Tagliatelle with tenderstem broccoli and kale

This is a really quick dinner to whip up especially midweek when you’re battling late nights at work, endless laundry and the temptation to order sub-par takeout.

Tenderstem broccoli (or purple sprouting, which was in season when I tried variations of this recipe, kale, pasta, garlic, anchovies, mushrooms, grated cheese, salt, pepper, olive oil. That’s it.

How much (serves 2)

  • 250g dry pasta (I used Tagliatelle, cooked for 12 minutes, reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid,drained)
  • Fry Lite spray
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 pieces of anchovies (I used the bottled variety), finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dry chille flakes (optional)
  • a handful of kale, washed and trimmed (par-boiled)
  • a handful of tenderstem/purple sprouting broccoli, trimmed (pa-boiled/steamed)
  • a handful of chopped chestnut mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grate parmesan cheese


  1. Heat a non-stick frying/sauté pan on your stove-top (medium heat)
  2. Spray Fry Lite onto the frying pan and saute the garlic for 20 seconds and anchovies
  3. Toss in the chilli flakes (optional), kale, broccoli and mushrooms
  4. Give the veggies a good mix and toss and leave to cook for 3 minutes
  5. Add the pasta and reserved cooking liquid to the veggies
  6. Leave to cook for 1 minute
  7. Season with salt, pepper
  8. Serve with grated parmesan

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Veggie pasta

Unlike previous Easter weekends, we stayed home.   No fixed plans, just going with the flow, having friends over for tea and cakes and keeping meals simple and wholesome.

I’ve been putting off ordering groceries on Ocado for a variety of reasons, the main being that I’m off work for a few days therefore making it possible to pop into the shops if I needed something.  Alas, Easter Sunday morning came and a walk to my local butcher proved fruitless.  They were closed for the next few days.  It was akin to trying to buy a turkey on Christmas Day!  There was the option of M&S and Sainsbury’s.  But the weather has been awful all day.  Rain, wind, hailstorms, interspersed with sunshine, lulling you into a false sense that the worse of the weather had passed.   I wanted to cook a Malaysian dish. As I stepped out the door and felt a gust of wind, I retreated back in and declared it a possible take-away day.

Not willing to give up just yet, I browsed several blogs for inspiration and found this.

Thirty minutes later, the Bear, Hubby and I tucked into our delicious lunch.  We agreed that a traditional Easter roast could wait another day.






Vegetarian lasagna

In continuing with today’s theme, I was really keen on dusting away grey dullness and cobwebs.  I ordered some bright red peppers on Ocado which were delivered last night.  A can of organic mixed beans in the press.  An ingredient I wasn’t too sure about, though ordered on a whim after watching a Mo Farah ad – Quorn mince.

I roasted the following – sliced courgettes, peppers and tomatoes with some salt and pepper.

I cooked the Quorn mince and mixed beans with two cans of chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and dried herbs.  Topped with the roasted veggies and chopped chestnut mushrooms.

A white sauce made with equal measures of butter and plain flour, milk, whole, peeled onion stuffed with a clove, grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.  It took about 20 minutes for the sauce to thicken and coat the back of a spoon.

Wholemeal lasagna sheets cooked in boiling water.

Grated parmesan and light mozzarella for some cheesy-ness.


This dish easily serves six.  Perhaps a side salad, steamed broccoli or a sneaky helping of chips (which is what I plan to do tomorrow!).

Linguine with lamb mince, pesto and broccoli

I’ve been stuck in a food rut for a while now.  Whilst I do enjoy eating out, the limited choice of restaurants in our local area has left me feeling rather jaded.  A friend recommended this simple pasta recipe – one perfect for a mid-week, or at the end of a tiring day just as you are contemplating ordering a pizza.


Serves: 2 adults (and one toddler)


  • a pot of boiling water (2.5 litres)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (cut into thumb size)
  • dried linguine (enough for two persons)
  • 300g lamb mince, marinated in 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp dried thyme/oregano, salt and pepper for 5 minutes
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (add more/less or omit as preferred)
  • 3 tbsp green pesto ( I used ready made – quick dinner, remember)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • freshly grated parmesan


  1. Bring 2.5 litres to boil in a pot
  2. Blanch the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain using a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid
  3. Place the linguine into the boiling water and leave to cook for 10-12 minutes (or as instructed on the pack)
  4. Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat a non-stick frying pan and brown the lamb mince for 2 to 3 minutes
  5. You may wish to drain some of the cooking fat/liquid from the mince (I did)
  6. Toss in the broccoli and the dried chilli and leave to cook for a minute
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, add 3 to 4 tbsp of the cooking water into the mince
  8. Add the pesto to the mince
  9. Drain the pasta and toss the linguine into the mince
  10. Season the pasta with salt and pepper to taste
  11. Add freshly grated parmesan before serving with a crisp salad on the side

The bear loved it!


