Tag Archives: easy

Cauliflower Soup

Warming and simple, I whipped this soup up in less than 15 minutes. Don’t be fooled though, into thinking simple isn’t delicious. Blending the soup gives it a wonderfully thick and creamy consistency.

Ingredients – serves 4

  1. 1 onion, diced
  2. 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  3. 3-4 cups chicken stock

Method

  1. Sweat onions in a little olive oil over medium heat in a heavy based saucepan
  2. Add the cauliflower and enough stock to just cover the cauliflower
  3. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is just tender
  4. Blend thoroughly
  5. Season to taste with salt
  6. Serve hot with a good drizzle of good olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper
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Carolyn’s Fried Rice

Leftovers. A brilliant way of ensuring you get the most out of everything you have, reducing waste. And I love how many cuisines have developed recipes specifically to use up leftover carbohydrates. For Western cuisines it’s day-old bread – think English bread and butter pudding, Italian¬†panzanella, French toast.

With rice being the staple carbohydrate in Asia, the main dish for using leftover rice is simply frying it with whatever else you have on hand. The basics are you need to add some protein and some vegetables. You can keep it super simple or jazz it up – it’s completely flexible. My recipe below is just an example of what I made last night with some leftover belly pork from a roast I made over the weekend.

A few notes:

You almost can’t make fried rice with freshly cooked rice. There’s something about the way the grains separate to take in all the flavours in the pan rather than going stodgy. I actually spread my rice out on a plate and leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to really dry out the rice. I’ve also tried the healthier option with brown rice, and it’s an individual taste thing, but I think fried rice just works better with white rice because the rice absorbs the flavours better.

You can also just use soya sauce rather than the mix I used below, although the combination of the three sauces, I think, adds a bit more of a complex flavour to the dish, and I think the fish sauce adds an additional hint of umami to the dish.

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups cooked leftover rice – see note above about drying it out
  2. 1/2 cup leftover roasted pork belly – you can substitute this with any leftover meat or even sausage
  3. 2 eggs – I like my fried rice eggy
  4. 1/3 cup frozen peas
  5. 1 tbl oyster sauce
  6. 1 tbl fish sauce
  7. 1-2 tbl soya sauce

Method

  1. Drizzle a small amount of oil over the cold rice and use your fingers to really separate the grains
  2. Heat your frying pan to high, and fry the meat so that the fat renders
  3. Push the meat to one side of the pan, crack your eggs on the other, and kind of scramble them
  4. When the eggs are about half done, add the rice to the pan over the eggs and mix everything together so the eggs almost coat the rice
  5. Add the peas and mix again
  6. Add the sauce (you can add more or less to taste) and fry till everything is mixed and fragrant
  7. Enjoy !

Rustic blueberry tart

Who doesn’t love decadent sweet treats ? Choc Chip Uru’s wonderful blog Go Bake Yourself is pretty much full of chocolately goodness and it’s always such a delight to visit and escape in all that sugary goodness. Everyone should take a peek into her happy happy life at least once (I challenge you not to go back after one visit) – I can guarantee if you are having a bad day you’ll feel better after.

And guess who was lucky enough to be able to write a guest post ? Yes, yours truly ! You can check the post on Uru’s blog and I’m reposting it here because I actually really love this tart ūüôā

Ingredients serves four
  1. 75g unsalted butter – melted
  2. 90g caster sugar
  3. 80 ground almonds
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  5. pinch salt
  6. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  7. handful of blueberries (I use frozen but you can use fresh)
  8. additional sugar for sprinkling
  9. Optional: clotted cream or good vanilla ice-cream to serve
Method
  1. Mix together the sugar, ground almonds, vanilla and salt
  2. Add the melted butter and mix well to combine
  3. Take the sheet of puff pastry and cut into quarters
  4. Lightly score about 1cm around the edges using the edge of a pointed knife
  5. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the pastry within the scored area
  6. Place the blueberries on the almond mixture
  7. Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry and almond mix are golden brown
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of cream or good vanilla ice-cream

Pumpkin Soup

If you want a simple, warming and nutritious meal on a weeknight that’s easy peasy and quick to make, this is a terrific soup to make.

Ingredients (for four)

  • 1 small pumpkin – any that you have access to in your supermarket but butternut makes for a creamier soup
  • Chicken stock
  • Cream and olive oil to serve

Method

  • Cut the skin off the pumpkin and cut into small chunks
  • IF you have time, drizzle with olive oil and roast in an oven at 200C for 40 minutes as this makes the soup extra sweet
  • If not, simply pop the pumpkin into a soup pot and cover with just enough stock to cover 3/4 of the pumpkin. ¬†If you want a thinner soup, add more to cover the pumpkin
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender
  • Blend until smooth and creamy
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve with a good dollop of cream and a drizzle of olive oil and a nice crusty loaf of bread

Bangers and mash with red wine onion gravy

Simple and great pub grub (although I do tend to use a lot of saucepans and frying pans…)

Ingredients (for two)

  1. 4 sausages – I like quite plain (ie less herby) sausages and favour English Cumberland sausages which I can easily get in my supermarket in normal sized sausage shapes (not the traditional long sausage in a coil)
  2. 2 large waxy potatoes, peeled
  3. 1 red onion, finely sliced
  4. 1/2 cup red wine
  5. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Start with the potatoes – put them in a pot filled with cold water and bring to boil (don’t add them to hot water or they will go mushy and cook unevenly). ¬†Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, gently sweat the onions in some butter and oil until soft and translucent.
  3. Fry the sausages in another frying pan in about 1cm of water, turning as they brown.  The water helps to cook the sausages more evenly and will evaporate by the time you want the sausages to caramelise.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, strain and either mash them or for a super smooth mash, put them through a potato ricer, and add salt and butter to taste.  You can also add a splash of milk to make it even more creamy.  Cover and put aside to keep warm.
  5. Once the onions are soft, turn the heat up to high and add the red wine and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to boil for about 2-3 minutes so the alcohol evaporates.  Add more or less wine or balsamic to taste.
  6. Plate up.  I like to put a generous amount of mash on the plate first, place the sausage on top, and then ladle the gravy over both.
  7. Of course you can serve them with any vegetables you want eg portabello mushrooms or broccoli for something green.

Home made sausage rolls

Well, sort of.

With the silly season in full swing, in my house, there is a need for comfort food.  A lot of it.  Without the need to shop or cook, just take out of the fridge or freezer, heat and eat.

Tonight I decided to make home-made sausage rolls Рthe easy way.  Great fresh out of the oven, and easy to freeze wrapped tightly in clingwrap and reheat in the oven to enjoy again another night.  They are even good cold !

Ingredients

  • 6 pork sausages – or about 350g of good quality pork sausage meat from your butcher
  • large handful of fresh sage, finely chopped or 2 tbs of dried rubbed sage
  • 1 brown onion, finely minced
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220C (200C for fan-forced oven)
  2. Squeeze the pork out of the sausage casing, then throw in the sage, onion and bacon and get your hands in the bowl to combine and mix well
  3. Lay a roll of the sausage meat mixture on to the puff pastry, leaving some space at the ends for the meat to expand when it cooks
  4. Roll the pastry over the sausage meat, brush some of the beaten egg on the edge to seal the pastry
  5. Brush the tops of the sausage rolls with more beaten egg and place on a wire rack to cook.  This is important so that the hot air can circulate around the entire pastry and avoids a soggy base
  6. Pop into a preheated oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 200C (180C for fan-forced).  This is to make sure the heat hits the puff pastry when it first goes in to that oven and helps to keep the pastry light and flaky.
  7. Take out after 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  8. Serve while still hot with peas and corn or whatever vegetables you fancy !

Pappardelle with braised pork belly in red wine

I spoke to my friend about this last night and wanted to remember this as one of my all-time favourite dishes to serve to friends at dinner.¬† It’s impressively delicious, and really easy to make – the slow cooker really does it all for you.

This dish was inspired by Oso’s wild boar braised in red wine.¬† Not having easy access to wild boar, I decided to try it with the more readily-available pork belly.

Brown the pork belly strips (I use one strip per person) in a frying pan until brown and crispy, about 3 minutes each side.

Pop the browned pork belly strips into your slow cooker along with a few cloves of garlic, some thyme and about a bottle of red wine (for four).¬† It will reduce down, so don’t worry that there seems to be a lot of wine in the cooker.¬† I put the slow cooker on high for an hour or two and then reduce it to low for the next 6 hours, but guess you could even pop it all in the cooker in the morning and leave it on slow for the day to have a wonderful pasta sauce by dinnertime.

While the pasta is cooking, take out any large pieces of the pork belly, shred into large chunks and then add back into the sauce.  Season to taste.

When you’re ready to eat, cook your pappardelle in salted water (the flavour of the water should be how salty you want your pasta to be) to just before al dente, then drain and transfer to a large frying pan with a few spoons of the cooking water (just so that the sauce can coat the pasta and make it silky) and add the sauce.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a few drops of good olive oil.