Creamy Spinach Soup

There are quite a few people feeling run down and under the weather with various illnesses at present.  So with that in mind, I wanted to post a recipe for a soup that will put some good stuff in your immune system.  You don’t have to include the cream if you don’t want to.

creamy spinach soup

 

Ingredients

20g butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1.3 litres chicken stock
300g spinach
Nutmeg
Juice of ½ a lemon
4 tbsp single cream

Heat the butter in a large sauce pan over a medium-low heat and add the onions. Cook gently for 8 minutes until onions are soft but not brown. Add the garlic and potato cubes and cook, stirring, for a further  2 minutes.

Add the stock, and gradually bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Purée the soup with a hand-held blender until smooth. Season with some freshly grated nutmeg.

Then, add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the soup back to the simmer and then stir in the cream.

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Chicken & Ham Pie

I usually make this recipe using left over chicken, and adding some ham.  You could also use turkey instead of chicken too.

IMG_0772

Ingredients

50g Butter
2 large leeks washed and roughly sliced
3 tbsp plain flour
500ml chicken stock
1/2 tsp mustard
600g leftover chicken/turkey meat, cut into bite-sized chunks
250g cooked ham off the bone, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon – use 1/2 tbsp if using dried tarragon
200ml single cream
1 free-range egg, beaten for egg wash
Salt and white pepper
Pack of Puff Pastry

Melt the butter in a large non stick pan over a medium heat and add the leeks to the pan. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes, giving the mixture an occasional stir until the leeks are just tender. Remove the lid and sprinkle in the flour over the leeks and stir to mix through. Gradually add in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the mustard, turkey and ham and stir, then add the tarragon and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C

Pour the pie filling into a 1.5 litre pie dish. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 5mm thick.  Brush the rim of the pie dish with egg wash, then place the pastry onto the rim and brush it with more egg wash. Make a steam hole in the centre if you have not used a pie funnel.

Bake for 35 minutes on a baking sheet,  and cook until the pastry is risen and golden-brown.

 

Apple & Sultana Bread & Butter Pudding

I am a huge fan of the traditional British puddings that we used to have many years ago.  I have no doubt that this one was thought up, to help stop the waste of bread.  I am passionate about the fight against food waste and bread is one thing we can all make better use of.  If you find yourself with leftover bread, then blitz it in a food processor to make breadcrumbs, place in a freezer bag and then pop it into the freezer until you need to use it in a recipe.  Or, cut into cubes, and fry in a little olive oil to make croutons for soups.  Using it to make puddings like this one, or a summer fruit pudding, is probably my favourite way to reduce bread wastage.

apple and sultana bread and butter pudding

 

Ingredients

Butter for greasing a 1 litre ovenproof dish
60ml double cream
350ml whole milk
30g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp ground cinnamon
8 slices of white bread, buttered and cut into triangles or shaped for your dish
100g cooking apples, quartered, cored and sliced thinly
60g sultanas
Grated nutmeg optional.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C . Set a saucepan over a low heat, add the milk, cream and sugar and mix well together. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, ensuring it does not boil, then set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Then, whisk into the cooled milk mixture.

Place the bread pieces and apple slices in a ovenproof dish and sprinkle in the sultanas.  I put a couple of layers of this in the dish, ensuring the sultanas are tucked in under the final bread layer.  My reason for this is personal choice, as I am not too keen on sultanas that have dried up from cooking in the oven. Finally, pour the custard mixture over.  Leave the pudding to stand for around 10 minutes before baking, as this helps everything soak in.  Grate over nutmeg before baking if you desire.  Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Spicy Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup

In the colder months I love to eat a spicy soup.  This one hits the spot quite nicely.  If you want more heat just increase the chilli.

spicy butternut squash soup

 

Ingredients

3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp of chopped chilli
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1.5kg butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1 inch cubes
400ml tin organic coconut milk
800ml of vegetable stock
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
4 tbsp Greek yogurt or Single cream

Optional: 1tsp chopped parsley & croutons

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they soften. Stir in the turmeric, garam masala, and ground coriander. Gently fry for a minute or so.

Place the butternut squash into the onions along with a large pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly until the squash begins to soften.

Add the coconut milk and the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Cover and boil gently for 20 minutes or until the squash is very soft. Then liquidise the soup.  If the soup feels a bit too thick, just add a splash of boiling water from your kettle, until it is at your desired consistency.

To serve, add the lemon juice and season to taste. Add a swirl of yogurt or single cream before serving, you can also add some parsley and croutons if you wish.

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding Recipe

I have started to use my slow cooker a lot more just recently, and this is not just for stews and curries, but for desserts such as rice pudding.  Many of us will enjoy this on its own, with strawberry jam, cinnamon or with a fruit compote.  When in Greece, I have often found that this is served for breakfast, sometimes warm but sometimes cold.  Cooking time does vary depending on your slow cooker, so just keep an eye on it and stir every now and again.

 

rice pudding

 

Ingredients

110g pudding rice
25g granulated sugar
25g butter and a little extra for greasing
1.2 litres whole milk
Grated nutmeg

Optional – Single cream, jam, fruit, cinnamon etc
Grease the bowl of the slow cooker with a little butter.

Add the milk, sugar, butter, nutmeg and rice.  Stir and then place on the lid. Turn the slow cooker on medium-high and cook for 4 hours, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid.  Every now and again stir the mixture.

Once cooked, I like to add a splash of single cream and a teaspoon or two of strawberry jam or other items as listed above.