Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | October 28, 2009

Affogato with boozy cantuccini biscuits

Affogato with boozy cantuccini biscuits

Affogato is a classic Italian dish of espresso poured over ice cream. Served with almond biscuits soaked in Marsala, it’s one of the easiest desserts ever.
Recipe by Waitrose Recipes

Serves: 6 


12 Corsini Cantuccini alle Mandorle (almond biscuits)
6 tbsp Marsala or dessert wine
500ml tub Waitrose Roasted Coffee Ice Cream
150ml hot espresso or fresh coffee
½ x 100g bar Waitrose Swiss Plain Chocolate with Coffee, finely grated


  1. Place 2 cantuccini biscuits in each of 6 heatproof glass dessert bowls or tumblers. Pour a tablespoon of the Marsala over the cantuccini and leave to soak for 5-10 minutes.
  2. When ready to serve, remove the ice cream from the freezer and make the coffee either in a cafetiére, filter or espresso machine.
  3. Place a large scoop of the ice cream in each glass and take to the table. Just before eating, pour a little of the hot coffee over. Top with grated chocolate.

Cook’s tip:  As an alternative, soak Corsini Cantuccini Chocolate Chip biscuits, as above. Serve with chocolate ice cream drizzled with hot chocolate sauce (make your own by melting a 100g bar of plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Hils comment: So easy you feel it doesn’t deserve to taste so nice! It was truly delightful, accolades all round and certainly special enough for entertaining. I could not get Waitrose Roasted Coffee Icecream, so used Waitrose Seriously Creamy Columbian Coffee Icecream – it was wonderful. I also scattered some toasted chopped hazelnuts over the top (lightly toast skinless hazelnuts in a baking pan in a medium/hot oven until they are golden brown but not burnt. Toasted chopped or slivered almonds would also work). Serve with an Almond Thin biscuit (or 2) in the saucer or with the icecream.

I’d say the 500ml ice cream serves 4 – 6, preferably 4 if you want a decent amount of icecream per person.

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | October 21, 2009

Jamie’s Pasta Putana (Working Girl’s Pasta)


pasta putana

Serves 4

Jamie Oliver: “This is a pasta dish that Gennaro Contaldo used to make for our staff dinners when we worked at the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden in London. In Italian this is called “pasta puttana,” which basically translates as “whore’s pasta”! I wanted to know why, as I’d never heard of this before. Maybe it’s because the dish was cooked very quickly, with no effort involved, or maybe it’s something the local prostitutes used to eat at home–who knows?

But this is the way my darling Gennaro taught me to make it. He comes from the Amalfi coast, where fresh tuna would have been available. If you can get hold of some, it will make the dish much more luxurious and an event to eat. But if you can’t, then tinned will do.”


A handful of fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
2 x 225g (8-ounce) tuna steaks, chopped into bite-size chunks, or 2 tins of good-quality tuna, drained
400g (14 oz) penne or spaghetti
8 anchovy fillets
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 handfuls of soaked capers
A handful of black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 to 3 small dried chillies, crumbled to your taste, or 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
2 handfuls of really ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
Optional: a swig of white wine
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Smash the basil to a pulp with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest and juice and 2 good lugs of extra virgin olive oil. Mix this up and either rub over your chopped-up fresh tuna or mix with your broken-up canned tuna and allow to marinate.

Get a large pan of salted boiling water on and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. As soon as you put the pasta on, put 3 or 4 good lugs of extra virgin olive oil into a large frying pan and put on the heat. As the pan starts to get warm, add your anchovy fillets and allow them to fry and melt. At this point add your garlic, capers, olives, and chilli and stir around for a couple of minutes. If you have used fresh tuna, add it to the pan now with all of the marinating juices and sear it on both sides. When done, add the tomatoes and a little swig of white wine if you have some. If you have used tinned tuna, add it to the pan at the same time as the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly with a spoon, breaking the tuna up into smaller pieces. What you don’t want to do is overcook the tuna so it goes tough. You want it to be soft and silky. Correct the seasoning carefully with salt and pepper.

