Tag Archives: cheese

Purple Basil (Yes PURPLE Basil) And Lemon Ricotta Pasta

This pasta looks the business doesn’t it? Well it tastes amazing too. In actual fact, it’s super quick and easy to make, and cheap as chips too. All you have to do really is cook the pasta and stir in everything else.

As this is a simple dish you’re relying on the lemon, basil, parmesan and black pepper to give it a bold kick of flavour, so be generous with each of them. Purple basil tastes the exact same as normal basil, so don’t despair if you can’t get your hands on it, this will turn out the exact same with the regular stuff. Whip this up for a fancy looking but super simple supper after work during the week to put a pep in your step!

The Easiest But Prettiest Cheesy Pasta You Could Hope To Make
The Easiest But Prettiest Cheesy Pasta You Could Hope To Make
Dig In To Pure And Utter Cheesy Carby Deliciousness
Dig In To Pure And Utter Cheesy Carby Deliciousness

Ingredients (serves 2):

200g pasta

100g Ricotta

2tbsp Grated Parmesan

Zest of 2 Lemons

Basil (purple if you can find it!)

Salt & Pepper

Lemon Ricotta And Purple Basil Pasta - A Thing Of Beauty Really
Lemon Ricotta And Purple Basil Pasta – A Thing Of Beauty Really
  1. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. I take mine off a minute or two early so that it’s al dente. Reserve a little of the cooking water.
  2. Roughly chop your basil and set aside. I use a good bit, about a handful.
  3. Stir in the ricotta,  parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Have a taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or cheese if needed. You may need to loosen it out with a little of the cooking water or even some olive oil for a silky finish.
  4. Top with more grated parmesan and black pepper and an artistic sprig of basil! Enjoy.
The Bones Of Your Ingredients - Simple But Great Quality
The Bones Of Your Ingredients – Simple But Great Quality
Feel Free To Go Crazy With The Pasta If You're A Fan Of The Novely Factor Like Me
Feel Free To Go Crazy With The Pasta If You’re A Fan Of The Novely Factor Like Me
Stir In Your Ricotta - Be Generous With The Cheese
Stir In Your Ricotta – Be Generous With The Cheese
Add In Your Lemon Zest, Pepper, Parmesan and Salt
Add In Your Lemon Zest, Pepper, Parmesan and Salt
Stir In Your Purple Basil... Yes PURPLE Basil
Stir In Your Purple Basil… Yes PURPLE Basil
Dig Into Your Fancy Purple Basil and Lemon Ricotta Pasta
Dig Into Your Fancy Purple Basil and Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Ridiculously Cheesy Eggy Bacon Toast

IMG_5157

Quality Ingredients Are Half The Battle
Quality Ingredients Are Half The Battle

To make up for my temporary insanity in posting a vegan recipe last week, I’m making up for it this week in the most un-vegan recipe I could muster. A triple whammy of animal products- cheese, egg and bacon!

Don’t get me wrong I have no problem eating vegan food every now and then, and those vegan chickpea burgers were yum. But try and separate me from my beloved cheese, eggs and bacon for more than a few days? We’ll have issues.

I was home last weekend in West Cork and stocked up on some of my favourite Cork produce: Gubbeen smoked streaky bacon, and Toonsbridge buffalo Mozzarella. I combined these with some local organic eggs and was pleasantly surprised at how much cheese I could stomach first thing in the morning! You could always leave out the egg and it would be equally nice but please don’t skimp on the garlic butter. This is so delicious and indulgent, it would make the perfect weekend brunch for friends.

