Chorizo and Broccoli Pasta for One (or, a loveletter to my freezer)

When me and my flatmate Alice were looking for a new flat the size of the freezer became a sticking point. As single, busy-ish women who mainly cook for just themselves, our lives are basically a series of tiny races against time before the food we have bought expires and is left to decay in the bottom of the fridge. Or it would, were we not both so hopelessly devoted to our freezer. In the flat we eventually settled on there is a four drawer (two drawers each!) marvel of a freezer, rarely with an inch of space to spare, bursting with half loaves of bread, single fillets of chicken breast, ziplocked bags of bolognese, ice cream and delicious oven chips. 

(I feel like oven chips are one of those things that you probably aren’t supposed to mention if you are trying to be *serious* about food. But hot, crispy oven chips – maybe with a fried egg and bacon – are undoubtedly one of the great joys of this earth and making them from scratch is a faff and they probably wont be as good anyway. If you think this is untrue, pop to your local big Sainsbury’s and buy a bag of frozen American curly fries – the slightly confusing vibrant orange kind – pop them in an oven and then shove them in your face and try to tell me it wasn’t incredibly satisfying. Maybe get some frozen chicken nuggets while you’re out.)

It’s difficult to shop as a single person, because supermarkets sell in bulk. I cannot explain the glee I feel when I got into a shop and it’s the kind that sells courgettes individually instead of in a pack of three. Three is an unhelpful number of courgettes. Buying bulk bags of carrots would mean I could just eat carrots for a week and still have carrots fucking everywhere on Friday. Chillies, as well. Rarely do I need 10+ chillies, but that’s how they’re sold. This type of shopping leads to wastefulness, and my reluctance to take out the bins means I try to avoid wastefulness. 

And so: the freezer. A thing of beauty and of bounty. At all times I store bags of the following: brussel sprouts, sweetcorn, fine green beans, broccoli florets and peas. I also tend to have sausages, because combining them with any of the above makes a meal. I will cut up extra veg (those fucking extra courgettes, or leeks – also often sold in threes), pop them in bags and freeze them, too. Chopped herbs and chillies in there. My most recent freezer revelation is that you can freeze fresh ginger, and grate it as needed without peeling. This also works with lemons and limes. 

It seems worth pointing out – as is important in these times of Bad Food Science – that frozen vegetables are as healthy as fresh. Nutrients are not lost in the freezing process, it does not make food worse and it is not in someway unclean. Freezing is a good way of making things go further, so you don’t have to buy more stuff. 

So, this pasta – which is creamy, a little spicy and very delicious – it not so much made up of store cupboard staples as freezer staples (did I mention when I go to markets that sell cooking chorizo I stock up and fill the freezer? I do, it’s the good stuff). It has minimal ingredients but tastes delicious – the kind of thing that’s good to make after a long day where you need comfort (ie cheese), but also speed. This dish is a loveletter to my freezer and to the vegetables it stops festering, to the money it saves me and the waste it stops me producing, and ultimately for being the thing that allows me regular access to ice cream and facilitates my love of oven chips. Freezing is ❄️ cool ❄️ 

Chorizo and Broccoli Pasta for One
Serves 1
Spicy, silky pasta with pops of green.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. Half a cooking chorizo sausage (I used these - http://www.brindisa.com/store/spanish-ham-chorizo-spanish-meats/spanish-cooking-chorizo/alejandro-chorizo-barbacoa/ - so probably like, 60 - 70g?), diced into small morsels
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. About 75g uncooked pasta (I used tagliatelle and used 3 of the nests)
  4. A good amount of parmesan, grated as finely as you can - amount 1/3 of one of those triangular wedge, or enough to form a mound on your chopping board a couple of centimeters high)*
  5. Two fistfuls frozen broccoli florets
Instructions
  1. Take a minute to cut up your chorizo and mince your garlic. Maybe grate
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta according to packet instructions. For the final five minutes of cooking time, add the broccoli.**
  3. Meanwhile, heat just a drop of oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Chuck in the chorizo, and cook until it releases a beautiful orange oil and starts to smell fragrant (about 4 - 5 minutes), then add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes.
  4. When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain them, reserving a cup of the water it was cooked in.
  5. Remove the chorizo pan from the heat (a residual heat is enough for this next bit), then throw the pasta and broccoli into the pan. Add about 1/3 of the cheese, and some of the water, and mix slowly. The cheese should melt and coat the pasta. Add more cheese, then the same again - add water if needed to assist in the melting and coating. It is best to add cheese in batches, as this helps keep it creamy - add it all in one go and the temperature will drop too quickly and the parmesan will clump. It'll taste fine but won't look as nice.
  6. Add a little salt and pepper if desired and then serve.
Notes
  1. *Apologies for these deeply imprecise measurements, but my advice when dealing with cooking for one is to follow your heart - use the quantities of meat, pasta, cheese and garlic that you alone desire
  2. **Frozen florets are sometimes massive, so I have been known to fish them out of the pasta water once they are mostly cooked and cut them up into bite size chunks.
Doughs and Don'ts http://www.doughsanddonts.com/

Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Toasties (or, love of leftovers)

Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Toasties

Christmas is done. This year, it was just me and my parents. My mum and I, despite lacking two additional family members since my brother and his wife are up in Yorshire, decided not to scale down dinner at all. 12 Yorkshire puddings for 3 people obviously seemed about right. This Boxing Day, we are therefore up to our knees in Celebrations wrappers and a shedload of leftovers.

