Have A Pizza This: Pizza Express Pasta!

Pizza Express launched a new range of filled pastas based on their most popular pizza flavours! This is such a simple idea, but it’s also a genius one – when the pizzas are so popular, it makes sense to see if those flavours will translate into tortelloni and ravioli. I asked Pizza Express to send me some so I could see whether they really stacked up, and I’m pleased to say they do. So, I decided to make a post about some ways to serve ready-made filled pasta, to give you some ideas!

First up, a classic. This is probably how you do it already! Serve them simply for lunch with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. My tip for some added crunch is to toast some pine nuts and toss them in, or some cooked cherry tomatoes, and maybe finish with some herbs.

Or you can make a meal of it with sautéed onions and peppers and roasted chicken breast. I did this with the American Hot and used some of the same spices inside the filling – paprika and chilli – to coat the chicken breast, which I then covered in foil and baked. While that was happening, I fried red onions, red peppers and yellow peppers in some olive oil, boiled the ravioli, and then tossed the drained, cooked ravioli in the veggies. Then, top with your cooked chicken breast and prepare to get really, really full!

How about a tortellini soup served with garlic bread? This is so simple to make. Sauté an onion and garlic in some olive oil until soft and tender. Add in a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes, then simmer until thickened. Blend into a thick soup and taste for seasoning. Now, add in your tortellini (I used the Margherita flavour for this!) and poach in the soup until cooked – this will only take a few minutes. Serve with chopped basil scattered over the top, and pop some homemade garlic toast on the side. You can even chop mozzarella and add to the soup just before serving for that extra cheesy taste – or scatter over grated cheddar cheese!


Finally, you can make it into a proper restaurant worthy dish by frying some chorizo and adding the cooked, drained tortelloni and a handful of spinach into the pan. It’s amazing what a fancy garnish will do! I used the Sloppy Giuseppe flavour for this, and unsurprisingly (as it’s my favourite Pizza Express topping!) it was my favourite of the four new flavours.

The range is available at Waitrose and Ocado now for £2.99/250g each. It includes Sloppy Giuseppe Tortelloni (spicy hot beef and pepper), Margherita Tortelloni (mozzarella and tomato), American Hot Ravioli  (pepperoni and hot pepper) and Pollo Ad Astra (chicken with pepperdew pepper).

What’s your favourite way to prepare filled pasta? Let me know in the comments below!

Pizza Express provided me with samples of the new range to review. The opinions, content and photography are all my own.

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Valentine’s Day 2016: Gift Ideas for Him and Her

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so I thought I’d put together some ideas for treats – whether you’re buying for yourself or a partner, I hope you find some inspiration!

Valentine's Gifts for Her 2016

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Boxing Day Ideas for Turkey Leftovers!

This is a flashback post that some of you might have already seen at Thanksgiving – but I thought it was worth a repeat for all the UK-based readers who will be up to their eyeballs in turkey this Christmas! Here are some great recipes using leftover turkey that taste so delicious you’ll want to cook extra next year!

Leftover mosaic

Week One: Feel Good Chicken Broth - Broth before stock

What to do with left over turkey at Thanksgiving

Leftovers at Thanksgiving can be so much more than a simple rehash of that Turkey Day meal (although, let’s face it, that’d be pretty darn delicious anyway!). Try these recipes for delicious leftovers – I promise you, none of them will feel like second-best meals! In fact, you might be tempted to roast another turkey (or chicken) just to make some more!

Leftover mosaic

Week One: Feel Good Chicken Broth - Broth before stock

What to do with leftover chicken and turkey: hoisin chicken buns

This recipe is an adaptation of the hoisin chicken buns recipe from Cooking Light, by way of Cooking Cute.

Week One : Leftovers - Hoisin buns

To make this recipe, you first need a batch of white bread dough (for rolls) – you can either find fresh dough in the chiller cabinet of larger supermarkets (make sure it’s just plain old white bread dough, not focaccia or anything fancy like that!), or you can make a batch in your bread maker. This part is a faff, but the finished product is such an interesting and unusual way of using up leftover chicken, that I think it’s worth going to a little bit of extra effort – plus, these are portable, and perfect for lunches on the go!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 batch fresh bread dough (see above)
  • 400g (approx) dark turkey / chicken meat
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch spring onions, shredded finely
Hoisin buns on tray

METHOD

  • Shred the chicken, and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Once you’ve made your dough, turn it out and cut it into eight pieces, and roll each piece into a size slightly bigger than your palm.
  • Place a spoonful of the chicken mix into the middle of the bun.
  • Pull four corners into the middle and pinch, then do the same again with the leftover tabs, which should fall in between the compass points of the tabs you just sorted out. (It’s helpful to rock the bun back and forth at this point to shape the top nicely.)
  • Set it on an oiled tray and put the rest together.
Hoisin buns on cooling rack
  • Cover and allow to prove for 20 mins in a warm place.
  • Preheat your oven to 190C and then brush the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake for 15 mins, or until golden. You can also bake them for a shorter amount of time (12 mins or so) and then freeze them to bake again another day. (There are great instructions here for freezing and then reheating the buns at Cooking Cute.)
Hoisin bun halved
  • Allow to cool slighty, then eat!