Cheesy Gooey Breakfast Goodness
Cheesy Gooey Breakfast Goodness

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 slices good quality bread

2-4 eggs (depending how hungry you are)

1 packet streaky smokey bacon (I used Gubbeen)

1 handful fresh mozzarella (about 1 large ball- I used Toonsbridge)

4 tbsp soft butter

2 crushed garlic cloves

  1. First off you may as well make your garlic butter, just mix together your butter and crushed garlic, add as little or much as you like. My breakfast guest was a wuss so just had plain butter.
  2. Grill you bacon pieces on a medium high heat for a few minutes on each size- you want them well cooked but not crispy. If they’re very oily after cooking dab them a little with some kitchen paper- don’t dry them out though.
  3. Fry your eggs in a little oil while the bacon is cooking, do them to your taste runny or set.
  4. Toast your bread and smear with some garlic butter. Tear up the mozzarella and lay out on the bread and pop under the grill for a few minutes until melted and gooey. Then top with your bacon and egg and serve!
Grill Bacon For A Few Minutes Either Side
Grill Bacon For A Few Minutes Either Side
Yummy Smokey Bacon Cooked To Perfection
Yummy Smokey Bacon Cooked To Perfection
Melted Cheesy Goodness
Melted Cheesy Goodness
Melted Cheesy Goodness
Melted Cheesy Goodness Crying Out For Some Bacon
All Things Are Improved With Bacon
All Things Are Improved With Bacon
Top With An Egg And Dig In
Top With An Egg And Dig In

Sheep Cheese, Raspberry and Basil Toasted Sandwich

Sheep Cheese, Raspberry and Basil Toastie
Sheep Cheese, Raspberry and Basil Toastie
Posh Cheese Toasted Sandwich? Yes Please!
Posh Cheese Toasted Sandwich? Yes Please!
Posh Fruity Cheese Toastie
Posh Fruity Cheese Toastie
Delicious Oozy Cheese, Raspberry and Basil Toastie
Delicious Oozy Cheese, Raspberry and Basil Toastie

I very rarely have arguments with my boyfriend. But alas, after a seemingly innocent question about what my next blog post would be, to which I replied, “cheese toastie” an argument ensued:

“You can’t possibly be actually putting up a blog post about a toasted cheese sandwich”

“Yes, I can”

“No, you can’t, nobody needs a recipe for a toasted sandwich. Everyone knows how to make a toasted sandwich”

“So what?”

“Well, it’s ridiculous”

“I don’t care, I love toasted cheese sandwiches. It’s my blog, I can put up whatever I want.”

I do see his point, it is a bit much putting up a sandwich recipe. But this blog is just a collection of my favourite things to eat, and honestly the simpler something is to make while still tasting delicious the better! This is my 100th blog post, and while I probably should be putting up something impressive, I feel if I can’t blog about something I like to eat, then what’s the point! It’s also Irish Farmhouse Cheese Month and I am obsessed with cheese…. Or maybe I just wanted another excuse to make another cheese toastie… Either way, here we are. Bread, cheese and raspberries are some of my favourite things to eat, so why not squish them together in a melty, oozy and crispy sandwich?

I love the Temple Bar farmers market and go there every weekend that I’m in Dublin, and Corleggy Cheese is one of my favourite stalls- their cheeses are incredible and I really love their raw sheep milk cheese, which you can see melting out of the pictures above. I also tried the La Boulangerie Francaise stall last weekend for the first time and their fruit and walnut bread was incredible, which I used here. And really, who can go wrong with some good bread and good cheese?

Try the below to pimp out your standard cheese toastie, and see how the raspberries and fresh basil pack a flavour punch.

Good Bread… Good Cheese… What More Do You Want?
Good Bread… Good Cheese… What More Do You Want?
Beautiful Fresh Ingredients
Beautiful Fresh Ingredients
Comforting Cheesy Toasted Sandwich
Comforting Cheesy Toasted Sandwich

Ingredients (serves 1):

2 slices good quality bread (no sliced pan please)

4 slices good quality farmhouse cheese (I used sheep cheese)

8-10 rasberries

A few basil leaves chopped

1 tsp butter

  1. Layer your cheese, raspberries and basil between your two slices of bread.
  2. Butter the outside of the sandwich and pop directly onto a baking tin and pop into an oven pre-heated t0 220C for 5-10 minutes (keep an eye on them, my oven always requires a really high heat, yours may be less so check it doesn’t burn.)
  3. Enjoy!
Rasberry Cheese Toastie
Rasberry Cheese Toastie
Toasted Cheese Sandwich
Toasted Cheese Sandwich

