soup of the week ending 21 october 2017

morphy richards 501021 soup makerMonday: carrots and leeks left over from Sunday’s lunch, and a potato

Tuesday: lots of green leek leaves, two potatoes.

Thursday: two carrots, one onion, the last of Tuesday’s soup, half a yellow pepper, some frozen coriander (£1 a bag from Iceland).

Friday: a real mongrel soup today. Two tablespoons of leftover lentil dhal, some cauliflower stalk, some green leek leaves, chicken stock (see previous post), a wizened carrot, and a pinch of chilli flakes.

There was a little bit of Thursday’s soup left over, which I was going to use as a sort of starter soup for today, but I forgot. So I added the little bit of today’s leftover soup to it, and it’s gone in the freezer as a Soup For One when one of us is out (which often happens).

Apart from producing delicious soup, this little gadget is helping us to use up all our tired veg!

 

lots of chicken stock!

frozen chicken stock

We had a roast chickie! last weekend, and as regular readers will know, we stretch that bird out. We had a stir fry, we had lentil dhal with chicken and spinach, we have a box full of bits of chicken to make a pie! tonight.

So last over the past two days we have rendered the carcass down for stock, two lots of very slow cooking in a Le Creuset casserole (I rarely use the slow cookers now i have a ceramic hob). But how best to freeze it in soup maker sized portions? In a silicone muffin tin, of course. I got three trays worth out of it, and put them in a plastic box as they froze. And they didn’t turn themselves into a huge amorphous mass of frozen stock, thankfully.  A win, I think.

soup of the week ending 14 oct 2018

morphy richards 501021 soup makerMonday I went for a Thai sort of thing. Three carrots, some frozen sweet potatoes, an onion, about 40g of creamed coconut, two teaspoons of smooth peanut butter, pinch of chilli flakes. I think the third carrot made it too thick, but it tasted lovely.

Tuesday 45g of lentils (soaked for 30 minutes), 1 medium carrot, small onion, teaspoon of smoked paprika, a dollop of tomato ketchup, about half a cup of yesterday’s soup. No bouillon! Very nice, but lacking … something. Bit thin, maybe, and needed more seasoning. Might try some thyme.

Thursday small amount of broccoli, the green part of a large leek, ¾ of a small courgette (the rest had gone mouldy). This wasn’t all that nice; it tasted a bit raw, and not blended enough. Of course, there is a “blend” button on the machine, but I didn’t think about that till we’d eaten it!

Friday one medium-large potato, which was sprouting in the cupboard, and a bit soft (I cut the sprouty bits off, but didn’t bother peeling it), and the white part of yesterday’s leek. This was really nice.

Reminder: all soups have a teaspoon of Marigold vegetable bouillon, salt, and black pepper.

So that’s another week done – we’re still hugely enamoured of the soup maker, and it has earned its permanent place on the worktop.

SaveSave

soup of the week ending 7 oct 2018

sweet potatobutternut squash

Short week this week, as we are away for a couple of days, but:

Tuesday: cabbage stalk, broccoli stalk, two leek tops (the green bits), two salad potatoes.

Wednesday: two carrots, one courgette, pinch of chilli flakes

Thursday: butternut squash, sweet potato (both bought from Iceland’s frozen veg, £1 per bag, used about ⅓ of each, so 60p), cumin seeds, pinch of garlic powder.

Saturday one leek, two medium potatoes, eaten with crackers and Dutch cheese (we were in Rotterdam on Friday).

Note that all soups have a teaspoon of Marigold bouillon powder, salt and black pepper added.

We are thrilled wth it – a really good buy. Recommended.

new toy!

morphy richards 501021 soup maker

A friend served us some lovely tomato soup last week, and told us he’d made it with a soup maker. He bought it from Lakeland, so I went and had a look there and it was £50. So then I went to eBay and found one at £40, with free postage. And I looked at it again on Friday, and it was down to £36, so that made it a no brainer. The seller was AO, and they were an absolute pleasure to deal with. It’s a Morphy Richards 501021, and Amazon also sell it at £40.

