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Deviled Chicken #MorrisonsMums/Dads Love Summer eBook Linky Challenge


 

 You would have to be living on the face of another planet right now, not to have realized that the price of food is sky-rocketing.  Recent studies show that spiraling food costs have driven the annual cost of a family's groceries up by £1,100 a year, and there is no relief in sight.  Unfortunately the costs of everything else are going up as well . . . petrol, heating fuels, electricity, clothing etc. . . . everything that is except wages!  Living on a fixed income is when you really begin to feel the pinch.  


 

About the only thing most people have any control of in the case of rising costs,  is the food budget,  and it has been reported that some people are now cutting back to only one meal a day, whilst the higher end grocery shops are losing out to cheaper shops as families seek to make their food dollars go a bit further. Morrisons has introduced many cuts in their prices and a new Price Checker Tool which you can use to check out their new lower prices and help to cut your food costs that little bit more. 

 

Even though there are only two of us . . . and a dog, it is a real struggle at times to stretch our food budget to provide nutritious and yet economical meals.  Mitzie is eating a lot more table scraps these days and I am trying my hardest to not let anything go to waste.  On the menu more often than not are cheaper cuts of meat and economical meals.  Economical meals such as this tasty chicken dish shown here today.  It uses the cheaper cuts such as thighs and legs . . . 


 

I save even more money by buying  whole chickens  and cutting them up myself at home.  I package and freeze  each cut individually, so that I have bags of thighs, breasts and legs in my freezer at any given time.  I also have bags of wings and backs, just perfect for making delicious stocks and soups. It's not all that difficult to do.

  

This is one of my economical dishes.  Cheap cuts of chicken marinated in a tasty spicy sticky marinade and then baked in the oven until they are scrummily glazed.  I serve it with rice and a vegetable and it always goes down a real treat.  If you don't like things too spicy, cut out the cayenne pepper! 


 

We love this chicken.  Not only does it make for a fairly economical meal but it is a real family pleaser, which just goes to show you that delicous food doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

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*Deviled Chicken*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

Scrummy chicken that has been marinated in a delicious marinade spices and chutney and then grilled baked until glazed and succulently yummo!

6 chicken drumsticks
6 chicken thighs
1 TBS oil
3 TBS chutney, finely chopped or mashed
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp English Mustard (hot)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



 With a sharp knife make several slashes deep into the chicken pieces, cutting down to the bone. Mis the oil, chutney, Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, cayenne, ginger and seasoning together in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces, tossing to coat them well with the marinade. cover and let stand for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.

Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet, brushing them with any extra marinade. Bake in the heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp, deeply golden, sticky and the chicken is cooked through. (The juices should run clear if pricked with a fork.) Serve hot or cold, as desired. 

I am entering this chicken recipe into the #MorrisonsMum Summer Recipe eBook Challenge sponsored by Morrisons, which has recently cut prices on over a thousand every day products. Find out more here price checker tool”.   Wish me luck!    As you can eat this hot or cold I am thinking it would fit into two categories, both the Picnic Favourites and the Lighter Summer Family Meals!


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Marie Rayner
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Quick and Easy Bacon and Egg Tarts


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You might not think that you have time to do a bacon and egg breakfast on a weekday, but this recipe here today proves that just isn't true.   With a little bit of inventive use of a convenience item (refrigerated croissant roll dough) you can have a delicious bacon and egg breakfast on the table lickety split, that's about 15 -20 minutes tops!  I kid you not.  

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I always keep partially cooked bacon in the freezer so that I can whip it out to use in things like these quick and delicious tarts.  They could not be easier.

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You just crack open the container and unroll the dough.  Divide it into three rectangular sections. (Here in the UK.  I am not sure how many in North America.)  Place them onto a lightly buttered or lined baking tray and then press the diagonal cuts together in the centre of each to seal  after which you then roll up a 1/2 inch rim all around the edge of each rectangle.

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All you do then is crack a large free range egg into the centre of each, season with some salt and pepper, lay some bacon on top and a dusting of Parmesan Cheese . . .  and pop those babies into the oven for 12 minutes, at the end of which you will have some perfectly cooked, deliciously easy egg and bacon tarts.  

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I always like to dust mine with a tad bit more Parmesan and some chopped Parsley to serve, but that's just me.  I like things to look pretty.  The Toddster love LOVES these and I guarantee the Toddster in your life will love them as well!  (At least I hope he will!  There's bacon.  Who doesn't love bacon!)

