This creamy, hearty yet healthy soup, tantalised the tastebuds of my colleagues when I bought a batch to work for my lunch. at around 200 kcals per portion (without an added dash of cream) it makes a tasty and filling lunch.
Serves 4 – Gluten Free*
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium brown onions, roughly chopped
1 kg Butternut Squash, peeled, de-seeded and roughly chopped
2.5 cm root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced thinly
2 tsp cumin seeds, dry roasted
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add the onion, ginger and chilli. Cook on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the Butternut squash , ground spices, cumin seeds and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes until the aromas are released.
Turn up the heat, then add the stock plus a good grind of black pepper and bring to the boil.
Turn down to a simmer and allow to bubble slowly for 30 to 35 mins or until the squash is cooked (press against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon, it should be soft).
Blend to a fine consistency with a stick blender, you might need to add some more hot water if the soup is too thick.
Season to taste, then top with a swirl of single or soured cream (optional).
Living by the sea allows me to enjoy the freshest of bounty from it, and shellfish, especially is at it’s best when it bought fresh from a fish shop owned by a fisherman. The Cockles recipe is from Shaun Rankin and was devised for the Great British Menu. Although it’s bursting with a the flavours of the Mediterranian it harks back to my Welsh roots as I had the best cockles on the Gower Coast.
Serves 4 – Gluten Free*
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 shallot, trimmed and sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
90g of cubed pancetta
900g of cockles
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
300ml of white wine
6 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Freashly ground black pepper
Thoroughly rinse the cockles before cooking, discarding any that are broken.
Scrub well to remove any sand, mud or grit. If the shells are open, give them a light tap; if they do not close, discard
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and sauté the shallot and garlic over a medium heat for about 2 minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent but not coloured
Add the pancetta cubes and fry for a further minute.
Now add the cockles, thyme and finally the white wine.
Cover with a lid and steam w for 4 minutes or until the shells have fully opened
Spoon the cockles into a serving dish and sprinkle the basil on the top.
Pour over the cooking juices and finish with black pepper.
Serve with some toasted focaccia (or a Gluten Free alternative)
*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients listed are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently
Mussels are in season in any month that has an ‘R’ is the old British adage, and this classic French\Belgian recipe is a restaurant classic which is deceptively easy to replicate at home. Although I love the mussels, my favourite part of the dish is the creamy white wine sauce, mopped up with fresh crusty bread, like a home-made Irish Soda Bread.
1.75kg fresh live mussels
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
a bouquet garni of tied parsley stalks, thyme stems and bay leaves
100ml dry white wine or cider
120ml double cream
handful of parsley leaves, coarsley chopped
Serves 4 – Gluten Free*
Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water, discarding any open ones that won’t close when lightly squeezed ot tapped.
Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with the back of a large knife, giving the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell and beard.
Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels (it should only be half full so that thay have enough space to steam).
Add the mussels and wine or cider, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes.
Give the pan a good shake every now and then.
Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.
Spoon into four large warmed bowls (discarding any closed mussels)
Serve with lots of crusty bread (chose your favourtie Gluten free bread for a gluten free version), to mop up the creamy sauce.
*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently
I saw this recipe on the television a couple of weeks ago while flicking through the less frequented satellite channels, Hugh’s mackerel, oatmeal, rhubarb, taken from Hugh’s Three Good Things on More4. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has recognised a simple pattern that underpins so many well-loved dishes – that they are little more or less than three good things on a plate.
This trifecta of ingredients fits that bill to perfection and tastes as good as it looks
Place in a pan with the sugar, thyme leaves, if using, and 1 tablespoon water.
Partially cover with a lid and cook gently, at a bare simmer, for 5–7 minutes. Don’t stir the rhubarb or it will lose its shape.
When it is tender, remove the pan from the heat.
Season the mackerel fillets all over with salt and pepper.
