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Pumpkin and Chorizo Soup

19 Oct

This is a brilliant autumn soup for when it starts to get darker and cold each night! The chorizo adds something new and exciting to the gentle flavour of pumpkin giving you a warming soup suitable for everyone in the family!

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Ingredients:
1500g Chopped pumpkin, roughly 1 pumpkin
4tbsp Olive oil
1 Large onion
2 Garlic cloves
250g Chorizo
1ltr Chicken stock

Estimated time: 60 minutes

Directions:

Peel and chop your pumpkin into rough cubes. Weigh the cubes into a bowl with 2tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper, mix these together so all of it is well covered. Lightly oil two baking trays and roast your pumpkin pieces at 180c for 10-15 minutes until they have just started to colour and are soft. Leave these to one side to cool.

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While the pumpkin is cooking peel and dice your onion and garlic cloves before putting them into a large pan and gently cooking them down in the left over olive oil. This will take roughly 10 minutes on a medium heat.

Chop the chorizo into bite size chunks and then half the pieces and add them to the onion and garlic. Cook these all together for about 10minutes until the oils have been released from the chorizo giving everything an awesome red colour!

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Now stir in your pumpkin pieces and cook for a few minutes before pouring in your chicken stock. Once all the stock is added bring the soup up to the boil and then simmer for a further 10 minutes. This will make sure that all of the pumpkin is completely cooked and soft.

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Take two thirds of the soup and blend it to a smooth thick soup before stirring it back into the soup. This means that your soup will be nice and thick with chunks of pumpkin and chorizo throughout it. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste!

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Serve this soup with croutons on top to add a bit of crunch to this beautiful soup 🙂 and there you have it, a nice hot thick soup just what you need for a cold evening, especially good in front of a nice hot fire! Hope you all love this soup as much as I do!

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Leek and Potato Soup

22 May

This is a perfect soup for dreary and chilly weather, which we all know recently has come back…summer seems to be unsure as to whether it should bother turning up! This soup has been made by my mum all through the winter for as long as I can remember and is the family favourite!

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Ingredients:
5 Large potatoes
10 Leeks
1 Large onion
570ml Chicken stock
2tbsp Cornflour

Estimated time:120 minutes

Directions:

Peel and dice your onion, I would say 1cm squares but really who the hell measures their chopping?!? It’s ridiculous, you want them to be bite size pieces but not to small or they will just cook down to nothing! Scrape the onion into a large saucepan/pot…anything that is big enough to hold a lot of liquid in.

Now peel and dice your potatoes to around the same size as the onion and put them ingot eh pan as well. To this add about a tablespoon of olive oil and start to heat gently. You want to start the potatoes cooking as well as the onions.

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While the onions are starting to cook, make up your chicken stock. If you want this to be vegetarian then simply use vegetable stock instead 🙂 If you’re using home made stock then you might have to add some more water if it is quite a thick stock.

Once your onions have become translucent pour in enough stock to cover your onions and potatoes. Allow this to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. This will be enough time for the potatoes to start to cook and soften. Make sure you stir this often as those potatoes will try their hardest to stick!!

While these are simmering you can start on the leeks. I find it easiest to cut the leeks down the middle, starting about a cm away from the root end so that they stay together. This just means that it is easier to wash them as you can make sure the water gets between the leaves, as no one likes gritty soup!

Now that your leeks are squeaky clean you can start to chop them. The size is completely up to you as the leeks won’t cook down to mush, unless you try really hard!! But once the are chopped you can scrape them into your soup as the potatoes should be half cooked by now, if you’re not sure simply pierce some potato with a fork, if it is rock solid then they need to be cooked longer.

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Stir in the leeks and add the rest of the stock, this should now give you quite a thin soup. Allow this all to simmer together for another 5-10minutes as this should finish the potatoes and start the leeks cooking.

In a small bowl weigh your Cornflour with a small amount of water. Ideally you want to make a paste with it first and then slowly mix in more water, make us the water is cold or it will thicken before it is even in the soup.

Stir this liquid into the soup, keep stirring the soup to stop anything from sticking. This will also enable you to judge how thick you want the soup to be, the soup will continue to thicken until it comes to the boil.

