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    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Best Roast Butternut Soup, with Roast Chicken Pieces and Broccoli Garnish

    If you are are looking for a smooth Pumpkin/Butternut Squash Soup. This is the one
    The addition of the large pieces of Roast Chicken just add another dimension
    Plus little flavourful slices of broccoli on top
    This is a complete meal
    I found this soup on better a website that sends me emails each morning
    It is soup time at the moment and this was a little beauty
    For those interested, it is gluten free and also Paleo 
    4 Bone-in, skin-on breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
    1 Medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
    1 Small Yellow Onion, rough chopped
    2 cloves Garlic, peeled and left whole
    2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

    5 cup Chicken Broth
    ⅓ tsp Ground Cumin
    ⅓ tsp Ground Coriander

    2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

    Optional Garnish
    Kale  sliced
    in my case or as I find Kale a little boring
    broken into florets, just enough to use as a garnish

    To prepare broccoli
    Slice broccoli thinly,
    I used a mandolin
    Blanch the broccoli
    in boiling salted water for about 45 seconds
    Strain immediately and plunge into cold water, to stop cooking
    This will keep the fabulous bright green colour

    In a frying pan, on medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil
    add 1 clove of garlic, finely copped with sea salt and about 1 tbs of lemon zest
    Just sauté gently for about a minute be careful not to burn the garlic

    Throw in blanched broccoli and cook till heated through
    Use to garnish soup

    Preheat the oven to 200C degrees
    Place the chicken, squash, garlic, and onion on a baking sheet.
    Season the chicken and vegetables with the oil, salt and pepper. 
    Bake for 25 minutes.
    Remove the chicken and set it aside.
    Place the remaining vegetables into a blender with any excess oils.
    Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
    Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in two batches.
    Strain through a sieve, into a stock pot and bring into a boil.
    There was still some fibre from the squash, I though it needed to go
    So I strained it
    Reduce to a simmer and return the chicken.
    Simmer the soup uncovered for 20 minutes.
    If you really want to use kale, stir in it for the last 5 minutes.

    Or again my case, I served the soup and topped with Broccoli Slices
    Very pretty and tastes fab
    Of course I had leftovers
    Reheat it very gently, so that the chicken heats through

    Sunday, July 17, 2016

    A Classic Cream of Mushroom Soup

    Mushroom Soup

    I had some chicken stock sitting in the fridge, thought I would make some soup
    Had a glance through my Go-To Cajun Cookbook… that I bought on our first trip to New Orleans
    in 1988. Le Bouche Creole, by Leon E Soniat Jr.
    I don’t think you would go wrong with any recipe in this book.
    Elizabeth David
    Julia Child
    Jacques Pepin
    Marcella Hazan
    and Leon
    These authors have created little bibles for me, all well worn
    I will never throw them away.
    My heroes!

    So, what jumped out at me, was
    Cream of Mushroom Soup, even though I didn't have any mushrooms…
    I did have to go to the Supermarche, so I bought some

    It’s a little fiddly but well worth it
    Serves 8-10 people

    Voila Lunch
    500 gms mushrooms
    125 gms butter
    1 litre Milk
    1.5 litres of Chicken stock
    1 onion
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 bunch spring (green onions)
    8 tablespoons flour
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon Dried basil 
    1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
    2-3 tablespoon good chicken stock powder, I use the Vegeta Brand

    Boil the onion, bay leaves and tops of green onions in the stock for 1/2 hour
    Strengthen the stock with the powdered stock

    In a heavy pot, melt the butter over low heat
    Add flour
    Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly
    Warm the milk then
    Add the milk very slowly

    Stirring all the time, to avoid lumps

    When the sauce is well mixed and creamy
    Slowly pour in the strained stock

    Clean the mushroom, remove the stem and chop them finely add them to the stoup
    While this cooks, slice the mushroom tops
    After the soup has simmered for about 10 minutes
    Season with Salt and pepper to taste
    Then the Tabasco and the sliced mushroom

    Let cook for another 5-10 minutes
    stirring occasionally

    When the soup is served garnish each bowl with a little green onions 

    As I am always On my "Waste Not Want Not" Crusade
    This soup, also made a wonderful mushroom sauce
    That evening, I made myself dinner, using some leftover vegetables
    and some beautiful Filet Steak

    Just popped the vegetable into the oven and roasted them
    Not too long about 20 minutes
    After I had cooked the steak, I removed it from the pan and
    Ladled in some of the soup into the hot pan

    Mixed with the yummy meat juices, it reduced down a bit and the sauce was delicious
    I forgot to take the picture before I dressed the steak, but you can get the idea
    It was such a tasty dinner and no Waste
    You may notice with the soup above there is a little Toasted Sandwich to accompany it
    Very simple, It does need to be the old plastic white bread though, sorry,
    There are times this just has to be
    This filling was perfect
    Quantities are up to you...depending on how many people you are serving

