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Scruff & Steph by Scruff - 3w ago

This quick beef pho recipe is ideal for times when you have a craving but not the time nor effort to make it traditionally. It is basically a bowl of noodle soup that is flavoured with beef, toasted aromatics and spices. Normally taking at least 6 hours to prepare, this bowl of pure comfort can be on the table in 50 minutes for you and your family to enjoy.

After a week off the blog, we are back. We have used this time to recharge and complete some tasks around the house that we have been holding off for waaaaaaaay too long. So without further ado, lets get into it!

Getting Good Flavour with Store Bought Stock

The problem most people have with store bought stock is that it is too dark and has flavours (carrots / leek) that are not used in pho. So we comprised a list of suggestions to get great pho flavour using generic store bought stock.

  1. Half & half – We have found that using a 1:1 ratio of beef and chicken stock makes the pho broth clearer, sweeter and more delicious.
  2. Char the onions and ginger – Get the smoky flavour into your pho broth.
  3. Toast the aromatics – This will greatly increase the aroma you can extract from the spices.
  4. Adding chuck steak – We believe it is necessary to add beef steak to improve the richness and depth of flavour of the pho broth.
  5. Don’t skimp on the broth Ok this is going to sound stupid but the amount of broth you have in the bowls matters. This is because the moisture from the noodles and garnishes will dilute the flavour of the pho broth. So, go easy on the noodles and fill those bowls up with delicious broth!
My Tips for Success
  • If you don’t like the sight of raw meat, then blanch them in the pho broth first before adding them into the bowls.
  • Make sure the water is boiling before adding the beef chunks. This will help stop scum from forming and making your broth cloudy.
  • If you are having trouble cutting the meat thinly, then put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • I strongly recommend using the liquid stock over the powdered version. The powdered version will taste very artificial.
  • In this post I have used dried banh pho noodles but I personally like the fresh rice noodles better. Fresh rice noodles are available at most Asian groceries.
  • If you find raw onion too overpowering, soak them in water for a few minutes.
  • I really hate serving cold food when it is suppose to be hot. So, I usually pour boiling water into the bowls first to warm them up before serving. I know… it sounds bat sh!t crazy and way over the top. But you will be surprised how much of a difference it makes! Well, to me anyway.
  • If you are looking to minimise as much prep work as you can then you can buy packs of beef slices for pho (usually marketed for hotpot) at Asian groceries.
Recipe Costing (Australia)

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t included optional ingredients or small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 4

IngredientQuantity
Bought
Shop
Price
Recipe NeedsRecipe
Cost
Chicken Stock1 L carton$1.901 L$1.90
Beef Stock1 L carton$1.901 L$1.90
Beef Chuck Steak350 gm at $14/kg$4.90approx 300 gm$4.90
Beef Flank Steak340 gm at $19/kg$6.46approx 300 gm$6.46
Rice Noodles2 x 250 gm packet$4.00500 gm$4.00
Brown Onion1$0.441$0.44
Star Anise12 gm packet$2.254$0.60
Cloves15 gm packet$1.802 cloves$0.01
Cinnamon Stick12 gm packet$2.951 stick$0.74
Ginger1 at $25/kg$3.6030 gm$0.90
Fish Sauce300 ml bottle$3.002 tbsp$0.30
Red Onion1$0.531/2$0.26
Spring Onions1 bunch $2.001/5 bunch$0.25
Bean Sprouts250 gm packet$2.001/2 packet$1.00
Total$37.73 $23.81

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Scruff and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Scruff

Print
Quick Beef Pho
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Beef Pho
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Scruff
Ingredients
Pho Soup
  • 1 brown onion, cut in half
  • 30 gm ginger, sliced thinly
  • 1 L beef stock (low sodium)
  • 1 L chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if not using low sodium stock)
  • 200 gm beef chuck steak or cheap cut of your choice, cut into chunks
  • 1 cinnamon stick (cassia bark), do not use the powdered version
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 – 3 tbsp fish sauce
To Serve
  • 200 gm flank steak or cut of your choice, sliced thinly
  • beef tendon balls, quartered (optional and available at Asian groceries)
Garnishes & Toppings
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 250 gm bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch coriander (optional)
  • 1 bunch Thai basil (optional)
  • 2 chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
Condiments (optional)
  • chilli sauce
  • hoisin sauce
Instructions
  • Prep all of your broth ingredients.
  • In a small fry pan on high, toast the onion and ginger until char marks appear. Once done, let them cool and remove any overly charred parts.
  • In a medium sized pot on medium high, combine the beef stock, chicken stock, salt, sugar and water.
  • Once the pot is boiling, add the beef chunks, charred onion and charred ginger.
  • Lightly toast the star anise, cinnamon and cloves in a fry pan until fragrant. Add to the pot and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes on medium low.
  • After 30 minutes, add the fish sauce to the pot. Check the seasoning of your soup and adjust according to your taste. It is recommended for the broth to be slightly more salty since the noodles and garnishes will dilute the seasoning.
  • If using beef balls, then add them to the stock to cook. If not, skip this step.
  • Prepare the dried rice noodles as per packaging.
    If using fresh rice noodles, then make sure they are soft first. If not, put it in the microwave and give them a minute or two. Then divide into bowls and blanch them in boiling water for 10 seconds and strain.
Bowl Assembly
  • Wash and prep all of your garnishes.
  • Determine the amount of noodles needed for each bowl and divide the noodles.
  • Turn the heat up and take the pho broth to a rolling boil.
  • Place the thinly sliced raw beef on top of the noodles. If you prefer your meat more cooked, then blanch them in the boiling soup before placing them on top of the noodles.
  • Ladle the hot noodle soup into the bowl.
  • Garnish and serve with herbs, veg and condiments.
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This white chocolate and raspberry croissant pudding is a delicious mixture of soft and crispy textures with both sweet and tart flavours. It’s made by tossing through raspberries and white chocolate pieces with some torn up croissants, then pouring over custard before baking in the oven. It’s so simple to make, and will definitely please any crowd!

Our oven is finally fixed!!

After months of accusing each other of not knowing how to use an oven properly, we finally came to the conclusion that the problem was not the other person, but the thermostat. It’s taken many burnt dishes, exploding casseroles and multiple visits from an oven technician, but we finally have a functional oven again. This means…. PUDDING is back on the menu!

This white chocolate and raspberry croissant pudding was introduced to us by our friend Aimee. It’s very similar to the traditional British bread and butter pudding. The croissants are torn into large pieces, raspberry and white chocolate are scattered over, then the whole lot is covered with custard. Not the stirring-over-a-stovetop kind where you’re constantly fearful of curdling, but just the kind where you beat together some eggs, milk and sugar in a measuring jug then pour over the croissants before letting your oven work its magic.

Admittedly, this is not the most healthiest choice out there but it makes me happy… and we can all do with a little more of that.

Tips for our Croissant Pudding with White Chocolate and Raspberries
  1. Taste your raspberries beforehand, and if they are too tart then try breaking into smaller pieces, or coat them either with white chocolate shavings or icing sugar to balance the sourness.
  2. The white chocolate should also be broken into smaller pieces, or even grated. You want little bits of white chocolate throughout the pudding rather than large patches, which will help with the melting process but also taste better.
  3. Don’t worry if the pudding looks a bit dry once you’ve put it in the oven. The aim is to have a mixture of textures – you want a combination of croissant soaked in and made fluffy by the custard, as well as croissant that has remained dry and crisped up while baking.
  4. Use stale croissants if possible, at least a day old. If you’ve left your shopping to the last minute the next best thing is to rip the croissants into pieces the let them sit our for a bit, uncovered, which will help to dry them out.
Recipe Costing (Australian Prices)

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t included optional ingredients or small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

4 Servings

IngredientQuantity
Bought
Shop PriceRecipe NeedsRecipe Cost
Croissants3 pack$2.503 (220 gm)$2.50
Raspberries
(frozen)
500 gm pack$4.001 cup (60 gm)$0.48
White
Chocolate
200 gm block$2.5025 gm$0.31
Milk2 L bottle$2.20200 ml$0.22
Cream300 ml carton$2.40200 ml$1.60
Eggs12 pack
(700 gm)
$3.002$0.50
Total$16.60$5.61

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Scruff and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Steph

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This rice noodles with egg gravy recipe is a very easy takeaway dish that you can make at home! It is basically pan fried fresh rice noodles, chicken, seafood and Asian greens that is smothered in rich egg gravy. A delicious yet simple dish that will impress friends and family.

For those of you who know Sammy’s Kitchen in Canberra, this is my version of their Ipoh – Combination Hoi Fun noodles. I don’t know how authentic the Sammy’s version is, or how closely I’ve managed to replicate their dish, but I do know it’s my favourite thing on their menu and this recipe tastes pretty close to how I remember it.

This dish uses wide flat rice noodles soaked in soy sauce (the same noodles as what’s used in our Chicken Pho and Chicken and Rice Noodle Stir-Fry), which are topped with a chicken, fish cake and vegetable stir-fry, and covered with a thick egg gravy. I’ve used chicken thigh fillets as they aren’t as dry as other cuts (like the breast), and the fish cake is highly recommended – you can get these from the Asian groceries, and I’ve included a photo of the one we use here.

The egg gravy is a sauce made with chicken stock, flavoured with soy sauce and oyster sauce, then thickened with cornstarch. Egg is then added using an “egg drop” method similar to Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup and Chicken and Asparagus Soup – that is you bring the liquid to a rapid boil, beat the eggs in a bowl then pour into the sauce while stirring. The egg breaks into small silky pieces, further thickening the sauce.

We usually eat this dish topped with fried shallots and chopped coriander (completely fine without). At home we have a massive bucket of fried shallots that are kept in a repurposed Pretzel container bought from Costco at some point – we have such an abundance of fried shallots that I’m not sure we’ll get through them all, but this dish has been an excellent opportunity for making some progress. Otherwise Scruff always has these noodles with a side of chilli sauce, which I’m happy to do without but it does go well.

My Tips for Success
  1. Use a seasoned wok or a non-stick fry pan for best results.
  2. If the fresh noodles are hard (which can happen if they’ve been in the fridge or going stale) then put them in the microwave to soften.
  3. If the noodles are clumped together, gently them pull apart (only if they are softened) before coating them in dark soy sauce.
  4. If the noodles are sticking to the wok / fry pan then it is most likely because it is not hot enough. Also, the noodles will eventually stick if you have fried them too long.
  5. Too avoid noodle breakage, toss the noodles using the wok / fry pan. Minimise the usage of tongs and chopsticks as much as possible.
  6. If frying noodles is not your forte then save yourself the anxiety and skip this step. As the noodles are already cooked, you can just heat the noodles in the microwave before pouring over the gravy.
  7. The key to to this dish is to have everything prepped before you start cooking. Do NOT prep and cook at the same time!
Recipe Costing

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t included optional ingredients or small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 2

..
Ingredient Quantity
Bought
Shop
Price
Recipe
Needs
Recipe
Cost
Dark soy sauce 500 ml
bottle
$4.00 2 tsp
(10 ml)
$0.08
Fresh rice noodles 1 kg packet $2.40 500 gm $1.20
Garlic 1 bulb at
$25/kg
$1.50 2 cloves $0.30
Dried shiitake
mushrooms
50 gm packet $3.70 4 (10 gm) $0.75
Chicken thighs 2 at$12/kg $4.32 2 $4.32
Choy sum 1 bunch $2.50 1/2 $1.25
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A simple chicken salad with the popular Vietnamese nuoc mam dressing that is both colourful and delicious. The salad is super easy to prepare and makes a perfect light and healthy meal for yourself or the family!

Before I get into this post, I want to share something happening in my personal life. There are a few days each month where I have to walk to Maddy’s daycare to pick her up. The first time I had to do this Steph thought it would only take me 10 minutes, but it took 25 and I was sweating bullets from carrying Maddy in my arms all the way home!

Steph’s next great idea was “Why don’t you take the stroller?” That put me in a precarious situation where I was pushing an empty stroller for half of the trip. Most of the locals took one look at the stroller and probably had to fight the urge to call the police.

Then I figured I could just fold it up and carry it with me. I lasted a quarter of the trip and then ended up pushing it again to the confusion of every passer by. So now I am in a predicament. To stroller… or not to stroller? I am going to suffer either way!

Chicken Salad

A few weeks back, I was in the process of writing up a post for traditional Vietnamese cabbage salad, until I was introduced to something that was much more colourful. I was so overcome by how much prettier the salad was that I decided to fuse them together and create my own salad.

I originally used pork belly in this because it tastes so good but in the end chose to go with chicken breast. It is just so much cheaper and a LOT better for your health. However, if you like to live a little from time to time then I strongly suggest you give it a go.

I highly recommend adding Vietnamese mint into this recipe. It really elevates the dish but it is a little hard to get. In Australia, you will usually find them at Asian groceries and sometimes at mainstream supermarkets. If you have the time and the patience, it is well worth the effort.

My Tips for Success
  1. If you have leftover fresh vegetables that need using up, throw them in.
  2. Thinly sliced boiled pork belly rashers are a fantastic substitute for chicken.
  3. Drying off your vegetables is very important to maintain the intensity of the dressing. I am one of those people who would spin dry vegetables but honestly just patting them dry is fine.
  4. If you do not like pieces of raw garlic, then squash the garlic with a knife and then add it whole to the dressing. Leave in until ready to serve.
  5. I strongly suggest keeping the dressing covered before serving. This will stop the house smelling of FERMENTED FISH!
Recipe Cost

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 2 – 3

Ingredient Quantity
Bought
Shop
Price
Recipe Needs Recipe
Cost
Chicken
Breast
4 pack @ $9/kg $9.00 1 (250 gm) $2.25
Baby Cos
Lettuce
2 pack $3.00 125 gm $0.75
Carrot 1 at $2.20/kg $0.37 1/2 (80 gm) $0.18
Cabbage 1/2 a head $2.70 100 gm $0.20
Bean Sprouts 1 pack (250 gm) $2.00 100 gm $0.40
Garlic 1 bulb at $25/kg $1.50 1 clove $0.15
Fish sauce 300 ml bottle $3.00 3 tbsp (45 ml) $0.45
White
vinegar
2 L bottle $1.20 1 tsp (5 ml) $0.01
Lime Juice 2 at $0.80 each $1.60 2 tbsp (1 and a half) $1.20
Total $24.37   $5.59

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Scruff

Print
Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing
Course Light Meal
Cuisine Fusion
Keyword Chicken Salad, Nuoc Mam
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 – 3 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken breast
  • crispy noodles (optional)
Salad Mix
  • 100 gm cos lettuce or your choice, roughly chopped
  • 100 gm carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks
  • 100 gm purple cabbage, shredded
  • 100 gm bean sprouts
  • 10 Vietnamese..
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This macaroni and spam soup recipe is one of those easy and a little naughty bowls of pure comfort. It is a very popular dish in Hong Kong and is super quick to make since it is simply pasta, spam and egg in soup. If you have never tried it before, the ingredients may seem a little odd but I assure you that it works and it will taste delicious!

Ever since I was a child, I have been a terrible sleeper. I would often wake up in the middle of the night, and feel the need to wake my mum up just to tell her I was awake. She was so patient with me, and would always get out of bed to make me a bowl of noodle soup, and then with a full warm belly I would fall right back asleep again. (Thank you so much mum!!)

Of course when you’re making noodle soup in the middle of the night, you are not making anything fancy, you are making something what you can while half asleep. She would on many occasions make this Hong Kong style macaroni and spam soup for me.

I know this soup may sound a little crazy to anyone who’s never tried it, but trust me, it’s good. Fry up some eggs and spam, boil up some macaroni, then add some wonton soup mix for a very easy broth. This dish is great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and especially after a MASSIVE night out on the town!

My Tips for Success
  1. Fry the egg at medium to low setting in the fry pan. This will stop it from bubbling out of control and give a nice smooth finish to the egg whites.
  2. I do not personally add oil when frying the spam because it is already high in fat. Also, the spam tends to explode with oil making it a little dangerous! So be careful!
  3. I highly recommend using the low sodium version of spam.
  4. Traditionally, chicken stock is used to make this dish but I personally prefer wonton soup mix.
  5. Sesame oil can be very overpowering. Add it sparingly.
  6. Keep it simple. This dish was never suppose to be fancy!
Recipe Costing

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 2

IngredientQuantity
Bought
Shop
Price
Recipe NeedsRecipe Cost
Elbow Pasta500 gm packet$1.95250 gm$0.97
Spam1 tin (340 gm)$4.90170 gm$2.45
Eggs12 pack$3.002$0.50
Wonton Mix1 tin (227 gm)$3.902 tsp (10 ml)$0.17
Canola Oil750 ml bottle$2.251 tbsp (15 ml)$0.04
Sesame Oil330 ml bottle$4.951/4 tsp (1.25 ml)$0.02
Total$20.95 $4.15

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Steph

Print
Macaroni and Spam Soup
Course Light Meal
Cuisine Asian, Chiinese
Keyword Macaroni and Spam Soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 250 gm macaroni (elbows) or pasta of your choice
  • 170 gm spam (1/2 a tin), cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs
Wonton Soup Base (Highly Recommended)
  • 2 tsp wonton soup mix, available at Asian groceries
  • 800 ml water
Chicken Soup Base (Alternative)
  • 800 ml liquid low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 – 2 tsp soy sauce or to taste
Garnish
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil or to taste
  • spring onions, finely chopped (optional)
Optional Extras
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
Instructions
  • Cook the pasta as per the directions on the packaging. Strain and then leave aside until needed.
  • Cut the the spam into cubes. In a fry pan on medium high fry the spam until crispy. Once done, let the spam cool on paper towels until needed.
  • In a pot bring 800 ml of water to the boil and add in the wonton mix. If using chicken stock, add it with the soy sauce into pot and bring to the boil.
  • In a fry pan, add a 1 tbsp of oil and fry the eggs sunny side up on medium low.
  • Taste check the seasoning of your soup and adjust to your taste.
Bowl Assembly
  • Divide the pasta into bowls.
  • Make sure the chicken stock is boiling and then pour over the pasta.
  • Place the spam and egg on top of the pasta
  • Garnish with spring onions and sesame oil.

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Scruff & Steph by Scruff - 2M ago

A hot steaming bowl of chicken pho is one of the most delicious and comforting meals to have when its cold outside. This quick version is made with store bought chicken stock which makes it super easy and suitable to make on weekdays. If you are looking for a pho recipe without the hard work and full of flavour, then this one is for you!

There was a time not so long ago that I was strongly against buying and using store bought chicken stock. Every single recipe I posted was always made from scratch. I even started to looked down upon recipes that used pre-made ingredients, like I was some sort of Michelin starred chef.

So how did I become such a food snob? How did I become THAT GUY? I believe it was because I had been a massive fan of cooking shows like Masterchef. Anytime a contestant did not make their dish from scratch… you could see the disappointment and disbelief on everybody’s faces. This is why I think I never bought or used them. Which looking back is quite silly because home cooking isn’t a reality TV cooking show!

Luckily, the advantage of being one half of a food blog is that the other half can tell when you’re being a douche bag. Especially when you are completely oblivious to it. So now I am completely opened to this whole new world of store bought stuff to make things quicker and easier for the modern day family. Because lets face it, most people don’t have the time or the energy to make everything from scratch.

Chicken Pho / Pho Ga

The first time I made this I had very low expectations. I genuinely thought that by using store bought chicken stock it would taste artificial and nothing like pho. WRONG! Served it to Steph and she smashed it. She clearly couldn’t tell the difference which was good and alarming at the same time.

This chicken pho recipe is based on being quick, easy and cheap. I have listed a fair few things as optional in this recipe because I realise that for some people, some of these ingredients are hard to get or maybe blowing out the budget. So feel free to include any or none of the optional ingredients.

If you are interested in making the pho stock from scratch, the recipe is here
https://scruffandsteph.com/2017/12/19/vietnamese-chicken-soup-with-rice-noodles-pho-ga/

Coriander Seeds Star Anise My Tips for Success
  1. I strongly recommend using the liquid stock over the powdered version. The powdered version will taste very artificial.
  2. Toast the aromatics. This will greatly increase the aroma you can extract. Also, I usually char the ginger but have chosen to keep this step optional since some people don’t have gas stoves or do not have the time.
  3. I like to use chicken drumsticks since I prefer dark meat and its cheap. But it is perfectly fine to use whatever cut you want.
  4. In my opinion, fresh rice noodles are the best for pho. It is available at most Asian groceries.
  5. If I am buying dried pho noodles from mainstream grocers, I will get the pad Thai version.
  6. I like to serve chilli and hoisin sauce on the table so people can add it into their pho or put into small bowls to dip the chicken pieces in.
Recipe Costing

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Serves 4

IngredientQuantity
Bought
Shop
Price
Recipe
Needs
Recipe
Cost
Liquid Chicken
Stock
2 x 1 L cartons$3.802 L$3.80
Chicken
Drumsticks
1 kg pack$4.501 kg$4.50
Rice Noodles2 x 250 gm packet$4.00500 gm$4.00
Star Anise12 gm packet$2.255$0.75
Coriander Seeds25 gm packet$1.301 tbsp (6 gm)$0.30
Ginger1 at $25/kg$3.6030 gm$0.90
Fish Sauce300 ml bottle$3.003 tbsp$0.45
Spring Onions1 bunch $2.001/5 bunch$0.25
Bean Sprouts250 gm packet$2.001/2 packet$1.00
Total$26.45 $15.95

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Scruff

Print
Chicken Pho (cheat version)
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Chicken Pho
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 2 L low sodium liquid chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 kg chicken drumstick / thigh or 2 breasts, cleaned
  • 30 gm ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 500 gm dried rice noodles (generous servings) or 1 kg of fresh rice noodles
Aromatics
  • 5 star anise (whole)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
To Serve
  • 2 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
  • 125 gm bean sprouts
  • 1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges (optional)
  • 10 sprigs coriander (optional)
  • 10 sprigs Thai basil (optional)
  • 2 birds eye chilli or jalapenos finely chopped (optional)
Condiments
  • chilli sauce (optional)
  • hoisin sauce (optional)
Instructions
  • Prepare all your ingredients.
  • Add the chicken stock and 1 cup of water to a large pot on high heat. Allow the pot to come to a boil.
  • Optional Step: Char the ginger slightly by putting it over a gas stove or in the oven at 200 C / 392 F on grill setting.
  • In a small fry pan on medium heat, add the coriander seeds and whole star anise. Toast the aromatics until fragrant.
  • Once the stock is boiling, add the chicken, ginger, sugar, pepper and toasted aromatics. Give the pot a stir and wait for stock to come back to a boil. Once boiling, turned down the heat to medium low and let the pot simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, take a piece of chicken out and check if its done. If yes then take it out the rest of the chicken and let it cool. If not, leave the chicken in the pot until done.
  • Add the fish sauce to the pot and taste check. Adjust the seasoning or amount of stock according to your taste. (Note 1)
  • Tear up the chicken into bite sized pieces and leave in a closed container until needed. Prepare all your herbs / veg and the noodles as directed on the packaging.
Bowl Assembly
  • Turn up the heat to medium high on the stock pot and fish out the star anise and ginger.
  • Divide the noodles into the bowls and put the chicken pieces on top. If using fresh noodles, please refer to note 2.
  • Ladle over the boiling stock and add all the garnishes on top.
  • Serve
Notes
  1. If you want to add more salt and flavour to the stock then use fish sauce. If you need to dilute the stock to make more or toned down the flavour then add boiling water. However, the stock will be diluted further once you add the noodles and herbs. So, it is perfectly fine for the stock to be on the saltier side at this stage. 
  2. If you are using fresh rice noodles, then divide the noodles into bowls. Pour boiling water into the bowl and move the noodles around for 10 seconds and then strain. The noodles are now ready for the stock.  
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This pork mince and rice recipe is one of the most easiest and declicious comfort foods. It is flavoured with traditional Chinese sauces that give it a salty and sweet taste that pairs perfectly with white jasmine rice. The recipe is super cheap and easy which is great for a weekday family dinner or prep meals.

