The Kings Arms on Fulham Road

Bow Down: Queen Bey

Sunsets and Night Skies

Coco's Tea Party x Next: Behind the Scenes

Thursday, 21 March 2013

So, we made it to post number 7 before I mentioned spaghetti. Now, it's not that I'm obsessed with spaghetti in particular, but I do loooove pasta. In case you're wondering, my blog isn't called Elizabetty Spaghetti because its all I eat, it is purely because it rhymed and then stuck in my head! Imaginative isn't it?

I've made this spaghetti lots and I always change it up, depending on what ingredients I have in stock. As you'll know from my other posts, I'm home from university for Easter at the moment so I will probably include a few recipes with some ingredients I wouldn't necessarily buy while at uni, however I'm sure I won't go overboard and start including caviar and champagne in each one so you'll be fine!

To make four relatively large portions (portion control isn't my forte) you'll need:
2 spring onions - chopped
1 chilli - de-seeded and finely chopped
4 mushrooms - sliced
1 onion - cut in half then sliced
2 cloves of garlic - crushed
4 anchovies - chopped
A jar of any tomato pasta sauce
1 heaped teaspoon of red pepper pesto (optional)
A couple of packs of cooked prawns
400g spaghetti - approx.
Rocket to serve

It seems like a lot, but I tend to have most of this stuff in stock all the time.

Start by chopping all your ingredients that need chopping so everythings ready. Pour a little olive oil into a saucepan and throw in your garlic first (give it a minute), then your spring onion and chilli (give that a few minutes), then your onion. Give it a few stirs so everything gets cooked and all the flavours mingle. Be careful when you first add the garlic as it burns very easily if the heat is too high, which will turn the garlic bitter and horrible.

Now, put on a pan of water and wait until its boiling. Once it is, add your spaghetti. Most chefs say to put a pinch of salt into the boiling water for all different reasons... some say it adds flavour, some say it increases the boiling point of water so your pasta cooks better, some say it stops the pasta sticking together/to the bottom of the pan. However, I've never noticed a difference if I include salt or if I don't. So my advice is to not include it. I would rather use that salt to add to my dish once its finished, and actually taste it. That may be frowned upon by "real" chefs but I'm a rebel with a cause, a cause of good, cheap food.

Spaghetti takes between 8-10 minutes to cook but check your packet just in case. I like mine slightly al dente so I always cook it for the minimum it says. While your pasta is boiling away, add the mushrooms until they soften a bit.

Now add the prawns. There is normally a bit of juice in the pack so pour that in too, it'll add extra flavour. Stir it all about until all the flavours mix up. Next, add your chosen sauce. Literally any will do, just make sure you like it. I used this Loyd Grossman one because that's what was in the cupboard. Stir it in so it heats up nicely.

Now add the chopped anchovies in. Most people will straight out say they hate anchovies however, when added to sauces, they make a really nice rich flavour. I have to say these were quite fishy ones and my fish-phobic Dad said he could taste them when he ate it, but I beg to differ. After all, it is a prawn dish, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't fishy at all. Anyway, its your choice if you want to add them or not, but I loved it with them in!

Add a spoonful of red pesto if you have it, to add another dimension of flavour. We had this red pepper one in the fridge, so I used a spoonful of that.

Drain the spaghetti and combine the pasta with the sauce in one of the pans. Stir it all round so it's well mixed. Portion it up onto warm plates and add a nice handful of rocket on the side. Eat and enjoy!

Monday, 18 March 2013

I just went and got myself an account on Bloglovin'! It's a really handy website where you can follow all your favourite blogs, all in one place, with a very nifty little dashboard.

Come over and follow me, it's sunny over here!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Pretty much all my friends go to uni, so for the majority of the year we're all split up and spread all over the country studying. This means I don't get to see them all as often as I'd like to, however over the holidays, we all come back to our little town and have 3 weeks of madness (or 3 months of it in the summer) and remember why we are the best of friends... because no one else will have us and our stupid ways.

This morning, me and two of my lovely friends Lillie and Jazz met up for brunch so we could catch up. It was only us three because unfortunately no one else is back yet. I can almost guarantee this will be the first of many brunches as everyone else starts to slowly trickle back into town over the coming weeks.

I got over to Lillie's house mid-morning with a bag full of bacon and strawberries, to see that she'd been a domestic goddess (which is very out of character) and already whipped up some American pancake batter. Therefore, unfortunately I can't give you the recipe for the pancakes, but I know she used Delia Smith's recipe so you can google that.

After a failed attempt of trying to make a pancake by Lillie, I decided (like the control freak I am) to take over and make them. Lillie's talents lie better with making the table and herself look pretty ;). After everything was prepped we chucked it onto huge piles and put it all in the middle of the table like a delicious free-for-all.

I'd never tried bacon and maple syrup pancakes before but all I can say is OH WOW. I don't think I'll be able to go back to plain old Nutella anymore. I also tried my hand at bacon, maple syrup and strawberry pancakes and that was a definite winner too.

