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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.

 

 

 

 

CAULIFLOWER PICKLE

chow chow

This recipe is one I adapted from the old fashioned pickle named chow chow. I have spiced it up with a combination of mustard, cumin and celery seeds to liven up a classic.

Makes 2-3 250ml jars

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 leek, washed and cut into rounds

¼ cup salt

1 ½ cups white or cider vinegar

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup white sugar

30g flour

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp mustard powder

1 Tbsp celery seeds

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

Method

Begin a day ahead by placing the cauliflower florets and leeks into a non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with all the salt and let sit in a cool place overnight. The salt helps to remove the excess moisture which is essential when making a pickle to preserve.

The next pour cold water over the salted vegetables and swirl around a little to dislodge the salt. Drain and rinse of excess salt if need be. Drain well.

Clean and sterilise your jars and lids if using.

In a large pot add the vinegar and sugars. Stir over high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil.

Add the cauliflower and leeks, reduce the heat to low and cook the vegetables until tender (10 minutes).

Mix the mustard, turmeric, cumin and flour together with 125ml cold water and stir to form a paste. Stir into vegetables until mixture boils and thickens.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. And finally add the celery and mustard seeds.

Pour into your sterilised jars and cool before sealing.

 

KALE AND QUINOA SALAD

The combination of two super healthy ingredients with a punchy dressing is the perfect winter pick-me-up!

kale salad (1)

Serves 4

200g quinoa

500g kale, stalks removed, finely sliced

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed

50g shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

½ red onion, finely diced

¼ dried cranberries (optional)

Method

Begin by cooking the quinoa, add 3 cups water to a suitable sized pot, add ½ tsp salt and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa and cook until just tender (10-20 minutes). Drain and cool spread evenly on a tray (this helps it dry out).

Meanwhile, mx the balsamic and oil together, season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, kale, onion, cheese and cranberries, toss to combine.

Pour over the dressing, season lightly and toss well to combine.

Serve and enjoy the benefits of this tasty, nutritious salad.

LEEK MASH

It may sound simple and yes it is but it’s so versatile and utterly delicious. It can go with anything from a juicy steak or a simple piece of fish.

mash 2

Serves 5

800g potatoes, peeled

1 leek, washed and cut into rounds

75g butter

100ml cream or milk

Salt and white pepper

Method

Evenly cut the potatoes into large pieces and place into suitable sized pot, add 1 teaspoon salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer until tender.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan, add the leeks and sweat off until tender and sweet (about 8-10minutes).

Add the cream and heat gently together, set aside.

When the potatoes are tender, drain well and mash or pass through a mouli so they are lump free. Add to the hot leek mixture and whip together with a rubber spatula.

Season with salt and plenty of white pepper.

All great mash is lump free, light and creamy. Make the effort as the final product will lift your meal to another dimension.

BAKED EGGS WITH SPINACH

baked eggs

Brunch time indeed! Baked eggs served with soliders (toast) is a delightful way to start the day!

Serves 4

Ingredients

40g butter

500g spinach, stalks removed

50g parmesan or tasty cheddar

4 Tbsp cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

4 eggs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Add 1 Tbsp butter to a pan and heat until melted, add the spinach and cook until wilted (1-2 minutes).

Place in a sieve and push out excess moisture.

Lightly grease the four ramekins with a little butter and then place equal amounts of the spinach.

Sprinkle over a little cheese on the spinach, leaving a little for the top.

Break one egg in each ramekin.

Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pour over the cream, sprinkle with remaining cheese and finish with a grating of nutmeg and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

Bake in preheated oven 180C for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked.

Serve immediately, but do remember the dishes are hot!!

ROASTED CHEESY BRUSSELSPROUTS

brussel sprouts

The combination of nutty roasted Brussels sprouts, smothered with cheesy, leek sauce and finished in the oven until bubbling and golden brown is now my new favourite! You won’t be disappointed.

