Tag Archives: cheese

Broccoli and pesto farfalle with pangritata

If you’ve ever had one of these (pictured below), you know you want to make some Italian food to go with it.

There was a good offer on Wine Demon for first-time online customers, and 5 out of 6 wines were a good mix, with lots of aromas and flavours.
There was a good offer on Wine Demon for first-time online customers, and 5 out of 6 wines were a good mix, with lots of aromas and flavours.

I made this a while ago now, and I found out that Italians have a very interesting ingredient – Pangritata, also called ‘poor man’s parmesan’. It is basically fried breadcrumbs. Oddly enough, it’s nothing like parmesan, but it does taste good.

This simple dish goes well with a glass of medium-bodied red wine, perhaps even table wine! Although I do like Malbec or Torrontes – you have a little bit with a meal, and then a little bit more after the meal. You could go with white, but this dish may overtake the flavour of the wine. The recipe below should be enough for two people.

First, make the pangritata:

3 tbsp oil,

1 garlic clove, sliced

2 tbsp chopped rosemary or thyme

50g breadcrumbs

1 or less chopped chilli

1) Mix the above ingredients and fry in oil for 2 minutes until crisp golden;

2) Season with salt and pepper and dry on kitchen paper.

For the pasta:

200g Farfalle pasta (or something boring like Penne)

150g broccoli,

2 tbsp basil pesto,

Zest of 1/2 lemon,

2 tbsp parmesan, grated (optional)

1) Cook the pasta, leaving tiny bit of the cooking water;

2) Mix in the rest of ingredients and sprinkle over the pangritata. Done.

I do enjoy some dishes with a smoky flavour. This one wasn't as smoky, but I think I fried the breadcrumbs too long, which worked to my favour.
I do enjoy some dishes with a smoky flavour. This one wasn’t as smoky, but I think I fried the breadcrumbs too long, which worked to my favour.

Couscous, feta and olive salad

Spinach and ricotta ravioli in a creamy butter sauce, crispy rosemary potatoes, chocolate-layered fresh cream profiteroles… All ready within minutes, all to be found at the chilled isle of your local supermarket, and all for a ridiculously low price. Sometimes it’s just too easy to fall into the habit of eating processed foods.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t eat them? No. Are they all bad for you? Absolutely not. But even though it’s a convenient way to bring a tasty dish to the table, there’s something about homemade foods that make a weeknight dinner an occasion.

couscous feta olive salad

In my view, making food is art. It’s one feeling looking at it, and another actually being an artist. It’s about finding the right balance of taste and presentation, consequently rewarding you with a sense of achievement, recognition from your guests, or just satisfying hunger. There is also an element of challenge to it as it requires the use of a number of skills including creativity, planning, and time management.

Couscous feta olive salad

By no means is this recipe a challenge, it’s really just one of the many examples of effortless ways to have a quick tasty dinner (and lunch the next day).


1/2 cup couscous (replace with quinoa for gluten free version)

3/4 cup boiling water

A handful of olives

A handful of cherry tomatoes

50g crumbled feta cheese

A couple tablespoons olive oil

A crack or two of black pepper



1. Pour boiling water over couscous and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. For an extra kick toast couscous with garlic before adding water.

2. Once couscous is ready, combine the ingredients in a serving bowl with a touch of black pepper and olive oil and you’re done!

Couscous feta olive salad

Camembert and caramelised apple salad

It is true what Bryan Adams has taught us – “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till its gone”. For a food lover like myself, it has been way too long without a cooking facility. Six. Bloody. Months. Only during times like these you realise what you really enjoy in life –
cooking. And cheese.
Man I love cheese! This week Auste and I bought 3 tubs of goats’ cheese, five packets of mozzarella, a round of camembert and a block of gouda… We didn’t really think about the fact that cheese has an expiry date, and we’re just two small people. So with all the cheesy stuff going on, we decided to make a cheese salad.
Today I had the last day of school before the Christmas break and I asked Auste to prep all the ingredients so we could take a photo before it gets too dark. I get home, and guess what? She asks if I could help prep everything before it gets too dark!
We finished just in time for a beautiful sunset and really enjoyed the meal.
The sweetness of the caramelised apple goes very well with peppery rocket leaves. Soft and flavoursome camembert goes well with the crunchy garlic bread. All of those things combined make a really simple ‘gourmet’ dinner.
small baguette, cut into 1cm slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 apples cut into wedges
handful of rocket salad
100 g camembert cheese, cut into thin wedges
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
optional – handful of grapes for a lighter taste
1. Brush the bread with oil and garlic and grill for a few minutes until golden. (add a touch of salt and pepper)
2. Heat butter and sugar in a pan over medium heat.
3. Add the apples and sauté for 2-3 minutes until light golden.
4. Arrange all of the ingredients onto a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining butter from the pan and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Camembert salad

Black olive tapenade and cream cheese crostini

Hey hey hey, he’s back with the food stuff!

I can’t believe it’s been over two months without a kitchen. Two. Solid. Months. You wouldn’t think you’d miss chopping onions, would you?

In terms of cooking, the closest thing that has happened is that we’ve bought a knife. And that is just to slice some fruit that we buy at the local market. We’re lucky to occasionally find some whole fruit, as street vendors sell most goods pre-sliced, be it watermelon, pineapple, even the pancakes are cut into bite-size pieces!

There are plenty of street vendors pretty much anywhere in Thailand, but sadly they’re all meats on wheels. Therefore the only option that’s left is eating out, which gets boring fairly quickly and it also costs more. Bear in mind (rarrgh!) that even in Thailand eating out can be expensive, considering that people here generally eat less greens than they do in England!

Bangkok Khao San Road
The occasional ‘rotee’ stand offering banana pancakes.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a must for your party. I actually made these for my friend’s hen do (bachelorette party). I feared that I may be pushing it with my vegetarianism (this topic comes up fairly often when I’m around people), but from the feedback I received it turned out that EVERYONE loved them. And what’s not to love: they’re black, they’re white, they’re savoury, you name it!

As always, choose quality ingredients and keep tasting throughout the making process, as ingredients (as well as tastes) differ around the world.

olive tapenade and cream cheese sandwiches

For 4 sandwiches you will need:

Ciabatta bread (or bread of your choice)

2 handfuls of pitted black olives

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

A grind of pepper

Few leaves of spinach

3 tbsp of cream cheese



  1. Slice the bread to your preferred size. You can grill it for a few seconds on a hot pan for crunchiness.
  2. Whizz the olives, garlic and olive oil in a blender. Alternatively you can just chop everything finely and mash it together with a fork.
  3. Spread some tapenade over one part of the bread, then fill the rest with cream cheese. You can be as generous as you want at this stage.
  4. Season with some freshly ground pepper – it gives an appetizing aroma.
  5. For sandwiches, use a layer of tapenade on one piece of bread, cheese on the other, then press them against each other, with a bit of spinach in between of course!

olive tapenade and cream cheese sandwiches


olive tapenade and cream cheese sandwiches