Butternut squash pasta bake (V)

I don’t care what so-called health experts say: carbs are the best.

And when it comes to speedy but satisfying dinners, nothing beats a pasta bake.

Butternut squash pasta bake ● Autumn recipe ● Cake + WhiskyButternut squash pasta bake ● Autumn recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Proof if you ever needed one – this butternut squash pasta bake.

Butternut squash pasta bake ● Autumn recipe ● Cake + WhiskyButternut squash pasta bake ● Autumn recipe ● Cake + Whisky

The very definition of seasonal (roasted butternut squash! sage!), it’s one of those dishes that somehow manage to reach the perfect balance between healthy (hello, loads of veggies and whole-grain carbs!) and comforting.

And, best of all, it can be made in advance and is super easy to put together – absolutely no Gourd-on Ramsay skills required!

No-nonsense, nutrient-packed… Gourd-geous autumn dinner made simple!

Butternut squash pasta bake ● Autumn recipe ● Cake + Whisky

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Butternut squash pasta bake ● Autumn recipe ● Cake + Whisky

More fall recipes

The best squash soup (VE)

Apple & black pudding sausage rolls

Pumpkin spice latte (V)

Halloween monster cookies (V)

Butternut squash pasta bake (V)

Tomato-Coconut Pasta (Vegan)

Pasta is my happy food.

I make it when I’ve had a terrible day, when the weather lets me down, when there’s nothing left in the fridge, when I’m simply too tired to think about what to eat, for dinners with friends, romantic nights in and just for me.

Tomato coconut pasta recipe | Cake + Whisky Tomato coconut pasta recipe | Cake + Whisky

Left to my own devices, I’d probably make it for breakfast (yes, breakfast pasta is a thing!), lunch and dinner.

And two times out of three, it’d probably be tomato coconut pasta.

Tomato coconut pasta recipe | Cake + Whisky

This recipe is simply the best. It’s a larder-basics sort of affair, so I always have the ingredients at hand. It takes no more than 10 minutes to put together.

And most importantly, despite it being ridiculously simple both in terms of technique and ingredients, it tastes so much better than the sum of its parts.

Tomato coconut pasta recipe | Cake + Whisky

The fat in the coconut cream, combined with the acidity of the tomato and the fresh peppery-ness of the basil makes for the most velvelty tomato sauce.

It’s one of those dishes that’s relatively healthy and super comforting at the same time. All in all a very saucy little number!

Tomato coconut pasta recipe | Cake + Whisky

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Looking for more pasta recipes? 

Rabbit ragu pappardelle

Sautéed chard pasta with cobnut pesto

Tomato-Coconut Pasta (Vegan)

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese

Have you guys heard? Apparently, the coming winter is going to be a long, cold one.

Experts are foreseeing freezing temperatures and loads of snow.

Which I’m not exactly excited about, to be honest.

Frozen rain isn’t exactly my thing. Eww. Nope.

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese

Even though it does make for the perfect excuse to start developing mac ‘n’ cheese recipes.

Starting with Jalapeno Poppers Mac ‘n’ Cheese!

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese

Hidden under a blanket of crispy, golden breadcrumbs, this combination of two classic American recipes is rich and creamy, but also spicy & punchy.

Comfort food at its finest if you ask me!

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese

And if we are to face 12 weeks of snow (!!!), we are going to need many bowls of it.

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese (serves 2-3):

Ingredients:

  • 180g short dry pasta (preferably macaroni)
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 big handful grated cheese (I used 2/3 cheddar and 1/3 parmesan)
  • 500 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno, finely chopped, plus a few slices and 3 tbsp of pickling juice
  • 3 tbsp bread or panko crumbs
  • Salt + pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C grill.

2. In a big saucepan, mix together the milk, the cream cheese and the jalapeno picking juice. Add the macaroni, season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat until tender (about 10 min).

3. Mix in the grated cheese, then cook for a few more minutes.

4. Mix in the chopped jalapenos, then transfer to an ovenproof dish, top with a few more jalapeno slices before sprinkling the breadcrumbs.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and serve immediately.

Jalapeno Poppers Mac n Cheese

Brunch at Oldroyd

I don’t believe Oldroyd needs any introduction.

I have already written about it several times, and yet here I am again, writing about it once more.

You might want to call this a bad blogger syndrom, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

But then again, what’s a girl to do when one of her absolute favourite locals starts doing brunch eh?

