Recipe: Parmesan and asparagus frittata

Today I’m cooking a perfect light, summer dish. I love a frittata – so easy to make and often with whatever I have in the house, avoiding any waste. It can all be thrown into one pan to produce a taste sensation.

I was inspired by the fantastic Italian cheeses I received from Vorrei so decided to use their aged mountain Parmesan to make this dish.

Vorrei sells a range of fabulous Italian cheeses sourced from small producers across Italy. They also sell pretty much all things Italian, from chocolates, rice, pasta and pasta sauces to different oils and balsamic vinegar. You can find out more about their delightful selection of carefully selected products at vorrei.co.uk

The fabulous selection of Italian cheeses from Vorrei

The fabulous selection of Italian cheeses from Vorrei

PARMESAN, ASPARAGUS AND HAM FRITTATA

Serves 4

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Straight out of then oven and all ready for slicing

12 thin asparagus spears

A knob of butter

6 eggs

A splash of milk

6 tbsps grated Parmesan

120g shredded ham hock or chopped ham

Salt and pepper, to season

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

Melt the butter in the frying pan and fry the asparagus for about 10 mins until softened and browned.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the onion until softened.

Pour in the egg mixture and layer the asparagus evenly throughout.

Cook on medium heat until the bottom is well set (about 15 mins), keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn and turning down the temperature if it seems to be cooking too fiercely.

Place the pan under a medium grill for about 10 mins until the top is set and slightly browned.

Serve with a fresh green salad for a delightful, light summer dinner.

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The beautiful asparagus bubbles away in the butter

MY TOP TIPS

To prepare the asparagus, grip it firmly and bend. The end should easily break off, leaving the section of the spear you can cook.

I like to use the thinner spears as they are easy to bite into when they’re in the frittata.

Experiment with different vegetables. Peppers, peas, broad beans, spring onions all work well.

If you’re vegetarian, just leave out the ham, it still tastes fabulous.

I like to fry the asparagus rather than boil it as it adds a lovely buttery flavour to the mix.

If you’re feeling indulgent, add a few tablespoons of cream to the egg mix.

Frittata is also delicious cold and it’s very portable. Simply wrap up a generous slice for a packed lunch.

Recipe: Prawn, pasta and pineapple salad

I hate throwing food away, my leftovers always go back into the fridge. All very good except for the fact that a lot of the time they end up in the bin a few days later. Not anymore…it’s time for me to get creative and think of ways to use those leftovers in delicious dishes. I’m pretty impressed with my first effort.

When we have pasta I always seem to cook too much, hate the idea of there being not enough, I guess, so I had a generous portion of cooked penne in the fridge. I’m in Cape Town at the moment and the weather was sweltering, so I came up with this lovely salad recipe.

The secret with the seafood-style sauce is to make it using twice as much mayo as ketchup. Although, of course, if you prefer different predominant flavours it’s easy to experiment until you’ve got your ideal ratio.

Serves 2

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A tasty salad for a hot summer’s night

For the sauce (per portion – so double for this recipe for two)

4 tbsps mayonnaise

2 tbsps ketchup

A squeeze of lemon juice

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

For the salad

150g cold cooked penne

250g medium sized prawns, cooked and peeled

3 slices of pineapple, peeled and cut into small pieces

1 handful of chopped fresh mint leaves

Half a small iceberg lettuce, chopped

1 tomato, quartered

6 slices of cucumber

Mix all the ingredients together for the sauce.

Add the prawns, pasta, pineapple and mint and mix together thoroughly

Serve in a bowl with the lettuce on one side and the prawn salad on the other, tomato and cucumber arranged around.

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The pasta salad all mixed and ready to serve

Do you have favourite recipes using leftovers? Get in touch and let me know, I’m always looking for new dishes to try.

Chorizo and chickpeas, the perfect combination

Recipes don’t get easier than this. The dish literally takes less than 10 minutes to make from start to finish.

I love the colours of the classic Spanish ingredients, too. In Spain you buy chickpeas (garbanzas) in jars and they seem plumper, tastier and juicer than the tinned variety. Oh and how I love the giant lemons!

Take three ingredients

This is all you need

Serves 2

6 slices of chorizo, halved

Half a small bottle of chickpeas

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

Fry the chorizo on a fairly high temperature in the olive oil for a few minutes until the oil’s turned red and the chorizo is sizzling.

Add the chickpeas and squeeze over the lemon juice.

Fry for another few minutes to heat the chickpeas through and serve immediately.

Take three ingredients for a deliciously simple dish

Take three ingredients for a deliciously simple dish

Chicken, litchi and cucumber salad

Another fantastically easy salad. I had roast chicken left in the fridge from the weekend so came up with a combination of light, summery ingredients that I could match with them. A delicious combo.

Thai-style chicken salad on my new personally designed plate

Thai-style chicken salad on my new personally designed plate

10 litchis, peeled, destoned and halved

1 small cucumber, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

1 packet of microleaves, pea sprouts or watercress

Leftover roast chicken, shredded

A large handful of cashew nuts, dry fried until browned

For the dressing

3 tsp lime juice

1 tsp sesame oil

120ml coconut milk

1 tsp sugar

1 stick lemongrass, cut into quarters

1 dried chilli, crumbled

To make the dressing pour all the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and leave to cool. It’s good if it sits for at least an hour to let all the flavours

To make the salad simply layer your leaves, cucumber and litchis and top with your shredded chicken.

Pour over the dressing, making sure to drain the lemon grass pieces out.

Sprinkle the chopped, fried cashew nuts over the top and serve.

I painted my plate on a visit to the Clay Cafe in Hout Bay. You choose from an array of unfired crockery like bowls, cups, plates and vases, pick from a wide selection of colourful paints and create your own masterpiece. It’s so peaceful and a wonderful place  to spend a morning, totally therapeutic and addictive…I could have stayed all day. They serve great coffees, too and there’s a playground if the kids get bored with painting before the adults do (believe me, it’s highly likely!). Find out more at www.claycafe.co.za

I love my new plate!

I love my new plate!

Cooking with leftovers: bubble and squeak

One of our favourite dinners is a traditional Sunday roast. As soon as summer disappears (sometimes even in the middle of summer), it’s the perfect excuse to cook a roast. A chicken or joint of beef, pork or lamb (we alternate), plenty of crispy roast spuds, mashed swede with plenty of pepper and a generous helping of steamed cabbage. Yum!

When you’re cooking a roast for two there’s bound to be leftovers. Even if I buy the smallest cut of meat available we can’t eat it all in one go. And then there’s the cabbage (we love cabbage). Plus I usually end up making too many roast potatoes (out of pure greed). And I really hate throwing food away. In the UK we throw away about 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year – each of us throws away an average of 120kg of food a year And if you think that’s bad every American throws away about 400lb of food a year which is the weight of an average male gorilla! That’s big.

So we should all make an effort to work the leftovers which, frankly, is quite easy with leftover roasts!

This is Terry’s latest form of bubble and squeak, though it does change depending on what’s around.

Serves 2

Chop and fry 1 small onion in a little sunflower oil.

Chop up and slightly crush 3 leftover roast potatoes and fry in a little butter until they start to brown. Tip the onion into the potatoes. Fry together for about 10 mins more until everything becomes a little crispy.

Potatoes and onions frying, smells mouthwatering

At this stage you can add any other leftover cooked vegetables you have in the fridge – today we had peas and sweetcorn.

Add your vegetables

You can stir the cabbage into the potato mix, but tonight we decided to steam it and serve separately. Once that is done, simply dish up and add thin slices of whatever roast meat you have left.

Leftovers turned into a feast…love it!

This is a really versatile dish, you can literally use any veg you have left over. And if you don’t have meat it would be lovely with a couple of grilled sausages, a piece of gammon or even just with extra veg as a vegetarian dinner.

I’m on a mission to use up everything in my fridge before I go shopping…so watch this space for more great recipe ideas using leftovers. And do let me know if you have any ideas you’d like to share.