Creamy pea and ham pasta

*Apologies to anyone who thinks they’ve already had this recipe – the last time I posted it, it didn’t work properly!

When I go home to Boston, I always pop into our family’s favourite butcher’s shop, Carl Dunham’s on the London Road, and stock up on Lincolnshire delicacies such as chine (pork stuffed with parsley and spices), haslet (a kind of meatloaf), Lincolnshire sausages and the best ham joints in the world.  When I prepare one of these joints, I simmer it with celery, carrot and onion added to the cooking water so that I get a lot of fantastic stock for soup and to make pea and ham risotto. With any cooked ham leftovers, this creamy pasta sauce with peas is one of our favourite quick suppers – 20 minutes from fridge to plate! If I can’t wait until I have my special Lincolnshire ham, I use the ready cooked shredded ham hock that you can buy from Sainsbury’s or Waitrose.

Pea and ham pasta

Serves two – the quantities are for guidance only, add more or less ham, cream, cheese or mustard according to how you like it. 

  • Enough dried pasta for two – bows or any shape that will hold a creamy sauce will do
  • 60g cooked ham, chopped into small cubes
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, grated
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of frozen petit pois peas
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard

To make…

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack (usually about 12 minutes) in boiling salted water.
  • Meanwhile, gently warm the cream, mustard and cheese together in a small non-stick saucepan. Add the ham and check for seasoning – you may want to add a little more mustard or some pepper. Add the peas just before the pasta is ready to warm through.
  • Drain the pasta and combine thoroughly with the sauce. Add a little more cream if it’s too thick.
  • Serve in warmed bowls. Enjoy!

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Spicy lamb and pepper stew with aubergine mash

This has to be one of my favourite dishes from the Rick Stein series he did on Eastern Mediterranean cookery. I’ve made it a few times now and adapted the recipe ingredients and method slightly by using e.g. tinned rather than fresh tomatoes and chilli flakes as opposed to fresh chilli because it still delivers great flavour and easier prep. I wasn’t sold on the idea of the aubergine ‘mash’ to begin with but, trust me, it is delicious with the rich and spicy tomato, lamb and pepper stew and makes a welcome change from serving it with potatoes, rice or couscous. This recipe is enough to serve four but the stew freezes well so it’s worth making a big batch. The red pepper sauce that gives it that extra spicy kick, keeps for at least a week in the fridge and you can use the rest to pep up any number of pasta sauces or other dishes. Perfect with a glass of robust red wine – enjoy!

Lamb with aubergineServes 4

  • Lamb stew: 850g lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 onion, chopped, 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped, 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced, 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste: 2 red long, pointed peppers, 50g tomato paste, 1/2tsp salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 30ml olive oil
  • Aubergine mash: 4 medium aubergines, 30g butter, 30g flour (I use spelt flour), 380ml milk, 75g grated Parmesan, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and black pepper

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Prick the aubergines a few times with a fork and place them on a baking tray with the long, pointed red peppers. Cook them in the oven for about 30 minutes until the aubergine flesh is soft and cooked and the skins on the peppers are blistered and easy to remove. In summer, I would just char-grill these on the BBQ. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 160°C.
  • Meanwhile, to make the lamb stew, add half the oil to a large high-sided frying pan on a high heat, and brown the lamb pieces in batches (don’t add too many pieces or the temperature of the oil reduces and the meat won’t brown). Transfer to a large casserole dish – I use a cast iron one.
  • Once the meat is browned, add the remaining oil and lightly cook the chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, green pepper, dried oregano, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer gently for a few minutes while you make the red pepper paste.
  • The red peppers should be cool enough to handle now. Slip off the skins, remove the stalk and the seeds. Chop coarsely and combine with the oil, tomato paste, salt and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Blend to a paste with a stick blender or in a liquidizer. Add a generous tablespoon of the paste to the stew, keep the rest in a jar in the fridge or freeze it in a plastic container to use for another dish. Trust me, this is so nice, you will use it all up!
  • Add the tomato, pepper and onion mix to the lamb in the casserole dish, cover and leave to cook in the oven for an hour and a half. The lamb should be tender and the sauce rich and thick. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.
  • Ten minutes before you want to serve the stew, prepare the aubergine ‘mash’. Cut the cooked aubergines in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh. I usually put this on a plastic plate with a lip so I can chop it coarsely with a knife first and then mash it to a coarse texture without the juices spilling everywhere. In a non-stick pan over a medium heat, melt the butter, add the flour and cook through, stirring for a couple of minutes to make a smooth roux. Gradually whisk in the milk to make a rich white sauce. Add the aubergine, grated Parmesan and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Warm it through gently.
  • Serve a pool of the aubergine mash onto warmed plates with the lamb stew ladled over the top, top with chopped parsley.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