The dish we have most often would have to be this pork mince recipe. It is my ultimate comfort food and I would be happy to have it everyday of the week. Steph on the other hand would most likely disapprove.

If it was up to her, we would probably be having ‘mac n cheese’ a lot more often than we do. I have never understood the appeal of it. It is just cheese and pasta… And most of the time its waaaaaaaay too much cheese. I know most you who are reading this are seeing red and are now out for my blood. But you can see it from my perspective, too much of anything is never good.

To be fair to Steph and probably the majority of people around the world, I do concede that ‘too much cheese’ nearly sounds as stupid as ‘I have too much money.’ So all of you who are with team Steph, maybe we can be civil and agree to disagree? If not… then please be gentle, I bruise easily and have an unusual low threshold for pain.

This recipe was inspired by a Vietnamese home dish my mother made. One day I began making the dish and didn’t realise I had ran out of fish sauce. So, I substituted it with Chinese ingredients. It took a few attempts to get the ratios right but in the end it turned out great. Now, it is one of my favourite things to eat. I promise this one is easy and so delicious that you wont regret it.

My Tips for Success
  1. This dish is great on its own but I usually have it with fresh diced cucumber. You can pretty much pair it with any fresh veg you like.
  2. Black fungus comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The best one is the shredded version which is easy to chop up. However, I have noticed that mainstream groceries only seem to sell the whole version which is a little more work but the results will be the same.
  3. This dish is pretty simple so I don’t actually have many tips to give. I guess my best tip for this dish, is give it a go!
Recipe Cost

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Serves 3 – 4

IngredientQuantity
Bought
Shop PriceRecipe
Needs
Recipe
Cost
Black fungus /
wood ear
mushrooms
1 packet (80 gm)$2.1010 gm$0.21
Oyster sauce1 bottle (300 ml)$2.103 tbsp (45 ml)$0.31
Soy sauce1 bottle (500 ml)$2.851 tbsp (15 ml)$0.09
Cooking wine1 bottle (640 ml)$1.401 tbsp (15 ml)$0.03
Brown onion1 at $2.90/kg$0.521/2$0.26
Garlic 1 bulb at $25/kg$1.502 cloves$0.30
Pork mince1 pack (500 gm)$5.50500 gm$5.50
Total$15.97 $6.70

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

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Simple Pork Mince
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 – 4 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 10 gm black fungus / wood ear mushroom, roughly chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 gm pork mince
  • coriander (optional)
Instructions
  • Wash the black fungus / wood ear mushroom under warm tap water. Soak it in boiling water for at least 20 minutes, then drain and cut.
  • Start cooking as much rice as you need in the rice cooker.
  • In a bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar and pepper. Leave aside until needed.
  • Prep all your other ingredients.
  • In a large fry pan on medium high, add 1 tbsp of oil, onion and garlic. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the pork mince to the pan and fry until the meat is nearly done.
  • Add the black fungus and the sauce to the pan. Combine and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Check the seasoning of your mince and adjust according to your taste.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.
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One of the best cold Vietnamese dishes has to be these beef noodle bowls. It has been a ‘go to meal’ for my family for years since it is so easy to make. Each bowl is filled with rice vermicelli noodles and tender marinated beef strips. It is then loaded up with as many fresh herbs and vegetables as you want and at the end, tied together by an amazing traditional Vietnamese nuoc mam sauce. This recipe is truly a crowd pleaser and well worth giving a go!

To be honest with you guys, this recipe was one of those last minute change ups. I had originally planned to make a salad this week but that fell through when Steph said it sucked. Of course her verdict came AFTER she finished a big helping of it for dinner. I personally liked it but when one half of the blog says your wrong then maybe… just maybe… the recipe needs a little more work.

This beef noodle bowl recipe is on the dinner rotation quite often since it is so tasty, healthy and easy to make. Our fridge is usually stocked with nuoc mam sauce and pickled carrot , so it literally takes us under 20 minutes to get it all on the table.

The heart and soul of this dish has to be the nuoc mam sauce. There are so many variations of this recipe that it really comes down to personal preference. My family prefers nuoc mam to be less tangy and powerful for this dish since we like to drown our noodles in the sauce. If you would like a link to both the sweet and tangy version of nuoc mam then you can find it here.

My Tips for Success
  • It is very important that the nuoc mam sauce has ample time to fuse with the garlic. A fresh batch of nuoc mam sauce will usually not taste as good until it allowed time to develop.
  • Do not be alarmed if you find the sauce a little too salty on its own. When added to the noodle bowl, it will dilute and mellow out.
  • You can use any rice stick / vermicelli noodle you like but the dong guan type is our favourite.
  • My mother likes to rinse the noodles after they have been cooked under warm water to remove the residue. This will prevent your noodles sticking together while they are resting / cooling.
  • Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon goes really well with this dish. You can find the recipe for this here.
  • I like to serve all the leftover veg and herbs on a platter and place it on the table so people can add more to their bowls. Also, don’t forget to serve the remaining sauce as well!
  • If you are super lazy (like me), you can buy salad mix! I have done it before and it does work well.
  • If you don’t have all the marinating ingredients on hand, then just season the beef strips with salt and pepper. The nuoc mam sauce will do the rest!

