Polenta Rustica

This is a fantastic quick recipe, and I just made the best yet. I got the recipe called ‘The Quick After-Work Vegetarian Cookbook’ – last recipe in the book. I have adapted it to make it easier.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g polenta (fine, quick-cook)
  • 1.2 L water
  • 150g soft blue cheese (the original recipe says 50g Gorgonzola and 75g Taleggio, or Fontina, or brie)
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Bring the water to a boil, and then pour in the polenta in a thin stream, to avoid it clumping when it hits the water. Keep stirring the water around so the polenta mixes in with the water evenly. Keep stirring and cooking, and in a few minutes the mixture turns into a thick porridge.
  • Add the diced cheese, and as soon as it has melted, add the butter, salt and pepper. Stir it all together.

This is good with a savoury lentil stew, or with a fennel salad. If you let it get cold, it can be sliced, and then grilled the next day.

Courgette and tomato soup

I got this recipe from Lindsay Bareham’s book, ‘A Celebration of Soup‘ – which is a classic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 225g courgettes, diced
  • 450g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled, diced and rinsed
  • 1.1L boiling water
  • 100g broad beans
  • 40g pasta (small pasta, broken pasta)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • basil leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaved parsley

METHOD:

  • Heat the olive oil and gently cook the sliced onions, so that they get very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the diced courgettes, and cook gently for another 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop all but 2 of the tomatoes, and soften with the other ingredients in the pot.
  • Once the tomatoes have cooked in, add the diced potato and hot water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and the pasta, and the seasoning.
  • While all of this is going on, grill the reserved tomatoes, skin them and remove the seeds.
  • In a mortar, pulverise the garlic, adding the tomatoes, basil and then the egg yolks, to make a smooth paste like mayonnaise.
  • When the pasta is cooked, take a ladleful of soup, and beat it into the egg mixture, then pour this back into the soup pan, stirring all the time.
  • Just before serving, stir in the parmesan, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Broccoli and cheese soup

Still in catch-up mode – 10 years of recipes to put back onto the site. This is an oldie and a goodie. It can be made using cooked brussel sprouts as well. The cheese thickens the soup and makes it so smooth.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Sprig of tarragon, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1.75 litres of stock
  • 700g broccoli, cooked
  • 175g grated cheese, cheddar or similar
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley (could substitute chive flowers, or other herb garnish)

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter and fry the onion until soft, 5 minutes at least
  • Add the tarragon, potatoes, salt and pepper, mix and add enough stock to cover the ingredients.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked broccoli and the rest of the stock. Bring the soup back to the boil, and then use a soup blender to liquidise, until it is completely smooth.
  • Stir in the grated cheese and herbs, and heat through without boiling, before serving.

Tomato and sweet potato soup

First recipe of the new site.

I had a lonely sweet potato and I made this soup. It was lovely and creamy, and I think it could be adapted to include a variety of versions.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Sweet potato
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomato
  • 900ml stock
  • salt and pepper
  • Tabasco sauce (optional)

METHOD:

  • Peel and chop the sweet potato boil for around 20 minutes until soft.
  • In the meantime, fry the chopped onion, carrot and celery in the vegetable oil over a low heat for around 10 minutes, until softened
  • Add the chopped tomato to the chopped onion mixture, and continue to cook for a further five minutes
  • Add the stock and the cooked potato, and blend with a soup wand, until smooth and creamy.
  • Season with salt, pepper, tabasco before serving.

VARIATIONS:

  • Non-vegan? Use a beef stock
  • Try adding peppers to the mix at the start
  • Consider serving a spicy version of the soup with sour cream