Tray bake ‘fry up’

Featured

The term ‘fry up’ conjures all sorts of images of greasy spoon cafes offering calorie laden breakfasts with tea so strong that you can stand a spoon upright in it but this is a completely different take on this. Rather than a meat heavy breakfast this makes the best of two of my favourite things which are both in season in the UK at the moment- Jersey Royal potatoes and asparagus. Each year I eat the best part of a family’s asparagus quota to myself and I hope this year will be no exception. My tray bake ‘fry up’ is much lighter and healthier than the usual fry up but it is perfect not only as a breakfast but also as a brunch or even a midweek dinner. It’s speedy but also is low on washing up which is always a bonus in my mind!

Ingredients- serves 2-3
Glug of vegetable oil
Jersey Royals- as many as you want depending on hunger!
1 red or white onion
1-2 garlic cloves
4-6 rashers of streaky bacon
Bag of baby spinach
200g asparagus spears
Cherry tomatoes on the vine
4-6 Portobellini or Portobello mushrooms
1 tsp chilli flakes
2-3 eggs

1. Start by preheating the oven to 200c/ 180fan and bringing a medium pan of water to the boil. Take the tray that you will be making the majority of the meal in, add a splash of oil and heat on the hob over a medium heat. Meanwhile simmer the potatoes until just tender; drain well. Take a separate tray, add another small glug of oil and toss the potatoes in it. Season with salt and pepper and roast until golden whilst you crack on with the rest.

2. When the oil is warm, add the onions and garlic and fry until softening. Shred the spinach and add to the tray; stir until combined with the onion and garlic and continue to cook over a lower heat until wilted. Remove from the hob whilst you assemble the rest.

3. When the potatoes are golden, use a slotted spoon to remove from the tray and use the back of a fork to lightly crush them. Add the asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes to the pan. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and season well. Brush the vegetables with a light coating of oil so they don’t catch in the oven and bake until just tender. Make a couple of hollows in between the vegetables and crack an egg into each; return the tray to the oven and cook until the eggs are set.

4. While that is in the oven, fry the streaky bacon in a dry pan or even wipe out the tray that you used to roast the potatoes and use this on the hob to minimise washing up further! Streaky bacon has a high fat content so you won’t need any extra oil. Fry until golden and remove from the pan. Towards the very end of cooking you have a bacon related decision to make… You can either serve the bacon on the top of the tray bake in whole rashers or you can do as I did and crumble a couple over the top whilst keeping a couple whole so it’s up to you. Serve immediately.

Tray bake ‘fry up’- just as delicious but minus the calories!

 

Scallop and cherry tomato tagliatelle

Sometimes ingredients are so fresh and delicious that very little needs doing with them in order to make a memorable dish that you will cook time and time again- this is one of those dishes! if you regularly read my recipes you will have worked out that I love seafood in its many guises and scallops are no exception. Sweet, tender and succulent scallops need to be paired with simple, clean flavours so you can appreciate their beauty. I have paired a classic base of garlic, a little chilli and sweet tomatoes to allow each flavour to sing.

To make this even more accessible, I have used bay scallops which tend to be easy to find and a little cheaper than their larger sea scallop counterparts. If, however, you do want to use the larger ones then go ahead. This is also quick to do so there is no excuse to pick up the takeaway menu after a day at work so read on and get cooking!

IMG_20160515_203240

Ingredients- serves 2
200g bay scallops
Glug of olive oil
1 garlic clove- crushed or finely chopped
1 red chilli- deseeded and finely chopped
200g cherry tomatoes- halved
60ml dry white wine
Handful of fresh basil leaves- roughly torn
30g unsalted butter
150g tagliatelle

1. Kick off by getting your pans at the ready- you will need a pan for the pasta so boil a kettle and bring the water to the boil. You will also need a pan that the sauce can simmer away in and one for pan frying the scallops. To make the sauce, simply heat a glug of oil over a medium heat and cook the garlic and chilli until softening, but make sure the garlic does not catch colour.

2. Throw in the halved cherry tomatoes and the white wine; simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Keep the tomatoes cooking away until the they reduce and the juice starts to make a sauce. Keep this on low. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet instructions; drain well and set aside.

3. As the pasta cooks, take the remaining pan and heat the butter and a splash of oil over a medium to high heat. Pan fry the scallops until they are golden on the outside which usually takes a couple of minutes on each side but do keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook. As the sauce is finishing, add in the torn basil before tossing the pan fried scallops through so they are lightly coated in the sauce. Add in the drained pasta and serve!

 

Chicken, asparagus and pesto pasta bake

After a long day at work you want to come home to a warming meal which is quick and delicious. Look no further! Grab your shopping list and get going!

wpid-2014-11-03-19.13.01.jpg.jpeg

Ingredients- serves 4-6
40g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
250ml milk
200ml double cream
Half a jar of basil pesto
50g parmesan- grated
3-4 skinless chicken breast fillets- cut into 2 cm slices/ chunks
1 garlic clove- crushed
400g penne pasta
100g asparagus tips
Small pack of cherry tomatoes- halved
50g white breadcrumbs- I used panko crumbs

1. Start by making the sauce and melt the butter and flour together over a medium heat to make a roux. When this is combined gradually add the milk and double cream- remember to keep stirring to avoid lumps but if you do spot a lump simply take the pan off the heat and stir until the lumps go. Simmer the sauce until it thickens before adding half of the parmesan, pesto and seasoning.

2. Heat a pan of water and cook the pasta until al dente before draining well and setting aside. The pasta will soften further in the oven when it bakes so don’t be tempted to over cook it now! In a frying pan heat a splash of oil and brown off the chicken pieces and a crushed clove of garlic. Add the asparagus tips and cook in the pan with the chicken until they start to soften.

3. Add the chicken mixture to the sauce base and pour over the pasta. The pasta needs to be put into an ovenproof baking dish and place the tomatoes into the pasta. Mix the remaining parmesan with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top before baking at 180c/ 160 fan until golden and bubbling. You could also use mozzarella and parmesan as the topping if you prefer not to use breadcrumbs. I use panko breadcrumbs (a Japanese style crumb) as it gives a really crispy finish which you don’t always get with normal crumbs. Serve in warmed bowls with a simple side salad. Any leftovers will also make a delicious lunch the next day.

Chicken, asparagus and pesto bake- a new favourite to add to your midweek meal list!