A Spicy Chipotle Tomato Sauce

The perfect sauce for your gnocchi. Smoked Chipotle chilli flakes with fleshy tomatoes crushed with garlic salt and pepper and a little bit of rape seed oil. Which in turn gives you a wonderful aromatic spicy and yet tantalizing sauce for any pasta dish!
All you do is blitz all the ingredients and gently cook through to fuse all the flavours.

INGREDIENTS 

1 tin crushed/whole tomatoes

1 medium white onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp rapeseed oil 

2 pinches chipotle dried flakes

1 tsp garlic salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Dried Oregano to taste 

Salt to taste 

METHOD 

Blend the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves together

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle in the chipotle flakes, pepper, dried oregano  and garlic salt as the oil heats up

Keeping on a slow heat, pour the tomato blended mix. Season with salt, stir and cover the saucepan

Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally 

Serve with gnocci or your favourite pasta

Enjoy!

Crushed Mushroom Pasta Sauce

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Mushrooms = A no go zone for children!! But this yummy sauce will have them eating them in front of your very own eyes!!!

INGREDIENTS

1 Punnet of button mushrooms
200 ml crushed tomato
3 garlic cloves crushed
Salt to taste
Chilli flakes to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano

METHOD

Blitz the mushrooms until small pieces

Heat up the oil with the oregano and chilli flakes. Wait for the oil to sizzle

Add in the mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until a little water is released from the mushrooms

Pour in the crushed tomato with salt. Stir and cook through on a slow heat for 20 minutes, Stirring occasionally

Serve on a bed of cooked fusilili or penne pasta

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A Cherried Chianti

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We bought this wine earlier this week, which is from the Tuscany region of Italy.  I don’t drink red wine easily as some are so full bodied and overwhelming but this particular Chianti appealed to my light palette.

It has sour notes with a soothing warm feeling as you sip.  I was amazed to sense the cherry flavour that I tasted almost immediately as it has mainly cherry notes running through it. An easy wine to drink and quite delicious. Went really well with a roasted vegetable oven baked pizza. I know I will be buying and drinking this again soon!

If you get the chance..Do try it and let me know how you like it. 

Have a wonderful weekend friends.  I promise more food recipes coming up next week!  Much love, D x

Simply Pomodoro Sauce

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My love for Italian food exceeds my love of any other cuisine. Sometimes you just want a simple tomato, garlic based Italian sauce to adorn a plate of delicious pasta.
When I am in the mood for this, I automatically make my go-to pomodoro sauce! Simple, full of flavour and extremely addictive!!

Have fun and enjoy your pasta!!!
See you soon, until then much love, D x

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INGREDIENTS

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt to taste

METHOD

Heat the oil with the garlic and oregano on a low heat.  Once the oil starts to sizzle carefully pour in the tin of tomatoes

Add the sugar and salt.  Stir well, cook and cover for 15 to 20 minutes

Serve up the pomodoro sauce on your favourite pasta

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Quick Pizza For The Kids

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This margherita pizza can be cooked from scratch, faster than you can order one to collect! I found it especially handy for my 2 boys who love their typically “only cheese and tomato pizza”. I made this one this evening and we all devoured it with absolute delight.

I didn’t have time to take many pictures as it’s such a messy process with the dough but I found it very therapeutic. Especially kneading and pushing the dough into the tray to form the base. Hope you enjoy it. The olive oil also gives the base a scrumptious crunch. Have a beautiful day friends, much love D x

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

200g plain flour
7g instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
125 ml warm water
Olive oil for baking

TOPPING

100g tomato passata
Pinch of dried oregano
Salt to taste
Grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 220°c, grease a large rectangular tray with the olive oil

In a bowl or food mixer, throw in the flour, sugar, salt and yeast together.  Mix well, slowly pour in the water.  Knead until smooth. 

Transfer into the greased tray and using your fingers press the dough into the corners, making a rectangular thin dough base

In a small saucepan heat up the tomato passata with the oregano and salt.  Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes to warm through

Spread the tomato sauce onto the pizza base, top off with cheese and place in the oven, bake for 15-20 minutes or until based is nice and crispy

Recipe from BBC Good Food

Fresh Linguine In A Leek & White Cheese Sauce

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As you might be able to tell, I’ve started to love my leeks..I just can’t seem to get enough of them. So here I share a recipe that I made for lunch yesterday whilst my husband made this too, to accompany my dish.

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What is even more special, is that I have been told by friends that they have a lot of leeks to use up…so I really hope you all enjoy this pasta dish, laced with the subtle taste of sweet leeks and a hint of cheddar cheese coming through!

Have a peaceful and stunning day…Enjoy! Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

2 leeks finely sliced
⅓ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup milk
½ tbsp butter
½ tbsp plain flour
Salt to taste
Handful of grated mature cheddar cheese

Pre cooked fresh linguine 150-200g

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METHOD

● In a medium saucepan heat the oil and butter on a low heat. Add the leeks and stir till slightly soft and translucent

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● Mix in the flour and combine well, cook for 2 to 3 minutes

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● Gradually stir in the milk and keep stirring until it gets slightly thicker

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● Season with salt and throwing in the cheddar cheese. Stir so that the cheese melts and becomes one with the sauce

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● Sit the linguine on top of the sauce whilst still in the saucepan. Combine into the sauce and you are ready to serve

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Melted Mozzarella…Need I Say More?

