Spiced roasted tomato soup

Last night we made a fiery roasted tomatoes and coriander soup which despite being spicy was quite difficult to stop eating.  Guess it is true what they say about the addictive nature of chillies.   We will probably tone down the chillies next time around but the rest of the ingredients work well together to produce a delicious soup.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 2-3 red chilli peppers
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 small handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • 50 gms butter
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

2 large portions or 4 smaller servings

How do I make it?

Drizzle a little olive oil over the tomatoes, garlic, chillies, onion and green pepper and roast in a 180 degree pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour till the vegetables begin to char a bit.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and blend to a paste with roasted chillies, onion and green pepper.  Remove the skin from the tomatoes and blend to a puree.   Heat butter in a large pot and add the paste – stir over medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the chopped coriander.   Stir for a minute and then add the pureed tomatoes and sugar.  Add the stock cube and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over a medium heat.   Adjust the seasoning before finishing off the soup with some roasted cumin seeds and creme fraiche.

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Thai flavoured casserole

Having caught the casserole bug a couple of weeks ago we have been busy experimenting with different ethnic flavours (posted our take on Moroccan and Creole/Mexican casseroles in earlier blogs, links below).   Tonight we tried putting together Thai ingredients to create a casserole which was not as thick as previous attempts as there are no starchy ingredients but flavour and taste wise was delicious.   You need some standard Thai ingredients to ensure you maximize the flavour.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms boneless chicken thighs (6-8 pieces)
  • 1 large white onion sliced
  • 1 red pepper cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into cubes
  • 2 green chillies roughly chopped
  • 5-6 garlic pods
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 6-8 button mushrooms halved
  • 5-6 baby corn cut into bite size pieces
  • Handful of green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 200  gms sliced bamboo shoots (small can drained)
  • 6-8 snow peas/mange tout
  • 1 stick of lemon grass bruised
  • 1 piece of galangal bruised
  • 1/2 tsp crush dried birds eye chilli
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 tsp Sriracha chilli paste
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Few sprigs of fresh coriander chopped to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First marinade the chicken thighs with the Sriracha paste and a bit of salt – set aside for a few hours.   Heat your oven proof casserole dish and add 1 tbsp of coconut oil – sear the chicken pieces on both sides and remove.   Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and stir the crushed birds eye chilli for 30 seconds before adding green chilli, garlic, lemon grass, galangal and kafir lime leaves and stirring for another 30 seconds.  Add the onion and  peppers and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining vegetables, stock cubes, coconut milk, chicken and about 200 ml of water.  Sprinkle a little salt and black pepper to taste and place the casserole in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for an hour or till the chicken is cooked through.   Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on its own or with a bowl of Jasmine rice.

Coconut fish soup with fresh sambal

We tried a dish tonight inspired by Thai flavours and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  It was dead simple to make and turned out to be a heartening meal especially on a wet, cold and rainy night as tonight.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large fillet of cod cut in half
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 red chillli chopped
  • 3 kafir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 stick of lemon grass bruised
  • 1 inch piece of galangal sliced thinly (use a mandolin slicer)
  • 1/2 carrot sliced thinly (as above)
  • 2 baby corns sliced thinly (as above)
  • 2 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 400ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Small handful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • Salt to taste

For the sambal

  • 1 cup of shredded coconut roasted till light brown
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small shallot (we used small Indian onions)
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar
  • Salt to taste

Pound all the ingredients (except the coconut) to a paste in a pestle and mortar.   Once the roasted coconut has cooled, mix it with the paste and it is ready to serve.

How much will I make?

2 large bowls of soup

How do I make it?

Heat a pan, add coconut oil followed by the sliced onions and cook for a couple of minutes.   Pour in the coconut milk and 400 ml of water.  Add the kafir lime leaves, galangal, red chilli, lemon grass, white pepper and stock cube and bring to a gentle boil,  Reduce the heat to low and poach the cod fillets till they cook through.   Remove the fillets and add the vegetables to the stock – increase heat and cook for five minutes.   To assemble the dish, place the cod fillets in the middle of the bowl and pour stock with vegetables over it.   Garnish with a tablespoon of the sambal and some fresh coriander.  Enjoy.

