Recipe: Courgetti with Pesto Chicken, Mushrooms and Goat’s Cheese

Don’t hate me for owning a spiralizer, I’ve not completely lost my mind and travelled over to the dark side of the clean eating brigade. I just don’t like to be left out of any trend so obviously had to purchase this weird little device that makes noodles out of vegetables. I’ve had it since last year and have only used it a few times, but I can honestly say that I do rather like courgetti, or in other words courgette that’s been made to look like spaghetti pasta. If you don’t have a spiralizer fear not for you can now buy courgetti in large supermarkets, such is now the trend. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons from your courgette, which is just as lovely. Whatever magic you create with your courgette, this recipe is a delicious way to increase your veg intake with lovely summery flavours.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 3 courgettes
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp green pesto
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 slices of soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

What you do:

  1. Start by fashioning your courgettes into ribbons or noodles using whatever tools you have. I have the handheld type of spiralizer that leads to an injury every single time I use it, but makes nice long strands of courgetti. Leave these to one side but have a pan of boiling water ready.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and once hot, add the diced chicken and mushrooms. Fry off for a few minutes until they are cooked through and starting to brown, then add in the pesto and zest and juice from the lemon. Stir and cook gently to create a nice sauce for the chicken and mushrooms.
  3. Just before the chicken and mushrooms are ready, plonk your courgetti into the pan of boiling water and cook just for a minute or two to warm through. Drain very well and place in to two waiting serving bowls. Top with the pesto coated chicken and mushrooms then immediately add a slice of goats cheese and a scattering of toasted pine nuts over the top. Drizzle any pesto juices from the pan artistically around the plate to make it look a bit spesh.

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The goat’s cheese will melt into the chicken and mushrooms and provide a welcome tang against the earthiness of the herby pesto. The crunch from the pine nuts works great with the soft courgette. This is a lovely, well balanced dinner perfect for a warm summer evening.

Injury count: 1 – I got my thumb caught in the spiralizer which led to screaming, crying and a bloody mess in the kitchen. But I got lots of attention afterwards which always makes an injury worth it.

Recipe: Pork Fillet in a Mushroom Cream Sauce

This is a bit of a grown up dinner, good for a dinner party or a nice meal for two. Pork Fillet is a posh cut of the pig but is still really affordable and makes a tasty dinner when served with a creamy sauce. The mushrooms bring a subtle earthiness which balances out the richness of the creme fraiche and the pork. Plus, I love mushrooms. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve eaten them as I never appreciated their texture, but now I don’t know how I lived without them. My pork fillet with mushroom sauce is great served with some seasonal greens and mustard spiked mashed potatoes.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 250g pork fillet
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 20g butter
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • A pinch of dried thyme
  • 60ml marsala wine
  • 150ml creme fraiche
  • A few tablespoons of water

What you do:

  1. If your pork fillet has been presented to you in the form of a whole loin, you need to cut it into medallions about an inch thick then bash them lightly with a meat mallet or other suitably blunt object so that you have about 6 sort of round discs of meat. If your fillet is already in medallions then good for you, you’re ready to move on to step two.
  2. Mix the mustard powder and flour together on a plate and dunk your pork fillet pieces into the mixture and coat finely, dusting off any excess.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook your pork medallions for a couple of minutes on each side until they are cooked through and golden brown. You may need to do this in batches if your pan isn’t big enough to hold all the meat in a single layer. Once cooked, transfer the pork to a plate and cover with foil to allow it to rest and keep warm.
  4. In the same pan, fry off your diced red onion over a low heat until it is soft and sweet, then remove from the pan and add to the resting pork.
  5. Now, to the same pan, add the butter along with your mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook the fragrant mushrooms in the butter until they brown and start to crisp. Be patient with this as the mushrooms will need to release all their juices before the frying process can start. Just watch and see, and enjoy the smells floating around your kitchen as you do so.
  6. Next, add the marsala and bubble away for a minute or so to reduce the liquid slightly, before stirring through the creme fraiche. Now it’s time to unite the pork and onions with the creamy mushroom sauce, so add these back to the pan and give everything a good mix. Season gently, add a splash of water and allow this to cook together for a minute or two before serving with creamy mash and some green veg.

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