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

With about 30 seats and simple yet tasteful decoration, Oldroyd is a dream no matter when you visit.

But if you asked, I’d say Sunday is probably the best day.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Because it’s Oldroyd’s brunch day and they serve up their signature fettucine carbonara.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, so first things first.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

And by that I mean Bloody Mary, obviously.

As a matter of fact, the very best one I’ve ever had in London (and trust me when I say beating The Smokehouse‘s Chicken Salt delight was no easy task)!

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Spicy and very pickle-y, it’s not one for the faint-hearted but still the very best way to get the brunch party started.

Though a tall, icy glass of Earl Grey iced tea does rather nicely as well!

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Croquetas have been a feature on Oldroyd’s menu since the restaurant opened and they’re an absolute must-order.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

This time, they were filled with mushroom, served with a generous dollop of truffle mayonnaise and as delightful as ever.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Zucchini fries are always a good idea too.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Feather-light, thin & crispy, they’re utterly irresistible.

But if you’re there for brunch, you might as well make the most of it.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

The Bacon & egg fettucine, with confit garlic & berkswell, is out-of-this-world good.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

It has eggs and bacon and carbs, it’s rich and creamy and comforting and basically all of your brunch dreams come true.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

And if you want more, the Braised ox cheek with polenta & gremolata is an excellent choice.

Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Melt-in-the-mouth meat never goes out of fashion as far as I’m concerned. Warming, comforting and satisfying, it’s winter food at it’s finest.

The only issue is that it might well rule dessert out. Don’t worry chocolate mousse with raspberries & salted pistachio praline, I’ll be back for you!

I can never stay away for very long anyway (and if you want to make sure you don’t have to fight me for the last table, you better book here)!

Oldroyd, 344 Upper Street, London N1 0PD

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Brunch at Oldroyd | Cake + Whisky

Brunch at Oldroyd

Padella Pasta, Borough Market

On a Saturday afternoon, few places in London are as buzzy as the Borough Market.

A must-see for any resident or visiting foodie, the London mecca of all things food is the place to go for top-rated ingredients, delicious bakery goods and any cheese-related quest.

And if you’re in the area, you have to stay for dinner.

With some of London’s finest restaurants just round the corner, it’d be rude not to!

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Padella, a little pasta bar just off the main road, is the latest addition to the market’s bustling restaurant offering.

And a very popular addition it is, with crowds happily queuing up for platefuls of the best hand rolled pasta to be found this side of the Alps.

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Lined with marbled counters & lit by understated designer lamps, the place itself is a bit of an Instagram dream.

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

If pans, pots and a nice bit of pasta cooking is more your thing, there’s plenty of that to salivate over as well…

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

There’s a short but perfect formed, seasonally changing menu to choose from while breathing in the delicious aromas of browning butter and rich, beefy ragu coming from the open kitchen.

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Burrata comes topped with green, slightly bitter Puglian olive oil and a good crack of black pepper.

Quite simply a cream-y dish!

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

The Taglierini with slow cooked tomato sauce is the house’s speciality, and one I thoroughly recommend.

But you really can’t go wrong.

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Pici with marjoram and golden garlic.

Rustic, hand-rolled pasta, swimming in herb-y butter and heaped with fresh parmesan, it’s a proper Italian treat.

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu.

Rich, yet surprisingly light and incredibly satisfying.

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

And a couple of scoops of salted caramel ice cream to finish things off because, well, SALTED CARAMEL!

Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Serving simple, perfectly executed Italian pasta dishes, Padella is anything but a pasta im-pasta, so join the queue and make sure you bring your favourite person along…

Not only will you get to try twice as many dishes, but it’ll also make the wait time pasta away quicker!

Padella, 6 Southwark St, Borough Market, SE1 1TQ

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Padella Pasta, London | Cake + Whisky

Padella Pasta, Borough Market

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle

The best recipes are almost always circonstancial.

Whether it’s a trip to the farmer’s market, a recent visit to a new favourite restaurant or simply a massive fridge forage and the realisation that half of what’s in it needs using, those lightbulb moments are what inspire me most in the kitchen.

With Autumn being very much on its way, I’ve been craving comfort food more and more in the last few days.

So of course, I turned to Italian classics, because as much as I wish the French would do better at it, nobody does comfort food quite like the Italians…

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe | Cake + Whisky

With bolognese on my mind, I went on a little bit of a fridge/freezer forage.

