Asparagus season always seems like a welcome relief at the end of the grey winter months. In my current part of the world it’s kind of big deal too as it’s noted for growing some really fabulous quality asparagus. It’s just a shame that the […]
I absolutely adore this recipe, it’s wonderfully versatile and makes great use of whatever seasonal produce is available. You can switch the vegetables in and out depending on what you have, what’s in season and what you do (or don’t) like. For example I can’t abide celery so I don’t use it but you can add a couple of sticks if you’re less picky than me.
This is a deliciously hearty soup too, wonderful to come home to on a chilly evening. It’s packed with nutritious, flavourful veggies and filling pulses and pasta. It’s a real meal of a soup. And best of all – it’s super cheap to make, ideal for January and the post-Christmas pinch. It’s also completely vegan, great for those of you participating in Veganuary!
makes a vat!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion/2 shallots
2 medium carrots
1 medium potato
2 fat garlic cloves
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
1 ltr vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can (400g) beans (anything you like)
50g small pasta shapes or spaghetti snapped into short lengths
salt and pepper to taste
50g greens, shredded (anything you like)
First of all you’ll need the biggest saucepan you have because this makes a lot of soup!
Dice the onion, carrots, squash and potato, I like mine fairly small but you can make it chunkier if you prefer. Heat the oil in the pan over a low heat and add the onion, cook gently for a few minutes until it starts to become translucent. Add the carrot and the squash and continue to saute the vegetables over a gentle heat, this helps to release their natural sweetness. Crush the garlic before adding this and the potato to the pan. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a moment or two longer.
Stir in the tomatoes, vegetable stock and herbs and bring the whole lot to boiling point. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are just starting to feel tender and then add the beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes and then season to taste with salt and black pepper before stirring in the pasta. Cook until the pasta is tender and add the shredded greens just before serving, so that they have just enough time to wilt.
If you don’t need/want this to be vegan then a little sprinkle of grated parmesan before serving is really delicious!
How does this look for a summer brunch!? Golden fluffy pancakes that will help you on your way to your five-a-day? Yes please! I’m a sucker for anything that involves dill so these are a winner for me. They make a pretty hearty breakfast but have got lots of light summer flavours.
You can use whatever type of squash is in season, I actually wanted yellow courgettes but I think I was a bit early for them so I had to settle for a green one. You can also top them with whatever you like. We enjoyed them with gravadlax (mmmm, more dill) but smoked or even poached fish would also be nice .
1 medium yellow or green courgette/squash
200g plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
salt and pepper
30g butter (melted)
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
oil for frying
poached eggs, gravadlax, sour cream to serve
Grate the squash and then wrap it up in a clean tea towel and give it a good squeeze to remove some of the excess moisture. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk them together. In a seperate jug beat together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Gradually mix the wet into the dry to leave you with a thick smooth batter.
Add the grated squash and the chopped dill and mix through, ensuring that everything is well combined.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and pour the batter into the pan to create the pancakes, make them as big or small as you like (although smaller ones are easier to flip!). When little bubbles start to form around the edges of the pancakes they should be ready to turn over. Cook until both sidea are golden brown and serve topped with cured or smoked fish, poached eggs or a little sour cream.
These are a lovely savoury twist on a sweet tea-time classic. You don’t have to limit them to afternoon indulgence though – these have proved very popular for breakfast and brunch topped with fried or poached eggs. You can use any hard, medium-fat cheese you […]
My mum had a special birthday on New Years Eve. I’m not going to tell you how old she was but it was the kind of birthday that you make a fuss over. Having a a birthday on New Year’s Eve isn’t as great as it might sound, yes you’re never short of a party to go to but none of those parties are just for you and if you want a party of your own then everybody’s already got other plans! This year we decided to get together and cook a fancy three course dinner for her and we kicked things off with this delicious, luxurious pate and some fresh bread, baked by my brother.
10g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 70ml of hot water
150g chestnut mushrooms
100g peeled, cooked chestnuts
3 tbsp whipping cream
few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
a few shavings of black truffle (optional and only if you’re feeling extravagant!)
Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms in the hot water and set them aside.
Finely dice the onion and gently fry it in the butter. You want it to be soft but not too coloured. Wipe the chestnut mushrooms with a piece of damp kitchen roll and then roughly chop them. Add them to the frying pan and gently cook them. Roughly chop the chestnuts and fry them for a few moments too. Pour in the porcini mushrooms, together with the soaking liquid but be careful to avoid any grit that may have collected at the bottom. Pour over the brandy and add the leaves from the thyme. Increase the heat a little and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blitz it together. Pour in the cream, season to taste and whizz it up again until you are happy with the texture, you can make it as smooth or course as you like. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins and then pop them in the fridge to chill and firm up a little until you are ready to serve them with some delicious warm bread.
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 […]