pumpkin puttanesca

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

I should probably say upfront this is a Puttanesca ish pasta. This little tart went a tad rogue. Well in my book the addition of a some smoked chipotle, shallots & olive caviar is hardly all that rogue but some peeps takes the classics very seriously. I was delighted so many people also love this classic combo and wanted the recipe after I made it on an insta-story the other night. Full disclosure- the husband does NOT!

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

The other blindingly obvious thing here is the bright orange pasta. Its a fabulous pumpkin noodle situation that allows me to pretend i’m enjoying a bowl full of carbs. You can of course make this with whatever pasta or zoodle your heart desires. Spaghetti being the classic choice for Puttanesca.

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

One of the reasons I adore this pasta ever so much is because you can always find capers, olives, anchovies and tomatoes in our household. Oh and an excessive amount of garlic. Like actually ludicrous. Vampires beware. These simple ingredients pack quite the punch when put together. No wonder Neapolitan prostitutes lead customers to their doors with this little number. Jokes.

This mighty combo also takes minutes to whip together and is utterly scrumptious. Do not salt it until the very very end IF necessary. You shouldn’t need to with all the salty goodness that goes into it, just lots of freshly ground black pepper is your friend here. Pepper and a generous glass of something delightful like a well chilled Pinot Noir to wash it all down.

Pumpkin Puttanesca

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g veggie noodles of your choosing or of course +- 400g dried spaghetti
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced (or ½ red onion)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp smoked chipotle flakes
  • 100g capers, drained
  • 100g pitted black olives, chopped if desired
  • 2 x 390g boxes Italian crushed tomatoes
  • Fresh Italian/ flat leaf parsley
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive caviar for serving

Method:

Cook pasta according to package instructions until quite al dente as you are going to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.

Meanwhile, combine a generous glug of olive oil with the onion, garlic, anchovies, red chilli and chipotle flakes. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden and the anchovies are broken up into bits.

Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes reduce and the sauce thickens.

Add the capers and olives and stir to combine.

Using tongs, transfer pasta to sauce. If using vegetables noodles add them into the sauce now.

Cook, stirring and shaking the pan until the pasta is perfectly al dente, or the veggie noodles are tender. Stir in the freshly chopped parsley and season well with plenty of black pepper and taste for salt if necessary.

Serve straight away with freshly grated Parmesan or some crusty bread because carbs on carbs are the way forward in life.

And if you want to be a little bit extra a sprinkle of olive caviar is just the greatest thing ever on this delicious little number.

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

This isn’t a sponsored post but if you want to know where to find the delicious olive caviar I buy click HERE and then click HERE for the pumpkin noodles.

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

spiced rum & raisin pancakes

These spiced rum and raisin pancakes are quite honestly the most delicious pancakes ever. They’re like naughty, fluffy, hot cross buns… that are ready in minutes! Serve them piping hot with a dollop of butter shmelting away and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. Heaven.

Pancakes were funny enough one of the very first things I ever learnt to cook. My grandad would put the little step ladder next to the stove and help me ladle in batter and not burn the house down. Thankfully I didn’t set anything on fire and my love of pancakes only grew stronger.

The lovely folks from Lurpak South Africa are giving away a hamper of goodies. Watch this recipe video and head over to my Instagram page to enter the competition!

 

Spiced Rum & Raisin Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 70g (⅓ cup) Lurpak butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 300g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp (¼ cup) caster sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 75g (½ cup) raisins
  • 1 -2 tots rum

Method:

Melt butter in a small saucepan and set aside.

In a small bowl- combine eggs, milk and butter. Whisk.

In a large bowl combine flour, caster sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice. Whisk.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry and whisk well until smooth and incorporated.

Fold in the raisins and finally a shot or two of rum if desired.

Fry pancakes using clarified butter until golden brown and fluffy.

Serve with a dollop of butter, maple syrup and cinnamon sugar.

