We have had rain virtually every day here in East Anglia for the last month. The sky has been grey, and it has been chilly for May. So soup seemed to be on the agenda. I decided to whip-up some mushroom soup as I had the ingredients at hand, and it made a yummy, warming filler on a drizzly day.
Mushrooms 20-25 chestnut
Garlic 5-6 cloves to taste
Potato 170 g/ 6 oz
Water 1.5 litres/ 6 cups (or so)
Vegetable Stock Cube 1
Greek Yogurt 2 Tbs
Salt to taste
Wash and cut the potato into 1/2 inch cubes (peeled or unpeeled to taste – I leave mine unpeeled). Remove the skins from the garlic and dice finely. Cut the mushrooms into 1/4 inch peices. In a pot or soup-maker place the veg and add the water. Pring to a boil and reduce to a high simmer if using a pan, or run one cycle of soup maker (about 30 minutes). Add the stock and cook for 10 -15 minutes longer or a 1/2 cycle of maker. Then blitz for about 30 seconds for chunkier, or 1 minute for smooth soup. Stir in yogurt and salt to taste – that’s it.
Winter is still with us (in UK) and soup is always a good cold weather choice. Today I made a Mediterranean inspired vegetable soups that I found very tasty. While it lacks some traditional ingredients such as union or pasta, it is still warming and filling. My previous recipe for this I found it a bit bitter. The addition of a little milk and sugar remedied that but was hit and miss when using tomatoes. This time I used a cheaters short cut and used tomato soup rather than tomatoes, milk, and sugar. The result, I found, was far more satisfactory.
Sweet Potato 1 large (approx 350 g)
Sweet Potato 1 large (approx. 350 g)
Potato 1 average (approx. 200 – 220 g)
Carrot 1 medium (approx. 100 g)
Basil fresh 30 g
Haricot Beans [navy beans or similar] 1 tin (400 g)
Tomato Soup 1 tin (400 g)
Garlic Powder 1 tsp
Ground Oregano 1 tsp
Vegetable Stock Cube 1
Salt 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
Water 1 1/4 litres
Wash the potato with the peel on and then dice it into 1/4 inch pieces. Peel the carrot and sweet potato and cut them into similar sized pieces. Roughly chop the basil and it and the chopped veg into a soup maker or large pot, along with the water and salt. Run for one cycle (soup maker) or boil for 30 minutes. Then add the stock cube, garlic, oregano, tomato soup, and beans (drained) and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Then pulse blitz only for a few seconds, just long enough to break up any bigger pieces, and then serve. I prefer it this way, though it can be blended to smooth if you prefer.
I received a delivery of dressed Cromer crab today from one of my favourite delis in Norfolk, and wanted to make something tasty. I have made crab and pasta before but wanted to spice it up a bit more this time. I decided that garlic and chili flakes would do the trick, and since I had some fresh egg noodles in the fridge the basic plan was formed.
Dressed Crab 8 oz/ 225 g/ approx. 2 medium crabs
Pasta 400 g fresh (I used egg noodles)
Garlic 3 cloves
Butter 30 g/ 2 1/4 Tbs
Fresh Parsley – 3 Tbs chopped fine
Sweetcorn 1/2 cup
Chili Flakes 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Prepare pasta according to instructions from the manufacturer and drain. Dice the garlic and parsley. Flake the crabmeat. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the garlic. Stir constantly until it begins to turn golden, then add the sweetcorn and stir until the corn is warmed through. Then add the crabmeat and parsley keeping it moving. Once warm, toss in the pasta, and make sure the other ingredients are will incorporated and that the pasta has evenly taken on the butter. Add salt and chili flakes, and dish-up as 2 servings. Sprinkle with a few more pinches of chili flakes.
One of the American classic pies is Sweet Potato Pie. It is similar in many ways to Pumpkin Pie, but has its own unique qualities. Sweet Potatoes are also generally easier to access in the UK outside of Autumn. The pie is relatively easy to make and has approximately 445 calories in a 1/6 pie slice (or 223 if you are going with the 12 slice approach).
Prepare pie crust and set aside. Then prepare 16 ounces of sweet potato by boiling (approximately 50 minutes if doing a whole potato) or baking (about 80 minutes at 200C/ 390 F). Preheat oven (if using boiling method) to 175 C/ 350 F). When potato is ready peel and place flesh on a large mixing bowl along with softened butter, eggs, and spices. Mash together then add marmalade and condensed milk. Blend well with a hind mixer until smooth. Pour mixture into pie crust and bake on middle shelf for approximately 40 minutes or until nicely golden. Remove from oven and let cool (or chill) before serving.
It has been some time since I last posted a recipe. Sadly it has been very much same old – same old for me during the lockdowns. Today, however, I decided to literally spice things up a bit by making some homemade spicy hummus. This is an easy (or even cheaters) recipe as I have not gone through the whole process of soaking and preparing my own beans. That said I think this is far nicer than most store bought varieties and a lot less expensive.
Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans) – 400 g can in water
Haricot Beans (Navy Beans or similar) – 400 g can in water
Garlic – 1 large clove
Lemon Juice – 1 Tbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 Tbs
Curry Paste – 1 Tbs (I use Tikka)
Cajun Spice – 1 tsp
Water – < 1 Tbs (as needed)
Peel the garlic and blitz in a food processor. Then add the curry paste, lemon juice, and spice. Drain the tins of beans/peas and add to the processor and blitz on high for one minute. With a spoon stir the mixture to allow any chucks to be moved to the blades, and blitz again for half a minute. You can if needed add splashes of water to reach your desired consistency (I prefer mine on the thick side). Spoon into a storage bowl and chill. That’s all there is to it.
For those like me who don’t have the meaty option of meatballs, and sausages to make a filling sink your teeth into meal, this might be one for you. It has the flavour of the rich pasta sauce, but the filling yumminess of good old spuds.
Potatoes 1 1/2 pounds/ approximately .7 kg
Bell Pepper 1/2 large
Garlic 2 large cloves
Olive Oil 1 Tbs
Basil 1 tsp
Oregano 1/2 tsp
Onion Powder 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Prepared Pasta Sauce (Ragu or similar) 500 g
Water as need
Greek Yogurt 2 Tbs
Peel and wash the potatoes, and cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Remove seeds from the pepper and dice onto small pieces. Peel and finely sliver the garlic. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the peppers and potatoes. Stir fry until the potatoes begin to brown on all sides. Add the garlic and herbs and continue to stir. Add the sauce to the pan, and add a small small splash of water, and stir. Reduce heat and allow sauce to warm. When it begins to bubble at the sides, stir in the yogurt until well blended and then serve.
I was looking for something a little different to do with my pantry items, so decided to go with something baked. While inspired by Gregg’s Bean and Cheese Bakes, this is more, and, well yes, less. It has more ingredients, but less filling per pastry.
Pastry Dough as per Easy as Pie or commercially pre-made approx 350-375 g
Baked Beans 400g tin
Cheese 100 g Cheddar or Leicester
Onion 1 small
Potato 1 medium
Oil 1 tsp
Ground Black Pepper 1/2 tsp
Prepare the dough as per recipe or instructions. Preheat oven to 200 C/ 390 F. Dice the onion, and peel and cube (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces) the potato. In a frying pan add the oil and fry off the onion and potato till it begins to brown. Add fried ingredients to a mixing bowl and add the tinned beans (no need to drain), and pepper. Grate the cheese into the mixture and stir well. Cut the dough into 6 even pieces (you can see in photo I made five with one double sized as an experiment). Roll out into circular disks. Spoon about 4 or 5 tablespoons of bean mixture into the centre of each “nest” and then fold corners to to the centre. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and place the nests on to it spaced evenly. Bake for 45 minutes. When finished, heat any remaining bean mixture in a saucepan and spoon over warm nests.
This is a really flavourful soup that is really easy to make as well. It has the filling quality of potato and the umph of garlic. How can you beat theat?
Potatoes 10-12 ounces (with peels)
Celery 8-10 stalks
Water 1.5 litres/6 1/2 cups
Garlic 3-4 large cloves
Vegetable Stock Cubes 2
Greek Yogurt 150 g/ 1/2 cup heaped
Wash the potatoes and cut into large cubes. Coarsely chop the celery. Add the potatoes and celery to a soup pot or soup maker and add the water and stock cubes. Bring to boil and then reduce to a high simmer, and cook for 1 hour (or 2 cycles in soup maker). Peel and quarter the garlic and add it to the pot/maker. Allow to simmer 5 minutes and then blitz until a thick creamy soup is made. Then stir in the yogurt and blitz quickly before serving.
I am still working my way through a huge bag of potatoes bought to see me through lock-down. As such I have had the chance to experiment with several variations of fried potatoes. One of the best of these is spicy potato fry-up, a blend of curry and hash browns.
Potatoes 1 pound/ approx. 450 g
Chili Pepper 1
Peas 1/4 cup
Oil 1 Tbs
Curry Paste 3 Tbs
Water as needed
Peel and thinly slice to potatoes and slice the chili into thin rings. In a frying pan heat oil to medium high. Add the potatoes and allow to begin to brown stirring occasionally. As the potatoes begin to caramelise add the chili rings (including seeds). Stir and add a couple of tablespoons of water, as it steams the potato mixture, stir until glazing begins again. Add the peas and some more water and add the curry paste. Mix until it becomes a glaze and cook until entire contents are well coated. When it has once again cooked to nearly dry, and then serve.
I received a delivery today from a smoke house on the North Norfolk coast. A dozen hardwood smoked kippers should tide me over in hot breakfasts for a while, and as an added treat I got four large Cromer crabs.
I enjoyed the first of these by making a simple, but tasty meal with whole wheat pasta, and the meat of one dressed crab.
Crab 1 dressed (about 150 -180 g / 5 to 6 ounces dressed)
Whole Wheat Pasta (or pasta of your choice) [approx 100 g]
Butter 2 Tbs
Fresh Parsley 1 tsp chopped (with stems removed)
Ground Black Pepper 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Water (for pasta)
Book the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When it is finished, drain it, and add the butter, parsley, and pepper into the the warm pan. As the butter melts mix in the pasta, and stir until it is coated in the butter mixture. Place on a plate or bowl. Flack the crab meat onto the top of the pasta, and season to your taste. That’s it.