Steph and Owen to stay again

12/10/2015: Mushroom gnocchi with arugula and walnut pesto

http://pinchofyum.com/mushroom-gnocchi-with-arugula-and-walnut-pesto

We decided on gnocchi tonight as we haven’t had it yet and I found this recipe via Pinterest. Pinch of Yum is a great blog! Remember the pomegranate, kale, and wild rice salad with walnuts and feta from the same blog? I’ve made that a bunch of times for work lunches this year so it’s definitely made it into my recipe staples. I don’t really like a lot of fresh rocket (arugula) but I loved the pepperiness it brought to this dish once stirred into the gnocchi and slightly wilted. The walnut pesto is the star of this dish as you stir it into the gnocchi and mushrooms as they cook and then use it to make a sauce to top the dish with too. I love the flavour with the zingy lemon balanced by the parmesan and hint of garlic. I might make the pesto again and see what else I can do with it…

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13/10/2015: Beef Phở – Sông Quê Café, Shoreditch

http://www.songque.co.uk/

Another Feast of Nations! There have been so many so close together but it’s so hard to decline when there are such interesting cuisines! I’ve eaten at Vietnamese restaurants before, but I was really keen to eat at Sông Quê Café tonight. Liz makes a real effort to find restaurants that serve authentic food and really stay true to that country’s cuisine. Mark and I wanted to try the traditional crispy pancake to start, but I also had my eye on the spicy soft-shell crab and just couldn’t resist. It was my first time trying soft-shell crab and it was just to die for and the portion size was pretty generous. The same can be said for the pancake which was also delicious and I would have been satisfied if I had been served that as a main course! But no – that was still to come! Mark and I both went for the Phở as that was clearly a specialty of the restaurant and a well-known Vietnamese staple. Again, the portion size was really impressive and the broth was rich and aromatic poured over the beef to cook it through. I loved every mouthful!

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14/10/2015: Beans on toast – own recipe

My sister was the one that first gave me beans on toast with cajun spice and I haven’t looked back since. The weather has really turned cold this week and we were late cooking dinner today so this was the perfect super-quick and warming dish we needed. I always do beans on the hob and stir in some Cajun spice to taste, then pour them over some buttered toast and top with some grated cheddar. Kudos Steph!

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15/10/2015: Rigatoni with chorizo and spicy chipotle cream sauce – Always Order Dessert

http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2014/09/rigatoni-with-chorizo-and-spicy.html

This recipe was a win with me as soon as I read the title but when I read through the ingredients and saw smoked paprika I really went weak at the knees. This is a great recipe and packs in a lot of flavour into a beautiful creamy sauce. Great for a chilly evening when you just fancy sitting down to a bowl of soul-lifting, warming goodness.

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16/10/2015: Hirata buns with mushrooms and halloumi – own recipe

I was so happy to find these frozen buns for steaming when looking around our local Oriental supermarket. This dish was inspired by a dish at Shoryu and was super easy to make. You steam the buns from frozen for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, fry up some mushrooms with a bit of sesame oil and a teeny splash of soy sauce, cook some slices of halloumi, and chop some thin strips of cucumber. Once the buns are ready, spread on a little bit of mayo (Kewpie mayo if you can find it, otherwise any mayo is fine), add a few cucumber strips, a slice of halloumi, a few mushrooms, and top with a tiny drop of hot sauce (not too much because you don’t want to overwhelm the other flavours). Then munch away!

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17/10/2015: Cottage pie – BBC Good Food

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/775643/cottage-pie

Tonight we fancied making a good old cottage pie! BBC Good Food is a regular recipe source for us and it’s always a reliable place for all the great British favourites. The recipe worked perfectly and we used red wine in the beef which worked really beautifully (the recipe gave red wine as optional).

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18/10/2015: Butternut squash, apricot and dhal curry – Zainab Jagot Ahmed’s Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family

http://zainabjagotahmed.com/2014/07/14/easy-indian-supermeals-for-babies-toddlers-and-the-family/

My sister has been staying this weekend and offered to make one of her staples for us today. She likes to make my nephew foods with a range of flavours and this book is a compliation of Indian-inspired recipes tailored for babies and toddlers (without salt, sugar or chillies) to introduce children to aromatic flavours early. Zainab Jagot Ahmed also has a blog with all of her recipes.

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