Monday, 26 October 2015

Butternut Squash and butterbean soup - vampire fighting and frightfully good !

There is definitely and nip in the air, so soup is in order. A delicious tasty recipe perfect for warming your bones after a night out trick a treating  and also an ideal recipe for using pumpkin middle just substitute for the butternut squash in the recipe, no waste here ! This soup also improves with keeping, ideal for popping in the fridge and for taking to work the next day to be re-heated.

Containing lots of lovely vampire fighting garlic (also bug fighting too ! as the cold and flu season is now with us), add just a touch of chilli for a thrill !

What you need

  • Butternut squash - 1 large , peeled and de-seeded and chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 white onion - finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic - peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 small red chilli - finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 can butterbeans - drained (retain juice if you want to use as Aquafaba)
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary - leaves picked
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 500ml vegetable stock
What you do
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion and cooked for a few minutes until softened
  • Add the cubed squash, crushed garlic, chilli and rosemary, cook stirring for a few minutes
  • Add the stock, maple syrup and lemon juice, bring to a simmer and cook until the onion and squash are soft
  • Add the sherry vinegar and butter beans and bring back to a simmer
  • Cool slightly and then blitz with a stick blender or in a a liquidizer to the desired texture.
  • Bring back to a simmer and serve piping hot
  • Delicious sprinkled with rosemary.

                                                          Link up your recipe of the week

                                                       Cook Once Eat Twice

No Croutons Required - co hosted by Lisa's Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes


No Waste Food Challenge, created by Elizabeths Kitchen and hosted this month by Veggie Desserts.

                                                        No Waste Food Challenge

                                                          My Legume Love Affair #88

And finally Credit Crunch Munch from Fab Food for All and Fuss Free Flavours.

                                          Credit Crunch Munch

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Chicken, sweet potato and red wine casserole

Inspired by the most recent Jamie Oliver SuperFoods series and the fact that the weather is starting to cool and become quite autumnal, this comforting casserole was born. A delicious healthy dish which is great served with chunks of homemade bread or some great bread from your local artisan baker.

Its also a one pot dish which we love as it saves on washing up, the vegetable content is also infinitely variable depending on what you have in the fridge and frugal too as it uses the humble chicken thigh,  this cut is normally much cheaper and much more flavourful than the chicken breast.

What you need
  • 4 Chicken Thighs - skinless and boneless
  • Sweet potato (butternut squash would be a good substitute) - peeled and cut into chunks
  • Onion - 1 large red, cut into chunks
  • Celery - 2 sticks, copped
  • Mushrooms - handful, chunky slices
  • Red Pepper - de-seeded and chunky chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - finely sliced
  • Couple of springs fresh rosemary - picked into stems
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Couple of fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • About 250ml red wine 
  • 8- 10 blacked pitted olives
  • Bread to serve
  • Large cast iron casserole pot or similar
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Place the casserole on a high heat and add a little oil, add the onion and fry for just a couple of minutes until starting to colour, add the rosemary, bay leaves and garlic and stir fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken thighs, just to colour.
  • Now add the celery, mushrooms, red pepper, lives and sweet potatoes to the pot, stir
  • Add the wine, tin of tomatoes to the pot, stir and bring to a simmer, adding a little water if necessary
  • Place in the oven and cook for an hour or so until the chicken is falling and the vegetables are soft and yielding. Taste for seasoning, you may not need any due to the olives.
  • Serve straight from the pot strewed with more rosemary.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Fig, yogurt and rosemary loaf cake - gluten free

I just can't resist beautiful fresh figs and at the moment they are at their peak, I have always had a thing for them even as a child, mainly in the form of a fig roll (newton) I might add. High in fibre and with a sticky sweetness whether fresh or dried they make a great addition to many dishes, my favourite memory is of picking a perfectly ripe specimen off a huge tree outside my apartment window whilst staying in Calvi, Corsica. Still warm from the Mediterranean sun and so juicy, a great food memory.

Inspired by a bake I spotted whilst wandering on the internet this recipe, my version is gluten free and uses rapeseed oil rather than olive and has the subtle addition of almond extract also. Don't worry about the rosemary in this sweet bake its barely noticeable and just provides a slight herbyness to the sponge, the cake is moist and very moreish.


What you need
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary - finely chopped
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 50g plain gluten free flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 180g Greek yogurt
  • 120 ml Extra Virgin rapeseed oil
  • 2 large eggs - free range of course
  • 4 fresh figs - halved
  • 2tbsp - soft brown sugar
  • 2lb loaf tin, lined

What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy and tripled in volume
  • In another bowl or jug, whisk together the yogurt, oil and almond essence
  • Add to the egg and sugar mixture, the ground almonds, flour, salt, baking powder and rosemary, fold them in gently and try not to loose to much air.
  • Quickly whisk in the oil and yogurt mixture until incorporated, then pour into a prepared 2lb loaf tin
  • Carefully place the halved figs on the top, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar on to the figs and bake for another 20 - 40 minutes until tested cooked with a skewer, if the cake is browning too much cover with foil
  • Remove when bake and cool initially in the tin, cool full on a wire cooling rack.
  • Serve as it is or with a little additional yogurt
A delicious moist cake with an exotic twist.

This last few weeks my blogging mojo has been a little absent and life generally has taken over, hopefully normal service is now resumed.

We are linking up to a few of our favourite linky's

Bake of the Week from Casa Costello, fellow WI member and all round lovely person.

                                                       Casa Costello

Emily over at A Mummy Too for Recipe of the Week

                                                             Link up your recipe of the week


Dom over at Belleau Kitchen for Simply Eggcellent - them this month Anything Goes as long it contains free range eggs.


Adapted from a recipe by

Thursday, 1 October 2015

October 2015 - Debbie Johnson - Westshore Chillies

This months featured foodie is Debbie Johnson of Westshore Chillies from Hesketh Bank who grow, pack and sell chillies to some of the best UK retailers.

I met Debbie at the launch of a new Booths Supermarket in Lytham St Annes  and we got chatting.They produce a high quality product and use no pesticides or chemicals in growing their produce.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
The Secret Ingredient – Sally Bee.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Wholesome Healthy and fresh.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
 A house wife, working 7 days a week, I just never seem to find time to do the simple things, like taking care of my garden walking the dogs and keeping on top of my ironing!

Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
The Dish washer, at least I can put everything away and leave the sides tidy.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My husband Joe,
Sheridan Smith, fantastic actress,
Will Smith he just seems so funny.
Mary Berry she would have to bring dessert.
Richard Attenborough he would have great stories to tell and all my lovely friends so we could all enjoy the experience together.

What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Be kind to yourself, enjoy the here and now and life is not a race to the finish, take your time.

Describe your style in three words
Smart casual and neat.

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
New liquidiser, I like to make soup’s

What is your greatest achievement to date ?
My marriage, my two daughters and taking our small business successfully in to Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Trusting large companies and thinking they are friends. They are not!

Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !
I was a model and due to work in Milan. However, I was a passenger in a very bad car accident, my career ended before it fully began. I have no regrets as I wouldn’t change my life although I would like to have a pain free knee.
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