Gin Diaries Main Meals Recipes

Recipes That Represent My Kitchen – Baked Pasta Shells and Gin Brambles

January 15, 2018

A new week and I’m kicking things off with a fun challenge. Britannia Living have challenged me with showing off some recipes that represent my kitchen. So today I’m sharing with you a recipe for Baked Pasta Shells. And also one for a Gin Bramble.

I love a challenge and I think Britannia Living set a great one with this competition. The #BritanniaCookOff is all about showing off my passion for cooking through delicious recipes that represent my kitchen. At Britannia Living the kitchen is really the heart of the home and that’s very much true of my household too. I must admit it really didn’t take much time to think about the kinds of recipes that represent my kitchen. I wanted something hearty, not too complex and tasty, for both my meal and my drink. For us pasta really is a staple for meal times in our household. And of course gin is a staple for our weekends too. So these Baked Pasta Shells with Gin Brambles to accompany it really do represent my kitchen.

Britannia Cook Off - Baked Pasta Shells In Oven Dish on Tea Towel

Baked Pasta Shells
Serves 4
A hearty, flavourful pasta dish.
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the Tomato Sauce
  1. 2 Cans chopped tomatoes
  2. 200g Bacon lardons (smoked)
  3. Bunch of basil chopped
  4. 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  5. 1 White onion, diced
  6. Ground black pepper
  7. Big glug of olive oil
For the Pasta
  1. 2 Balls of Mozzarella, diced
  2. 250g Ricotta
  3. 100g Parmesan
  4. Ground black pepper
  5. 300g Giant pasta shells
For the Tomato Sauce
  1. Add the oil, garlic and onion to a heavy based pan (that has a lid).
  2. Cook until soft (15 min) then add in the lardons, cook until cooked through.
  3. Add in the chopped tomatoes, loads of black pepper and basil. Pop the lid on and simmer for 20 mins.
For the Pasta
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. After about 10 mins of the sauce cooking, get the pasta going and cook as per instructions (mine was 12 min).
  3. Prepare the cheese, grate the parmesan, put half in a bowl with ricotta and whip the ricotta with a fork. Stir in some ground black pepper.
  4. When the pasta has cooked, stir through the ricotta. Take the sauce off the heat, should be done now.
  5. Now get an oven dish out, spread a ladle full of the cooked sauce across the bottom.
  6. Layer in half the pasta with half the diced mozzerella.
  7. Top with sauce, then layer with the pasta and mozzarella. Top with the sauce. Then sprinkle on parmesan.
  8. Bake for 20 mins and serve!
Britannia Cook Off - Baked Pasta Shells Close Up

Britannia Cook Off - Baked Pasta Shells Served on a Plate

For a drink that represents my kitchen, I chose to make a twist on a Bramble. Because they really are my favourite gin cocktails, the sweetness of the berry is really matched with the lemon. I didn’t have enough ice to fill my tumblers with, so I topped these ones off with some tonic. It still worked though and they went perfectly with our Baked Pasta Shells dinner.

Britannia Cook Off - Bramble Cocktails Served in Whisky Tumblers

Gin Bramble
Serves 1
A sweet and sour cocktail with gin!
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  1. 50ml Gin (I chose Brockmans)
  2. 50ml Lemon juice
  3. 25ml Chambord or Creme de Cassis
  4. 10ml Raspberry syrup
  5. 100ml Tonic water (I chose the low cal option to not add anymore sweetness)
  6. Ice
  7. Berries to garnish
  1. Add the gin, lemon juice, Chambord and syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice (or in my case frozen berries - still worked - we didn't have enough ice!) and shake until it's very very cold.
  2. Fill a glass with ice, strain the cocktail into it and top up with tonic water. Garnish with berries! Enjoy!
Dr W was very happy to enjoy this hearty meal after a long old day of house viewings and mortgage appointments. I really did have a wonderful Saturday night in! What recipes would represent your kitchen? Would you make my Baked Pasta Shells or Gin Brambles? Let me know in the comments,


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P.S. Post in collaboration with Britannia Living.


  • Reply holly January 24, 2018 at 3:12 am

    That food looks delicious, may have to try that recipe out.

    • Reply MissPond January 24, 2018 at 8:23 am

      If you do I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply Rosaleen Marmion January 23, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Oh that is just a perfect night in right there. You can’t go wrong with pasta and cocktails! Great post and i’ll be saving that recipe thanks!

    • Reply MissPond January 23, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Absolutely the perfect night in meal! Hope you enjoy it if you make it 🙂

  • Reply Linda Hobbis January 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Now whilst your baked pasta shells look delicious, I am very swayed by the Gin Bramble. It looks like it’s worth making the extra effort for (and resisting the urge to have half a ‘half and half’ gin and tonic!

    • Reply MissPond January 23, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you 🙂 The gin bramble is totally worth making – it’s delicious 🙂

  • Reply Mellissa Williams January 23, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Loving the look of the gin bramble. Chambord is delicious. Do you taste much gin in this cocktail?

    • Reply MissPond January 23, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      I agree! The gin is quite well hidden by the fruit 🙂

  • Reply Chloe January 15, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I reckon some kind of pie with wine would represent our kitchen – or perhaps a whisky cocktail!


    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      Oooh sounds wonderful 🙂 A good whisky sour would be amazing with pie.

  • Reply Karen January 15, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    YUM! ooks like such a fab winter warmer. Gonna have to add this to my midweek meals list

    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      It really is perfect for these dull, grey days. It’s not too difficult for midweek either 🙂

  • Reply Alexander Ward January 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Really like this post Emma, but especially the gins. They look amazing and I always forget about a Bramble when it comes to cocktails and especially during winter.

    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks Alex 🙂

  • Reply Bethanh January 15, 2018 at 11:09 am

    I’m definitely going to have to try that pasta, super easy but I bet super tasty, thanks a bunch for sharing 🙂

    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      It’s so so easy to make 🙂

  • Reply Jenny January 15, 2018 at 10:43 am

    I’ve never heard of Gin Brambles before but it’s definitely something I would love to try at home.

    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      They’re super tasty and a real traditional gin cocktail.

  • Reply Sarah Elizabeth January 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Oooooo this is SUCH a me post! (Well, mainly the pasta. Still working on liking the gin!)

    I also always plump for something hearty, filling, usually carb loaded and with a kick, with my fave dish at the moment being a Serious Eats chilli – it has anchovies, whiskey and feta involved, is absolutely delicious and we have it either with sticky rice or salty nachos!

    Drink wise, I’m a red wine or port kinda girl, though also partial to a black or spicy rum cocktail mixed with ginger beer!


    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      You might like this gin cocktail! It isn’t ginny at all 🙂 That serious eats chilli sounds wonderful, can you send me the recipe? x

      • Reply Sarah Elizabeth January 19, 2018 at 4:46 pm

        Remind me to snap a pic of the book when I’m home/over the weekend! Happy to share 🙂

        Also, make me that cocktail when I next see you! Ha.


        • Reply MissPond January 23, 2018 at 9:23 pm

          Ooooh thank you lovely 🙂 I will definitely make this cocktail for you x x

  • Reply Michelle January 15, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Ahhh this is such perfect winter comfort food! I am completely craving pasta at the moment – will be looking out for the giant last shells to give this a try 🙂

    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Michelle 🙂 I got mine in Waitrose but I’ve seen them in other supermarkets!

  • Reply Chyaz January 15, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Oooooh the pasta dish looks amazing! I’m going to try and make a veggie version of this for sure 🙂

    • Reply MissPond January 15, 2018 at 9:34 am

      If you just remove the bacon and get some veggie Parmesan it’d be perfect!

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