Summery kohlrabi soup

A rather spectacular Kohlrabi by Petr Kratochvil (public domain image)

A rather spectacular Kohlrabi by Petr Kratochvil (public domain image)

Kohlrabi is a versatile member of the brassica family; in the winter, you can use it in hearty soups and stews or create a delicious mash with olive oil and salt and pepper. The summer crop of kohlrabi is less fibrous than during the winter and it is ideally suited for summer salads and kohlrabi slaw. Try adding grated kohlrabi and carrot together with a mustard dressing.

This kohlrabi soup – my own recipe – is perfect for a light lunch in the garden. The combination of peas and mint help to bring out the crisp taste of the kohlrabi, resulting in a delicious summer soup.

SUMMERY KOHLRABI SOUP
(serves 4)

Ingredients

2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
2 large onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 heaped tbsp frozen garden peas
3.5 cups/1.5 pints vegetable stock
2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for approx. 10 minutes, until they are golden.
2. Add the kohlrabi and carrots to the pan. Saute gently for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the vegetable stock and the peas. Bring to the boil, then immediately turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the peas are cooked.
4. Add the chopped mint, season with salt and pepper to taste and blend.

Kohlrabi soup

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Honey-roasted parsnip and carrot soup

A few days ago, my sister gave me a bag of parsnips. Her husband had brought them home and since she doesn’t like parsnips, she gave them to me. I am not a parsnip hater but I am not particularly enamored by them either. But I was determined not to let them spoil and go to waste. And so I made this soup which actually turned out much better than expected. I guarantee it will convert anyone with a low opinion of parsnips!

Honey-roasted parsnip and carrot soup

Honey-roasted parsnip and carrot soup

Ingredients – serves 6 – 8, depending on portion size. If you are daunted by the quantity of soup this recipe produces, freeze the leftovers.

4 large parsnips, peeled
6 medium carrots, diced
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp mild chili powder
Vegetable stock/bouillon cube
Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 390°F/200°C. Chop the peeled parsnips into rough chunks. No need to worry about making them look pretty; they are going to be blended. Drizzle them with a liberal amount of honey and a little olive oil.

Chopped parsnips, drizzled with honey, ready to go in the oven

Chopped parsnips, drizzled with honey, ready to go in the oven

Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and some ground black pepper and roast for 30 minutes. Half-way through roasting them, add 2 garlic cloves (chopped in half) along with more honey if necessary.

2. While the parsnips are roasting, saute 2 finely chopped onions in a little olive oil. Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika and some ground black pepper. When the onions are golden, add the diced carrots and 1/2 tsp mild chili powder. Cook on a moderate temperature and stir frequently.

3. When the parsnips are done, add them to the onions and carrots. Cook for 10 minutes. Then add vegetable stock to cover the vegetables – the liquid should come approx. 2 inches above the veg. Sorry for the lack of an accurate measure: I didn’t bother measuring my stock. You can always add more liquid if you prefer a thinner soup.

4. Cook until the parsnips and carrots are tender, adding more cumin, paprika or chili if desired. Blend thoroughly and season to taste. After blending, return to the pan to heat the soup until bubbling. Serve with fresh bread and a green salad. Enjoy!

Photo challenge day 11: Warmth

Today’s theme from the First Thirty-one Photo Challenge at Fourtuitous is “warmth”.

Few things are more delicious and more warming on a cold winter’s day than a hearty bowl of home-made soup. This honey-roasted parsnip and carrot soup is my own creation. The addition of ground cumin, mild chili powder and plenty of black pepper give it a spicy warmth.

Honey-roasted parsnip and carrot soup

Honey-roasted parsnip and carrot soup

Beetroot and walnut hummus

Beetroot hummus — what an amazing pink hue!


I introduced Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s style of cooking to you in my post last December, A cook book recipe and a recipe too, when I was given a copy of his latest cook book for Christmas. I recommend it and if you’d like your own copy, it’s available at Amazon: River Cottage Veg Everyday at Amazon.com. I promise I am not being paid to promote it! I am merely a fan of tasty, simple food.

River Cottage Veg Everyday has become my go-to recipe book and today I made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s beetroot and walnut hummus. You’ll need to use a measurement converter as Fearnley-Whittingstall is English and therefore uses British cooking measures. But don’t worry about it too much; in a recipe like this one it doesn’t matter if quantities aren’t exact. The recipe (see below) is from the Mezze & Tapas section of the cookbook, which is filled with all kinds of delicious dips and snacks. Hummus doesn’t just have to be all about garbanzo beans (chickpeas). The cookbook includes recipes for cannellini bean hummus, carrot hummus and of course, beetroot hummus.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and as always, please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section. Have you tried making an unusual variation of hummus? I’m always on the alert for new recipes to try!

Beetroot and walnut hummus

Serves 4
• 50g walnuts
• 1 tbsp cumin seeds
• 25g stale bread, crusts removed
• 200g cooked beetroot (not pickled), cut into cubes
• 1 tbsp tahini
• 1 large garlic clove, crushed
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• A little rapeseed oil (optional)

1 Put the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 5-7 mins, until fragrant. Leave to cool.

2 Warm a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and dry-fry them, shaking the pan almost constantly, until they start to darken and release their aroma – this should take less than a minute so be careful not to burn them. Crush with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder.

3 Break the bread into small chunks, put in a food processor or a blender with the walnuts and blitz until fine. Add the beetroot, tahini, most of the garlic, a good pinch of the cumin, half the lemon juice, a little salt and a good grind of pepper, then blend to a thick paste.

4 Taste the mixture and adjust it by adding a little more cumin, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper, blending again until you are happy with the result. Loosen with a dash of oil if you think it needs it. Refrigerate until required but bring back to room temperature to serve.

Recipe © Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, 2011, River Cottage Veg Everyday, Bloomsbury. No copyright infringement intended.

Spicy tomato sauce recipe

This recipe comes courtesy of my brother who requested to be credited as the Master-chef! It is delicious served with roast potato wedges and only takes a couple of minutes to prepare.


Public domain image source: Small Tomatoes by Jiri Hodan

Ingredients

⅓ can chopped tomatoes
4 cloves crushed garlic
½ tsp sea salt
2 heaped tsp hot smoked paprika (Spanish Pimentón if possible)
2 tsp dried oregano
Lots of ground black pepper
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Put the tomatoes in a jug, add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly together, then serve. If you cannot find pimentón, use cayenne pepper but use less of it.

Food: butternut squash quiche recipe

There are other butternut squash quiche recipes out there but this one is mine, all mine. And it is delicious! 🙂

Butternut squash quiche

Butternut squash Quiche

Ingredients for the short crust pastry quiche crust:

1½ cups/187 g plain all-purpose flour

½ cup/113 g margarine

Approx. 3 – 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for the quiche:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes

4 eggs

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Oregano

Smoked paprika (optional)

Step 1: Make the shortcrust pastry. Put the flour into a bowl and add the margarine. Use your fingertips to lightly rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Then slowly add the cold water and mix gently together with a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together to form a dough. If the dough is a bit soggy or you added too much water, add a little more flour.

When you have made the dough, put it in a food bag and pop it in the fridge while you prepare the filling for the quiche.

Step 2: Sauté the onion and garlic lightly in olive oil with a pinch of oregano for about 10 minutes. Then add the butternut squash cubes and continue to cook. Stir frequently to avoid the vegetables sticking to the pan and add more olive oil if necessary. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook until the butternut squash pieces are fairly tender (about 20 minutes).

Step 3: While the squash is cooking, take the pastry out of the fridge, roll it out and carefully put it into a greased quiche pan. Pierce the bottom of the quiche crust a few times with a fork to prevent air bubbles when it cooks. Next, line the quiche tin with baking parchment and place baking beans or pastry weights on top of it. Blind bake the quiche crust at 365ºF/185ºC for approx. 10 – 15 minutes. Then take it out of the oven. Keep checking the squash and when it is cooked, remove it from the stove while you prepare the eggs.

Step 4:  Beat the eggs thoroughly, adding salt and pepper and, optionally, a small pinch of smoked Spanish paprika if you have some. Then pour the eggs into the saucepan and mix well with the butternut squash, adding another small pinch of oregano.

Step 5: Pour the eggs and squash mixture into the quiche pan and smooth it with a spoon so that the filling is evenly dispersed. If you wish, top with a little grated cheese. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes at 365ºF/185ºC. It should be golden on top and have a firm consistency.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy!

A cook book review and a recipe too!

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants us all to eat more vegetables. “Who the heck is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall?” you might be thinking, after reading that sentence.
The answer: he is a British celebrity chef and, according to Wikipedia, a “‘real food’ campaigner”. His latest cook book, River Cottage Veg Every Day!, is packed full with recipes which illustrate his ‘real food’ principles.

That phrase amuses me. Sure, I know what it means but it just sounds funny. ‘Real food’, as opposed to what? Fake food?

My copy of 'River Cottage Veg Every Day!'

