Guest Post by my Boyfriend Matt – Broccoli & Pesto Tagliatelle (and Vegetable Bhajis)

Reluctantly Emily has allowed me to take over her beloved blog for a post, meaning I am allowed to post recipes which may be considered on the slightly unhealthy side of things, although the Tagliatelle is not too bad. Both of these recipes come from Jamie’s Ministry of Food by (you guessed it!) Jamie Oliver, which I have considered my bible in cooking matters during this year, especially when feeding my children (my three flatmates). The book has been incredibly useful for me, who as a first time student had hugely limited culinary skills, and has allowed me to make some of the essential meals any cook should be able to; especially my much-loved Chilli Con Carne.

Broccoli and Pesto Spaghetti

Broccoli and Pesto Spgahetti

Broccoli & Pesto Tagliatelle

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

1 Medium Potato (Jamie says, and I agree, that it adds a creaminess to the dish)

1 head of Broccoli

Basil Plant

A large bunch of fresh Basil (as this is the herb I use most regularly I invested in a Basil plant, which sits nicely on my window ledge, needing water only when it appears to be wilting)

70g of Parmesan cheese (optional for the vegans among us)

Sea Salt

400g of dried Tagliatelle (in reality I used spaghetti which worked just as well)

4 tablespoons of green Pesto (possibly more if you, as I did, want a stronger taste)


  1. Wash and peel the potato, then cut it into shavings (I used a normal potato peeler for this, a student kitchen has limited equipment). Cut florets off the broccoli, then cut the stalk in half, and slice thinly. Pick and tear in half the Basil leaves (according to my Dad tearing rather than cutting enhances the flavour). Finally, grate the Parmesan.
  2. Add the tagliatelle and broccoli stalks to a pan of simmering salted water. Add the broccoli florets and potato shavings to the pan a couple of minutes before the tagliatelle is cooked. When it is cooked, retain some of the cooking water after draining, and return to the pan. Add the torn Basil leaves, pesto and half the parmesan to the pan and give it a good stir (add more of the cooking water if the sauce is too thick, though I prefered mine to be thicker)
  3. Serve out the completed dish, sprinkling it with the rest of the Parmesan, and making it look pretty with a few whole Basil leaves.

Vegetable Bhajis

Vegetable Bhajis

My youngest (my flatmate Lauren) is always keen to cook with me, especially anything snack based; she particularly enjoyed helping Emily, who lives the floor above us, to make the incredibly popular Summery Scones for our flat picnic. Along with the Vegetable Bhajis we had some colourful flavoured rice (made with Turmeric, Cumin and Ground Coriander) and grilled chicken breasts, although the bhajis obviously go wonderfully well as a side to any curry dish (I’m thinking I particular Aloo Gobhi). They can be made alternatively using grated sweet potato, finely sliced peppers or chickpeas.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

2 large carrots

10cm piece of fresh root ginger (I used a couple of teaspoons of powdered ginger, it works just as well)

2 medium onions (preferably red, though this is not essential)

2-3 fresh red chillies (this is really open to you, and your own tolerance of spice)

A large bunch of fresh coriander (the next herb I intend to have on my windowsill)

2 teaspoons of mustard seeds

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds (though again powdered works just as well)

2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

125g self-raising flour

1 litre of Vegetable oil (I said they might be a little unhealthy)

a nub of potato

juice of one lemon

2 Limes (optional, only to serve)


  1. Peel and finely grate (this was a lot of fun in a student kitchen, with only a cheese grater to hand) the carrots, ginger and red onions and add to a large bowl. Chop the chillies (I tend to remove the seeds, to reduce the heat), and add to the bowl. Add the mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin seeds and chopped coriander to the bowl, then add the flour and cold water, scrunch together the mixture (this bit Lauren particularly loved) until you have a thick consistency.
  2. Without a deep fat fryer, we were forced to put the oil in a large pan on a medium to high heat, test the oils temperature using the potato; when it floats to the surface and begins to sizzle it is ready. Remove the potato then add tablespoon sized blobs of Bhaji mixture, until there are several bubbling away. After 5 minutes when the bhajis are golden and crispy, remove using a slotted spoon and place on the plate covered with kitchen paper (to soak up the oil). Sprinkle with salt and a good squeeze of lemon. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used up.
  3. Serve with wedges of Lime and alongside any curry of your choice.

Many thanks to my girlfriend for allowing me to post on her blog; hopefully I didn’t taint it in any way. I look forward to being able to post again some time, maybe over the summer when I come to stay in London with Emily, Mamma Chudy and her little sister Olivia. Bye for now :)


10 thoughts on “Guest Post by my Boyfriend Matt – Broccoli & Pesto Tagliatelle (and Vegetable Bhajis)

  1. Pingback: Ginger Nuts with Lemon Icing | Emily Cooks Vegan

  2. Pingback: Chilli and Halloumi Flatbreads | Emily Cooks Vegan

  3. Haha! Love the beer bottles behind the basil plant. Nice touch :) Great recipe. I have Jamies 30 minute meal book. Haven’t cooked out of it yet though. I think I just like having it around because he signed it. A bit jealous of ‘your children’!

    • Ahh, dying of jealousy – you have a signed Jamie Oliver book?!
      And yeah, Matt does think of his flatmates as children because they have big meals altogether, it’s quite funny really :) x

  4. Looks delicious – your ‘children’ really are very lucky :) The potato is an interesting addition, would love to try that. As for those bhajis, they look divine!

Tell Me What You Think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s