As the winter days draw in we feel the need for lovely warming foods. Soup is one of my favourites as it is so easy to make a large batch that can be eaten throughout the week for dinner or lunch. As you know by now I hate to throw food away and soup is a great way to use up any vegetables that may be looking a bit sorry for themselves. This is going to be another recipe where I am not exact with measurements as it really depends on how much you are making and on how thick you like your soups to be – we like it thick in our house!
- Carrots – peeled and finely diced
- Coriander – I tend to use a mixture of fresh and the type that comes in a tube – I think that the intensity works well in the soup
- Vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
1. Chop the onions and heat in some olive oil in a large pan. Once the onions begin to turn golden add the carrots.
2. Allow the vegetables to sweat for a few minutes and then add the vegetable stock until they are completely covered in liquid. Add salt and pepper.
3. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4. Using a hand blender blitz the soup to a smooth consistency. Add coriander to taste.
5. If required serve topped with a sprig of fresh coriander – it is delicious with crusty bread!
This recipe stems from one of my favourite types of cooking – using up what is kicking around the kitchen! I adore mango chutney, but thought there must be another way of eating it rather than simply in cheese sandwiches! This recipe makes a quick and simple dinner, with few ingredients but a great taste.
- Chicken thighs or drumsticks
- 200g mango chutney
- 1 red chilli deseeded and finely diced
- The zest and juice of 2 limes
1. Mix the chutney, chilli and lime juice and zest together in a small bowl. Smear over the chicken and allow to marinate for at least a couple of hours.
2. Place the chicken into a roasting tin and cook in a preheated oven 180c for about 35 minutes.
Having rather a few onions ready from my allotment I decided to make French Onion Soup. A classic dish that feels extremely decadent due to the lovely cheesy croutons. If you want to reduce the calories either leave out the croutons – it still tastes good. Or use reduced fat cheese.
- 650g onions peeled and finely sliced
- olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
- 150ml dry white wine
- Slices of baguette
- Grated cheese
- Salt and black pepper to taste.
1. Put the sliced onions in a pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Saute over a low heat for about 20-30 minutes stirring frequently. The more colour you can get on the onions at this point the richer the colour of the soup.
2. Add the wine and stock, bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for about 20 mins.
3. Meanwhile slice the baguettes, toast one side under a grill, then turn over and cover with the grated cheese and grill until bubbling.
4. Ladle the soup into a bowl and serve topped with cheesy croutons.
This made a real quick and easy tea. The children looked a little dubious when I first told them what we were having, but they have asked if we can have this again! It took literally 15 minutes from start to finish so my answer was a definite yes!
- 80g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium egg
- 100ml milk
- 100g peas (fresh or defrosted)
- 75g grated courgette
- 100g crumbled feta cheese
- a handful of grated cheddar cheese
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- olive oil for frying
1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add a beaten egg and about half of the milk. Whisk together, adding more milk until the mixture resembles double cream.
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
3. Add tablespoon sized dollops of the mixture to the heated oil in a frying pan. Cook for 2-3 mins on each side until golden brown.
This recipe makes an extremely rich and moist cake. I use brown sugar in this recipe as I feel it adds to the richness of flavour, also if you mix some light muscovada sugar in with this is helps to reduce the overall sweetness. However if you have a particularly sweet tooth then replace with caster sugar. This recipe also tastes better if you use the 70% cocoa powder.
For the cake
- 250g plain flour
- 375g brown sugar
- 65g cocoa powder
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- 350ml olive oil
- 350g grated courgettes
- 100g chopped walnuts
For the ganache frosting
- 200g plain chocolate
- 200ml cream
1. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs and oil and mix well.
2. Mix in the nuts and courgette until evenly spread through. Pour into a greased tin.
3. Bake for 50-60 mins in a preheated oven 180c
4. Heat the cream in a small pan until just at the boil. Pour over chocolate pieces broken into a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
5. Allow the ganache to cool and then whisk until fluffy. Spread over the top of the cake.
These are a delicious savoury muffin, great for picnics and lunch boxes. If you make these using marrows in place of courgettes make sure that you peel and deseed the marrow before grating them so that they are more tender.
