Thick, rich and velvety, this is the perfect winter soup! It might sound like an odd combination of flavours but it really works. The sweet, earthy parsnip and the slightly peppery celeriac, the tangy apple and the warming horseradish, it’s all just wonderful together. Like […]
I eat gallons of soup during the winter months. Seriously, I get through vats of the stuff. It’s so quick and easy, especially creamy blended soups, you can have yourself a warming veg packed meal ready within 30 minutes or so from start to finish. I like to make quite generous quantities so that I can either have leftovers for lunch or stash some in the freezer for another day.
This recipe is packed with flavour with a bit of sweetness from the vegetables balanced with the savoury umami of the miso. It’s wonderfully rich and thick too, perfect served with a hunk of fresh bread.
makes a vat!
a little oil
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
800g sweet potatoes
1 fat garlic clove
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tbsp shiro (white) miso
black pepper to taste
sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Peel the onion, garlic and sweet potatoes (don’t bother with the carrot – life’s too short) and roughly chop everything so that it’s all a similar size. Heat a dash of oil in a large saucepan and toss in the vegetables. Gently fry them until the onions start to caramelise a little. Add the miso and the stock and then bring the pan to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the soup gently bubble away until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender.
Leave things to cool down a bit and then transfer the soup to a liquidiser and blend until everything is silky smooth. Return the soup to the pan and season to taste with black pepper. Re-heat a little if you need to and serve topped with a drizzle of sesame oil and sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.
I’ve got a bone to pick with you guys. Why did none of you tell me how delicious baked feta is? I mean regular feta is pretty good but baked feta is a whole other thing! It’s so soft, but not actually melted, with a deliciously caramelised top, which is helped in this recipe by a little dab of sweet honey.
This is such a great addition to any mezze table. The slightly smokey grilled nectarines go wonderfully with the soft creaminess of the cheese and the little hint of heat from the chili.
serves 2 (slightly piggy people)
2 nectarines (a little underripe is fine)
200g drained feta
2 tsp oil
sprig of thyme
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
1 small red chili
2 tbsp runny honey
handful of walnuts
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Slice the fruit, into about eight pieces each and toss them in the oil. I do this in the dish that I’m going bake the feta in so that that gets greased at the same time too. Heat a griddle pan and place the fruit in it. Cook the fruit until it is nicely charred on both sides. Put the fruit into the baking dish and add the sliced chili, black pepper and sprig of thyme. Top with the slab of feta and then bake the whole lot for 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes have passed drizzle the cheese with a tablespoon of the honey and then cook for a further five minutes so that it becomes lovely and golden on top. Just before serving toss in the walnuts and drizzle with the remaining honey.