When you begin a huge renovation project on a property , life as you knew it goes on hold! All time and money and attention goes in to this project, and it’s easy to forget the important stuff. This year has not life as we knew it anyway, so its good to try and focus on some kind of ‘normal’
Staying in has become the new going out, whether you like it or not!! I must admit, we do love to entertain at home, especially as our lovely house is starting to become a home – well we’ve moved in since may last post, so thats a huge step/bonus!! But for now, its a table for 2.
My husband works incredibly hard for our family, so I wanted to show my appreciation by organising a date night and asked him what he would like on the menu. He chose a classic Bruschetta starter to have with a cheeky G&T, followed by a seafood Linguini – the creamy type, not a tomato based one where his prerequisites!
The bruschetta went down so well along with heaps of conversation, that I forgot to photograph it in all its colourful glory – just an insta story of an empty plate! But an empty plate is good right??!!
I’ll pop the recipes for both below. They’re not too time consuming, but uber-delicious and my husband described them as ‘Restaurant quality’!!! (Go me!!!)
Bruschetta with tomato & basil
- 6 or 7 ripe tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced or chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
- 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
Lets make this!!:
- Blanch and peel the tomatoes: Bring a pan of water to a boil. As the water is heating make shallow cuts in a cross pattern at the tip ends of the tomatoes (this will make the tomatoes easier to peel). Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Put the tomatoes in the hot water and blanch for 1 minute.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and let sit until cool enough to handle. Gently peel off the tomato skins. Cut out the stem base with a paring knife. Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters and squeeze out most of the juices and seeds. I do this onto several sheets of kitchen towel
- Preheat oven to (220°C)
- Finely chop tomatoes, toss them with chopped garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper
- Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of every slice with olive oil (a pastry brush helps here) and place olive oil-side down on a baking sheet or baking tray
- When the oven has reached temp, place the slices of bread in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Keep a close eye as they can soon be overdone and too crispy
- Arrange the toasted bread on a platter, olive oil side facing up (the olive oil will help create a temporary barrier keeping the bread from getting soggy from the chopped tomatoes).
- Use a spoon to gently top each toasted bread slice with some of the tomato mixture. If you top each slice individually, do it right before serving.
Creamy Seafood Linguini
- 8 oz / 250g linguini, or other long strand pasta of choice
- 30 g / 2 tbsp butter , separated
- 300 g / 10 oz raw peeled prawns / shrimp
- Pack of cooked mussels
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml dry white wine
- 1 cup / 250 ml heavy / thickened cream
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml chicken broth (or fish or vegetable broth)
- 3/4 cup / 50 g finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- Black pepper
- Lemon juice
- Parmesan , for serving
Let’s Make this!!:
- Bring to boil a large pot of water. Add pasta and cook per packet MINUS 1 minute
- Just before draining, scoop out 1 cup of pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add prawns and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Remove prawns.
- In the same skillet, add 1 tbsp butter. Once melted, add garlic. Stir for 20 seconds until fragrant.
- Add wine and stir. Simmer for 2 minutes until wine mostly reduces
- Add cream, stock and parmesan. Stir until the parmesan is melted, then leave to simmer for 1 1/2 minutes until it thickens slightly (will thicken more in next step).
- Add prawns, stir, then add pasta plus about 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss pasta (still on stove) and the sauce will thicken in about 30 – 45 seconds and start clinging to the pasta.
- Add the cooked Mussels and any other cooked seafood (salmon or strips of smoked salmon work well too and some like to ad calamari)
- Take it off the stove before the sauce is as thick as you want – it will thicken more. Stir in lemon juice.
- Sprinkle with most of the parsley and black pepper, check salt (I don’t need more). Toss again until the sauce consistency is to your taste. Add a tiny splash of pasta water if it gets too gluggy.
- Serve immediately, garnished with remaining parsley and parmesan if desired.
- We had some scrummy tiger bread too to mop up the yummy sauce!!
Enjoy!!! Go get that date night planned! Remember why you love your loved one! Make plans like that stoopid C word virus isn’t putting its stamp on everything!!!
Oh, we finished off with Morrisons The Best triple choc cookies and white chocolate & raspberry cookies as we were too stuffed for the Eton mess!!