Spaghetti with Fried Tomato and Mozzarella Balls

DSC_0149.JPG

I’m a pasta FIEND, but I hardly ever get to make it at home because Sunny’s not a fan (I know, what the hell did I marry???).  My absolute favourite pasta dish is Spaghetti Pomodoro, which most people would label the most boring thing on the menu – but you know what?  I love that it’s simple.  It’s pasta in its purest form and throws the focus on the quality and flavour of each ingredient.  Sweet tomato sauce, spaghetti, fresh basil and mozzarella (…the best bit!).  I love it!  It’s my go to whenever I’ve got a craving for some fresh pasta.

Last week, Sunny was away with work which meant I had a couple of days to get my pasta fix in.  I saw the idea for these fried tomato and mozzarella balls on Pinterest and just had to give them a go and see if they could level up my basic pomodoro.  I mean, deep fried mozzarella, amiright?  Yuuuuuuuuum.

DSC_0042.JPGDSC_0007.JPGDSC_0008.JPG

Spaghetti with Fried Tomato and Mozzarella Balls (serves 2)

Ingredients

For the balls:

  • 125g of Mozzarella Pearls
  • 220g of Cherry Tomatoes (I used about 20 piccalo tomatoes)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • plain flour
  • 100g breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Kebab Skewer

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 200ml of Tomato Passata
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced
  • Tomato Pits, salted
  • Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1 tsp of Maple Syrup

To serve:

  • Chopped Basil
  • Enough Spaghetti for 2
  • (More cheese, if you’re a total glutton like me 😉 )
  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the pits (set them aside, they’re going to go into the sauce later!).  Fill each tomato with a mozzarella pearl and then set them aside.
  2. Heat up the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan (you’ll know it’s ready for frying when you can drop a small bit of bread into it and see it fizzle).  Batter up!  Create a bit of an assembly line with the whisked egg, flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls.  Take one of your filled tomatoes and skewer it with one of the kebab skewers (it’ll keep everything together for the next step).  First, coat it with a little flour, then dunk it into the whisked egg, and finally coat it with breadcrumbs.  Deep fry each ball until golden brown, removing each one from the skewer as you go along.
  3. To make the sauce, heat up your olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat.  Fry the garlic for a minute (careful not to burn it!) and then pour in both the tomato passata, pits and fresh basil. Pour in 1 tsp of Maple Syrup – sounds ridiculous, right?  But trust me, it’ll take away the acidic taste from the tomatoes. 
  4. Simmer for twenty minutes, then season and serve with the fried tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella balls and spaghetti.

DSC_0046.JPG

Have a magnifique week! 😉

Easy Korean Dak-galbi

DSC_0005

I’d never heard of Dak-Galbi until I stumbled across a recipe for it over on Pinterest (…honestly, where did I go to hunt down new recipes before Pinterest came along? Books?) – but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to add it to my takeaway dupes repertoire.  It’s a stir fry of spicy chicken and sweet potato and is basically Korean Pub Food; you’ll usually find it served up and sizzling with alcohol.  The marinade is sweet and spicy – thanks to the Gochujang Chilli Paste and Honey – and pairs perfectly with the sweet potato chunks.

I’m pretty sure most Koreans would cry sacrilege at my take on Dak-galbi.  I mean, it’s pretty much just the bare bones of the real deal because you just can’t get a lot of Korean ingredients in your average British supermarket – in fact, I’d be surprised if you found any at all!  The one essential ingredient – and pretty much the base ingredient for any Korean cooking – I had to order off of Amazon.  But as for tteok and perilla leaves?  Forget it.  Still, my stripped back version makes for a tasty, spicy and colourful midweek stir fry and – aside from marinating time – goes from wok to table in under 20 minutes.  Noice!  🙂

DSC_0007

Easy Dak-galbi (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 3 tsbp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp gochujang paste (I *think* Waitrose stock it, but if not check amazon!)
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • shredded red cabbage
  • grated carrot
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  1. First things first, make the marinade.  In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, gochujang paste, honey, rice wine, curry powder and half of the sesame oil.  Stir until smooth.  Pour in the chicken and stir until it’s thoroughly coated in the marinade – then leave it to rest for at least one hour.
  2. Get your wok smoking hot and pour in the rest of the sesame oil.  Turn down the heat and chuck in the chicken (hold back the marinade) along with the sweet potato.  Cook for ten minutes until the sweet potato has softened and the chicken is mostly cooked; make sure you keep stirring otherwise the honey in the marinade might scorch.
  3. Next throw in the stir fry vegetables – the spring onions, cabbage, carrot and pepper – as well as the remaining marinade and chilli flakes.  Stir fry for five minutes, then serve up with some egg fried rice! 🙂

DSC_0015

Happy four day week! 😉  Oh, and hey – if there’s a takeaway favourite of yours that you’d like to see me take on and come up with an easy to follow recipe for then just let me know in the comments!

Feeling Blue-Berry Muffins

1970-01-01 01.00.00 2.jpg

Oh hey, would you look at that, Monday swung back around.  *eyeroll*  Although actually, I’m kind of relieved.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the Cwtch household; Sunny’s been travelling non-stop with his work, I’ve pretty much been chained to the computer and then last Friday, Bungle went into the vets for an “operation” – if y’know what I mean – which meant a whole weekend of staying in and keeping his head out of his crotch.  Fun times!  So, needless to say, we’ve been kind of running on empty – as have a lot of people I’ve spoken to.  It’s funny; it seems like the crossover between March and April’s been a little manic for everyone.