It arrived this morning, delivered by two cheery chaps – It’s quite sleek, and takes up very little room on our crowded worktop, and to honour it, we are having soup for supper, with home made rolls from this everyday bread recipe. I bake these in silicone mini loaf tins, and they’re always nice. 125g per roll, should you care – best to weigh the dough, as otherwise the rolls are all different sizes (trust me on this).

In the soup maker in readiness are two leek tops, one cabbage core, a broccoli stalk, a teaspoon of Marigold bouillon, and some seasoning.

We eat a lot of soup at lunchtime in the colder weather – we either have a big pot on the go, or we (sorry) have cup soups. If this machine will make us nice fresh soup from scrag ends of veg in half an hour, it’s a win in my book. I’ll let you know!

sprout stirfry!

ingredients for sprout stirfry

Like a lot of people, we found ourselves eating up all sorts of bits and pieces after Christmas. We bought sprouts onnastalk for our festive dinner of roast goose, cooked a load up for the meal and subsequent bubble ‘n’ squeak, and then … forgot all about them. I’d stashed the stalk in the log store, and only remembered it on 8 Jan! But they were fine, bless them. I don’t understand why people don’t like sprouts – they’re only teeny, tiny cabbages, after all. We 💛 ’em.

So, I chopped a red onion, and sliced a fat carrot into thin batons. These, together julienned ginger and garlic, were stirfried together in a hot wok for a few minutes. Then, I sliced/diced the sprouts and added them to the wok for a couple of minutes more, add soya sauce, and a handful of flaked almonds.

Served with egg noodles cooked with a teaspoon of sesame oil in the water. Quick, delicious.

SaveSave

unexpected chicken

I found a bag of unlabelled … something in the freezer. It looked quite chickenish, and I assumed that it was a brace of chicken breasts. Anyhoo, out it came, with a vague plan to stuff with blue cheese. I was quite surprised post thawing to find that the bag in fact contained four chicken thighs, boned and skinned. Not really suitable for stuffing with anything.

Quick change of plan, then – I mixed some olive oil, sage*, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and basted the chicken with it, then put it in a foil-lined baking dish (saves washing up, if not the planet) at 180C.

Then I made a mushroom sauce thus:

A finely chopped shallot saluted down in olive oil, added thinly sliced mushrooms and cooked on low heat till they were nice and soft. Salt, pepper, splash of dry sherry, garlic powder, some cream that was nearly sour.

Took the chicken out of the oven after about twenty minutes, let it rest, gave some to the cats, and sliced the remainder into strips, which I added to the sauce. Ate with rice – delicious.

*  I started a new garlic powder, so took the lid off the finished one, and threw the empty glass jar into the recycling. As I did so, I heard a little swoosh sound, as the last of the sage went into the recycling.  Bugger.

chicken wings

chicken wings

I nipped (or popped) up to Iceland for some porridge oats. I know, I know, they’re much more expensive, but they are on the doorstep, and time is money and all that.

I also came home with two packs of 2 x pasties for £2,  two packs of sliced cheese (I like this for portion control) for £2, two packs of cold meat for £3, the aforementioned porridge, some milk, and a pack of chicken wings for £1.89.

We finished the last of a two week pot of lentil soup yesterday, so I thought the wings would be useful for stock. I roasted them off, just sprayed with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, and I was expecting to treat the cats; and then I read that they shouldn’t have cooked chicken bones, because they could splinter (the bones, not the cats. I think).  When they were cooked, I offered Bill one, while I watched carefully, but she was extremely prissy and I had to take the meat off the bones for her.

Three more have gone into the fridge for Pete to eat for lunch, and the rest are now in the slow cooker, being turned into chicken stock. I shall chop up swede, leek and carrots later, and those and some barley will make another soup. I might give the Tribe some of the slow-cooked chicken, but only if they’re nice to me. Fat chance.

