Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Parsnip & Orange Soup

Photo of my finished soup

This is a very tasty soup, but remember parsnips and carrots are a little on the sweet side, so adjust the salt & pepper to taste.

2 tsp olive oil
1 Large onion chopped
1 large leek sliced
2 carrots thinly sliced
800 g /1lb. 12ozs parsnips, sliced
1 piece of fresh ginger about 2ozs or (2 inch piece) peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
grated rind of half an orange ( I only had a satsuma !! so grated all the peel)
1.4 litres/2. 1/2 pints/6 cups water
The juice sqeezed from the satsuma (in my case) or from your orange
salt & pepper
snipped chives or slivers of spring onions to garnish
A dribble of single cream (optional) I added this at the end of warming and just before serving.


1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and leek and cook over a medium heat for 5 mins stirring occasionally until softened.

2) Add the Parsnips, carrots, ginger, garlic, grated orange rind, water, salt & pepper ( I also added a half of an organic vegetable 'Kallo' stockcube, my choice ,but not in the recipe) I will try it without next time. reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 40 mins stirring occasionally until the vegetables are very soft.

3) Allow the soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. ( My personal preference is to leave some behind so that I have a few bits of veg in the soup )

4) Return the soup to the pan and stir in the orange juice. Add a little more water at this stage if you prefer thinner soup. Adjust salt & pepper to your taste. Return to the heat and simmer for 5 mins until warmed through.

5) Before serving add a dribble of cream to the pan. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with chives or chopped spring onion.


Just a tip !

This makes a large quantity of soup, so if you want to add cream as I did, only take out how much soup you are going to serve up and add the cream to this amount in another pan.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Tartiflette - A traditional French Dish


This is a traditional French dish which is apparently popular in ski resorts especially the Alps. A French friend taught me how to make this and it is delicious, but I’m afraid full of calories. Lovely eaten with a slice of crusty French bread, and a side salad. Bon Appetite !!

Serves 6

1kg large potatoes, peeled and boiled for approx 20 minutes (they should still be firm, do not over cook)

2tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

200g streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into small dice ( Lardons)

150ml white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

450g Reblochon cheese (expensive but needed for this dish)

Pre-heat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4.

Cut the boiled potatoes into even medium slices.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onion and bacon for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often until lightly coloured. Add the potatoes and wine and simmer for another 10 minutes, then season.

Spoon half of the potato mixture into an ovenproof dish, cut the Reblochon in half horizontally and place one half on the potatoes. Spoon over the rest of the potatoes and place the other half of the cheese, divided into four quarters, on top.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.

N.B Sometimes Reblochon is difficult to find, but Waitrose sell it and Tesco’s usually have it.

Baked Beetroot and Garlic recipe

Baked Beetroot and Garlic

1) Place the beetroot's into double thickness of foil, make sure there is enough foil to bring up to seal the beetroots.
( unless they are very large leave whole and don't peel them at this stage)

2) Crush 4 garlic cloves ( again don't peel just give them a bash to crush them, so they are still whole but the taste is released) add them to the beetroot.

3) Add about a tablespoon of virgin olive oil and tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the beetroot spoon it over the beetroot & garlic. seal the foil tightly so the beetroot almost steams in the oven.

4) Bake at around 190 for about an hour ( depending on size and number of beetroots) test with a sharp knife to see if the beetroot is cooked, if not leave for longer.

5) When cooked allow to cool and take the skin off the beetroots with a sharp knife and cut into either slices or chunks.

delicious as a baked veg with the dinner or left to go cold and have it with salad or in a cheese sandwich.

I kept mine in a kilner jar in the fridge for a week I left the juices and garlic in the jar as well.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Chickpeas with Pumpkin, Lemongrass & Coriander

I have used this recipe three times now, and we love it more each time. If you don't have time to cook the dried chickpeas from scratch, do as I did and use a can of chickpeas in water (drained of course) I also used the block of coconut that you can buy from the supermarket, I didn't have any coconut milk to hand, so I chopped a chunk of the block and dropped it into the pot. The second time I used the little sachets of creamed coconut that come 4 to a box (I used one). So to sum up here below is the original recipe, but like me if you haven't got everything then use what you have. One more thing ! I added the cooked french beans into the curry towards the end of cooking to add a little colour, the recipe doesn't call for this, but we liked it and I may try peas next time. OK now on with the recipe .........................


