Linguine Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe pasta

Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper) is a simple, yet delicious way to serve pasta.  It is a typical dish from Rome, and can be served with spaghetti, linguine, or even short pasta such as rigatoni.

On this occasion, I made Linguine Cacio e Pepe.

Linguine Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients – Linguine Cacio e Pepe for 4 people

  • 500g Linguine
  • 200g Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper
  • Drop of oil and fistful of salt for the pasta cooking water


Put a large pan with water, a drop of oil and a fistful of salt on the hob and bring to the boil.  I usually advocate using the largest possible stockpot style pan for pasta cooking, but this recipe works best if you have very starchy water, so use a slightly smaller (but still ample) pan / less water than you usually would for pasta.

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, stir after a minute or so, and occasionally during cooking, to ensure it doesn’t stick together.

While the pasta is cooking, finely grate the pecorino cheese.  The key to this recipe is the cheese.  Make sure you use a good quality pecorino romano and that you grate it as finely as you can – this will enable you to create the creamy sauce.  If the cheese is too coarsely grated, it won’t go creamy and will clump instead.

Grind plenty of black pepper into the pecorino.  How much you use, will depend on taste, but you are ideally aiming for a speckled look to the cheese, and for a good peppery kick to the sauce.

Once the pasta is nearly cooked (about a minute before it’s done), take a bit of water out of the pan with a ladle and stir it into the cheese with a fork.  Add a bit at a time (half a ladle or less) and stir each time, until you achieve the desired creamy consistency.

Cacio e pepe - the creamy 'sauce' consistency

This is what you are aiming for with the pecorino, pepper and cooking water.

Once the pasta is cooked, nicely ‘al dente’, drain it and immediately stir it through the cheese.

Serve onto pasta bowls and, if you wish, add a bit more freshly-ground black pepper.

Cacio e pepe pasta.  Gloriously Simple.  Gloriously Good! 

Vegetable Soup | Low-Fat Vegetable Soup | Reflux Recipe | Vegetable Soup with Peas and Barley

Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup with Peas and Barley | Low-Fat Vegetable Soup | Reflux Recipe

A Vegetable Soup packed with Nutrients!

This is an easy no-fuss vegetable soup recipe that I love to make in bulk so I can eat it for a few days for lunch when I’m working from home.  It’s very filling and nutritious and very low in fat, which also makes it excellent for reflux sufferers*.

The quantities are not precise in this soup – it’s one of those ‘chuck everything in’ type of soups, so here are some guidelines to get you started.

Vegetable Soup | Low-Fat Vegetable Soup | Reflux Recipe | Vegetable Soup with Peas and Barley


  • Pea and Barley Soup Mix (I use Sainsbury’s version, but there are others, for example Tesco Soup and Broth Mix) – 3-4 handfuls, depending on how much soup I’m making and how much bulk I want in it.  These usually need soaking overnight – follow pack instructions.  You can also use lentils instead, for a different taste & texture, or leave these out altogether.  The vegetable soup is delicious on its own.
  • A selection (or all) of the following vegetables:
    • Savoy Cabbage, trimmed and quartered – I usually use a couple of quarters
    • Curly Kale – lots!
    • Fresh spinach leaves – lots! (whatever vegetables you choose to add or omit, I find that the spinach makes this soup extra special so I always include this)
    • 2-3 carrots, trimmed, peeled/scraped and cut into big 2-3 cm long chunks
    • 1 parsnip, trimmed, peeled and cut into big 2-3 cm long chunks
    • Swede / Turnip, about half of one, depending on how large it is and how much you like the taste, peeled and cut into 2-3 big chunks
    • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 4 big chunks
    • Chicken stock cubes or stock pots – I use Knorr Chicken Stock Pots, but you could use vegetable stock instead and any good brand of stock pot or stock cube will work (quantities according to pack instructions, but typically 1 for each 500ml of water used)
    • Water


Soak the Pea and Barley Soup Mix overnight as indicated on the pack instructions.

When you’re ready to make your soup, drain the pea and barley mix and place in a small saucepan, cover with enough cold water to have as much depth of water over the peas and barley again as there is depth in the peas & barley mix (i.e. if you have a 2cm depth of pea & barley mix in the pan, make sure you have about 2cm of water above the pea & barley mix).  Add enough stock cubes / stock pots to make a normal consistency stock, based on the amount of water you have used.  For Knorr Chicken Stock Pots, this is 1 Stock Pot per 0.5l of water.  Place on the hob and bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for the cooking time recommended on the pack (usually around 50 minutes).  The stock will reduce during this time and become quite thick.  Do not let the mix boil dry – add more stock if required, but make sure there is only a little stock and it is quite thick by the end of cooking.

While the pea & barley mix is cooking in chicken stock, prepare your vegetables as described in the ingredients listing above.  Place them all – but NOT the spinach! – into a large stockpot, add enough water to just cover the vegetables and enough stock cubes / stock pots to make a normal consistency stock, based on the amount of water you have used. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the hardest vegetables (usually the carrots) are soft.  This can take approximately 30 minutes, but sometimes longer, depending on the size of the chunks.

