Brussels Sprout and Bacon Pasta

I can’t help but feel rather sorry for brussels sprouts. For unlike some of their more revered vegetable counterparts, they seem to be misjudged. Sure, when boiled to extinction they may be a tad tasteless, but when they feature in a flavoursome bacon-laden pasta, well they are rather delicious indeed!

Pasta doesn’t feature too often in our household, but when it does I like to make it special. And this brussels sprout and bacon pasta ended up being just that. Special.

Brussels sprouts, bacon, garlic and lemon, stirred through fusilli, resulting in a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Fresh, light and full of flavour!

Print Recipe
Brussels Sprout and Bacon Pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
To serve
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
To serve
  1. Preheat fry pan over a medium heat. Cook the bacon until golden brown, then set aside in a bowl lined with paper towel.
  2. Heat oil in the same frypan. Add the brussels, garlic and chilli, and cook - stirring - for 5 minutes or until the sprouts have softened.
  3. Return the bacon to the pan, along with the cooked pasta and reserved cooking liquid. Add the lemon juice and zest, and stir until heated through.
  4. Season, and serve with parmesan cheese.
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Wholemeal pasta with broccoli, chilli and kale pesto

Growing up – my exposure to pasta was primarily in the form of spaghetti bolognaise. It was the age of convenience, and with two parents working long hours, the sauce generally came from a jar. Or a can.

But over the years, my exposure to pasta has grown. I recall with fondness the sundried tomato and mushroom fusili that I would order with regularity from a favourite little Italian restaurant. And the spicy arrabiata penne that we would often make at home. Washed down with a glass or two of red wine, of course.

And while pasta doesn’t tend to feature on our weekly menu that often any more (not because we don’t enjoy it, but generally because it can be quite heavy if we are eating later at night) I do get a particular craving for it from time to time. And a recipe for a wholemeal pasta with broccoli, chilli and kale pesto in a recent taste magazine edition, well it sounded just lovely.

The pesto was made with steamed broccoli, kale, chilli, garlic, lemon rind and juice – along with a little olive oil. The end result was a little chunkier than your usual pesto – but I loved how many nutrients were packed within.

As for the pasta dish itself, I still used wholemeal spirals but made a few changes to the original recipe (which you can find here). I opted to roast my own tomatoes, drizzled in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, rather than using a store-bought variety.  I also skipped the goats cheese, and sprinkled some feta over the top instead (it’s what I had on hand).

The result?

A bowl of pasta that was packed with flavour. I loved the sweetness of the tomatoes, against the spiciness of the pesto – and not to mention the kick of the lemon juice. A simple pasta, yes, but one that had me raiding the pan for seconds when I devoured the first bowl.


Slow Cooker Bolognaise sauce

IMG_4312 I warned you. I am 100% addicted to my new slow cooker. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. At least not until Spring arrives. The latest creation was a family favourite. Bolognaise. Literally a bundle of ingredients thrown in, lid on, and left to simmer throughout the afternoon. IMG_4305 No browning, no pre-cooking. Just time. IMG_4311 We enjoyed the sauce over a pile of spaghetti, on a particularly chilly Canberra evening. Comfort food in a bowl! IMG_4313 The sauce was rich and had lots of hidden veggies, that Miss C was oblivious to. IMG_4317 Next time I would probably add a little tomato paste, but the overall flavours were still pretty good. With the added bonus that we had load leftover for the following evening(s). IMG_4319 Slow Cooker Bolognaise Sauce

  • 1kg lean beef mince
  • 800g tinned tomatoes – oregano and basil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic paste
  • 6 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, oregano and parsley
  • 2 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbs BBQ sauce
  • 1ts beef stock powder
  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker, and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Easy sausage bolognaise