Anyways, getting back on topic: Fearnley-Whittingstall is not trying to preach or to convert everyone to vegetarianism but he believes that “We need to eat more vegetables and less flesh, because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good, and our planet the least harm” (from the Foreword to River Cottage Every Day, text 2011 copyright Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall).

I was given a copy of River Cottage Veg Every Day for Christmas and it is a great book with about 400 pages of delicious recipes. Fearnley-Whittingstall’s style is simple: no fancy recipes which take hours to prepare, no expensive and exotic ingredients which only city-dwellers can find in specialty food shops…
The recipes are all vegetarian but almost all of them can be side dishes to meat or fish. There is also plenty of scope to create entirely vegetarian meals. I like the way River Cottage Veg Every Day is presented: there are several different chapters which range from “Comfort food & feasts” to “Hefty soups” and “Mezze & tapas”. The photography is wonderful. Every page has a color photo of the end results of each recipe.

The following recipe is from the Store-cupboard Suppers chapter of River Cottage Veg Every Day!:

Tomato, thyme and goat’s cheese tart

Serves 4 – 6
A little sunflower oil
½ teaspoon fine cornmeal or polenta (optional)
375g all-butter, ready-made puff pastry
Beaten egg, for brushing
About 350g tomatoes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A little extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
100g rinded goat’s cheese
A handful of thyme sprigs, leaves only
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5. Lightly oil a baking sheet and scatter over a little fine cornmeal or polenta, if you have some – this helps to keep the pastry really crisp.
Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and trim to a rectangle about 30 x 25cm. Put it on the baking sheet. Cut a 1cm strip from each edge. Brush these strips with a little beaten egg, then stick on to the edges of the rectangle, to form a slightly raised border. Brush the edges with a little more egg.
Thinly slice the tomatoes across into 2 – 3mm slices; discard the stalky top and skinny bottom slices. Scatter the garlic over the pastry, then arrange the sliced tomatoes on top, overlapping them only slightly. Season with salt and pepper and trickle with a little oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and lightly browned.
Take the tart out of the oven, scatter over the cheese and thyme, add another twist of pepper and a trickle of oil, and return to the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and the pastry golden brown. You can serve this hot, but I think it’s better half an hour or so after it comes out of the oven, with a green salad.

Recipe text © 2011 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. No copyright infringement intended.

This is a fantastic cook book with a lot of simple, delicious and nutritious recipes. If I had to summarize it in one word: Yummy!

Food: savory pancake stack recipe

This recipe is delicious and although it takes a while to make, it is worth the effort. As always, quantities are approximate – use your own common sense to adjust or alter quantities and ingredients if you wish. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment.

Savory pancake stack recipe

A serving of the recipe

Ingredients – for the pancakes

Approx. 3 cups/370 g all-purpose flour

Approx. 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

14 fl. oz milk

Ingredients – for the pancake filling

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 medium-sized cauliflower, broken into small florets

2 potatoes, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 leek, finely chopped

1/2 cup/100 g red lentils

19 fl. oz. Vegetable stock

Mild chili powder

Dried oregano

Method:

1. Prepare the pancake batter in the usual way: mix the flour with the baking powder, beat the eggs and add the eggs and milk to the flour. Briskly mix the ingredients together until you have a fairly thick mixture.

2. Leave the pancake mix while you prepare the vegetables. Chop the onion into small chunks and saute it in approx. 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil, with the garlic for 5 – 10 minutes. Add a pinch of dried oregano.

3. Add the chopped carrots, cauliflower, potatoes and leek and cook for approx. 15 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the vegetables don’t start to stick to the pan.

4. Add the chili powder, red lentils and vegetable stock. Cook on a moderate temperature, stirring from time to time, for approx. 30 minutes or until the lentils have absorbed most of the stock and the vegetables are soft. Adjust the cooking temperature if necessary.

5. When the vegetables are cooked, remove the mixture from the heat and cook the pancakes. You might need to add more milk to the pancake mix as it will have thickened while you prepared and cooked the veg. The pancakes need to be big enough to fit the pan you are using (I used a 20 cm diameter round cake pan). If they are too big to fit the pan, cut them to size.

Cooking the pancakes

6. When you have cooked the pancakes, layer them in the cake pan with the vegetable filling. It helps to prevent the mixture from sticking if you rub a little margarine on the base and sides of the pan. I put one pancake on the base and lined the sides with two pancakes, cut into four halves. Then, veg mix, followed by another pancake, followed by more veg and finally one pancake on top! You will probably have some vegetable mixture left over.

7. Bake in the oven at 340 F/170 C (adjust temperatures to 370 F/190 C if you are not using a convection oven) for approx. 10 minutes.

8. Serve with a garnish of green salad and enjoy!