Saturday Morning and the main shop was done yesterday and we are walking around Bruntsfield and Morningside after dropping our bikes off for a service. Waitrose, the foodies supermarket usually calls out to us, to grab those last minute items and a free paper when you spend over £10. I love the Guardian on Saturday Food Supplement! They sell an ideal sized bag of sweet potatoes in their essentials range and apart from the addition of the weight in my rucksack I see no reason to add them to our extra swag for soup making purposes.
This is a lovely creamy style soup, great for those autumn nights.
- 1.25kg bag of sweet potatoes
- 2 medium onions diced
- Olive or Rapeseed Oil
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 400g tin of coconut milk
- 200g split red lentils
- 1 tbsp bouillon powder
- Rinse and then soak the lentils in 500g/500ml or so in cold water for 30 mins
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into chunks, roast for 45 mins to an hour until soft
- Dice the onion
- Bring a tbsp of the oil to a soft heat in a heavy based pan that will hold a good 2litres of liquid.
- Add the onion and crushed garlic and soften until translucent
- Add the bouillon powder and stir in
- Add the coconut milk
- Then a litre of water, which I add boiled from the kettle, bring to a simmer and stir through
- You can add the lentils at this stage and cook in the broth
- Or cook separately in their own water to then add later
- I choose to do this as I didn’t want to blitz the lentils…preferring to keep them whole
- When the potatoes are ready, add into the broth mix and blitz using a hand blender
- Add the lentils if you cooked them separately.
Week 5 of the re-wire and at last the sparkies have finished. They were a great couple of guys but the house has been turned up side down. It feels like we’ve moved house and this time we don’t know where anything is. Throughout though we’ve managed to keep the veggie box going and this week we were topically (Halloween) re-warded with a small squash.
When I saw it I knew immediately what I wanted to make and my mind sprung to getting my eldest in on the act, away from his screen with a lesson in the dark art of absorption.
Roasting a squash might feel like a faff. Once in the oven though, you crack on with the risotto and the squash takes care of itself.
- Small Squash
- 225g Smoked Bacon, chopped into pieces
- 300g Arborio rice
- Onion diced
- Garlic Clove, crushed
- 1.2 Litre of stock (we used bouillon)
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- Olive or Rapeseed Oil
- 4 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche
- Spinach 200g or so
Peel the squash, half it and scoop out the seeds. Dice both halves into good bite sized cubes. Place on a roasting tray drizzle with some oil and place into the oven for 30 mins or so on 180°C.
Once your squash is in the oven, crack on with Risotto.
A good sized pan is needed for this as basically everything is going to end-up in it!
Fry the bacon in some oil, scoop out once cooked and put to one side, try to leave as much as the oil as possible.
Then soften the onion, crushed garlic in the oil on a gentle heat. Add the spices at this point and cook for another minute.
Add the Arborio rice at this point. I joke with my son here that the rice will start to talk to you when it’s ready for some liquid.
Add a ladle of stock. Simmer and stir until absorbed and keep doing this until all the stock has gone. The rice should be soft to the bite, you might need a little less liquid or a little more. Use your judgement. Stir in the creme fraiche and the bacon. Add the spinach, this will wilt down which is a surprise in itself.
Finally fold in the roasted squash.
There is a definite change in the air, the turning of the colour on the leaves and the last few days has seen an omni present dewy dampness in the morning that is burnt off in the September sun.
This is one of my favourite times of the year from a cooks perspective. The foodie will notice the change on the cover of magazines, long gone are the healthy salads ready to make you virtuous before the day is out ready to hit the beach in your skimpy speedos. Now is the time to hit the comforting autumn bounty, the central heating is on after all. With squashes and apple delights adorning the magazine racks. To pick one up makes you feel comfortable just to the touch.
The weekend saw me caught between the headlights on so many fronts and trying to cope and keep the family nurished is a priority. If you find yourself in this situation then putting something in a slow cooker is ideal with minimum stress. This version completely disregards sealing the meat, a faff at the best of times! Although I can hear a million voices cry out in anger…..I just didn’t have the time.
- 2 medium sized onions diced
- 1kg Stewing Lamb
- 2 tins of pulses (Chefs choice, I use chick peas and canneloni)
- 250g chopped mushrooms (I quarter them)
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika (or a spice mix that gives a little warmth)
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 50 grams red split lentils
- 50 grams brown split lentils
- Soften the onions in a glug of olive oil
- Add the spice to the onions and stir in for a minute or so
- Put everything in the slow cooker at this point, except the split lentils
- High heat for a good 2 hours
- At this point give it a good stir and use your judgement. Think about how you like your stew, I find a good hundred grams of lentils at this point is the ideal thing to both soak up and thinken the juices.
- I leave in the slow cooker for another hour or so on low heat in order to cook the lentils
This easily does the four of us two meals, great for freezing and good for a quick reheat mid week. Serve with potatoes or couscous. Or as a chunky soup with a big chunky slice of bread.
Choked up with cold this morning, a sign of the November cold nights or the close encounters of messing around with my 2 year old nephew!
I had a productive weekend in the kitchen, set my self a recipe list on Friday evening and by in large made my way through it.
Finally got myself organised and tried Nigel Slaters Christmas cake. Hoping for an early December tasting. We typically go for a good house keeping recipe, year in year out and never fails us…always room to try something new. The addition of ground almonds, hazelnuts and an orange twist will be adding to the excitement.
I was also going to try Nigel’s no nonsense brownie…..however the boss sidetracked me and suggested I try Green and Blacks version. If your looking for a good sized brownie to feed the masses, this is the one. None of your little square baking tins, this one fills the battleship roasting tin!
On the savoury side, I made a new soup inspired by Peter Jackson and a variation of Nigel’s Osso Bucco that just hit the spot for a Saturday night meal for two.
Set my eldest a challenge on the Sunday night tea front. I was browsing through the options when his eyes lit up on spaghetti carbonara, I thought I’d tap into this excitement with a shopping challenge. Gave him his list, a mere 4 ingredients and whilst I did my messages he hunter gathered bacon, eggs, mushrooms and a packet of spaghetti. The mushrooms were my idea to try and make it a little more healthier.
I also got around to writing last weeks recipe up Lamb Topside Stew