Saturday, February 25, 2012

Recipe of the week – Winter warming soup

Another soup perfect for a cold winters day.

Serves 6

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon of oil

  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped

  • 1 small swede or turnip, finely chopped

  • 1 baking potato, finely chopped

  • 1 leek, rinsed, trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 1 pint of hot vegetable stock (from two stock cubes is fine)

  • 4 handfuls of frozen peas

  • ½ pint of milk

  • ½ teaspoon of dried herbs (any will do)

  • Black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon of cornflour or plain flour

In a large pan fry the onions in the oil for about two minutes until they are soft.

Add all the remaining vegetables, except for the frozen peas, to the pan and cook for one minute.

Add the stock, herbs and black pepper then bring to the boil and simmer, gently partly covered with a lid, for 15 minutes.

Next add the frozen peas and cook for another three minutes.

Blend a little of the milk with the flour until it’s smooth then stir into the remaining milk.

Add the milk to the pan and bring the soup to the boil, stirring until it has thickened slightly. Simmer for another couple of minutes.

Serve in warm bowls.

Any soup that’s left can be frozen.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recipe of the week – Tomato soup

This is great eaten with crusty bread. It freezes beautifully too.

Serves 6

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press (optional)

  • 1 leek, washed, trimmed and chopped

  • 2 large carrots, chopped

  • 2 tins of tomatoes (don’t get the ones which are in herbs)

  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar

  • 1 pint of chicken stock (from a cube is fine)

  • ½ pint of milk

  • 1 tablespoon of oil

Add the oil, onions, garlic, leek and carrots into a large pan. Cook on high for one minute stirring constantly. Cover the pan then reduce the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Next add the tomatoes and the sugar into the pan and cook on high for five minutes, again stirring constantly.

Now add the stock then bring everything to a simmer and cook uncovered for about an hour. Test to see if the vegetables are cooked. If not simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Put the soup in a blender. You’ll need to do this a couple of times so pour the blended soup into a clean pan.

Loosen the puréed soup with the milk and put back on the heat until the soup is hot.

If you prefer a clearer soup, after blending, sieve the soup to remove the bits then add the milk as before.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recipe of the week – Captain Slow’s* chicken parcels

The cooking in the slow cooker makes the chicken really moist. At the bottom of the recipe are what to do if you don't have a slow cooker.

Serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless and at a room temperature

  • ¼ packet of stuffing mix

  • 2 sheets of oiled kitchen foil

Add a little water to the dry stuffing mix. If it's too watery just add a bit more of the dry mix.

Open out the centre of the chicken breasts slightly with a knife, being careful not to cut right through the chicken.

Put the stuffing mix in the cavity you've just made in the chicken breast.

Close up the chicken so the stuffing is hidden. Don’t worry if some of the stuffing pop's out or the chicken won't close together

Put the breasts onto the middle of the greased foil, then bring together the two long ends of the foil till they meet and are level with each other. Fold down the long edges and keep doing this until the chicken is tightly wrapped.

Bring together the short edges of the foil to the middle of the chicken. This give you a handle to lift the hot chicken out of the cooker.

Cook in a slow cooker on Low for 8 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked lift it out of the slow cooker using the foil handles you made, then carefully, as the steam will come shooting out, open up the chicken parcel and put on a warmed plate.

Serve with vegetables and potatoes of your choice (I don't think chips will go very well with this though.....).

If you're baking potatoes in an conventional oven why not pop a couple of frozen mini Yorkshire puddings into the oven five minutes before the end of cooking.

As there's no gravy for this recipe, instant gravy granules are ideal for this. Just make up a ¼ pint and that should be more than enough for the two of you.

If you don’t have a slow cooker you can cook this in a conventional oven for 30 minutes at 180º c/Gas Mk 4/ Fan oven 160ºc.

Make sure that the chicken is completely cooked through. The chicken won’t be as tender done this way but it’ll still be nice dish.

* Captain Slow is what we call our slow cooker – yes I know we're sad.....

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Recipe of the week – Lemon crunch cake

A delicious syrupy cake with a crunchy lemon topping. You could also make this using oranges. Simply replace the lemon with the orange.

  • 3oz self-raising flour

  • 3oz caster sugar

  • 3oz margarine

  • 2 eggs (medium)

  • 1 lemon grated


  • 3oz granulated sugar

  • Juice from one lemon

Line a 7 inch/18cm round cake tin with baking parchment or a non-stick liner (Lakeland sell them and they’re brilliant).

Pre-heat oven to 180º c/Gas Mk 4. Fan oven 160ºc

Sift the flour into a bowl then add the sugar, margarine and lemon rind.

Beat well until everything is combined and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin then make a slight well in the centre of the cake. This will stop the centre from rising too much.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown. To check to see if it’s cooked gently press the surface of the cake with a finger. If it springs back it’s cooked.

Sprinkle the sugar all over the top of the hot cake then carefully spoon the lemon juice over the sugar making sure ever bit of sugar is covered.

Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin to allow the lemon topping to harden.

All the weights are in ‘old money’. If you want them in Metric, you’ll have to convert it yourself….