Once the soul has boiled, test the potatoes again to see if they are cooked, this is also a great time to season the soup. As the main ingredient is potato the soup will take a lot of salt and pepper. Add some a bit at a time, mixing them in each time before tasting again. Keep seasoning until the flavour is right, do not be scared by the amount it takes, potatoes do just absorb so much flavour before adding flavour to the rest of the soup!!

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Now that its all seasoned you can serve and enjoy it. If you’re in a fancy mood then you can serve it with a small swirl of cream to make it look pretty. Another thing that goes well is smoked sausage chopped in the bottom of the bowl, it’s so good 🙂

There you go an amazingly tasty and warming soup, perfect for lunch and dinner! Admittedly it’s not the summery soup I want to be making now, but it isn’t warm enough yet!! I hope this soup becomes your family favourite too, enjoy everyone 🙂

Tomato and Basil Soup

6 Mar

Traditional, simple and amazing! This is such an old soup, everyone has had it at some point in their life, and to be honest I think everyone has fallen in love with this soup. It might not be as exotic as other soups, but it is always there and always hits ‘the spot’ .

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Ingredientsthis makes enough soup for 5 people
1500g Tomatoes
3 Large onions
A handful of fresh Basil
Salt and pepper to season

Estimated time: 80 minutes

Directions:

TomatoandBasilSoup

To start with get a large roasting tray, lightly oil the tray so that the tomatoes won’t stick. Now cut all of the tomatoes in half, it may look like a lot of tomatoes but as you don’t add any other liquid to the soup the more the better! Once halved put them, in the pan/tin trying not to have them piled up. Now peel the onions and cut them in half, roughly chop the halves into chunks and spread them in the tin with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then cover the whole tray with tin foil, this will help to prevent them from burning. Put the tray in the oven at 180c for roughly half an hour. Once the half hour is up take the tin out and shake it so that the tomatoes don’t stick and burn, now put back I the oven for another half hour.

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Once the tomatoes are roasted to your liking, (As long as you keep shaking the tomatoes every so often then you can roast them for almost as long as you like!) scrape half of them into a blender, or food processor and blitz them until there are no real lumps. Pour this into a large saucepan before finishing the rest.

Before you blend the rest of the tomatoes and onions you need to roughly chop the basil. This can be as rough as you want as you can then blend it with the remaining tomatoes until they are the texture that you want them to be.

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Once everything is blended pour it all into the sauce pan and stir it together on a low heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir in well, keep tasting the soup to get the right balance, because even though people say how bad salt is for you it hugely changes how food tastes. You’ll be amazed at how much just a small amount of salt will add to the flavour of this soup!!

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And that’s that! A beautifully easy and tasty soup. It might not be the quickest soup, but once the tomatoes are in the oven you can forget about hem and go about your day, so really nothing to complain about :p Enjoy it everyone, this soup is brilliant for lunch!!

Tomato & Potato Broth

23 Jan

This is soo good for cold days! If you’re like me, you hate the cold; and I am bloomin’ freezing down here on the Isle of Wight!! This is a different broth, but where the flavours aren’t too over powering you can use it as a base and then add your own flavours creating your own ideal broth 😀

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Ingredients:

  • 10 Medium/Large Tomatoes
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 700g Potatoes
  • 1lt Chicken/Veg Stock
  • 1/2tsp Dried Basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Bacon for topping- optional
  • Estimated time: 50 minutes

Directions

Firstly the tomatoes, when making soup with tomatoes I like to roast them as this brings out the sweetness in them and adds more flavour to the final product. So cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a roasting tin with a bit of olive oil.
Now for the onions, these need to be peeled and chopped roughly into about 8 pieces and chucked into the tin with the tomatoes followed the by the garlic which again you need to peel and then half. You don’t want to chop any of them too small otherwise they will burn while roasting leaving you with a bitter soup!

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Once they are all in the tin you can sprinkle with salt and pepper to season along with about 1/2tsp of dried basil. Once sprinkled over cover the tin with tin foil and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for roughly 35 minutes. After 20 minutes take the tin out of the oven and carefully peel back the tin foil and using a spoon move around all the veg just to make sure that they don’t stick and burn, cover with foil and put back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. To be honest at this stage the longer you allow them to roast the better the flavour, but if you want to eat quickly, then half an hour is enough time to get a nice flavour out of it all!

