Pasta alla Caprese

The famous Italian Caprese salad is made of sliced ripe tomatoes and mozzarella with basil leaves. This pasta dish uses virtually the same ingredients to make a light and fresh-tasting pasta sauce and I top it with toasted breadcrumbs for added texture. Use very ripe, flavoursome tomatoes and a good quality buffalo mozzarella for best results.

Serves 2

  • 500g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Pasta for 2 – I use Malfada Corta but shells or bows will work too
  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 x 125g buffalo mozzarella ball
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely grated
  • 2 tbsps Panko breadcrumbs plus one dessertspoon of oil

To make…

  • Put the pasta on to cook in plenty of salted boiling water according to the instructions on the packet – usually 12 minutes or so.
  • Place the cherry tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave for just a minute and then drain. The skins should slip off really easily. Quarter the tomatoes on a chopping board and put them back in the dry bowl with all the juices. Add the olive oil and grated garlic, a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs with the oil and toast them off in a small frying pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Set aside.
  • Drain the pasta and stir through the tomato mixture and the bail leaves.
  • Serve in warmed bowls, break the mozzarella into rough pieces and scatter over the pasta. Top with toasted bread crumbs.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
  • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?

Book your one to one cookery coaching session here

Posted in Pasta, Recipes | Leave a comment

Coleslaw with smoked sriracha dressing

With summer around the corner, it’s time to turn to salad making fit for your BBQ feasts. Coleslaw is a classic summer salad but I’m not massively keen on the common or garden kind; it just seems a bit boring. So, I came up with this version of thinly sliced white cabbage, red onion and carrot with a dressing of natural yoghurt, mayo and smoky sriracha hot sauce which adds a whole new flavour dimension. I could quite happily just eat of bowl of this on its own and will probably serve it at a Platinum Jubilee celebration BBQ in June.

Coleslaw with smoked sriracha mayo
  • Serves 6
  • 1/2 small white cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tbsps thick Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsps smoked sriracha sauce – I use the Eaten Alive brand which has a good smoky pepper flavour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsps lemon juice

To make…

  • First, prep the vegetables. For best results, they need to be very finely and evenly sliced. You could use a food processor but I just use a very sharp knife to cut the cabbage and the onion into half moon slices and a julienne peeler for the carrots. Pile it all up into a large bowl and mix it thoroughly. The quantity scales up or down really easily, you don’t need to be too exact.
  • Mix the yoghurt, mayo, sriracha sauce and lemon juice together with a pinch or so of salt and black pepper in a bowl. Have a taste and adjust it to how you like it – you can use as a dip on its own too. Pour it over the shredded salad ingredients and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a serving dish, the onion and carrot will soften a little but still retain their crunch. Refrigerate until needed.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
  • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?

Book your one to one cookery coaching session here

Posted in Recipes, Salads | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cauliflower and leek cheese with chorizo gratin

I do love a good cauliflower cheese as a midweek supper with some fat brown sausages on the side. To ring the changes, add some steamed leeks or broccoli to the cauliflower cheese, a gratin layer of thin chorizo slices and breadcrumbs topped with Gruyere and you’ve got another really substantial and delicious version that I’m sure you’ll make time and again. I originally made this because I had a pack of sliced salami in the fridge that needed using up but now I buy chorizo slices especially for it as we like it so much. This serves 2 generously – just scale up the quantities and the size of the gratin dish for more portions. You could even mix in some cooked small pasta shapes to make it go further.

Cauliflower and leek cheese with chorizo gratin
  • 1 small cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1 large leek, washed and cut into 1cm thick rings
  • 500 ml milk
  • 80g grated strong cheese e.g. cheddar, 20g grated Gruyere
  • 3tbsp plain flour
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsps Panko bread crumbs
  • 70g pack of thinly sliced chorizo

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 220C.
  • Steam the cauliflower and leeks for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to air dry.
  • Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Add the flour and create a smooth paste. Allow it to cook out for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk gradually, keep whisking so that you have a smooth thick sauce. Add the cheese – it will melt as you whisk it in. Remove from the heat and add the seasoning – the mustard will bring out the cheese flavour, add a little extra salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Mix the cauliflower and leek mixture with the cheese sauce.
  • Butter a gratin dish and pour in the vegetables and cheese sauce. Tap the dish to ensure that the mixture fills the dish to the edge and is as level as possible.
  • Arrange the chorizo slices around the edge of the gratin dish. Scatter over the bread crumbs and the Gruyere.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and bubbling.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
  • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
  • Book your one to one cookery coaching session here

Posted in Meat main courses, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Braised sausages with orzo and peppers

I got this beautiful black Chasseur casserole dish for Christmas and it’s perfect for cooking dishes that need breadth not depth. I love braised sausages and my butcher makes lots of different varieties – the Cambridge, Old English, Bury Bangers, Chorizo and wild venison; he also stocks the Suffolk Salami Company salami with fennel which I just couldn’t resist. This recipe celebrates the marriage of the fennel in the salami and some extra fennel seeds to flavour the tomato sauce but I also do a version with chorizo and paprika which is just as delicious.

Serves 4

  • Good quality pork butchers sausages – if you serve 2/person you’ll need eight etc.
  • 1/2 whole salami (I used Suffolk Salami Company with fennel) or cooking chorizo, skin removed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 peppers, red, yellow or green – chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/2 large coffee mug of orzoroughly 140g
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic paste
  • 2 tbsps light olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2tsp chilli flakes with the salami or 2 tsps hot paprika if you use chorizo
  • 1/2 tsp salt and ground black pepper

To make…

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a shallow cast iron casserole. Brown the sausages and set aside.
  • Add the fennel seeds, onion and salami chunks and cook for about 10 minutes until softened and golden. Add the garlic and pepper, stir and cook through for a couple of minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Add the vinegar, tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli flakes, black pepper and salt. Stir and mix thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle in the orzo, stir and add the sausages so that they are spaced evenly around the dish.
  • Cover the casserole and bake in the oven for about an hour.
  • The sauce should be thick, the orzo will plump up and the sausages should be tender. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website. 
  • Follow me on Twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen, and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
  • Book your one to one cookery coaching session here
Posted in Meat main courses, Pasta, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment