A two course meal for two that can be cooked in virtually no time at all; mushrooms cooked in sparkling wine with a tang that cuts through the puff pastry base for a light starter and a simple pasta dish with a velvety sauce, fresh tomatoes and gentle chili kick for a satisfying main.
Self-catering when you’re on a longer trip abroad easily becomes part of your routine and a great way of saving money, but for a holiday when you want to relax a bit more it can seem like a lot of hassle. However, depending on where you are, it can be a helpful way to make sure you get a bit more variety if local vegetarian or vegan options aren’t really up to scratch.
For these occasions, I’ve created two recipes that make an ideal starter and main course for staying in self-catered accommodation. They require very few pieces of equipment, all ingredients are likely to be widely available, and the entire meal can be whipped up from start to finish in no more than thirty minutes and for less than £20.
Some items are used in both the starter and the main to cut down on what you need to buy, whilst still achieving distinctly different flavours in each dish. You could save money even further by buying a full-sized bottle of sparkling wine, using some to cook into the starter and the rest to accompany the meal. Whilst the name of the starter says “Champagne,” I have used Prosecco to make it more affordable (Champagne is just a bit catchier though, isn’t it?).A lot of shop-bought puff pastry is vegan and is one area where it is perfectly acceptable to cheat (no one wants to spend any evening, let alone a holiday evening, brushing sheets of pastry!) I used Jus Rol ready rolled puff pastry and found most of their pastry is vegan.
Once the starter is in the oven, the ingredients for the main can be quickly prepared and put to one side leaving you the opportunity to nibble a few of the olives. As soon as you serve up the starter, the main can go on the hob to cook as you eat as it needs minimal attention. The pasta main all cooks together in one pot; there is no need to drain as the water largely evaporates and the starch from the pasta adds a delicious creaminess to what it is left to form a sauce. It also significantly cuts down on the amount of washing up you’ll have to do at the end!
Starter: Champagne Mushroom Tart (Serves Two)
1/2 sheet of ready-made ready rolled puff pastry (approx. 160g), cut into two
150g closed cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium courgette, thinly sliced
100ml sparkling wine
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Black pepper, to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C / gas mark 8. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the courgettes and mushrooms and cook for around five minutes or until they have begun to soften.
2. Stir in the garlic and black pepper. Add in 3/4 of the sparkling wine a tablespoon at a time, allowing each one to be absorbed first. Mix in the final 1/4 of the wine and fresh basil leaves, then remove from the heat.
3. Grease the baking tray using a small amount of olive oil and place the two pieces of puff pastry on to it, making sure there is ample space between them as the pastry will expand during cooking. With a knife, criss-cross the base of the pastry, leaving a 1.5cm border around the edges.
4. Scoop the filling onto each piece of pastry. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown. Serve with a sprinkling of extra black pepper and a fresh basil leaf.
Main Course: One-Pot Pasta (Serves Two)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
100g vine tomatoes, halved
500ml boiling water
1tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful fresh basil leaves
1tsp black pepper
1-2tsp chili flakes (according to taste)
Olives to serve
1. Add all of the ingredients into a large pan over a medium-high heat. Simmer for ten to twelve minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked al dente and the sauce has thickened.
2. Serve with torn fresh basil and chopped olives on top.
These recipes are my entry in the SACO cooking challenge to create a two course meal for two that could easily be cooked in an apartment kitchen on holiday and for under £20.
Do you ever self-cater on holiday? What would be your quick go-to recipes?