Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Glut of Courgettes

I do this nearly every year, get too ambitious and plant too many courgette plants in the garden. Fine for the first couple of weeks but once in full production, I end up fighting a never ending battle trying to keep up with the mountain of produce from the garden. Rather than waste food , Mr B found a recipe for creamy courgette soup which sounded promising.

  • 60ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful basil leaves , chopped ( homegrown)
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • 750ml/1¼ pint chicken stock
  • 60ml/2fl oz double cream / creme fraiche
  • 50g/2oz freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 1kg/2¼lb green courgettes, cut lengthways into quarters then into 1cm/½in slices
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic , (homegrown in our case)

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat.

Cook the garlic, basil, salt and courgette slowly for 10 minutes, or until the courgettes are lightly browned and softened.

Add white pepper, to taste, then pour in the stock and simmer for 8 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the heat.

Put three-quarters of the soup mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Return the mixture to the pan and stir in the cream, parsley and parmesan.

To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle over more parmesan, to taste.

Yummy, what a discovery a delicious recipe which uses loads of courgettes. Please try it.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Broad bean Pate

It still rains and everything is growing like topsy. Picked the last of the broad beans today, there were only a few pods so decided to make pate with them .

  • Half a bag of broad beans (handful of pods)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sprig of thyme, chopped

Remove the broad beans from their pods and boil them with the garlic cloves for about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.

When the beans are cool enough to handle, remove the outer skin of each bean to reveal the brighter green 'inner bean'!

Blend the beans and garlic with a hand blender and add the salt, pepper and thyme.

Spread on crackers or bread.

Absolutely delicious, a real surprise ! Best of all all home grown, well other than the olive oil !

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Zoom - Rocket soup

After the recent rains and wind, the vegetable garden was looking rather shabby. Every year self seeded rocket appears and takes over the garden unless I’m super vigilant. I decided to clear an area of one of the raised beds and was faced with the prospect of composting a large volume of rocket. I needed a recipe that appealed to my sense of using any garden produce. I thought I would given Rocket Soup a try.

Take a few small potatoes and slice two small onions and put them in a pan with some boiling water. Not too much water, but enough to cover it and simmer until soft, I added a vegetable stock cube.

I then rinsed a colander full of rocket leaves, and chopped them fairly coarsely and added them to the soup. The rocket leaves don’t need as much cooking as the potato and onion. Rocket leaves cook down. Liquidise and serve. It’s deep, bright green, having cooked it a bit the rocket isn’t too powerfully strong, as you might expect. Hubby liked this soup, I thought more of an acquired taste.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Roping Garlic

How do you make a garlic rope ?, after harvesting for the first time ever a decent crop of garlic from the garden and drying it for a couple of weeks in the greenhouse. I needed to find out how best to store our bumper harvest. I tried you tube but to no avail, the nearest we got was onions an even then the video wasn’t very good on detail mainly due to the guy demonstrating being stoned ! So hubby and I decided to have a go ourselves with what appears to be great success. Secret seems to be having a cane to work off and loads of string.

Garden Vegetable Soup

As the weather has decided to turn unseasonably unpleasant, thunder, wind and rain. Thoughts have turned to soup , my other half loves soup and would happily eat nothing but if I let him, I am rather more fussy and only really enjoy homemade soup and even then only periodically.
Yesterday whilst surveying the damage in the garden caused by the wind and rain, I collected together the ingredients for what ended up a rather tasty lancashire version of a sort of minestrone. To make the soup just use whatever you have to hand, in my case that was a couple of tomatoes, courgettes including the flowers and a few new potatoes.

Firstly I sweated off a recently picked onion and chopped onion in a little oil, then I added 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped and cooked until the onion and garlic were soft but not coloured, I then added the tomatoes chopped into small chunks, skins, pips and all and cooked for a another 4 or 5 minutes, next the courgettes and potatoes went in . In goes about a pint of vegetable stock and the soup is simmered for about 15 mins, until all the vegetables are soft and then add a couple of fresh basil leaves. Serve with crusty bread. Delicious.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Amalfi- Chorley

In an unassuming side street in Chorley sits Amalfi , a friendly Italian restaurant. We visited on a Tuesday lunchtime, the day of the week when Chorley comes alive for its weekly “flat iron “ Market. Amalfi is a contemporary restaurant serving traditional Italian fare. For the budget conscious at lunchtime there is a special menu and also in the early evening an early bird special.

We were warmly welcomed and seated , the lunchtime menu was extensive , I choose the bruschetta mista, Mr B the funghi trifolia, whilst waiting for the starters we nibbled on good black olives, admiring the photographs of Italy on the walls. Our starters arrived piping hot, my bruschetta was rather large for a lunchtime starter , having no less than 4 different types to sample. The funghi starter was more lunch sized, both were a good start to our meal.

The mains arrived after a suitable break , Spaghetti alio, aglio and pepercino and spaghetti carbonara , both cooked well and very filling. All in all a pleasurable lunch venue and good value too !

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Now blogging on Lancashire Life !

I have been invited to blog on Lancashire Life's website, just posted my first restaurant review, check it out !

New Season Gourmet Restaurant Chorley

Last weekend we had booked for Laura Solon, Perrier award winning comedian at Chorley Little Theatre. So I booked a table for an early pre theatre dinner at New Season, a Mediterranean style restaurant in Chorley. We arrived a little early for our booking and were welcomed warmly. The menu is a mix of tapa’s and mezze and larger Mediterranean style dishes. The decor is cool Moroccan / Tunisian and the music chilled out .

Now to the food , we ordered a starter each, bruschetta and breads and olives and olive oil. The portions despite being a starter were quite large, the bruschetta crunchy and smothered with juicy tasty tomatoes, the olives were of really good quality and the oil / Balsamic mix well flavoured. On to the mains, I ordered Chicken Dianne which a arrived both with seasoned rice and little roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables, the chicken was moist and succulent and the sauce excellent. My other half ordered the lasagne, accompanied by both garlic bread and salad, the plate was quickly cleared which I always take as a good sign.

We didn’t have a desert as by now we were quite full but the menu choices sounded very appetizing, the bar is also well stocked, cocktails available and its the first restaurant I have every seen "Tunisian" wine being featured. All in all we were very impressed and will definitely be visiting again.
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