Pasta with Mushrooms for Pasta Please

I love mushrooms!!!!

I love them in creamy soup, I love them stuffed , I love them in pie and in a quiche. I love them in a risotto,  in a quinoa salad, and in a pasta salad. I also love foraging for them, but most of all I love mushrooms with pasta. So this month's pasta please was a no-brainer, it had to be mushrooms!

Unfortunately the month slipped away from me and I didn't get around to trying a new pasta dish with mushrooms, *hangs head in shame* but I will be sharing with you all the delicious entries and one from my archives.

Claire (Chez Cayenne)

Claire has found some really good porcini mushroom ravioli in her local grocery store,so she stocks up on it for mid-week dinners. Lovely and simple. She wanted to try something a bit different this time,so she roasted some cherry tomatoes to go along with it.  An inspired idea Claire! It looks gorgeous and such a beautiful photo. A great start to the roundup, I think you will agree.

When Anne works night shift, she needs a hearty meal to keep her going through the night, but it also has to be easy and quick to make. Sundried tomato paste, mushrooms, ricotta and leeks. It sounds delicious Anne!

Deena (Deena Kakaya)

Deena went down an oriental route with her pasta dish. It sounds and looks wonderful, but I think I should let Deena describe it. "first you get the zing from the rice wine vinegar and the sharpness from the lime. Then comes in the sweetness from the palm sugar and the gentle heat from the chilli and it’s wonderful. You’ve got juicy and sweet pineapples that can add a touch of sourness, you’ve got silky soba noodles and you’ve got smooth and juicy shiitake. Lots of herbs bring it together with some light yet punchy aroma." Doesn't that sound marvellous? 

Mireille made her pasta dish from Ricotta & Spinach Tortelloni, some homemade bell pepper pesto, ricotta, cream, parmesan, spinach and mushrooms. It looks mouthwateringly good don't you think?

Isn't that a cool picture? That wee guy looks very familiar. Trumpton maybe? I was horrified to hear that Shaheen isn't keen on Mushrooms and finds them bland. What she didn't say was if this pasta dish converted her or not. Leave a comment Shaheen, we'd all love to know. Looks yummy to me!

Jacqueline (Tinned Tomatoes)

This is one from my archive. Bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic cooked briefly in a wok, then put through pasta with yoghurt and cream. The secret to a creamy sauce like this its vegetable stock. Put a little through the sauce and it gives it a rich flavour and cuts through the cloying cream. An excellent pasta dish.

Beth is English but moved to Tuscany to be with her Italian boyfriend. She is a new blogger, but her blog is gorgeous already and she is one heck of a cook. Of course she is in the right place to get all those great Italian tips. For this dish she started with a base of finely chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery. She added mushrooms and whizzed the sauce up with a little milk for a creamy finish and topped it all off with mushrooms and fresh parsley. Yep, this girl knows a thing or two about pasta!

When Sarah calls her pasta dish Mushroom Tagliatelle, she does actually mean mushroom tagliatelle. Sarah made herself some homemade pasta in her breadmaker and added ground dried mushrooms to her pasta dough, so the pasta is mushroom flavoured and topped with more mushrooms. Served with mushrooms cooked in butter and garlic and accompanied by spinach. Sounds like a winning dish to me!

Thanks to everyone who took part. I love each and every one of your pasta dishes. Mushrooms rule!!!

Next month Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary is hosting Pasta Please, so head over there on the 1st of December to find out what the next challenge is. Until them please do visit these lovely bloggers and leave a nice comment about their scrummy pasta dishes.

For all the latest foodie challenges and giveaways, head over to The Food Blog Diary.

The diary is updated throughout the month, so do be sure to check regularly.

Bookmarked Recipes

Bookmarked Recipes: a monthly event to encourage food bloggers to revisit the recipes they've bookmarked from magazines, newspapers, cookbooks. websites and blogs, to try them out and post about them.

Read on to see all the entries. If you recreate any bookmarked recipes in December 2013, you can join in by adding them to the linky at the end of this post for the next roundup.

Bookmarked Recipes #29 
The November Roundup

Recipe #1
Chef: Shaheen
Recipe bookmarked from: A Simmon Rimmer recipe in the Daily Mail
Recipe #2

Chef: Jane
Recipe bookmarked from: Recipes from a Pantry 
Recipe #3
Chef: Lisa
Recipe bookmarked from: The Taste Space 
Recipe #4

Chef: Janet
Recipe bookmarked from: Eats Well With Others 
Recipe #5
Chef: Corina
Recipe bookmarked from: BBC Good Food
Recipe #6
Chef: Jacqueline
Recipe bookmarked from: The Dessert Deli by Laura Amos 
Recipe #7

Chef: Johanna
Recipe bookmarked from: The Kitchen Maid 
Recipe #8
Chef: Choclette

Recipe Bookmarked from: Miranda Gore Browne's book Biscuit
Recipe #9
Chef: Janet

Recipe bookmarked from: Ricki Heller

Another fabulous roundup. Thanks to all the bloggers who took the time to enter.

December's Bookmarked Recipes is now open for business.

If you would to add a post, just go to the linky at the bottom of this post.

