Sunday, 27 May 2012

A couple of tasty soups: 1 spicy, 1 slightly sweet

Its so very hot...... and when its so very hot I like to have food that is light and fresh but is also filling and of course holiday season is approaching so healthy is always a bonus. Both these recipes are also so easy I made both of them in about 30 minutes..... so here goes guys, enjoy!!!

Hot and Sour Prawn Soup

This soup is so fresh and fragrant, and its also surprisingly filling especially if you add noodles as I did.

You will need:

3tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
500ml stock - i used chicken
1tbsp light soy sauce
thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
2 red chilli's thinly sliced - you can use less as this does pack quite a punch
3 spring onions thinly sliced
300g raw prawns
Coriander, fresh lime and rice noodles - optional

So very simply put the vinegar, sugar, stock, soy sauce, ginger, onions and chilli's in a saucepan and very gently bring it to simmering point, allow to cook at the simmer for about 3 minutes then add the prawns and a few rice noodles.
I served this over some steamed pak choi and i added a sprinkle of coriander and a squeeze of lime juice. And there you have it the most simple and fragrant soup - its truly scrumptious!

Pea and Pesto Soup

This soup first came to my attention when Nigella did a version of it and when looking through the Internet there are many different versions. This however is my version and its fresh sweetness is both light but comforting on a summers evening.

I know I usually do a list of what you need but I'm terrible and not great at measurements with this soup as I just tend to lob everything in...... so gently fry a onion in some olive oil and butter add a couple of bay leaves and a small pack of frozen peas (about 400g) mix them in with the onion and bay leaves so they are coated. Then cover with stock (chicken is best) as you would when you cook peas in water! Leave to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Allow to cool for a bit then blend until smooth in your blender and then stir in a few tablespoons of pesto (fresh is best but to be honest stuff from a jar is fine). Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I have also seen some recipes that serve this with fish fingers!! Which may sound a bit retro but i reckon it would be lush!!!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Simple Suppers #1

A lovely old friend of mine asked me recently on twitter to provide some ideas for simple and cheap suppers and usually simple also means that it gets on to the plate pretty darn quickly - which is always a bonus when your so very busy and important.... or maybe that should just be far to exhausted to cook once home from work

Easy Peasy Mushroom Pasta

I really really love pasta; its easy to cook, its originates from my favourite place in the whole world and its just so god damn flexible! So many times when I'm stuck for something to make I turn to the cupboard in the kitchen, which incidentally has around 10 packs of the stuff in it already (bows, spaghetti, shells, multicoloured, spirals ec etc). Why is it whenever your doing the shopping you always believe that you need a bag of pasta? The mind ponders..... anyway my point is pasta is great and every girl should have a range of pasta based dishes in their repertoire!
Now as for this mushroom pasta of mine - its really simple and really clean and also its made with stuff that I usually have kicking around in my fridge meaning that this pasta tends to be a bit of a life saver! Theres no cream which I think can be the common mistake when people try and devise a mushroom based dish, saying that its not to say that this dish wouldn't be lovely if you wanted to add a glug (or two) of double cream, I'm not precious

You will need:
Around half a pack of chestnut mushrooms, sliced (flat mushrooms would also work well, or some exotic mushrooms, put please lets stay away from the boring closed cup variety)
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely (you can add less if your cooking this for your beau.... this of course wasn't the case for me)
glug of white wine (optional)
lots of olive oil ( I used extra virgin as I think it compliments the dish)
some butter
some thyme
Lots of black pepper and some sea salt
Linguine (as much as you need - I always over do it and end up having to bin some...)
Grated Parmesan

So very simply put the pasta on to cook and warm up some glugs of Olive oil with some butter in a pan and add the onion. Gently cook the onions until they are nice and soft and then add the mushrooms, sprinkle of thyme and garlic and allow to cook for a bit. After 5 minutes or so add a glug of wine and cook it almost out. Season with loads of black pepper and some salt. Add a bit more oil or butter if you want to enrich  the sauce a bit. Drain the pasta, add it to the mushroom sauce and toss it all together with some Parmesan (as much as you like)! I served this on a bed of spinach just because I feel guilty if theres no green on my plate..... Bellissimo!

Halloumi Salad with a kick!

As i have mentioned recently, I get a lot of free bananas at work, I also sometimes get some other goodies and this week we had an abundance of asparagus and cherry tomatoes, yum yum! Now I usually like asparagus nice and simple with a bit of butter or even dipped n a boiled egg (lush) but i love it roasted and it compliments the tomatoes perfectly
Now this salad has lots of components but it is just so simple to make and takes no real skill or time - trust me.....

You will need:
Salad leaves - i used rocket and spinach cos that's what I had in the fridge!
Asparagus,  however much you want, with the ends snapped off
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Halloumi, sliced
A bit of red onion sliced thinly
Nandos garlic sauce (optional)
Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

So place the tomatoes and asparagus in a roasting tin and splash some olive oil over them and season. Put in the oven to roast ( will take around 20-25 mins) keep an eye on them! Rub some of the nandos sauce onto the halloumi (if you so desire, but trust me it tastes great) then fire up a pan (grill pan is best) and let the halloumi cook on each side, be careful it can spit. Whilst that's going on place the salad and onion onto the plate and dribble some olive oil and balsamic vinegar over. top with the asparagus and tomatoes as well as the cheese. I served this with some toasted wholemeal pitta, garlic mayonnaise (just average hellmans with a crushed garlic clove, squeeze of lemon, S&P) and an ice cold beer in my special freezable beer jug (what an awesome invention)