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Scruff

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Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowls
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Noodle bowls
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 400 gm beef flank steak or whatever you can afford, cut into thin strips (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 240 gm rice stick / vermicelli (Dong Guan style) or 4 portions
Marinade
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 garlic clove, finely chopped
Nuoc Mam Sauce
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of white sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
Salad
  • 5 – 6 lettuce leaves, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, roughly chopped in matchsticks
  • 250 gm bean sprouts
  • 1/4 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • handful of mint leaves (optional)
  • pickled carrot and daikon or 1 shredded carrot, (optional and the link for this recipe is in the tips section)
  • crushed peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Mix in the beef strips and leave aside.
  • Combine all the nuoc mam sauce ingredients. Cover with cling wrap and leave aside until needed.
  • Prep all you vegetables.
  • Cook your rice noodles as directed on the packaging and leave it in strainer until needed. 
  • In a large fry pan or skillet on high, add 1 tbsp of oil and cook the the beef strips until done.
Bowl Assembly
  • In each bowl, place the rice noodles in first and then all the toppings on top. Pour the nuoc mam sauce over the top and finish with crushed peanuts. 
Notes
  1. If you’ve got a cheaper cut of beef steak then it’s worth tenderising it first. To do this, add 1/2 tsp of baking soda and rub it into the meat. Cover with cling wrap and leave for 20 minutes. Then wash the meat thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
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This cream of mushroom soup recipe is a twist on the traditional version. It has chunks of fried pork sausage that are suspended in the creamy soup to give it pops of flavour. Pearl barley is added to the dish to provide a little texture and bulk. When served with crusty bread, this recipe will be enough to satisfy any lover of mushrooms.

As a first time parent, one of the things I was looking forward to most about maternity leave was having lots of time to cook! They said the baby will be sleeping most of the time and so I assumed I would have a lot of spare time. Wrong! The first thing I tried to make after Maddy was born was a very basic cream of mushroom soup, and in between countless nappy changes and hours on the couch feeding I think it took about three days to make the whole thing and the end result was a disaster.

People will tell every new mum “Don’t worry, it gets easier”, and while it’s hard to believe at the time, this soup is my testament that things will eventually get there… at least to the point where cream of mushroom soup can be pulled together in an hour, and actually be something you would want to eat. (Getting a toddler to eat it though is a different story.)

It took me over two years before I could re-attempt this dish, and at first I was planning on just dong a basic version but then I had the idea to add some spicy sausages for extra protein and flavour, plus some pearl barley to give the soup more substance. I was very happy with the end result, and I hope you guys like it too!

A few notes on the ingredients:
  • Mushrooms – I use portabello mushrooms as I think they have the most flavour, but you can really use any type of mushroom here. If you an get a mix of mushrooms going then that’s even better, it will make the soup more interesting.
  • Sausages – if you can handle it, I recommend spicy Italian sausages. For some reason the spiciness just goes really well with this soup. Otherwise, substitute for normal pork sausages. If you want to make this dish vegetarian just forego the sausages altogether.
  • Verjuice – the Verjuice is used to deglaze the pan, but before you rush out and buy a bottle know you can also use wine, white wine vinegar, stock or water.
  • Stock – I use chicken stock from a carton. If you want to make your stock from scratch, there’s one included in my Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup. If you want a vegetarian version then swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock.
  • inutes because marriage is largely about compromise!
  • Serving suggestions – crusty bread rolls and chopped parsley are non-negotiable. A grating of Parmesan cheese is also really lovely.
My Tips for Success
  1. When frying, make sure each ingredient actually browns a little. This gives the dish more colour, and brings out better flavours.
  2. The pearl barley will continue to soak up the liquid after cooking. it’s therefore best to cook it only to the point it still has a bit of bite. Also, if you’ve put the soup in the fridge for later, you may need to add water when you reheat to restore any liquid that’s been soaked up.
  3. Serving suggestions – crusty bread and chopped parsley really finish this soup off. A grating of Parmesan cheese is also really lovely.
Recipe Costing

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 4

IngredientQty BoughtShop PriceRecipe
Needs
Recipe Cost
Brown onion1 at $2.90/kg$0.521$0.52
Pork sausage1 packet
(500 gm)
$6.00250 gm$3.00
Mushrooms375 gm at
$11.00/kg
$4.20 375 gm$4.20
Verjuice375 ml at
$1.77 per 100 ml
$6.6580 ml$1.42
Pearl barley500 gm at
$0.27 per 100 gm
$1.35135 gm$0.36
Chicken
stock
1 L carton$1.901 L$1.90
Thickened
cream
300 ml at
$0.57 per 100 ml
$1.7080 ml$0.45
Total$22.32$11.86