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*Quick and Easy Bacon and Egg Tarts*
Serves 6

It doesn't get any easier, quicker or tastier than this.  These make a great weekend breakfast!  Our crescent rolls over here have six in each tin and so they will separate into 3 individual tarts, each using two triangles.  I am not sure how that translates in America.

2 cans of refrigerator crescent rolls
6 large free range eggs
12 slices of smoked streaky bacon, partially cooked
3 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley and more Parmesan to serve.  

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Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Butter a large baking sheet.   Unroll the crescent rolls, dividing each can into three equal sections.  Place them onto the baking sheet, pressing the diagonal perforations in each section together to close.  Roll up a 1/2 inch border all the way around each tart base.  Break an egg into the centre of each.  They will spread out to fill the tart.  Sprinkle with some salt and black pepper to taste. Cut each slice of bacon  in half crosswise and place 4 half slices on each tart.  Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.    Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the eggs are set according to your preference.  Serve hot.
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Snickers Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies



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This is a cookie I have wanted to make for a long time.  I used to make them often when the kids were growing up, but haven't made them in years now.  I kept picking up snickers bars at the shops to use to make them with, but somehow they always got eaten before I could get the cookies made!  Don't ask me how that happened!

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If you love peanut butter as much as I love peanut butter, you are going to LOVE these cookies!  Just imagine your favourite peanut butter cookie . . .  stuffed with a chunk of a snickers bar and then baked until the candy gars are golden brown and crisp on the edges and the candy bar is all melted and gooey inside . . .

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Each mouthful brings you crisp peanut butter goodness combined with the moreish caramel scrummy-nuttiness of a snickers bar!  I cannot think of anything not to love about them, unless of course you don't like peanut butter and . . .  in that case . . .  this is not your day.  You better look away now!

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Doesn't that look positively addictively heavenly?  (I am assuming you are a peanut butter lover and a snickers lover if you are still here.)  These are almost too dangerous to have around for very long.    One good though is, nobody minds you gifting them with a tin of them.   You'll have a friend for life!

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*Snickers Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies*
Makes 24 

As a peanut butter fiend, these are just the ultimate peanut butter cookie.  Stuffed with snickers candy bars, these cookies have nuts!  (As Mr T would say!)  

110g of butter softened (1/2 cup)
135g of smooth peanut butter (3/4 cup)
150g of soft light brown sugar (3/4 cup packed)
47g granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
1 large free range egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
210g of plain flour (1 1/2 cups all purpose)
3  regular sized snickers bars, each cut into 8 chunks
(Cut down the middle and then cut each half into 4 equal bits)  

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Cream together both butters and the sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.   Whisk together the flour, soda and salt.  Stir this into the creamed mixture to combine well.  Cover and Chill for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.  Set aside.

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Scoop out 2 TBS of the cookie dough.  Flatten it in the palm of your hand.  Place a snickers piece in the centre.  Wrap the dough up over it and then roll the dough in your hand to completely cover the chocolate bits. Place on the baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough and candy bits, leaving about 2 inches in between each.  Press lightly on the top with a fork.  They won't flatten, but you will leave an impression.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges.   Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before carefully scooping off onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to three days.  You can freeze them for about one month if desired.

Casa Costello
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Strawberries for the Weekend




The strawberries are coming fast and furious now and we are trying to get our fill of them while they last.  It is a race to see who gets them first . . . the garden slugs or us.  Most of the time we win.   I thought it would be fun this morning to showcase some of my favourite strawberry recipes, the ones which we enjoy year after year without fail.   My tried and true berry recipes.  Enjoy!




Did you know that berries, especially strawberries have a special affinity for Balsamic Vinegar?  They do and this is the perfect way to highlight that beautiful marriage.



*Strawberries With Balsamic Vinegar*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

If you are looking for a dessert that is fresh, easy and delicious, then look no further. This tasty dish fills the bill on all counts!

750g of ripe small strawberries
60g of caster sugar (superfine sugar)
2 TBS good quality balsamic vinegar
125g of mascarpone cheese



Wipe the strawberries clean with a damp cloth, and then carefully hull them. If your berries are somewhat on the larger side, cut them in halves or quarters. Place them all into a glass bowl. Sprinkle the caster sugar on top and toss them gently to coat. Let sit, covered loosely with a cloth, for 2 hours to macerate. After 2 hours, drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top. Toss gently again, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spoon the berries into 4 glass dishes. Drizzle each with some of the syrup left in the bowl. Spoon a dollop of mascarpone cheese on top of each and serve.



