Saturday, 29 November 2014

Burmese Tart-sweet Chili Garlic Sauce

Tart-sweet chili garlic sauce - mmm! If you like a kick of spice, this little bad-boy a perfect dip, a seasoning on any dish, an awesome toast topping (works well with hummus or cheese) or even just to mix with rice for a very low-key, easy meal.

Before I launch into how you can make this delicious sauce (which I painstakingly tried to catch in the sunlight to make it look pretty), I want to shamelessly plug the book that the recipe is from:

I bought it from Amazon a few months ago after developing an obsession with Burmese food. My husband and I first tried Burmese food on the Thailand-Burma border on our honeymoon, and we haven't looked back. It's hard to explain just how delicious it is until you try it, so... try it! I'll be sure to post more recipes from Burma: Rivers of Flavour as time goes on, as I can't get enough. Burmese food is a little spicy, a little tart, salty and sweet (all at the same time) and once you have your basic ingredients, it's easy to make most of the recipes. The pictures and stories of Burma that sprawl across the book are enchanting, and make me wish that I'd spent more than one (rainy) hour in the country itself.

Anyway, to make this sauce and never have to buy sweet chili sauce again, you'll need:

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Lemon Basil Cashew "Cheese" for Vegans (or those who want to cut back on dairy)

As much as I love cheese, I can't deny that it isn't always the healthiest thing (especially when I buy the cheap stuff as, let's face
it, it's likely to be processed). I also like to be as vegan as possible for the sake of all the cows who are pumped full of antibiotics and live hooked up to milking machines. But maybe you can enjoy this vegan version of cheese in its own right.

I've tried fake cheese before. It tasted disgusting. You might like it, and it might just have been the brand I picked up ("Sheese"), but frankly it tasted like a lump of lard and nothing like cheese whatsoever. So, when I found this recipe for vegan cheese on OhSheGlows, I was dubious.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Coconut Lime Pasta Soup - an easy way to use left-overs!

When it's nearly time to go shopping, and you just have that last little piece of courgette or half a tomato to get rid of, you mind find yourself wondering just what to make with them. If you have some pasta (or noodles), a few spices and a lime lying around, you can make what I refer to as "sexy soup" - it's delicious and really easy to make!

The ingredients for this can depend entirely on what you've got lying around.

The essentials (to serve 2):
A lime

Saturday, 1 November 2014

How to make vegetarian, home-made Pasta Bake in 20 minutes!

Back when I started cooking, as a student who could barely boil rice, I used to stock up on those expensive jars of pasta bake and follow their instructions. For some reason, as well as costing £1-2 a jar, their recipes required waiting for a good hour before the pasta was ready.

I've found a very easy way to throw together a delicious pasta meal without buying any pasta bakes or sauces. Well... kinda. All you need is pasta, vegetables, and a box of passata - which is a sauce made from pure tomatoes (usually), sieved and strained. You can usually find it near other tomato products in the supermarket. as well as supposedly being of better quality than the tomatoes in tomato sauce, there are usually no additives and it's a lot cheaper! A carton is usually around 40p and lasts a while. 

To make the pasta bake pictured here (serves 4), I used:
1 packet of spinach and mozzarella tortellini from Aldi (yes, not the healthiest thing, I know...) - you can use any pasta you want!
1/2 an onion
2 cloves of garlic
A handful of basil leaves 
1/2 a can of sweetcorn
A litttle (let's say 1/4 each) red pepper, yellow pepper, courgette and leek
1/2 a bag of spinach
1 block of mozzarella
200ml of passata

1. Preheat your oven to 150C. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add chopped onion and garlic. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan to the boil with the pasta inside (around 2 inches above the pasta). Cook according to the packet instructions - usually between 5-15 minutes.

2. Add all other vegetables except basil leaves and spinach. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the spinach. Spinach is massive and will cover everything for a few minutes, but keep stirring and the heat and moisture will shrink it down into tiny bits. 

4. Add the passata to the pan and stir everything together.

5. Drain the water from the pasta once it's ready. Pour the pasta into a baking dish (e.g. a casserole dish, deep baking tray etc) then cover it with the mixture from the frying pan. Stir around but be careful of splashing everything onto the counter!

6. Add slices of mozzarella to the top of the pasta bake. Chop up your basil leaves and scatter on the top. 

7. Place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Woo! There you go. A nice, warming and filling dish for those colder days!  

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