Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

I was given a bag of organic Jerusalem artichokes grown in a local allotment. Although it’s still a mystery why they are called artichokes, as they are more likely to come from potato family; and why they are ‘Jerusalem’, if  they are originated from North America and has nothing to do with Holy Land.

However, I know that one of the best options to appreciate the delicate, sweet and slightly nutty flavour of this wonderful vegetable is soup.

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP

(Adapted from BBC Food)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

5-7 (depends on the size) artichokes, peeled, chopped

100ml white wine

300-400ml chicken or vegetable stock

50ml double cream

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter (do not allow to burn). Add the onion, cook gently until it has softened.
  2. Add the garlic, cook for another two minutes.
  3. Then add the artichokes, white wine and stock, continue to cook for 15 minutes or until the artichoke has softened. Pour the mixture in to the blender, add cream and blend mixture until smooth.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roasted Aubergine and Lentil Soup

It was one of those situations, where I didn’t have a lot in the fridge and had to ‘jazz it up’ as I went along. I had one aubergine and just few cupboard basics. I never thought of adding aubergine to any of my soups before. “What a mistake-a to make-a”!  It works perfectly in a soup. I actually prefer it to potato. This soup is rich, earthy, with a subtle hint of spice, a good helping of garlic and gentle Mediterranean aromas. You can adjust the spice level by adding less/more chilli of course. The soup goes very well with these stout & honey buns.
Roasted Aubergine and Lentil soup
ROATED AUBERGINE AND LENTIL SOUP
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 aubergine, cubed

1 onion, finely chopped

1-2 carrots, depends on size, chopped

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of herbs of your choice (I had oregano)

1 teaspoon of paprika

pinch of sugar

1 cup of puy lentil

2 cans chopped tomatoes in its own juice or about 500gr fresh tomatoes, chopped

approx 3-4 cups of water/stock, depends how thick you like your soup to be.

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (optional)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced

1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)

salt and pepper to taste
parsley/seeds to garnish (optional)
Method:
1. Heat oven to 200C. Arrange the cubed aubergine in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, mix well and roast for about 20 minutes or until tender and nicely brown.
2. Preheat the rest of the oil in a cooking pot, add onion and carrots and cook them for 5-7 minutes.
3. Then add the spices, herbs, sugar, lentil, tomatoes, water/stock. Bring it to boil, then reduce the heat, cover with the lead and cook it until the lentil is cooked.
4. When the lentil is cooked and tender, add the roasted aubergine to the soup, along with red wine vinegar, garlic and chilli. Season well with salt and pepper.

Broccoli Soup

It is one of the simplest but most comforting soups. There’s no waste with this soup. Use the whole broccoli head, including the stalk, to really make the most of this valuable vegetable. Top it up with crumbled blue cheese or a mature cheddar, or it is just as good on its on with crusty buttered bread.

Broccoli Soup

BROCCOLI SOUP

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

knob of butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek, sliced

1 carrot, diced

1 potato, diced

approx 1 litre  of vegetable or chicken stock

1 big head of broccoli,  finely chopped

100g any cheese you prefer, for serving (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil and the butter in a large saucepan and then add the onions. Cook on a medium heat until soft. Add a splash of water if the onions start to catch.
  2. Add the leek, carrot and potato. Allow to sweat for 5 minutes under the lid.
  3. Then pour in the stock and add any chunky bits of broccoli stalk. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
  4. Now add the broccoli and cook for a further 5 minutes. Carefully transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve.
  5. Serve with any cheese on top or just as it is.

 

Cheddar and Ale Soup

It’s time to brighten up your midweek dinner. Try a new soup with a twist, but maybe don’t serve it to the children, give them fish fingers instead 😉

This soup is quite thick, velvety, with a  slightly bitter note of Ale. If you love Ale, you’ll love this soup.

Cheddar and Ale Soup

CHEDDAR AND ALE SOUP

(Adapted from ‘Delicious’ magazine)

Ingredients:

50g butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

2 big potatoes (I used ‘King Edward’), peeled and diced

50g plain flour

250ml vegetable stock

250ml full fat milk

500ml pale Ale

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon English mustard

200 mature Cheddar, grated (plus some more to serve – optional)

Method:

  1. In a big pan melt butter and oil. Add the onion and cook it about 4 minutes until it becomes translucent. Add celery and potatoes, cover and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Uncover, stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock, milk and Ale. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked.
  4. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard, then liquidise until smooth.
  5. Return to the pan and heat up gently, if required.
  6. Stir in grated Cheddar until melted, season and serve with nice crusty bread.