This is a delicious bread that I make at least once every strawberry season.  It's not a great keeper, and needs to be eaten up within a day or so, but that's never been a problem around here.  I usually send half of it to my good friend Doreen and we enjoy the other half ourselves.  If you have a family it will be inhaled in no time at all.  Great for elevensies, and for any time really.  Note, it also freezes well, so you can also freeze what you don't eat for a later date.



*Strawberry Cardamom Bread*
Makes one 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf
Printable Recipe

A deliciously moist bread stogged full of fresh strawberries and glazed with a tangy lemon glaze.

4 ounces unsalted butter ( 1/2 cup)
150g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour, sifted (2 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
(remove the seeds from green cardamom pods and grind them
with a pestle and mortar or a coffee grinder if you cannot find it already ground)
175g sour cream (1/2 cup) or plain yoghurt
55g toasted walnuts (1/2 cup), coarsley chopped
300g of fresh strawberries, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

For the glaze:
the juice of 1/2 lemon
enough icing sugar to make a drizzable glaze

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter and lightly flour a 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf. Set aside.

Beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix only to combine. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries and the nuts.

Spoon into the prepared and bake for about 1 hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let stand in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool.

Whisk together the lemon juice and enough icing sugar to make a drizzle glaze. Drizzle over the cake. Let set.

Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread also freezes very well.

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I usually like to make a special breakfast at the weekend and during strawberry season these buttermilk pancakes are a real favourite of ours, especially when I serve them with my special honey and vanilla butter!  The Toddster just loves these and I reckon the Toddster in your life will too!

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*Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes with Honey & Vanilla Butter*
Serves 4    
Printable Recipe

In honor of fresh berries and strawberry season.  Feel free to substitute other berries for the strawberries.  Blueberries, raspberries and even sliced banana works well!
100g self raising flour (14 1/2 TBS) 1 tsp baking powder 25g caster sugar (2 TBS) pinch fine sea salt 2 large free range eggs,separated 175ml butter milk (scant 3/4 cup) 40ml whole milk (3 TBS) 45g sweet butter, melted (3 TBS)
a handful of fresh strawberries, chopped
For the honey and vanilla butter: 100g butter, soft (scant 1/2 cup) 3 TBS clear acacia honey 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

First make the butter.   Tip all of the ingredients for the butter into a bowl and simply beat together with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.   Spoon into a small bowl and cover.  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl.   Whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk and milk.   Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Tip in the wet ingredients along with 15g of the butter (1 TBS).  Whisk together until smooth.   Whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Fold these into the pancake batter.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Brush with some of the remaining melted butter.  Add 3 to 4 large spoonfuls of the batter, spacing them well apart.  Scatter the tops of each with a few slices of berry.  Cook for several minutes, until the surface is covered with bubbles and the bottom side is golden brown.  Flip over and cook for another minute until cooked through and golden brown on the underside as well.  Place onto an ovenproof platter, cover with a clean tea towel and keep warm in a low oven until you have cooked them all.

Serve hot at the table with the butter.  Delicious.    Crisp slices of streaky smoked bacon go very well! (It's that sweet and salty thing you know . . . )

Note:  If you really want to be decadent you can add crumbled crisp meringues and then call them Eton Mess Pancakes!



You just have to have strawberry shortcake at least once or twice during the season.  I showed you my mom's the other day, and here today I want to show you another delicious version which uses elderflower and black pepper.  This is fabulously delicious!  You pepper the berries and infuse the cream with elderflower cordial, but don't worry if you can't get the elderflower cordial, you could also use rose water and it would be just as gorgeous!



*Strawberry Shortcakes with Black Pepper and Elderflower Cream*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A unique and delicious twist on the traditional dessert, with the addition of snappy black pepper and a delicate elderflower cordial infused cream.

4 large buttermilk biscuits, topped with some demerara sugar before baking
(I use my recipe which you can find here)
1 pound (16 ounces) fresh strawberries
3 TBS caster sugar
freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the cream:
225ml of double or whipping cream (1 cup), well chilled
3 to 4 TBS elderflower cordial
3 TBS caster sugar





Wash the berries and gently dry them. Hull and then slice into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and some freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside to macerate for about 15 minutes.

Whisk the cream along with the caster sugar, until it forms soft folds. Gently fold in the elderflower cordial.

