Sunday, November 13, 2016

Butternut squash gnocchi with roast garlic, burnt butter and crispy sage

A photo posted by Lara Beans (@beanslala) on

This was a really lovely easy recipe to make!  I’ve adapted it from Daniel Ottolenghi’srecipe for gnocchi in today’s guardian, using what I had at home to make the sauce plus my love of sage with butternut is no secret! 

I have a lot of butternut at the moment. And i mean a lot! I‘ve been cooking it in roasts and stews and salads, and still they keep on piling up.  I get at least 1 with every veggie delivery! I was looking for something new to make, and I’ve been thinking about gnocchi so when the recipe came up today, I thought, why not?

This recipe can be easily multiplied.  You can also make the gnocchi in batches ahead of time – simply freeze on the tray after shaping into individual gnocchi, then place in freezer bags in whatever size portion you want).  I’m definitely going to make a couple of night’s worth of portions, this recipe is easy enough as it is, but to have the veggies roasted and the gnocchi prepared beforehand means dinner could be on the table on a weeknight in the time it takes to make the burnt butter sauce! J  These little pillows of happiness are softer and definitely tastier than ready-made ones you get at the shops – and as an added bonus, you feel like a total “nonna” making these and pushing each one down on a fork!  I look forward to making these with my nieces, they will love it!

Butternut squash gnocchi with roast garlic, burnt butter and crispy sage

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Flapjacks - maple syryp, cacao nibs, nuts and choc chips

These flapjacks were a midnight baking moment, we'd been talking about flapjacks earlier today and I decided to have a look in the cupboard, and at some recipes online.  

The basics of flapjacks are usually the same; Oats, butter (or a similar non dairy fat like coconut oil), and more often than not, golden syrup.

I found a variety of things but hazelnuts, cacao nips and maple syrup stood out, then added walnuts just because i love them with maple syrup, which i'd decided was going to replace the golden syrup.  Anyway here's the recipe - however it's a basic idea which you can add to - I think replacing some of the butter/sugar mix with mashed dates, banana or apple puree would make this quite a bit healthier, as well as adding dried fruit and a variety of seeds and nuts - just make sure everything is mixed well before baking and you can't really go wrong :) As it has no eggs, you can taste as you go along too, and it's super easy to "veganise" ;) 

Maple, nut and chocolate flapjacks recipe, adapted from River Cottage flapjacks

Friday, October 14, 2016

Corn chowder with chorizo

A photo posted by Lara Beans (@beanslala) on

MMm this was tasty! :) I don't like huge unending pots of soup, I get sick of eating the same thing for days, and don't have much of a freezer at the moment.  This soup makes a perfect amount, enough for dinner for 3, or 2 and one extra for lunch the next day :) It's warming, colourful, and super easy! I made a quick soda bread to go with it and that only took a few minutes, and 20 in the oven.  


Soda bread

A photo posted by Lara Beans (@beanslala) on

This literally took 30 minutes to make from measuring the ingredients, to a golden loaf - yum! A completely different experience to what i'm used to baking, but really easy and wonderful!

Recipe for Soda bread

Monday, January 11, 2016

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder

Roast Lamb - I just love it!  It's not massively popular in Malta (the local "haruf" available only for a very short time at the start of spring, the rest all imported), however it is an institution both in Australia and where i'm living now, UK (Sussex).  All of England, 50% of the total land in fact is used for pasture here in the UK, meaning that by far, the sheep and cow industry is the one that takes up the most space here.  I've seen sheep in the most unlikely places, right on top of Wales' tallest mountain, down the road from our house, randomly walking down the road with some ponies through country lanes.  This land is full of sheep!

Went to our local butcher, who happens to be a fantastic butcher who sells really good quality small stock farmed animals.  

The lamb he had that day was some local lamb that had just won a prize at the show.  YUM!  Bought half a shoulder with the mind to have delicious roast, and then make shepherd's pie with the leftovers. This is the kind of meal that you prepare  and kind of just forget about.  It's a perfect Saturday night dinner (esp if you've just brunch at lunchtime and are quite hungry!).  I like to make it on Saturday, and make a shepherd's pie on the Monday night - most of the hard work is already done! :) 

Just like most of my recipes, I always look to the internet and my cookbooks for inspiration.  When it comes to shoulder, low and slow is most definitely the way to go!! (Ah! the rhyming! it burns!) It's super simple and you will have fantastically flavoured, tender and juicy all the way through :) This recipe is a mix of one of Jamie Oliver's, Mary Berry's, James Martin and a few other tidbits around the web.  To be fair, they are all very similar recipes so just go with what you feel is best :) 

This feeds 4, or 2 plus leftovers for another meal.  For a larger piece of meat, you will need a longer cooking time, maybe up to around 4 hours?  But I've also cooked  whole shoulder for 2.5 hours like this and had it almost fork tender! :) 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mid-week dinners - Teriyaki salmon with stir-fried vegetables

I don't have resolutions, but I do like to have new beginnings :)  I have completely abandoned this blog and would like to create inspiration for myself and others by getting back into it!

I'll start this year with a nice healthy mid week dinner that's absolutely delicious, and also REALLY easy and quick to make!

Teriyaki Salmon with Stir-fried Veggies and Brown steamed rice :) yum!  I don't really care whether it's authentic, more about whether it's tasty, quick, healthy and easy! :) This is why i used leeks rather than onions, less hassle to chop.  I know, I know, laziness incarnate!  but I LIKE leeks! they are sweet and soft and delicious! :)  I like boneless fish, it's easier and quicker during the week.  I like mangetout/Sugar-snaps - fresh veg with absolutely zero prep apart from a rinse! :)   I chose shiitake mushrooms, which was a great choice! they are so delicious but we warned, they pretty much melt into nothingness!