In a mission to start to work through the leftovers, I made these sandwiches. They are quick, because Christmas Day is all about big and bold and excess, but Boxing Day is about lay ins and good books and lounging. But Christmas, as a time, is really all about deliciousness, which these sandwiches definitely are. 

Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Toasties

(Actually, I think there was a time when Christmas was all about toys and watching my dad put stickers on things and making Lego constructs, and another time when it was about getting as far in to the latest Final Fantasy game as possible in a single day, but now it is absolutely all about food).

These toasties are very buttery, a little crispy, and full of cheese, and a bit fruity, which is everything you want in a season so wholeheartedly dedicated to calories. They are really quite filling, too. They are quick enough that you can whip them up for some people you love, increase surplus fridge space, do a quick clean and still have time to fit in a watch of Paddington in the afternoon. 

Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Toasties

 

Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Toasties
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Bread
  2. Leftover Christmas Turkey
  3. Cranberry Sauce
  4. Brie
  5. Butter
  6. Salad Leaves (I used rocket)
For one sandwich
  1. Cut two slices of bread. Lightly butter each side of each slice.
  2. On one side of one slice, pile up some brie.
  3. On one side of the other slice, spread over some cranberry sauce, and pile on some turkey.
  4. In a frying pan, over a medium heat, melt a little butter. Then, place the brie slice (butter down, brie up) into the pan, and fry until the underside browns.
  5. When the bread has browned, throw a handful of rocket onto the brie.
  6. Then, take the cranberry-turkey covered slice, and place it (turkey down, butter up), quickly, onto the brie slathered bread.
  7. Flip the whole sandwich, and let the bread on the other side brown again.
  8. Remove, serve. Repeat for as many sandwiches as you need, or want.
Adapted from from Christmas Dinner
Adapted from from Christmas Dinner
Doughs and Don'ts http://www.doughsanddonts.com/

Comforting Mac and Cheese (or, the pasta of celebrations)

Doughs and Don't - Comforting Mac and Cheese

Sometimes I have had a bad day. Sometimes I need to watch the Swan Princess in my pyjamas and swallow my sadness with big gulps of pasta covered in creamy cheese. Enter this dish. 

Sometimes I have had an amazing day. I have energy and joy and want to hug people in the street and I want something dlightfully delicious and probably covered in creamy cheese to celebrate. ENTER THE MAC AND CHEESE. 

DoughsandDonts_MacoroniCheese2

This is a ‘just got a new job’ dinner and a ‘just broke up with my boyfriend and want to sit and cry for a bit’ dinner. It’s what you cook when your flatmates have a look in their eyes betraying a deep deep inner sadness. Basically its tasty and really comforting and not at all healthy. Perfect ‘fuck this’ food. 

It is also quick, taking less than 30 mins to make, and infinitely customisable. This version is full of garlic and wholegrain mustard because those things make other things taste great. 

It makes about 4 – 6 servings (more if you eat it with a side or as a side…). If I’m doing ‘make it better’ mac it is not unlikely I will eat 4 – 6 portions. If I am doing ‘good day getting better’ mac I might share it. Maybe. Or I might put on my pyjamas and watch the Swan Princess and enjoy all the gooey gooey cheese myself. 

 

Comforting Mac and Cheese (or, the pasta of celebrations)
Serves 4
Gooey cheesy pasta to make the worst day seem actually amazing.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups pasta (whichever shape you like)
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1/3 cup butter
  5. 2 1/2 cups cubed mature cheddar
  6. 1/2 cup flour
  7. 1 1/2 cups milk
  8. 1 tsp dried dill
  9. 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Cook pasta according to packet instructions (add a pinch of salt to the water), until al-dente.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter.
  4. Once butter is liquid, add garlic. Cook for 20 seconds until the garlic just begins to get fragrant.
  5. Add the flour. Beat the flour and butter together into a thick, thick, nearly solid paste.
  6. Add milk and stir until the paste has combined with the milk. Heat for a few minutes to cook out the flour taste a little, but do not boil.
  7. Add the cheese, the mustard and several good grinds of black pepper. Keep stirring until cheese has melted.
  8. Drain the pasta. In an oven proof dish, combine the pasta and sauce thoroughly.
  9. Cook for 6 - 10 minutes, until the top is just starting to crisp and brown.
  10. Change into pyjamas, serve hot and dig in.
Notes
  1. You could probably use less cheese but I don't because I really want the cheese.
Doughs and Don'ts http://www.doughsanddonts.com/