Tag Archives: tomato

Indian-Inspired Kerala Stir-Fried Beef and Rice

Beef Stir-Fry (9069)The other day I posted one of my favourite entries in C&T on my Facebook page. It was an assignment for a Blogging University course (which has now ended) that included a quote. I remember not knowing what quote to choose, but being a creature of habit, and thus feeling like a hobbit most of the time, I decided to go for one from Tolkien’s masterpieces. I got loads of positive feedback for that piece and the recipe I included in it is one that I make again and again. I’m sure you’ll agree that a walnut and banana loaf cake is one of the most comforting bakes around. That and a scrumptious cup of thick hot chocolate.

So you won’t find many recipes on this blog that venture too much out of my comfort zone. C&T started out, and still is I think, a place to share what I cook at home, primarily in a small kitchen, as the ones I had back in the UK. Now I have a somewhat larger room to play in. I am lucky and I like the space, though it wasn’t easy to adjust to it.

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Picnic Pasta Salad and a Special #PastaFriday Event

Picnic Pasta (8117)So last Friday I announced that I’ll be posting a pasta recipe every week. Today I’ve decided to make it an event. Why not?! So if you are a food blogger and you love pasta, this can be the space for you. To participate in this weekly event, on a Friday or during the weekend, I invite you to write a post on your blog accompanied of course by a pasta recipe. What you need to do next is very simple:

  1. Include a link to your post in a comment on my post for that week.
  2. Include a link to my post in your own blog post. Don’t reblog the post. A simple link will do.
  3. If you use Twitter promote your post with #PastaFriday so everyone will be able to see it.

Easy. This event will run up to October 2nd, at least for the time being.

Now onto this recipe which I have promised you ages ago but never got round to it. It’s an off-the-cuff one simply because everyone does pasta salad differently. Everyone comes up with many variants most of the time. I have to be honest here: there has been a time (I suspect that it’s not over) that this became one of my regular go-to suppers as it’s easy to prepare and good for transport. Also it’s a good one for making use of things I just want to use up. I open the fridge and voila you have a meal. I have made it during these hot months for friends coming at the house at the last minute, especially during those intermittent weeks where I skipped my otherwise regular grocery shop.

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Pizza

Pizza (8031)

During the past few weeks I made quite a number of pizzas, reason being I’m still testing out my oven. I didn’t want to bake before making sure I wasn’t about to burn anything. A couple of friends whom I visited last Saturday are still waiting for a lemon drizzle cake. And this morning, when I actually had some time on my hands, I ran out of sugar, so the cake just has to wait. My mum came over for a short visit though and we made some pizzas for lunch.

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Baked Conchiglie

Baked-Conigliette-(4641)

You know the drill: you go to the shops and buy something which is not one of your usuals. It has been a while though since I’ve gone on a shopping strike recently. Well not really…not a 100% because you can’t do that…but I had this packet of dried conchiglie lying around in my pantry not doing much. I got so tired of looking at it that I decided to use some of it.

There’s no denying that pasta and pizza are great for pantry clearing. They also come in handy when you’ve either forgot to do the shopping or when you’re too tired to think after a day’s work. The following is a take on an easy recipe which is very popular in Malta. Fact is that back home we love our food, baked dishes being some of our favourites. Baking with pasta or even rice is quick, practical and it’s the kind of food which you can freeze and reheat. It will also keep well for two to three days in the fridge. You can use other types of pasta if you like, but conchiglie give you bulk without having to pile up the pasta for decent thickness and presence. I like to make this in summer or when I don’t feel like faffing about with lasagne.

For this recipe, which serves up to 6-8 people (always depending on your guests’ level of hunger) you need:

  • 750g conchiglie, cooked al dente & drained

For the ricotta mixture:

  • 500g ricotta
  • 250g fresh spinach, steamed & cooled
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the tomato sauce topping:

  • 1 -2 onions, chopped
  • 700g passata
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon curry
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

For the cheese topping:

  • 50g grated Red Leicester, Cheddar or any other hard cheese you like
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4/350ºF.
  2. In a large bowl mix the cooked pasta, steamed spinach, ricotta, salt and pepper. Steaming the spinach is ideal if you don’t want a sloppy mixture. When you are happy with the seasoning, add the beaten eggs and mix everything until well combined.
  3. To prepare the tomato sauce, you don’t need to cook it on the stove. Just mix well your ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Spread a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of a rectangular ceramic or glass baking dish, and also spread a thin layer of your tomato sauce. Tip in the cooked pasta and ricotta mixture into the dish and spread evenly. Then spread the tomato mixture over the pasta.
  5. Grate the cheese all over and bake for around 45 minutes, but keep an eye on it once in a while. You could serve this alone or with some green salad.

    Enjoy!

    Rob x