IMG_2926If your child is anything like mine, spaghetti bolognaise is a clear favourite when it comes to mealtimes. And, to be honest, it is a favourite of ours too! So with the evenings starting to cool down as we make our way into Autumn, it felt somewhat appropriate to have a big pot of bolognaise sauce simmering away on the stove one recent afternoon. IMG_2928 Josie and I took our usual daily walk – ending up at our small local shop to collect the key ingredients. I soon realised they were out of mince (and I didn’t feel like walking to the bigger shops) – so I sought out an alternative. In this case, thick beef sausages from which I could extract the meat. IMG_2922 The rest, well it came together pretty simply. All the usual additions (onion, carrot, celery, passata, tomatoes and wine) – simmered low and slow for a couple hours. IMG_2925 The result being a flavoursome meat sauce! IMG_2931 Served atop a big bed of spaghetti – with a lil’ glass of shiraz for the adults alongside. And, as for Miss C – well she went back for second so I’m calling it a win! Not to mention the leftovers that became a topping for some roasted sweet potatoes the next day! Sausage bolognaise (serves 6-8)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 5 thick beef sausages – removed from skin
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • sprinkle of herbs (I used dried oregano and parsley)
  1. Sautee onion, carrots and celery in a little olive oil in a large pan – until starting to soften.
  2. Add the meat – and continue to cook until browned (breaking up lumps with a spoon).
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook slowly for an hour or so. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the desired consistency is reached.

What about you? For those with kids, what is your ‘guaranteed winner’ meal?

Chilli tuna pasta

IMG_2502 As I hit the second half of the third trimester, I find myself wavering between days of insatiable hunger, and days of having no appetite at all. I seem to recall feeling a similar way towards the end of my pregnancy with Charlotte… Needless to say, a lack of appetite = a lack of motivation in the kitchen. And the humid days we’ve had of late have not really lent themselves to slow roasts or even turning the oven on! Instead – I’ve been looking for quick meals. Ones that I can throw together simply – before I give into lazy temptation and just have toast or cereal for dinner (yes the carb cravings continue). One such meal was this tuna chilli pasta – which I found in a recent Donna Hay magazine. IMG_2494 Simply – beautiful tomatoes, warmed with chilli tuna, parsley, red wine vinegar and lemon juice / zest. IMG_2496 Tossed through cooked spaghetti…..and we were done. IMG_2497 Yes pasta seems like an unusual choice when it was about 32 degrees outside, but this dish was actually really lovely. It was light, and fresh, and the chilli-infused gave the pasta just the right amount of spicy-kick. IMG_2498 Definitely one to add to our repertoire! IMG_2499 What about you? Do you have a favourite pasta dish in the warmer months?

Speedy prawn pasta

IMG_1723 My cravings for carbs this pregnancy, continues on well and strong. As does my desire for meals that can be thrown together quickly before the last of the day’s energy is zapped and takeout seems like a better option. IMG_1725 And, on this particular occasion, prawn pasta sounded just perfect. Simply – prawns – sautéed in olive oil and garlic,  with a sprinkle of chilli, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and cherry tomatoes. Oh and some beautifully salty kalamata olives thrown in at the last minute. IMG_1727 Tossed through spaghetti, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with basil fresh from the garden along with parmesan cheese. Oh, and just in case you were wondering with the littlest member of our family approved? IMG_1734 Let’s just say she ate the spaghetti undressed, demanded more prawns, gobbled up the fruit – but would not even consider the tomatoes or olives. But hey, its a start! What about you? Do you have a fussy toddler in the house?

Mushroom, egg & herb fettuccine

IMG_0035 There is no mistaking, that these last few months have all been about carbs. Comfort food. And while some of it has to do with the cooler weather, I suspect most of it has to do with a very different pregnancy experience this second time around.  I’ve been meaning to post about it, actually, just struggling a little with limited time and low energy. But needless to say – meals like this pasta dish – have been making a regular appearance. IMG_0026 Simply – wholemeal fettuccine- cooked until al dente. Then added to sliced mushrooms, onion, and garlic, that I had softened in a little olive oil. IMG_0039 To that – we added a couple eggs – and allowed them to cook through – and form a lovely little sauce. IMG_0040 Then finished with a good amount of mixed herbs (chopped parsley, basil and a little thyme). Yes, my friends, this was a perfect comfort meal indeed. What about you? What is your favourite pasta combination?

Jamie Oliver Pork Ragu

IMG_0723 The final meal in our ‘Jamie Oliver roast pork week’ came at a perfect time. For comfort food was craved, and nothing speaks comfort more than a big bowl of pasta. IMG_0722 And a slow roasted pork ragu nonetheless. Although, all the hard work had been done earlier in the week – when we slow roasted the pork shoulder for 5 hours! All I had to do, on this fine occasion, was turn that meat into a sauce. Onions, carrots, rosemary and garlic… IMG_0718 Sautéed in a little olive oil until soft. IMG_0719 Followed by the pork and some fresh cherry tomatoes (my addition), along with fennel seeds and chilli flakes. IMG_0720 Finished with passata and a splash of water, then allowed to simmer for 20 minutes or so. IMG_0721 Piled high on a mound of linguine, and enjoyed with gusto! IMG_0728 The pork was, as expected, rather wonderful. And my comfort craving was certainly satisfied! IMG_0730 Overall – I enjoyed this ‘leftover’ week more than I thought I would (and I still have probably another 2 servings of the roast pork in the freezer!) It was definitely a cost-effective means of cooking – and one that would be quite handy for houses where there are more mouths to feed. What about you? What is your favourite pasta dish?