- 180g courgettes
- 250g grated cheddar cheese
- 250g self raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- Salt and pepper
- 200ml milk
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
1. Grate the courgettes and cheese into a bowl. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, mustard and salt and mix together.
2. In a separate bowl mix the egg, milk and olive oil. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
3. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and then bake in a preheated oven 190c for 20-25 mins. Rest for 10 mins before removing from the muffin tin. These are great eaten hot or cold.
It’s a real shame that you cannot smell how delicious these are! I baked a version of these with my class at school today and people arrived from all over the school asking what the delicious smell was! The good news is that they taste pretty good too! The version that I baked at school were topped with M&M’s and cut to form dominoes – I love to cook whenever possible with my class and Maths offers many opportunities. This recipe is a great starting point and you can add all sorts of different things to it that greatly change the flavour. Present them in varying shapes and people will think you have a massive repertoire of baking.
- 250g butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 320g plain flour
1. Cream together the butter and sugar until it becomes smooth and paler.
2. Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla paste.
3. Add the flour – the easiest way to work this in is with your hands until you have a soft, but not sticky dough.
4. Shape the dough into whatever shape biscuits take your fancy. It can be rolled, but is better pressed into shape with your hands.
5. Bake in a preheated oven 180c for about 8-12 mins. The time they take will vary greatly on the size and thickness that you make your biscuits.
I adore the taste of twice cooked chicken and this dish is a great way of using up any left over chicken after a roast. As I have mentioned before, I hate to throw food away so after eating roast chicken I take all of the meat I can off the bones and then boil the bones to make my own chicken stock – it really is delicious. This dish works well with any amount of chicken, the quantity in the recipe is really just a guide – you can be as generous or as frugal as you like. If you leave out the chicken and substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock this makes a great vegetarian rice dish – experiment with adding some chopped fresh tomatoes or any other vegetable that you like.
- Olive oil
- 300g Cooked chicken, shredded
- 200g Basmati rice
- 2 Garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp Chilli powder (or more if you prefer it with a bit of a kick)
- 2 tsps. Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 3 Cardamom pods, slightly crushed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tbsps. Plain yoghurt
- 800ml Chicken stock
- 2 Onions, sliced
- Salt and pepper
1. Stir fry the rice for about a minute in the olive oil, moving it about the pan continuously. Add the chopped garlic and keep stir-frying for a couple more minutes.
2. Add the stock and mix well.
3. Add all of the other ingredients, except for the chicken and onions and stir well. Mix in the shredded chicken and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for about 15 minutes over a gentle flame – it is worth giving the pan a couple of stirs during this time to make sure that the rice does not catch on the bottom of the pan. When the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat.
4. Meanwhile, gently fry the onions in some olive oil in a separate pan until soft and brown.
5. Once the pilau is cooked allow to rest for a couple of minute, remove the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick and then season to taste. Serve the pilau with the fried onions on top.
This salmon has a lovely fresh flavour, is extremely easy to prepare and is ready in just a few minutes. Today I served it with quinoa, bulgar wheat and chick peas. It would be delicious served with noodles and pak choi or cold with a watercress salad.
- Salmon fillets
- The juice and rind of one orange
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
1. Begin to cook the salmon (for about 10 mins) in a preheated oven 180c.
2. Meanwhile heat all of the other ingredients in a small pan. Bring to the boil and boil for 2-3 minutes until it forms a syrup.
3. Remove the salmon from the oven and coat with the glaze, return to the oven and cook for about 5 more minutes. The glaze should be beginning to caramelise and the salmon should be cooked through.
In my house this is affectionately referred to as “pink chicken” do not be alarmed it is fully cooked, the name comes from the colour of the yoghurt mixture once the spices are added! It is quick, easy and very delicious. You can use any cut of chicken, but our favourite is the thigh as it has more flavour and is lovely and juicy. These taste great served with rice, or with salad and a wrap. We have made these several times this summer as they are fab on a barbeque.
- Plain yoghurt
- Tandoori Masala powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped chillies (optional)
1. Mix all of the ingredients (except for the chicken) together to form a pink paste
2. Mix the chicken into the paste until evenly coated. I generally then leave to marinate for a few hours, however it still tastes great if you put it straight into the preheated oven 180c.
3. Cook for about 30-35 minutes, you may have to change this according to your oven or the cut of meat you are using.