ROAST SQUASH AND GARLIC SOUP WITH CRUSHED CHILLI, NIGELLA AND FENNEL SEEDS
I’ve literally just made this very tasty soup and wanted to share the recipe with you. Today is one of those frantic ones where I am working from home during the day, so pretty calm, but the second I collect the kids from school it all goes mad with one thing and another leaving no time at all to prepare any food for dinner. So – I have just made this really easy soup. I roasted the veg while clearing up the breakfast pots. When I stopped work for a coffee, I whizzed up the soup and at lunchtime heated some up and tucked into a small bowl while clearing up. The kids can have a bowlful with in minutes of getting home, scattered with cheese and crushed breadsticks (a new favourite of theirs), and it will do a great job as a light evening meal, with some warm seeded bread and the remains of the cheeseboard from the weekend for my other half and I when we finally get a chance to sit down!
1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 carrots, peeled
2 onions, peeled
olive oil, for drizzling
approx. 1.3 litres vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed dried chilli
1 ½ tsp nigella seeds
1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/gas 6. Cut the squash, carrots and onion into chunky wedges. Put in a large roasting tray with the garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil. Turn to coat everything in oil and roast in the oven for about 50 minutes, turning a couple of times, until cooked through and just becoming golden.
Once cooked, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin, into a liquidiser and blend with the rest of the roasted vegetables and stock until smooth. This will need to be done in batches, so tip any blended soup into a large saucepan as you go. Add any extra stock or water until you reach the consistency you prefer.
Gently heat the soup and season with salt to taste.
Crush the chilli, nigella and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar.
To serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle the seeds over the top, serving any extra separately.
The soup will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or freezes really well in individual portions.
If making this for children, you can sprinkle theirs with parmesan cheese or crushed breadsticks will even go down a treat.
MATCHA AND CRANBERRY BREAKFAST MUFFINS
These freshly baked muffins are packed full of healthy ingredients, so you don’t have to feel guilty by having more than one. Using Tea Pigs Matcha in this muffin mixture not only adds a subtle yet distinctive flavour but also gives you a huge dose of antioxidants and will definitely jump start your day.
takes 20 minutes to bake
makes 12 muffins
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
4 ½ tsp Matcha
2 teaspoons baking powder
35g porridge oats
100g soft brown sugar
75g dried cranberries
2 tablespoons linseed
3 tablespoons sunflower or pumpkin seeds
finely grated zest of 1 large orange
4 tablespoons rapeseed or sunflower oil
2 large eggs
250ml low-fat natural yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/fan 170ºC/gas 5.
Place twelve muffin cases in a deep muffin tin.
Stir together the flour, Matcha, baking powder, ¾ of the oats, sugar, cranberries, linseed and sunflower or pumpkin seeds until well combined. In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the orange zest, oil, eggs and yoghurt. Pour onto the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon into the muffin cakes and scatter the remaining oats over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins have risen and are cracking slightly on their tops. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before eating warm.
To eat later, leave the muffins until cool and store in an airtight container for up to a couple of days. You can also freeze the muffins, and then defrost overnight and heat through in a low oven before eating.
Instead of cranberries, try sultanas, raisins, dried blueberries or dried cherries.
Whether you make your pancakes thick or thin is a matter of taste. Once cooked, add sugar, lemon or any favourite ingredients that bring back childhood memories. I love the tasty combination of lemon, sugar and golden syrup for extra sweetness.
Makes 8-10 pancakes
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
25g butter, melted
Sunflower or vegetable oil for cooking
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Beat the eggs into the milk and pour onto the flour. Whisk well until the batter is smooth and creamy. If there are any lumps, simply pass the batter through a sieve into a jug.
Leave for 30 minutes or longer if you have time, and then whisk in the melted butter.
Heat a pancake pan or non-stick frying pan (about 18cm diameter) over a medium heat and rub the surface with some kitchen roll dipped in the oil. Pour only enough batter into the pan so that when you swirl the pan it just covers the surface in a thin layer.
Cook for about 30 seconds or so until the edges start to curl up and the underside is golden. Flip over and cook the other side.
Slide onto a plate and either serve straight away or keep warm in layers between sheets of greaseproof paper while making the rest.
BAKED CHILLI AND CORIANDER PANCAKES
And for those of you who don’t have a sweet tooth – you need not miss out. These savoury ones are equally as delicious.