    Slices of white bread, well buttered
    A little beaten egg
    Sliced ham
    Grated cheese 
    Sea salt and Black pepper
    Chopped Green onion or chives

    Lay the bread, butter side down onto a chopping board
    Place all the other ingredients, into a small bowl and mix well

     Spread the ingredients Over the un-buttered side
    Place the lid on and cook in your toasted sandwich machine, or you can cook on a non stick skillet
     Excellent and a lovely view, to go with my lunch

    Sunday, July 03, 2016

    Beautiful Spinach, Corn and Feta Muffins - The Joys of Frozen Food

    This morning I wanted to make some tasty muffins to take over to a friend
    Of course I didn’t want to go out and buy anything, so I made do with what I had in the pantry, freezer and fridge.
    The actual recipe called for courgettes and feta.
    Vegetables, that I always have in the freezer, are peas, corn and spinach
    I can do something with that, so I replaced the courgettes with spinach and corn and I created a delight

    Also I didn’t have quite enough milk so I topped it up with some chicken stock
    Should give some extra flavour

    I defrosted the spinach, squeezed out the excess juice, quickly defrosted the corn

    This recipe is from a post that I put up in 2007
    Inspired by my blogging friend Anali click here to read her blog
    Worth another go I reckon
    They are delicious, I wolfed down 2 for my lunch
     Heat oven to 175C

    1/3 cup sugar
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 ½ cups plain flour

    1/2 cup chopped frozen spinach (well squeezed to remove excess juice
    1/2 cup frozen corn kernels thawed
    1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

    2 eggs
    ¾ cup milk
    ½ cup rice bran oil

    Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl
    Add spinach, corn and feta cheese and mix around to coat them
    use you hands for the best result
    Meanwhile beat all wet ingredients
    Add to dry.

    Just stir to mix
    Pour into greased muffin tins
    Made 9-10
    Cook for about 16-18 minutes
    take out of tins and cool on a wire rack

    Pasta A La Norma - Everybody loved it

    It seems I'm going Sicilian this week, tonight I am cooking A Sicilian Fish Dish Click here for the recipe and tomorrow I am cooking a lunch for friends
    So continuing on the Sicilian Theme, I am making Pasta A la Norma
    Apparently named after Bellini's Opera, Norma, I think I need to find the music on my phone and play it during lunch
    I've made this a few times, and it has been very popular with the punters
    A great vegetarian dish,
    The fresh herbs really lift it, Fabulous Flavours, with the saltiness of the cheese giving that extra lift
    There are many versions of this dish...but it seems this is one of the best
    Of course I did cook too much... so
    I did have some leftover and reheated it, to accompany schnitzel for the grandchildren
    They loved it, all had second helpings.
    Raving in fact

    1 large eggplant
    4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing
    Sea salt
    2 or 3 large ripe tomatoes (about 350 grams)
    1 pound rigatoni or fettuccine ( I used rigate which was I think will be my preference now)
    2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

    Crushed red pepper flakes
    1 bunch basil, leaves only, very roughly chopped (about 1 packed cup)
    About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
    About 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1 scant cup goats Feta, crumbled or coarsely grated, optional
    Parmesan cheese

    Heat the oven to 215°C.
    Using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, peel some of the skin from the eggplant in stripes (it’s nice to have some, but not all, of the eggplant skin in the final pasta dish)
    Cut the eggplant into 1-inch dice, toss it on a rimmed baking sheet with oil and salt, and roast until browned and very tender, about 20 minutes.
    The eggplant is done when you can easily squish a cube with your finger
     and it has a nice, creamy texture; under-cooked eggplant
    can have a less appealing, cottony feel.
    Bring a big pot of cold salted water to a boil.
    Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, according to the package instructions.

    If you’re in a hurry, cut the tomatoes into large dice about the size of, well, dice.
    Don’t bother removing the skins and seeds.
    If you have a moment to intensify the flavour of your tomatoes,
    remove their skins and seeds and dice them, then place the diced tomatoes in a colander,
    sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let sit for 10 minutes.
    To grab that extra flavour, its worth doing this step
    I extracted the juice from the seeds and skin and added it into the sauce

    Warm a large skillet over low heat and add the 4 tablespoons oil.
    Toss in the garlic and crushed red pepper and stir a bit.
    Add the basil and a sprinkle of salt,
    raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the basil is dark green and wilted,
    being careful not to burn the garlic.
    Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with the salt (if you haven’t already), and
    cook until the tomatoes barely lose their rawness, about 5 minutes.

    Add the roasted eggplant and let the sauce simmer gently until the pasta is ready.
    Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup pasta cooking water.
    Toss the drained pasta with the sauce, the mint, and the parsley,
    tasting and adjusting the seasoning if necessary.
    If the mixture seems dry,
    add some pasta cooking water, a little at a time.
    Toss in the Feta
     Grate the Parmesan over the top