Green bean, tomato, spinach and feta pasta

I found this recipe for pasta with green beans, tomato, spinach and feta in It is fresh, light and easy and ready in under 30 minutes making it a perfect midweek supper.


  1. 25g pine nuts
  2. 100g fine green beans, trimmed
  3. 250g dried pasta, such as conchiglie (shell)
  4. 100g baby spinach leaves
  5. 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  6. 3 tbsp ready-made balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing
  7. 100g feta


In a large saucepan, dry-fry the pine nuts for 1-2 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside. Using the same pan, fill with cold water and bring to the boil. Add the beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and refresh under cold running water – this will help them keep their bright green colour. Set aside.

Add the pasta and a pinch of salt to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions. Drain and briefly run under cold running water to cool slightly, then return to the pan.

Put the spinach leaves in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water to wilt them. Refresh under cold running water, then squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Toss the spinach through the pasta, then add the beans, tomatoes and dressing. Season. Divide between 2 bowls. Sprinkle with toasted nuts and crumble over the feta. Scatter with basil leaves to serve.

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Chicken and Couscous or Bulgar Wheat Salad

This a perfect dish for lunch in the garden on a hot sunny day . It can be prepared well in advance, even the day before. In fact the flavours mingle better then.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: as long as it takes to cook the chicken

Serves 4


400g couscous or Bulgar wheat

6 tablespoons olive oil

50 raisins (optional)

2 level tablespoons mint, freshly chopped

20g bunch of flat-leaved parsley, chopped

6 spring onions

Jar (285g) of artichoke hearts in olive oil , drained and cut in half

150g cherry tomatoes. quartered

50g pine nuts

210g chicken breast (2 or 3) cooked

150g natural yoghurt

Salt and pepper


Put couscous into a jug, note the volume and pour into a bowl. Add the same volume of boiling water, cover and leave for 5 minutes until the water is absorbed. Using a fork fluff up the couscous to separate the grants. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and mix.

Add raisins if using. Add the mint (reserving 2 teaspoons for garnish), parsley and the spring onions. Add remaining oil. Season well. Add the artichokes, tomatoes and pine nuts. Stir well then transfer to a serving dish.

Slice the chicken breasts and arrange on top of the couscous. Spoon over a little of the yoghurt, then sprinkle with black pepper and the mint garnish. Serve with the remaining yoghurt.

Note: Bulgar wheat – use 29 grams per person (or check packet) per person

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Cod, hake or haddock with dill and pangrattato

This recipe can be used for almost any round fish, such as cod, pollock, ling, haddock or grey sea mullet. It can be cooked ahead and reheated – just make sure there’s lots of cheese sauce, otherwise it’ll be dry and uninteresting instead of juicy and unctuous. Mussels or prawns can be added for a more elaborate version. Buttered leeks, sautéed mushrooms or tomato fondue are other options – simply put a tablespoon or two either on top of the fish or underneath it in the gratin dish. The sauce is absolutely delicious and if you like fish you will love this dish.I found this by Darina Allen was found in the Daily Telegraph.

Prep time: 10 minutes | 

Cooking time: 30-35 minutes

SERVES. Six to eight

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.


For the pangrattato

  1. 50-75ml extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  3. 50g soft, white breadcrumbs

For the fish

  1. 1.1kg cod, hake, haddock or grey sea mullet fillets
  2. Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 2 bay leaves
  4. 15g butter
  5. 600ml whole milk
  6. Approx 50g roux (made by blending 25g softened butter with 25g plain flour in a small bowl)
  7. ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  8. 150-175g grated cheddar, or 75g grated parmesan
  9. 1 tbsp chopped dill (optional)

To make the pangrattato, combine all of the ingredients in a little bowl and set aside.

Skin the fish and cut it into six or eight portions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the bay leaves in a lightly buttered sauté pan and lay the pieces of fish on top. Cover with the milk and bring slowly to the boil.

Simmer for four to five minutes, or until the fish changes colour from translucent to opaque. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.

Bring the milk back to the boil and whisk in the roux to thicken the sauce to a light coating consistency. Stir in the mustard and two thirds of the grated cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the dill, if using.

Return the fish to the pan and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, followed by the pangrattato.

Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is heated through and the top is golden brown and crisp. Serve with a salad of leaves.