 

The ultimate sandwich ideas for a royal wedding watching party

Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches with tea ...

Image via Wikipedia

I love sandwiches and they should have centre stage in your wedding party buffet! But you have to make sure you cut them correctly – not diagonally into quarters, but into long, dainty finger shapes as they do for afternoon tea at The Ritz!

Because I would imagine you’ve made your own sandwiches more times than you’ve made any other kind of recipe, I’m not offering quantities, just ideas. That way you can be inspired and dish up your own quantities, depending on whether you’re watching the wedding with friends, or the whole street!

SANDWICH IDEAS

  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese
  • Ham, salad and cherry tomatoes with dijonnaise
  • Cheese and caramelised red onion chutney
  • Roast beef with horseradish mayonnaise and rocket
  • Egg mayonnaise
  • Prawn mayonnaise
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Chicken salad

Have an idea I’ve missed? Tell me in the comments and I’ll add it to the list!

Don’t forget to check out my other post, on your ultimate recipes for a wedding watch buffet, here!

Ultimate Lost Party Menus

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a loyal Lostie since the show started. While I’m sure I’m not going to love the finale (so many unanswered questions!) I’m sure I’m going to have a blast watching it – because I’m planning my very own Lost finale party! When it comes to parties, there’s only one thing I care about, and that’s the food. So here’s my lowdown on the best menus for a Lost finale party, culled from the interwebs, and in places, my own imagination. I’ve got three ‘menus’ to choose from, although in reality they are just three lists – food inspired by the show, food from the show itself, and an extra special, cos I love ya low-fat/low calorie diet menu. Plus, as an extra special bonus, a list of drink ideas!

Menu from the show universe

  • Peanut butter (Charlie’s present to Claire – bonus points if it’s in a Dharma-labelled jar!)
  • Fish biscuits (from the Polar bear cages – as eaten by Sawyer and Kate) – recipe here.
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches (brought to Jack by Juliet when he was being held captive by Ben)
  • Muffins (cooked by Juliet for her book club)
  • Mr Cluck’s Chicken (fried chicken from Hurley’s fast food chain – use generic fast food fried chicken!)
  • Foraged fruits: mango, banana, passionfruit, guava, papaya, coconut, oranges (for Locke-smiles…). Serve them whole on a chopping board with a hunter’s knife for added drama and authenticity. Or, make them into a fruit salad like Hurley.
  • Hunted meat like boar (cop out and use pork! Roasted pork tenderloin, pork ribs, pulled pork… Mmm!), rabbit and chicken
  • Grilled fish, or sashimi ala Jin
  • Dharma-labelled food, easily created by printing out labels and sticking them on pre-existing packages. Some of the most famous Dharma food includes the aforementioned peanut butter, ranch composite (ranch dressing), Dharmalars (probably a version of Mallomars), and mac and cheese. Click here for an amazing array of Lost labels for your food!
  • Apollo bars (dark chocolate and nuts)
  • Alcohol salvaged from the plane in mini-bottles, or provided by Dharma, including beer, whiskey, rum, red and white wine.

Menu inspired by the show

Low-calorie Lost menu

Lost-inspired drinks

  • Tropical fruit juice
  • MacCutcheon whiskey (stick a fake label over a bottle of whiskey to create ultra-rare Lost whiskey!)
  • Wine from Moriah Vineyards, as made by Desmond the monk (as above)
  • Zombie (2 parts white rum, 1 part dark rum, 1 part golden rum, 2 parts lime juice, 1 part orange juice, 1 part pineapple juice, half part sugar syrup, ice, shaken in a mixer)
  • Pina Colada (1 part white rum, 2 parts coconut cream, 2 parts pineapple juice, shaken and strained)
  • Banana Daiquiri (2 parts white rum, 2 parts lime juice, dash triple sec, 1tsp sugar, crushed ice, 1 ripe banana, blended until smooth)
  • Mai Tai (1 part light rum, 1 part dark rum, 1 part Cointreau, dash Grenadine, tsp lime juice, 3 parts orange juice, 3 parts pineapple juice, shaken over ice and strained)
  • Blue Devil (3 parts gin, 1 part lemon juice, 1 tbsp maraschino, shaken over ice)
  • Blue Lagoon (3 parts vodka, 1 part blue Curacao, 3 parts pineapple juice, shaken over ice and strained)
  • Non-alcoholic fruit cup (2 parts orange juice, 2 parts grapefruit juice, 2 parts pineapple juice, 2 parts apple juice)

You can find some Lost-themed menus, ideas and resources at these sites:

Have fun! And, be sure to tell me what YOUR Lost party menu consisted of…

DISCLAIMER: I didn’t create any of the content linked to here, nor can I vouch for the reliability or deliciousness of any of the recipes, save Nigella’s awesome peanut butter fudge sauce… Click and make at your own risk!