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! 🙂

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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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Empty food cupboard and Red Lentil Soup

Whenever we are making anything out of red lentils, 9 out of 10 times we have an empty fridge. It serves as an alarm bell for us indicating we need to go grocery shopping. Red split lentils is not only one of my favourites for the nutritional value, but to me  is like an old friend, always with you in hard times and you know ‘he’ will never disappoint. Hence this time, once again I did reach for ‘my best friend’ in a search for comfort food. Although normally I’d immediately think of some creamy coconut dahl or other Indian inspired dish to make, this time I did crave some sweet and sour flavours instead. As I’ve mentioned before,  the empty fridge meant I had limited ingredients to work with, but in the end the result was ABSOLUTELY wonderful.  Despite being rather late in the evening, we ended up having second helpings which I think says it all. 🙂

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RED SPLIT LETIL AND BLACK OLIVES SOUP

Ingredients:

1 cup of red split lentils

2 carrots (peeled and grated)

1 onion (finely chopped)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes)

about 250 g pitted black olives (or any other you prefer)

2 garlic gloves

1/2 coriander seeds

2 tablespoons ketchup (or tomato purée)

Bay leaf

pinch of chilli

2 tablespoon table vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoon olive oil

salt, pepper, parsley

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, carrots, coriander seeds, pinch of chilli over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened but not burnt. Add the garlic and fry for 1 more minute. Add the ketchup, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and sugar, simmer for a few minutes.

2. Rince red lentils and add into the pan, top up with the water (depends on consistency of soup you prefer, as for me, I like this version being quite thick), bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and continue to cook till lentils are ready.

3. Roughly chop the olives in halves, add them to the soup, add the vinegar, salt, pepper, check for seasoning and adjust it to your taste, garnish with chopped parsley. 

Sorrel Soup

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It is one of my favourite spring soups from my childhood. Deliciously tart, light but rich in vitamins soup, which is equally good hot or cold! The main ingredient of this soup of course, sorrel.

The sorrel leaves contain a set of vitamins and minerals – potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, sodium, fluorine, zinc.

The sorrel soup is usually prepared very quickly: the whole process takes no more than 20 minutes. What takes the longest is to make a stock (or you can use a ready made, if you wish). My personal preferences to make it stock. 

The main thing to remember is that sorrel cooks very quickly: to add it to the soup should be a few minutes before end of cooking.

SORREL SOUP

Ingredients:

4-5 (500g) potatoes 

2 carrots grated

1 medium yellow onion finely chopped

500 g sorrel

2 tablespoon olive oil

4-5 hard boiled eggs (cooked and roughly chopped)

3.5 litres water or stock

salt
spring onions 

Method:

1. If you are not using ready made stock, start with the cooking it first. I think the best stock for this soup is made from chicken or pork. This time I made the second one, simply by using a few pork chops on a bone, cook it until it boils in about 3 litres of water, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until pork is cooked and tender, and stock is rich and flavoursome. Fish the meat out and leave aside.

 

2. Potatoes cleaned, washed and cut into cubes. Add the potatoes in a saucepan with the prepared stock. Boil potatoes until tender.

3. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in olive oil till it tender, add the grated carrot, continue cooking until vegetable slightly golden, add to the soup.

3. Sort out and wash the sorrel, cut roughly. Add it to the soup, bring it to the boil and turn off the heat. Season to your taste.

4. Serve soup garnished with the chopped eggs, spring onion and generous dollop of sour cream.