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Fish Soup

This is a really tasty soup that uses any white fish you can get your hands on (cod, haddock or hake work well). Using prawns and mussels makes for an attractive looking dish. Good crusty bread is must for dipping.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Springtime Fish stew


3 shallots

knob of butter

olive oil, for cooking

500g Jersey Royals (or other new potatoes)

500ml seafood stock

500g mussels and/or clams

250g raw prawns

250g skinless and boneless cod or whatever

100g baby spinach

200ml crème fraîche

½ bunch of mixed soft herbs, such as basil, coriander and parsley

1 lemon

Crusty bread, to serve


  1. Peel and finely slice the shallots. Place the butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan. Pop on to a medium heat and add the sliced shallot to the pan. Sauté for 10 minutes, until starting to soften.
  2. Cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks, about 3cm in size, and add to the pan along with the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for eight minutes, until the potatoes are just cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the seafood. Check and clean the mussels and clams well, discarding any that don’t close. Remove the veins from the prawns. Cut the cod into 2-3cm chunks.
  4. When the potatoes are ready, stir in the spinach. After a minute, add all the seafood to the pan, bring back to the boil and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for five minutes, until the prawns and cod are cooked through and the mussels and clams have had a chance to open. Discard any that are still closed.
  5. Stir in the crème fraîche, season to taste and finely chop the herbs. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon and stir in the herbs. Serve with bread and the remaining lemon half to squeeze.

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Aubergine, tomato and chickpea traybake

This super-easy, quick traybake that can be made ahead as it both freezes and reheats well. It is good hot or cold. This dish is a bit fiddly with having to do something every 15 minutes or so but if cooked in advance it is ready to reheat as required. It is easiest if you prepare everything in advance then you only have to add the next ingredient as required. You can get on with something between each stage.

Serves 4

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 220ºC/fan 200ºC/ gas. mark 7


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm cubes

Sea salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons harissa paste, diluted with 1 tablespoon water

300g cherry tomatoes

1 tin 400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Zest of a lemon, finely grated

3 tablespoons tahini, thinned with warm water to single cream consistency

Small handful of mint leaves

Flatbread or pitta bread to serve


Pour the olive oil into a large ovenproof dish or roasting tray and heat in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully add the chopped aubergines to the hot oil. Season well with salt and pepper, add the diluted harissa paste and toss everything together. Place in the oven for 15 minutes then stir to make sure all sides of the aubergines are roasting. Roast again for 15 minutes.

Add the cherry tomatoes and roast for 20 minutes. Finally add the chickpeas and stir well. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir in grated lemon zest and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Check the seasoning.

Drizzle with a generous amount of the tahini dressing and scatter over the mint leaves. Toast the flatbreads or pitta breads in a dry frying pan and serve immediately.

Leftovers will keep when covered and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover the tray with foil and warm in a 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6 oven until piping hot.

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Roast peppers with anchovies and tomatoes

This is delicious as a light lunch or as a side dish. It is so, so simple and goes its everything – baked fish, roast lamb, griddled chicken, other vegetable dishes and takes only 10 minutes to prepare. This recipe is for four but can be scaled up or down as required. Some crusty bread for mopping up the delicious juice is almost essential.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 – 45 minutes

Oven temperature: 180ºC / 170ºC fan


4 red peppers, halved and deseeded.

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 tablespoon capers, washed and dried

8 anchovies fillets, drained of oil and chopped

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

50ml extra-virgin olive oil

Handful of basil leaves, if available


Preheat oven to 180ºC/170ºC fan/ gas mark 4

Put the peppers into a roasting tin or a gratin dish from which to serve them.

Divide the sliced garlic, capers and chopped anchovies between the pepper halves. Put the tomatoes cut side down. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and grind some black pepper and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Transfer the peppers to a platter if not cooked in a serving dish, scooping up all the sweet juices and pour over the top. Scater the basil leaves over the top, if using, and serve.

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Spicy tuna rice salad

Spicy tuna rice salad

This is so simple that it might surprise you how good it tastes. It has quite a kick when warm, and is just as nicely spicy when cold. I found this recipe by Angela Hartnett in the Daily telegraph. To save time you can use Tilda or Uncle Ben’s microwave rice.

Serves 4 – 6

Cooking time 5 minutes


300g uncooked rice

2 tablespoons chilli sauce

Pinch of chilli flakes

200g tinned tuna, drained

5 anchovies, drained and chopped

15 pitted olives halved or chopped

Dried mixed herbs


Cook the rice according to the packet instructions then drain and keep warm.

In a large bowl mix together the chilli sauce, dried chilli flakes and anchovies. Flake in the tuna and add the chopped olives.

