Pret A Manger – Summer Salads

The beginning of the week started with the beautiful UK summer sun. In such warm weather like these, salads seem to make a good choice for lunch.

Pret’s sandwiches and warm Danish has been a firm favourite with, but I never seem to be a fan of their salads. The range they had were small and without pasta.

However, recently Pret has introduce a new and larger range of Summer salads. One of these includes a pasta and chicken salad, which contains farfalle pasta with sweet garden peas in a lemon dressing, accompany with sliced chicken, roasted red peppers and rockets.

When I first brought the audition pack, the pasta in the creamy lemon dressing had no taste due to the lack of seasoning. However, having brough a few of these for lunch it seem to have improved. It was not tasteless and the flavour was light enough to combine well with the strong flavours of the roasted red peppers and rockets.

http://www.pret.com/

Linguine with Tomato and Basil

It is simple to make a pasta tomato sauce in a few minutes. Just with a few ingredients you will be able to feed your hungry stomach in no time.

This recipe you can adapt it by adding your favourite meat or cheese. In the above photo I have added Hertz frankfurter and some cheddar cheese, that are both easy to cook ingredients.

Ingredients (serve 1):

  • Linguine
  • Tomatoes (chopped) – 2
  • Onions (chopped)
  • Garlic (peeled and chopped) – 2 cloves
  • Dried Basil – 2 teaspoons
  • Tomato Puree – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Methods:

For the sauce – step 1-3

  1. Add some olive oil to a heated pan. Then add the chopped garlic and onions. Fry for a few minutes until fragrance.
  2. Add the tomatoes, basil and tomato puree (If you find it is too thick, then add some water to the sauce).
  3. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook the pasta according to the instruction on the package.
  5. Then add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well. Ready to serve.

Tips:

If you want to add some chopped frankfurters then add it at the same time as the chopped garlic and onions.

If you want to add cheddar/mozzarella cheese then I would suggest you to mix it in before you serve the dish. This will allow the cheese to melt within the pasta.

You can easily remove the skin of fresh tomatoes by the following method:

  1. In a saucepan of boiling water add the tomatoes, and cooked this until the tomatoes soften (you will see the tomatoes start to wrinkle).
  2. Then remove from the water and carefully remove the skin from the tomatoes. You should find that the skin will easily come away from the tomatoes.

Pasta Bolognese Sauce (茄汁蔬菜肉醬義大利麵)

Let me share with you a recipe to make your own pasta Bolognese sauce with out the use of a ready-made jar of pasta sauce from the supermarket. For a quick tasty pasta meal, I am sure many of us just buy a jar of pasta sauce from the supermarket shelve. I mean I do and it always handy to have in your kitchen cupboard. But with a few basic ingredients you can make a tasty Bolognese sauce in no time.

This recipe is great because it is simple to make that can feed a whole family or when you have friends over for a meal. If you make extra then store it in a sealed container and leave in the fridge for the next day.

Pasta Bolognese Sauce (茄汁蔬菜肉醬義大利麵)

Ingredients:

  • Pasta (Spaghetti goes well but any pasta of your choice is fine)
  • Mince meat – 300g (I have used beef but pork can be use instead)
  • Onion – 1 (I  used shallots instead since kitchen had no onions)
  • Garlic – 3-4 cloves
  • Carrots – 1
  • Celery – 2 stalk
  • Chopped tomatoes – 1 can
  • Dried Basil – 1 tablespoon
  • tomatoes Puree – 2 tablespoon
  • Stock – 200-300ml
  • Black Pepper – to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – to taste

The above measurements are for guidance only – if you like to eat more meat then add more meat, if you like more vegetable then add more vegetable. You can also turn it to just have vegetables if you do not like meat. It it a flexible dish!

Methods:

  1. Chop onions, carrots and celery. Then finely chop the garlic.
  2. Add some oil to a pan and heat. Then first add the chopped garlic, dried basil and fry until fragrance.
  3. Then add and fry the chopped onions.
  4. Then add the minced meat and fry until it has changed colour.
  5. Then add the canned tomatoes, chopped carrots, tomatoes puree and stock.
  6. Once boil turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. About one minute before serving, add the chopped celery. Then the  salt, black pepper and sugar to taste.
  8. Finally add this on top of the cooked pasta and serve (I have sprinkle some dried parsley for decoration).

(Pasta – cooked this according to the instruction on the package).

With the pasta dish I actually also made a Japanese burger steak (not recommended since the pasta already had beef). But since I could not decide which one to have that evening I thought I have both. What a greedy lady I am…too greedy for my stomach!

Cupcakes Baking – Green Tea/Red Velvet Cupcakes

A few weeks back it was Pink Friday and for charity we decided to make cupcakes for a cake sale. We made a batch of Red Velvet cupcakes and a batch of Green Tea cupcakes, both recipes from the Hummingbird bakery cooked book that we bought.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have previously tried making red velvet cupcakes but the recipe was not as good as the one from Hummingbird Bakery recipe book. As long you have the right ingredients you can come out with beautiful red velvet cupcakes.

