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Dairy free carbonara

I’m sure most people are like me and get bored of cooking the same dishes over and over again. So I took a look through our numerous cooking books (so numerous that the kitchen shelf tends to bend a bit in the middle – I’m trying to ignore this!). I always see carbonara and I love creamy pasta dishes, but I can’t eat cheese and my husband can’t eat any dairy (poor thing), so I thought it was a bit of a no no. Then I thought I might as well give it a try using soya cream and no cheese.

I had roast chicken left over from the Sunday roast (all the lovely juicy leg and wing parts) and a pack of bacon medallions (no fatty bits on them). I cut the bacon into strips and fried it until it was cooked, then added the chicken to the pan to heat that up too.

I also had a courgette that had seen better days so chopped off the bad part and then finely diced that up with an onion and 3 garlic cloves, and fried them in olive oil.

Then mixed all the meat and vegetables into the same pan and tipped 1.5 cartons of soya cream onto them and mixed together.

I added some dried savoury herbs and dried sage to the sauce, and some black pepper (didn’t need salt thanks to the bacon).

Left it to simmer while I cooked tagliatelle and garlic bread (a must!!).

I am very bad and never taste my food while I’m cooking it – I wait until it’s on the plate when it’s rather too late if anything tastes wrong! But this time I was very lucky and it tasted amazing 🙂 My 2 year old loved the bacon, chicken and garlic bread! My husband was on a course in London so was a bit late home so his portion had had time to truly infuse the flavours and he thought it was really delicious.

So there’s a new dish for me to relieve the boredom I’d fallen into 🙂

Tonight I cooked pork loins in a nice marinade, so I’ll have to write a post about them too soon.

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Perfecting cupcakes – it’s all in the nozzle!

Over the last few weeks I’ve made many a cupcake.  I love making them (and eating them!).

My daughter’s birthday ones were a fail in regards to the swirls, as the weather was too hot and the butter cream too runny.  As I use dairy free margarine it just doesn’t work as well as full blown butter sometimes! And I didn’t have the correct nozzle   I still believe it’s just as tasty though.  Luckily I rescued the cupcakes with some pretty butterfly, flower and edible crystal decorations.  The rescue must have been good because one of my (male – therefore won’t lie to save my feelings!) friends thought we’d bought them from a shop.  Ultimate praise I thought 🙂  Here they are:

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Next it was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee so I decided to make some blue coloured cupcakes.  This time, my friend at Canterbury Cakes had advised me to buy a Wilton 1M nozzle for the optimum swirl, so I was all set!  Now, I wanted a real ‘royal’ blue as it was for the jubilee BBQ we were having – I’m guessing it’s given that name for a reason.  However, I couldn’t get my blue colouring to get anywhere near a dark blue, so I was left with some very lovely looking turquoise cupcakes!!

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They tasted lovely and the children at the BBQ all had turquoise faces by the end!  I hope you’ll agree the swirls worked really well this time – how I love the Wilton 1M nozzle 🙂

I made some gluten and dairy free chocolate cupcakes to take to my team meeting for work as one of my colleagues has a strict diet – however I could not make the meeting in the end so took them to a Pampered Chef event instead.  They were very well received and no one could tell they were free of so many things!

My husband was keen to take some cakes into work this week for his colleagues, so I also made chocolate cupcakes for him – just dairy free this time.  He took them in today and there are only 2 left (out of 18) for a friend who was off today and another one for himself tomorrow!  Cheeky!  The recipe for these was the Hummingbird recipe from a previous post: Party Cupcakes.  It’s a very dense cupcake with lovely smooth butter icing.  And of course my new best friend Mr Wilton 1M was close at hand!

I’m going on another cake decorating course in July to learn other cupcake swirl techniques at Sweetie Darling near Canterbury.  I wish I could afford to do every course there!

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