Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

The Inhouse Food Critic does not usually try to influence what the Soupwoman writes, but this time, he INSISTED I should write this recipe down and make it public.

See, he is not a big fan of parsnips. He thinks they are bland, boring and uninspiring. But today, I came up with a method to prepare them in a way that he now thinks is the only way to cook parsnips. Fortunately, it is pretty simple.

500 g peeled parsnips, in chunks (about the size of the top part of your thumb)
2 tbsp instant mash powder
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 medium eggs
knob of butter
salt and pepper to taste
butter and vegetable oil for frying

Cook the parsnips in microwave until tender (they need to be mashed). Time varies depending on your microwave, mine took 5 mins in full power. If you think using microwave is cookery blasphemy, then steam or bake them, but do not boil – it makes them too soggy. Then let the parsnips cool a little – you do not want the eggs start cooking yet.

Add all other ingredients to cooled parsnips and make a mash e.g. with a hand blender (such as Bamix). Then comes the important part – taste it! If the mixture is too sweet, add a little splash of lemon to balance it, if you prefer spicier, then add some, etc. You can try other spices than those mentioned above, but for the first batch, I recommend sticking to these.

When you are happy with taste of the “batter”, heat a large skillet (medium to medium-high heat), melt some butter with a splash of vegetable oil (helps prevent the butter burning) and spoon the mixture in the skillet to make 4-6 cakes. Fry until they are golden brown on the one side, add some more butter in the skillet and when it has melted, turn the cakes over. Fry until the other side is lovely and golden too. The cakes should now be done – you should have some lovely golden-yellow patties, crispy on the outside and quite fluffy inside. There are only 2 eggs in the mixture so they break fairly easily, so be careful. However I’d rather not use more eggs, as then their taste would come through, and the texture would be more dense.

I served these with pan-fried salmon, grilled (Irish) white pudding and spicy chutney. The Inhouse Food Critic gave two thumbs up for this ensemble.


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Something gentle and mellow this time!

150 g leek, white/whitish parts only, washed and chopped
300 g Jerusalem artichokes, washed, peeled, chopped
20g butter
750ml vegetable or chicken stock
50g mascarpone cheese
grated nutmeg to taste
salt and white pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pot on medium heat, add leek and saute until soft. Do not let brown. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and saute for a few minutes. Add stock and let simmer until the artichokes are soft. Then, take the pot off the stove and puree until smooth. Add the mascarpone cheese and some grated nutmeg and mix some more. Check the seasoning and serve!

If you want to ensure the soup is silky smooth, you can press it through a sieve, return to the pot and bring it back to a boil before serving.

You can substitute the mascarpone cheese with another cream cheese or cream. I used mascarpone as I happened to have it in the fridge. And, you can of course use the green bits of leek as well, but that makes the soup greener, and the green parts may remain stringy.

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Yes, the Original Soupwoman is well aware this is already a second cauliflower soup this month, but as cauliflower is something that the packers at Abel&Cole in their infinite wisdom choose to include in my box, that’s how it is going to be.

This soup is inspired by a recipe by The Pioneer Woman. Hers is much more sophisticated, though!

1 small cauliflower, florets only, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
50 ml peeled chopped tomatoes
1 tbl vegetable oil
2 tbl plain flour
1-2 tsp curry powder
500ml water (or vegetable/chicken stock)
200ml soya cream (or normal cream)
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pot, add the onions and fry, stirring constantly, until light golden. Add the curry, and stir. Add the flour, and stir again. Add the tomatoes, and stir some more. Add the cauliflower, mix everything well, and keep stirring for a few minutes. Add then the water (stir stir stir), bring to a boil, cover and let simmer until the cauliflower is to your liking. This depends on how finely you chopped the cauliflower, and what exactly is “to your liking”. Add then the soya cream (and more water/stock, if your soup looks more like a stew), heat to the boiling point, check the seasoning and serve.

According to Inhouse Food Critic, this would have needed some Bamix action, but I thought it was a bit more grown-up this way. Sorry dear – one can’t please everybody all the time.

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This one is all about subtlety and hints of fragrant flavours. I forgot to weigh the vegetables this time, but my recipes are more like guidelines anyway.