Memories of a beautiful pasta dish we had in Paris, the last few remaining pieces of rabbit my grandma brought in her luggage when she last visited, a can of olives fished from the back of a cupboard, a few bits and bobs from a previous Farmdrop order

… slowly, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and this rich and zingy Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe was born!

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe | Cake + Whisky

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle (serves 2-3)

Ingredients: 250g fresh pappardelle (I get mine from La Tua Pasta via Farmdrop), 1/2 rabbit (about 600g, preferably leg pieces as they have fewer small bones), 1 small shallot (finely chopped), 2 rashers of smoked bacon, cut into small pieces, handful of cherry tomatoes (about 200g, chopped roughly), small handful pitted black olives (about 15, sliced), 1L good quality chicken or vegetable stock, zest of 1/4 lemon (grated), 2 bay leaves, 1 fresh sprig of thyme, pinch of smoked paprika, 5 pepper corns + freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, good quality olive oil, grated parmesan to serve

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil, then add the rabbit pieces. Season with a small pinch of sea salt. Cook over high heat for a few minutes until golden. Add the bay leaves and the peppercorns, then pour in the chicken/vegetable stock. Cover the pot, reduce to a small simmer and cook for about an hour or until the meat starts falling off the bones, topping with a little bit of water if necessary.

2. Take the rabbit pieces off the cooking stock and let if cool off before taking all the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and shred the rabbit to bite-sized pieces.

3. Cook the pappardelle according to packaging instructions.

4. In a large pan or wok, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the chopped shallot and the bacon bits and cook until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start breaking down (about 5-10 min), adding a bit of the cooking stock if necessary. Throw in the sliced olives, lemon zest and smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 min.

5. Drain the pasta, add to the pan and toss to coat. Serve immediately with some freshly grated parmesan.

What inspires you to get cooking?

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Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle recipe | Cake + Whisky

Rabbit Ragu Pappardelle

Polpo at The Ape and Bird

Life is a combination of magic and pasta” – Federico Fellini

And food at Polpo, the cornerstone of Russel Norman’s restaurant empire, is the perfect combination of both.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Unfortunately, that’s not a very well kept secret, and if you combine this with the fact that Polpo is a strictly-no-booking sort of place, getting a table can be a bit of a nightmare.

Located right on Cambridge Circus (aka THE spot for any pre-/post-theatre dinner), Polpo at The Ape & Bird is no exception, but the restaurant itself being quite big, it is still the least stupidly busy of the lot.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

With shabby walls and worn-just-the-right-way furniture, the place itself is the perfect hybrid of a gastropub and a hipster den, and consequently an absolute Instagram dream.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

But the food, the food is what everybody comes back for.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

The menu focuses on Italian-influenced sharing plates, with a wide selection of both signature and seasonal dishes.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

From the Cicheti section, we couldn’t resist the Arancini (and neither should you!)

Breaded, golden-fried balls of risotto goodness, those are simply too good not to get!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Followed by Polpo’s signature dish: Pork & fennel meatballs in tomato sauce.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + WhiskyPolpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

A homely take on the humble meatball, with heaps of fennel seeds and a super silky, slightly spicy tomato sauce.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Italian comfort food at its very best!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

If you’re as much of a carb lover as I am, the Pizzetta, cooked on site in a wood-fire oven, will definitely catch your eyes.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

There are a few option to choose from, including this Spinach, parmesan & soft egg one.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Which obviously, I couldn’t pass off.

Just look at that ‘runny egg yolk’ excited face of mine!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

If I’m being honest though, this is nowhere near the best pizza in London (which is to be found either here or there).

The dough wasn’t quite ‘dough-y’ enough for Polpo to have any claim on that trophy, but the topping combination was really tasty, if only a bit un-seasoned.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

The carb-party continued on with a plate of Crab & chilli linguine.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Thin, silky ribbons of pasta, smothered in the most delightfully buttery sauce, and plenty of big chunks of fresh crab meat.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

The sort of dish you’ll never forgetti.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird 26Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

And yet more carbs (see the recurring theme here?): Fried gnocchi, rainbow chard pesto & young pecorino

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + WhiskyPolpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

A beautifully vibrant way to highlight those soft & crunchy little pillows of potato joy!

And for dessert, all the classics.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Pannacotta with strawberry and basil.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

And, of course, Tiramisu.

Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Words can’t quite espresso how good that tiramisu is! So you’ll just have to go and check it out for yourself!

Polpo at The Ape and Bird142 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8HJ

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Polpo at The Ape and Bird | Cake + Whisky

Polpo at The Ape and Bird