Brightening up dull days

I wanted something warm to match my electric blue Crocks – and this madly exuberant leather and fur cape leapt out of the wardrobe.  It hasn’t seen the light of day for about 15 years since I bought it in Athens with friend and guide, Rosemary from Australia.  I even found matching gloves in one pocket and the original receipt in the other.  I am pleased to report that, even in those days, I’d driven a hard bargain and managed a great reduction!

Comments on the sartorial elegance are not needed please but it amused me and, hopefully, the neighbours.

Now: something very simple and not too calorific so that you can get in shape for those Christmas treats.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped.

400g mushrooms, sliced.

2 tablespoons olive oil.

Salt and ground black pepper.

Freshly grated parmesan cheese  (optional)

7 handfuls pasta shells.

200g fresh spinach leaves, washed and any hard stalks removed.

 

While the hot water comes to a simmer for the pasta, gently sauté the garlic and mushrooms – season with salt and ground black pepper.

When the water is boiling, add 3 handfuls of pasta shells per person and one for the pot.

Add the spinach to the mushrooms and sauté they start to wilt.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, adding the mushrooms and spinach.

Mix well and serve in hot bowls with a seasoning of parmesan .

 

This makes an excellent hot lunch for a winter’s day for two people.  I give the parmesan a  miss as cheese gives me migraines  and I can’t bear the smell!  Any pasta will do but shells are good for holding the mushrooms and garlic.  We’d eaten  the lot before we remembered to take a photo!

 

 

 

 

Wrens know how to organise.

The volume climbed at the WRNS 100 centenary lunch party while it took minimum effort to put together a great chicken dish to feed the crowd– see how we did it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMp_N573JSA).

Jo, my old naval colleague, took our week in Virginia Beach, USA, by the scruff of the neck and shook it until every minute was completely occupied.  She produced a programme with military precision having co-opted a corps of collaborative cooks all ready to create their culinary magic on camera.

During one short week we managed to pack in four different sorts of bread, soup, three different fish dishes, party chicken, two desserts and the most peculiar “overnight casserole” that turned out to be a strange savoury bread-and-butter pudding!  Amidst all of this, we caught a glimpse of Virginia Beach and the huge naval base at Norfolk, managed another lunch party and a great Mexican welcome dinner.  It took all my stamina to keep up with the tight schedule but it was superb to meet so many other enthusiastic cooks.  But there was no stopping Jo: she kept teaching her Pilates classes, taking her exercise sessions and even managed to pack in a country music concert – I just tried to catch up on sleep!

Penny

Easy low fat lunch.

Watch me make them on You Tube and you can find the recipe here.

Just a posh version of chicken nuggets and chips.

Oven-cooking is much safer than frying – and keeps the amount of oil to a minimum.

Make your own breadcrumbs from dry stale bread and store in the freezer.

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com

Posh chicken nuggets and chips

Posh chicken nuggets and chips

 

Fancy fish eggs on toast?

Delicious Mediterranean savoury dip – watch me make it on You Tube

In Athens years ago, they mixed taramasalata with mashed potato to make it go further.

If you can’t see, weighing on talking scales can be easiest and cuts down on washing up and other equipment: half a pint of oil weighs 8 ounces

To prevent the taste of the oil being too strong, I used half sunflower and half olive oil.

Smoked cod’s roe can be difficult to find depending on the season.  I ordered from my local fishmonger (http://www.leefishdeli.co.uk/contact) and it arrived within a couple of days.

Cod’s roe come in pairs – each is about 8 ounces weight so you could use one  with half the ingredients and freeze the rest for another day.

Smoked cod’s roe is not cheap but this mix made nearly 3 lbs weight at a cost very close to the supermarket version and, hopefully, better in terms of taste, texture and no other added ingredients.  If you would like to see my recipe, please follow this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jb45c53fs64qmhm/170112%20BB%20recipe%20Taramasalata.doc?dl=0

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

penny@bakingblind.com