Split the buttermilk biscuits and place the bottom half of each onto a dessert plate. Top with one forth of the macerated berries. Divide the elderflower cream between each, placing on top of the berries. Top with the biscuit tops. Serve immediately.

Note: The cream can be whipped ahead of time and kept covered and chilled in the refrigerator. I do not advise preparing the berries too far ahead of time as they will become too soft and release too many of their juices. You don't want to leave them to macerate much longer than 15 minutes for optimum flavour and texture. The biscuits are best made ahead and stored in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. When baking simply brush the tops with some milk and sprinkle with some demerara sugar for a nice look and texture.



Rock Cakes may be one of Harry Potter's favourite teatime treats, but I have news for you.  They are one of our favourites too, especially these fresh Strawberry Shortcake Rock Cakes!  These . . . pardon the pun . . . quite simply ROCK!



*Strawberry Shortcake Rock Cakes*
Makes about 3 dozen
Printable Recipe

Tender, sweet and chock full of sweet strawberries! As with any rock cake, they are best eaten on the day, but will keep in an airtight container for up to one day.

12 ounces fresh strawberries cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
9 TBS granulated sugar, divided
8 1/2 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine seasalt
6 TBS cold butter, cut into small bits
5 1/2 fluid ounces double cream (about 2/3 cup)
demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Stir together the diced berries, lemon juice and 2 TBS of the sugar. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and then rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cream just until the dough begins to come together and then fold in the berry mixture until combined.

Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets by heaped tablespoons, leaving some space between each one. Sprinkle with some demerara sugar.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before eating. Your family will love you.

 

A good crumble never goes amiss.  We do love our crumbles and this Strawberry Rhubarb Oat and Walnut Crumble is one of the best, I kid you not!  Lashings of custard or cold ice cream . . . or if you are feeling a bit indulgent, clotted cream are a MUST!

 

*Strawberry, Rhubarb, Oat and Walnut Crumble*
Serves 8 to 12
Printable Recipe

This is worth waiting all year for.  Delicious, delicious, DELICIOUS!

For the Crumble Topping:
3.75 ounces plain flour (3/4 cup)
2 ounces rolled oats (1/2 cup)
3.75 ounces soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
3 ounces of chopped toasted walnuts ( generous 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 ounces butter, melted (1/4 cup)

For the filling:
7 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup)
2 TBS cornflour
16 ounces rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces (a generous 6 cups)
16 ounces strawberries, cut in half (a generous 6 cups)
1 TBS pure vanilla extract

Pouring cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Butter a large glass baking dish and set aside.

Make the crumble first.  Mix the flour, oats, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a bowl.  Pour the melted butter over top.  Stir and press together to make a few clumps.  Put in the freezer while you make the filling.

Stir together the cornflour and sugar, mixing it together well.  Add the fruit and vanilla.  Toss together gently to coat.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.  Remove the crumble from the freezer and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges.  Cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Spoon out into bowls to serve and pass the cream!

Note:  This is best eaten on the day.  You can halve the recipe quite successfully if you don't want to make that much.  Chill any leftovers, wrapped in the refrigerator.  They're quite nice eaten for breakfast the morning after.  *blush*    


 

This is a lovely dessert of simple pan roasted berries served warm with a nice dollop of softly whipped honey cream.  Sometimes it's the simple things in life which bring us the most joy, and this certainly is one of those!

 

*Roasted Summer Berries, with Honey Whipped Cream*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

One of the tastiest of summer treats!

500g of English Strawberries (about 1 pound)
2 TBS butter
4 TBS soft light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

For the Cream:
225ml of double or whipping cream (1 cup)
2 TBS runny honey (I like wildflower or clover)
a few drops of vanilla extract  





Preheat your oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Wash and then gently dry the berries with some paper towelling. Hull them and if they are large, cut in half.

Whip the cream with a wire wisk until it just starts to peak. Stir in the honey and vanilla. Set aside and keep cool.

Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet. Add the sugar and cardamom and stir to melt the sugar. Once the sugar is melted, turn off the heat and add the berries, tossing them gently to coat them in the mixture. Bang the pan into the oven. Roast for 2 to 3 minutes, give them a stir, and roast for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Spoon the roasted berries into serving dishes and top each serving with a dollop of the honey cream. Drizzle any juices over top. Serve immediately.


 

We don't just eat them for desserts either.  You can't beat a delicious salad, especially when it's composed of lovely ripe berries, proscuitto, rocket and mozzarella!  This always goes down a real treat.   The pickled shallot dressing is a winner/winner!    We love THIS fresh and tasty salad!

