Asparagus is a fairly new addition to my kitchen, about four years I would say. Usually I just roast the asparagus in a griddle pan or under the grill with some olive oil and then sprinkle some salt and drizzle either lemon, vinegar or balsamic vinegar. This simple vegetable tastes just great as it has a very distinct flavour. I remember making mashed asparagus for my son when he was a baby and my mother saying will he like that? As she had never tried it before, I asked her to try it and she thought it was an ok taste. I am glad that I have introduced such great flavours to my son from an early age, as it has introduced him to a great range of flavours, textures and tastes.
Recently, when I saw a recipe on one of the blogs I regularly visit, I thought I have to try it because the British asparagus season does not last very long. It is said that Asparagus is high in potassium, folic acid and low in sodium and calories, and is good for us as it does not contain any fat or cholesterol. I am a great believer in eating the right foods to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle and if the food that I eat contains things I know that are good for our health/well-being then we should eat more of them. As a result I was glad that I tried this recipe. It was a great hit with the family and a recipe which I will make again with a few changes next time.
Continue reading “Asparagus Pesto”
Some years back we had enjoyed a dinner, made by one of my sister in-laws, of large shell pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese. It was a very enjoyable experience that I have recreated when ever I can get a hold of the large pasta shells. I felt that the same filling would work well with the sweet pointed pepper, as the flavours would compliment each other and they did. Just to make it into a meal we ate it with some pasta with sun dried tomatoes & basil pesto, for a very heavy filling meal. Although it could have also been served with some salad for a lighter option. Unlike the other recipe of pointed peppers, this is a more Italian style as opposed to Mediterranean.
Continue reading “Stuffed Pointed Peppers with Pasta”
I only started using pesto after marriage and used to buy ready made jars. It was a convenient thing to do, as at the time I was on an interior design course on Tuesday evenings, so that was a pasta day 🙂 . It used to be a chore to find the vegetarian version of this classic Italian dish. Then about three or four years back I had bought a basil plant for the kitchen window sill and it had produces so many basil leaves, so I thought I should venture into making my own pesto. It was successful and so simple to make that I decided I would buy a basil plant each Spring and make my own pesto.
From looking at various TV chefs and other recipes, as well as a friend (who lives in Italy) telling me that I do not need to add cheese or pine nuts (as they are so expensive), just normal salted nuts are fine – I started making my own version as below. To make it more creamy I sometimes use almond, cashew, and pistachios nuts powder.
There are many uses for pesto, not only as a pasta sauce but also as a dressing for salads, for adding flavour to soups, a spread for sandwiches and roasted mushroom or eggplant. You can also create many different versions like I did by adding the sun-dried tomatoes. Other herbs and vegetables can also be added to give it an extra added flavour.
Continue reading “Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Pesto”
If you are trying to eat healthy and wish to have a filling meal then some pasta with vegetables is a good idea. When I was a student one of my staple diets was pasta, with a simple tomato sauce and sometimes the odd dollop of Greek yoghurt. Now I am much more adventurous with my concoctions of pasta sauces. This particular one was inspired by mixing Indian spices with Mediterranean vegetables, I was quite pleased with the outcome. I really felt like I was eating a healthy meal.
I used the vegetables that I already had and felt like experimenting with them, however as usual you can use what ever you like. You can add more tomatoes if you like your sauce to be more rich. I like to use tricolour pasta as it looks pretty and I also mix wholemeal pasta as my husband wants us to eat more healthy, so we are all happy. You can use penne or any other pasta for this recipe.
Preparation time:5 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves: 2
2 cups fusilli pasta (or what ever you are using)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each fennel (varyali) and nigella (kalonji) seeds
1 courgette chopped
1 red capsicum chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
1/4 cup each green and black olives
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
salt and chilli flakes to taste
1) Heat some hot water in a large pan, once it starts to boil add the pasta and salt, cook until done (al dente). Drain and give it a quick rinse in cold water, keep aside.
2) Heat a large non stick pan, once hot add the oil and the vegetables and spices, and cook until tender.
3) Add the olives and chopped tomatoes, cook a further few minutes and add the salt and chilli flakes. Add the cooked pasta, mix and switch off the heat. After a few minutes of standing time you are ready to serve. Cheese is optional, as it tasted good with or without cheese. Let me know what you think of the taste if you make it.