What's for dinner this week?

>> Thursday, February 10, 2011

[HEART] gratefulness
[EYES] The King's Speech
[EARS] Vienna by Billy Joel
[HEAD] where to, for lunch?
[HANDS] playing Angry Bird

Excuse me for the longish period of silence on this space (and thanks especially for your thoughtful e-mails/comments asking my whereabouts!)

I've been blogging telepathically (and rather often too!) just because I thought we have that connection between us by now. Uh... no? So it was just me then!

So I have been re-prioritising my life. It's almost a full-time job.

Not that I didn't know my priorities were before.

But it's one thing to know...and another thing to do. Don't you think so too? I'm learning. Head knowledge is nothing when there's no heart knowledge. Oui?

On the kitchen front, making dinner obviously takes priority over my love of baking.

Since I live by myself most of the time, people often ask me...

What do you cook for yourself each night? 

To which I reply...I cook whatever I'm in the mood for. If I am craving cereal and peanut butter sandwiches, please don't deprive me of that for dinner! :)

Last week, I had a thing for Italian (or rather, my take on Italian)...

I know that I rarely post about dinner (it has mostly been...desserts, something sweet and oh, more desserts!) - but I'm learning to be a better cook these days so I thought it'd be good to document and share those recipes here.

Here are the three recipes I've cooked in the past week:
  • Spaghetti Bolognese - this is a great recipe and it's perfect to store the sauce in the freezer in individual portions for those unforeseen lazy days ahead.
  • Brie, Chorizo, Caramelised onion and Apple Pizza - Love homemade pizza like no other. I ran out of apples one night so made another version with juicy mangoes and tomato slices! I love the flavour combination of sweet, tangy and salty.
  • Thyme, lemon and mushroom pasta - Simple yet flavoursome...good recipe for a meatless day!

Spaghetti Bolognese
Adapted from DaintyBaker
Serves 4-6
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp extra
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 sprigs Thyme - remove leaves off the stem
  • handful of Basil leaves
  • handful of Oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can (800g) whole tomatoes
  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper
1. Heat oil in a medium pot with onions, garlic and bay leaves until onions turn translucent.

2. Add the can of tomatoes to the pot and break up the whole tomatoes with the back of a fork, bring to the boil.

3. Once it has reached boiling point reduce heat, let simmer for about 40 mins - 1 hr until it is reduced. At this point, throw in your herbs, chilli (if using - you can turn the heat up or down to your liking by adding more or less chilli flakes) and wine and simmer for about another 15 mins. Remove bay leaves.

4. Whilst your sauce is simmering, heat the extra 1 Tbsp oil in a fry pan. Cook the mince until browned all over. Add the sauce to the meat and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Spaghetti with mushrooms in a lemon, cream and thyme sauce
Adapted from CheekyChilli
Serves 3-4
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 red onion 
  • 1 tbsp thyme 
  • Lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • Lemon juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup porcini or wild mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup cream 
  • 2 sausage (optional), diced (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 tsp orange flower honey  (use regular honey if you don’t have this)
  • Dried Spaghetti to serve 3-4 people
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan for grating over
1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti into the pot. Boil pasta as per directions on box.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a shallow pan on medium low. Add the garlic and fry until slightly brown.

3.  Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the thyme.

4.  Roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the pan. Mix to incorporate, then bring to a boil.

5. Add the lemon juice and zest and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the cream.

6. Reduce heat and simmer the sauce for a bit and let reduce slightly. Add the honey and mix it in.

7. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and toss together to coat the strands of pasta.

8. Serve with a fresh grating of Parmesan over each dish, along with some fresh ground pepper.

Apple, Brie, Chorizo and Caramelised onion Pizza
Serves 1-2 

Note: For the pizza base, either make it from scratch or if you're short on time like I was, make sure you buy it fresh (made daily) from a good pasta/pizza stall in your local market. You can freeze them too - just need to thaw for around 5-10 minutes.
  • 1 fresh pizza base 
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly (I used fuji) or 1 small mango, sliced
  • 100 gram double brie
  • 1 link chorizo
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ~2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ~1 tbsp honey
  • handful of salad greens

1. Preheat oven to 220C (or 430F)

2. Cut apple (or mango) into thin slices. Layer onto pizza.

3. Cook onion in a pan until soft and slightly browned. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and honey to taste. Layer onto pizza.

4. Add the brie slices onto the pizza on top of the onion.

5. Cook the chorizo in the same pan as the onion. Once cooked through, cut into many slices. Or alternatively, remove sausage from it's casing. Cook in a the pan, crumbling it up using a spatula, until it is crisp and browned. Sprinkle over the brie layer.

6. Put in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until bottom of dough is starting to get brown.

7. Scatter the greens over the cooked pizza! Enjoy!

So, what have you been craving for this week?


Anh February 10, 2011 at 5:19 PM  

I particularly like the sound of the Spaghetti with mushrooms in a lemon, cream and thyme sauce! Delicious!

j3ss kitch3n February 10, 2011 at 5:30 PM  

i love the mushroom spaghetti!! looks so divine!! i'm drooling now Viv!

grub February 10, 2011 at 11:39 PM  

dinner at your place looks very very good indeed! can i come over one day? haha

i like the idea of your pizza, sounds continental-ish. the taste of it is interesting too :)

and there is nothing better about pasta!! i LOVE the stuff to bits :D

sugarpuffi February 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM  

uve sure been busy with italian foods lately! man ur making me hungry. why did i choose to look at your blog during lunchtime :(

Jessica's Dinner Party February 16, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

I find it hard to cook for just one sometimes! But thanks for the recipes. Maybe I can make them in bulk and freeze them.

Maria February 18, 2011 at 4:32 AM  

That pizza sounds delicious! I don't seem to cook much Italian, maybe because I'm not such a huge fan of pasta... but there are some great flavours in that cuisine I really love too, like tomato and basil!

Von February 20, 2011 at 10:59 AM  

i rarely post about dinner too :) These all look really really yummy....now I want to cook dinner too! I've never tried apple on pizza....it sounds really nice- but mango sounds even more interestsing and delicious! haha...I've gotta try it one day!

Anonymous,  February 20, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

hi vivienne, the mushroom pasta and the pizza look delicious! I spent a few years cooking for one, had good weeks and bad weeks. Freezing things helps a lot

Brownieville Girl February 20, 2011 at 8:50 PM  

Welcome back Vivienne.

What lovely meals you have been having - I particularly like the mushroom and pasta dish, the honey is an unusual addition - I must try it.

StarletStarlet October 16, 2011 at 5:48 PM  

Thanks Viv, for giving me another lemon based recipe! MMMM pasta!

Sharmila December 5, 2012 at 2:33 AM  

Just found this today! Glad you liked the recipe.

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