Smoked trout on pappardelle pasta

Smoked trout in parpadelle

Smoked trout in pappardelle pasta

This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food book. I wouldn’t describe it as “fast”, but probably because I was making it for the first time and it takes me a while to make something fiddly like a sauce. Next time will be quicker. I tried getting into the Ramsay style of cooking, but I had nobody to shout and swear at, so I don’t think it worked. Cooked this for guests, and it went down very well. They could tell by the mess in the kitchen (Tuesy: yes, he messed up my kitchen!) that I’d made an effort.

You need:

  • 6 medium vine plum tomatoes
  • 85g of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (about 15 pcs)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 banana shallots (or 4 regular ones), roughly choppped
  • 175ml olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 500g fresh pappardelle (or you can use tagliatelle)
  • 600g skinless smoked trout fillets, flaked into large chunks
  • grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
chopped banana shallots

chopped banana shallots

What to do:

  1. Skin tomatoes – this is easy Tuesday did this for the roasted tomato soup recipe. Chop the tomatoes in half and take out the seeds. I found it a bit tricky to squeeze out the seeds, so I left a lot of them in there. Don’t tell Tuesy. I don’t think anyone noticed.

    skinning vine-riped tomatoes

    skinning vine-riped tomatoes

  2. Put the tomatoes, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor until you have a smooth sauce. Season to your taste.

    ingredients on food processor

    ingredients on food processor

  3. Pour the sauce into a pan and warm on a medium heat. Be careful not to boil it too quickly.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente then toss with the tomato sauce and flaked trout (don’t flake that trout too much – it looks and tastes great with big chunks of fish in it. Serve with parmesan. Lots of parmesan. And probably some fresh black pepper.

Soup: Roasted tomato

roasted tomato soup

roasted tomato soup © kirsten

It hasn’t really dropped below 10˚C but I might as well recognise that it is already winter– especially if this means we get winter out of the way now and we have spring to look forward to 🙂

Winter means time to open the recipe book for nice warming soups. I looked at my Delia’s Vegetarian Collection book which has some really good and easy to follow recipes. I have to warn you, thought, that some of the recipes in that book are quite high in fat so choose well.

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

I chose this soup because I love the taste of roasted tomatoes. I am lucky I live just a minute walk from Cardiff Market which has a history of trading since the 1800s! Two kilos of medium-sized ripe tomatoes are only a little over £1 – bargain! Buy from your local market, if you can.

(An aside – this reminds me of the Sundays when my Nanay (mother) used to take me to the palengke. We would walk the Pulilan bridge to go to the market. Our first stop was a vegetable stall where we were suki (favourite customer) so we got our veggies at a special discounted rate. If my Nanay planned to buy meat for that week, she usually asks the veggie vendor to look after me as I hated (still do!) going to the butcher.)

Right on to the recipe. Dan said it’s the best home-made soup he has ever tasted but maybe he is a bit biased 😉

You will need:

  • 700 g medium red tomatoes
  • 20 g/bunch of basil leaves
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 big clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 110 g potato
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

For olive croutons:

  • 4 medium slices of ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade or paste

Kitchen items:

  • roasting tray
  • mortar and pestle

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C (on my fan oven, I had it on 150˚C)
  2. Skin the tomatoes – you do this by pouring boiling water on the tomatoes and leaving it for 1 minute. After that it’s easy to skin the tomatoes.

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

  3. Half the tomatoes, put them on the roasting tray (cut side uppermost) and then generously season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each tomatoes with olive oil, the chopped garlic, and then top each one with basil leaves. Coat the basil leaves with oil first!

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

  4. Roast the tomatoes for 50 – 60 minutes or until the edges of the tomatoes are blackened. This gives the tomatoes a smoky flavour. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3036891255_b09d67a07d.jpg

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

  5. Peel and chop the potato into little cubes then put it in a saucepan with some salt, 425 ml boiling water, tomato purée and simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
  6. Ok the croutons– you can buy ready made croutons but this is so yummy that it’s worth giving it a go. In a bowl, place the bread cubes, olive oil, and olive tapenade/paste. Toss them so that the bread cubes get a good coating. Put the bread cubes in a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes – make sure you don’t forget to check on them as they burn easily. Leave to cool when done.

    olive croutons © kirsten

    olive croutons © kirsten

  7. When done, remove tomatoes and scrape everything to a food processor (juices and all the crusty bits!) and also add everything in the potato saucepan. Whiz lightly so it’s not so uniformly puréed.
  8. For the basil purée, use the rest of the basil and put them into a mortar. Put about 1/4 tsp of salt and then bash them with the pestle until the leaves collapse and turn into a purée. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and stir.
  9. Gently heat the soup in medium heat before serving. Garnish each bowl with croutons and a swirl of basil purée.

I also made parmesan and parsnip bread but I think that will be on the next post! But here’s the yummy preview!

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

Pasta Pesto

I’m really pressed for time. I’ve so much work to do I barely have time to whine about it. But I’m still managing to blog. Some things are still important, and it’s a good way to focus the mind and arrange the swirling thoughts into some kind of comprehensible pattern. And I’ve been pressed into blogging on this by the water-cress pesto that Tuesy has sent me. I urge her to post the recipe so that you, dear reader, can make pesto for yourself. She’s done the real work (and presumably she got chance to use her new food processor): I just want to show you the lovely dinner I made with the pesto.
All it took was a few slices of halloumi, that king of cheeses (shallow-fry it in a little olive oil, or grill it), rocket and cherry tomatoes. Oh, and pasta, of course. I’ve used tagliatelli, but only because the fuselli in my cupboard looks a bit old. If I had any penne in stock, I’d have used that.
Dead easy, and generous in its delivery of deliciousness. So, dear reader (and I hope the use of the singular form of “reader” is not too close to the truth), pester Tuesy with your requests for the pesto recipe, so that you too can pep up your pasty pasta.

Chickpea curry with quorn

I have cooked this recipe so many times before but never for Dan. He asked me to blog the recipe so he can give it a go. I told him to watch me cook it and try to remember it instead 🙂

But because he asked really nicely last night, here goes:

I used:
medium onion, sliced
2-4 garlic cloves (I like mine garlic-y), chopped
chilli flakes
a tin of chickpeas, drained
a tin of chopped tomatoes
capsicum or peppers
quorn “chicken” style fillets, cubed
2 tbsp of curry paste
coriander, roughly chopped


What I did:

  1. Most of the time, I dry fry my onion with just a bit of salt. I was told that this caramelizes the onion. When the onion is a bit cooked, I add olive oil, a pinch or two of chili flakes, and the garlic.
  2. Add the curry paste. I use Patak’s curry paste. It’s good stuff.
  3. Add the quorn pieces and cook it for about 3-5 mins or just until it’s brown.
  4. Mix the chickpeas and cook for about 2 mins.
  5. Add the capsicum/peppers. I like to add mushrooms, too, but Dan does not like mushrooms. I know, it’s weird.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes. If it’s still too dry, add some water.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and coriander.