Pesto pasta with broccoli and sundried tomatoes

IMG_0265 Yes, lovely people, the title pretty much sums up this tasty little pasta dish we enjoyed recently. The weather was dreary, and we had a hankering for carbs. So pasta it was. IMG_0263 Simply – linguine – cooked until al dente – then thrown into a pan with steamed broccoli, basil pesto, sundried tomatoes and garlic – then allowed to heat through. IMG_0264 Topped with a good amount of parmesan cheese – and served alongside a garlic baguette – and our hankering for carbs was well and truly sated. IMG_0268 Yes I cant help but feel our tastebuds have been hibernating this Winter. Long gone are the salads and BBQs of summer. And in their place sit hearty stews, comforting pasta and firer curries. Even the little Miss got in on the pasta action! IMG_0273 (Actually I think she preferred the garlic bread…..) What about you? Have you got a favourite pasta combination?

My week of meals inspired by Donna Hay

I don’t subscribe to many magazines, but there is one that I anxiously await every month. The Donna Hay Magazine. I rifle through the pages, lured by the gorgeous photos, and flag meals and other treats I want to try. Perhaps it was the touch of coolness in the Canberra air, and the realisation that daylight hours are getting shorter, but I found the latest Autumn edition particularly delightful. So much so that we indulged in meals from the magazine almost every night last week.  IMG_8510 So here is a little round up for you! First up – A chorizo and beef stew with polenta. IMG_8277 It called for two of my favourite comfort ingredients – polenta and chorizo – so making it for dinner was always going to be a no-brainer. IMG_8274IMG_8278 And the result did not disappoint. Easy – but with no compromise on the big hearty flavours that I love in a stew. IMG_8281 And, instead of using diced beef which would have ultimately required a long cooking time, this recipe called for beef mince making it a quick stew alternative! IMG_8284IMG_8287 Our second meal took us down the pasta road – chicken with risoni and salsa verde. IMG_8292 I mixed things up a little – using fresh cherry tomatoes in place of canned – but otherwise enjoyed using a pasta variety that I too often overlook! IMG_8291IMG_8297 I particularly loved the little salsa verde served on top – made simply with parsley, mint and white wine vinegar (oh and I also added some olive oil). IMG_8295 All together now! IMG_8300IMG_8304 Our third meal was probably my least favourite. Sticky redcurrant pork ribs with horseradish mash. Not because it was a bad dish – but because I am not the biggest fan of ribs. I just don’t find them all that appealing? IMG_8309 I had a bit of trouble finding redcurrant jelly at first – but my local grocer came to the rescue. I also failed to find grated horseradish – so had to use a blend instead. IMG_8310IMG_8312IMG_8315IMG_8323 I found the flavour of the ribs quite lovely – with the sweetness of the redcurrant jelly shining through. The ribs themselves were as expected. The horseradish mash was also too mild for my liking – but that probably had more to do with the fact I used a blend instead of purely grated horseradish. IMG_8324IMG_8325 Overall – a nice dish. But probably not one that I would make again. Our final Donna Hay meal was a chilli salmon with sweet potato crisps. IMG_8381 Aka a match made in flavour heaven! IMG_8382IMG_8384 IMG_8385 I wasn’t sure whether to leave the skin on, or take it off, so we did half each way. The marinade meant the skin didn’t crisp up at all – so next time I would definitely take the skin off. IMG_8387 I loved the little marinade, however, which was made using chilli jam, soy sauce, ginger and sesame seeds. A bit spicy, a bit salty. While the sweet potato crisps were also nice texture contrast. IMG_8391 So there you have it! The week’s meals inspired by Donna Hay. And with at least another 4 recipes I’m keen to try from the latest edition, I guess I should say “watch this space”. What about you? Do you have a favourite cooking / recipe magazine? (nb. This is not a sponsored post. I just love the mag!)