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  • Victoria Ajayi

Easy Recipes To Try in Lockdown 3.0

I love to cook, always have always will but lockdown gave me opportunities to try new recipes that I've been putting off or been too busy to even attempt. So I thought I would throw together some of my favourite and super easy recipes for you guys. Let me know what you attempt and how they turn out!


Spicy Vodka Pasta


Gigi Hadid's now famous vodka pasta is something I have been swearing by for the past couple of months, insanely easy to do and ridiculously delicious - here's how:


Ingredients:

- Oil (of your choice, I usually use FryLight)

- A garlic clove (but you know, there's no such thing as too much garlic)

- Half an onion

- 100g Tomato Puree

- 120ml of double cream

- A tablespoon of vodka (optional)

- Chilli Flakes (to your own taste)

- 250 grams of pasta (I use tagliatelle)

- A tablespoon of butter

- Parmesan cheese

- Basil (optional)


Method:

In a large frying pan add your oil, onions and garlic, fry until soft.

Add your tomato paste and cook until your onions and garlic have blended well and are now dark in colour.

Add in your double cream and your vodka (if you fancy it), and cook through until the vodka is fully incorporated.

Throw in your chilli flakes (as spicy as you'd like).

Season with salt and pepper and keep stirring until all are combined - remove off the heat when done.


At the same time cook your pasta, I used Tagliatelle but you're welcome to use whatever your favourite pasta is.

When your pasta is cooked make sure to save a quarter of the water used before you drain it.

Add your butter to the sauce and stir in under a medium heat until fully melted.

Add your pasta and pasta water into the sauce, throw in the cheese and stir (if extra salt and pepper is needed then add at this stage).

Add an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese and some chopped up basil to serve and VOILA.



Baked Gnocchi

Gnocchi is something I will always love, so easy and so versatile - it's a staple for my fridge. This is my go to gnocchi recipe when I fancy a really hearty meal.


Ingredients:

- Vegetable Oil (for frying)

- 500g gnocchi

- 200g gorgonzola cheese

- 120g baby spinach

- Half an onion

- 1 clove of garlic

- A tablespoon of lemon juice

- 500g chopped tomatoes

- 80g parmesan cheese (grated)


Method:

Finely dice your onion and your garlic.

Wash and finely chop your spinach, set aside.

In a pot, salt the water, bring to boil and add your gnocchi - this only takes a couple of minutes so when it's done remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and leave to the side.

In a small pot heat your oil over a medium heat, add your onion and garlic, fry for about 2 minutes.

Add your lemon juice and chopped tomatoes.

Let the sauce simmer for around 10 minutes, season with salt, pepper and some sugar to taste.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Pour some vegetable oil in a large frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Fry your boiled gnocchi until golden brown on all sides.

Add your fried gnocchi, spinach and tomato sauce to a baking dish, stirring to combine. Crumble the gorgonzola cheese into smaller pieces over the top, and finish with grated parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheeses are melted and golden brown - and you're DONE!



Mushroom Soup


When I'm at the office my favourite thing to get from Pret is their mushroom and risotto soup. When working from home started I was craving it, and that's when I thought, why am I buying theirs when I can make my own? So here we are, some yummy mushroom soup great for the winter periods.


Ingredients:

- 90g butter

- 2 onions

- 1 clove of garlic

- 500g mushrooms, finely chopped (I go for chestnut)

- 2 tablespoons of plain flour

- 1l of hot vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

- 1 bay leaf

- 4 tablespoons of single cream


Method:

Heat your butter in a large saucepan, add your onions and garlic and cook until soft for about 8-10 minutes.

Add your chopped mushrooms, cook on a high heat for 3-5 mints until soft., bring down to a medium heat.

Sprinkle over your flour and stir to combine,

Pour in your stock, bring to boil and add your bay leaf.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Take out your bay leaf, and take the pot off the heat.

Using a hand blender, blend until smooth.

Gently reheat your soup and stir through the cream - and look you're done already!!



Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers


One day I woke up absolutely craving stuffed bell peppers, and now I make this probably once a month. The best part is, if I make way too much rice as a part of this meal, I end up with leftovers for days which saves me having to plan a lot of meals for the week!


Ingredients:

- 4 bell peppers

- 1 onion

- 2 cloves of garlic

- 1/2 a birds eye chilli (depending on how spicy you'd like it)

- 100g rice (cooked)

- Half a teaspoon of ground cumin

- Half a teaspoon of ground coriander

- 300ml of vegetable broth

- 150ml tomato puree

- 100g - canned black beans

- 100g cannellini beans

- 100g sweetcorn

- 150g of grated cheddar cheese

- 15g of coriander

- 150g of light creme fraiche

- 1/2 a lime (or lime juice if easier)


Method:

Finely chop your onions, garlic and chilli.

Halve and deseed your peppers.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and fry your onion, garlic and chilli for around 2 minutes.

Add your cooked rice and fry for another minute or two.

Add your ground cumin and ground coriander, your vegetable stock and tomato puree. Season well with salt and pepper.

Cover with a lid (if possible) and let simmer for around 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven at 200 degrees.

Put your bell peppers into a baking dish.

Take your rice mix off the heat and all the canned black beans, white beans and sweetcorn.

Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Fill your bell peppers with the rice and bean mix, and top with your cheese.

Bake for around 20 minutes.

While this is baking, finely chop your coriander and add to a bowl with your creme fraiche, stir well to combine.

Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Serve alongside your stuffed peppers and TA DA!



Cheese and Chilli Biscuits


This was something I discovered from my manager who makes the most amazing biscuits for the office over Christmas. With the pandemic meaning we're working form home I had to take matters into my own hand and attempt to make my own. Great for people like me who prefer the savoury over the sweet!


Ingredients:

- 128g of plain flour

- 2 tablespoons of self-raising flour

- 1/2 teaspoon of dry chilli flakes (or a bit more depending on your spice level)

- Half a teaspoon of salt

- 40g of freshly grated parmesan cheese (you can also use padano or reggiano)

- 100g of grated cheddar cheese

- 125g of chopped butter

- 2 teaspoons of milk


Method:

Combine the flours, the chilli flakes and salt into a bowl. Mix until combined.

Add your cheeses and mix this briefly.

Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add your mix and process until the mixture forms a ball.

Remove your mix and knead lightly on a floured and clean benchtop or board.

Knead until the mixture comes together, then roll into a log about 3-4 cm in size.

Roll the log into baking paper and twist at the ends.

Chill in the fridge until firm enough to slice.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Remove your logs from the fridge (at this stage I decided to roll my log out flat so I could cut the biscuits into shapes, but this is optional).

Cut your log into slices about 5mm thick, and places the discs onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

Leave to cool for a few minutes as this firms them up - and then you can transfer to a wire rack!

And now you've made some yummy savoury biscuits!


Couldn't include photos of all my recipes unfortunately since they either weren't the most photogenic of plates or I'd stuffed my face and forgotten to take a photo. But, I hope these recipes are as great for you as they are for me!



(I am in no way claiming these recipes of my own, more a compilation with my personal twists and additions)

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