1 large cauliflower head, stem removed, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
seeds of 3 whole green cardamom pods
3 handfuls of grated mature cheddar
1-2 tbs vegetable oil or butter
1 tbs of fragrant honey
800 ml water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil or butter in a pot, add onions and garlic ant saute until softened. Add cardamom seeds, coriander and turmeric and stir, then and cauliflower and potatoes and stir. Add the liquid, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the veg are soft. Remove from heat and puree with a hand mixer. Add the cheddar and mix well with the hand mixer, adding more liquid if the soup is too thick. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste and the honey. You can also add another knob or two of butter for a bit of richness. Mix well with a hand mixer, check the seasoning, and serve.

If you don’t want to use cheese – perhaps you are a hardcore vegetarian – you can use eg. 200ml soya cream and reduce the amount of water/stock respectively.

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The Original Soupwoman will be travelling this week, which means no new soup inventions. But fear not, here is one I made earlier.

400g tinned plum tomatoes
300g apples, peeled, cored and chopped (a sour variety, such as Bramley, is best)
100g dried red lentils
800ml vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 ts dried basil
1/2 ts dried thyme
a pinch of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Put stock, tomatoes, apples and lentils in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with lid and let simmer until everything is tender. Add the herbs and the cinnamon and puree with a hand mixer. If the soup is very thick, add more stock. Add salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil and serve hot with nice fresh bread, such as the rosemary spelt bread below.

Rosemary Spelt Bread

Credit where credit is due: this is an adaptation of the “Roman Style Loaf” recipe on the Doves Farm Stoneground Wholegrain Spelt flour bag.

500g wholegrain spelt flour
1/2-1 tsp salt
3 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp whole cumin
1 tsp quick yeast
1 tbsp honey
400ml warm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the more flavourful and aromatic, the better)
(coarse sea salt)

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Dissolve the honey in the warm water and roughly mix it to the flour. While the dough is still craggy, add the olive oil and mix well. Knead or work the dough for a few minutes then divide it between two 500g greased or lined bread tins.  Cover and leave dough to rise for about half an hour in a warm place. Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan assisted). Drizzle some more olive oil on the breads and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top, if you like. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40–45 minutes.

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I was going to write that this will be very, very simple as we are going away for the weekend and I have limited ingredients as I have not been shopping… But then I found all sorts of interesting stuff in my cupboard.

1 butternut squash (ca. 900g), quartered and de-seeded
100g of creamed coconut, chopped
50g fresh ginger
2 tsp turmeric
800 ml chicken stock
pinch of ground cinnamon
dash of lemon juice
chopped fresh chilli

Put a baking sheet on an oven tray and put the squash on the tray, flesh side down, and also the piece of ginger. Bake in the oven at 200 C until the flesh is soft. Little bit of caramellisation won’t hurt, either.

Scoop the butternut squash flesh off the rind and put into a saucepan. Peel the ginger, chop, and add in the saucepan. Add the coconut, turmeric, cinnamon and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Puree with a hand mixer until smooth, add the lemon juice and mix a little more. Serve with chopped chilli on the side, so that everyone can use as much or as little as they like. But be brave – the heat of chili really complements the coconut-y sweetness of the soup.

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Japan is one of my favourite places I have visited, and one of my favourite places in Japan is Kyoto’s Nishiki market – a narrow shopping street, lined by more than one hundred shops selling anything from finest Japanese cooking utensils to fresh and processed foods.

We were lucky to arrive at the market just after it had opened, before the hordes of other tourists descended. It was a treat to wander leisurely along the street, stopping at the stalls, tasting the goods. The sights and smells were overwhelming  – the selection of different of pickles alone was amazing.


Japanese pickles, or tsukemono, were a true revelation. If you are thinking about those soggy, vinegary things you are used to having with your burgers and wondering what on earth I am on about – think again.  Tsukemono are always crisp, full of flavour and aroma, and they come in infinite varieties, as almost any vegetable can be pickled. And it is all you need to transform a bowl of perfectly cooked rice into a meal.

I have tried making tsukemono at home, but although they are simple to prepare in principle, my attempts have been nothing like the offerings at Nishiki. Which is no surprise, considering that the tsukemono stalls there have been operated by the same families for generations. I need a little bit more practise!

Fortunately, there is a cheater’s option. E.g. Japan Centre sell ready-made pickle marinade bases that are heaven-sent when you don’t know what to do with the courgettes that were in your Abel&Cole box third week in a row.

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