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Summer's almost here and that might mean you're entertaining a lot more. While some nights call for a splurge, some parties have to be within a budget. Would you believe us if we told you you could entertain for no more than $30? It's true!

Chef Vanessa Gianfranceso shares four delicious recipes that taste a lot more expensive than they are. (Still skeptical? Watch the clip above for Ben's reaction.)

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Lemon Spaghetti with Crispy Citrus Gremolata

Serves 4-6 people

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the pasta

  • 500g spaghetti 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 lemons zested
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • ¼ cup basil thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the gremolata

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ lemon zested
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

WHAT YOU DO:

For the gremolata

  1. In a small sauté pan on medium high heat warm the olive oil, add in the panko breadcrumbs, the lemon zest, salt and pepper and parsley. Cook until the breadcrumbs are golden in colour or about 3-4 minutes. Place into a bowl and reserve. (you can also do this in an oven, on a baking sheet if you prefer)

For the Pasta

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the cooking instructions on the package. Remove from the water about 1-2 minutes earlier. Prior to straining the pasta reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil, add in the garlic, chilli flakes and the lemon zest and cook until the garlic is golden. Remove from the heat until the pasta is cooked.
  3. Place the pan back on the heat, add in the pasta, lemon juice, Parmigiano Reggiano, the parsley, basil and half of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss together to continue to cook the pasta until the sauce thickens and the pasta is cooked to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a bowl, place in the pasta and sprinkle with the gremolata. Enjoy!

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Garlic Bread Bruschetta on Crispy Baguette

Makes 4 portions

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • ½ baguette cut down the middle lengthwise so you have 2 pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • ¼ cup basil, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Pre-heat your oven or your outdoor grill on high. On a baking sheet, place the baguette cut side up. Cook or grill until the bread is nice and crispy. Remove from the oven and rub with the garlic cloves. 
  2. In a bowl, prepare the bruschetta by combining the cherry tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Arrange the bruschetta mixture on the baguette and cut into 4 pieces. Make sure to pour the extra olive oil over the bread.

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Summer Spinach Salad

Makes 4 portions

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries halved

For the Vinaigrette

  • 1 small French shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

For the Vinaigrette

  1. At the bottom of a large salad bowl, allow the shallot, salt and lemon juice to sit together and macerate. Slowly stream in the olive oil, while whisking to create a creamy dressing. Add in the poppy seeds, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add in the spinach, avocado and strawberries and toss together until the ingredients have been coated with the vinaigrette.

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Peanut Butter Trifle

Makes 4 portions 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 store bought vanilla pound cake, cubed
  • 250 mL very cold whipping cream (35%)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped peanut butter
  • 2 bananas thinly sliced


WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a large bowl whip, the cream until it forms a peak. Add in the powdered sugar and the peanut butter, mix together.
  2. Arrange 4 small glasses and layer the cream, cubed vanilla cake, the sliced bananas and repeat until the top of the glass ending with the cream mixture.
  3. Refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving.