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A classic winter warmer based on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s traditional British soup recipes found in the Guardian. Link & recipe to follow. 

So watch this space! 

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This is a very mild and comforting soup, which is really easy to make. For a touch of luxury, add fresh field mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil. Enjoy with a crisp white wine.


Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower (about 1.3kg) stalks removed and florets chopped

1 large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

25g butter

4 tbsp olive oil

1.2l vegetable stock

600ml full-fat milk

142ml double cream

Salt & pepper


Spices I used:

Pinch of saffron

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cumin



Method:

Put the cauliflower, potato and onion in a large saucepan with the butter and half the oil. Gently heat the ingredients until they start to sizzle. Then cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be softened but not take on any colour.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Then pour in the milk and return gently to a boil. Season to taste then simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Pour in half the cream.

Blend everything in a food processor or blender, in batches. But do let it cool! Stir in the rest of the cream.

Serve in warm bowl with crispy bacon lardons and a chopped parsley. Alternatively, serve with crispy fried wild mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Enjoy!

Love, Natasja

Recipe based on BBC Good Food. Picture my own.

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Happy new year! May 2015 bring wonderful cooking, fresh produce and many social gatherings!

During the pre-Christmas days many of us tend to buy way too much food, and this in turn creates a lot of waste, of course. And call me cheap or stingy if you must, but I dislike throwing money out the window. You can read more about sneaky supermarket tactics and how to avoid them here

This year we managed to buy just enough food and drinks, and the only things left are a bag of Brussels sprouts, a large piece of Stilton, parsnips and broccoli. The sprouts did get chucked out.

I’ve never actually tasted broccoli and Stilton soup before and I was pleasantly surprised. Delicately green coloured and with the salty tang of Stilton – it really is a great soup. However you may want to skip the cream as we found it a bit too rich, and instead use crème fraîche

The recipe is from New Covent Garden Soup Company. The parsnip, spring onion and crème fraîche are my additions.

INGREDIENTS

  • 25 g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small leek, diced
  • 1 small parsnip, diced
  • garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 450 g broccoli florets
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 100-150 g Stilton cheese, to taste
  • 100 ml double cream or crème fraîche
  • Spring onion, chopped – for garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan, add the leek, garlic, parsnip and potato, then cover and cook gently for 10 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the broccoli florets and stock, then bring to the boil. Cover and cook for a further 6-8 minutes until the broccoli is just tender and has retained its colour.
  3. Stir in the Stilton until almost melted, then add the cream or crème fraîche.
  4. Blend until smooth, season to taste and serve with freshly ground pepper, chopped spring onions and crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Love,
Natasja

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As promised –below is the post by guest blogger Guy Alan (www.tigconstruction.com)

Beetroot & Orange Soup & Ham Shoulder Dijonnaise

We had four friends over for dinner on Saturday, and this is what we ate. OK so, soup first I guess.

I followed (sort of) a recipe from the Reader’s Digest Healthy One Dish Cooking recipe book.

For this dish you will need the following ingredients:

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 carrots peeled and sliced

2 celery sticks, rough cut

1 onion, rough cut

1 fennel bulb, sliced

3 tomatoes roughly chopped

300g cooked beetroot, peeled and sliced

2 oranges, grated zest and juice

1 litre vegetable stock

For the beetroot salsa:

1 tsp olive oil

100g cooked beetroot, peeled and finely sliced

1 tomato finely chopped

2 spring onions finely chopped

I heated the olive oil in a pan and added carrots, celery and the fennel, couldn’t get a bulb so used some dried instead. I cooked it for about 15 minutes until the vegetables were soft but not browned.

Next I added the tomatoes and the beetroot and cooked for three minutes or so. Then I stirred in the orange zest with the stock. In this case I did not have stock so I robbed a can of vegetable soup from the cupboard, which worked OK. I turned the gas right down and let the pan simmer for 25 minutes. While that was happening I made the salsa.

I took the soup from the stove and buzzed it in the blender until it looked smooth and creamy.

As I served the soup I dropped in the salsa, which is not quite what the recipe suggested, but it worked well.

I have tried this soup hot previously served with a tablespoon of plain yoghurt and a sprig of parsley which was delicious. I froze the soup and on this occasion served it cold. It seemed to have matured having been stored and it was a great starter. I like the cheeky orange opposing with the smooth earthier beetroot.

For a main I cooked a Ham Shoulder Dijonnaise from a recipe in Delia Smith’s Illustrated Cookery Course.

For this the recipe instructed me to collect these ingredients, to serve 6-8 people.

1 piece loin of pork with crackling, about 1.3kg

3 level tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

1 heaped teaspoon whole peppercorns

1 heaped teaspoon dried sage

3 level teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt

For the gravy:

A small amount of plain flour

10fl oz dry cider

For the garnish:

3 small Cox apples

1 oz butter

I turned the oven on to gas mark 7.  My pork was ready scored, but if it wasn’t I would have sliced lightly into the skin. I took off the skin and half the fat covered it in salt and put it on a baking tray.

I took two slices of brown bread in the blender and turned them into fine crumbs. I took 3 big tablespoons of crumbs and mixed them with the sage and peppercorns in a bowl. I just used ready crunched peppercorns. I did not add salt as I am trying to cut down. I covered the pork with a coating of the mustard, then took hand-full’s of the breadcrumb mix and patted it in until the roast had a furry little coat.

I put the meat into a roasting tin and lightly covered it with a square of foil. Then into the oven it went.

I turned the oven down to gas mark 5 and let it cook for two and a half hours. I basted the meat twice, but I forgot to remove the foil for the last half hour as per the recipe. I put the crackling under the grill as there was no room in the oven for a half hour. It burned a bit but it was alright.

I had also filled another dish with farmhouse cut potato, parsnip and kumara with half a cup of water and three tablespoons of olive oil drizzled over them. I made the garnish by frying the apples until they were soft ( and a bit black in places).

I made a gravy from two beef stock jellies, a healthy chuckle of ruby port and a few splashes of dry cider until it looked right. Using the cider to ease the consistency of the gravy until it flows nicely works well.

I served the roast sliced, self-serve, with vegetables sort of roasted and a bit steamed. The gravy worked very well and would do the ruby port thing again for sure.

My better half made the desert. With open meringues available we built our own using cut strawberries, blueberries, vanilla custard and double cream as toppings.

A delicious finish to an interesting meal!

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…often occurs in the strangest of places. Today, while waiting to have my nails done, I came across a food magazine. And I will always reach for the food magazine. Forget fashion and celebrity gossip!


Found a recipe for spinach and lentil soup, which a few years ago would have turned my stomach. No way would I want lentils! But we grow up, don’t we, eventually. (Tofu on the other hand…. A lot more growing up to do.)


So here’s a recipe for middle eastern-spiced spinach and lentil soup, pinched from http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk
Serves 6
Preparation time 1 hour


Ingredients:


2 tbsp olive oil (I used 1/2)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 tsp sweet paprika (unsmoked), plus extra to serve
1 tbsp tomato purée
250g red lentils
1.5 litres vegetable stock
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
400g spinach, washed, dried, large stalks removed
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve


For the garlic yogurt:


100g natural or Greek yogurt
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)


Method:


1. For the soup, heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onion, carrot, garlic, chili flakes and some salt and pepper. Stir, cover and cook over a low heat for 7-8 minutes until soft and lightly golden.

2. Uncover the pan, add the ground cumin and paprika and cook for a few seconds, then stir in the puree. Add the lentils and stock and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then.

3. Meanwhile make the garlic yogurt by mixing all the ingredients with a pinch of salt. Chill until needed.

4. Add the diced tomatoes to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Bunch up the spinach leaves and slice them across into fine shreds. Fill 6 deep soup bowls to the brim with the spinach, then ladle over the boiling hot soup and stir.

As soon as the spinach has wilted, serve topped with a spoonful of the garlic yogurt, sprinkled with a little paprika and with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Tip – add a few slices of chorizo just before serving.

Nutritional info
196kcals, 6.6g fat (1.3g saturated), 11.9g protein, 22.5g carbs (5.9g sugars), 0.3g salt, 5.1g fibre

 

image

 

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Chinese pak choi & chicken soup

I’ve been lucky so far and not had any massive colds yet this year (hah!) but feeling under the weather today. So what better than a chicken soup for the soul, a real boost to the system:

You need:

6 large spring onions
4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1,2 litres/40fl oz chicken stock
2 chicken breasts, skinned and finely shredded
4 heads of pak choi, thick stems removed and reserved, the leaves finely chopped
150g or 5,5 oz Chinese noodles or vermicelli
1 teaspoon tamari or light soy sauce
1/2 red chilli to garnish (optional)

Method:

1. Chop the white parts of four of the spring onions very finely; cut the others lengthwise almost to the root and reserve

2. Heat the oil very gently. Add the chopped spring onion and garlic and sweat for just 2 min.

3. Pour in the stock. Bring slowly to a simmer and remove the garlic.

4. Continuing to simmer, add the chicken and reserve pak choi stems, and cook for ten minutes, until the chicken is almost tender.

5. Remove the pak choi stems.

6. Add the pak choi stems.

7. Add the pak choi leaves, noodles/vermicelli, and tamari/soy sauce and simmer for five minutes.

8. Serve with some shredded red chilli (optional)

Enjoy!

Love,
Natasja

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