Pasta alla Norma


I just love this very simple and quick Sicilian pasta dish.

1 aubergine
3 cloves of garlic
200g fresh tomatoes

That’s it ….. apart from a tiny pinch of dried chilli and a sprig of basil.

Chop the aubergine into bite size pieces and fry in olive oil until cooked and golden. When done remove and place on a kitchen paper lined plate.

Meanwhile chop the garlic quite finely and in a separate pan fry in olive oil for a few moments, don’t let it burn else it turns bitter. Add the diced tomatoes, a pinch of dried chilli (enough so you’d hardly notice it in the finished sauce but would notice if it wasn’t there!) and a few leaves of basil. I try and use San Marzano tomatoes but the important bit is that they are flavoursome tomatoes and not the pale, tasteless tomatoes often simply described as ‘salad tomatoes’ in the supermarket. Put a lid on the pan and let the tomatoes cook down for about 10 minutes then fish out the basil leaves.

Add the aubergine pieces to the tomatoes and warm everything through. Serve with any pasta, I like rigatoni for this dish, a few leaves of basil and grated parmesan.

Dieting

I’ve psyched myself up to go on a diet and today is day 1. The diet is the 5/2 diet. On 5 days each week I can eat and drink without counting calories just as if I weren’t on a diet. The other 2 non-consecutive days are limited to 600 kcal. I think I can cope with 2 days of misery for 5 of happiness each week! I’m not letting you know my starting weight but I’ll update my cumulative loss from time to time, plus I’ll detail what I ate on some of my 600 kcal days. Updates here.

Korean Chicken Wings

1 to 2 kgs Chicken wings, tips removed
5tbs sugar
1tbs water
4tbs rice wine vinegar
3tbs soy sauce
1tbs grated root ginger
1.5tbs sriracha sauce
4tbs tomato ketchup

Place the wings into a pan in a single layer, brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and put into an oven at 180C for 40-45 minutes.

Next make the sauce by first making a dark caramel using the sugar and water – remember no stirring! At the dark caramel stage pour in the mixed rice wine vinegar and soy sauce – remember that there will be a volcano like eruption! When things calm down continue to cook until everything is liquid again then add the ginger, sriracha and tomato ketchup. Cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens a bit.

When the wings have cooked for the 40-45 minutes brush with the sauce and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Put the wings into a serving dish and drizzle with a little of the thickened sauce.

Next time I make this I’ll take a photo of the dish, I forgot to do it before they’d all been eaten. UPDATE: I’ve made them twice since posting this but still scoff them all before taking a photo!

Blood Oranges in Caramel Syrup

Firstly peel the blood oranges ensuring that no pith remains and the slice.

This quantity of caramel sauce is about right for 4 oranges. Put 100g sugar and 3tbs of water into a saucepan and slowly heat until the sugar is dissolved – do not stir but you can shake the pan a little. Once the sugar is dissolved increase the heat and boil until the syrup becomes a dark amber/golden colour. Remove from the heat and immediately add 4tbs boiling water and stir. Best to have the water already measured and in a mug or something because the water and syrup combination will boil rapidly and splash up so take care! The syrup may need heating again if it’s not completely liquid. Once cool pour over the orange slices.

These oranges are great served with greek yoghurt but even better spooned onto cold rice pudding. Here’s my rice pudding recipe.

100g short grain pudding rice or risotto rice – don’t use any other type of rice.
500ml milk
2tbs sugar

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 30 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Allow to cool.