Spinach, Goats Cheese and Walnut Pasta

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A winter wonder to wow all the family!

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INGREDIENTS FOR 4

400 gm pasta of choice 

Olive oil and a knob of butter

An onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely sliced

200ml chicken or vegetable stock

200 gm of spinach uncooked

3 tbsp of crème fraîche

100 gm soft goats cheese

Tsp of chilli flakes

A handful of basil leaves torn

2 tbsp of chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Put your pasta on to cook.
  2. Heat a little olive oil and the butter in a large frying pan or wok
  3. Add the onion and sauté gently until softened then add the garlic. Fry for a minute. Pour in the stock .
  4. Add the spinach and cook  for a minute, then add the crème fraîche and stir in. Season with black pepper.
  5. When the pasta is cooked, drain well and add to the creamy mixture. Crumble in the goats cheese.
  6. Add the chilli flakes and the torn basil leaves, then the walnuts. Stir gently.
  7. Check for seasoning.

A fabulous dish for late autumn and you can play about with it as you wish. Use different greens – maybe rocket – maybe savoy cabbage finely shredded or even crumbled broccoli. You could use pine nuts too. Tis up to you!

But you MUST try it!

Lentil Bolognaise

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Lentil Bolognaise

It was Nigel Slater’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to cook one of his newer dishes to mark the occasion. His writing, his cookery programmes and his approach to all things food is so encouraging and inspiring to writers like myself. The way he creates dishes like this one has given me so much confidence in creating my own recipes.

Hey, ok, enough of the eulogising!

This is a really tasty dish and a fab way to eat lentils.

For 4

2 carrots finely diced
1 onion finely sliced
3 tbsps of olive oil
230 gm Puy lentils (or any green ones will do if you cannot get Puy)
1 litre of chicken stock or veg stock
400 gm pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
2 tbsps crème fraîche
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50 gm lardons – you could leave these out if you wish – esp. vegetarians!

Heat the oil in a pan – I used a non stick wok – and fry the onion and carrot until both are soft and the carrot lightly browned.

Rinse the lentils then add to the pan. Stir and add the stock

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Lower the heat and simmer for around 35 – 40 minute until the lentils are just soft. Season with a little salt. Cook the pasta. Whilst this is happening remove half the lentil mixture, including liquid and add to a blender. Blizt to a puree. Return it to the pan. Stir it in along with the crème fraîche and the balsamic vinegar. I then pan fried the lardons separately and added them also.

This is a really cheap and satisfying dish. It tastes, as Nigel Slater says, wonderfully ‘earthy’ and I cannot tell you how amazing the flavour is considering how basic the ingredients are – it is a marvellous example of the the alchemy of food!

Please, please make this!