  

 *Strawberry and Mozzarella Salad*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A delicious salad, which is not only simple and quick to make but makes a great  and unsual use of seasonal berries.

2 TBS Apple Balsamic Vinegar
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp caster sugar (fine sugar)
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 X 80g packs or Italian Proscuitto Crudo (about 8 thin slices)
1 ball of Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese, drained and torn (about 1/4 pound)
250g of strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced (1/4 pound)
2 X 50g packs of wild rocket leaves, washed and dried (about 4 cups, arugula)

Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar and shallots together in a large bowl.  Season well with black pepper.  Set aside.

Divide the proscuitto between 4 chilled salad plates.  Scatter with the mozzarella.  Toss the strawberries and rocket into the bowl with the dressing.  Toss gently to coat.  Divide equally amongst the salad plates, placing it on top of the meat and cheese.  Drizzle any leftover dressing over top .  Serve immediately.

Note - You won't need any salt as the proscuitto is quite salty.  


I hope that I have wet your berry whistle and that strawberries will be on your menu this weekend like they are going to be on ours!
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A delicious Pasta Dish in the Italian Manner . . .


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I have never been to Italy, but I have long loved Italian Food.  The Toddster, he's not so fussed.  He, as you all know, is not fussed about pasta or pizza and so he says he doesn't think he would enjoy visiting Italy.  I always tell him though, they eat a lot more than pasta and pizza in Italy!     I could quite happily live on just those two things alone, but I really do hope that one day I will have the opportunity to find out for myself.

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Yesterday I took a boo in the refrigerator and decided to make myself a dish that used up some of the bits and bobs that I had hanging in there . . . some spinach, a few TBS of sun-dried tomato pesto, a handful of button mushrooms, some leftover seasoned tinned chopped tomatoes and a rather tired looking banana shallot in the vegetable drawer.  I felt a little bit like an Italian Grandmother when I was doing it . . . or as how I perceive that an Italian Grandmother would cook . . . kinda like my grandmother, but with more exotic ingredients!

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This is the type of cooking that I really like to do most of all . . . being inventive with what I have on hand.   When I first moved over here to the UK there used to be a show on every afternoon at about 4 pm called Ready Steady Cook.

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There would be two guests and two celebrity chef's,  a moderator/presenter and a studio audience.  Each of the guests would give their chef a bag filled with a few ingredients and the chef would then have to live up to the challenge of creating as many tasty dishes as they could with these ingredients in 20 minutes of cooking time.

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Oh how I loved that show.  I was always so amazed at what the chef's came up with and in such a short time.  Truth be told, they probably had somewhat of an inkling ahead of time what was going to be in the bag . . . but it made for interesting viewing at any rate!

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Anyways, that is what I like to do here at home.  Take what I have and then try to create something tasty out of it.   I also like it to look good.  Sometimes I am successful, and sometimes I am not.

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Today I think I was.   I loved all of the colours and flavours of this dish.   It was simple and yet it tasted divine . . . and I got to indulge in a a tasty rare treat of pasta.  I called it Kitchen Sink Pasta because it has a bit of everything in it . . . all but the kitchen sink!

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*Kitchen Sink Pasta*
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

One of those quick and easy meals for when you are short on ingredients, except for little dabs of this and little dabs of that.  Quick, simple and delicious.

130g (6 ounces) dry pasta (1 1/3 cup)
1 TBS olive oil
1 banana shallot, peeled and chopped
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1 handful of fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 TBS sun dried tomato pesto
370g of chopped tomatoes with oregano and basil (a generous cup ful)
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves
Finely grated Parmesan Cheese to serve

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Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil.  Add your pasta and cook as per package directions.  (Today I used a cup shaped pasta that would hold the sauce well.)  Drain well. Rinse with hot water.  Drain again and keep warm

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring until golden brown.  Add the mushrooms and garlic,  Cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the pesto, tinned tomatoes and vinegar.  Bring to the boil and cook rapidly until the sauce reduces substantially.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in the spinach leaves allowing them to just wilt.  Add the cooked pasta and toss together.   Divide amongst two serving bowls, topping each with a grating of cheese.

I have decided to enter this recipe into a fab contest going on at the moment over at the Tuscany Now Blog.   They are offering some really nice prizes and I think this recipe is contest worthy! #TuscanyNowCookOff  What have I got to lose?  Nada, or as the Italians would say  . . . Non un diamine de molto!  MWHA!
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