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Perfect strogonoff

We had a wonderful joint of rare roast beef at the weekend and, unusually, there was a fair bit leftover – time for a cheat’s stroganoff for supper! I trimmed my rare beef into thin strips and added them to the sauce at the end so they were warmed through but not cooked further. You can use the recipe to make this leftover beef version or cook it from scratch – either will be delicious and it takes less than 30 minutes to get from chopping board to plate!  Serve with plain boiled rice.

Strogonoff

Serves 4

  • 500g sirloin or fillet steak (or leftover rare roast beef)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 50g butter
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g white or chestnut mushrooms, cut in half or quartered depending on their size
  • 250ml sour cream 
  • 1 tbsp of English mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 150ml beef stock

To make…

  • Melt half the butter in a wide pan and cook the onions gently until soft and golden and sweet.
  • Meanwhile, if you’re using raw beef, heat the oil in a frying pan until smoking hot, fry the steak for about 1½ minutes on each side until well browned, then set aside. Cut into thin strips before adding to the sauce. The beef needs to be just pink to retain the tenderness.
  • Add the remaining butter to the pan and turn the heat up. Sauté the mushrooms until softened and slightly coloured.
  • Put the cream, stock and mustard in the pan, stir, combine and heat gently. Add the steak strips and warm through for 5 minutes. Season to taste. Add the parsley before serving with plain boiled rice.

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?
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Christmas @PigeonCottage

Christmas KitchenIt’s almost Christmas! Got it all under control? Well, if you need some helpful tips or extra party food ideas, it could be time to visit the Pigeon Cottage archive! #TheFridayRecipe will be back in 2018! Happy holidays!

 

Sausage rollsPigeon Cottage Xmas party cold table – all the recipes

Pigeon Cottage Kitchen – savoury canapes and party treats

Christmas dinner without the drama – stress-free preparation tips

Whats4teaMum?

And, if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas stocking filler gift, why not buy your family and friends a copy of my family recipe collection ‘Whats4teaMum?’ for just £6.99 on amazon.

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Mafalda Corta pasta with parsley pesto and pepper sauce

I’m a big fan of Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the difference’ range of dried pasta and I’ve tried most of the range now. The Italians use specific pasta shapes to work with particular types of sauces and the Mafalda Corta I used for this recipe with its frilled edges is perfect for my fresh parsley pesto and roasted pepper sauce. In the summer, I’ve got lots of basil in the garden to make traditional pesto, but in winter I substitute fresh English parsley. It not only tastes wonderful and fresh, it’s also rich in vitamins K and C, so important for winter health to help ward off those misery-making colds. The roasted peppers also bring a little bit of summer colour and vibrancy to the dish on a cold winter day. Did I mention it’s really, really easy to make as well as being delicious? It is!

Mafalda Corta

Serves 2, takes about 40 minutes

  • 150g dried Mafalda Corta pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Large bunch of curly parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 30g Parmesan cheese broken into chunks
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pointed red or yellow peppers

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC
  • Place the peppers and the garlic on a shallow roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes until the skins are blistered. Set aside to cool. Remove the skin from the peppers and deseed. Halve and cut into strips. Put your serving bowls in the oven to warm in the residual heat once you turn off the oven.
  • Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. It’s usually about 12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the pesto. Add the Parmesan chunks to a mini food processor and whizz for a minute until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the pine nuts and olive oil. Slip the garlic out of its skin and add. Whizz for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley, stalks and all, in stages. Pulse for about 30 seconds each time until it forms a paste. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Loosen with a little more olive oil if necessary.
  • Drain the pasta, return it to the pan and toss with the pesto and stir in the pepper strips. Serve in warmed pasta bowls. Delicious!

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?
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