“Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano” from “Notes From My Kitchen Table”

Nicholas (9): What’s this called?

Maureen: Well, I call it lemon spaghetti, but it’s got an Italian name. (Finds cookbook to see what the official name is.) It is Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano. Just like I said. Lemon spaghetti.

Andrew (13): It’s pretty good.

Maureen: I agree. I like this. Though I”m not really sure it merits its own recipe in a cookbook. I could do it in four sentences: Cook spaghetti. Make sauce by grating lemon and adding a massive amount of cheese, some olive oil and a splash of pasta water. Mix spaghetti into sauce and put basil leaves on top. Enjoy.

Nicholas: I would eat this again.

Maureen: I’m not surprised you would. But like I said it’s not like the wheel has been reinvented or anything. Saying that, it’s not nearly as boring as I thought it would be. It’s very nice.

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Cook’s Note’s: Gwyneth advises that 350 grams of spaghetti would feed four. I’m here to tell you that 350 grams of spaghetti would not feed the four people in our house, particularly when one of them is a teenage boy and the other is his younger brother who loves spaghetti. Just make the whole packet of spaghetti (500 grams) and augment the sauce of cheese, olive oil and lemon accordingly.

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“Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano” from “Notes From My Kitchen Table”

“Chicken with Tomatoes & Peppers” and “Cannellini Beans with Rosemary” from “Nigellissima”

Anna: This is brilliant!

Peter: Why do you say that?

Anna: It was super-quick, really easy and tastes delicious!

Peter: It’s very nice, I agree. The chicken tastes quite sweet, in a good way.

Anna: That will be the Marsala. I made this earlier in the day and let it sit, which is no bad thing with chicken thighs, and then prepared the cannellini beans at the last minute.

Peter: The beans go really well with the chicken.

Anna: It’s the rosemary that compliments the chicken so well. Do you know what the best thing about this is?

Peter: I think you’re going to tell me.

Anna: I added some couscous to the leftovers and gave it to Louis for lunch today and he wolfed it down! There’s more in the freezer for him too. Thank you Nigella.

“Chicken with Tomatoes & Peppers” and “Cannellini Beans with Rosemary” from “Nigellissima”

“Courgette and Lemon Spaghetti” from “Food”

If you’d like to make this yourself– and I recommend that you do– there’s a recipe from the Telegraph if you click on this link.

This one is a resounding winner. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy. Win. Win. Win.

However, I need to add a caveat: I did alter the recipe a bit. Usually, I don’t do that, because obviously the idea of testing recipes in our cookbooks is to do them exactly as they say. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to see if they work or not.

But in this case, I didn’t think that Mary McCartney would mind. As she says in the introduction, she came up with this recipe when she was hunting through her cupboard for something to eat. The reason I altered it was by the time I had settled on making it for dinner, our excellent greengrocer The Creaky Shed was already shut for the day, so I couldn’t get my hands on the fresh sage and the rosemary that it called for. So instead I used fresh parsley and dried rosemary. It worked fine.

The other thing I altered about the recipe was the type of pasta I used. I know it says spaghetti, and why in the world would I need to deviate from that? But the fact is that Tim, my husband, hates spaghetti (he’s odd like that), so he politely requested that we get some other shape. So we did. Again, I don’t think Mary would mind.

One good thing about this recipe is that it truly is one that vegans can use, because the feta that you add is optional. Hooray for that. Given my profound love of cheese, obviously I’ll never be a vegan, but for my vegan friends out there, this one is for you.

Would I make this again? Absolutely. I may even put this in our regular rotation. It’s a great weeknight meal– delicious, healthy, quick and easy. I consider those three things the holy grail of a successful weeknight dinner.

“Courgette and Lemon Spaghetti” from “Food”

“Lentil and Feta Salad” from “Food”

If you’d like to try this salad yourself, Google Books has reproduced it here.

Maureen: Something for you, Tim. A lentil salad! You love lentils.

Tim: I do.

Maureen: There’s something for me in this too. Feta cheese! Hooray. This wouldn’t be good for vegans, though. What do you think?

Tim: I thought this was good, but I’d like this dish more hot than cold.

Maureen: I know what you mean. The recipe says that this is best served at room temperature, but I disagree. I think it would be much better with lentils hot and straight out of the pan.

Tim: I don’t think this really works at room temperature, I have to say.

Maureen: Agreed. This is good, but would be even better warm. Room temperature doesn’t really work, unfortunately.

“Lentil and Feta Salad” from “Food”

“Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil” from “The Family Meal”

Maureen: We have another epic disaster on our hands, boys.

Andrew (12): What do you mean?

Maureen: Well, I know this tomato sauce looks OK now, but that’s only because I had to completely disregard the recipe in the end to make it edible.

Nicholas (8): Oh no. Did it not have enough flour again?

Maureen: This time, it was a case of too much of something, in this case olive oil, rather than too little, like the flour in the chocolate cookies. I wanted to make about a jar’s worth of sauce, so I doubled the amounts for the 230 grams of sauce. Unfortunately, using my higher-level maths skills of doubling amounts, that meant he wanted me to use 240 millilitres of olive oil.

Continue reading ““Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil” from “The Family Meal””

“Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil” from “The Family Meal”

“Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast”

Thanks to our friends at the Food Network, you can find the recipe for these dishes here on their website.

Andrew (12): This is very nice.

Maureen: Yes, but we have this all the time, though. We love having this on the grill in the summer. We love having it on the grill pan the rest of the year. We love this dish, full stop.

Nicholas: Yes, this is good.

Maureen: Have you actually eaten the meat?

Nicholas: Yes!

Maureen: Wow. Is that because you’ve had it before and you know you like it?

Nicholas: Yes.

Tom (age undisclosed, but he gets a Senior Discount at the cinema): The meat is very good. Did you marinate it?

Continue reading ““Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast””

“Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast”

“Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta” from “Fresh, Fast, Simple”

Maureen: First of all, there’s a problem. The name of this is “Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta.” Can anyone tell me what the problem is?

Andrew (12): It’s not summer.

Maureen: Bingo! But I’m not sure what makes it a summer dish. It’s not as if there’s anything really fresh in there other than the basil, but you can get that year round. What did you think?

Andrew: I think it’s really nice.

Nicholas (8, therefore not prone to liking much of anything that’s new): It’s good!

Maureen: Praise be! Nicholas likes it!

Continue reading ““Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta” from “Fresh, Fast, Simple””

“Rustic Summer Crumb Pasta” from “Fresh, Fast, Simple”