SERVES 4

Cheese sauce

1 Tbsp butter

2 tsp flour

2 sprigs fresh thyme, stalks removed

½ leek, washed and sliced thinly

½ cup milk

½ cup cream

50g parmesan cheese, grated

fresh nutmeg, pinch

topping

2 tsp butter, melted

2 tsp parsley, finely chopped

200g gruyere cheese, or a cheese that melts well and has a nutty flavour

½ tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

¼ cup bread crumbs or panko crumbs

1 Tbsp butter

500g Brussels sprouts, remove outer leaves

 Method

Preheat the oven 180C

Begin by making the cheese sauce; melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan, add the sliced leeks and thyme, cook for about 5 minutes or until the leeks have softened and sweetened.

Add the flour and mix well to combine and cook out over a moderate heat for 2 minutes.

Add the milk gradually, whilst stirring all the time. Add the cream and continue to stir, lower the heat and cook out for another 10-15 minutes.

Add the parmesan cheese, nutmeg and seasoning. Set aside until required.

Places the brussels sprouts into a suitable sized oven dish. Add the butter and season well. Roast in the oven until the sprouts start to carmelise and soften, about 10 minutes.

While they are roasting, quickly mix together the melted butter, bread crumbs, parsley, gruyere and seasoning. Mix lightly to combine.

When the brussels sprouts are tender, pour over the cheesy sauce.

Finish by sprinkling over the breadcrumb mixture and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Ready for serving when the sauce is bubbling and golden.

AUTUMNAL SALAD

180

Salads need not get overlooked at this time of the year as the combinations of ingredients will add new life to your diet.

Serves 5

Ingredients

4 apples, mixed variety

3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces

Celery leaves, only the light coloured ones from the inside (these are not bitter)

100g kale, cavolo nero or spinach, stalks removed and finely sliced

1 red onion, sliced thinly

30g walnuts, lightly toasted

60g cheddar cheese, cubed

Dressing

¼ cup natural unsweetened yoghurt

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

Method

Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad, toss lightly together so all the ingredients are well coated in the dressing.

Serve and enjoy. Makes a wonderful lunch box salad.

 

 

 

ROASTED ROMESCU WITH LEEKS

003

Romescu is one of those vegetables that you may look at a bit puzzled as to what to do with it. It has a wonderful firm, crunchy texture which I treat like cauliflower but with a dazzling green colour and slightly broccoli in flavour.

Serves 4-8

1 whole romescu

1 leek, sliced into thin rounds

1 clove garlic, sliced thinly

½ cup oil

½ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp ground turmeric

Generous pinch chilli flakes

1 lemon, juice

Freshly ground pepper

Sea salt flakes

Method

Preheat oven 190C

Wash the romescu and drain.

Place the whole romescu upright in the centre of a large piece of foil.

Place the oil, turmeric, fennel seeds and chilli into a medium saucepan and heat gently.

Add the leeks and garlic, turn up the heat slightly and cook for about 5 minutes or until the leeks and garlic start to soften and the oil smells aromatic.

Pour all of this over the romescu, season well with salt and pepper.

Pull up the foil so it covers the romescu and place onto a baking tray.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes and carefully check the centre of the romescu to see if tender. If not return to oven for another 10 minutes. Peel back the foil and allow the surface to colour up and the leeks and any exposed bits to crisp up.

When tender remove from the oven and serve on a platter alongside your dinner.

If any left overs it will make a delicious salad.

autumnal salad

autumn salad

Salads need not get overlooked at this time of the year as the combinations of ingredients will add new life to your diet.

Serves 5

Ingredients

4 apples, mixed variety

3 sticks of celery, cut into 2cm pieces

Celery leaves, only the light coloured ones from the inside (these are not bitter)

100g kale, cavolo nero or spinach, stalks removed and finely sliced

1 red onion, sliced thinly

30g walnuts, lightly toasted

60g cheddar cheese, cubed

Dressing

¼ cup natural unsweetened yoghurt

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

Method

Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad, toss lightly together so all the ingredients are well coated in the dressing.

Serve and enjoy. Makes a wonderful lunch box salad.