year as I'm on Mat leave still, but even so we're still watching the pennies. This has meant that once again, we're having a week of freezer surprises. Albeit planned freezer surprises.

Harry's now having two meals a day - his breakfast tends to be a little bit of porridge or toast, with some fruit. and his lunch is either steamed veggies, fruit, or most excitingly... plaice fish cakes.

Breakfasts - I'm having porridge with oat milk which is surprisingly neutral in taste.

Lunches - tend to be whatever's hanging around. Eggs feature quite heavily.

Suppers -

Monday: Baked potatoes with leftover ham in coca-cola, cheese, bacon, beans (fridge surprise basically)

Tuesday: Chicken and mushroom risotto (freezer)

Wednesday: Cottage pie/ lasagne (freezer)

Thursday: Parsnip and pancetta pasta

Friday: There are two unlabelled tupperwares of red mystery leftovers in the freezer. I'm tempted but not sure how brave I actually am.

Saturday: I've got a portion of brisket frozen to slow cook, and I think I'll put that on when we get back from swimming to have as a roast dinner that evening

Sunday: Leftover brisket with baked potatoes

That's our week - a thrifty run up to Christmas in a bid to spend a very little money and also make some space in the freezer for my much loved and looked forward to turkey soup!


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