Sunday, March 29, 2009

CURRIED PARSNIP & APPLE SOUP WITH PARSNIP CRISPS ALSO CREAM OF CELERY SOUP


The first soup comes from Delia's Winter Collection and must be one of the best soups I have ever eaten.

The recipe can be found here on Delia's website.

The flavour combinations are truly wonderful, and if you are a curry fan, then this soup must surely go on your 'to do list' of recipes.

Hopefully, you will have spices that haven't been bought ready ground. It really is worthwhile roasting your own spices when you need them. The aroma from the spices when you are crushing them in the pestle and mortar is heaven.

I always try to remember not to liquidize soups too much, because I prefer my soups to have some texture to them.

The parsnip crisps for the garnish are very easy to make, simply slice the parsnips very thinly, fry in hot fat for a few minutes and then, as if by magic, they start to curl and twist into wonderful shapes.


The Cream of Celery soup, comes under the heading of luxury soups in Delia's Frugal Food.

I had some celery and leeks that were starting to look sorry for themselves, suddenly these tired looking vegetables transformed themselves into a delicious soup.

I bought my celery seeds from the health store, unfortunately, these aren't very easy to find. You can buy them from the Seasoned Pioneers website though.

Here is the slightly adapted recipe.

CREAM OF CELERY SOUP

DELIA'S FRUGAL FOOD

ISBN 9780340918562 - Page 23

350g sticks celery trimmed (save the leaves), 25g butter, 110g peeled potatoes cut into chunks, 2 sliced and washed medium leeks (white parts only, but I used all of the leek), 570ml chicken stock, 275ml semi-skimmed milk, ¼ teaspoon celery seeds, 2 tablespoons cream, seasoning.

1. Melt the butter in a large pan over a low heat.
2. Chop the celery and add it to the pan, together with the potatoes and drained leeks. Then stir to coat the vegetables with butter, cover very gently for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
3. Pour in the stock and milk, sprinkle in the celery seeds and some salt. Bring to simmering point over a very low heat (watching it doesn't boil over), cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are absolutely tender.
4. Liquidize the soup until it's your preferred consistency. Return the puree to the pan and add the cream.
5. Bring back to the boil, taste and season.
6. Just before serving, chop up the reserved celery leaves and use these to garnish the soup.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

TOASTED GRAIN AND NUT CEREAL


Bill Granger is famous for his breakfasts and you just know his recipes are going to taste good.

I love muesli and granola, and mostly only make enough to fill a large storage jar, so that I can quickly move on to the next recipe.

The recipe Bill gives, is a blueprint really, and one that you can easily adjust to suit any particular whims you may have at the time you make it.

I cooked the cereal on a conventional oven setting but it didn't seem to brown and crisp and so I popped the fan oven on and it very quickly browned and crisped up.

After going to Tom's Kitchen for brunch and eating granola, I wanted to reproduce something similar. This wasn't as rich as Tom's granola but tasted every bit as good!

Oh! nearly forgot - you will need a small dish of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey to go alongside!!

BILL'S SIDNEY FOOD

ISBN 0864119917 - Page 53

If you make the full quantity it will yield 1.5kg.

You will need: 125g unsalted butter, 6 fl oz honey, 1½ teaspoons vanilla essence, 500g rolled oats (I used jumbo oats), 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup slivered almonds, 1 cup shredded coconut, ¾ cup pumpkin seeds, 1 cup rye flakes, 1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as sultanas, apricots, cranberries etc.

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C(325°F). Place butter, honey and vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the honey and butter are combined.
2. Place the remaining ingredients, except the fruit, in a large mixing bowl and mix well, Slowly stir in the butter mixture, making sure that each grain is evenly coated.
3. Spread the cereal over two baking trays and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the grains are crisp and very lightly browned. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the baking dish. Also, check that the grains aren't over browning.
4. Remove the cereal from the oven and allow to cool.
5. When the cereal has cooled, add the dried fruit and stir evenly through the grain mixture.
6. This can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Here is a link to a couple of other granola recipes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

COFFEE CAPPUCCINO CREAMS WITH CREAM AND SWEET COFFEE SAUCE


Goodness! That's a long title for a dessert, but deserved it is.

I love coffee and have been longing to make these for a long, long time now.

Last weekend I had a few special meals to cook and it was an opportune time to make these.

These wonderful desserts have now made it to my list of 'I'm definitely going to make these again'.

First you put your spoon through the clouds of whipped cream laced in a sweet coffee sauce, then dip further into the smooth coffee mousse - need I say any more!

This wonderful recipe comes from Delia's How To Cook Book Two - ISBN 056338431X - Page 188.

Delia's recipe uses instant espresso powder for the mousse and the sweet coffee sauce.
Here is a link to Nigella Lawson's cappuccino cupcakes I made, way back in 2007, and fabulous they were too, this recipe also uses instant espresso powder. Also, here is a link to no less than 372 recipes which use espresso powder.

Awards

Maria at The Goddess's Kitchen and Rosie from Baking Cakes Galore have awarded to me The Adorable Blog award. Thank you Maria and Rosie.


The rules for The Adorable Blog Award are:

Nominate as many blogs which show adorability, cuteness and charm.Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.
I am passing The Adorable Blog award on to:

The Caked Crusader

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Snapshot Of My Day In London

Once a year I take a day trip from the West Midlands to London. The trips are, in the main, foodie related - click here to see what I got up to last year!


This year I arrived at Cale Street, Chelsea at 9.30 am on a grey but dry day - hooray!! First stop, Jane Asher's icing shop - this is quite a small shop but every square inch is filled with cake decorating goodies.




Next, Tom's Kitchen - this is on the other side of the road to Jane Asher and only a few metres down the road. We had brunch, to keep us going for a few hours. You need to make a table reservation here, it isn't a very big place and every available space is filled with tables. The staff were very polite, the food was excellent and the place had a great ambience. We were almost the first to arrive, but very soon it was packed with couples, Mums and Dads with children and early morning shoppers sitting at the breakfast bar. Tom Aiken called by as we were eating, and I have to say, for someone living such a busy life he looked very well, but then he is only very young!

Then a five minute walk to the King's Road for a spot of retail therapy. I always love Habitat on the King's Road, Heals and of course Peter Jones.



Just off the King's Road was Chelsea Farmer's Market - this market was a feast for the eyes.

We then decided to go for a walk around Kensington Gardens. Next a platter of cheese to share - we ate in the Orangerie which is situated in the park.

Last, but not least, a walk round St Pancras Station taking in the sites of all the wonderful shops in this magnificent station.


Do you recognize this clock? If you do, then you will immediately know where I was when I took this snapshot.

Yep, it was the Champagne & Oyster Bar situated in the upper concourse of the station. Sorry to spoil the image though, alas, I don't eat oysters but anything with bubbles...........now that's always, yes please!

A quick look at the bronze statue of The Meeting Place under the clock.......then home.
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