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Minestrone – Jamie Oliver Keep Cooking and Carry On


Everyone is cooking up a storm as we spend a lot of time at home in isolation. Jamie Oliver is doing his bit with his fabulous series Keep Cooking and Carry On. 

I recently saw Jamie cook Minestrone from the series on an Instagram video, and “instantly” had to cook some too. The great thing about this recipe is that Jamie says use whatever is in your cupboard or fridge – don’t be afraid to chop and change ingredients!

So here’s Jamie’s recipe with my changes in italics. The link to Jamie’s original recipe is here.

Ingredients

4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon, optional

olive oil

1 clove of garlic

2 small onions

2 fresh bay leaves

2 carrots

2 sticks of celery

2 large handfuls of seasonal greens, such as savoy cabbage, curly kale, chard I used white cabbage and Swiss chard

1 vegetable stock cube1

1 x 400g tin of quality plum tomatoes

2 x 400g tins of beans, such as cannellini, butter, or mixed 
I used cannellini  and black eyed beans

100g dried pasta I used pappardelle and tricolour pasta

Parmesan cheese , to serve

extra virgin olive oil

Method

Put a large shallow casserole pan on a medium-high heat.

Finely slice the bacon, if using, and sprinkle into the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stirring occasionally while you prep your veg.

Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion, adding the garlic to the pan with the bay leaves as soon as the bacon turns golden, followed by the onions.

Trim and chop the carrots and celery into rough 1cm dice, adding to the pan as you go. Remove and finely chop any tough stalks from your greens and add to the pan. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly, or until softened and caramelised.

Crumble in the stock cube, pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with your spoon, then add 1 tin’s worth of water.

Pour in the beans, juice and all, then add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Shred your greens and sprinkle into the pan, top up with 600ml of boiling kettle water, then add the pasta. Cover and leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pasta is just cooked and the soup has thickened to your liking.

Season the soup to your liking. Jamie serves with a granting of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves and sometimes a dollop of pesto.  I just went for the basil – that was all it needed for me.

A note: I love this soup because it’s so thick! You can vary the consistency by cooking a little less to retain more liquids, or, once cooked, thinning with a little water.

The soup, if it’s really thick could be served on toast or bread. I would definitely recommend sprinkling with Parmesan or a cheddar and putting under the griller for a substantial snack!


Sweet Corn Soup

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A really simple soup  – the hardest thing is shucking four ears of corn! I based the recipe from a recipe from the fascinating Grub Blog: http://grubblog.wordpress.com/

http://grubblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/corn-soup-seared-scallops/

I served the soup hot, and without the scallops, and with a tweak or two.

Ingredients
4 ears of corn
25g butter
1/2 tbl olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 spring onions finely chopped, white parts only, reserving some of the green tops for a garnish
500 mls chicken stock
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Thyme leaves and sour cream to serve (optional)

Method
Shuck the four ears of corn – a little tedious but necessary!
Sauté the garlic and spring onions in the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat until they are soft.  Add the corn and sauté for a further 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until the corn has begun to soften.  it will still be slightly crunchy.
Remove from the heat and process the soup using a stick blender in the saucepan or process in a blender, until of the consistency that you like.  The soup will still be quite chunky as it’s difficult to completely puree because of the pithy bits.
Season to taste with sea salt.
Serve with sliced spring onion tops and a good grind of black pepper, and thyme leaves and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
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Pumpkin, Leek and Wild Garlic Soup

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A visit to the wonderful Orange Grove Markets in Lilyfield this morning and the tempting produce available made me want to make soup. I was quite taken with the wild garlic featured on one particular stall, so I created a soup in which it could feature.

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Pumpkin and leek go well together, and the garlic gave the soup a mild yet slightly pungent flavour. A definite improvement on traditional garlic or onion!

This soup allows you to be flexible with quantities – be creative!

Ingredients

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

A knob of butter

2 heads of wild garlic

1 large leek

Generous grind of rock salt or to taste

1/4 medium-sized pumpkin

500 mls chicken stock

Black pepper

Sour cream and thyme leaves, to serve

Method

Heat oil and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Fry roughly chopped wild garlic and the leek with the salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic and the leek begin to soften.

Add the pumpkin chopped in large chunks to the saucepan. Pour in the chicken stock, and season with black pepper. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Turn heat back to medium, cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then blend with stick blender in the saucepan until the desired consistency. I usually like my soup a little chunky, but on this occasion I opted for a smoother consistency.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh thyme leaves.

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