Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yes pasta again .. well this is what we single folk cook

The millions of people not reading this blog may be wondering whether i've starved to death.. my last blog entry was months ago! Well July - August were very busy months. Lots of travel, dining out, visitors, some takeaway and a few home cooked meals eaten on the couch in front of the telly..

The millions of people not reading this blog may have also been wondering when a can of tuna would make an appearance here.. 

There are other forms of protein that survive in a can, on a shelf in the pantry for months on end.. SPAM springs to mind.. tinned sardines... however tuna is the superstar. 

Having said that, I only buy Sirena Tuna. I am not a fan of the cat-foody mush some other brands serve up. Nor am I a fan of the flavoured tuna gimmickry which has infested the supermarket shelves recently... The one flavour exception is Sirena's Tuna with Chili in Oil.

As the weather warms up, one of my favourite pastas is Chili oil Tuna past with tomato, parsley and capers:

one can of Sirena Tuna with Chili in Oil 
two handfuls of long pasta (or enough for 1 serve) 
handful of cherry tomatoes
small bunch of parsley 
tablespoon of mini capers 
finely sliced lemon rind 
squeeze of lemon juice

Heat water for pasta 
chop parsley, capers and lemon rind and place in large bowl
cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and add to the parsley mix
open the can of tuna and remove the chilies (unless you like it really spicy!) 
take the tuna from the tin using a fork so you get some of the chili oil with the fish, but not all the oil, add to the parsley and tomato mix - toss together 
add the pasta to the boiling water, and once cooked remove and add immediately to the bowl of tuna/tomatoes/parsley.. (the idea is for the hot pasta to warm the tuna and tomato - rather than cooking them)
Toss so all the ingredients are mixed through the pasta and serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juic

Monday, June 22, 2009

meatless monday .. roast pumpkin and sage pasta

Apparently meatless Monday will help save the planet. I am all for saving the planet and will do my bit .. (oops! just realised i had chicken for lunch.. will start next week!) 

SO tonight's dinner: Roast butternut pumpkin with sage ... and butter .. and parmesan

1/4 of small butternut pumpkin 
two handfuls of pasta shells (or enough for 1 serve) 
6-7 fresh sage leaves
2 table spoons of pine nuts
a pinch of very finely chopped lemon rind ( i like to use a "pinch" as a measurement.. sounds very old school)
a drizzle of olive oil
large knob of butter - the larger the better - the smaller the healthier 
really good quality parmesan 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper 

Heat oven to 200℃
Heat water for pasta 
remove the skin/peel from the pumpkin and chop into small cubes (1 cm-ish )
place on a baking tray and drizzle with just enough oil.. toss about to coat well
pop the pumpkin cubes in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until cooked and browned very slightly **

once the water has come to boil add pasta and cook as per instructions on the packet
while the pasta is cooking.. 
wash the sage leaves and cut up into ribbons
grate the parmesan - i like LOTS
chop the lemon rind 

once the pasta is cooked - drain into a colander and set aside
place the saucepan back on the stove and reduce the heat to very low
add the butter to the pan with the sage leaves, lemon rind and pin nuts
stir, watching carefully to ensure the butter and pine nuts don't brown.. 
when the butter has turned slightly golden add the pumpkin and the pasta shells to the pan
mix gently to ensure the pasta is coated in the sagey butter and season with salt and pepper 

serve with lots of parmesan and eat immediately 

**try to avoid eating 1/2 a bag of corn chips while preparing this meal.. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

egg in bread on sunday morning ..

sunday morning ..  one glass of wine too many the night before.. calls for a greasy breakfast. 

Egg in bread:

one slice of favourite bread - i like a dark grainy bread
one egg 

To prepare - heat pan to medium heat 
add a good knob of butter to the pan
cut a small hole in the bread - the diameter of an egg cup is a good guide
place the bread in the melted butter in the pan - add the cut out circle too 
crack the egg into the hole in the bread and cook for a few minutes (if you like a very runny egg, cook the bread in the melted butter for a bit before dropping the egg in)
flip the bread over carefully so that the other side can cook a minute or so too.
serve and eat immediately with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper to taste..

**the more butter the better :) 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

a winter treat: apple tart for one

There is nothing better than a sweet treat fresh from the oven on a cold rainy day.. Here is a favourite which takes only minutes, and there is no risk of over indulging.. 