  • Please remember that bookmarked recipes must be suitable for vegetarians, in line with this blog. 
  • Please link to this post and state where you bookmarked your recipe from. 
  • Three entries only per blog. 
  • You can find the guidelines, current challenge and past roundups here
  • Bookmarked Recipes November will be open until Saturday 28 December 2013. 

For all the latest foodie challenges and giveaways, head over to The Food Blog Diary.

The diary is updated throughout the month, so do be sure to check regularly.


Secret Santa for a Foodie

One of my favourite online shops is I've happily spent hours browsing through their gorgeous website looking for presents. I always find something unique for my family and friends.

I recently bought my cousin a personalised chalkboard for her kitchen, which she was really pleased with and I bought another friend some unusual printed teatowels, as she is rather a collector.

It's also a great place to find food props such as cutlery, ribbons, milk bottles and paper straws.

So you can imagine my delight when they got in touch and asked if I'd like to join in their secret santa.

I was given £30 to spend on Christmas presents for 3 bloggers. My three bloggers were Helen from Fuss Free Flavours, Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen.

I am good friends with Karen and Helen from Fuss Free, so I was sure I could find them the right gifts and I know the other Helen a little, so I thought after a browse of her blog, I would know what to pick.

I duly spent a couple of evenings happily browsing through the site until I picked just the right gifts and then ordered them.

Now all I had to do was sit back and wait for my own delivery from Santa.

Secret Santa Gift no.1


Secret Santa Gift no.2

Secret Santa Gift no.3

And now I have to pick a winner. It's hard to choose, as I do love all my gifts. Cooper will enjoy helping me make letter cookies, the tablecloth is going to look great on my dining table as well as in food shots and my smoothies will look super in those fancy jars. 

The winning gift is..............

The Daisy Lidded Jars with Floral Straws

Thanks to Helen, Helen and Karen for my gifts and to for asking me to be involved in this fun project.

Have a look at what everyone else got in their secret Santa parcels and what their favourite was. 

Helen's Secret Santa: Fuss Free Flavours 
The other Helen's Secret Santa: The Crazy Kitchen
Karen's Secret Santa: Lavender and Lovage

Disclosure: I was given £30 to spend on 3 other bloggers and received gifts in return as part of this Christmas promotion by I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.



Toasted Potato & Beet Sandwich

To celebrate turning 100 Hellmann's decided to challenge bloggers to minimise the amount of food waste thrown out by using their leftovers in sandwiches. Their 'Sandwich of the Century' challenge is part of their Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

I'm always up for a challenge, so I decided to make a new sandwich using my leftovers. I saved leftover potatoes from our evening meal and came up with this tasty toasted sandwich.

For my other ingredients I looked in the fridge, to see what I could use up. No specially bought ingredients for this lunchtime snack.

Potato dressed in dill flavoured mayonnaise, mixed with spring onions. Alongside the potato I added pickled baby beets for a little piquancy and little pockets of sweetness courtesy of some leftover sweetcorn . Seasoned with black pepper and toasted until crisp. This sandwich is a triumph! It just shows you what you can do with leftovers, so there's no excuse. Note to self: must try harder!

print recipe

Toasted Potato and Beet Sandwich
A delicious toasted sandwich made with leftover potatoes, herbs, beetroot and sweetcorn.
  • 1 leftover cooked potato
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • a pinch of salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 2 tsp sweetcorn
  • 3 baby beets, halved
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread
1. Cut the potato into cubes and place in a bowl alongside the spring onions, mayonnaise and dill. Season with salt and pepper and mix until well combined.2. If you have a toastie machine, toast one side of the bread, turn it over and top the toasted side with the potato mixture, baby beets and sweetcorn, replace the lid, toasted side down, then pop back in the machine until crispy and golden.3. If you don't have a toastie machine, warm the potatoes before adding them to the other ingredients and place between hot toast to make a sandwich.4. Half and serve while hot.5. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 1 sandwich

Disclosure: Hellmanns asked if I would take part in this challenge & sent me a bottle of mayonnaise to use in my recipe. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Ruby Red Gin Cocktail with Clementine

I don't often make cocktails.

If I have a drink in the evening or at the weekend, it tends to be a glass of wine and most likely red wine. I occasionally go wild and have a cider if I'm in a pub, but rarely drink cocktails. I have one exception though, if I step inside a Mexican restaurant, my first thought before I look at the menu is Margarita! I love them!

You won't find many cocktails in my recipe index, although you will find a plethora of smoothies, shakes and juices, but there's one I insist you try and that is my Fresh Strawberry and Elderflower Cocktail. It's heaven in a glass! We're well past strawberry season here in the UK now, but frozen strawberries are just as nice and instantly ice your drink. Just make sure your blender can handle the frozen fruit. I use a vitamix, so I can blend frozen fruit in seconds. Lucky girl that I am!

I was kindly sent some Hoxton Gin, so a cocktail was a must. I don't usually drink gin, but I thought as it is usually accompanied by a slice of lemon, it would work well with any citrus. I decided to pair it with grapefruit and the more seasonal clementines, although any small orange would do. The grapefruit I used was ruby red, which along with the clementine juice gave it a marvellous colour. I also added a splosh of Angustora bitters, but not their normal one, their orange edition.