Three Cheese Spinach & Bacon Lasagne

Three Cheese Spinach and Bacon Lasagne
Three Cheese Spinach and Bacon Lasagne
Three Cheese Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
Three Cheese Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
It's All About The Layers
It’s All About The Layers

Last weekend I went home to Cork for the Taste of West Cork Festival. Lots of amazing food was eaten, copious amounts of blackberry jam was made and my sister and her boyfriend made me dinner! I was really impressed with this dish and decided to recreate it last night for a friend who was coming over to dinner. I have to say this is one of my all-time favourite comforting meals! This cheesy spinach and bacon lasagne was so comforting yet so tasty. My sister used Gubbeen Smoked bacon which was amazing, but I used cooked ham, and this dish is great to use up leftover cooked ham from the weekend if you’re having a traditional Sunday lunch. If you’re a vegetarian, leave out the bacon & it’s equally mouth-watering.

This dish is seriously tasty and seriously cheesy! Buying great cheese makes a great difference. I am I serious Toonsbridge Dairy fan, as most of my blog readers know, and used their Irish buffalo mozzarella and buffalo ricotta. I suggest buying fresh lasagne sheets as it does decreases cooking time (30 to 40 minutes instead of an hour!) I made my own pasta sheets as since getting a pasta machine, I’m playing away with it a lot. It makes such a difference, but it doesn’t matter too much if you used dried it will still be a winner. It’s best served with a salad. My dish was a small one and serves 4 comfortably, so just increase the quantities roughly if you’re feeding more people.  Leftover portions are great frozen for a quick meal the following week. Enjoy and let me know what you think! If you have any unusual lasagne fillings I’d love to hear them as I experiment with my pasta machine!

This Picture Honestly Just Makes Me Hungry!
This Picture Honestly Just Makes Me Hungry!

Ingredients (serves 6):

For the cheesy sauce:

500ml whole milk

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp plain flour

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

For the lasagne:

Lasagne sheets (enough to cover your dish for four layers)

200g cooked ham (thickly sliced) or smoked streaky bacon lightly fried

400g baby spinach

200g ricotta cheese

Handful pine nuts

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (more flavoursome than powdered nutmeg)

1 ball mozzarella

Extra grated parmesan for sprinkling on top

  1. Fry pine nuts in a dry pan for a minute until they brown and set aside. They burn quickly so keep your eye on them!
  2. Make the sauce first by adding all ingredients to saucepan except the Parmesan cheese over a medium flame. Whisk for about 3 to 5 minutes until its hot and thickened, then turn down heat, add Parmesan cheese and stir for a few minutes. Season with a little cracked black pepper. Remove from heat & cover with kitchen towel or foil to prevent skin forming.
  3. Wash spinach and dry. Place in a pan with some butter and salt. Stir gently until spinach is lightly wilted. Remove when cooked and squeeze out moisture (you may need to pat off excess water with a kitchen towel.) Add ricotta cheese and a half cup of the sauce, stir together and season with salt, pepper & nutmeg.
  4. Now it is time to assemble! Spread enough sauce to cover the base of your lasagne dish, then add a layer of pasta. Add a layer with half of your spinach mix. Then a layer of pasta sheets. Then a layer of sliced mozzarella and ham. Then a layer of spinach and pine nuts. Cover with pasta and pour the remaining sauce over the top.
  5. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until golden. If your lasagne starts to brown too quickly, cover with tinfoil and pop back in to the oven. When cooked garnish with a little grated Parmesan and any leftover toasted pine nuts.
  6. Enjoy, preferably with a large glass of wine if it’s going!
My Fresh Pasta Sheets
My Fresh Pasta Sheets
Creamy Ricotta Spinach Filling
Creamy Ricotta Spinach Filling
Start Layering Up Your Lasagne
Start Layering Up Your Lasagne
Top Final Layer With Cheese Sauce and You're Done
Top Final Layer With Cheese Sauce and You’re Done
Hot From the Oven
Hot From the Oven
Delicious Cheesy Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
Delicious Cheesy Bacon and Spinach Lasagne
The First Forkful
The First Forkful