Orzo with Pumpkin, feta and bacon.

IMG_2328

 

 

The wind is just starting to calm down. Earlier it was howling around the outside of the house and the wind has a bitter chill to it. The weather is a little confusing somewhat at the moment as Spring is trying its best to break through. There’s even blossom on the trees already. Unless we are just left with bare branches from this storm!

Days like today need a bowl of comfort food for dinner and back in October last year I created this recipe that is perfect for today. I actually came up with it for my regular slot on BBC Radio Leicester for using up leftover Pumpkins but you could easily substitute it for Butternut squash. You will be able to knock this recipe up within 15 minutes. So stay warm and cozy away from Storm Gareth and I can guarantee you will be back for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil or oil of your choice
  • 150g orzo pasta
  • 1/4 medium sized pumpkin chopped into 1inch sized pieces
  • 1 large red onion or 2 small red onions diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 slices of smoked bacon sliced
  • A good sprig of fresh sage finely chopped
  • 1/4 chicken gel stock pot
  • 100 ml water roughly
  • Handful of rocket chopped
  • 50 g feta cheese crumbled
  • handful of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

IMG_2323

 

Method:-

  • Preheat oven to 200 c fan. Place the pumpkin into a baking tray and drizzle with rapeseed oil. Cook for roughly 15 minutes or until starting to soften and sorting to brown around then edges.
  • In a saucepan in water cook the Orzo to cooking instructions ( normally 10-15 mins)
  • Then in a frying pan fry off in rapeseed oil the onion for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute or two.
  • Add in your bacon and fry off until cooked and browned around the edges.
  • By this time the pumpkin will be done so add to the frying pan the pumpkin and stir. Cook for a further minute. Add in your orzo pasta.
  • Then add in your sage,  chicken stock and water, stir and cook for a further 2-3  minutes.
  • Add in your feta, stir and then add in your rocket and parsley and you are ready to serve.

Marinated Feta


I wasn’t going to post this as I did this about a year ago now, but a friend of mine changed my mind. 
  I had been talking about this to my friend which I though most people did this I.E marinating cheese but he said he hadn’t ever tried it. He looked very interested in it and started asking me what the process was and how long it took. He knows that Feta isn’t my favourite cheese also which made him even more interested. When I did this to the Feta Oh my! I will always do this with it and experiment with other cheeses too. In fact I may have to do it again this weekend as its great to have in your fridge when friends come round unannounced or even for nibbles.

   It gives a really nice unique flavour to it and also turns a “basic, no frills” cheese into a speciality one. When you do this to feta, you also get a fantastic oil to work with, so do not get rid of it. It works fabulously tossed through pasta or rice and drizzled over bread to make Bruschetta’s, its just heavenly. Not to forget, a ready made salad dressing in itself.

    This would be a great present for a foodie lover, possibly for Christmas, a Birthday or even to turn up to an al fresco party of some kind.  Just imagine, you have an old Jar left over from something, spend 90p roughly on a block of Feta, use up some herbs and oil, stick a bow on it and what a great gift that will surely bring a smile to a friends face.


Marinated Feta:



Ingredients:

–  An Empty Jar, approximately one that had 300g/300ml product in, sterilised
–  A block of Feta or Greek style salad cheese approximatley 200g
–  Olive oil or Rapeseed oil to fill the Jar
–  Handful of “Sun-blushed” Tomatoes 
–  Selection of fresh herbs such as Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano and Lemon Thyme just pulled not chopped
–  3-4 Garlic cloves bashed
–  Small handful of Black peppercorns
–  Few slithers of chopped red chillies or chilli flakes

Method:

*  Its very simple: You put all ingredients into the jar and let it sit in the fridge for about a week for all the flavours to infuse and you are done!