Seriously Simple Supper – fresh ravioli with lemon and herbs

ravioli with lemon and herbs

Before I get any further with this post you need to know that I did not make the pasta; making fresh pasta is fun but not when you have been driving for about eight hours and need a really quick and delicious supper! The ravioli I used was from Tesco and contained Scottish Crab and Chilli, which seemed rather fitting after a long drive south from the Highlands.

I used marjoram from my garden when I made this a couple of days ago, however you can substitute in fresh basil if that is easier for you to get hold of.

ravioli with lemon and herbs

Ingredients

  • Fresh ravioli (or tortelini); a fish filling goes particularly well with the lemon
  • Olive oil – the best that you have because it is an important contribution to the flavour
  • Zest of one lemon
  • a couple of tablespoons of fresh marjoram leaves
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Method

Zest the lemon and strip the marjoram leaves from the stem – this is the only bit of preparation that you need to do!

Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet; this usually only takes a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta and then stir in a good splash of olive oil, the lemon zest, marjoram and black pepper.

Serve!

Absolutely perfect with a nice glass of wine after a very long day.

Yummy Chicken and Basil Salad, with New Potatoes

My lovely friend Emma has asked me to teach her how to cook. Last night was the first lesson, and I think you’ll agree that she did pretty well!

This recipe serves two people.

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Ingredients

  • 250g diced chicken
  • Olive oil infused with basil (if you don’t have this, add some fresh or dried basil)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 garlic clove (or more!)
  • Mixed salad leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • New potatoes (a handful each)

Method

Zest the lemon, then cut it in half and juice it.

Put the chicken, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and pepper, half of the lemon juice and a splash of the basil olive oil into a bowl and leave it to marinade.

While the chicken is marinating, arrange the salad leaves in a bowl and then chop the pepper into strips. Crush or finely chop the garlic.

Now make a simple salad dressing using the rest of the lemon juice, the same volume of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon (or less) of sugar; either put together in a jug and give it a good stir, or if you have an empty jam-jar put the ingredients into that and give it a good shake (with the lid on tight!).

Clean the potatoes and put them into saucepan, add a pinch of salt and boiling water from the kettle.

When the potato water is bubbling well it is time to start cooking the chicken. Heat a tablespoon of the basil oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and fry it stirring frequently. When the chicken is sealed (cooked on the outside) add the pepper and garlic and continue to stir. Turn the heat down if the chicken starts to stick to the pan.

Check that the chicken is cooked all the way through by taking the biggest piece and cutting it in half.

Serve on a bed of green salad.

Mother’s Day Cupcakes

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Both the baking and the writing of this post are a combined effort between myself and my 10-year old neighbour; we both wanted to make little cakes for our mothers and thought that it would be a good opportunity to share our favourite basic little-cake recipe with you and to do a couple of rather different variations on a theme. My neighbours and I spend many a happy hour watching Dr Who together so using the Dalek ‘cupcake wraps’ which I had purchased a little while ago (sadly discontinued) and had put away for a ‘rainy day’ was an obvious choice; it was decided that they would be chocolate-orange Daleks so the mixture included chocolate orange chips and they were topped with orange buttercream. My mother cannot stand buttercream (far too sweet) so I topped the little cakes with lemon icing and decorated them with stars (because she is a star!).

We look forward to hearing what weird and wonderful creations you make using this basic recipe – please send us a photo!

Ingredients

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Basic sponge mixture

Makes approximately 24 cakes. You will see from the above picture that we used butter because I ran out of margarine; I wouldn’t recommend this because it makes the mixture a lot more dense. The observant amongst you will also notice that the photograph includes baking powder but that there is none listed below; this is because I am stupid and went on a wild-goose chase around Stroud before our baking session looking for the stuff (surprisingly hard to find the day before Mother’s day) only to remember when I got home that I didn’t need it. grrr.

  • 12 oz / 175 g Self-raising flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 8 oz / 110 g Soft margarine
  • 80z / 110 g Caster sugar
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 2 dessert spoon lemon juice
  • grated rind of 2 lemons

For half of the cakes we added chopped chocolate – dark chocolate with orange. The dark chocolate works well because the icing is so sweet.

Butter Icing

We used this recipe for the piped icing with a couple of minor changes; we only used half the amount of the vanilla essence and we added zest from the orange. We used yellow, red and blue food colouring for the Daleks.

Lemon Icing

Icing sugar and lemon juice.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190oC.

For the basic sponge mixture, put all of the ingredients into a bowl and combine with an electric whisk until very smooth. Transfer half of the mixture to another bowl and add the chopped chocolate.

Divide the mixture between paper cases – about a heaped tablespoon in each – and bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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For the butter icing follow the recipe in this link, but use less vanilla and add some orange zest (it’s rather too sweet otherwise).

Take a quarter of the mixture put into a piping bag then, starting at the outer edge of the cake, gently squeeze the bag and spiral towards the middle. Transfer another quarter of the icing into a separate bowl and mix in yellow food colouring a drop at a time. When you have got a shade of yellow that you are happy with add the icing to the piping bag; you will need to ice a ‘reject’ cake to push the remainder of the plain icing through, then you can ice your yellow Dalek! Repeat this with the red food colouring. Finally, add blue food colouring to the remainder of the icing. It is important that you use a fresh piping bag for the blue because it doesn’t mix well with red and yellow!

For lemon icing, put approximately 6 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar into a bowl and juice a lemon (you can also use bottled lemon juice). Add the lemon juice to the icing sugar a dash at a time until you get a smooth, stiff consistency. Spoon onto the cakes and spread with the back of a knife.

Both mothers thoroughly approved!