Archive | May, 2009

Pepper Pasta Magic

27 May

I went to meet my boyfriend, his dad and sister at the Design Museum one evening after work a few months ago to have a tour of a new exhibition. Afterwards we wandered around Shad Thames looking for a restaurant to satisfy our hunger. We saw an average looking Indian restaurant (at this point I was certainly not a fan of curry) and this was quickly disregarded. Afterall, we do live in Wembley, quite possibly the best suburb for an authentic curry house.

We eventually stumbled upon an Italian restaurant by the river called Cantina Del Ponte. The menu was impressive, Jacks sister went for a classic fish dish, Jack had sea food linguine and I went for a fantastically delicious stone baked buffalo mozzarella, pesto and tomato pizza. It was however amusing to see Jacks dad order ‘pepper pasta’, what seemed to be the most unappetizing dish on the menu. The food arrived and it turned out he was certainly having the last laugh. I was very kindly offered a taste and I being one never to turn down any offer of food took a fork full and almost gasped with shock. It was arguably the best pasta dish I have ever tasted.

We have been back for more pepper pasta and made countless attempts to copy their glorious dish. Each time we cook it we tweak it, adding a few more ingredients but it really is good to leave it simple. Here is my latest attempt. Try it yourself!

What you need:
Serves 4
Preparation time 5 mintues
Cooking time 10 mintues

1 onion (cubed)
1 red chilli (diced)
5 cloves garlic (crushed)
A large glug of olive oil
A glug of sun dried tomato oil
100g grated fresh Parmesan
4 oven roasted tomatoes or 10 sundried tomatoes (diced)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
250g Linguine

1. Fry off onion and chilli in olive oil for 2 minutes before adding crushed garlic and season well.
2. Add sun dried tomato oil and grated cheese until melted
3. Boil linguine in a pan
4. Drain linguine and add to melted cheese and oil. Mix well
5. Serve warm with fresh basil leaves and green vegetables

One of my favourite ‘fast food’ meals. Quick, easy, tasty and enough leftovers for lunch the next day!

Graze your way through the day

27 May

I must say that I am amazed and thrilled to have found a perfect way to Graze (or snack as I like to call it) whilst at work.

All you office workers out there will probably agree with me that snacking is a great way to alleviate some of the boredom that almost certainly comes with being within the same square meter for 7-8 hours of the day. At my current workplace, I am responsible for buying ‘sustenance’, in other words office supplies. This includes chocolate and biscuits, which are a must for clients and perfect for when it gets to THAT time of day. Hunger strikes and believe me, it really does.

So I was extremely happy when my boyfriend passed me a little voucher, not much larger than the size of a stamp stating that i could get my first Graze box for £1. I had no idea what a Graze box was but I was intrigued and visited the website. I was impressed by what I saw… Their ethos is healthy snacking (grazing) throughout the day helps keep your blood sugar levels up so that you don’t get that 11am and 4pm slump… I loved the sound of this because these are the times that I am likely to reach for that double chocolate fudge biscuit and most of the time some fruit and nut chocolate.

So i had a look around the site at what you could get and i discovered that it comes in the form of a box small enough to fit through your letter box with three separate compartments.

1. Fresh fruit
2. Selection of dried fruit/nut mix
3. Seeds or nuts

There are so many different varieties/combinations to choose and you can click the button to either try/like/love or bin each different combination. I just had to do it so I signed up for my £1 box (no obligations by the way) and my first one arrived through my office’s letter box this morning. I rapidly opened it excited to see what was inside and they had sent me freshly cut pineapple, what they call their ‘bakewell tart mix’, which consists of dried cranberries, cherry raisins and almonds and a pack of pecan nuts. Great! The packaging is neat, very well presented and the cardboard is fully recyclable.

Now for the tasting… The first compartment that I opened was the bakewell tart mixture. I placed a couple of cranberries, a couple of cherry raisins and an almond in my mouth and immediately wanted to jump for joy. I couldn’t believe that something so healthy (no additives) could be THAT tasty. It felt like I had a naughty slice of home baked bakewell tart in my mouth.

The pineapple treated me well for dessert and the pecans, well I’ll be saving them for my boyfriend who loves them. After all, if it wasn’t for him then i would never have found the saviour that is graze.com.

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