The pasta should now be ready, so drain it in a colander, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Toss the hot pasta with the hot tuna sauce, add the parsley, and mix well. You may need a few more lugs of olive oil and a spoonful of cooking water to make the sauce nice and loose.

Hils Comment:  A hugely satisfying dish to cook, as well as eat – prepare all the ingredients beforehand and they look as pretty as a picture:





The sauce before adding the pasta

I had no penne and had to use spaghetti the second time I did this, and I think it was even nicer than with penne.



Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | October 21, 2009

Baked haddock & cabbage risotto

Very quick and easy low fat dish, a satisfying after-work supper

Very quick and easy low fat dish, a satisfying after-work supper

Serves 3 – 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 300g risotto rice  (arborio or carnaroli)
  • 1 litre fish or vegetable stock
  • 280g wedge savoy cabbage, thickly sliced
  • 400g skinless smoked haddock
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 50g parmesan , freshly grated


Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat oil in a 2-litre casserole dish, then soften the onion over a medium heat for about 5 mins. Tip in the rice and cook for 2 mins, stirring well. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then add the cabbage. Cover and bake for 20 mins.

Remove the pan from the oven and give the rice a stir. Place the fish on top of the rice, replace the lid, then bake for 5 mins.

Flake the fish into large chunks and stir into the rice with the crème fraîche and half the parmesan. Season with freshly ground pepper, then sprinkle with the remaining parmesan to serve.

Use other fish

You can replace the haddock with other meaty fish, such as cod from a sustainable source or salmon. For a special meal, add king prawns, mussels and scallops for the final 5 mins of cooking.

Per serving

469 kcalories, protein 32g, carbohydrate 66g, fat 10 g, saturated fat 4g, fibre 5g, salt 2.52 g

Recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine March 2007

Hils Comment: Delicious and extremely easy, and the left overs were also nice reheated in the microwave. Serve with a green salad or, if you’re very hungry, any other vegetables – there’s plenty of protein and carb in the main dish.  I had no savoy cabbage so used pointy spring cabbage – just as nice, any cabbage would be fine. Best with undyed smoked haddock. Next time, I’d love to serve it with a poached egg on top, a new take on kedgeree!

If you are looking for very low fat, you could halve the quantity of  parmesan and it would still be very tasty.


Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 27, 2009

Check the frugal blog page – click on tab above

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 25, 2009

Crunchy crushed potatoes


A sort of chip and roast potato combination, with part-boiled potatoes that are crushed and then roasted.  I don't have to tell you that they are delicious.

A sort of chip and roast potato combination, with part-boiled potatoes that are crushed and then roasted. I don't have to tell you that they are delicious.

By Jo Pratt/Daily Mail

Serves 4


 1kg new potatoes, halved if large

3tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and tip into a roasting tray.

Using a potato masher or the base of a glass or cup, crush each potato – some more than others, so you get lots of lovely small crispy bits once they have roasted.

Toss in the olive oil and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning a few times throughout, until the potatoes are wonderfully golden and crunchy.

Remove from the oven and scatter with sea salt to taste before serving.

HANDY TIP: For a touch of spice, a pinch of cayenne pepper

Read more:

Hils comment: Scrumptious. Hardly low fat or health food, but hey! Ever heard of the 80/20 Rule? ( The potatoes are cooked in their skins, though, so partly healthy.

 I can’t promise this will always serve 4, it’s incredibly more-ish!


How yummy is that?

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 23, 2009

Chicken, turkey or tofu stir fry with greens and cashews

Healthy, light and quick – just what you need in an after-work meal.

BBC stir fry

Serves 4

Recipe by BBC Good Food magazine

 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 head broccoli , cut into small florets
4 garlic cloves , sliced
1 red chilli , deseeded and finely sliced
1 bunch spring onions , sliced
140g soya beans [available frozen from the supermarket]
2 heads pak choi , quartered
2 x 150g packs marinated tofu pieces [or chicken or turkey breast see comment below]
1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce (add extra to suit your own taste)
25g roasted nuts
[I recommend also about 1 cm root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced or grated]


Heat the oil in a non-stick wok.

