Sunday, 21 February 2016

Spiralized butternut squash with pancetta, prawn and spinach in a creamy mascarpone sauce

Hope everyone had a good week. I have another simple yet delicious meal to share with you. This dish uses butternut squash which tastes really good as a pasta replacement and it's really filling too. It's a little bit more effort as you have to peel the butternut squash (compared to using courgette) but it's well worth it. I try and choose squashes that are almost straight as it's much easier to spiralize. You need to cut the bottom bit off where the seeds are as you can't spiralize this bit. I usually scoop out the seeds and chop up the flesh for soups or add it to curries. I also chop up the core and throw it back in the dish to avoid any wastage. 

The prawns and pancetta work well together in this dish. I love the creaminess of the dish which is filling yet healthier than having regular pasta with cream. You can easily adapt this recipe for vegetarians or swap out ingredients you don't like for others that you do. This would also work well with chicken breast slices or turkey.

I'm sending this to Spiralizer Saturday hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes

It's also going to Extra Veg hosted by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours

 Use 'large' blade to get thick noodles

 After baking in the oven 


 adding the mascarpone cheese 

 sprinkle with some grated parmesan before serving 

Makes 2 generous portions
2 butternut squashes, peeled and spiralize as shown
1 pack of cooked large king prawns
1 small pack of cubed pancetta
1 large white onion, chopped 
1 box of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
apprix 200g spinach
3 - 4 heaped tablespoons mascarpone cheese 
parmesan cheese, grated (optional) 

  • First prepare the butternut squash as shown.
  • Place the squash noodles on a large baking tray lined with foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Bake the butternut squash noodles in a preheated oven of 180C for about 10 minutes. 
  • In a large pan, fry the pancetta and onions until the onions are soft and the pancetta is cooked. 
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the butternut squash noodles, prawns and spinach.
  • Add the mascarpone cheese and stir. 
  • Once everything is heated through, it's ready to eat otherwise the spinach will wilt and the prawns will shrink. 
  • Serve with some grated parmesan cheese if desired. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Chicken and mushroom black bean stir fry

I have another simple spiralizer recipe to share with you today. I apologise for the lack of posts as I've been really busy lately but I do have lots to share with you. Chinese New Year was on Feb 8th this year and this Chinese inspired dish is perfect if you want to impress family and/or friends at the weekend. It's a simple recipe which came about because I had lots of leftovers to use up. I found a jar of black bean sauce in my fridge which was the inspiration for the whole recipe. It's really tasty and filling and tastes better than take away noodles. We cooked a large pan and had plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.

I'm sending this to a few blog challenges this month.

Spiralizer Saturday hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes

Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Corina from Searching for Spice

Extra Veg hosted by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. There's plenty of extra veg here with the carrots and courgettes!

#FoodYearLinkUp hosted by Charlotte from Charlotte's Lively Kitchen. It's a full food bloggers calendar for February and this is obviously for Chinese New year.

No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I used up some chicken breasts that were in the freezer and the end of an opened pack of frozen king prawns. I also had an open jar of black bean sauce in the fridge that needed using up.

 black bean sauce, carrot, courgette, chestnut mushroom, chicken breast and king prawns 

 Spiralizing the carrot - make sure you choose a large carrot at least 4 cm in diameter otherwise it's really difficult to spiralize 

 courgette and carrot 'noodles' - my tip for making perfect spiralizer noodles is to ensure the veg is centred before spiralizing otherwise you get little chips instead of lovely long strands 
 adding carrot to the mix 

 adding the courgette


Makes 4 generous servings 

2 large courgettes
3 large carrots
Sesame oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced 
handful chestnut mushrooms, sliced
large handful of frozen king prawns or use fresh if you have them 
2 - 3 tablespoons black bean sauce, adjust to taste 

Prepare the vegetables by spiralizing the carrot and courgettes.
In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
Add the chicken breasts and fry until just cooked.
Add in the prawns and mushrooms.
Stir in the black bean sauce.
Add the spiralized vegetables and cook briefly.
There may be quite a lot of liquid so either drain out a little or you can add a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Welcome and a simple recipe

Welcome to my new blog A Twirly Whirly Blog. I also write a baking blog over at The More Than Occasional Baker. I bought a spiralizer last year and have totally fallen in love with it. Initially I thought it would be another kitchen gadget that I'd use a few times but I was wrong. It's not been relegated to the back cupboard but instead sits on the front shelf where I have easy access to it. I've been using it a few times a week on average and there was a time when every meal was a spiralizer meal. I thought I'd start a blog to share recipes and to get new ideas from fellow readers/bloggers.

First of all I'd like to say I'm not being paid to advertise anything on this blog. There are a lot of spiralizers on the market and mine is not necessarily the best. I chose my spiralizer based on reviews and price and I personally recommend it. I also love the Inspiralized cookbook by Ali Maffucci and a lot of recipes are from her book. It is a great recipe book and I would recommend it if you are new to spiralizing or an old hand but want some new ideas. 

I thought I'd give you a brief introduction to my spiralizer and show you what it looks like. It's essentially a gadget that creates ribbons of vegetables/fruits. It's a great way to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your diet. Spiralized vegetables are commonly used to replace traditional carbohydrates such as pasta, noodles or rice. My spiralizer has 3 blades that cuts thin 'noodles', thick 'noodles' and ribbons. 

 I bought a Lurch Spirali Spiralizer from Amazon

 It comes with 3 blades - ribbons, thick 'noodles' and thin 'noodles' and has a handy storage compartment for the blades that are not in use

My favourite vegetable to spiralize is courgettes. They are the perfect size and shape and I've found them to be very versatile in recipes. I use them as pasta and noodle replacements. My tips are to get the thick and straight courgettes rather than the curved ones and to make sure the courgette is well centred so you get long noodles rather than circular discs. 

I have a very simple courgette recipe to share with you.  I made a quick sauce with fresh tomatoes, fresh chili,garlic and lemon juice and served the courgetinni with crab meat and pan fried sea bass. This is one of our favourite weeknight meals particularly after a gym session! If you try it, do let me know what you think. If you have any recipe ideas, do leave a comment as I'd love to hear from you. 

 Courgettes, fresh tomatoes, garlic, chili, lemon, canned crab meat and fresh sea bass fillets

 spiralized courgetinni

 Briefly pan fry the fresh tomatoes then add the garlic and chili 

 You can either serve the courgetinni raw or quickly pan fry it which I what I normally do 

 Served with some crab meat and a slice of pan fried sea bass 

Courgettini with tomatoes, chili, lemon and crab with pan fried sea bass

Serves 2 
3 medium sized courgettes, spiralized using the thin blade
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
5 tomatoes on the vine, chopped into large quarters
salt and pepper to season
1 lemon
1 can of crab meat
2 sea bass fillets 

  • Spiralize the courgette into thin noodles and set aside.
  • Heat a large pan and briefly stir fry the tomatoes. 
  • Add the garlic and chili and cook briefly. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • If you want to cook the courgette rather than eating it raw, add it to the pan briefly before serving. Otherwise serve the courgetinni raw and pour the sauce on top.
  • Just before serving, add a generous squeeze of lemon juice to the tomato sauce. 
  • Pan fry the sea bass fillets until cooked.
  • Serve the courgetinni with some crab meat on top and the sea bass fillets.