Spicy crab and spinach sauce

I intended to make this lovely crab and spinach sauce to serve with zoodles (courgette/zucchini noodles).  Alas, it is cold outside and a bowl of steaming hot pasta topped with delicious sauce won the toss up between comfort and health-eating.  To make this sauce Whole30 compliant, exclude the olives and serve with zoodles.   From pot to plate in 15 minutes.  Perfect for a midweek meal.



  • Fry lite (olive oil)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (de-seed to cut back on heat)
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 80g spinach leaves
  • 1/2 tsp herb de provence
  • a good handful of pitted black olives, chopped
  • 120g white crab meat (I used canned, brining liquid drained)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a handful of chopped basil


  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan on the stove (low heat)
  2. Spray the pan with Fry lite and fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds before adding the chopped tomatoes, spinach and herb de provence
  3. Leave to cook for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally
  4. Add the olives and crab meat and season with salt and pepper.  Leave to cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped basil
  6. Serve with pasta/zoodles and I was thinking it might even be lovely over an omelette!


Conchiglie pasta and mussels

It was a warm day, and I really fancied mussels cooked in a light broth, served with pasta shells, tomatoes, parsley, rocket and watercress.

I have to lament the lack of independent fishmongers on my local high street.  Alas, the only other option is to try my luck at the big supermarket chains.  I ventured into Sainsbury’s yesterday with the hope of finding mussels but as expected, they had run out.  I then proceeded to M&S, and the only ones I could find were pre-packed and prepped mussels in garlic and white wine.   It was either that, or something else, but nothing really grabbed me, so I checked out a pack of the aforementioned mussels and headed back home.

I sautéed some shallots and garlic, before adding in 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes and leaving it to cook for 15 minutes over a gentle heat, in a heavy-based pot.  I then emptied the pack of mussels along with its sauce into the same pot, added some freshly chopped tomatoes and left it to cook for 7-8 minutes.  I cooked about 300g of conchiglie pasta (shells) separately and added the pasta to the mussels once cooked.

Plenty of freshly ground black pepper, some salt and chopped parsley for seasoning.  A big bowl laden with mussels, shallot, tomatoes, pasta, broth and plenty of watercress and rocket.  Nothing beats freshly made sauce, but this was the next best thing.


Mussels in white wine

I stopped by at Sainbury’s yesterday for a quick spot of grocery shopping.  I walked past the fishmonger and noticed bundles of mussels being sold.  I bought one on impulse, knowing it would make a lovely Saturday night dinner.

The last good Moules Marinieres dish I had was in Brussels and that was years ago.  I had all the ingredients in the fridge to make mussels in white wine, but instead of serving it with frites, I decided to toss in some spaghetti.  Not very French/Belgian, I know.

The mussels needed some cleaning, and I threw out almost half the portion I bought as the shells were broken or the mussels were open.  Apart from the prepping, this is an easy dish to make. 

Ingredients: (serves 2 and a bit more!)

  • 1kg mussels
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup good white wine
  • 4 tbsp double
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a good handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 portions of 25g of butter
  • a large pot of boiling water
  • 500g spaghetti
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Clean and de-beard the mussels. Get rid of open mussels
  2. Heat oil in a big pot (I used my Le Creuset cast iron pot)
  3. Sweat garlic and onions with a pinch of salt and leave to cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  4. Add the tomatoes and dried oregano to the pot and leave to cook for 2 minutes
  5. Add the mussels into the pot, along with the white wine and put the lid on for 5 minutes
  6. At this stage, place the spaghetti into the pot of boiling water along with a pinch of salt and cook as per the instructions until al-dente
  7. Remove the lid from the mussels pot and pour in the cream, add the saffron, chilli flakes, lemon zest and 25g butter
  8. Put the lid back on and leave to cook for another 7 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat after 7 minutes
  9. When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/4 cup cooking water and drain the pasta
  10. Add the pasta to the mussels along with the reserved cooking liquid and remaining butter
  11. Give the pasta and mussels a good toss
  12. Season with salt, pepper and scatter in the chopped parsley
  13. Serve immediately