Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fresh Tomato and Olive Pasta and a lovely Giveaway for my Readers!

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As you know I am a pasta lover, the Toddster not so much, but one good thing about pasta is that you can often adjust the amounts that you are cooking to just feed one or two.  That is what I did today.  I had and enjoyed my single serving of this delicious pasta dish and Todd enjoyed a meat pie and mash.    I rather feel like I got the better end of the deal, but to each his own.

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I recently read an article where they mentioned how dirty the ice cubes are in fast food restaurants and how much bacteria they contained.  UGH!  We were lucky enough to receive a water filter tap for our kitchen several years ago and I always use filtered water for my cooking, as well as making my ice cubes.  We also have a water filter on our refrigerator which we use for cold drinking water as well.   Let me tell you, I will be ordering my drinks "ice free" from now on after reading that article.

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Most of our water today is chlorinated.  I grew up drinking water that tasted highly of chlorine actually.  I don't think we knew alot about what that can do to you back then and the thought that I drank and cooked with it for years quite honestly scares me a bit!  Did you know that when water containing chlorine comes into contact with old and leaky pipes, it forms highly carcinogenic Tri-halomethanes (Note: when a substance is deemed as carcinogenic it means it is known to cause cancer). A similar result occurs when you cook food in chlorinated water.  I don't know how old your pipes are, but I reckon mine are pretty old and so I am really grateful for our water filter which I use all the time for any type of water that's going into our bodies.

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When you cook pasta in water it absorbs some of the cooking water.   I don't want nasty things being absorbed into my food or body, hence the filtered water.   Delicious dishes such as this fantabulous Fresh Tomato and Olive Pasta I am showing you here today, just wouldn't be as good.

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While I am on my water kick, I can't help but mention the benefits of using soft water as well.  Did you know that using a water softener helps to remove residual impurities as well?  This means it's better on your water using appliances such as your coffee maker, washing machine and dish washer, not to mention your shower and taps.   Lime Scale is a real nuisance and a battle I fight continuously.  Using a water softener can save you money in the long run and prolong the lifetime of your appliances and fixtures.   I wouldn't be without mine.   I am a rather lazy sod and I hate, HATE cleaning lime scale.  It's time I would rather spend cooking.

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I really enjoyed this delicious pasta dish.  I love sauces that are so quick and easy to make and yet so very flavourful.   The tomatoes cook and meld into a lovely sauce, lightly flavoured with shallots and garlic, and then there are the olives  . . .  I am an olive nut.  I just adore them!  I could eat them like peanuts.  If you love garlic and tomatoes . . .  olives and pasta, then you will completely ADORE this dish.  I serve it simply with some crusty bread to mop up all of that delicious sauce!

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*Fresh Tomato and Olive Spaghetti*
Serves 4

This is a quick and delicious pasta dish with fresh flavours.  Simple to make.  Sure to become a favourite!

450g dried spaghetti (1 pound)
2 litres of cold water (filtered if possible) (* cups)
2 tsp fine sea salt
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
130g of black pitted olives (1 cup) (I like the Crespa oil cured ones)
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (Cut an shallow x with a sharp knife in the bottom of each tomato, and
submerge in boiling water.  Leave for about 2 minutes before scooping out into cold water.
The peel should then easily come off.)
110ml of dry white wine (1/2 cup)
2 TBS of tomato concentrate (tomato paste)
3 TBS butter, in little bits
110ml of cream (1/2 cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
(Remember the olives are salty)
75g of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
a handful of chopped fresh parsley

Bring the water to the boil.  Add the salt and pasta.  Cook, according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce.   Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Once it is hot, turn the heat down to medium low and add the shallots and garlic.   Cook, without covering, for about a minute or so to soften.   Tip in the olives and cook for a further minute.  Add the diced tomatoes and  cook until they are softened.  Add the wine and stir over high heat, until the alcohol has evaporated, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the tomato concentrate and the butter, along with the cream.  Heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta well, reserving some of the water.  Toss it gently in the sauce to coat.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta water if necessary.  Toss with the parmesan cheese and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.  Serve immediately. 

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I'm also happy to announce to you my readers that I am hosting a giveaway here on the blog for £60 in Amazon Vouchers!  And that means that anyone anywhere can enter!  The vouchers are good in all places.   All you need to do is to follow the directions below.  Good Luck!!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. It looks delish:)
    Big pasta fan here and olives..
    Not dirty ice cubes:)
    I entered:)

  2. OH Marie! That looks so GOOD! If I lived close, you would have to shoo me away. You are an inspiration!

  3. Thanks Monique! I don't like the thought of dirty ice cubes either!! xxoo

    Susan, That would be so lovely if we lived close to each other! xxoo

  4. love all your recipes... trying one today!

  5. Yum, similar to Puttanesca which is a regular in our place. So easy, quick and full of flavor.

  6. Thank you Angela! I hope you like it!

    Bibs, this isn't quite as spicy as Puttanesca as there are no capers, anchovies or chili flakes in it, but it's pretty darn good all the same!

  7. I love the robust flavors in this pasta, I think I know what's for dinner tonight!

  8. Sounds so good Marie! I love olives too and I actually have eaten a whole can of black olives all by myself. Isn't that awful!? Haaa!

  9. I hope you like it Sue and Poetrycherie!

    Vale, what can I say? Twins from another mother! xxoo


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