Just a wee note about Hoxton Gin, for those gin connoisseurs out there. Hoxton gin is a smooth gin that is distilled with coconut and grapefruit. And now onto the recipe.

print recipe

Ruby Red Gin Cocktail with Clementines
A colourful cocktail that is fruity and tart, but with a hint of sweetness.
  • 50ml gin
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 4 clementines
  • 3-4 teaspoons sugar
  • a splash of angostura bitters
  • a few ice cubes
1. Juice the grapefruit and clementines. Cut a couple of slices from one of the clementines before juicing, set these aside for serving with the drink.2. Pop all the ingredients except for the clementine slices into a blender and whizz.3. Serve over ice and clementine slices.4. Enjoy
Total time:
Yield: Makes 1 large cocktail or 2 normal sized cocktails

Disclosure: Hoxtons sent me a bottle of gin to try. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Rich Chocolate Brownies

I love chocolate brownies. I prefer them to cookies and other cakes. They are just so intensely chocolatey and rich. Mmmmmmmmmm!

I've tried a variety of recipes, Chocolate Fudge Brownies, which were more like fondant, I made them in a round cake tin and served them in cake wedges, warm with cream.

Then there were the Chocolate Ginger Brownies, that were more cakey in texture, but very easy to make as Cooper demonstrates.

I've made Chocolate Orange Brownies, that were rather good and Toffee Pecan Brownies that were topped with a caramel sauce, now those were decadent.

My favourite brownies were Katie's Cheesecake Brownies,
but these brownies come pretty close.

These rich brownies come from The Dessert Deli by Laura Amos.

I was super excited when I saw the cover of this book on Amazon. Giant layered desserts in what looked like giant wine glasses. How cool is that?

I immediately wanted a spoon so I could tuck into one of those desserts.

I have to tell you I was pretty disappointed to look inside and discover that it wasn't a cookbook of giant desserts. I don't know what I was thinking actually. A whole book of giant desserts, would there be a call for that and how much variety would there really be in such a book? I must have been thinking with my stomach. Once I got over that, I was very pleased with my new cookbook.

photo: The Dessert Deli

Laura Amos set up her company The Dessert Deli after she felt she had s bit of experience under her belt.

When she left catering college she served her apprenticeship under Jean Christophe Novelli and then moved on to be the sous chef at The Ivy. head pastry chef at La Caprice and then head chef at Popina.

Laura set up her dessert business, by starting a stall at Northcote Road Market in London and now her luxurious desserts are also sold in Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Whole Foods Market. Her cookbook shares some of her most popular desserts.

Here is how the book is laid out: 

photo: The Dessert Deli
  • Ingredients
  • Equipment
  • Indulgent Desserts
  • Meringue Tips
  • How to Make Pastry
  • Puddings & More
  • Afternoon Tea & Cakes
  • How to Decorate Cupcakes
  • Christmas at The Dessert Deli
  • Tuiles, Sauces & Creams

photo: The Dessert Deli
There are plenty of desserts in glasses to keep my cravings happy, such as Plum & Hazelnut Zabaglione. Peach & Amaretti SyllabubGooseberry & Elderflower Fool Lemon Posset, Panna Cotta with Raspberries, Orange & Passionfruit Trifle and Chocolate Mousse with Honeycomb, to name a few. 

There are also traybakes, cupcakes, celebration cakes and puddings.

There are 60 mouthwatering recipes in the book, that will keep both the amateur baker and the more experienced happy.

All of these sumptuous recipes and I decide to make brownies. What can I say, I was just in the mood for brownies. I needed that chocolate hit!

The brownies, were rich and fudgey with a good flavour of chocolate. They went down a treat.

photo: The Dessert Deli
The Dessert Deli by Laura Amos

Format: Hardback
Pages: 156
Publisher: Paperbooks Ltd
ISBN: 978-1909039025
Published: October 2012

Twitter: @dessertdeli

print recipe

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
Rich chocolate brownies made with good quality dark chocolate, instead of cocoa for a heady chocolate fix.
  • 6 large eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g dark brown soft sugar
  • 200g salted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan/gas mark 3½.2. Line a brownie tin. 3. Using an electric whisk, mix the eggs and both sugars for about 10 minutes until thick, pale and doubled in volume.4. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and butter in a bowl, and suspend over a saucepan of simmering water (a bain-marie) do not allow the bowl to touch the water, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sieved flour and baking powder, making sure there are no lumps in the mix.5. The eggs should now be ready, so fold half the mixture into the chocolate, and then the remaining half. Pour into the pre-lined baking tray and put in the preheated oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. When you shake the tin it should only have a slight wobble.6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Best to chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.notes: 
  • Be careful not to overcook the brownies or they will turn from fudgy to cakey. 
  • I always use large eggs for baking, but this recipe calls for medium. The choice is yours.
  • I dusted by brownies with cocoa powder, but this is optional
Total time:
Yield: Makes 16 brownies

Disclosure: I was sent this cookbook to review. I wasn't expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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