Add the broccoli, then fry on a high heat for 5 mins or until just tender, adding a little water if it begins to catch.

Add the garlic and chilli (and ginger if using), fry for 1 min, then toss through the spring onions, soya beans, pak choi and tofu.

Stir-fry for 2-3 mins. Add the hoisin, soy and nuts to warm through.

Hils Comment: Quick and delicious, and so versatile. Make this with whatever veg and protein you have available, perfect for using up vegetables that are in danger of going to waste by the end of the week. It would work well with any of the following: green beans, cabbage, mange touts, asparagus, shredded carrot or courgette, bean sprouts, and so on. I haven’t tried it with tofu, mind – it was wonderful with turkey or chicken: METHOD – first stir fry the chicken or turkey over a high heat in a little olive oil with half the chopped garlic.  Remove from the wok, then stir fry the rest of the garlic, the ginger and the chilli for 1 min, then add the broccoli/beans for a few minutes. Toss through the other vegetables and the soya beans (plus tofu if using), and stir fry for 2 – 3 minutes.  Put the chicken or turkey back into the wok at the end with the hoisin, soy sauce and nuts, just to warm through.

This dish was delicious using  pak choi, purple sprouting broccoli, a little red pepper and diced chicken breast:


 and equally good with normal broccoli, green beans, savoy cabbage,  diced turkey breast and a few cooked prawns I had in the freezer:



The secret of a good stir fry is to have done all the preparation in advance, according to Jane Clarke, one of Britain’s leading nutritionists. Chop the vegetables  so they are all the same, one bite, size, so cooking is even. Chop the garlic, ginger, chilli etc. before you start cooking, and get store cupboard ingredients ready. What makes the difference between a stir-fry that sizzles and a soggy, old tasting mush is being able to quickly add the ingredient at the right time, without having to rummage around in a cupboard or, worse still, nip out to the supermarket for something vital.

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 10, 2009

Risotto verde

A gorgeous, fresh-tasting green risotto which is easy to make as it is baked in the oven

A gorgeous, fresh-tasting green risotto which is easy to make as it is baked in the oven

This has to be my favourite recipe of the month – absolutely delicious!

(Recipe by Rachel Allen, a professional cook and busy mother. A native of Dublin, she lives in Cork with her husband and two young children. Rachel teaches at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and presents several TV cookery shows. )


4 tbsp olive oil
250g (9oz) peas, fresh or frozen
100g (4 oz) spinach (destalk if the leaves are large)
950ml (1 pt 12 fl oz) vegetable (or chicken) stock [I used marigold vegetable bouillon]
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g (12 oz) risotto rice, such as arborio or carnaroli
150ml (5 fl. oz) white wine
100g (4 oz) Parmesan cheese to serve
12 stalks of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut in half lengthways

Preheat the oven to 180’C/gas 4.
Heat half the olive oil in an oven-proof saucepan.
Add the peas and spinach and cook, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes, until the spinach wilts.

Add about 50ml of the stock and puree in a blender or food processor.
Set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with a lid and sweat over a gentle heat until soft but not coloured.
Add the risotto rice and stir it around in the saucepan for a minute, then add the remaining stock and the wine.
Stir and bring it up to the boil, cover with the lid and place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is just cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the vegetable puree and set aside with the lid on.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a good pinch of salt and the asparagus.
Boil for 2-3 minutes or until it is just tender, then drain.

To serve
Serve the risotto in warm bowls with the asparagus and Parmesan arranged on top.

Rachel’s handy tip:  The alcohol in the wine burns off during cooking, and the flavour is lovely, but if you do not want to use it, jut replace it with extra stock.

Hils comment:  A delightful accompaniment for any meal. I prefer it with plainly cooked fish or chicken, as the fresh spring tastes really come through. 

 Served with grilled or baked plaice


 The risotto made a fairly bland (but oh-so-healthy!) meal of baked plaice into something really special.

