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by Blondie

Fettucine with Creamy Mushroom & Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

January 28, 2012 in Mains

I tend to avoid tagliatelle, finding that it sits too heavily in my stomach – perhaps if I ate smaller portions this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m ignoring that option.Fettucine, on the other hand, is my new favourite pasta, being broad enough to take a decent coating of whatever sauce you’re using, yet narrow enough to avoid that over-full heaviness after the meal.

This recipe is based on one from Lynne Bedford-Hall’s ‘Nice ‘n Easy Cookbook’. It’s a doddle to make and really delicious.


1 medium onion, chopped

2 leeks, sliced

2 tspns crushed garlic

(You can pop these three ingredients into one bowl together, as you’re going to use them all at the same time).

1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, sliced

1 yellow pepper, seeded & diced

40g sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced

1 sprig fresh rosemary

(These four ingredients can go together in another bowl, as you’re going to add them all at once).

1 Tblspn tomato paste

60ml red wine

250ml hot beef stock

1/2 tspn salt

1 tspn sugar

(Mix these five ingredients together in a bowl or jug)

60ml sour cream (this only gets added at the end, so keep it to one side)

Heat 2 Tblspns each of sunflower oil and olive oil in a pan.

Add the onion, leeks and garlic and cook until golden-brown.

Add the mushrooms, yellow pepper, tomatoes and rosemary, tossing until glistening, then add the tomato paste, wine, stock, salt and sugar.

Cover and simmer over very low heat for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook and drain the fettucine.

Remove the sprig of rosemary from the sauce, stir in the sour cream and simmer uncovered for a few minutes to thicken.

Serve the fettucine topped with the sauce.


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by Blondie

Smoked salmon gateau with dilly sauce

January 22, 2012 in Fish, Starters

January is almost over and I haven’t posted once this year … probably because, being in post-Christmas diet mode, I haven’t really cooked anything blog-worthy this year!

A friend and I take turns hosting each other every month or so for a meal, with the sole requirement being that the host has to cook something she’s never made before.

This was HER idea! She’s still in her 20’s and unmarried, so most recipes fall within the criteria. I, on the other hand, have reached that, er, ‘mature’ stage of life where I’ve generally tried most of the recipes I ever want to try – and would quite happily never cook again!

But friendship won the inner battle and I grudgingly agreed to feed her occasionally – but I did NOT agree to the whole ‘unchartered waters’ thing! As far as I’m concerned, if she hasn’t eaten it before, it’s a new recipe!

I’ve made this recipe more than a few times before, but always as a full-sized gateau – using normal-sized crepes and cutting it into wedges like a cake for serving. This time, I used one of those cute single-egg mini frying pans to make the crepes. Half a gateau was just the perfect serving as a starter … pity we decided to try having a whole one each, because they were too rich for either of us to clear our plate!

Despite it’s impressive appearance and long to-do list, this is really dead easy to make – with the added bonus of being prepared the day before serving.



1/2 cup cake flour

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 tspn oil

180ml milk

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add the eggs, oil and 30ml of the milk. Beat until smooth.

Beat in the remaining 150ml milk and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Pour a thin layer of the batter into a non-stick frying pan, brown on one side and turn out onto a plate.

Repeat with the rest of the batter. Allow the crepes to cool.


250g smooth cottage cheese

1 Tblspn horseradish sauce

1 Tblspn honey

1 1/2 tspns crushed garlic

1 Tblspn lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

200g smoked salmon (or trout, if you prefer) fillets, roughly chopped

Mix all of the ingredients (except the smoked salmon/trout) together until well-blended.

Dilly Sauce: (this makes a lot of sauce, but I couldn’t reduce it because of the egg)!

1 egg

2 Tblspns white vinegar

1 Tblspn Dijon mustard

250ml olive (or sunflower) oil – I used half of each kind, for economical reasons!

2 Tblspns honey

250ml plain yoghurt

5ml dill tips

salt and black pepper to taste

Beat the eggs, vinegar and mustard with an electric mixer.

With the beaters still running, slowly add the oil, beating constantly.

Add the honey, yoghurt, dill and seasoning and mix well.

Assembling the gateau:

Place 2 crepes alongside each other on a serving platter and spread with the filling then top with some of the chopped smoked salmon and cover with the next 2 crepes.

Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of the crepes(or the filling or salmon, whichever happens first) – end with a crepe as your top layer.

Refrigerate until ready to serve – then,using a sharp knife, cut each gataeu in half.

Pour some of the dilly sauce onto the serving plates and place half a gateau into the middle of the plate, drizzling with some more of the sauce.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill or fennel.