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APPLE SAGO

Apple sago

This pudding takes me back to my childhood where I remember my mum serving us a bowl full of fragrant lemony apples stewed with sago and finished with pouring cream. It is simple to make, cheap to buy and will surely satisfy you on these cold nights.

Serves 4

500g apples (2-4) granny smiths or a variety that is tart and mushy when cooked.

½ -3/4 cup sugar

1 ¼ cup water

1 lemon, zest and juice to taste

¾ cup sago

Cream or vanilla ice-cream to finish

Method

Peel, core and cut the apples into bite sized pieces. Add to a heavy based saucepan and add sugar, water and zest. Cook over moderate heat until the apples are tender.

Add the sago and stir well to combine. Lower the temperature and cook gently for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the sago becomes tender and translucent.

Spoon into bowls and serve with pouring cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Nb – it works beautifully with pears, rhubarb, quince and plums.

BROCCOLI SOUP WITH A CHEESY CROUTON

broc soup.

Talk about simple. This soup could be whipped up when you get home from work without any fuss. I added a cheesy crouton to finish it off but this is optional!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

1 tsp butter

1 tsp oil

½ onion, finely diced

1 head of broccoli (organic if possible)

3-4 cups water or veg stock

4 1.5cm rounds of baguette (French stick) or similar bread

40g (approx.) blue cheese or your favourite

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Add the butter and oil to a medium sized saucepan, when melted add the onion and cook gently without colour until soft.

Add the stalks and leaves of the broccoli and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the remainder broccoli and cover with water or stock.

Cook until broccoli is tender (about 12 minutes).

While the soup is cooking, assemble the cheesy croutons, by first toasting them on both sides them crumbling over the cheese, grind a little pepper and place back under the grill to melt the cheese.

Remove the soup from the heat and process until smooth.

Return back to the heat, adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve in warmed bowls with the cheesy croutons on top.

WINTER LASAGNE

Leek, Swede Lasgana

Pasta, comforting winter veges combined with a creamy, cheesy sauce has got to be a winter winner?

Serves 4-8

Ingredients

Sauce

35 g plain flour

40 g butter

570 ml milk

1 bay leaf

Fresh nutmeg,

1 cup grated cheese, I use up all my bits in the fridge

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Filling

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp oil

1 leek, sliced thinly

½ onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped

½ cabbage (savoy), thickly sliced

350g butternut squash, peeled and sliced

350g swede, peeled and cut into slices

70g fresh parmesan cheese, grated

300g fresh lasagne sheets

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C

Begin by making the sauce. Melt the butter in medium sized saucepan, add the flour and stir well to combine, cook out for a couple of minutes then slowly add the milk. Whisk if need be to remove any lumps if they occur, continue adding the milk until finished, stirring all the time. Remove the whisk now and lower the heat to a gently simmer, add the bay leaf and cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring as often as possible. Season lightly and add a few good gratings of nutmeg.

Now onto the vegetables.

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet, add the sliced pumpkin and swede, season lightly and drizzle with a little oil. Roast until tender (15 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat a medium to large heavy based fry pan up over moderate heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil when melted add the leeks, onion, garlic and thyme. Cook without colouring until tender and sweet (5-8 minutes).

Add the cabbage and combine with the leek and onion mixture, add 1-2 tablespoon water so that the cabbage wilts a little. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To assemble: mix 2/3 of the sauce with the leek and cabbage mixture.

Lightly grease the base and sides of a deep oven dish (20x30cm).

Lay enough lasagne sheets neatly over the base, spoon over the leek sauce making sure you have enough for another 2 layers. Layer now with some of the roasted pumpkin and swede and continue with another 2 layers of pasta, sauce and roasted vegetables finishing with pasta. Spoon over the remainder white sauce and cover with grated parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-50 minutes depending on how many layers and depth of the dish. Test the centre of the lasagne with skewer or small knife. If you find it tough to get through then the pasta needs a little more cooking.

When ready, serve with plenty of parmesan and a simple crunchy green salad.