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A very light meal was made in the form of melted mozzarella bruschetta.  Oh my! what a yummy meal it was.  Not too heavy or light, absolutely spot on!
Mainly eaten as a starter but I fancied a few more pieces than you would have in restaurant.  The best thing about this version was the melted buffalo mozzarella!  Did I mention it was melted?!!  So very rich, gooey, stringy and delicious!  I was in cheese heaven!

Try it out at the weekend friends, have a good one! See you next week, much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

Fresh buffalo mozzarella in thin slices
Tomatoes diced finely
Red onion diced
Green chilli sliced finely
Salt to taste
Chunky pieces of toasted bread
Garlic butter Recipe here
Balsamic vinegar optional

METHOD

Place the tomato, onion, chilli in a bowl, season with salt.

Spread the toast with the garlic butter, top with the tomato mix and be generous with the mozzarella to finish

Heat in the oven or grill until the mozzarella has melted

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A Ravishing Roasted Aubergine Dip

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For such a long time, whenever I have roasted aubergines for my Bainghan ka bharta curry I’ve always wanted to make a roast aubergine dip. The natural velvet texture and creaminess once it is whizzed really makes this dip so very special. A true delightful and healthy condiment to your favourite crisps, tortilla chips or crudité.

Perfect for any party and so healthy too!

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INGREDIENTS

1 medium aubergine
Olive oil
6-8 cherry/pomodorino tomatoes
½ tsp garlic granules
½ tsp smoked paprika
⅓ tsp dried coriander leaves
½ tsp salt or to taste
Squeeze of lemon juice
Pinch of sugar

METHOD

• Pierce the aubergine a few times and chop the top off. Using a little olive oil massage into the aubergine skin with your hands. Place on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 190°c for 20-30 minutes until soft and crinkled. Set aside to cool

• Once cooled down put the aubergine with its skin on plus the tomatoes and blitz in a grinder to a smooth paste

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• Stir in all the other ingredients and blitz to combine well

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• Serve with your favourite crisps or tortilla chips

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A Chilli & Garlic Red Sauce For Ravioli

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I love pasta and find that making your own pasta sauce is very comforting.  You can add extra vegetables or make it spicy and vary it each time depending upon the type of pasta you are using.

My recent pasta dish allowed me to explore the simplicity of the red sauce.  All I wanted was a strong garlic and chilli hit to accompany some spinach and ricotta ravioli I had.  Which we polished off with a nice crisp glass of white wine.  A perfect sauce for ravioli..not too much going on in the sauce, just enough to add and bring out the flavours of the ravioli

I think I’m going to go and make some more! Ummmm…Have a relaxing weekend friends!, Enjoy…Much love, D x

INGREDIENTS

4 garlic cloves crushed
500g crushed tomato passata
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 large chilli chopped

METHOD

Heat the olive oil along with the crushed garlic and chilli on a low heat for 5 to 7minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn

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Slowly pour in the tomato passata, season with the salt and leave to simmer on a low heat still

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I cover the saucepan and leave the sauce to cook through for at least 20 to 30 minutes.  If it gets to thick then add a little water to thin in down

Serve the sauce drizzled over a ravioli of your choice

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Taking some over to the weekly party over @ The Novice Gardener

Aubergine & petit pois lasagne

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Lasagne originated in the region of Emilia-Romagna and is traditionally known for the wonderful layers of ragù, bechamel sauce and parmigiano regiano with meat and vegetable layered within.

In this all vegetarian lasagne you will find that I have combined the tomato ragù with the aubergine and peas already and I personally adore the bechamel sauce with the cheese melted all over as the last layer. Which I must admit I do keep til the end when eating it.

My husband and I seriously love Italian food and that’s why we were led to Rome and Sardinia for our honeymoon. I have never tasted pizza and pasta so good as I did on the streets of ancient Rome. I must have been an Italian in my past life and now of Indian origin I think Im working through the alphabet lol!

I will definitely be exploring more Italian recipes as I go along in this very exciting culinary journey of mine…do come along for the ride!

INGREDIENTS

1 large aubergine thinly sliced
1 medium onion grated
1/4 tsp dried red chilli seeds
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
A little boiling water
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 tsp salt
200g tomato passata
150-180g frozen petit pois
9 pre soaked lasagne pasta sheets *see notes*
150g cheddar cheese grated

For the bechamel sauce
30g butter
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
200ml milk
Salt to taste
Pinch of pepper

METHOD

• In a large saucepan heat up the oil throw in the onion and aubergine, sauté until tender. Sprinkle in the chilli seeds, oregano, salt and the garlic, pour in a little boiling water and mix

• Let it simmer for about 7 minutes and then stir in the passata and the peas. Cook for a further 10 minutes on a low flame, then set aside

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• To make the white sauce. In a small saucepan melt the butter on a low flame, stir in the flour and cook through for a few minutes stirring continuously. Slowly pour in the milk whilst still stirring and leave on a low flame, keep stirring and once the sauce starts to thicken up, sprinkle in the salt and pepper, stir and take off the heat

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• In a deep rectangular baking dish place 3 pre cooked lasagne sheets then spoon out half of the aubergine filling and spread out. Another 3 sheets on top of the aubergine layer and then the remainder of the aubergine mixture.

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Last 3 sheets to be placed and then pour out the luscious creamy white sauce. Top off with the grated cheddar cheese

• Bake in the oven at 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4 for approximately 30-35 mincutes until the cheese is nice and crispy and golden

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• Slice into healthy size squares and serve with a salad of your choice

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Note* to pre cook the dried pasta sheets just put them in some boiling water with olive oil until they are a little softer.