 It would also  be great on its own.

 DSCN3176The leftovers made a delicious lunch next day – I stirred through some of the remaining baby spinach leaves and asparagus, added a few thin slices of parmesan, and microwaved it for a minute or two . Wow!

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 8, 2009

Broccoli and salmon pasta bake


Recipe coming soon!

Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | September 3, 2009

Beetroot Risotto with feta cheese


Interesting and delicious vegetarian option just oozing with healthy goodness.
Serves 2 as a main meal (despite our valiant efforts, there was some left over for my modest lunch today! I did however use 200g Red Camargue and Wild Rice, and 600ml stock).


500 ml light stock (I use Marigold vegetable bouillon)
150g red or brown rice (red Camargue rice is delicious with this, I use Waitrose Red Camargue & Wild Rice which is deliciously nutty and filling; you will need to cook the rice quite a bit longer than stated in the recipe, and I generally have to add more stock towards the end when the stock has been absorbed but the rice is still hard)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 stick cinnamon
150 (5 oz) beetroot, rinsed (or use vinegar-free ready-cooked beetroot, much easier. You will find it vacuum-packed near the fresh salad vegetables in the supermarket)
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
100g spinach or chard or kale, coarsely shredded with thick stalks removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium head of fennel, trimmed and cut into medium fine slices
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
150 feta cheese, chopped or crumbled (the non weight-conscious can add a bit more)
Green salad ingredients (optional)
Bring the stock to the boil and add the rice, garlic and cinnamon.
Simmer gently without a lid until the rice is tender (35 – 55 minutes, depending on the rice used. Add more stock if necessary).
Drain, remove the cinnamon and mash in the garlic.
While the rice is cooking, cook the beetroot; cover with very lightly salted boiling water and simmer until tender, about 30 mins. Once cooked, it will be easy to slip off the skins under cold running water and then top and tail the beetroot.

Heat oven to 200C.

As the rice and beetroot cook, heat a frying pan and lightly toast the caraway seeds.
Remove the seeds and add a tablespoon of olive oil to the frying. Add the shredded spinach or kale and stir-fry gently until the leaves have wilted. (If you have used curly kale, this will take quite a while, stir fry until it is more tender). Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add more oil and cook the onion and fennel until golden brown or tender (tossing from time to time). Stir in the cooked shredded greens, the caraway seeds and tamarind paste. Combine with the rice and beetroot and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Place the risotto in a shallow baking dish and scatter over the feta cheese.
Slip into a hot oven for 10minutes.
Serve with a green salad.

 Recipe by Ian Marber “The Food Doctor Diet Club”


Hils Comment:
Astonish your veggie friends with this. It is one of The Food Doctor meals that I love even when not weight watching nor feeding vegetarians; it is tasty and filling. I am keen on ‘one-pot meals’, not only for the great taste but also they seem easier than coordinating several different items.

For those who have tried all the weight-loss diets, and failed at all the weight-loss diets, I can highly recommend The Food Doctor’s Diet Club and healthy eating plan. George & I followed it a few years ago with great success, it really does what it says on the tin. To my great astonishment, I might add, as I do not lose weight easily! The ounces came off steadily, and this without feeling hungry or deprived. The recipes and list of ingredients can appear daunting initially, but once you get into it it is really not too difficult. The ’10 Principles’ of how to eat well for the rest of your life are absolutely sound. Especially Number 8: the 80/20 Rule – stick to the plan for 80% of the time, but allow yourself to stray every now and then (except for the first month when you are re-educating your body and your habits).


Posted by: hilsrecipeoftheweek | August 29, 2009

Tomato and avocado salad

1 ripe (but not overripe and going mushy or stringy) avocado
200g halved cherry or baby pomodorino tomatoes (or normal tomatoes cut into quarters or eighths)
Juice of 1/2 a small lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Slice the tomatoes and place in a dish.
Halve the avocado and remove the pip.
Using a knife, cut the avocado into cubes whilst still in the skin, then scoop the diced avocado out with a spoon. Add to tomotoes.
Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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