I had one of those blue days last week where everything just got on top of me and I needed to take ten.  Usually when that happens I like to do a little baking to de-stress, but I wasn’t in the mood to do anything too complicated.  Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to the basics and bake something easy but satisfying.  Turns out we had a whole punnet of blueberries sitting in the fridge (they were supposed to be for porridge, but it had been Frosties kinda week…) and so I thought I’d whip up some Blueberry Muffins to see me through the rest of the week!  They’re stupidly simple and adapted from a recipe I found on the Red Magazine website just before Christmas – except that my batch have a little cinnamon and some extra crunch with the added granola and demerara sugar topping.  Yum!

DSC_0011

Feeling Blue-Berry Muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 100ml milk
  • 200g blueberries
  • 50g granola (click here for my recipe)
  • 50g demerara sugar
  1. Set your oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with lightly greased cases (I like to use the 1 calorie spray because it makes things easier 😉 ).
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together your butter and caster sugar – then beat in the eggs until the mix is nice and fluffy.
  3. Next, gently fold in the flour little by little – alternating with the milk.  Finally, stir in the blueberries (I like my muffins gooey and full of fruit, so I used a loooooot of blueberries, but feel free to dial it back a little if that’s not your jam), cinnamon and salt.
  4. Spoon the mixture into your muffin cases, then sprinkle each one with a generous helping of granola and demerara sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes.

DSC_0012

Have a great week! 🙂

 

Easy Sticky Honey Chicken

DSC_0003.JPG

How’s your head, Wales?  Is your hangover still ragin’ after grand-slamming a few celebratory shots on Saturday night?  Sworn off drinking forever?  Sad that the Six Nations are done and dusted for another year?  But what a weekend of Rugby!  If you’re still feeling a bit hanging and wobbling over the idea of just giving in and getting in a takeaway tonight, then have I got the recipe for you – perfect for the Monday after the weekend before. 😉

I’ve been on a kick recently of upping my midweek meal game – particularly when it comes to takeaway dupes – and this sticky honey and sesame chicken is a winner (-winner chicken dinner).  Nail the sauce and the rest is history.  You can either batter your own chicken or pop some chicken dippers (or Quorn Nuggets) in the oven, and then serve it up with some egg fried rice, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and some chopped spring onions.  So easy!

DSC_0012.JPG

Easy Sticky Honey Chicken

Ingredients

  • 100ml runny honey
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 125ml water

to serve:

  • a handful battered chicken nuggets
  • sesame seeds
  • chopped spring onions
  1. Whilst your chicken nuggets are cooking, make up the sauce. Pour all the ingredients – except the water – into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.  Then, add the water and stir.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil; stir until the sauce starts to thicken up, then remove it from the heat.
  3. Drizzle it all over your cooked chicken nuggets, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.  Serve with egg fried rice and scoff! 🙂

DSC_0025.JPG

Have a great week! 🙂

Banana and Custard Filled Pancakes

DSC_0017

Last week I had one of those nights where you ping-pong back and forth between the sofa and the kitchen cupboard.  You know, when you’re craving a lil’ something-something to scoff but have absolutely no idea what it is you fancy.  Sunny and I were in the middle of a Ray Donovan marathon, and as well as rattling through a whole season in the space of a week, we’d also rattled through all the chocolate and sweet stuff in the kitchen cupboard too.  And then I found the solution.  We had a long-life carton of custard and a couple of bananas in the fruit bowl.  Winner.  “D’you fancy bananas and custard?” I called out from the kitchen.  “What!  YESSSSSSSS,” he roared back.

And so we scoffed a bowl each of bananas and custard whilst Ray Donovan buried another body.  It was heaven, I tell you.  HEAVEN.

It’s one of those stupidly simple yet completely satisfying desserts, innit?  Easy.  Awesome.  And then I had the crazy idea of adding pancakes into the mix.  Pancakes filled with custard, and topped with bananas.  If you’ve never filled pancakes before it’s really easy, and once you’ve nailed it, there’s any number of ways you could go.  Just make sure you go for fluffy, American style pancakes because it won’t work with crepes. 🙂

DSC_0079DSC_0044

Bananas and Custard Filled Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 50ml milk
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml fresh custard
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • sliced fresh bananas
  • a little butter for greasing the frying pan
  1. To make the filling, mix the vanilla essence into the custard.  Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place on a tray or plate.  Spoon small rounds of the custard onto the sheet, then pop the whole thing into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk together your pancake batter, then leave it to sit for five minutes.  Next, heat up your frying pan on a medium high heat, then grease with a little butter.
  3. Bring the slightly frozen custard out of the freezer and keep it nearby.  Carefully ladle some batter onto your frying pan, then place one of the custard rounds in the middle as it begins to cook.  Cover it with a little bit of fresh batter, then flip the pancake over.  Each side of the pancake will cook, leaving the custard nice and gooey in the middle. 🙂
  4. Serve up with fresh bananas, walnuts and maple syrup.  Yum!

DSC_0092

I had to work so quickly taking these pictures; Bungle loves bananas and wouldn’t leave me alone.  Just check out that drool!  Happy Pancake Day (for tomorrow) everyone! 🙂