Cheesy Leek and Potato Soup

There was a program on TV this morning, explaining the origin of St. David’t Day and traditional Welsh food. They had laverbread (unfortunately, I’ve never tried it yet 😦 ), Glamorgam Sausages (which I’ve tried once and I loved it!), Cawl (it is a Welsh stew with lamb and leeks), Welsh cakes and many other delicious and authentic food. I thought I have to make something today at least remotely close to Welsh cuisine. As I had a nice looking couple of leeks in the fridge and recently saw a recipe for Potato and Leek soup on Andrea’s blog here, decision was made quickly 🙂 I also made dinner rolls, based on stout and honey, to go with the soup. Although, in her recipe Andrea uses Stilton, which I love but we had only Cheddar today and it paired well too. Also, I didn’t have cream and I could supplement with some milk but after blending I had a taste and it was perfect as it was.

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CHEESY LEEK AND POTATO SOUP

(Based on Andrea’s recipe taken from her blog Ten More Bites)

Ingredients:

2 tab spoons of butter

2 medium leeks or 1 huge one (in my case), sliced

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed,

1 stalk celery, chopped

1.5 litres vegetables stock

salt & pepper to taste

grated Cheddar to serve

Method:

1. Heat the butter in a large pan and add the leeks. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften, add the potatoes and sauté for a few more minutes, after add vegetable stock, season well with salt and pepper.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 20-25 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat, whizz with a hand blender or in a blender until smooth. Serve with grated Cheddar (or Stilton, or any other your favourite cheese) on top, with some fresh crusty bread.

Happy St. David’s Day! 🙂

West African Peanut Butter & Sweet Potato Stoup

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Inspired by a fellow blogger, I finally cooked a long desired West African Soup, however, I chose to call it ‘stoup’, as it was thicker than a soup, thinner then a stew. It is full of rich flavours, has a kick and it is a perfect autumnal dish. The only thing, I didn’t have tomatoes, cabbage or cashew nuts on hand when I made this, so I compensated by increasing the quantities of some other ingredients.  As suggested by Sophie I served it with brown rice and added a chilli flat bread, made by Mark 🙂

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT BUTTER & SWEET POTATO STOUP

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 red & 1 orange peppers, diced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in cubes

scotch bonnet or other preferred chillies to taste

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons tomato paste

8 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

1.5 litre water

2-3 tablespoons oil

salt/pepper to taste

 Plus brown rice to serve

Method:

1. Heap up the oil in a large heavy bottom pan, add the onion, garlic, chillies, sauté until golden brown and translucent. Add the bay leaves, coriander, tomato paste, add a few tablespoons of water and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

2. Then add diced peppers and sweet potatoes, peanut butter, salt and pepper, cover everything with water (or stock, if you prefer), bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through and liquid thickened, stir occasionally (otherwise the peanut butter can settle on the bottom of the pan).

3. Taste it, adjust the seasoning and turn off. I cooked this a day before we ate it, like suggested and I absolutely agree, it tastes even better the next day, all the flavours became even more vivid. Serve it with fresh bread, brown rice or bulgur.

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When the effort pays off

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BLACK BEAN SOPA AZTECA (AZTEC SOUP) WITH FRESH SALSA AND FETA CHEESE

I always like Mexican food but I only recently properly attempted to cook it at home. My inspiration to Mexican food was Thomasina Miers and her book. I think it is a very good for someone like me, an amateur with Mexican cuisine.  So slowly, but sturdy, I’m making my way throughout the book, one recipe at a time 🙂

Yesterday (although actually I started the day before with soaking the black beans!) I made Black bean sopa Azteca  following exactly her recipe and it came out an absolute bliss – hearty, silky, vibrant and very comforting and it is partly because I didn’t use the black beans from the tin. I cooked them instead (soaked overnight beforehand) with garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaves for over an hour until they are very tender and aromatic. I am not going to give up the occasional use of tinned beans just yet, but I will never compromise to shortcut when I have a spare time, as it definitely worth it!

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