Asparagus and Courgette Soup

By now you probably will have gathered that I find soup to be a pretty successful and convenient way of getting a good variety of veggies into my family’s tums.  So here we have a great one.  Ridiculously quick and … Continue reading

Roasted tomato and rosemary soup

An incredibly quick and easy soup for lunch or supper… Preheat your over to 200c Chuck the following ingredients into a high sided roasting pan and then pop in the oven for 45 mins… 7 tomatoes, stalky bit removed and … Continue reading

Roasted Celeriac, Cauliflower and Garlic Soup

Celeriac, cauliflower and garlic soup

 

Celeriac is my most forgotten, most favourite vegetable. That and artichokes – both globe and Jerusalem. For some reason they never seem to spring to mind when I sit down to do my weekly menu plan.  Partly because I can’t guarantee they will be in stock at the supermarket, and partly because, like most I have a bad habit of sticking to the old faithfuls…

This week I saw celeriac at the supermarket and chucked one in the trolley regardless of it not being on my shopping list.  As someone who doesn’t like to veer from a plan, ski off piste or live on the edge too frequently in her life, this brazen move has provided me with a little thrill.  Loser? Yes, I know.

Anyway, this is how I used it and it was a great success at the lunch table today, served simply with buttered Wholewheat toast fingers.

Roasted Celeriac, Cauliflower and Garlic Soup

Serves 4-5 depending on hunger levels

1 celeriac

1 cauliflower, medium sized

4 cloves of garlic, in their jackets

olive oil

1 red onion, medium

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

2 cups 1% milk (would have been cream if I wasn’t trying to lose the baby weight)

1 pint chicken stock

Salt and pepper

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 190c

2. Remove the skin from the celeriac and dice flesh into 2-3cm cubes.  Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and snap off medium sized florets. Cut the stork into the same sized pieces as the celeriac. Toss both the celeriac and cauliflower in olive oil with the garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper and chuck into a roasting pan, and then into the oven for about 50 mins until both have good colour

3. In a heavy based pan, melt the butter on a medium heat. Dice the onion and sweat down in the butter with the thyme

4.  Add the roasted veg to the onion and cover in ther milk and half of the stock. Simmer for 20 mins then blitz with a hand blender

5. Pass through a sieve in two batches and return to the heat. Add the remaining stock to loosen, bring to the boil and serve

I love a good bowl of soup at any time of year and it has proven a great method of getting lots of veg into my unsuspecting little girl… As long as I don’t call it by the veggies it contains, purely by the colour. So today was ‘white soup’… Whatever works I say x

Back in the kitchen… It’s been a while

SnowIt has been a while since my last post and I will explain all in due course. In the meantime, I am still here but now back in the kitchen.

We hit a staggering -11 degrees here in the Canadian Rockies this morning and I am assured that it will get much colder in the weeks and months to come… Eek.

It therefore seems only fitting to work on a big pot of Swiss barley soup to warm our cockles whilst the snow settles outside. Do watch out for the recipe and pics to follow later this week.

X

Chicken & Corn Chowder for Children with Chicken Pox (and their suffering parents)

A Quick and Easy Supper Recipe for All the Family

Between the applications of ‘make-up’ (calamine lotion) and the administering of ‘yum-yum’ (Calpol) to our little girl who is currently enduring the pox of the chicken variety, I was inspired by the 2 for 1 fresh corn in the supermarket, to make that one supper suggestion that makes everything feel that little bit better.  Apt timing Sainos, thank you!

Ready to devour in about 45 minutes, this is a complete meal in bowl.  Whilst being warming and hearty, my version of chicken and corn chowder still manages to taste fresh and not too heavy. I do however always think that a good piece of fresh bread to dunk never goes a miss.

Chicken and Corn Chowder
This makes about 4/5 bowls

Ingredients and suggested quantities:
4 x thick rashers of smoked streaky bacon
2 x chicken thighs, free-range if poss
Drizzle of olive oil
3 x leeks, trimmed, halved and finely sliced
1 x handful of new potatoes, quartered
2 x fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 x handful of fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 x pint fresh chicken stock with ½ pint of water
Splash of whole milk
1 x knob of butter

