Tag Archives: cherry tomatoes

Mini pizzas

I haven’t blogged for a while and was keen to get one out there before the year end!  So this one is a recipe/recipes that I have used a lot over recent months.  Partly because they are so quick, partly because they are relatively healthy, as you control the ingredients, and mainly because I have never been disappointed whatever combination of ingredients I have decided upon!

The main ingredient in this dish is the Buitoni mini pizza bases.  You get 8 in a pack so good for 4 people (2 pizzas each) or a good party size if you halve them after cooking.

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From there I’ve used a base topping of either creme fraiche or tinned tomatoes.  The creme fraiche topping was inspired by a trip to France earlier in the year and I have to say it is my favourite.

I usually spread some herbs on the main sauce (basil, oregano, pesto, parsley, etc).  Well some combination of these, not all!

Then on top of that I’ve added chicken or chorizo as my meat of choice (I always pre-cook the chicken to be on the safe side).  And then some vegetables from mushrooms, onions, peppers, courgette (which I usually pre-cook if I’m doing it with chicken although it’s not really necessary).

From then I might add cherry tomatoes before the cheese (I usually choose between feta or cheddar or parmesan).

I bake them in the oven for 10 mins on 220 and enjoy a great dish afterwards.  Recently we made them with our niece so they are child friendly and can be quite a good interactive cooking dish with kids.  Also I made a few for our house warming so great party food also.  I’ve tested them on various guests that came to visit and no disappointment yet even amongst foodies.  Alternatively I have a couple with salad for my dinner.  They are an easy thing to make quickly from whatever you have in the fridge so definitely my recommendation from 2014, even if they are not the most advanced dish!  Sometimes the most simple are the best 🙂

Here you have a picture of one of my favourites:

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Happy New Year to anyone reading!!!

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, French, Healthy, Italian, Pizza

Cava sabayon with strawberries and cherry tomatoes (Sabayon de Cava avec fraises et tomates cerises) – Sunday lunch with friends!

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I had a lunch at my place on the weekend for some special dinner guests so needed to put some effort in to make a full 3 course lunch 🙂  They are special dinner guests because when I’ve been to their place, I’ve definitely had some of the nicest meals ever so now was not the time to be cutting corners!

I decided to cook a couple of recipes which had already been on the blog as well as a new one for dessert which I will feature here; strawberries and cherry tomatoes in a sabayon sauce.  I took this approach because 3 courses is not something I do that often so to do a couple of familiar recipes, while mastering one new one seemed like a good balance where I wouldn’t get too stressed!

For the starter I did chicken nuggets which was my last post 🙂  There were 5 of us for lunch and I wanted a relatively simple starter and also so that people were not too full before the main of risotto.  The idea was that the lunch would get posher as we went through the courses!  The chicken nuggets seemed popular anyway so a good choice to kick off the lunch 🙂

Risotto is one of my old favourites and I hadn’t made it for these friends yet so a good opportunity to cook it again as the main 🙂  Also I was able to focus my energy on the dessert.  Actually in the end, the dessert was pretty simple so I would say the risotto won in terms of the most time consuming part but all in all a good mix between the dishes!

The dessert recipe comes from one of my current favourite books; Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo.  Again it looked quite light so wouldn’t be too much after the risotto.  It was pretty simple to make overall.  I think I whisked it for longer than the 10 minutes it suggested but apart from that it was quite straightforward.

The highlight of this recipe was being able to try an egg yolk separating trick with a plastic bottle that I’d seen on an internet article!  So I cracked an egg into a bowl (gently so the yolk didn’t break) and then squeezed the bottle directly above the yolk to suck it up, before depositing the yolk in a separate bowl.

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It’s probably easier if you watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAp8pEaWB1Y

I did this to get 6 egg yolks and then added 3 tablespoons of sugar.  I whisked this over a bain marie a little before adding 150 ml of cava (the recipe quotes champagne but living in Catalunya, I had to choose cava above champagne!).  Then I carried on whisking for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture thickened and was a little foamy (the tip is if you can draw a figure of eight shape in the sauce and it stays then the sauce is ready).  I chilled the sabayon sauce in the fridge until it was dessert time and I think you can do this for upto a couple of hours (one other tip; I do think the sabayon sauce evaporated a little while chilling so I didn’t have as much as I expected!).

When it was time for dessert, I put 3-4 tablespoons of the sabayon sauce into bowls and added a few quarters of strawberries and deseeded cherry tomatoes.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the finished product so I’m posting it from the book instead!

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It was definitely a nice end to this meal, with a good combination of plates.  It’s true that cherry tomatoes go very well with strawberries (apparently, scientifically speaking, strawberries and tomatoes have the same flavour components) which was a nice discovery and the sweetness of the sabayon sauce goes very well with these fruits.

Other learnings from this post are that I don’t appear to be able to spell the word dessert (just had to go through and correct many references to sand!) and also that I think my food pictures have improved when looking at my old risotto post from over a year ago 🙂  I also got a new iPhone…I guess it helped 😛

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Filed under Cherry tomatoes, Desserts, Food, Food blogging, French, Pudding, Recipes, Strawberries, Uncategorized

Tagliatelle con gamberi (Tagliatelle with prawns and a creamy sauce)

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My second post in two days!  You can tell the holidays are here and I’m getting to do more of my favourite things 🙂  Today I choose another recipe from my Gino D’Acampo pasta recipe book that I got for my birthday.  This time I bought the pasta 😦  But fresh pasta at least!  With two blogs in two days, making pasta as well would have been a big investment of time when I’m supposed to be packing ready for our Christmas UK trip!

So I choose a prawn based dish as I bought close to 40 prawns yesterday!  The remainder are safely put away in the freezer which will be handy as I’ve a feeling I will be repeating this dish regularly 🙂  I’m really trying to believe Gino when he says pasta is a healthy dish and therefore I don’t have to feel guilty at eating it so often!

I used 8 prawns to make enough for two people.  I shelled them, leaving the tails on and put to one side.  I chopped one shallot, 8 cherry tomatoes, about 50g of walnuts and a handful of parsley.

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I melted 20g of butter with 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan and gently fried the shallot with the walnuts for about 2 mins.  Then I added the prawns and the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cooked on a higher heat for about 30 seconds.  I also put the pasta on according to the packet instructions (mine was fresh tagliatelle so 4 mins).

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At this point the recipe says to add brandy which I don’t keep in my kitchen.  I just don’t use enough of it to warrant buying a whole bottle and I would never have it as a drink!  So instead, I used a teaspoon of white wine vinegar which seemed to work fine!  Once I added this, I cooked it for a further minute before adding 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and about 150ml of double cream.  Then I heated it for a further 2 mins.

The final step was to add the chopped parsley and then add the pasta and mix everything well together for approximately 30 seconds to let the flavours blend well.

Again, a simple recipe but a really good combination of flavours between the prawns, walnuts and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes.  I’m really enjoying this recipe book!

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Filed under Fish, Food, Food blogging, Herbs, Italian, Recipes, Uncategorized