Quince and roses

I got given some quinces so I had a stab at making quince marmalade. I added some essence of roses, and it was inspired. Thank you to Mrs Bird.


  • 5 Quinces – each quince produces around 100g flesh
  • 1 lemon
  • 500g jam sugar
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • Water


  • I wiped the fuzz off the quinces, put them in a pan and covered them in water, and simmered in a covered pan for an hour.
  • Once the quinces were tender, I cooled them, peeled and cored them and chopped the flesh up into small chunks.
  • I added the peel and cores to the remaining water and boiled this up with the zest of the lemon. The liquid started to change to a gentle light red.
  • I strained the liquid, and then added the rose water and lemon juice, and made the volume up to around 300ml
  • I put the chopped quince into the liquid, and started boiling, as the colour darkened I added the jam sugar, and boiled to setting point. (I used a jam thermometer, but I also used the cold plate technique)
  • I poured into clean jars that I had heated up in the oven.

The test on the spoon was wonderful, but the true test will be in the morning when I try it on toast.


Parsnip soup with ginger

A colleague was eating the most divine soup in the staffroom at work. I asked her what it was, and she replied that it was one of her stand-by recipes, parsnip and ginger. I have a recipe for parsnip soup, so I took that, mixed it with a recipe I already had and made this delicious spicy smooth soup.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3cm ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 500g bag of parsnips, (Misshapen parsnips v cheap in the shops at the moment)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (you can also use beef stock if you are not vegetarian)
  • 1 small tub low calorie sour cream
  • salt and pepper


  • Melt the butter into the olive oil and slowly cook the chopped onions for ten minutes
  • Add the chopped ginger and garlic, continue cooking
  • Add the spices, and stir to incorporate
  • Dice the parsnips and add to the pan, stir and then add the stock, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Puree the soup, season to taste, and blend in the sour cream.

There are so many ways to make parsnip soup. You could serve with bacon croutons, or sprinkle with chives, or toasted seeds. You can swap the stock around, substitute some of the parsnip for potato etcetera. I will post the curried parsnip soup another time.


Ragu – bolognese sauce

This is the bolognese sauce that goes into lasagne, or any other kind of pasta. There are many versions of this sauce, this is based on more than one recipe.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 250g beef mince
  • 50g pancetta or other bacon, ham, lardon etc
  • Butter
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes, pureed
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 glass of ‘marigold’ stock
  • 1 bayleaf
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper


  • Chop the pancetta, or other bacon, and fry gently in a little butter
  • Chop and add the onion, celery and carrot, and continue to fry gently, until everything is browned.
  • Add the beef mince, and stir so that it is browned evenly.
  • Add the tomato and the white wine, and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and add the bayleaf.
  • Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes. The longer the better.

I prefer to make this the night before, so that the flavour develops.

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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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)


  • 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.

Cod, Chorizo and Sherry



  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 chorizo ring, thinly sliced
  • 150ml dry sherry, such as Tio Pepe
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 4 fillets of cod
  • 1 can of chopped organic tomatos
  • Chopped parsley


  • Heat the oil, and fry the onion on a medium heat until soft, then add the peppers for another couple of minutes
  • When the pepper is softening, add the garlic, then the chorizo (effectively, chop the onions, and fry, chop the peppers while the onion is frying, prepare the garlic while the pepper is frying, chop the chorizo while the garlic is frying.)
  • After a couple of minutes, add the paprika and allow the flavours to mingle.
  • Pour the sherry over the hot mixture, and let it bubble, then add the tomatos and butter beans.
  • Bring to a simmer then add the cod fillets, and season.
  • After 5 minutes or so, when the cod seems nearly done, take of the heat, add the parsley and serve with fresh crusty bread.


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.


  • 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)


  • 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.


  • 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