Spiced Rum & Raisin Pancakes | The Secret Life of Bee

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

Winter has me firmly in her clutches and comfort food is keeping me going. This mushroom ragù with truffle oil is exactly that. It’s rich and comforting and feels like a warm hug. I give this pasta a hefty dose of garlic and pepper. Mushrooms love pepper! And I finish it off with some crispy sage and Parmesan. It’s dead simple but utterly scrumptious.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

I like to mix my mushrooms up. I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and found a gorgeous mix but you can use whatever you can get your hands on. Shiitake, king oyster and shimeji mushrooms all work beautifully in this dish. Just cook your mushrooms in batches if necessary. Mushrooms don’t like being in a crowded pan or they sweat- much like meat. So brown them a few slices at a time and then combine them all together at the end.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

I love a good truffle oil and this one from Lemcke is a lovely subtle truffle-enhanced oil. So it’s not one of those that over powers an entire dish. You can use a rather liberal amount and it really makes all the rich earthy mushroom flavours sing. I also made a fried egg using the oil and it was amazing.

Mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 600g mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup mushroom stock
  • 1/2 lemon
  • truffle oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g fresh tagliatelle
  • handful fresh sage leaves
  • butter for frying
  • Parmesan for serving

Method:

Heat olive oil with a knob of butter and fry mushrooms in batches until golden brown. Set aside.

Heat some fresh olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions until soft. Add the crushed garlic, a knob of butter and return the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the mushroom stock and simmer until reduced by half. Season well with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and add pasta to the mushrooms. Toss well and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon.

In a small saucepan heat a few knobs of butter and fry the sage leaves until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

Serve the mushroom ragù topped with the crispy sage leaves, freshly grated Parmesan and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

Truffle oil provided by the lovely folks from Lemcke

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve been Casper the invisible blogger lately but alas sometimes real work has to happen to pay the very real bills! I’ve also been a rather useless wife serving the husband some fairly boring dinners lately so it was time to make up for it. Enter chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes. Yes please.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

These pockets of joy are truly one of the yummiest and most satisfying meals i’ve ever had. The rich and spicy chili con carne pairs so well with the sweet, smooth flesh of these orange sweet potatoes. You can of course use the white ones as well- I just find them a tad more starchy so tend to use them for creamy bakes or cottage pie like toppings. Either way they are a delicious little nest for the meaty goodness that is a patiently made pot of chili.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

When making the chili and any dish using mince all I can say is never ever crowd the pan. Use a really large pot and brown your mince in batches. If you put too much in at the same time the meat sweats and boils and goes grey. No bueno. As for the rest of the dish you can really make it your own. Go as heavy or light on the spices and of course the chilli powder as your heart desires. I used rather large heaped teaspoons of all the spices! This recipe makes a really fragrant, spicy dish that gets even better the next day. I had some left overs with a fried egg on top for breakfast and it was sublime!

Chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes

serves 8

Ingredients

  • 8 sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large sticks of celery, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried origanum
  • 1 kg best quality mince
  • 2 x 400g tin Italian chopped/crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil

To serve: sour cream, tomato & onion salsa, fresh coriander

Method:

Heat oven to 180˚C. Rub sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil. Prick with a fork or small knife, season with a little salt and roast until soft for 40 minutes depending on their size.

In a very large pot brown the mince in batches and remove from the pot. Add a fresh glug of olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic. Add the spices and cook until the veg had softened slightly, got some colour and the spices are fragrant.

Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes. Rinse the residual tomato out of each tin with a splash of water and pour into the pot. Bring to the boil and allow the tomatoes to reduce until thick.

Add the mince and kidney beans, season well and simmer for about 1 hour.

To serve- slice the sweet potatoes down the centre and stuff with a generous spoonful of the chili mix. I topped ours with sour cream, tomato & onion salsa, fresh coriander and even a dollop of guacamole.

Enjoy!

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

To be perfectly honest I didn’t even wait for the husband to come home from work before I started tucking in.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee