Pasta Evangelists

My favourite food is PASTA. As a vegetarian, I’ve found Italian food one of the most versatile. So when my friend recommended Pasta Evangelists – the fresh pasta subscription service – I had to try it. Here’s my review and if you want to try some yourself then follow this link to get 25% off your first order.

Unlike many food subscriptions, Pasta Evangelists food doesn’t feel like your average ready meal. This pasta is fresh, handmade and it tastes amazing. The options are always diverse and the veggie menus on offer have been really exciting. So far I’ve had mozzarella tortellini, arrabbiata fusilli, pesto gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, mac and cheese… and I’ve got Porcini, Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Tortelloni with Thyme Butter & Hazelnuts, Tagliatelle with Ligurian Basil Pesto & Pine Nuts  and Pumpkin Lasagna on the way. I can’t wait to try them!

The ordering process is very simple. Choose a one off order or opt for a subscription to save money. There are three subscription offers: Vegetarian, Variety and Gourmet. Then pick:

  • the number of dishes you want to receive
  • the frequency (weekly, fortnightly etc)
  • when you want your pasta delivered (I go for Tuesdays so I have the delivery at the start of the week)

I like the subscription model because I can be a bit lazy cooking through the week and it’s handy to know I’m always going to have some yummy pasta stocked in the fridge for nights when I’m feeling a bit tired or uninspired.

As for delivery, the fresh pasta comes packed with cool bags and insulation.  I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness of their packaging and the best part is that you can send it all back to Pasta Evangelists for recycling so it ticks the sustainable box too.

And when the food arrives, everything is super simple. Each pasta dish comes with its own recipe card and the different elements are colour-coded so it can be easily sorted out. Typically, there are only about three or four steps to follow and they take about 10 minutes to make and the finished product is Insta-worthy.

I’ll be honest. The big downside of Pasta Evangelists is that it is a little on the expensive side. It’ll cost you about £7 or £8 per portion of pasta although you do save on the subscriptions. Having said that, I do think it’s worth it because it is restaurant-quality and the average ready meal in the supermarket costs about £3 anyway and tastes no where near as good.

And if you want to save some money you can get 25% off your first box with my family and friends referral or simply quote ‘April Smyth’ at the checkout. You get cheap and delicious pasta and I’ll get a free box too. Win, win!

P.S. I’m not affiliated with Pasta Evangelists and this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love and believe in their products.

Keep up-to-date with my favourite things on Instagram @the.fourth.month.

Lazy Lentil Curry

I’m going to call this one “3-Can-Dan” because the basis of this yummy vegetarian curry is just three tins and some dried herbs that you can keep in your pantry at all times for a quick, easy and tasty curry on lazy days.

Truthfully, we had just came home for 10 days in Spain so there was no fresh food in the house. I was researching curries using tinned lentil soup, since we had some in the cupboard, and was perplexed that I couldn’t find any online. There are a lot of recipes using cream of tomato soup which I might try out at a later date. So I was inspired to create a really easy curry out of tinned, dried and frozen food that we had in the kitchen. I am so happy with how it turned out, it tasted so much better than I expected and this is definitely a recipe I will make when I’m living on a student budget in Edinburgh. It happens to be a bonus that it is low in fat, contributes towards your five-a-day intake and is also vegan-friendly.

If you’re following Slimming World and want to make this a syn free delight, swap the sugar for sweetener and use one of the following lentil soups as your Healthy Extra B choice: Tideford Organic Foods Red Lentil Soup with Apricots & Chillies or New Convent Garden Soup Skinny Tomato Vegetables with Laird Lentils Soup. I used Weight Watchers Carrot & Lentil at 4 syns. Be wary – some canned soups have a lot of hidden sugars!

It takes about 20-30 minutes to put together and requires little to no skill. It serves about 4 people. You can serve as a main with rice or, like me, top a baked potato for lunch and freeze the leftovers for another day. It is super filling because of all the lentils and chickpeas which is great for staying fuller for longer. Remember the canned soup you choose will vary the taste slightly so you can experiment with flavour by trying different soups!

Ingredients
  •  1 Can of Lentil Soup (about 300/400g)
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Portion of Any Frozen Veg
  • 1 Onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2tsp Turmeric
  • 2tsp Coriander Leaf
  • 1tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • 1tsp Cumin
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oil
  • Optional: a dash of soy sauce and lemon juice for extra flavour
Method
  1. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, toss in your chopped onion and garlic and cook on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the portion of frozen veg and drained tin of chickpeas. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Once the frozen veg has begun to defrost, it’s time to add your spices: turmeric, coriander leaf, mild chilli powder and cumin. Coat thoroughly and let the spices fry into the veg for about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the tin of lentil soup and chopped tomatoes. Stir through. Add a good grinding of salt and pepper and the teaspoon of sugar to sweeten the tomatoes. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. The lentil soup and tomatoes should reduce into a yummy, thick sauce.
  4. Done! Serve on a bed of fluffy rice or on top of a baked potato.

Have you given this recipe a go? What did you think? Which canned soup did you use? I want to see your pictures so send them my way on Facebook, Twitter or tag me on Instagram @thefourthmonthblog. 

Quadruple Green Sweet ‘n’ Sour “Chicken”

Hello! I’m back in the kitchen at last; it feels so good to be able to get creative with food again after six weeks off it in the full leg cast. It’s the end of the working week so I have that T.G.I.F feeling and was really craving some Chinese food after my physio session. However, I’m also trying to be healthy so the end product was a sweet and sour Quorn chicken with noodles and four different kinds of green veg: cabbage, leek, peppers and mangetout. This recipe is incredibly easy to put together but has the wow factor when it comes to flavour. It serves about 2 people depending on how hungry you are – I won’t lie, I ate the whole thing to myself but it could stretch to 3 people easily, I’m just greedy.

Ingredients

  • 200g Meat Free Chicken-Style Pieces (such as Quorn)
  • 1 Nest of Your Favourite Dried Noodles
  • 1 Green Pepper (deseeded and cut into chunky slices)
  • 1 Leek (thinly sliced)
  • A Handful of Shredded Cabbage
  • A Handful of Mangetout/Sugar Snap Peas
  • 2tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 2tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2tbsp Malt Vinegar
  • 2tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1tbsp Cornflour
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1tsp Light Brown Sugar
  • A little oil
  • Good grinding of salt

Method

  1. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together the tomato ketchup, tomato puree, malt vinegar, soy sauce, cornflour, chopped garlic, Chinese Five Spice and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, add the nest of noodles, shredded cabbage and sliced leek (plus a good grinding of salt) and boil for about 4 minutes.
  3. While the noodles and veg are boiling, heat a slosh of your preferred oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Chuck in the Quorn chicken pieces, green pepper and mangetout. Fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the noodles, cabbage and leek. Shake off as much excess water as possible and set aside.
  5. Once the Quorn chicken pieces begin to brown, add half of the sweet and sour sauce and stir continuously to coat the “chicken” and veg for a couple of minutes allowing it all to go quite sticky.
  6. Add the noodles, cabbage and leek to the wok or frying pan and mix thoroughly to ensure everything is combined and coated in sticky sauce.
  7. Top up the rest of the sauce mixture with 2 tbsp of just boiled water. Mix together then drizzle the rest of the sauce over the mixture in the wok before stir frying and combining everything together nicely.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of my recipes. I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Veggie Pad Thai

I fell in love with Wagamama’s Yasai Pad Thai a couple of years ago only to discover that most Pad Thai’s are made with a fish sauce so even if the restaurant is using tofu or veggies, it’s likely that it still isn’t vegetarian friendly. So I embarked on a mission to make my own tasty pad thai that is completely vegetarian. Like I said, I’ve had a few failed attempts at making a Pad Thai (too stodgy or too eggy) but this is AMAZING. It’s super tasty, pretty healthy and, because it is a stir fry, it’s quick and easy to make. I had added as many vegetables as I could pack in to keep it a healthy dinner option for during the week.
This recipe serves about four people and like my Satay recipe, it combines some of my favourite flavours in one dish: peanut, coriander, lime, chilli. I have included an option for both Quorn chicken and Tofu in this recipe to suit your preferences or to suit whatever is most easily accessible to you. I always have Quorn chicken pieces in my freezer so I tend to use these for cooking unless I go out of my way to buy some tofu. If you’re using the firm tofu, remember to squeeze out any excess moisture by wrapping in a clean kitchen towel and pressing down on it.
Enjoy!

Ingredients:
300g Quorn Chicken Pieces/400g Pressed Firm Tofu (cut into large bites)
One Nest of Rice Noodles Per Person
Sesame Oil (you can use vegetable oil if you don’t have any)
1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
1 Leek (thinly sliced)
3 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped/minced)
2 Fresh Red Chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
100g Bean Sprouts
4tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
2tsp Brown Sugar
1 Lime
2 Large Eggs
Handful of Fresh Coriander (roughly chopped for garnish)
4 Spring Onions (roughly chopped for garnish)
25g Dry Roasted Peanuts (roughly bashed for garnish)
Optional: Another lime cut into wedges for garnish

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, beat the two eggs.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, brown sugar and juice of the lime. Set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan or wok, fry Quorn/tofu pieces in a splash of sesame oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the sliced red onion and leek for 2 minutes. Add garlic, chilli and bean sprouts and stir fry for 2 minutes more.
  4. Pour in the sauce mixture and combine well. Stir fry continuously while you cook your noodles.
  5. Cook your rice noodles according to pack instructions. This will usually take 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  6. Add the noodles to the wok. Toss for a couple more minutes to combine all of the ingredients.
  7. Slowly and evenly pour over the beaten eggs and let them set for 1-2 minutes before stirring briefly until the egg is cooked. Add half of the spring onions, coriander and peanuts and stir through.
  8. Serve in separate bowls and top with the remaining garnish. Enjoy!

If you have a go at making my vegetarian pad thai, let me know what you think and send me your photos.