I had a lovely morning and would recommend you have a homemade brunch with your nearest and dearest next time you have a catch up. It was so much nicer and cheaper than anything we could have got from the caf├ęs in town, all from the comfort of home! And if you have friends as good as mine, they'll make the house look pretty so you can blog about it :)

The other good thing about brunch is that it leaves you time to do stuff in the afternoon, so I put my time into painting my nails all summer-y while trying to avoid looking at how much it was raining outside...

PS. If you fancy, follow me on Instagram... @elizabettyspaghetti :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Getting your five a day isn't always easy and can seem like a chore if you don't like eating fruit and veg too much. That's why smoothies are such a brilliant way to get the good stuff into your body, while you enjoy every last slurp.

To make two smoothies you'll need;
About 100ml-200ml apple juice (start with less then add more if it's too thick)
2 pears
A couple of big handfuls of frozen summer fruits (blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants)
A stick blender/blender/smoothie maker

Start by pouring in just over 100ml of apple juice. I'm a bit vague with this quanitity because 100ml wasn't enough for me and made the smoothie too thick, but if you have a proper smoothie maker 100ml might be fine.

Roughly chop up your pears and add them to your blender/jug/smoothie maker. Help your blender friend out by chopping them kind of small and roughly the same size so you don't get left with any big lumps.

Get your frozen fruits and add them too. I used a few big handfuls (and threw in a few extra for good luck). You can get frozen berries from most supermarkets, but if you can only find fresh I'm sure they'll be fine too, it just won't be as cold (unless you use ice cubes too).

This selection was under £2 from Aldi and was perfect, if anything too big. I was originally going to make it with blueberries because of all the amazing anti-oxident qualities they have, but I don't love blueberries and they were more expensive, so I changed my mind when I got to the supermarket.

This is a case of add what you like and can afford. However, I do think smoothies are good ways to add those things in that you're not particularly keen on but you know are good for you, for example, blueberries for me. If you have lots of other lovely stuff in there, it might hide the taste of them a little bit. (Obviously this depends what you put it, so be sensible with your flavours and choose fruits that you know will compliment each other!)

Whizz it all up until its smooth and has no big lumps that you won't be able to suck through a straw. When it's all smooth its up to you to judge whether it's too thick or not. Mine was, so I added slightly more apple juice. Taste it too, and see if there's a flavour you'd like to taste more of.

This smoothie is kind of sharp in a refreshing way and because of the frozen berries it was super cold. All smoothies are best drunk right away, especially if they contain lots of fresh fruit as the fruit can oxidise right away and make it taste funky. So, pour it into your favourite glass, find a little spot in the sunshine, close your eyes and sip away. Or, if you're in England right now and are also enduring this unseasonal Arctic blizzard, sit by your radiator and pretend it's summer, just like me.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Last Friday, Alice and I took a walk down to Digbeth in Birmingham. If any of you don't know what Digbeth is, it's a small area of the city with some really different things. There is the Custard Factory, which is a little centre of vintage shops, craft shops and just stuff that's a bit different. I think of it as the Brick Lane of Birmingham, but much smaller! If you're in Birmingham, I recommend a visit.

However, this time, we were on a mission. We'd heard of a not-so-secret dining club that would be happening every Friday in March, in the back of Spotlight, a funky little bar just next to the Custard Factory. Of course, we had to get down there and see what all the fuss was about.

The point of the Dining Club is to celebrate food at it's best and mainly, street food. Street food is a craze that's been slowly taking over the cool bits of London for the past few years. Think of the kind of vans you may see at festivals, but with exceptional food. The point of it being served from a van/gazebo, means 100% of the focus is on the food and the flavour. No messing about with waitresses or tables, you queue up, hand over your money and they'll serve you what they do best. And boy, do they do it well.

There were four different stalls there when we went; The Meat Shack (unbelievable burgers), Jabberwocky (posh toasties), Van29 (chicken) and The Hungry Toad (burritos). We were eager beavers and got there quite early which was good for us as there was hardly a queue. I had one stall on my mind that I knew I needed to visit... The Meat Shack.

There was only a choice of 4 burgers on the menu but that was fine, I knew I just wanted a classic, cheesy burger.. The Mr C-Shack. I joined the queue and watched the chef putting the burgers together like a piece of art. As I handed over my money and waited for mine to be cooked I could hardly contain my excitement! When mine got handed over to me, I went and found a bench in the corner while I worked out where I would start.

Alice was pretty excited about tucking into her blue cheese burger
The Mr C-Shack was without a doubt the juiciest burger I've ever had! One bite into it and the juice just poured out onto the plate below. Everything about it was divine, but I have to say the meat definitely made it. Apparently it was all local beef and I had mine cooked medium so it was still nice and pink in the middle.

After enjoying the burger far too much, we began to get a bit chilly so popped inside the bar for a quick drink and to listen to the DJ who was blasting out hit after hit of old motown and soul records, my absolute favourite.

I had a brilliant night and will definitely be going back before the month is up to visit again. I just wish they'd have it every Friday! If you are in Birmingham during March and fancy going to the Dining Club, visit their website and check out which caterers are going to be there.

PS. By the time we left it was heaving and apparently they ran out of food before the end of the night so if you're serious about trying some food, don't leave it too late! It's open from 5pm.
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