Originally, red velvet cupcakes are usually decorated with cream cheese frosting. But after having tried the cream cheese frosting we decided it was to cheesy and used vanilla frosting. It was a great combination and went down well with people.

The funny thing was that people thought the red bits sprinkled on top of the frosting was red chilli powder.  But actually the sprinkles was red velvet cake that we broken up to decorate the cupcakes.

Green Tea Cupcakes

The green tea cupcakes to many people who saw them find them interested since it was new to them. But green tea dessert is commonly found in Asia especially in Japan where green tea are originated.

The frosting on the green tea cupcakes was my favourite, since it was a strong green tea taste that reminded me of green tea ice cream. It was brought out by the type of green tea we used which was a 100% green tea powder to make the frosting and so no colouring was used to get it so green. A green that many people said reminded them of Halloween!

Although some people prefer the green tea frosting to have a less mild green tea flavour. I actually prefer it to be how it was since the cake itself tasted more chocolate although we infused it with green tea milk in it. Therefore, the frosting complimented it all but then we all have different taste buds!

Depending which brand of green tea powder you use for the frosting, then you might have to adjust the recipe to get it to the desire you want.

Thank you for Hummingbird Bakery sharing these beautiful recipes. Although, it does not stop me to still visit the store to buy some yummy Red Velvet cupcakes. For those that do not know Hummingbird Bakery is famous for their Red Velvet Cupcakes and so far is my favourite out of the London bakery I have tried.

CheChe’s Lunchbox – Thai Prawn Noodle Salad

With the warm summer weather my appetite is for salad. So I made a fusion salad lunch box to take with me to the office – Thai prawn with noodle salad. It made a change to having my usual pasta salad.  

For the noodle salad I used a mixture of vermicelli noodle and soft egg noodle. Then cut cucumbers, red onions and corriander which you mix it with the noodle. For the dressing I used Pietrousa soy sauce salad dressing, which is one of the range of Pietro Shoyu dressing. You do not have to use too much, otherwise it will feel quite oily. The taste remind me of a Chinese/Japanese fusion taste but goes well with the noodle and the Thai prawn marinated with chilli and corriander.

Egg Toast

I find toast plain and dry, so do not usually consider it for my breakfast. But I saw an interesting idea which actually make a piece a toast more interesting. You make think the toast in the photo is a normal piece of toast but actually in the middle I cut a circle open and added an egg to it.

It goes well with fresh tomatoes and ham. Having a half cooked egg in the toast and the fresh tomatoes did not feel my breakfast was too dry. So I give it a thumb up.

Ingredients:

Egg Toast (1 portion)

  • Egg – 1 whole
  • Bread – 1 slice
  • Salt – to taste
  • Black Pepper – to taste
  • Butter – to taste
  • Parsley Flakes – to taste

Plate

  • Ham – 1 slice (cut in to triangle)
  • Fresh Tomatoes – 1 whole (cut in to slices)

Methods:

  1. Prepare a plate with sliced tomatoes and ham.
  2. Toast the bread till crispy. Then using a cup cut the middle of the toast out (I used a round cookie cutter).
  3. Heat a pan and add butter (middle heat).
  4. Then add the toasted bread and break an egg in to the middle of the toast which now has a hole (in step 2).
  5. Sprinkle black pepper and salt over it.
  6. Fry till half-cooked and flip it over to cook the other side.
  7. Ready to add to the prepared plate (in step 1). Finally sprinkle parsley flakes. 

Poached Egg & Frankfurter Breakfast

I love to wake up not having to think that I need to rush to get ready to work. But instead get up and go to the kitchen to cook a warm and simple breakfast. 

Poached Egg & Frankfurter Breakfast 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 egg
  • 2 frankfurters
  • Oil
  • Salt

Methods: 

A) Poached Egg 

  1. In a saucepan add some water then add a little of oil and some salt. Bring the water to the boil.
  2. Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat down to a very gentle flame.
  3. Gently break an egg in to the water (or break the egg in to a cup first. Then gently lower and pour the egg in to the water).
  4. Leave it to cook in the water, while still over the gentle flame.
  5. The cooking time of the egg will depend how you like your egg yolk. If you prefer the egg yolk to be cook then you will need to leave it longer to cook. But if you still want a runny yolk you only need to cook it for 1-2 minutes.

B) Frankfurter

Just follow the instruction of the package. I am using Herta Frankfurter which are available in many UK major supermarket, which can be use in variety ways.

  1. In a saucepan add some water and bring the water to boil.
  2. Add the Frankfurter and cook for a few minutes (according to the package).

Place the cooked poached egg and the frankfurters on a plate. Then you can have it on it own or serve it with some tomato ketchup.