Creole/Mexican inspired casserole

Here’s a recipe for a scrumptious Creole/Mexican inspired casserole using one of our favourite cupboard essential spice – Scwartz Blackened Cajun seasoning.   Initially we were apprehensive with the heat intensity but were pleasantly surprised how mellowed the dish turned out.  We had it for lunch yesterday on its own but think the dish would work well with a bowl of rice.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6 potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 8 mushrooms halved
  • 1 green pepper cut in large pieces
  • 1 stick of celery  chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or canned corn
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans (pressure cook if not using tinned variety)
  • 1/2 cup black eyed peas (as above)
  • 8-10 baby onions peeled (we used a combination of baby white onions and small Indian red shallots)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp pickled green jalapenos
  • 3 tbsp pickled red jalapenos
  • 3 tbsp Schwartz Blackened Cajun seasoning
  • 2 gluten free chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Big handful of fresh coriander chopped

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash and dry the chicken thigh fillets and marinade with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and Blackened Cajun seasoning.    Let the chicken marinade for as long as you can – we cooked it after an hour.  Heat a cast iron casserole and brown the chicken thighs.  Remove chicken and add remaining oil to saute the whole onions, celery, green pepper and garlic for a couple of minutes.   Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and continue sauteing for a couple of minutes before adding  the jalapenos and chipotle paste.    Give it a good stir before adding the stock cubes, 600 ml of water, the corn, kidney beans, black eyed peas, chicken thighs and half the chopped coriander.  Cover the casserole and cook in pre-heated oven at 190 degree for an hour.   Remove and check that most of the water has evaporated before garnishing with the remaining coriander.   Serve hot with a nice crusty bread of choice or a bowl of rice.

NB:  The Blackened Cajun seasoning has salt so you shouldn’t have to add any more – if you are using any other brand check the ingredient list.

Gluten free caserole

We had an amazing homemade casserole for dinner last night for the first time and are now inspired to create different ethnic variations for future dinner options.  The casserole used very few spices, tasted wonderful and was the ideal dinner for the onset of winter  (yesterday was the first of many cold rainy days ).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6-8 potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 8 mushrooms halved
  • 1 stick of leek chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 baby onions peeled
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapenos chopped
  • 200 gms tinned butter beans drained
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns crushed coarsely
  • 2 gluten free chicken stock cubes (we use Kallo cubes – taste great)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of fresh parsley chopped for garnish
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash and dry the chicken thigh fillets and marinade with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, dried mixed herbs and salt.    Let the chicken marinade for as long as you can – we cooked it after an hour.  Heat a cast iron casserole and brown the chicken thighs.  Remove chicken and add remaining oil to saute the whole onions and garlic for a couple of minutes.   Add the crushed red chilli flakes and leeks and continue sauteing for a couple of minutes before adding  remaining vegetables.    Give it a good stir and add the stock cubes, coarsely crushed black peppercorns and a dash of salt for taste.   Pour in 600 ml of water and add the butter beans and the chicken thighs.  over the casserole and cook in pre-heated oven at 190 degree for an hour.   Remove and check that most of the water has evaporated before garnishing with fresh chopped parsley.   Serve hot with a nice crusty bread of choice.

Garden fresh – celery soup

Our vegetable patch bounty of celery is more than we can consume in a month and we used some to make a fresh batch of soup for dinner a couple of nights back.  I decided to experiment a bit with the finishing off the dish and added a couple of teaspoons of flavoured cream cheese which works really well instead of cream (not sure if it is healthier but different definitely).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 3-4 bunches of celery washed, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 gluten free vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50 gms butter
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • 2 tsp cream cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat oil and butter in pan and add garlic and bay leaves to it.  Saute for a minute before adding the onions and sweating them down a bit.  Then add the celery and carrot and give the pan a good mix.   Add 500 ml of water and the stock cubes and bring to a boil.  Simmer the soup on low heat for 30-40 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.  Remove the bay leaves before blending the soup in a food processor till you get a fine puree.  Return to heat and adjust the seasoning.  Add couple of teaspoons of cream cheese, mix and switch off heat.  Serve hot.

Soup de jour – leek and potato

Thanks to the intermittent summer weather we have in the UK tonight was an opportunity to make a hearty bowl of leek and potato soup.  We saw some fresh leeks on offer at Sainsbury’s and decided to pick some up to make the soup.  Making it is not exactly rocket science but the soup tasted great and so we’ve decided to share it with you.

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Leek and potato soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 leeks roughly sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot cut in pieces
  • 2 sticks of celery cut
  • 1 bunch of spring onion chopped
  • 50 ml sour cream
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 30 gms of butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

4 hearty bowls

How do I make it?

Heat pan with butter and olive oil.  Add the carrots, celery and spring onion first and allow the vegetables to sweat for five minutes before adding the leeks and potatoes.  Stir the vegetables for ten minutes before adding the stock cubes and about 1 litre of water.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook on low heat till done.  Blitz the ingredients to a puree and return to heat – add sour cream and switch off the heat.  Serve hot.