BLT, or Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, commonly refers to a sandwich. This week, I made a BLT, but with spaghetti instead of bread.
- Get your spaghetti or other kinda of pasta cooking in a pot of well-salted boiling water. Save a bit of the pasta water, and drain when al dente.
- Slow-cook chunky slices of tomatoes with some butter on a skillet, letting them soften to a pulp. Pinch out and discard the skin at the end.
- Soak a couple of rashers in water for a couple of minutes; this is so that the dish will not be overwhelmed by the flavour of bacon. Fry the rashers till cooked but not shrivelled. It can be tempting to blaze them to a crisp. Resist.
- Meanwhile, wash and cut your lettuce to fork-full pieces.
- When the tomatoes are done, toss in the drained spaghetti, and splash a bit of that pasta water you saved earlier. Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a small dollop of mayonnaise.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the lettuce briefly, and serve, with the rashers of bacon, sliced.
Lush brunches, forever.
Puff pastry sold in supermarkets is a genius intervention. I know some people believe firmly in making everything from scratch. but puff pastry is one of those things which the homemade handmade version is no different from the ones sold ready-made in supermarkets. In fact, sometimes the former falls short of the latter. So with making your own puff pastry being so time-consuming, why not just pay a little and make your life easier?
Then again, that’s just me.
Well then, back to topic, these little babies are so easy to make, you’d be smiling from ear to ear by the time they’re on your dining table. They’re also one of them quick treats you can whip up if you’ve got guests coming round on short notice. Here’s how:
- If your pastry is already pre-rolled, that’s good. If not, roll it out till it’s about 5mm thick.
- Cut them into little rectangles and score a border around all four sides of each piece.
- You can brush them with an egg wash, if you want. Then, lay pieces of sliced tomatoes atop, fitting them within the scored borders.
- Crack a little sea salt on each and pop them into the pre-heated oven, top rack at 200ªC for about 10 minutes before lowering to 180ªC for another 10 minutes or so. Remove once the pastry is nicely browned.
- When fresh out of the oven, drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a small pinch of dried basil.
- Let them cool on a cooling rack and serve when no longer piping hot.
Mushrooms, tomatoes and basil are a winning combination.
- In a hot skillet, melt a knob of butter till it foams. When the foaming subsides, it means the pan is hot enough and ready.
- Toss in the chopped brown chestnut mushrooms and sautéed them till almost brown.
- Then add the chopped cherry tomatoes.
- Crack in a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
- Add a small pinch of basil.
- Also, add in a small clove of garlic, finely minced.
- Mix it all up, and remove from the pan once the tomatoes have shrivel slightly.
- To deglaze the skillet and toast up some bread, toss in a small knob of butter and swirl it round.
- Likewise, once the foaming subsides, place the pieces of bread on. Flip as soon as they’re golden.
- In the meantime, roughly chop up some mixed salad leafs.
- Serve the bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]) with a small drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
This was just an excuse to use the new plate, really.
As I’ve said many times before, Sunday mornings are times when you truly have the opportunity to make a good breakfast for yourself. Here’s what I had this morning – Mushroom and Brie Bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]).
- In a hot skillet, toss in sliced mushrooms with a small knob of butter.
- Add a small pinch of basil and season accordingly with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
- While that’s happening, toast your bread (preferably slices of a crusty loaf, but square slices work fine as well.)
- Once the mushrooms are just about browned nicely, add in a tiny bit of cream just to hold everything together, then turn the heat down low.
- The bread should be done, get it out. Half a clove of garlic and rub it on the toast.
- Spoon some mushrooms onto each slice and accompany with a small handful of fresh greens, holding them down with a small wedge of Brie.
- Serve with fresh cherry tomatoes, and without cutlery. All hands, all goodness.
Alright, so it seems I’ve been having lotsa time to have breakfast in the mornings these days. Well, truth is, I’ve been waking late so brunch has become somewhat routine now. In any case, what I’d like to share here is a savoury tomato and mushroom compote. So easy to do, and so good with toast.
Toss everything into a skillet and mix till ready.
- 1 plum tomato, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 large brown mushroom, diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 small knob of butter
- 1 pinch of dried basil
- 1 small bunch of arugula, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Have it with egg, ham, and toast. Lush.
Even though I think the best way to have Bolognese is with spaghetti, sometimes penne is a pretty good change. Served in a deep bowl, all you need is a fork to stab and shove.
- 2 pork sausages
- 1 small handful of frozen peas
- 2 inches of a medium carrot, diced finely
- a quarter of an onion, diced finely
- 1 small small knob of butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- chilli, minced (optional)
- 2 tsp of double concentrate tomato puree
- a pinch of dried basil
- sea salt, freshly ground
- black pepper, freshly ground
- freshly grated Parmesan,
- a couple of fresh basil leaves
- 2 handfuls of quick cook penne
- Get your pasta boiling in a pot.
- In a hot wok, toss the peas in.
- Once they’ve defrosted for a bit, dump the carrots in, together with the small small wad of butter. Toss.
- Then add the garlic and onions. Let them fry away happily, tossing occasionally.
- If you want it slightly spicy, add in the chilli now.
- Peel of the skin of the sausages and throw them into the wok. Cut them erratically with a spatula whilst stirring everything together.
- Scoop out some of the starchy pasta cooking water and pour into the wok.
- Stir in the tomato puree and add more pasta cooking water accordingly.
- When you’ve got the consistency you want, and the sausages cooked, pinch in the dried basil, salt and pepper. Stir and turn off the heat.
- Drain pasta.
- Serve with bolognese. Garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.
15-minute meal for the famished soul.