Spaghetti Carbonara

You know how everyone always talks about how they have store cupboard recipes? Well this is definitely one of ours. It’s one of our favourite – last minute, use up all the leftovers, I’m starving now – meals. We were just in Portugal last week with some friends and this was definitely on the menu. Something quick, easy and delicious to make, allowing us to bask in the sun for as long as possible!

You will need:
500g Spaghetti
Bacon Lardons
4 eggs
Grated cheese – any kind is fine. We tend to use a mix of parmesan, emmental or cheddar – basically whatever is in the fridge.

Cook the spaghetti as per the instructions. Whilst that’s cooking heat some oil and fry the lardons until crispy.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the cheese, mixing together.
Drain the pasta, put back in the pan and add the egg/cheese mix and the lardons to it. Mix together quickly so that the pasta cooks the egg mixture.
Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and a salad (and some wine!)
This will serve 4-6 people depending on how hungry everyone is. I’ve left the amount of lardons and the amount of cheese unspecified on purpose as it really is personal preference. I love lots of bacon, but Fi, not so much. We also like to add mushrooms too (if we have them that is)!

– Lau

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Crispy cakes

These crispy cakes are so simple to make and absolutely delicious. I think there much better than the chocolate kind.

All you need is:
4oz marshmallows
4oz toffee or soft caramels
4oz margarine
4-6 oz Rice Krispies or Cornflakes

Melt the margarine, marshmallows and toffees in a saucepan on a medium heat.
Once melted mix in the cereal a bit at a time until the mixture sticks together.
Press into a tin and put in the fridge to cool.
Once it hardens cut into squares.

-Fi

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Steak and Mushroom Stroganoff

This is a recipe that we found earlier in the year, it’s perfect for those cold evenings, which seem to be occurring with a higher frequency right now. It’s from one of our (many) recipe books; Fay’s Family Food by actress Fay Ripley. It’s a brilliant book with some really tasty things in.

750g rump steak
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion sliced
2 garlic gloves
400g mushrooms
2 tsp tarragon
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
200ml soured cream
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley

Cut the steak into strips, and fry, in batches, in a non-stick pan in half the oil, untilgolden brown all over. Keep warm.
In the same pan fry the onions in butter until soft, add the garlic for 1 minute, then the mushrooms and tarragon frying until the mushrooms are tender. Add the tomato puree, stir in the mustard
Add the meat back in and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and add the sour cream.
We normally have this with rice as the sauce soaks in really well.

-Fi

Scrumptious Brownies

This recipe was given to Fi by a friend and they are simply delicious. It’s impossible to eat just one and they are best when still warm.

200g Milk Chocolate
150g Butter
3 Eggs
375g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
125g Plain Flour
30g Cocoa Powder
200g White Chocolate chunks or buttons

Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave for 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl whisk the 3 eggs.
Add the sugar and vanilla essence to the eggs and stir.
Pour in the melted chocolate and mix.
Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold into a smooth mixture.
Pour into a baking tin and scatter the white chocolate chunks on top.
Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes on 180 degrees.

Bread

So last week we decided to give bread making a try. We still had some strong white bread flour in the cupboard, leftover from making pizza dough earlier in the year so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new and to clean out the cupboard at the same time. We decided to start with a white loaf figuring that if that went well then we could be a bit more adventurous next time.
As you can see from the picture below we ended up with 2 loaves of slightly differing sizes. They may not look perfect but we’re very proud of our rustic looking loaves. They were completely delicious with butter and jam.

The bread can be frozen once baked and tastes just as good once defrosted. So why not make up a big batch and then enjoy homemade bread without any effort (or expense) whenever you want!

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Ingredients:
450g strong plain flour
1 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil
300ml tepid water

Sift the flour and yeast together in a large bowl, then mix in salt and sugar. add the oil and water. Mixing to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Turn into a oiled bowl covering with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm placed until the dough had doubled in size – about 1 hour.
Once risen lightly knead before shaping and placing on an oiled and floured baking tray. Cover with the damp towel and leave to rise – 30 mins.
Dust with flour, slash the top of the bread and place in a preheated oven (220C, 425F or Gas 7) for 20 minutes.
Reduce to 200C and bake for a further 20 mins or until risen with a golden crust. Tap the bottom to check if the bread is cooked. You want it to sound hollow when tapped.

This recipe is from The Cooking Book by Dorling Kindersley.

– Lau