Spaghetti Marinara

This is my easy cheats version of Spaghetti Marinara made with just a few simple ingredients, as Hubby always takes last nights dinner to work for lunch the next day this makes for a very easy friday night dinner as left overs aren’t required.

I am usually making this for 2 adults & 2 kids, the kids mostly have just the pasta with tomato sauce and 2 or 3 prawns, so if you’re serving more just increase the quantities accordingly.

You will need:

A handful of Shelled Prawns

8 Mussels, cleaned with the beards removed

large scoop of Pippies, Clams or Vongole depending on what you call them

1 finely diced brown onion

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 400g tin crushed italian tomatoes.

handful of freshly chopped italian parsley

Salt & Pepper.

Olive oil

1/2 a pkt of spaghetti (or more depending on how hungry you are)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When it’s boiling add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. (approx 12-15mins) Heat oil in a frying pan and add the garlic & onions and saute until translucent, add the tomatoes, rinsing out the tin with a little water and add that to the pan as well.

Bring to a simmer & allow to cook so the liquid is reduced and the sauce thickens, add the cleaned seafood and stir, cover with a lid (or oven tray as my frying pan doesn’t have a lid) and allow to cook until all the shell fish have opened. Discard any that don’t open as they could be off and therefore make you sick. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Drain the pasta and either toss into the sauce or vice versa & Va bene dinner is served.

Just remember the purists among us will say no parmesan cheese with seafood (I think it’s because it makes the seafood taste sour)

Perhaps serve with some crusty bread to mop up the juices


Winter Warming Loop the loop aka Soup

We have been enjoying the early signs of spring all week and it looks like it’s coming to a crashing end with rain predicted for every day this week so I thought this recipe would warm you up. In Morocco Harira is mainly eaten during Ramadan (which we are in at the moment) this soup is eaten at any time of the year including Summer, for me though it makes a great lunch or dinner and I think during winter there is nothing nicer than having some yummy soup simmering on the stove. It takes no time to prepare but about an hour or so to cook.


You will need:

½ Bunch flat leaf Parsley, chopped

1 bunch coriander, chopped

1 large brown onion diced

4 tsp Ground cumin

2 tsp Paprika

2 cinnamon quills

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 400g tin of lentils

1 400g tin of chickpeas

2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes or 1 700ml bottle tomato passata

6 cups of water

100g cooked rice or spaghetti broken into small pieces

Ensure you rinse the coriander prior to chopping it up in a sink filled with water as for some reason there is always lots of sand or grit in the bunch.

In a large saucepan or cast iron pot heat the olive oil, onion, spices and herbs. Cook gently for about 5 mins. Puree tinned tomatoes with flour in a blender and add to the pan, if you are using Tomato Passata then just add that to the soup and mix the flour with some water until you have a runny paste, add this to the soup and stir well. Add water and season with Salt & Pepper, simmer for ½ an hour and season again to taste. Add rinsed lentils & chickpeas & continue to simmer gently for another hour, add the rice or pasta & return to a gentle simmer. You want the soup to have a hearty flavor but not be too thick. This will make more than enough for a couple of meals & as it reheats it will become thicker as the pasta etc will absorb some of the liquid.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley. During Ramadan we will serve Harira with fresh dates.