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While the tomatoes are roasting peel and dice the potatoes into bite size chunks…I would say roughly 1cm cubes is about the right size because when they cook they will absorb the liquid so you don’t want them too small or they will just become mush.
So stock…homemade or ready bought, which one is better? I can honestly say that I don’t have a clue. Everything (savoury) we make at work uses freshly made stock from chicken carcasses or beef bones and vegetable stock from vegetables, and yes they do make amazing sauces but at the same time so do the ready bought stock cubes from supermarkets. And the ready bought ones do not require you to roast carcasses and don’t take hours to boil and reduce. So really, it is completely up to you which you use, if you have the time to make a stock from scratch then go for it and well done because I know that I am way too lazy to make one, and in all honesty carcasses creep me out!

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Right so tangent over, whichever stock you use you need a litre of it! Put your chopped potatoes in a large saucepan and pour the stock over them. Bring this to the boil and then allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes as you want the potatoes to start cooking slowly. You only want to part cook them as they will continue to cook when the tomatoes are added and the soup.
Hopefully the tomatoes are now ready and can be blitzed using any sort of blender, the one I’ve used is actually for smoothies and drinks, but it works just as well. Be careful when taking off the foil as the steam is ridiculously painful! Scrape the tomatoes, onions and garlic into the blender and blitz until relatively smooth, although if you want it to be completely smooth or chunky then just blend appropriately!
As soon as you get it to the consistency that you want pour it into the saucepan with the potato. Now spoon some of the potato, with a bit of into the blender and blend it to a smooth paste. Pour this back into the soup and bring it all up to a gentle simmer.
Finally you just need to season the soup with salt and pepper to your taste 🙂 If needed you can add more herbs to balance the flavours.

The bacon, if chosen to use, just needs to be cooked in the oven at 180 degrees until nice and crispy. Then once you have served the soup crumble it on top before serving.

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Easy and very tasty! What’s great is from this you can easily adapt it to add your own vegetables and create your own broths!!

Turkey & Sweetcorn Chowder

9 Jan

Chowder is often a sea food stew or a thickened soup made using milk or cream for the sauce. I am not keen on fish so didn’t like the idea of having fish soup for lunch! So instead I’ve made Turkey and sweetcorn. This is a brilliant way to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas and is enough for a few days of lunch!

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Ingredients:

  • 500g Sweetcorn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Onions finely chopped
  • 600g Chopped Potatoes
  • 2tbps Sunflower oil
  • 1lt Chicken stock
  • 1lt Semi-Skimmed Milk
  • 500g Chopped Cooked Turkey
  • 2tsp Basil

Directions:

Firstly, the worst part of this, cutting the onions… I’ve said finely chopped but really it’s your soup so you can have the onions however chunky you want them to be! Once chopped, put the onions into a pan (large enough to hold almost 2.5lts of liquid) with the sunflower oil. Heat the onions and cook them on a medium heat until they are soft and almost see through. As you’re making a soup/chowder you don’t want any colour on the onions as if there’s too much colour then it can give the soup a bitter flavour, which no one really wants!

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Now that the onion is cooked chuck in your chopped (peeled) potatoes and sweetcorn, keep the heat on a medium and cook for another 5 minutes. You might be able to do this with only an occasional stir, but if your hobs are like mine and the thermostat has broken and to prevent it all burning I had to stand there constantly!  If it starts to catch on the bottom then you can turn it down a bit.

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Once the 5 minutes is up then you can add the litre of chicken stock, whether it’s homemade or Oxo (which I use) it doesn’t matter, I’m sure that homemade would give it an extra amazing flavour, but to be honest I’ve never noticed!! Bring this all up to the boil and then simmer for roughly 5-10 minutes or until the potato is tender, easiest way to tell is just by using a fork to see if they’re soft to pierce.

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Now pour in the milk and mix it in well. Once mixed spoon half of the mix (or as much as you can fit) into a blender and blend until course. I found this worked best when I blended more of the potato and sweetcorn with only a small amount of the liquid. When roughly half of the soup has been blended, or it’s to the texture you want then you need to pour it back into the pan and, you guessed it, bring all of it back up to the boil! Now you can stir in the herbs and add the turkey meat, season it to your taste, and I would say try the turkey to make sure it’s all warmed through before you serve it to anyone!

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