When the warm nights hit, I’m always on a desperate hunt for dinner options that are satisfying, yet light and refreshing – I don’t go much on a salad for dinner…
This lemon & pea recipe, with a touch on mint is perfect for a summers evening with a glass of white wine! And I always manage to cook risotto for the 5000 so you can guarantee leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
300g risotto rice
50g frozen peas
400ml chicken stock (substitute for veg stock if making vegetarian)
Half a leek (finely sliced)
1 shallot (finely sliced)
2 garlic cloves (finely sliced)
Zest and juice of half / one lemon – dependent on your preference (I like mine lemony so go for a whole lemon!)
Dash of white wine
Knob of butter
50g parmesan (grated)
Few mint leaves
Start by bringing some stock to the boil and leaving to simmer. In a separate pan, gently heat some olive oil with a little butter and fry the garlic, shallot & leek for a few minutes until softened
Then add in the risotto rice and fry for 2 minutes before adding the wine. Once the wine has reduced, add in the lemon zest, a couple of sliced mint leaves and a ladle of stock
For the next 20 minutes or so, every time the rice absorbs the stock, stir and add in another ladle – until the rice has almost cooked through
When the rice is almost cooked, stir in the frozen peas and leave for a few minute
Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice, butter, parmesan and season
Serve with another sprinkling of parmesan, drizzle of olive oil & mint leaves and enjoy!
ps. This recipe is great to add in any veggies that need using up – as you can see from the photo I also chucked in a few mushrooms with the peas but you could add peppers, asparagus, spinach etc. whatever you’ve got in your fridge that needs using up!
Chilli Con Carne – one of the most versatile dishes there is. Have it with rice, on a jacket potato, on chips, in a burrito, with salad…the list goes on. We always batch cook this and have portions in the freezer for a panic lunch prep, or a quick comforting dinner. Chilli cheese chips is a favourite in our house!
Usually, I’d screw my face up at something like this – chilli con carne should ALWAYS be made with beef…or so I thought. Swapping the beef for mushrooms in this was a welcome change – not only making it even cheaper, but also a great way to get some more veggies into your dinner! You dice the mushrooms up finely so I’m sure you’d even be able to trick the veggies haters into loving this!
1 onion (finely diced)
2 cloves of garlic (finely diced)
1 tbsp cumin
1tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder (if you’re not a fan of spice go for 1/2)
2 tsp paprika
1 packet of mushrooms diced
2 carrots grated
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin of kidney beans
Start by heating a little oil in a pan and adding the coriander, paprika, cumin and chilli powder and stir through to make a paste with a pinch of salt – leave to cook for 2 minutes
Add in the onion and garlic and cook through until soft (you may want to add in a tbsp of hot water to stop them burning)
Next, add in the mushrooms and carrot and leave for a few minutes before adding in the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and half a tin of water – leave to simmer for a minimum of 30mins / until reduced. Season to taste.
Serve with rice, guac & soured cream!
This is a dish that tastes even better the following day – I really recommend batch cooking this and mixing it up with how you serve it!
The perfect lazy dinner. Pesto Pasta. So simple, but so satisfying. Pesto pasta is another go to quick meal for us and brilliant for last minute lunch prep. We’ve always got a couple of jars stashed in the cupboard but nothing beats homemade. I’m usually a straight up basil pesto kinda gal and have been lovingly nursing my basil plant throughout lockdown but this carrot top pesto makes a lovely change!
Often with basil pesto I find it a little sharp and am guilty of adding a LOT of cheese, but what I love about the carrot top pesto is that it’s a lot more subtle – offering a brilliant base to add in some veggies! Also a great way to use up the tops that would usually end up in the bin!
I always make a pot of pesto and then leave it in the fridge for as and when – it’s usually okay for about a week!
Carrot tops from about 7 carrots (I picked up some carrots at the farmers market & you should be able to grab them in some supermarkets, if not check out your local grocers!) #supportlocal
Handful of pine nuts (toasted for a few minutes)
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsp good quality of olive oil
Few fresh basil leaves
Lots of s&p
1 tbsp of grated parmesan
Handful of chopped mushrooms
Pasta – I’ve used fresh tagliatelle but your choice! Fresh is great!
Let’s start with the pesto – remove the larger stems and keep the leafy top section, roughly chop & add to a food processor
Blitz slightly before adding in the pine nuts, parmesan and crushed garlic clove and blend. Slowly add in the olive oil until you have your desired consistency and season to taste
Cook pasta as per instructions on the packet and dry fry some mushrooms (dry frying allows them to release their flavour!)
Once the pasta is cooked – use tongs to add the pasta to the mushroom pan (this will help also transfer some of the pasta water) and add a spoonful of pesto (2 tsp per serving) along with another dash of pasta water & combine! You can add more / less pesto depending on your preference!
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of parmesan!
For those of you London foodies who have been to Flour and Grape in Bermondsey, it is likely you will relate when I say their Spinach & Mascarpone pasta dish is out of this world. It’s proof that the best dishes are the simplest. And whilst we’re in lockdown and unable to get our hands on it – I thought I’d share the recipe for my version. Ever since we visited their restaurant at the beginning of the year I’ve been desperately trying to recreate the dish and whilst it will never quite live up to their standards, it really does hit the spot.
Before lockdown, this became a weekday evening staple for us – it can be ready in less than 10 minutes with very little effort, limited washing up and usually leftovers for lunch the next day. That to me, is perfect in itself. Using frozen spinach also means it’s a great one to make last minute – it’s our go to when one of us is unexpectedly stuck at work late.
Serves 2 with leftovers
500g fresh pappardelle
12 cubes of frozen chopped spinach
2 cloves of garlic (peeled & finely sliced)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Squeeze of lemon juice
Lots of s&p
Garlic bread – not essential but highly recommended, preferably with cheese
To start put the spinach in a microwaveable bowl and give a quick zap in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Then, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes and then add the spinach to the pan
Add in the nutmeg and season with s&p
Boil your pasta in salted boiling water as per instructions on the pack
Add the mascarpone to the spinach and leave to simmer on a low heat
Drain your pasta and add to the spinach (set aside some pasta water in case you need it later – it’ll help the sauce combine with the pasta) and stir through some parmesan and squeeze of lemon!
Serve with another sprinkling of parmesan and touch of nutmeg!