Enough for 4-6 people

. Dried chickpeas - 200g, soaked in water for several hours.
( I used canned chickpeas)
. Onions - 2 medium.
. groundnut oil - 2 tablespoons (plus a little more later)
(I used olive oil)
. Garlic - 4 cloves
. Ginger - a thumb size piece.
. Lemongrass - 3 large stalks (I used only 2)
. Ground coriander - 2 teaspoons
. Ground turmeric - 2 teaspoons
. Green Cardamoms - 6
. Hot red chillies - 2 ( I would say mild ones if you don't like your food too hot)
. Pumpkin - 500g, peeled and seeded (about 1kg unprepared weight) (I used more )
. Vegetable stock - 250ml
. Coconut milk - 400ml ( or do as I did and pop a chunk of block creamed coconut in )
. Yellow mustard seeds - a tablespoon * see note below
. Coriander leaves - a handful
* yellow mustard seeds - ( I didn't add these the first time I cooked this as I never had any, added some the second time after buying. - result : - not a lot of difference to be honest)


. Drain the chickpeas and bring them to the boil in deep unsalted water. Let them simmer for

40 to 50 minutes, until tender. (Or cheat and use canned chickpeas, I can is sufficient )

. Peel the onions and chop them quite finely. pour the oil into a deep casserole (or wok, or deep lidded fry-pan) add the onions, letting them cook over a moderate heat until soft and translucent.

. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and the ginger, remove any tough leaves from the lemongrass, then make them all into a rough paste in a food processor ( I used a mini one )

. Stir the rough paste into the softened onions and continue to cook.

. Add the ground coriander and turmeric, then lightly crush the seeds of the green cardamoms.

. De-seed and finely chop the fresh chillies (I used my own grown DRIED chillies) and stir them in. Keep the heat fairly low and on no account allow the ingredients to brown.

. Chop the pumpkin into large chunks, although no larger than you would put into your mouth, then add pumpkin to the pan, along with the drained (fresh or canned) chickpeas and the stock. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and continue to cook at a gentle bubble until the pumpkin is tender. Stop as soon as the flesh is yielding to the point of a knife, you don't want it to collapse.

. Stir in the coconut milk and continue to simmer.

. Put a splash of oil into a nonstick pan (with a lid) and tip in the yellow mustard seeds. As soon as they start to pop (hence the lid !!) add them to the pumpkin along with the coriander leaves.

. At the end of cooking you can add ready cooked french green beans or some peas to add a little colour and more texture to this delicious dish. (this is optional, it wasn't in the original recipe)

Serve with Brown or white basmati (or your favorite ) rice.

That's it !! it seems a bit daunting when you look at the recipe but honestly it's a doddle and second time on it's very quick to make. SO Happy Cooking x

This recipe is taken from 'Nigel Slater's new cookbook - Tender Volume 1: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch. fabulous book, much more than a cookery book.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Raspberry Curd

makes 350g

* 250 g raspberries
* 170 g caster sugar* 50 g butter, preferably unsalted, cut into cubes
* 2 eggs beaten

1. Place the raspberries in a pan and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes, squashing the fruits with a spoon to release their juices.

2. Push the fruit through a sieve, collecting the puree in a bowl.

3. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler) and add all the other ingredients, pouring the beaten eggs through a sieve onto the puree.
NB ** Making sure you add the eggs before the ingredients get too hot or else they will curdle, I found this out myself and it wasn't nice, so now I make sure I add the eggs before heating all the ingredients up together.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well blended. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon - this should take about 20 - 30 minutes.

5. Pour the curd into small, hot sterilised jars, and seal.

This recipe was in the 'Grow your Own' magazine and taken from the 'Fruits of The Earth' cookbook. It didn't however say how long it keeps of if it should be kept in the fridge. So I contacted the author of the book , Gloria Nicol, by e-mail, and she very kindly replied saying that it should keep for at least 6 weeks in the fridge UNOPENED, and 2 weeks in the fridge after opening. It only made 2 smallish jars, which I prefer as it gets eaten before it has a chance to go off. believe me it's delicious I'm on my second jar. yummy stirred into plain yogurt.