“It’s an honour just to be nominated….”

Greetings to you all, my lovely blog readers, after a couple of months away from the blogosphere – I have many excuses for my absence, some of them more convincing than others, but I won’t bore you with them now.  The bottom line here is that I am writing again and you are reading again, so let’s get back to talking about food and cooking and eating and other important world issues.

While I’ve been taking a sabbatical from blogging for the past two months, I haven’t stopped cooking or eating – don’t fear! One of my more interesting cooking experiences was again participating in the Recipe Relay, a fun adventure in recipe development, cooking, photography and finding friends willing to be your guinea pigs and eat the questionable things you’ve invented.  In case you missed it, have a gander at my interpretation of a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe – savoury leek pancakes accompanied by a spiced salmon fillet and some oozy dilly crème fraiche sauce on the side.  And if you have a go yourself, please let me know what you think. I’ll be handled the Recipe Relay baton again in June, so stay tuned folks.

A few weeks back I also threw my hat in the ring for BBC Good Food’s Home Cooking Month competition and created my own dish to feed a family of four for less than £5.00.  I was thrilled with the news that my little-pasta-recipe-that-could had been shortlisted and placed in the top ten out of hundreds of submissions, clocking in at an impressive £4.82.  Sadly the fame and glory (and £600’s worth of kitchen equipment) for the prize winner was not destined to be mine.  Sigh.

The good news is that my losing recipe is no longer the intellectual property of the BBC and can now be shared with all of you – whoopee!  Many thanks to everyone who “liked” my recipe picture on the BBC’s Facebook page and left lots of positive comments.  I hope you’ll still think that this is a winner!

Penne with Bacon & Prawns in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

This is an easy and quick dish I like to throw together on a night when I don’t know what else to cook.  It is also a good way to use up veg that might be past their optimal date – you can add sliced mushrooms or spinach in instead of the rocket if you prefer.  Slicing the prawns in half lengthwise is a great way to stretch an expensive ingredient and ensure that you still get many mouthfuls of pasta and prawn!


100g raw king prawns, sliced into two lengthwise

100g streaky bacon, cut into lardons

100ml single cream

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

25g rocket, roughly chopped

400g penne

40g Grana Padano, grated


In a large sauté pan on medium heat, add the chopped bacon and diced onions.  Slowly cook these together until the bacon is cooked but not crisp and the onions are translucent but not brown.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  To this mixture, add the tinned chopped tomatoes and continue to cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has slightly reduced.

Add the single cream to the sauce along with a good pinch of salt and grinding of pepper.  Add the sliced king prawns to the sauce and stir the sauce on medium-low heat until prawns are cooked through, approximately 3-5 minutes.  The prawns are cooked when they turn pink in colour and are opaque.  Now add the roughly chopped rocket and give another stir to combine.

Meanwhile, cook 400g of penne in plenty of salted boiling water according to package instructions.

When pasta is cooked and sauce is ready, add the drained penne to the sauce and toss over a low heat for a few minutes to combine.  Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the mixture if you think it’s looking too dry.

Serve in warm pasta bowls with grated Grana Padano on top and another grinding of fresh pepper if you like.  Enjoy!