Honestly, I used to think I couldn’t make soup, and bought books on how to do it, but it’s like most other cooking – just use what you have.

my Magimix

Magimix

I’ve had my Magimix for years – I bought it, and a whole batch of blades, many years ago, when I was much better off than I am now 🙂 It’s always sat there on the worktop, but I don’t actually use it all that much – veg for soup, whipping up the odd cake when I can’t be bothered to get the mixer out, etc.

I was having a “cook a nice dinner” day yesterday, something I love doing on an autumn/winter Sunday afternoon. I nipped (or popped) up to Iceland for one of their chateaubriands, but horror – they’d run out! So I bought a couple of duck breasts, a bag of spuds, and two cartons of cream. Pete had picked up a punnet of red plums for £0.45 in Aldi earlier in the week, so that needed factoring in too.

I started with grating the last of the Gruyére. Readers, I hate grating cheese – I usually get nail, or finger, or both in the grated stuff, so Pete always does it, but he was out. So I put the small bowl on the Magimix, and the grating blade, and it worked a treat!

Then came red cabbage (already in the fridge) – chopped it in plunger-size wedges and sliced it with a slicing blade. Then, I chopped an apple. And then a red onion. And then some garlic. I was on a roll by this point, as you might be able to tell. This all went in my ancient and venerable oval black Le Creuset casserole, with salt, pepper, a knob of butter, a good dollop of red wine vinegar, plus nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

I washed up the bowls, then put the thin slicing blade on, and sliced up a load of spuds very thinly for what might be pommes dauphinoise (it’s what we call them, anyway); again, Pete would normally do this on our mandolin, which absolutely terrifies me, so I thought I’d try the Magimix. It was great, sliced them up very thinly. I layered half in a heatproof dish, sprinkled half the gruyere, salt, pepper and garlic power, and quite a lot of cream, then repeated the two laters. Stuck it in the oven for about 1hr 20m, with a foil hat for the first 40 minutes. Gorgeous.

Next up: plums. We decided on a plum upsidedown cake. Despite being cheap, the 45p plums were still quite hard, so I cut them in half, and cooked them off for ten minutes, cut side down, in a little water with five spice powder. I always do an upsidedown cake in my tarte tatin dish, which is like this:
I think I bought it from Lakeland, but they don’t seem to do it any more – Amazon do, though. I put some butter and some brown sugar in it, and melted it on the hob (sorry, not very good at measuring things like that), then arranged the plums, cut side down again, on top of the melted mix.

I made my standard cake mix with three eggs:

Weigh the eggs in their shell, then take the same weight of self-raising flour, butter and caster sugar. Beat the lot together. You can add gin to this, vanilla essence, chocolate drops, sultanas, pretty much anything. Bake for about 45 minutes at 180C.

Pour the cake mix onto the plums, smooth off, bake as above. Delicious. Oh, and of course, I mixed the batter in the Magimix!

It had a hard day, but it saved me hours, and that’s well worth it when you have arthritic paws like me.

salad, salad, salad

We’re not huge fans of salad, or at least of the lettuce-ish variety; however, recently I’ve been making us a raw vegetable based luncheon a few days a week, on the basis that I eat too many carbs, and we could both do with more fresh veg.

Mostly, it is some combination of cucumber, spring onions, celery, radishes, with the addition of some beans, or tuna, or whatever, and a dollop of one of Aldi’s excellent bottled salad dressings (£0.99 a bottle, from memory), I generally keep a few of them in the fridge.

Autumn is coming, however. And the only salady veg in the fridge today were spronions, cucumber and celery. I chopped some up, but the bowl looked a bit … meagre. I grabbed a Very Large Carrot from the veg drawer, fitted the appropriate blade to the Magimix (I find grating by hand very difficult because of my paws), and grated it up, then added it to the bowl.

It still looked a bit dull, so in went about half a can of white beans, and then I wondered if there was any feta. There wasn’t, but there was half a pack of halloumi! I diced it up, and fried it up quickly until it was crispy, then in it went, with some honey and mustard dressing.

It was all absolutely delicious, and really healthy. We’ll be doing that again. And of course, there will be coleslaws in our near future too.