Scallop, asparagus and tomato pasta…

IMG_3640Until a few days ago, I had only had scallops in Coquilles St. Jacques, from Marks and Spencers… we had them last valentines day, and really enjoyed them but having heard horror stories about how difficult it is to get scallops right we didn’t attempt to recreate the dish at home. fast forward a few months, and I was in Tesco and noticed that they had fresh scallops that weren’t too expensive. They then sat in my freezer for a little longer as I wondered what to do with them until I watched an episode of the pioneer woman cooks and noticed she paired them with tomato pasta. This recipe, is a pretty simple tomato sauce jazzed up with the mushrooms, asparagus and scallops. If (like in my house) someone doesn’t eat mushrooms, cook them in a seperate pan to the sauce in a little butter. These scallops are Lillee approved so this dish is looking to become a new family favourite in our house!

  • 1 pack of fresh scallops (about 300g)
  • asparagus (3-4 spears per person)
  • carton of passata
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • pinch of sugar
  • olive oil
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 300g pasta
  • 1tsp mixed herbs

Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, soften the onions in a large pan with a little oil. When translucent, add the garlic, herbs and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes and stir in the passata, Worchestershire sauce and sugar. Leave to simmer on a low heat. Heat a griddle pan or frying pan, and add the asparagus. Cook until lightly browned on one side before turning over and browning the other side. it should take 5-10 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain and stir into the tomato sauce. Heat a frying pan with a small amount of oil. When hot, add the scallops cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to brown. Turn over and cook for another minute. Serve on top of the pasta with the asparagus.

Serves 4.

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Spicy tomato and butternut squash soup…

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After an unseasonably warm October, November is here and it is freezing! We’re all full of cold and in need of something to warm us up. Obviously, this means it’s a perfect time for soup! I love soup. I’m pretty sure I could live off soup… However, if you want something a little different, this recipe also makes a fantastic pasta sauce…

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Serves 6

•1 butternut squash
•6 tomatoes
•2 peppers
•2 carrots
•1 large onion
•1 courgette
•6 mushrooms
•2 sticks of celery
•garlic
•2 chillies

Roughly chop all the veg, and roast at 180*C for approximately an hour or until soft.
Remove the skin from the squash, an blend all the vegetables with hot water, until it is as thick/thin as you want it.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact ingredients, pretty much any combination of the vegetables listed will work and if I don’t something I leave it out! The squash can be replaced with pumpkin, and the chillies with chilli powder. Also, to make a more tomatoey soup either add more tomatoes or a tin of chopped tomatoes.

This soup is so easy and good for you! Let me know what you think…

Emma-Jayne xx

Stuffed Marrow…

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I was in tesco, and there were some marrows reduced to about 40p. I’ve never had marrow before, never mind cooked with it, but I figured that price it wouldn’t hurt to try especially as we like courgette. Isn’t marrow pretty much just a big courgette?

So anyway, I googled it. Read a few recipes, then came up with my own. Essentially it’s marrow stuffed with bolognese and covered with cheese.. But it was pretty tasty!

Although Lillee didn’t like the marrow she ate the pasta and sauce telling me she doesn’t like hot cucumber..

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it!

•250g small pasta shapes
•400g chopped tomatoes
•Worcestershire sauce approx 1tbsp
•1tsp mixed herbs
•2 tbsp tomato purée
•1 onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 bay leaf
•300g minced beef
•200g grated cheese
•1 marrow sliced into inch thick pieces, middle removed and chopped.
•1 large carrot, diced
•2 beef stock cubes
•100ml red wine(optional)

Pre-heat the oven too 200*C (180*C fan) Place the slices of marrow into a baking dish in a single layer. I actually used too so I could freeze one. In one pan, cook the pasta following packet instructions and drain when tender. In a seperate pan, sauté the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs until softens and the onion is translucent. Stir in the mince and continue to cook until browned. Stir in the tomato purée, stock cubes and Worcestershire sauce. Cooke for a few minutes then add the wine. Allow to reduce down before stirring in the tomatoes and the centre of the marrow. Simmer for as long as possible on a low heat to infuse the flavours. When ready, stir in the cooked pasta and spoon into the marrow. Put any extra on or around the marrow pieces. Cover with foil and place into the oven for half an hour. After half an hour, remove to foil and top with the cheese. Return to the oven for approximately 20 minutes until the marrow is soft, and the cheese is melted and golden.

Serve one slice per portion (approx 6-8 depending on the size of the marrow)

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Chicken hotpot…

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This is a variation on the hairy dieters chicken and ham tangle pie, but using the potatoes instead of pastry makes a nice change!