Apple tart for one:

1/2 sheet of pampas puff pastry 
one apple 
brown sugar
ground cinnamon 

preheat oven to 200℃
peel the apple, cut into quarters and then slice each finely 
cover the pastry rectangle with a thin layer of brown sugar and sprinkle over the cinnamon - keeping one centimeter from the edge sugar-free
cover the sugar and cinnamon with apple slices - again keeping the edge clear (you won't use all the apple, so snack on left over slices while waiting for the tart to cook..) 
place on a baking tray covered in baking paper

cook for about 10-15 minutes until the pastry has puffed and browned

serve with ice cream - Maggie Beer's burnt fig jam is perfect !

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

it has been 2 weeks since my last cookfession ..

sometimes busy single people go for weeks without cooking.. that doesn't necessarily mean no eating at home... it's more like hunter gathering snacking.. and yes lots of fun nights dining out. Here are some of the meals i've not cooked !:

dinners out:
- japanese noodles
- thai at Spice I am 
- local pub dinner - schnitzel and mash 
- dinner at friends - lamb shanks in special delicious sauce 
- pizza - a great thin crust with lamb sausage and goats curd
- salmon steak with more mash

then snacking at home ;
- popcorn for dinner
- carrot sticks, cheese, chocolate, and brazil nuts for dinner
- toast with avocado for dinner

could blogging get anymore self indulgent ?? and will anyone ever read this :) 

Monday, May 25, 2009

one lovely red vine ripened tomato..

I'll be out the next few nights, so there was no point doing a food shop. I just had to make do with what i had at home. Thankfully i had one bright red, perfectly ripe tomato.. still attached to it's green stalk..

Tonight's dinner:

one vine ripened tomato (only buy these.. they smell divine) 
lemon rind
one clove of garlic (two if you like.. 3 if you're like my friend who is a garlic freak!)
a table spoon of baby capers (rinsed if they are in salt)
olive oil
pasta* - enough for one person (i used curly fettucine, which probably has a fancy italian name too)
freshly ground pepper
sprinkle of sea salt
freshly grated parmesan 

bring water to boil in a large saucepan and add pasta (cook according to the instructions on the packet)
while the pasta is cooking, chop the tomato and drain off / squeeze out a bit of the excess juice
cut a very thin slice or two of rind off a lemon, and chop it up very finely
slice the clove(s) of garlic very thinly.. it is better sliced rather than crushed for this dish
chop the baby capers roughly 
empty the pasta into a colander and set aside 
place the empty saucepan back on the stove... add olive oil - enough to nearly cover the bottom of the pan.. (sorry not good with measurements..) 
heat the oil (medium heat should be fine after cooking the pasta)
add the garlic, capers and lemon rind and a small amount of the chopped tomato to the pan and stir to keep from sticking.. 
when the garlic seems to be cooked a bit, add the pasta back in and stir through. 
add the rest of the chopped tomato and stir through gently so that the tomato is warmed but not cooked
remove and serve with a lot of freshly ground pepper, a sprinkle of sea salt and the parmesan 

*pasta comes in all shapes and sizes. Try different kinds. Don't just stick to spaghetti.. for this dish the curly fettucine holds tomato and oil really well. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the once, twice ... even three times a week favourite: pizza

When it comes to pizza for one, the Lebanese bread pizza is the perfect solution! Ordering home delivery usually means waiting around for an overly salty, almost cold, greasy pizza which is too much for one person (but that one person usually only realises this after polishing off the last piece.. ) 

Lebanese bread is the ideal size for a one-person-pizza* which can be whipped up in a few minutes.

Tonight's dinner:

one Lebanese bread (I always have a bag of it in the freezer) 
one sachet of Leggos Pizza sauce (one sachet is exactly the right amount to coat one piece of bread. Very annoyed the local supermarket isn't stocking any at the moment...) 
2-3 mushrooms, thinly sliced 
a handful of grated pizza cheese (usually a mix of mozzarella and a tasty..  always have it in the fridge) 
freshly ground pepper 

pre heat oven at 200 ℃
coat the Lebanese bread with a thin layer of the pizza sauce (one sachet) 
carefully cover the entire surface with the thin slices of mushroom
evenly cover with the grated cheese
place the pizza directly onto the wire rack of the oven - this allows the base to crisp up
cook for about 10-12 mins, keeping an eye on it.. remove when the edge of the bread has started to brown (not burn!) and the cheese is golden. 
remove from the oven and season which freshly ground pepper.

This mushroom pizza is the simplest version, and I usually make sure I have these basic ingredients on hand, however other "fancy" versions will no doubt pop up here in weeks to come

*some guys might want to supersize and make two..