Add cooked rice, mix to combine and check seasoning. Add a good pinch of dried herbs

Either serve hot or allow to cool before serving

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Chicken and mushroom hot-pot

Prep time 35 minutes. Cook time 25 minutes Serves 4

This is a good way to use up cooked chicken. You can assemble the hot-pot in advance so it is a no -fuss supper. This is a recipe

Chicken and mushroom hot-pot


50g butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing

onion, chopped

100g button mushrooms, sliced

40g plain flour

1 chicken stock cube or 500ml fresh chicken stock

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of mustard powder

250g cooked chicken, chopped

2 handfuls of a mixed pack of sweetcorn, peas, broccoli and carrots, or pick your favourites

For the topping

2 large potatoes, sliced into rounds

knob of butter, melted

  • Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the butter in a medium-size saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and leave to cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan with the onions.

Once the onion and mushrooms are almost cooked, stir in the flour – this will make a thick paste called a roux. If you are using a stock cube, crumble the cube into the roux now and stir well. Put the roux over a low heat and stir continuously for 2 mins – this will cook the flour and stop the sauce from having a floury taste.

Take the roux off the heat. Slowly add the fresh stock, if using, or pour in 500ml water if you’ve used a stock cube, stirring all the time. Once all the liquid has been added, season with pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and mustard powder. Put the saucepan back onto a medium heat and slowly bring it to the boil, stirring all the time. Once the sauce has thickened, place on a very low heat. Add the cooked chicken and vegetables to the sauce and stir well. Grease a medium-size ovenproof pie dish with a little butter and pour in the chicken and mushroom filling.

Carefully lay the potatoes on top of the hot-pot filling, overlapping them slightly, almost like a pie top.

Brush the potatoes with a little melted butter and cook in the oven for about 35 mins. The hot-pot is ready once the potatoes are cooked and golden brown.

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French Bean Salad

This is a tasty salad that requires only blanching the beans and a toss in the dressing. It is perfect on its own or with chicken, fish or lamb. It is worth using good quality Dijon mustard. Use the thinnest, youngest beans you can find. Enjoy! This recipe is a Jamie Oliver one.

  1. 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (from 1/2 of a small shallot)
  2. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  3. 1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  4. 1 pound haricots verts
  5. 1 tablespoon Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  7. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  8. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 2 tablespoons capers, drained and finely chopped
  10. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Make the dressing first.

  1. Combine the shallot, vinegar, and garlic in a large, nonreactive bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. I didn’t have a shallot so used a red onion which worked well.
  2. When the shallot mixture is ready, add the mustard and measured salt and pepper and whisk until combined. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in the capers. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed; set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare the beans by cutting the stem end off of each, leaving the wispy tail on.

When the water has reached a boil, add the trimmed beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and immediately add to the dressing. Using tongs, toss until well coated, then transfer to a flat serving dish. Spoon the remaining dressing over top and sprinkle the beans with the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Strawberry Semifreddo

This is a really easy way to serve strawberries and cream if you have a glut of ripe strawberries. It takes about half an hour to prepare but is easily done in three parts – cook the strawberry sauces beforehand, the first sauce needs to cool down anyway. This dessert keeps well frozen and only needs to be taken out to the freezer before you serve the main course. Take out of tin or box, remove wrapping and place on serving dish. Take the pouring sauce out earlier. I found this recipe on and amended it slightly. Enjoy!

Prep time 15 minutes. Cook time 10 minutes

Chilling time 4 hours Servings 6

Strawberry Sauce No.1 to stir into the cream

3oz/85g/1cup sugar

10.5oz/300g roughly chopped strawberries

1 teasp lemon juice

In a small pan add the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil, squishing with a potato masher. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes stirring constantly then remove to a clean bowl and let cool. Refrigerate until cold or place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Reuse the pan for second sauce.

First sauce

Strawberry Sauce No.2 for pouring over

7oz/200g strawberries chopped

1.5 tables icing sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a blender add the strawberries and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Pour into the reserved pan and add the sugar. Cook over a low heat for approx 5 minutes or until thickened. Let it cool and serve over the semifreddo.

Semifreddo. Line an 8″x 4″ (21cm x 10cm) loaf tin with parchment or clingfilm or use a plastic box.

1.5cups/300g double or whipping cream

Half a cup/125g Greek yogurt

Half a teaspoon vanilla essence

In a medium bowl whip the cream until stiff, fold in the yogurt and vanilla then gently fold in the cold strawberry sauce. Pour into the lined pan or box, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

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