Friday, 30 September 2011

Celery, tomato and apple soup (2 colours)

Butter - 50 g
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Bramley apple - 1 large, core removed and quartered (not peeled)
Tomatoes - 430 g, quartered
Celery - 2 large sticks, chopped into 2 inch pieces
Ground ginger - pinch
Ground nutmeg - pinch
Vegetable stock - 570 ml

1) Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the apple, tomatoes, celery, ginger and nutmeg to the pan and stir well.
2) Place two layers of greaseproof paper over the contents of the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
3) Remove the paper, add the stock and stir and then transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve hot. Serves 4.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Beetroot soup (3 colours)

We've got quite a big beetroot harvest this year so I'm back into beetroot recipes again. This is the fourth beetroot soup I've made and certainly the best so far. The recipe by Delia Smith calls for draining the liquid and discarding the vegetables, but I couldn't bear to waste them all. We did try some of the drained liquid and it was indeed delicious eaten cold as suggested, but then we blended in the vegetables and served it hot.

Raw peeled beetroots - 700 g, chopped
Spring onions - 10, chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Bay leaf - 1
Parsley - handful, chopped
Water - 1.5 litres
Cucumber - 1, peeled and chopped
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Red wine vinegar - 1 tbsp

1) Place the beetroots, spring onions, garlic, bay leaf and parsley in a large pan with the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 70 minutes.
2) Add the cucumber to the pan and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.
3) Either strain and serve cold or pour all the liquid and veggies into a blender (remove the bay leaf first), blend and serve hot. Serves 4-6.

Chocolate courgette cake with chocolate ganache (1 colour)

This cake is really tasty and you'd never know there were courgettes in there. It's extremely crumbly, but as long as you have a fork (or preferably a spoon) to eat it with it's no problem.

Self-raising flour - 350 g
Cocoa powder - 50 g
Mixed spice - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 175 ml
Golden caster sugar - 300 g
Eggs - 3
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Courgettes - 500 ml (about 2 medium-sized courgettes, measured by volume in a measuring jug), grated
Hazelnuts - 140 g, toasted in a frying pan (being careful not to burn) and then roughly chopped

For the ganache:
Dark chocolate - 200 g, chopped
Double cream - 100 ml

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and salt. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and courgette.
2) Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry and mix until just combined, then fold in the chopped hazelnuts. Line a 9 inch round cake tin with greaseproof paper, then pour in the mixture.
3) Bake at 180°C for about 80-90 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
4) To make the ganache place the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until it's melted. I wasn't convinced that the cream would melt the chocolate and certainly it was difficult so when I make it again I'll probably heat the chocolate to at least soften it before adding the cream.
5) Leave to cool slightly and then spread the ganache over the cake so it's covered and starts to drip down the sides. Serves 6-8.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Marrow stuffed with tuna and lentils (3 colours)

Marrow - 1, ends trimmed and sliced into 4cm slices
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Celery - 1 stick, chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Green lentils - 200 g tin, drained
Tuna - 200 g can, drained
Breadcrumbs - handful
Cheddar cheese - 125 g, grated

1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and celery and fry until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and lentils and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until thickened.
2) Drain the tuna and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato lentil mixture and mix well.
3) Scoop out the centre of each marrow slice and place in a baking dish. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed-out centres and spread any remaining mixture between the marrow rings.
4) Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 190°C for 30 minutes. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and top with the cheese. Bake for a further 15 minutes. Serves 2-3, depending on the length of the marrow.