Pantry Pasta Puttanesca and a cookbook winner!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

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I was recently send this fabulous cookery book to review.  Jo Pratt's Madhouse Cookbook.  I'm not sure I heard of Jo before this, but I have to say at the outset I was quite impressed with this book.  It's filled to the brim with quick, simple and family friendly recipes.   As a rather lazy cook, this appeals to me.  I had enough of faffing when I cooked at the Manor to last me a lifetime.  I like to reserve that kind of cooking for only very special occasions now .  .  . on a day to day basis, however  . . . simple works for me best.

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After the welcome pages, it's set out into three delightful sections . . . Monday to Friday Survival, The Busy Weekend (who doesn't have one of those!), and Cling on to your Social Life.    This is a fabulous collection of recipes for busy parents (and empty nesters) who are looking for simple, low stress cookery.  All of the recipes have been created with the idea of making life easier in mind, with shortened  preparation and cooking times, and fabulous make ahead tips.

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I can't wait to try this Fried Rice recipe, which uses leftover cooked rice and chicken . . . plus vegetables and fruit, etc.  It looks really tasty!

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This Spaghetti and Courgette Carbonara looks really tasty too, and these two dishes are just an example of the prolific tastiness you will find in this book!  One-pan Hot-smoked Salmon Biryani, Moroccan Lamb Stew, Baked Risotto Primavera . . . just a small sampling . . .

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A Simple Slow-roast Chicken Dinner that looks to die for.  Lamb and Redcurrant Casserole with Rosemary Dumplings.  Simple Beef and Barley Casserole.   And much, much more.

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Just look at this tasty trio of Simple Savoury Tarts . . . Smoked Salmon and Leek . . . Spinach, Pepper and Pine Nut . . . Tomato, Asparagus and Parma Ham . . . oh boy.

But there's plenty in this book for your sweet tooth as well . . .

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Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge Icing (A chocoholics dream!), Peanut Butter and Jam Crumbly Cookies, Raspberry Marshmallow Muffins,  Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting . . .

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Griddled Peaches with Pimm's and Strawberry Cream . . .

There are salads and soups, nibbles and mains, desserts, drinks and so much more!  There are even "Leftover" mini recipes which can help to make your cooking go even further.

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Of course as with any cookbook, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I would never want to recommend a book to you that didn't have great recipes in it that are not only easy to execute, but tasty to eat as well.  So, with this in mind the other day I cooked her recipe for Pasta Puttanesca.

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Not only was it very easy to create, and quick . . . but it also used store cupboard ingredients.  I love store cupboard cooking.  I like to use what I have on hand and not to have to go out and buy special ingredients if I can help it.  This is just an example of the type of recipe you will find in this lovely and very colourful book!

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*Pantry Pasta Puttanesca*
Serves 2 adults or 4 children
A delicious evening meal composed from store cupboard ingredients from the cookbook by Jo Pratt,  the "Madhouse Cookbook." 

2 TBS olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced or 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
400g/14 oz/1 3/4 cups tinned chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
180g/6 1/4 oz/1 1/2 cups black kalamata olives, halved and pitted
1 TBS capers, chopped if large
250g/9 oz/2 3/4 cups pasta, such as penne
freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, for sprinkling
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, if desired

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and chili.  Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened, but not coloured.  Add the anchovies and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring  Stir in the chopped tomatoes, herbs, olives and capers.  Bring to the boil and then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and then leave to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, while you cook the pasta. 

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil.   Add the pasta and stir.  Bring it back to the boil.  Cook according to the package directions.  Drain well.  Add to the sauce and stir well.   Serve hot and sprinkled with Parmesan and some chopped parsley if desired.

I highly recommend this cookery book.  It is a new favourite with me.

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published by Duncan Baird Publishers

One copy of this lovely book was to be given to one of my lucky readers and after pulling a number out of the hat I am happy to say that commentor Number 1 is the winner!  Send me your details Pat and I'll pass them on to Panasonic and your new cookbook will be with you soon!

Pat said...
Tomato & Sweet Paprika Soup! I have all these ingredients, I think I definitely need to make this!!

Many thanks to the people at the Panasonic Ideas Kitchen for hosting this giveaway and  for providing this lovely cookbook to me for review


  1. Thanks for the review Marie I have just ordered it for my Daughter-in-Law's birthday present. Sounds delicious.

  2. Okay, now I am hungry!! Sounds like a great book~


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