Once the vegetable soup is cooked, turn off the heat and add the spinach leaves, pushing them down with a large spoon and stirring them into the soup.  They will wilt within seconds.  Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then blitz it to a fine consistency, either in a food blender or by using a hand-held blender in the stockpot itself (this is the easiest option, and the one I use!).  Take care to avoid splashing with the hot soup!

Once your pea & barley mix is cooked and the chicken stock it sits in is nice and thick, add the pea and barley mix, with its thick stock, to the lovely bright green vegetable soup.  Stir it in and serve.

Gloriously Good, Gloriously Simple, Gloriously reflux-friendly!

*Please note I am not a doctor, speech therapist or in any way medically qualified.  The recipes are a combination of my interpretation of the rules outlined in the ‘Dropping Acid – The Reflux Diet’ book and ingredients that work for my reflux.  If you believe you suffer from reflux, please seek advice from a medical professional to confirm your diagnosis and work out the best course of treatment/management for you.  I hope that my recipes can help you as part of this management.  The recipes are, by their nature, very low in fat, so are also suitable for anyone wishing to follow a low-fat diet. 

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad | Launch of #Uniformfoodies App

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Recipe created to celebrate the launch of the #Uniformfoodies App (Uniform Dating Recipe App)*

Today, have launched a new recipe app, featuring recipes by Two-Michellin-Starred Chef Michael Caines MBEUniform Foodies App Pic | Chef Michael Caines

As part of the launch, they have asked a few selected bloggers (and I am delighted to be one of them!) to create a recipe that would appeal to Uniformed Professionals.

You can follow Uniformfoodies on Twitter.

According to research carried out by, these are the No.1 dishes from Uniformed Professionals:

Nurses: Salad

Police Officers: Fish & Chips

Armed Forces: Indian Curry

Doctors: Fish & Chips

Fire Fighters: Indian Curry

Given that it is summer and that, in my experience, people often struggle to get creative when it comes to salads, I decided to set myself the challenge to create a new and unique salad recipe that would be quick and easy to cook at the end of a long shift.  Additionally, my warm duck and pine nut salad is very easy to scale up or down, so you can cook it for just one person, as a romantic dinner for two or for a whole family without complicated calculations to adjust the quantities.

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 4 duck breasts
  • 120g “Wild & Basmati” rice
  • 4 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 4 handfuls of wild rocket leaves
  • 4 pinches of pine nuts
  • 4tbsp marmalade (use a good quality marmalade with fine shreds of orange skin)
  • 4tsp runny honey
  • a few drops of balsamic vinegar (to taste)
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly-ground black pepper


Wild and Basmati RiceStart by cooking the rice according to pack instructions.  I like to add a good pinch of sea salt to the cooking water for extra flavour.  Once cooked, drain using a sieve and set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing | Scored and seasoned duck breasts

Score the skin on the duck breasts with a sharp knife (without cutting the meat) and season with sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper.

Pre-heat a non-stick frying pan and once it’s nice and hot, place the duck breasts into the pan, skin-side down.  Season the meat with sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper.

Turn down the heat and cook for a couple of minutes, then turn the duck breasts over to cook the meat side.  After about 10 minutes, turn the duck breast again to give the skins another opportunity to brown, then turn back onto the meat side.  This will allow the fat to drain from the skins and the skins to crisp up.  In total, you will be cooking the duck breasts for approximately 15 minutes.  You will have to judge this depending on how chunky they are and how pink you like your duck breast meat to be.

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing | Duck breasts cooking in the pan

Take the duck breasts out of the pan and set aside to rest for a few minutes, while you make the dressing and start assembling the salad.

To make the dressing

Turn off the heat under the pan, but while it is still warm, add the marmalade and honey to the duck fat & juices in the pan and stir in well to ensure there are no lumps.  Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar and stir in, then check for taste.  Add a few more drops if you feel the dressing needs it.

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing | Baby Spinach Leaves | Wild Rocket LeavesTo assemble the salad

Place a handful of baby spinach leaves and wild rocket leaves on each plate.  Place a quarter of the now luke-warm cooked rice on top of each little pile of leaves.

Slice the duck breasts on a slight diagonal, then lift each duck breast (all slices of one breast) and place on top of the rice and leaves on one plate.  Repeat for each plate.

Drizzle a quarter of the dressing onto each duck breast.

Sprinkle on a few pine nuts.

Serve and enjoy!

Are you feeling creative in the kitchen?  As well as using the #Uniformfoodies App to view and cook delicious recipes, you can also upload your own recipes to share them with other users.

Warm Duck and Pine Nut Salad with Wild Rice and an Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing


*For disclosure reasons, I need to point out that I was provided with a small ingredients budget to create a recipe entirely of my choosing for the launch of the Uniformfoodies App.  This recipe is also my entry into the Uniformfoodies blogger competition.