Roasted vegetable pasta sauce

IMG_4959With only 3 weeks until our baby is due I am busy batch cooking for the freezer. Most meals that we have had lately have been doubled or tripled to allow extra to be frozen for those first few weeks with a newborn. At last count we have around 25 meals for two in there, so all one of us will have to do is defrost and reheat one and cook some carbs such as pasta or rice to serve alongside it. We have sausage and fennel seed ragu, lamb meatballs, Bolognese, chilli con carne and beef casserole amongst other meals.

I was contacted by Thomson’s Al Fresco to see if I would be interested in coming up with an Italian, Spanish or French recipe using ingredients from a hamper they would supply filled with foods from one of these countries. No surprises that I chose the Italian hamper. The hamper contained 5 different types of pasta, a jar of tomato pasta sauce, a jar of wild boar ragu, a tube of tomato puree and a bottles of balsamic vinegar. Initially I was not that inspired by the contents of the hamper although clearly I knew I would have to make a pasta dish. With all the red meat based meals in the freezer, I decided to make a big batch of pasta sauce that was red meat free. This recipe is very straight forward and made enough for 8 people. The type and quantities of vegetables can also easily be adapted to your choice as well. For instance I’m not a big fan of courgette so I kept the amount of that low but you could add more if you wanted.

Roasted vegetable pasta sauce

3 peppers, deseeded and roughly diced
2 large aubergines, roughly diced
1 medium courgette, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp dried oregano
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp tomato puree
500g passata
Dried pasta

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180 fan). Put the peppers, aubergine, courgette, garlic and oregano in a roasting tin and drizzle over some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine, adding more olive oil if necessary to ensure all the vegetables are covered.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown.
  • Meanwhile slowly cook the red onion slices in olive oil over a low heat until softened (approximately 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook it out for a couple of minutes before adding the onions/tomato puree and passata to the roasted vegetables. Return the tray to the oven for 15- 20 minutes, stirring once. Mean while cook the pasta until al dente. Serve the pasta and sauce with a grating of parmesan over the top.

Fresh from the oven January 2013

IMG_4852I am pleased to start off the new year of bread baking by hosting January’s fresh from the oven challenge. The challenge is to make flatbreads. I made the ones below from The River Cottage bread handbook but you are free to use any recipe you like and get as creative as you want. If you do want a recipe this one from Nigel Slater looks very similar and I love the sound of his aubergine and thyme flat breads. I served my flat breads alongside a roast chicken stuffed with chorizo and beans which you can read more about here but I have also served them with mousakka and a lamb tagine.

IMG_4853The round up will be published by Michelle at the end of the month and please see here for full information on how to take part. Also don’t forget to check out our facebook page. Feel free to share your challenge posts on there throughout the month.

Happy new year

IMG_4853This year I’m going to by-pass the review of the previous year’s blog content because I’m sure you’ll have noticed there was not a lot of content on the blog apart from fresh from the oven posts. I’m also not going to make any promises or resolutions to blog more in 2013 because I’ve been keeping a secret. 2013 will be a year of big changes, as myself and my husband are expecting our first baby in April.

My husband has taken over a lot of the cooking since September. Today though I started the year off well by cooking us a delicious chorizo and bean stuffed chicken (from Gordon Ramsey’s ultimate cookery course) alongside some homemade flat breads. The food was delicious and I enjoyed the time in the kitchen. If I was making new years resolutions it would definitely be to get back to cooking and baking bread more but I’m going to take the year as it comes. Happy new year everyone!

Fresh from the oven round up – December 2012 – savoury chilli buns

DCIM100MEDIADecember’s fresh from the oven was hosted by Tina and she chose savoury chilli buns. You can find the recipe here if you want to give it a try. December is a busy month and consequently we only had one entry which was from Tandy at Lavender and Lime.©-Chilli-Cheese-Maize-BreadWe are still looking for hosts for 2013 so please email me if you would like to host. January’s challenge is hosted by me and will be posted later today. You can find out how to take part here. Michelle will be publishing the round up at the end of the month. Also don’t forget to check out our facebook page. Feel free to share your challenge posts on there throughout the month.


Fresh from the oven – October 2012 – mixed flour seeded loaf

October’s fresh from the oven challenge was hosted by Dear love blog and the full post and recipe can be found here. Alex shared a recipe with us for using up leftover part bags of flour, mixed flour, seeded loaf. Thank you to Alex for hosting and to everyone who took part this month.

Fuss free flavours


Lavender and lime

November’s challenge is being hosted by Helen of fuss free flavours and will be announced on her blog on 1st November.

Fresh from the oven August 2012 – Saffron buns

This months fresh from the oven challenge was hosted by Sally who blogs at my custard pie. She chose a traditional saffron buns recipe. Thank you Sally for hosting and for everyone who has taken part this month. Unfortunately September’s host has dropped out so we are urgently looking for someone to host September’s challenge. If you are interested please get in touch. I will update before the 1st September with details of the new host.

Lavender and lime

Coffee, cakes and running

Signor Biscotti

Working London mum

Food and tools




Tenderstem broccoli and turkey in black bean sauce

As a rule I don’t eat broccoli. Growing up I was a fussy eater, especially when it came to vegetables and in particular “greens”. Over the last 5 years or so I have gradually increased the variety of vegetables that I eat but a few vegetables still remain off the menu in our house (cauliflower, sprouts and broccoli). Every so often my husband will complain about the lack of broccoli we eat and so when I was approached by tenderstem broccoli to take part in Tender in 10 I decided to give it ago. The challenge is to create recipes using tenderstem broccoli that can be cooked in 10 minutes or less, with 10 ingredients or less.

I knew that incorporating the broccoli in to a flavour packed dish was the best way forward. So with this in mind I decided to include it in a stir fry. I have used turkey in this recipe but you could use beef, chicken or pork. I cook with turkey at least once a week as it is good value and a healthy, lean meat. Again I find turkey works best in a dist with lots of flavour like a stir fry or these fajitas. Continue reading

Fresh from the oven June 2012 – Pita breads

This months fresh from the oven was hosted by slice of my life. The challenge set was to bake pita breads. Thank you Anita for hosting and to everyone who took part this month. Below are the photos of all this months entries. Next months challenge will be announced on 1st July on lavender and lime. Next month’s round up will be published by utterly scrummy food for families.

Culinary travels

Signor biscotti

Mint custard

Lavender and lime

Fika and more

My custard pie

Things we make


Confessions of a courious cuisiniere

Mimi’s kitchen

Idealo holiday reads challenge 2012

This summer foodie 100 are running a holiday reads club to see what food bloggers are reading in their spare time. As part of the club Idealo UK are purchasing £25 worth of books for each food blogger who was chosen to take part in the club. I do love to read (fiction as well as cookbooks) so I was thrilled to be asked to take part. Although we have already been on our main holiday this year (which explains how quiet it has been on here recently) we are hoping to have several long weekend camping trips over the summer. So here are the books I will be reading this summer.

Gok cooks Chinese (I couldn’t resist chosing one cookbook). I’ve been loving watching this series the past few weeks and as someone who hasn’t cooked that much Chinese food I’ve learnt a lot. I wasn’t sure what to expect before I watched the first episode but the recipes are simple, healthy and look delicious and Gok and his dad make great tv. I can’t wait to get this book and start cooking from it. Continue reading