Recipe: Goats’ cheese & beetroot fiorelli served with fresh spinach & chive pesto

I love beetroot and am always trying to eat more of it. A vegetable with many health benefits, beetroot was first cultivated by the Romans and belongs to the same family as chard and spinach. It’s know to help with intestinal problems, has a positive effect on blood pressure…and it’s delicious.

So I was delighted to discover Dell’Ugo’s goats’ cheese and beetroot fiorelli. This family business is the longest established fresh pasta company in the UK and offer a delicious range of products. It’s now run by Paul Ugo, the grandson of the founder, who says: “My family have been making pasta since 1929 when my grandfather Luigi arrived in London from Italy and founded the first fresh pasta company in the UK. In the 1960s my father Leo took over the business and in the 1990s I followed suit.” So they’ve had plenty of practice.

The fiorelli comes with recipe and serving suggestions on the packaging so today I decided to make their spinach and chive pesto – a fabulous sauce that would go with any pasta.

Recipes don’t come simpler than this. Whizz up the pesto, cook the pasta, mix and serve. And the combination of flavours is stunning. You have the creaminess of the goats cheese and the sweetness of the beetroot as the filling in the melt-in-the-mouth fiorelli. Then the pesto adds garlic, parmesan and chive flavours to the mix – along with a vibrant greenness. Delightful.

RECIPES SERVES TWO

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The perfectly pretty plate of food in shades of green and pink

250g Dell’Ugo goats’ cheese and beetroot fiorelli

50g baby spinach

Half a bunch of fresh chives

100ml olive oil

20g Parmesan

1 clove of garlic

20g toasted pine nuts

Heat a pan of boiling water and quickly dip the chives and spinach for a few seconds so they soften but are bright green. Remove from the water and cool slightly.

Add the spinach and chives to a blender with the Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil and blend to a paste. You can read more about the many health benefits of spinach at www.cooking detective.com

Meanwhile heat a pan of water and once boiling cook the pasta for three minutes until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander.

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Beetroot pasta in all its pinkness

Return the pan to the heat and add the pesto. Warm the pesto through. Add the pasta back to the pan and toss so the pesto coats it well.

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Indulgently silken pesto

Divide the pasta between two bowls and serve.

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The Dell’Ugo range is available from Waitrose and online at Ocado. The goats’ cheese and beetroot fiorelli costs £3.49.

You can find out more about the company at dellugo.co.uk

 

British Tomato Week: Tomato, pesto and goats cheese tarts

Gotta love a tomato tart! These little ones are great for a light lunch served with a salad or served with early evening drinks with friends. The tomato, goats cheese, puff pastry combo is fantastic. I spread pesto on first which adds a nice herby flavour. When my pesto ran out I sprinkled a generous amount of dried Herbes de Provence on the pastry before adding the tomatoes and cheese. Another delicious combo.

Simply the best ingredients

Simply the best ingredients

Makes 6

1 sheet of Jus Rol puff pastry, defrosted

4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

6 tbsp pesto

150g mild, soft goats cheese

1 egg, beaten

Lay the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured board. Divide it into six squares.

Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Spread the pesto in the centre of pastry. Layer the tomatoes over it and top with pieces of goats cheese.

Place on a roasting tray in the oven and cook at 180C for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove and leave to cool a little before eating.

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Building the tarts

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The tasty finished product

Tomato fact of the day

Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A, C and E, the natural plant pigments known as carotenoids (both beta-carotene and lycopene) and flavonoids. They contain minerals such as potassium, which has been linked to lowering blood pressure and calcium, which is vital for healthy bones and teeth. And tomatoes are low in calories, have virtually no fat and no cholesterol. The more you eat the better you feel!

For more  tomato recipes and info visit www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

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The perfect peaceful spot for brunch

When it comes to eating out, Cape Town really is the king. Today we had the desire for a nice cup of coffee after a bout of food shopping (it was about 10am).

So cousin Sally suggested we try a little cafe she’d been meaning to visit. This is where inside knowledge is so important – Starling’s Coffee Shop is tucked away behind a hedge, on a main road and really isn’t somewhere you would stumble upon. As you peer through the gate the piles of vegetables tell you this is an eating establishment.

It’s a quaint little cafe with a lovely courtyard-type garden at the back with plenty of shade. And a delicious-sounding menu. We were intending just to have a coffee but it all sounded so good we decided we had to have something to eat, too.

Here’s my fantastic combination of poached eggs with parmesan, pesto and rocket. The eggs were truly fantastic, free range from Spier, a local wine farm that also specialises in farming using biodynamic principles. Animals, including cattle, sheep and chickens are raised on pastures to contribute to the fertility of the soil.

An amazing combination, one that I’m going to be repeating myself at home soon. And the perfect poached egg is hard to beat (something I’m still trying to achieve myself). Yummy!

Oh and they have an urban food market on Wednesdays. I’ll be back!

A wonderful breakfast/brunch to savour

A wonderful breakfast/brunch to savour

Starlings coffee shop is at 94 Belvedere Road, Claremont