Super green spaghetti

This has the vibrancy to look at of a pesto, but with a much earthier flavour. The cavolo makes this a lot healthier and it’s a really clever way to cook. The ricotta adds a bit of creaminess to pull everything together.

Another great one from Jamie Oliver in his new book ‘5.’

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Marcus Wareing’s cauliflower and spiced coconut soup

So, I obtained a new cook book! As they say, start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start!’, so I did! The very first recipe in Marcus Wareing’s new book, ‘Marcus at Home’, is a cauliflower and spiced coconut soup. This recipe is dairy free, simple as anything and tastes delicious! I actually deviated slightly from the recipe in the book, but this is a really tasty starter, or with some lovely fresh bread, a lovely lunchtime meal – ideal for work, too!

 

Jamie Oliver’s Spanish tortilla

This is a really good recipe to have in your locker a week before payday when money might be a bit tight. A handful of relatively cheap ingredients (potatoes, eggs and onion) and you’ve got a tortilla the size of an average pizza.

I served this with a simple Spanish salad with some chorizo and goats cheese, the saltiness of the cheese and chorizo cuts through the density of the tortilla.

This recipe is a great base, and would work really will with some peppers or chorizo going straight into the tortilla.

Find the recipe here.

Simple (really simple) prawn cocktail

Perfect for warm summer nights (we do actually have some) is prawn cocktail!

Traditionally a starter in an ice cream glass, this works equally well as a main meal. Plus, it’s pretty healthy, doesn’t have to cost too much and takes no cooking at all! There’s no dressing in the image as that was on the side – I’ve no idea why I did that.

I’ve seem lots of recipes for thousand island sauce, some with brandy, tobacco – even paprika! In order to keep this recipe as simple as possible, this dressing is just one part ketchup to two parts mayo – but you can be as fancy with your sauce as you like!

Ingredients

  • Lettuce (I like romaine but iceberg will be fine!)
  • Tomatoes – cherry, plum, heritage – whatever you fancy!
  • Spring onion
  • Cress
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • 200g fresh cooked sustainable prawns

Method

  • On a board large serving dish, put on a good layer of the lettuce
  • Top the lettuce with as many tomatoes, cucumber and spring onion pieces as you fancy
  • Next dot around the avocado
  • Make a little well in the middle and place your prawns in there before topping with the dressing
  • Snip over the cress

Jamie Oliver’s pork steaks and Hungarian pepper sauce

Wow.

Talk about simple, maximum flavour and affordable. This is one of those recipes that you see in a cook book and think ‘could I do that’. The answer is a resounding yes. So many of your five a day are crammed into the sauce which cooks down in less than 15 minutes and the pork fillet, well, that’s less than a fiver for 500g, which in turn is more than enough to feed four hungry people along with the rice.

This is similar in many respects to Jamie’s beef sirloin with ratatouille, but kinder on the wallet and not really any more difficult.

I can’t recommend Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals highly enough.

 

Novice tomato and basil soup

A classic winter warmer served up with a lovely hunk of olive bread.

Bringing in a few of your five a day, this is a great recipe that provides enough for four servings. That’s dinner each and lunch the next day in your thermos. This will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen, too.

Novice notes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • A stick blender or liquidiser
  • A ladle

Ingredients

  • One onion
  • One stick of celery
  • One carrot
  • One clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 400g tin plumb tomatoes
  • 4 fresh medium tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Greek yoghurt (optional)

Cost

This won’t cost much, less than a fiver easily.

Method

  • Get a litre of water into the kettle ready to boil, put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat with one table spoon of olive oil
  • Peal and roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery and add to the pan when hot. Pop the garlic in your crusher, skin on, and crush into the pan.
  • Pop the lid on and cook for 10 minutes or until the veg is nicely softened. Boil the kettle.
  • After 10 minutes, crumble in the stock cube, then add 800ml of boiling water. Stir it all up.
  • Next, pour in the tin of tomatoes and add the fresh tomatoes.
  • Bring to the boil on a high heat, then reduce to a low heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • When cooked, stir in the basil, take off the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Blend with the stick blender, or transfer carefully to a liquidiser.
  • Spoon into bowls and top with a drizzle of Greek yoghurt.

Novice chargrilled pork loin with greens and potatoes

This recipe is healthy, has a good hand in your five-a-day and best of all, isn’t too much hassle to prepare. The below recipe is for two people, and I’ve structured the recipe so that you can create the marinades and dressings for both the pork and vegetables at the start. For a novice cook, I find this leaves you free to start cooking the main bulk afterwards and not be worrying about checking the vegetables while trying to handle a pestle and mortar at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 2 pork loins
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ½ a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ a bunch of fresh mint
  • 200g new potatoes
  • 160g frozen peas
  • 160g frozen broad beans
  • 150g broccoli
  • olive oil
  • ½ fresh red chilli
  • 30g parmesan cheese

Cost

Pork loins aren’t the cheapest cut but nor will they break the bank. The vegetables here are easily available in all good supermarkets and are very well priced. Frozen is absolutely fine and means you can buy in bulk and save them for next time. I think you could look to do this for £5 per person if there are two of you, with plenty of veg in the freezer for future recipes.

Method

  • This recipe will seem slightly out of order, but trust me, get the marinades and dressing done then forget about them, this is easier for a novice cook. Don’t forget as usual, ingredients out, pan out, kettle boiled.
  • Pop the thyme leaves into a pestle and mortar and zest in the lemon with the peeled garlic and a small pinch of salt and pepper. Bash well, and then pour in some olive oil. This s the marinade for the pork, so all you need to do now is drizzle it over the meat and set to one side. Easy! Just make sure all the meet is covered in the herby dressing and you’re good.
  • Next, lets make the dressing for those veggies. Delicious as they are, we can help bring them to life with a little work. In a large bowl (you want room for the veggies), add the juice from half a lemon (use the one you zested earlier) and chuck in a tablespoon of olive oil. Finely (make sure it is finely) chop and add most of the mint leaves, reserving a few of the nice ones to garnish your dinner for Instagram later. Finally, add the finely sliced chilli, and half of the parmesan – mix well. Veg dressing done.
  • Now let us cook! Heat your griddle pan on a medium heat and pop in your chops. Cooking times will vary depending on what you have bought, but consider that the veg will need between 10-15 minutes. Turn the pork a couple of times throughout while the veg cooks.
  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. With the stalks of the mint leaves you picked earlier, chuck them into the water along with the new potatoes. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, and then chuck in your broccoli, peas and beans. At this point, to save yourself some time safely fish out the mint stalks if you can and chuck them away. When you add the extra veg, you may notice the water stops boiling. If this happens, factor this in to your cooking time and cook the vegetables for longer if need be.
  • When cooked, drain the veg and quarter the potatoes, and chuck the veg in the dressing. Toss well to coat, then plate up.
  • You’ll find the mix of vegetables and colours make this dish easy to place up – it’s hard for this not to look satisfyingly healthy and neat at the same time. Place the pork neatly and drizzle on some more dressing from the veg bowl if you have any.
  • Add the remaining parmesan shavings and enjoy.