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22 April 2017

Tagliatelle with Roasted Vine Tomatoes & Olive Tapenade


Whilst most of my recipes are original, every so often I come across a dish that's just so amazing I have to recreate it. This next recipe is one of them and based off a dish from the new vegan menu at Ask Italian - tagliatelle with pan fried courgettes, spinach, garlic and a hint of chili, with home-made olive tapenade and the sweetest, most incredible, roasted vine tomatoes.


Last weekend I was at home for Easter and tried some of the new menu items, including this dish, the aubergine pasta, the rosemary sea salt bread and their new chocolate orange tart for dessert. Ask have definitely hit the spot with this menu and I just couldn't wait to eat this next dish again. There's quite a lot of components for this dish, but you get 4 incredible servings of tagliatelle at the end, for the same price one would cost you at a restaurant. This would be the perfect dish to make if inviting some friends over, it's sophisticated and so delicious, yet all the steps are really quite simple! Plus - it goes really well with wine! 


I made the tapenade using kalamata olives, capers, garlic and a few other seaonings, first I roughly chopped the ingredients, then combined using a pestle and mortar, for maximum flavour. Potentially you could use a food processor, but it may over-blend the mix, resulting in more of a paste than a tapenade or alternatively, you could finely chop all the ingredients and then mix them together.


This dish tastes so rich and flavourful, yet still light and fresh from the courgettes, spinach and tomatoes, so invite some friends over, open a bottle of wine and get cooking!

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Tagliatelle with Roasted Vine Tomatoes & Olive Tapenade | Serves: 4 | Time: 45 mins


You'll need

  • Baking dish
  • Large frying pan 
  • Large sauce pan 
  • Colander
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Tongs
  • Pestle and mortar
  • Cup and spoon measures

Ingredients

Olive Tapenade
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 20 capers
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pasta & Veg
  • 200g cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2-1 red chili
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • 300g tagliatelle
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Place the tomatoes, still on the vine in a baking dish, lightly drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the tapenade, roughly chop a clove of garlic and then crush it in the pestle and mortar, then add the capers and crush these too. Pit the olives if required, then roughly chop and add these to the pestle and mortar. Pound the mixture so the olives break down further and then add the lemon juice, cider vinegar, parsley, oregano and olive oil and mix again. 
  3. Chop the courgette into chunks, fry with a splash of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes, then mince two garlic cloves and add this to the pan. Slice the chili lengthways, remove the seeds, then finely chop 1/2 or the whole chili and add to the pan. Stir together, add the spinach and let it wilt, then remove from the heat. 
  4. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the tagliatelle for around 7 minutes in lightly salted water. Drain and add to the veg pan, toss together with a splash more olive oil and serve up in 4 dishes. Top with a generous spoon of the olive tapenade and the roasted vine tomatoes. Season with a pinch of black pepper and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx

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16 April 2017

Beans & Greens with Za'atar Pita Chips


Sometimes you need a meal that’s just as nutritious and easy as it is hearty and delicious – this next recipe checks all those boxes and it can be made in less than 30 minutes. Here I combined white beans and kale with softened onions, garlic and seasonings, which I paired with some home-made pita chips, all golden, crisp and coated in Za'atar spice. 


Za'atar is a middle eastern spice mix, predominantly consisting of sumac, sesame seeds, oregano and salt – however it varies from region to region. It’s tangy, fragrant and always so delicious. I used the za'atar in this recipe to coat the pita chips and in the beans and greens – which adds such depth of flavour to the dish in relatively little time.


This next recipe is also so good for you, with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, along with a whole range of vitamins and minerals. The beans provide protein, fibre, iron, manganese. The kale contributes vitamin K, iron, vitamin A and C, which aids iron absorption and the good fats from the olive oil allow for absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, E and K. Not to mention the pita chips which are made from wholemeal pita breads – so provide a good amount of fibre, along with some protein too, which will help to stop your blood sugar levels from spiking and keep you fuller for longer! 


I used white beans and kale in this dish – but other legumes like chickpeas or lentils and other greens such as spring greens or chard would also work well and have similar nutritional profiles. This versatile recipe can also be eaten both warm and cold, as a side or a main dish. 


Beans & Greens with Za'atar Pita Chips | Serves: 2 | Time: 25 mins

You’ll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Large frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large baking tray
  • Grease-proof paper
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowl
Garlic Beans and Greens

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 cups white beans
  • 3 cups kale
  • 1.5 tbsp za'atar
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Pinch salt & pepper
Pita Chips

  • 2 wholemeal pitas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp za'atar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper. 
  2. Chop the onion in half, remove the skin and slice thinly. Fry on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until it has softened and translucent. Then crush the garlic and add this to the pan along with the beans. Keep stirring and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut each pita into 8 triangles and then separate the halves, so you have 16 triangles from each pita. Combine the za'atar, garlic, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and then coat each triangle in the mix, you may need to spoon some of the paste onto each pita chip. Spread out on a baking tray and cook for 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily.
  4. Add the seasonings, kale, lemon juice and vinegar to the pan and heat through until the kale has wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary, then serve up and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx


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9 April 2017

Vegan Easter Chocolate Cups


When it comes to vegan treats for Easter, despite most of the supermarkets having upped their game with the 'free from' eggs this year, they still seem to be lacking the excitement of the regular chocolate egg market - not to mention the price for such a little amount of chocolate. So, I thought I'd create some fun and super delicious Easter treats that you can make at home, whilst also getting more for your money!


Whilst you can make these chocolates into an egg shape, chocolate cups are not only easier, but require a standard cupcake tin and paper cases, that everyone probably already has on hand. These chocolates are also slightly healthier than shop bought treats, as they are stuffed with whole food ingredients, so you know exactly what you're eating.

1 April 2017

Wild Garlic & Spring Veg Pot Pie


After a long 2 weeks I finally have my camera back, so I thought I'd go for a walk and take some pictures of the gardens to test it out. I was hoping I might come across some wild garlic on my walk and whilst I didn't manage to find any, the health food shop in town had some locally sourced wild garlic pesto, so all was not lost! 


It really feels like spring now and along with that comes beautiful green spring veg, so I combined the seasonal veg with wild garlic pesto for a wonderful pot pie, perfect for Easter, Sunday lunches or even just a weeknight dinner! This pie is full of asparagus, tender-stem broccoli, green beans and peas, with vegan chick'n pieces, in a creamy wild garlic sauce, topped with a layer of crisp and golden puff pastry. I paired the fragrant pie with some new potatoes, coated in a little olive oil, mint, parsley, salt and some of that gorgeous wild garlic pesto.

11 March 2017

Broccoli, Leek & Pea Quiche


This next recipe is a vegan quiche with grilled broccoli, leeks and peas. I've made a vegan quiche before using both tofu and chickpea flour, this one however is using just chickpea flour - which is incredible at replacing eggs in recipes! When warm this quiche is creamy and quite soft and as it cools, the starch firms up and becomes like a traditional quiche in texture! As you may be able to tell I've been having a little trouble with my camera lately, there's an issue with the aperture mechanism which affects the mirror, causing my photos to be a little dark and grainy. I'll definitely be getting it fixed in the near future, but in the mean time, this recipe was too good not to share!


I cooked the broccoli and leeks in a griddle pan, the caramelisation of the veg results in such an amazing flavour and I love the slightly charred bits in the quiche. I flavoured the chickpea flour with onion and garlic powder, herbs, nutritional yeast and some black salt - with has sulphur, to make it taste a little more authentic! This quiche is great served both hot or cold, with a side salad and is packed full of protein!