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

Scruff

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Cream of Mushroom Soup with Pork Sausage and Pearl Barley
Course Light Meal, Lunch
Cuisine Australian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 250 gm pork sausages
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Verjuice (or other deglazing liquid)
  • 375 gm mushrooms thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 L low sodium chicken stock
  • 250 ml water
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cracked pepper
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
To serve
  • parsley chopped
  • crusty bread rolls
  • Parmesan grated (optional)
Instructions
  • Prepare all your fresh ingredients. Pull small chunks of sausage meat from the casings.
  • Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the oil and fry the sausage meat until they start to colour (roughly 2 minutes).
  • Add the butter and onion to the pot. Fry for roughly 2 minutes or until the onion begins to become translucent. 
  • Pour in the Verjuice (or white wine), and scrape away at the bottom of the pot until clear.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until softened.
  • Add the flour and stir well to fully incorporate it into the mixture.
  • Add the stock, water and pearl barley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Give the pot a stir every now and then.
  • After 30 minutes, check the pearl barley is cooked to your liking. Once done, remove from heat and stir through the cream.
  • Check the seasoning, consistency and creaminess of your soup and adjust according to your taste. 
  • Ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley and serve alongside crusty bread rolls. Grate the Parmesan over the soup, if using.
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If you ever want a comfort food that delivers on taste and simplicity, then you must try this creamy mushroom and bacon linguine. The recipe is very easily put together and is great when you want a break from the tomato sauce based pastas. Flavoured with bacon, mushrooms and butter this dish is comfort food at its best!

The recipe I am posting today was one of the first dishes I had ever made from a blog. We had recently moved into our own place and it was a big learning curve in terms of cooking. Our parents were very helpful and had given us a few recipes so we wouldn’t starve or miss home too much… (well that’s what I wanted them to believe!)

After a while, we had been cooking the same stuff for a while and just needed something new. Steph suggested that I look something up on the internet and this recipe caught my attention.

From that day on, this pasta dish has been our guilty pleasure. Especially for Steph. If she’s having a hard day (usually my fault!), she can usually be spotted tearing into a full bar of chocolate like a wild savage. On other days where she needs some comforting, this creamy pasta and a BIG glass of wine usually does the trick.

So, if you are like me and are prone to giving your partner the sh!ts… I highly recommend trying this creamy mushroom and bacon dish to start the forgiveness process!

My Tips for Success
  1. Do not cut the mushrooms too thinly. Give them a bit of thickness so that they don’t breakup while cooking and tossing the pasta through the sauce.
  2. I use normal economy bacon (I am cheap!) but it can be substituted with streaky bacon or pancetta.
  3. Check the seasoning of the dish only after you put in the pasta.
  4. Like with all pasta dishes, it gets harder and harder to cook when you add more portions. If you do intend to cook for 6 – 8 people, I suggest cooking on two stove tops. It know it sounds like a pain but it is so much easier to control and you wont be disappointed at the end.
  5. If you need to tone down the richness of the dish, then consider omitting the butter and draining all the bacon fat. Other options include using light cream or leaner parts of bacon.
  6. This dish does not reheat well. It is best to eat it all as soon as its ready.
Recipe Costing

This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).

We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.

Servings: 2 (generous)

IngredientQuantity
Bough
t
Shop
Price
Recipe
Needs
Recipe Cost
Linguine500 gm
packet
$1.70250 gm$1.35
Bacon1 kg packet$7.50100 gm$0.75
White Mushrooms6 at $12/kg$1.446 (120 gm)$1.44
Garlic1 bulb at
$25/kg
$1.502 cloves$0.30
Brown onion1 at $2.90/kg$0.521/2$0.26
Unsalted butter250 gm block$3.2520 gm$0.27
Cream600 ml carton$3.70250 ml$1.54
Spinach100 gm at
$16/kg
$1.6030 gm$0.48
Parsley 1 bunch$2.982 sprigs$0.30
Total $24.19 $6.69

Thank you for visiting our food blog! If you like this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please drop a comment and subscribe to our email list to always get the latest from our kitchen. It is free and your email will not be shared with anyone else.

If you make any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our  Facebook page, Pinterest, Instagram and Yummly. Thank you for your support!

– Scruff

Print
Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Linguine
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Mushroom and Bacon Linguine
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Scruff
Ingredients
  • 250 gm linguine or your choice of pasta
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 100 gm bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 120 gm mushrooms (approx 6), sliced
  • 20 gm unsalted butter (roughly 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt (add more after taste test)
  • pepper to taste
  • 30 gm spinach (handful)
Garnishes
  • 2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • chilli flakes
Instructions
  • Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta as per package instructions.
  • Prepare all your ingredients.
  • In a fry pan on medium high, add 1 tbsp of oil and the chopped bacon. Fry until crisp and remove from the pan onto a paper lined dish. Leave the drippings in the pan.
  • Add the garlic and onion. Stir through for 30 seconds and then add the butter and mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Check you pasta is done and strain.
  • Add the cream, salt and pepper to the fry pan. Lower the heat to medium low and let the sauce..

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