Pear and stilton gnocchi

This recipe sounds ultra-fancy, but it can be knocked up in fifteen minutes, making it a very sociable dish for guests. And it’s cheap – a couple of pears, an onion, garlic, cheese, and some gnocchi comes to about £2 per serving. Pear and stilton is such a complimentary combination – don’t feel alarmed. Here’s some rare pictures of me cooking in my gorgeous student kitchen, curtesy of my wonderful photographer (and friend), James.

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Pear and stilton gnocchi (serves 2; vegetarian)

 Ingredients: 

  • 1 onion (I find brown works best, but shallots would also be banging)
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 100g stilton
  • 500g gnocchi

Method:

  1. Heat a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive, then fry off the onions for 5 minutes on a gentle heat. Add the sliced pear, followed by garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 10 minutes, while the gnocchi is cooking, stirring occasionally.
  2. Boil a pan of water, add the gnocchi and cook for 3 minutes – be careful to not over cook.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat, and stir in the drained gnocchi. While still very hot, crumble the stilton over, and mix gently until creamy.

4. Season with pepper, and sprinkle over some nuts for added texture – pine nuts, cashews or walnuts work well.

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happy guests

Dry cider and tarragon prawn linguine

Dry cider and tarragon prawn linguine pescatarian; serves 2

marinating prawns in traditional pub flavours, cider and mustard, works surprisingly well…

Ingredients:

  • 150g fresh king prawns
  • 100ml dry cider
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp creme fresh
  • 100g long stem broccoli
  • 200g linguine

Method:

  1. In a bowl, pour in 100ml dry cider, dijon mustard and tarragon and stir well. Add in the fresh prawns, and allow to marinate in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the linguine. While this is cooking, drain the marinade from the prawns into a saucepan and reduce on a low heat for 8 minutes.
  3. Heat a frying pan with a glug of olive oil and stir fry the long stem broccoli for 5 minutes. Add the prawns, and continue to fry for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Once the cider marinade is reduced by half its size, stir in 2 tbsp of creme fresh. Stir this sauce into the linguine, topping with the broccoli and prawns.

Cashew pesto and asparagus tagliatelle

Cashew pesto and asparagus tagliatelle serves 2; vegetarian 

the pesto experiments continue! To prove pesto does not strictly have to be made from pine nuts…I have thrown an avocado in there for a creamy pasta sauce base

Ingredients:

  • 8 asparagus spears
  • 50g cashew nuts, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 15g fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 avocado, roughly chopped
  • 30g finely grated parmesan
  • 200g tagliatelle

 Method:

  1. Roast the asparagus spears on a baking tray in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes, coated in a little olive oil.
  2. While the asparagus is roasting, make the cashew pesto. Toast the cashew nuts in a frying pan on a high heat. Blend together the crushed cashew nuts, garlic and basil in the food processor for 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, avocado and parmesan and pulse until the pesto becomes smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside in the fridge.
  3. Cook the tagliatelle in salted water for 12 minutes, drain and combine with the cashew pesto. Serve with the roasted asparagus and extra grated parmesan.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Walnut pesto and mushroom pasta

Walnut pesto and mushroom pasta serves 2

pesto does not have to be exclusively made with pine nuts

Ingredients:image1[39].jpg

  • 60g walnuts, broken into pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g fresh basil
  • 30g parmesan cheese, thinly shaved
  • 200g pasta of your choice
  • 1 tsp oil with truffle extract
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

Method:

  1. Boil the pasta in salted water. While this is cooking, blend the broken walnut pieces, olive oil, basil and parmesan in a food processor. Pulse into it combines into a relatively smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Fry sliced chestnut mushrooms in truffle oil and garlic.
  3. Drain the pasta, and combine with the pesto and mushrooms.