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200c
  2. In a non-stick frying-pan, dry fry the bacon until crispy, then cut into thin strips
  3. Return the frying-pan to the heat for a minute and carefully add the chicken thighs to the residual bacon fat, skin side down to brown for about 5 minutes, then turn and repeat on the underside.  Move the chicken from the pan into an over proof dish and pop into the oven to cook through for approximately 15-20 minutes depending on their size.  Obviously undercooked chicken is a no-no so do ensure the juices run clear from the meat closest to the bone
  4. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat and add the prepped leeks to soften and brown slightly for a couple of minutes
  5. Add the raw new potatoes, corn, tarragon and black pepper and allow to cook through for about 5 minutes before adding the stock and water and simmer
  6. By this time, the chicken should be cooked.  Remove chicken meat from the bone and cut into smallish chunks and add to saucepan
  7. After about 10 minutes, check the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat and then  breakdown the potatoes roughly by plunging a few times with a potato masher
  8. Return to low heat, add the bacon, splash of milk and knob of butter
  9. Give it a quick stir, check the seasoning and serve

Leftovers freeze well, although we rarely have any as it also eats well the second day.

Toad of Toad Hall

A Quick and Easy Supper Recipe for All the Family

When I was growing up with my two sisters and brother we followed the classic bedtime routine of supper, bath, reading time and then bed.  My mother, who loves to read, made the classics come alive for the four of us.  With the exception of ‘The Hobbit’ –  oh, how that book never seemed to end – we loved that time sitting in our pjs and dressing gowns cuddled up whilst she read to us in calming, sleep inducing tones…  Idyllic sounding, yes?  It was.

One of my faves was ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ and I am not going to pretend that it was purely that I loved the image of Toad of Toad Hall driving around in his motor-car; it was the fact that he made me think of Toad in the Hole.  Even at a young age, anything remotely food related had me engaged from the off.

Back to today.  As we have well and truly left summer behind us now, after a long walk on Wandsworth Common this morning we decided that today was going to be in honour of the Kenneth Grahame classic.

Toad in the Hole with Roasted Root Veg
To feed 2 adults and one enthusiastic toddler

Ingredients and suggested quantities:
6 x good quality herby sausages
6oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 x large eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¾ pint whole milk
3 x springs fresh thyme
½ butternut squash, cut into chunky chips leaving the skin on
3 x large parsnips, cut into long thin sticks
½ celeriac, cut into batons
Drizzle of olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Chilli flakes (optional)
Large handful of tenderstem broccoli
1 x tub of homemade chicken or beef gravy from the freezer, of you have some

  1.  Preheat oven to 200 c, then chuck the sausages in a large non-stick roasting tin for 20 minutes, moving them around occasionally so they brown on all sides
  2. In a suitably sized large bowl, sieve in the flour and salt.  Make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs, together with the mustard and thyme
  3. With a hand blender, combine into a smooth paste and then slowly add some milk, bit by bit, whilst continuing to blend to a smooth batter.  Leave to rest for about 30 minutes
  4. Par-boil the parsnips and celeriac in pan together for about 3-5 minutes depending on their size
  5. Drain the veg well and put into a roasting tin together with the squash
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and season with fresh ground black pepper ready to go into the oven – a pinch of dried chilli flakes over the squash jazzes things up a little if you like
  7. When the sausages are done, put the roasting dish on the hob on a high heat.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, or a big knob of dripping if you have some
  8. When spitting hot, add the batter the pan and then pop back in the oven at the middle, allowing enough rising room and pop the prepped vegetables in the oven also, on the bottom shelf.  Do this as quick as poss to keep the temperature in the over high, and cook for 35 minutes
  9. In the last ten minutes boil some water and cook the tenderstem broccoli, or trees as they are known in our house
  10. Transfer tub of gravy into a pan and bring to the boil
  11. After 35 minutes, the Toad in the Hole should be nicely risen, browned on top with crispy edges and the ‘toads’ poking though.  The roasted veg will also be done at this time
  12. Remember to heat your plates, and serve

The gravy – after cooking a roast chicken I pop any leftover homemade gravy into a freezer proof tub and chuck it in the freezer for times like this.  It’s a shame to waste all the goodness that goes into prepping a good roast chicken that could be used to enhance another meal at a later date.

The leftover vegetables – I hate waste from an environmental, social and cost perspective.  The remaining butternut squash, parsnips and celeriac that weren’t roasted have now been diced and chucked in a hot deep pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and a bay leaf to brown.  After a few minutes when you can smell all the flavours developing, cover in good chicken or veg stock and simmer steadily for 15 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and blitz with the hand blender to your desired texture.  Loosen a little with milk or water, and that’s supper tomorrow night sorted.