08 November 2015

Curried Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Soup

As the days grow cooler and shorter, it is time for warming soups once again. I made this really quick soup the other day because we had some sweet potatoes that needed eating. Coconut milk is something I usually have in the house, and ginger and garlic paste (easy to make, equal amounts mashed up) is also a staple for any curry lover; it would keep a week or two in theory but usually doesn’t last that long. This, served with pita bread or whole meal toast, is a meal for about three or an ample starter for 4 to 5 people.  

What you need

  • 2 tblsp of neutral cooking oil (sunflower, rapeseed, maize; not pictured)
  • 1 medium shallot or onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic and an equal amount of fresh ginger mashed or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry masala (Madras would be my preference)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 4 medium sized sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 small or 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • ca 500 ml veggie broth
  • salt, pepper for further seasoning
  • cayenne pepper to taste

What you do

  1. Fry the shallot and the garlic/ginger mix without letting it colour.
  2. Add the turmeric and the curry masala and stir until it turns brown.
  3. Add the sweet potato cubes and coat in the mixture, then add the cubed potato.
  4. Pour in a little veggie broth to dissolve the spice mixture that may have got stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the coconut milk and the rest of the veggie broth to cover the sweet potato.
  6. Allow to cook until it is soft; this should not take much more than 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Liquidise the mixture and add more veggie broth if the soup is too thick.
  8. Season to taste, then sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on top to add a dash of colour and a little bit of a sting in the tail.

16 August 2015

Layered Rösti

I made this the other day for three, but with a big summer salad (tomatoes and cucumbers with an Italian dressing, i.e. salt, pepper, herbs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil) it can easily make a meal for four, as it ended up doing for us, unless these four are ravenous youngsters. It’s an easy meal and used up some of our plentiful garden veggies (courgettes and peppers). You could probably make a rösti from raw potatoes, but the two layers would take a little longer and somewhat more fat might be needed. 

What you need

  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg of waxy potatoes boiled in the jacket, ideally the day before, grated just before cooking (see note above if you are not that organised as is usually the case with me)
  • 4 dollops of butter and 4 tsp sunflower or rapeseed oil for to fry the röstis an both sides.
  • 2 medium courgettes, in thin slices
  • 1 pepper (or two small ones in different colours for effect) in thin strips.
  • salt, pepper and paprika, optionally mixed herbs
  • 150 g alp cheese in sticks or thin slices

What you do

  1.  Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil until they are golden in colour.
  2. Mix half with the grated potatoes.   
  3. Preheat the oven to about 200° and allow a piece of butter to melt in a ceramic quiche dish.
  4. In two frying pans melt a dollop of butter mixed with 1 tsp oil until it is hot, then add the potate/onion/garlic mixture and fry over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. It is done when the potatoes on the top look cooked.
  5. Flip over with a plate and fry the other side until you have a golden brown crust.  
  6. Mix the courgettes and the pepper into the remaining onions and sauté briefly. Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika (and herbs).
  7. Place one rösti into the bottom of the quiche dish, distribute the vegetables over the top and cover with the second rösti. Then cover the top evenly with the pieces of cheese.
  8. Place in the oven and allow the cheese to form a crust.


16 July 2015

Cold Cucumber and Mint Soup

At the moment it is high summer and we have a bit of a glut of cucumbers, which we pick before they get very big. Still, we have plenty and the weather is rather hot. So here’s a super quick cold soup that takes care of the cucumber glut and the heat.





What you need

  • about 800g of cucumber diced
  • 200 ml natural (Greek) yoghurt
  • 400 ml vegetable broth
  • 1 small glass of white port (optional, but nice)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • a sprig each of mint, tarragon and dill
  • a small jalapeño pepper (not pictured)
  • salt and pepper

What you do

  1. Puré all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I said it was super quick.)
  3. Put in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Decorate with herbs and, if using, some very thin slices of Jalapeño peppers) and serve with fresh bread or crostini.

03 April 2015

Salmon on a Bed of Leeks

I usually do veggie food, but occasionally I go for a meal with a bit of fish, mainly salmon, because I am told it is a healthy option with Omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids and pretty OK on the vitamin front. So much for the apologies, because this is not only a quick and easy dish, it is also light and simply delicious, especially if served straight out of the oven.
Now I used to do this many years ago and recently, because we still had quite a bit of leek left in the garden (unharvested this keeps well over the winter), I decided to try it again. Here it is.

What you need (for two!)

  • 300 g salmon (150 g slice per person) with or without skin
  • 2-3  leeks without too much of the tough green bits at the top (they can be put in a soup), cut into fine slices
  • 1 small onion finely sliced and mixed in with the leek
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, squeezed
  • 100 ml good (!) white wine
  • spice mix (Cajun or Oriental flavour) to taste
  • salt or veggie broth dissolved in the wine
  • olive oil
  • a little freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (not pictured)
  • wild rice mix or long grain rice with saffron, cooked with a dash of dry sherry and veggie broth

What you do

  1. Prepare the wild rice mix or long grain rice (sauté a few onions in olive oil, add the rice and stir till it is glassy, add the sherry and top up with water, about twice the volume of the rice).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°.
  3. Line the bottom of an ovenproof dish with the leek and the onion, season with a bit of the spice mix.
  4. Add the garlic and the wine.
  5. Put in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the leek looks a little softened.
  6. In the meantime drizzle a little olive oil on the top of the salmon, season with the spice mix and some salt (rock or sea) and squirt a little lemon or lime juice over the fillets.
  7. Place on top of the leek and onion bed and put in the oven. Check after about 8 minutes: the fillets should look opaque and flake a little when squeezed with the back of a fork.
Serve immediately.  

22 February 2015

Onion Soup (sort of traditional)

In the cold winter months, and we have had a fair bit of snow this winter, there is nothing quite like a warming soup. This is one of them and it is also great if you happen to have a cold because onions also when applied internally (not just in the form of a poultice) work wonders. The secret of this very simple recipe lies in the ingredients, really good onions and shallots, high-quality whole meal bread and a fine, ripe Gruyère cheese.

What you need

(this is for two people)

  • 5-6 medium sized onions cut into fine slices
  • 3+ cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • 50 g butter (not pictured) for sautéing
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 glass dry sherry (about 100 ml)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 l vegetable broth (with Italian or Provence herbs)
  • 100 gr grated mature Gruyère
  • 2 lightly toasted slices wholemeal bread, rubbed with a clove garlic

What you do

  1. In a frying pan melt the butter and sauté the onions and the garlic till they are starting to colour slightly.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over it, add sugar, salt and pepper and keep stirring letting the whole take a very light brown colour.
  3. Bring the vegetable broth to the boil.
  4. When the onion are nicely coloured, add the sherry and stir, making sure deglaze, i.e. to dissolve whatever may stick a little to the bottom of the frying pan (add broth if necessary).
  5. Add to the hot broth and leave to simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, preheat the grill, then pour the soup into ovenproof bowls, float a toasted wholemeal slice on the top and sprinkle liberally with the grated Gruyère.
  7. Put under the grill and allow the cheese to melt and develop a slight crust.
  8. Serve with cheese and wine.