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This chicken and spinach Alfredo pasta, from Budget Bytes, is an easy and satisfying comfort meal on any day you have no more than 15 minutes to get dinner on the table. Frozen spinach works well here which is why you always need to have a bag in your freezer for emergencies. For variety, swap spinach for rocket or watercress and omit chicken or replace with sautéed mushrooms, smoked salmon or whatever protein you have on hand.

CHICKEN & SPINACH ALFREDO PASTA

Ingredients:

335g penne pasta

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups whole milk

168g cream cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan

1/4 tsp kitchen salt

Freshly cracked pepper

4 cups baby spinach

2 cups cooked chicken

Method:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook pasta. Once boiling, add pasta and cook till al dente.

  • Drain in a colander. While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce. Add butter and garlic to a deep pan.

  • Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until garlic is soft and fragrant, but not brown.

  • Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the milk to the skillet along with cubed cream cheese.

  • Heat the milk and cream cheese while whisking, until the cheese has fully melted into the milk.

  • Whisk in the grated Parmesan and continue to whisk as the sauce comes up to a gentle simmer.

  • When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Turn heat down to low to keep sauce warm.

  • Season the sauce with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.

  • Add fresh spinach to the sauce and stir it in till spinach leaves have wilted and become limp.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the spinach Alfredo sauce and stir to combine. Serve it immediately.

Chicken & Spinach Alfredo Pasta

It took me so many years to get a second naan recipe on the blog and this one, with its silky, brioche-like texture and molten swirls of Cheddar cheese, is not unlike my first post from 2011. Sabaah, from Kitchen Delights, describes the Mauritian naan as being ‘one of the most famous foods sold during Ramadan’ with door-to-door sellers putting forth their products on a daily basis right throughout the fasting period. While it has now become easy and convenient to purchase any naan from your local bakery or supermarket, it nevertheless generates a feeling of contentment to knead your dough, prepare your stuffing and finally take a golden baked naan out of your kitchen oven once a while.

MAURITIAN CHEESE NAAN

Ingredients:

375g white bread flour

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 egg, room temperature

120ml lukewarm milk

50g butter, melted

50g pure ghee, melted

1 teaspoons caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

50g butter, room temperature

100g Cheddar cheese, grated

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method:

  • In a large bowl combine the two flours. Add the salt and sugar, mix well and then add instant yeast.

  • Make a well in the center, add melted butter, ghee, egg and milk and combine everything together.

  • If more liquid is needed, add warm water very little at a time, so that it does not form sticky dough.

  • Transfer the dough to a counter surface and knead for 10 to 12 minutes till dough is soft and elastic.

  • Grease bowl and transfer the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel allow to rest in a warm place.

  • Once it has doubled in size, divide dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each one into a rectangular shape.

  • Spread room temperature butter all over, then sprinkle with cheese and roll each as for a Swiss roll.

  • Now shape each roll make a spiral shape. Allow to rise for further 30mins then brush with egg wash.

  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in preheated oven at 200oC for about 20 minutes till golden.

  • Remove from oven and cool briefly on wire rack before brushing with extra melted butter. Serves 4.

Mauritian Cheese Naan

Waking up early on Sunday to make crêpes or pancakes for breakfast is something of a ritual at my place. Crêpes are and still remain in my belief, delicate, lacy creations that one can gracefully flip over on a crepière until they are just golden and ready to be served with a spoonful of pineapple jam. The idea of savoury crêpes struck me as being absurd and I was never tempted to try one till I was pleasantly surprised by a salmon filled crêpe at the Pancake Festival held at Grain d’Sel restaurant years ago. In a feeble attempt to recreate this rich gastronomic experience, I managed a close replication of the flavours as I remember them using a basic crêpe recipe from Nigella and deliciously creamy seafood filling from Kraft Cheddar cheese. Not all crêpes have to be sweet, right?

SEAFOOD CREPES

Ingredients:

For the Crêpes

30g unsalted butter, melted

150g all purpose flour

375 ml full cream milk

1 egg, room temperature

For the Filling

3/4 cup cooking cream

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

100g smoked salmon, sliced

300g peeled shrimp, cooked

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons spring onions

Method:

  • For the crêpes, put the flour, milk and egg into a blender and whiz to amalgamate.

  • Pour the mixture into jug and stir in the melted butter. Heat a seasoned crêpe pan.

  • Ladle 1/4 cup batter into pan, then quickly hold it up and swirl it around carefully.

  • The batter should form a thin pancake covering base of the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

  • Flip crêpe over and cook for another 20-30 seconds on the other side, then remove.

  • Stack the crêpes between layers of baking paper on a hot plate until ready to serve.

  • For the filling, place cream in a small saucepan and heat gently over medium heat.

  • Stir in grated cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in lemon, pepper and spring onions.

  • Gently fold seafood through sauce. Place a spoonful of seafood sauce on each crêpe.

  • Fold in half, then in half again and serve immediately with extra cheese. Serves 5-6.

Seafood Crêpes

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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