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g minced beef
1 glass of red wine
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
1 red chilli, chopped with seeds, or 11/2 to 2tsp dried chilli flakes
1tsp each of ground cumin and coriander
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1 beef stock cube
400g tin kidney beans, drained
1 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
1 x basic pancake batter with the addition of 2tbsp chopped coriander
100g cheddar cheese, grated
To make the chilli, heat the oil in a saucepan and then sauté the onion and garlic over a medium heat until they are softened but not coloured.
Increase the heat and add the mince, cooking quickly until it is browned, breaking down any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil.
Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli, cumin, coriander and cinnamon and crumble in the stock cube. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
Cover loosely with a lid and cook for 30-45 minutes. Stir the kidney beans and coriander into the chilli and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C/ gas 7. Make the pancakes according to the basic pancake recipe (see left), stirring the coriander into the finished batter. Stack the cooked pancakes between pieces of greaseproof paper while making the rest.
Fold each pancake in half and then half again, creating a triangle with 2 pockets. Spoon some of the chilli into the pancake pockets and place in an ovenproof dish.
Scatter over the cheese and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden. Serve the pancakes hot with any or all of the serving suggestions below:
Guacamole and/or sour cream
1 onion, chopped
TIP: It’s well worth making double of the chilli so you have plenty for another day. Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze.
RHUBARB MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE ROULADE
No matter how full people become, no-one will be able to resist this indulgent dessert.
To enjoy at it’s best make the meringue ahead, then roll up with the filling at the last minute (otherwise the meringue may become a little too squishy).
Takes about 35 minutes to make, plus 25 minutes in the oven
For the meringue
4 large egg whites
175g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted for dusting
For the filling
400g trimmed rhubarb
50g caster sugar
200ml double cream
1/2 tsp rosewater
First of all, line an approx. 2cm x 35cm x 25cm baking tray, completely lined with non-stick baking paper and lightly oiled.
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C fan ovens/Gas 3
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Using an electric whisk will make the job far easier. Add half of the caster sugar and continue to whisk for a couple of minutes.
Mix the cornfour into the remaining sugar, and add to the egg whites with the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whisk until you have a firm, glossy consistency, a bit like shaving foam. This will take a good few minutes. Spoon and spread into the prepared baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the rhubarb into 3-4cm lengths and place in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 tbsp of water. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning a couple of times with a metal spoon, trying not to let all of the pieces become too mushy.
Remove the cooked meringue from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, and then carefully turn out onto a piece of baking paper heavily dusted with icing sugar. Cool completely.
Whip the cream with the rose water until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the rhubarb and then spread over the meringue, leaving a border of about 2cm. Carefully and loosely roll the meringue lengthways into a fat cylinder shape. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.
The rhubarb can be swapped for any other fruits, such as cooked bramley apple, plums or gooseberries. Strawberries, raspberries or blackberries (about 400g) are also really lovely, especially if you puree half of them before folding into the cream.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND BAILEY’S CHEESECAKE
I’ve had a few requests for this recipe via twitter so here is it. It’s taken from In the Mood for Food, the ‘naughty but nice’ chapter – and it certainly is rich, so much so that you will probably only manage one slice, which is saying something for chocolate fans. It’s perfect to serve as a dessert, midmorning with coffee, for afternoon tea or … well to be honest, you could eat this anytime.
Takes 45 minutes to bake
Makes about 10–12 slices
For the base
250g shortbread biscuits
100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
75g melted butter
For the filling
675g cream cheese (low-fat or full-fat – it’s up to you)
200g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
2 large eggs, beaten
150ml whipping cream
125g white chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.
Grease a round 22 to 24cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
To make the base, finely crush the biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. This is best done in a food processor, but can be done by putting them in a sealed freezer bag and bashing with a rolling pin (a great way to relieve any stress!) Mix in the ground almonds, ginger and melted butter. Press well into the base of the cake tin and refrigerate.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and cornflour (ideally in a food processor or using an electric hand whisk). Add in the eggs, cream and Bailey’s and beat until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Stir in the white chocolate.
Pour into the tin and sit in a roasting tray filled with 1 to 2cm of hot water. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is lightly golden and the filling is just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before taking out of the tin.
Serve cut into slices as big or small as you can manage.