Spread out the oatmeal on a plate, I sieved the oatmeal first and used the larger grains that were left in the sieve
Coat the fillets on both sides, pressing the oatmeal on well and gently shaking off any loose bits. (For a decent coating, the mackerel should be ‘tacky’. If the oatmeal doesn’t stick, brush the fillets with just a little milk, and try again.)
Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
Add the mackerel fillets, flesh side down, and cook for 3 minutes, until the oatmeal coating is crispy and golden brown.
Then carefully flip them over and cook for 2 minutes on the skin side, until cooked through.
Transfer the fish to warm plates and accompany with a spoonful of the warm rhubarb compote.
This is a great summer supper dish, and goes well with a glass of an ice cold white wine or a glass of something bubbly. A smaller portion makes a sophisticated starter, too.
I also enjoy this on a cold winters night as it invokes those feeling of a warm summers evening with an al fresco supper out on the deck, watching the swifts and swallows darting round the sky catching insects. If I make this out of season, I use frozen baby broad beans rather than fresh, like peas they freeze exceptionally well.
When using broad beans, either fresh or frozen remember to remove the bean from that silvery casing, leaving the fresh button of resplendent green. The bean case will become tough when it’s cooked and spoil the meal
Serves 4 – Gluten Free
1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
300g Arborio rice or other Italian risotto rice
150ml oz dry white wine
1.5l hot chicken stock
250g fresh broad beans, double podded if fresh, single podded when frozen
150g small prawns, peeled
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chervil leaves
2 tbsp mascarpone
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat until foaming, then fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
Add the risotto rice and stir well to coat in the butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice grains begin to turn translucent.
Add the wine and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated.
Add a ladleful of the chicken stock to the pan and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed, then add another ladleful of the stock.
Repeat the process until the rice is cooked but still al dente (you may not need all of the stock).
Add the prawns in the 6-7 minutes of cooking and the the broad beans during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
Then stir in almost all of the chopped chervil, (leaving some for the garnish) the mascarpone and Parmesan.
Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serve, garnished with the rest of the chervil and a few Parmesan shavings with a couple of slices of a good artisan bread or make some Irish Soda Bread.
This is a classic Italian soup, full of many different textures and vegetables. But it’s also a little bit more than a soup – it’s almost a main course that you can eat with crusty bread for lunch. The idea behind most soups is to cook them as quickly as possible to keep all the freshness in. This dish is a prime example of needing to cook all the ingredients gently first in the oil and then adding the stock while it’s boiling. This way you’re not stewing it for hours and losing all the goodness out of the vegetables. The thickener of this soup, although it’s got tomato purée and all the vegetables in there, is the starch from the pasta, so don’t panic if the soup looks a bit thin at first.
Serves 4 and it’s Gluten Free too!
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
250g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 small swede, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
1 medium leek, trimmed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 ltr chicken or vegetable stock
100g spaghetti (use you favourite Gluten Free spaghetti, for a gluten free version of this recipe. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly dependant on the time your particular brand takes to cook)
½ a Savoy cabbage, shredded
400g Tin of White Beans in Water (ie Cannellinni or Flagolet)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and lightly sauté the onion, garlic and rosemary until softened.
Add the pancetta or bacon and cook without colouring for 3-4 minutes until the fat begins to come out.
Add the carrot, swede, celery and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften. Season the vegetables while they’re cooking in the pan.
Add the tomato purée, stir, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Add the hot stock. Turn down to a simmer and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes.
Put the spaghetti into a clean tea-towel and roll it up so you’ve got a sausage shape. Hold both ends tightly, then tap it over the edge of a table or work top so the spaghetti breaks into small even pieces.
Add to the soup and simmer until the spaghetti is tender – it should take about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, Beans and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more.
Check the seasoning, then serve the soup in bowls and eat…
To get that authentic Italian feel, top with a teaspoonful of pesto. Eat with crusty bread (like my Cheese Soda Bread), it’s perfect comfort food for a blustery day.