Friday, 2 December 2011

More than soup!

Here are a few more of my family favourites.

Cheesy Baked Potatoes 

They're not low calorie but very tasty.  You can cut back on the amount of cheese but it needs all the butter.  For each medium sized potato you need 25g butter and 50g of mature cheddar (grated)

Bake potato(es) for about 1 hour and 15 mins.  Cut each potato in half and scoop out the soft stuff leaving the shell intact.  Mash the potato with the butter and cheese then put back into the shells.  They can be stored at this stage in the fridge for several days.  Reheat for 15 mins or until top is golden and bubbly.

Venison and chestnut casserole

Venison is healthier than beef and depending on where you buy it can be cheaper too.

700g diced venison (2 packs)
2 carrots
2 onions
500ml beer, ale or red wine
50ml Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
100g cooked and peeled chestnuts
boiling water

Chop carrots and onions into pieces roughly the same size as the venison pieces. 
Fry onions and carrots in a little oil until they start to colour round the edges.
Put in a large casserole.
Toss the venison into the flour and fry in batches until browned and add to casserole.
Add the beer/ale/wine, Lea & Perrins and ketchup to the last batch scraping up all the sticky bits on the bottom of the pan.
Bring to the boil and add to the casserole.
Make sure all the meat and veg are covered, add some boiling water if needed.
Put a lid on the casserole and put in the oven for 1 hr 30 mins at 175C or 4-5 hours in a slow cooker on High.
Add the chestnuts and stir.
Put back in the oven for 15mins.

Good with rice, pasta and mashed potatoes.  Also nice with dumplings which can be added when you've stirred in the chestnuts.

Butternut squash and apple soup

1 butternut squash chopped into chunks, skin left on
4 eating apples, cored and chopped, skin left on
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp runny honey
good pinch of chili flakes
about 1/2 litre vegetable stock

Put everything except the stock in a roasting tin and give it a good toss.
Roast in a hot oven for about 40 mins until edges start to brown.
Scrape everything into a pan and add stock. 
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins.
Blitz until smooth.
Add more stock if you prefer a runnier soup.

Tasty with croutons!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Turnberry Soup

This is a quick cream of veg soup.  And the only thing I learned to cook at school in home economics that I remember. It's called Turnberry Soup in our family because I made a flask of it for a trip to see the Open when it was at the Turnberry course in the 80s. Good way of getting veg into the kids.

Turnberry Soup

25g butter
25g flour
1/2 litre milk
1/2 litre vegetable stock
about 400g of grated root veggies (I used 1 carrot, 1 potato, 1 onion and a piece of turnip)

Add butter, flour and milk to a pan and whisk.
Heat until thickened to look like a white sauce. 
Add vegetable stock slowly and stir.
Add grated veggies.
Simmer for 10 mins and stir regularly to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan.

It doesn't really re heat well so best made in small batches and eaten fresh.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Welcome to my new blog about one of my favourite things.  Food!!  I love to cook and I love to eat!  I've been feeding an active sporty family for many years and know how to cater for vegetarians and food intolerances.  And in the current economic climate, food needs to be cheap, filling and packed with goodness.  So for my first offering I give you 2 different types of soup.  Leek and Potato (2 versions) and Roast Tomato and Lentil.  Both made this morning to use up bits of veg lurking in the bottom of the fridge.

Leek and Potato Soup (chunky)

2 large leeks, washed and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
2 litres vegetable stock

Add vegetables and stock to a large pan and bring to the boil. 
Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potato is soft (depends on size of potato chunks)
Serves 4 to 6
Suitable for vegetarians/vegans but could also be made with chicken stock.  Add some chunks of cooked chicken at the end of cooking.

Leek and Potato Soup (smooth)

Following the above recipe, once the potatoes are soft use a stick blender to blitz the soup until it's smooth.  Don't over process as the potatoes can make the soup gluey!  Serve with a dollop of yoghurt/creme freche/cream.

Roast Tomato and Lentil

300g tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of dried Italian herbs
2 medium carrots, diced
50g red lentils
1 litre vegetable stock

Put tomatoes, oil and herbs in a small roasting dish and roast for 20-30  minutes or until the edges of the tomatoes are starting to crisp.
Add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer until carrots and lentils are soft (usually about 15 mins)
Using a stick blender, blitz until smooth.
Serves 2
Suitable for vegetarians/vegans

The above recipe also works well with a can of chopped tomatoes.  Just skip the roasting stage and put everything straight into a pan.