•500g cooked chicken
•2 cloves crushed garlic
•pot of creme fraiche
•2 leeks, slices
•sliced mushrooms
•teaspoon of mustard
•150ml chicken stock
•3 medium potatoes thinly sliced

Soften the leeks and garlic in a little oil, then add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Stir In the stock, creme fraiche, mustard and season to taste. Put in a large ovenproof dish, and too with a layer of sliced potatoes. Bake at 180*c until the top is browned.

Serves 4.

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Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Making a doll…

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At Christmas, Lillee had a kit to make a doll! So we spent an afternoon putting her together. Lillee helped to hold the pieces, push the (plastic) needle through the felt and to stuff her doll at the end. She loved it, and named her new friend Ada. And since then she’s been taken everywhere along with Roo. Definitely a new favourite. In fact, she loved doing in so much we’ve got her another kit ready for her birthday in a few weeks.
As Lillee was there when I brought it, she’s already told me her name is going to be Emily, and Ada is exited to have a new friend!
I’m still not sure how she came up with Ada and Emily as dolls names due to the fact she doesn’t know anyone with either name. We think it may have started out with Aimie and Emma (my sister and I) but we don’t know for sure. But apparently I had a relative named Ada so who knows? Maybe she heard it somewhere!

Emma-Jayne xx

Marmalade Ham and Soup…

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I tried something new today, I cooked a ham joint for the first time! It was really easy, and really tasty.

You need…
•ham/gammon joint
•marmalade

•carrots
•onions/leeks
•celery
•mushrooms
•potato
•stock
•red split lentils

Put the ham in a large pot and bring to the boil. Drain off the water, then cover with fresh water before simmering for approximately 30 minutes per 500g but no longer than 2.5 hours. Remove the ham from the liquid, reserving the liquid for after. Remove any fat from the ham and generously smear on the marmalade place in a pre-heated oven (180c) and roast until golden. It took mine around 45 minutes.

For the soup, chop all the vegetables and place into the cooking liquid with the lentils. Add any extra water/stock to ensure they are covered. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft the remove from the heat and blend.

Hope you enjoy it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Creamy Vegetable Pasta…

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In our house, pasta always goes down well. This dish is pretty simple and great for using odds and ends in the fridge, I’ve used everything from broccoli and sprouts to sweetcorn! It’s also really good for using up any leftover meat or fish. We usually have it with pork or chicken stirred through but its just as nice on its own, with salmon or any thing else you fancy!

You will need:
.500g of pasta
.1 onion finely chopped
.2 leeks sliced
.4 carrots diced
.1 courgette diced
.2 sticks of celery sliced
.10 mushrooms sliced
.a tin of sweetcorn drained
.250g frozen peas
.1 tbsp olive oil
.2 tbsp plain flour
.1/2 pint skimmed milk
.2 chicken/vegetable stock cubes
.seasoning
.2 cloves of garlic

Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook untill the onion is translucent then add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes then stir in the flour. Cook for another 2 minutes then slowly add the milk stirring constantly until thickened. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, while the sauce simmers stirring it occasionally to stop it sticking. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Season to taste.

Serves 6-8

Emma-Jayne xx

 

Wedding Planning…

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So, Tonight I have a night of wedding planning all ready for me to do! I’ve got a selection of magazines, a glue stick and some scissors and I’m all ready to get stuck into making some mood boards in my wedding notebook…

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Emma-Jayne xx

Roast Pork and Crackling…

So, this weekend I made a proper sunday dinner. Roast pork, crackling, veggies, sweet potato mash and gravy. It was really tasty so I thought I’d share my recipe for pork and crackling with you!

•olive oil
•salt
•leg or shoulder pork joint

Pre-heat the oven too 200 degrees celsius, then place the pork joint into a large roasting dish skin side up. Spray/drizzle over a little oil then sprinkle on plenty if salt. I promise the meat won’t be salty but you will need it to make the crackling crispy. Massage the oil and salt into the top and roast in the oven.

30 minutes per 500g plus an additional 30 minutes.

Don’t forget to rest your meat! I usually take the meat out and cover it with foil, then put my potatoes and veggies on the cook so its nice and tender.

The crackling can be hard so please be careful with your teeth!

Hope you enjoy!

Emma-Jayne xx

 

Owls in the Kitchen…

A few months ago I was reading a magazine and saw something on wall decals. Looking more closely, I thought I could do that and it’d be perfect for my kitchen with some hooks in for my tea towels and oven gloves! So I grabbed a pencil and some acrylic paint and got to work…

It was really easy, just a little time consuming to put together. First, I sketched out the design onto the wall in pencil. I pretty much just copied the one in the magazine but you can do whatever you want! Then I filled in the design with different colours of acrylic paint. You could use leftover emulsion for the walls but I didn’t have any so I just used what was in the house. Then when it was all coloured and completly dry, I went around the edges with a black permenant marker although you could use paint. Finally we drilled holes into the wall, added wall plugs and screwed in the hooks. And its done!

I love how it brightens up my kitchen!

Emma-Jayne xx