Posted in avocado, cooking, goulash, pancakes, pasta, stew, sweet pancakes

Week 8 – Skint Spaghetti, Pancakes and Goulash

The last couple of weeks have been one-recipe weeks, mostly because I’ve been focusing on getting the blog up and running and I haven’t really had the time for looking at new recipes. However now that I am officially live and blogging I thought I’d bring you a bumper Week 8 with no less than three new recipes!
So on the blog for this week will be; an Avocado Spaghetti Sauce, a Hearty Beef Goulash and in recognition of pancake day – Scotch Pancakes!
So, without further ado I’d better crack on otherwise I’ll still be writing this post in week 9!
First up this week was Avocado Spaghetti Sauce – and here it is:
The recipe for this sauce is something that I developed using a few leftovers in the Kitchen Gem’s fridge. Mr Gem and I eat quite a lot of pasta, but its easy to get into a rut and just cook the same dishes every week, so when I had a couple of leftover avocados I thought it would work quite nicely in a pasta sauce.
To make the sauce I blended the two avocados, two cloves of garlic, one chilli, and the juice of one lime, a splash of olive oil and a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese until it made a smooth sauce. The result was a fresh and zingy sauce that was delicious served over some wholewheat spaghetti with roasted vegetables and topped with a little Parmesan. 
This is a really quick and easy dish to make – and because the colour is green you feel like you’re getting some goodness. Mr Gem said it was a nice change from the usual pasta sauce and actually really enjoyed it despite being a little unsure at first.
For a quick Monday night dinner I’d give it an easy 7 out of 10 (lets face it – spaghetti sauce is never getting more than a 7 is it?!)
Next up for Week 8 was Scotch Pancakes:
I don’t like normal pancakes – I know that this fact makes me seem a bit strange but I never have like them. 
I didn’t think it would be fair to deprive Mr Gem of some form of pancake on Shrove Tuesday so I opted for a sweet version that we could have as a pudding rather than a main meal.
I found the recipe in Eat In magazine and it was so easy to make, I would definitely make these again for a treat. The exact recipe I followed doesn’t appear to be online but you can find a similar one here.
Basically you need to whisk flour, eggs, milk, sugar and baking powder to make a smooth batter and drop them into a hot frying pan 1 tablespoon at a time – I kept the pan oiled with low fat cooking spray between batches. When bubbles start to pop on the surface of the pancakes flip them over and cook on the other side until they are cooked through.
I did have a teeny tiny kitchen fire when I made the last pancake as my pan got a little bit too hot, but aside from the minor panic and Mr Gem swearing that I’ll burn the house down one of these days they were so easy to make and tasted lovely. We had them with vanilla ice cream and honey, but you could also make them with fruit, or nuts depending on your taste.
So because these are my first attempt at pancakes I’m going to mark these a 9 out of 10!
And finally for Week 8 we have a Beef Goulash: 
We don’t have stews very often at Kitchen Gems, but every time I make one it reminds me how much I love hearty warming food. I came across the recipe on BBC Good Food whilst I was looking for something else and it looked so lovely I wanted to try it.  Its a longish recipe so I won’t bore you with the details and if you want to make it all the details are on the link above.
Its quite an easy recipe to make, and the flavours are delicious. I would add more paprika next time to really lift the flavour. I didn’t have quite enough tomato puree to follow the recipe exactly but other than that it was a lovely stew. We ate it with baby new potatoes and greens, but it would go really well with rice or dumplings.
A lovely comforting dish and I’d give it a 7 out of 10. 

I’m now into Week 8 of my New Years Resolution and I can honestly say I’m loving it – I find myself wanting to try something new on an almost daily basis – can’t wait for next week! Happy cooking!