Butternut squash, mushroom and chestnut lasagne

So, here’s a meat-free dish to help you keep any dietary New Year’s Resolutions you might have made. Personally, Continue reading


Favourites, comfort food and standby meals

Sometimes it gets a bit difficult to come up with new things to write about, I mean, who eats 300 or more different meals in a year? Most people, me included, have favourites that they return to over and over again.

Classic roast dinners are an example of that, most people like a roast and a roasted leg of lamb is a thing of joy. I like mint sauce with my lamb sometimes too, and a gravy made with the pan juices and with some redcurrant jelly added in to give it an edge of sweetness.

Roast chicken either a whole bird or in pieces is also a great standby. It is something that can be given a twist or you can eat it plain. The only twist here is the use of purple-fleshed potatoes instead of white ones. They go a dark brown when roasted but the flesh does have an amazing colour and they have a nice nutty flavour too.

Pasta bakes are another great comfort food and weekday favourite. Leeks and mushrooms go nicely in a cheese sauce, especially with some pieces of bacon to give the dish some added flavour, because cheese works wonderfully with ham and bacon.

Vegetable pasta bake

A nice simple mid-week evening meal.

Onions, garlic, carrot, chopped green chilli and celery made a soffritto softened in olive oil, to which I added a chopped courgette, chopped red and green peppers, some sliced mushrooms, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and a carton of tomato passata.

This was simmered until the vegetables were starting to soften and then some cooked pasta shapes were added and the dish was topped with grated Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

This was then baked until the top was golden and bubbling and eaten with some slices of garlic baguette.

A quick and simple comfort food supper, ready in about 40 minutes.

Chorizo and vegetable pasta bake

Another comfort food supper.

Pasta bakes are great when it is cold outside and are a good way to use up odds and ends too.

I had a couple of chorizo-style sausages in the freezer and I used these chopped up into small chunks as the meaty base for a pasta bake, with leeks, courgettes, garlic, diced carrots and tomatoes.

I sautéed all the vegetables in the oil that I used to cook down the sausage pieces, breaking them up with the spoon to release all the flavours. When these were done, I mixed them with the cooked pasta and topped it off with grated Double Gloucester cheese and baked it in a Mark 6 oven and served it with some warmed pitta bread.