Mushroom and potato soup

The idea from this recipe is Italian, but there is the small issue about local ingredients. We haven’t got porcini, or even woodlands that they could grow in. I have got a lot of potatoes though, so I substituted quite a bit. The soup is delicious. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small sweet red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 125g butter
  • 2 medium potatoes, a variety good for mashing (I used Arran Victory)
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water or light stock
  • 1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms, 200g to 300g, sliced
  • 1 40g jar of dried porcini mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • 250ml single cream
  • a large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped.

METHOD:

  • Pour boiling water onto the porcini mushrooms in a small jug, and let this sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onion and celery together until they are soft, around ten minutes
  • Peel and grate the potatoes and add to the pan, stir to mix in the butter, and then add the stock or water, and bring to a simmer, and cook for ten minutes
  • Add the finely sliced mushrooms. Strain the porcini mushrooms and add the liquor to the pot. Chop the soaked mushrooms, and add them to the pot as well. Bring to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes.
  • Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste, then blend with a soup blender. Add the cream and bring it all back to a gentle simmer. 
  • Chop the parsley very finely and stir it through the soup. 

We had this with home-made crusty bread. The soup is deliciously buttery and smooth. 

Spicy tomatos with eggs – two ways

I made this last night, scrambled egg style, and for lunch today, omelette style. Both delicious. This was a regular dish in our student days, from Madhur Jaffrey’s classic book ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes, or around 450g peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 4 chunky spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 pack fresh green coriander
  • 1 hot green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 7 large eggs

METHOD:

  • Prepare all of the ingredients before you start, because once the oil is hot, everything needs to be ready. To speed things up, I put the fresh coriander, green chilli and ginger into a small spice grinder, and blended it. 
  • Heat the mustard oil in a heavy pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, put in the spring onions and garlic, and fry for about three minutes. Don’t let them brown. 
  • Add the tomato, ginger, coriander and chilli in, and fry for another six minutes; make sure the mixture is not watery. Add the salt and pepper and check that it tastes OK,
  • Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. If you are making a scrambled version, make sure the tomato mixture is bubbling hot, and tip in the lightly beaten eggs. Turn the heat down and stir gently until the eggs are all cooked to your liking. 
  • For the omelette version, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of water. The egg mixture should be bubbly and well-mixed. Take a large clean frying pan, melt a blob of butter until it is beginning to foam.
  • Pour in half the egg mixture, and when it is beginning to set, add half the tomato sauce. Fold in half, and slide onto a warmed plate. Do the same for the second omelette. 

I served this with a carrot salad. The sauce can also be served as a relish for a larger meal, or even with pasta. Prepared ahead, it can be frozen ready for the next time. 

Masala omelette for one

Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Curry Easy, is the winner tonight. I am home alone, Mr B is in Inverness getting his van fixed. Rather worryingly, he just texted me to ask if our AutoAid car rescue thing is still valid. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • a pinch of cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
  • 1 slice off a red onion, chopped, about 1 tsp or so
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf

METHOD:

  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper
  • In a small omelette pan, around 15cm across, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir. 
  • When the seeds start to sizzle and pop, turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, give it a bit of a stir, and then add the tomatoes, cayenne and coriander leaf. Cook for another minute, until the tomatoes start to soften. 
  • Add the eggs, stir quickly to mix, and then put a lid over the pan and cook until the mixture is nearly set
  • Fold the cooked omelette, and serve with a small salad and some toasted flatbread. 

Celeriac, carrot and coriander soup

On consultation with the household, I was asked to make something new with the enormous celeriac that I had bought. I found a recipe in ‘The quick after-work vegetarian cookbook’ but then I tweaked it to make it more to my taste. The coriander definitely lifts the flavour. If you want to make a vegan version, you can leave out the sour cream, or substitute coconut yoghurt. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 350g celeriac (about half of a large celeriac) peeled and chopped
  • 350g carrots, peeled and chopped
  • around 800ml stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 200 – 300ml sour cream

METHOD:

  • Fry the chopped onion in the olive oil over a low heat. 
  • When the onion is soft, add the coriander, celeriac and carrots, stir and cook gently for another 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Add the stock and bring to a simmer, and cook for around 20 minutes. 
  • Blitz the soup with a soup blender, and add the sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. 

I’m sure there are more tweaks to be had, but this was a nice balance between easy, fast and tasty. 

Carrots, goat’s cheese, thyme, sundried tomatoes and pasta

I started with this recipe from Rose Elliot’s ‘Pasta Pasta’, aiming to work out the proportions per person, allowing me to cook for one person or six. I am planning on trying a squeeze of lemon juice next time, or some pine nuts. Not sure.

INGREDIENTS per person:

  • 100g farfalle pasta
  • 50g grated carrot
  • 50g chopped sundried tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme
  • 50g grated hard goat’s cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • A drizzle of good olive oil

METHOD:

  • Put on a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Prepare the carrots, tomatoes and cheese while the water heats
  • Boil the pasta for around 8 minutes. For the last minute of cooking, add the grated carrot. Stir and drain, and return to the pan
  • Add the olive oil, thyme, grated cheese and sundried tomatoes, season and stir to mix. 

 

Spaghettini with mangetout, herbs, garlic and butter

This is a quick recipe involving some of the new peas and young herbs from the garden. It was quick and delicious. I had some spaghettini, which is like spaghetti but thinner and faster to cook, you could use spaghetti which is thicker, or capellini which is finer. I was cooking for myself only, so I scaled the recipe appropriately. You can scale it up as required.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Around 75g mangetout
  • around 75g pasta
  • around 20g butter
  • 4 tbsp chopped herbs, a mixture of parsley, basil and chives, or chive flowers
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan to taste

METHOD:

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
  • Meanwhile prepare the peas; remove any stringy bits and cut to your preferred size, and put into a steamer, ready to cook. 
  • Mix the crushed garlic, a grate of salt, butter and herbs together in a small warm bowl. 
  • Put the spaghettini in the sauce pan, put the peas over the top in the steamer, and cook until the spaghettini is just about cooked. Drain the pasta when it is ready, and return to the hot pan. 
  • Mix the butter and herbs into the pasta, then mix in the peas
  • Serve with a dredging of grated parmesan and black pepper to taste. 

Summer vegetable minestrone

The vegetable garden is growing really well in spite of the high winds trashing the potatoes and the beans. This afternoon I started thinning out the root vegetables and removing some random kale plants that had self-seeded in amongst the leeks. I used about 500g of thinnings and leaves to make this soup. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • A mixture of vegetables. I had some mizuna greens, orache, Russian kale, carrots, mange tout, and some small beetroot tops. All washed and chopped small
  • A small onion, finely chopped. 
  • Celery salt
  • Marigold stock
  • 2 tbsp Green pesto sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Around 1/5 litres of boiling water
  • A handful of soup pasta, such as quadretti or stelline
  • Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil on a low flame, and gently fry the onion until it is soft. 
  • Add the vegetables in the order in which they will cook, slowest to fastest. I added the carrots, then the beetroot tops, mizuna and kale, then poured over the boiling water, and seasoned with celery salt, black pepper, and some marigold stock powder. 
  • Once the kale is beginning to cook, then add the orache and peas, and the soup pasta. Check for taste and simmer until the pasta is just about done. 
  • Stir the pesto into the soup, and serve sprinkled heavily with grated parmesan or pecorino. 

Mushroom and pea curry

The pea season is coming. The mange tout are already ready, and some of the peas are podding up nicely. I did a massive pick-through of the peas at Tagsa Horticulture, and made this curry based on one in ‘Curry Easy’ by Madhur Jaffrey

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped finely
  • half a can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 punnets of chestnut mushrooms, around 400 to 500g, chopped into chunks.
  • 300g peas, could be frozen, or mange tout, freshly picked and halved

METHOD:

  • Combine the dry spices in a bowl and add around 1 1/2 tbsp water to make a paste
  • Pour the oil into a medium pan, and heat to medium hot. Add the onion and start to stir and fry, until the onion is becoming a little browned at the edges. 
  • Add the spice paste, cook for a minute and then add the tomato, mixing and stirring. 
  • After about five minutes, when the tomato is hot and beginning to cook down, add 450ml boiling water and the salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes
  • Add the chunks of mushroom, bring back to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. 
  • Add the peas, bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

This was best served warm, rather than hot, with a flat bread such as a nan. 

Broad bean and dill kuku (baked omelette)

The season for this dish is coming soon, but I just longed for it. I had eggs, some frozen broad beans from last year, and some dried dill, and it was very good. It will be even better when my dill plants and broad beans are ready. Thanks to Susannah and Alexander for the eggs. 

Thank you to ‘nightingales and roses‘ for the recipe. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500-600g broad beans
  • 4 eggs, lightly  beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 60g fresh dill, chopped, or 2 tbsp dried
  • 4 tbsp oil

METHOD:

  • Defrost the beans, if using frozen beans. For larger beans, remove the tough outer skin. 
  • Heat the oven to 190C. 
  • Mix the salt, baking powder, pepper, garlic, flour and turmeric and beat into the eggs. Squish any lumps, then fold in the beans and dill. 
  • Oil a 20cm springform tin with half the oil, and heat it in the oven. When the tin is hot, pour in the mixture and return to the oven. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, and brush the remaining oil over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the top has a lovely golden crust.

Serve with a radish salad, flatbread, a yoghurt dip, some fresh walnuts. 

Borlotti bean and vegetable stew

I found the original recipe I was given rather sweet, so I have reduced the amount of honey in the recipe here. I’m currently trying out all sorts of recipes with potato in, if you hadn’t noticed. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of borlotti beans
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, 1cm dice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 dried chillies, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp mild dried chilli flakes
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon, about 2 tbsp
  • a good grind of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve

METHOD: 

  • Heat the oil over a medium flame, and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for around ten minutes. Keep stirring so that the vegetables don’t catch. 
  • Add the tomato paste, chillies and chilli flakes, and cook for a minute. 
  • Add the borlotti beans, potato, dried basil and salt and cook for a few minutes to heat everything through
  • Add 500ml boiling water and the lemon juice, and simmer for around twenty minutes until the potato is cooked. 
  • Add the black pepper and honey to taste, and stir the parsley through. Leave the stew for around ten minutes before serving, to allow the flavours to mingle.