Saturday, 22 November 2008

Comforting Sweet Potato Coconut Soup with fresh Basil

I made this soup as part of a challenge from a good friend of mine JB over at Good Vegetarian Recipes and you can find her blog here drop by and give her a holler and tell her how good my soup sounded…..hahaha. If you get the chance I hope you will try this soup it’s really easy and inexpensive to make. And it made enough soup for at least three/four people.

1 medium shallot or small onion, chopped
1 tsp salt (I used sea salt because I like it)
1 large Sweet Potato
2 med white potatoes (for texture)
1 sachet coconut cream or 1 can of coconut milk either is fine.
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium hand full of chopped basil optional ( I am guessing ¼ - ½ cup, I grow mine so hard to measure)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp single cream (optional)

Note: This soup comes out pretty thick or at least mine did. If you wanted to stretch it further you could certainly add a little more chicken stock to make it go that extra person.

Saute shallot (or onion) in a little sunflower oil until done and caramelized a little. Add in 1 tsp sea salt, peel sweet potato and slice in to small , slim pieces. At this point you can either bake or microwave the sweet potato until done. Then do the same with the white potato. In a saucepan add 2 cups chicken stock, sautéed onions and sweet potato, white potato, coconut, five spice and simmer for 5 minutes. Just to mingle the flavours. Take off the heat and CAREFULLY blitz with a hand mixer until smooth. I garnished mine with croutons and a little basil. You could add cream to make it even richer if you wanted to. Dang I am hungry now.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Homemade Croutons

Edited Nov 23, 2008 to add these are too large. I found that out when I used them with my soup. They taste great but they were just too big. I will make them much smaller next time.

I had a baguette that was getting too hard to eat any more and I didn’t want to throw it away so I decided I would try to make some homemade croutons. Now I have never tried them before but, I like them with my soup. I made two flavors thyme and smoked paprika. Here’s what I did.

I took my baguette and cut it into small pieces. Then I mixed up the following in a bowl. I made two different batches.
1 tsp of either Smoked Paprika or Thyme (I used both separately)
3 tbsp Sunflower Oil OR Olive Oil or butter

You can use any kind of seasoning you want or none at all.

I preheated my oven to 200C/400F and then poured my croutons into the seasoned oil in a plastic bowl to gently coat them.

Then, into a pan which I lined with aluminium foil for ease of clean up. I am all about easy cleanup. I put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Then take it out stir them around trying to get them mostly turned over. Then back in for 5 minutes and that is all it takes in such a hot oven.

Allow them to cool and I put mine in Ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. Expect to see them make an appearance the next time I make soup…..

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Lemon Drizzle Cake

• 225g unsalted butter , softened (8oz)
• 225g caster sugar or (8oz granulated)
• 4 eggs
• finely grated zest 1 lemon (I used 2)
• 225g self-raising flour or (8 oz)
Drizzle Topping
• juice 1 and 1⁄2 lemons (I used 2)
• 85g caster sugar or (3 ozs)

1. Heat oven to 180C/375F. I greased my non stick pan just to be sure it came out, it’s up to you the recipe didn’t call for it. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.
2. Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle - the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
Note: This cake can be made with orange and it’s delicious. I used granulated sugar anywhere it called for casters sugar.

Here is the cake after we had a little "sample". Oh my if you love lemon you will love this simple and easy cake. Recipe Source: bbc good food

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Smokey Mesquite Sweet Potato Wedges

I’ll be honest, I am not a BIG sweet potato fan but when I want them, I want them. And every so often I just have to have them. And I prefer them with smokey mesquite over any other way.

Smokey Mesquite Sweet Potato Wedges

1 large sweet potato aka “winter’s super food”
1 large shallot or one small onion diced
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil (add more if needed for frying)
3-4 tbsp Durkee Grill Creations Smokey Mesquite Seasoning*
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

I take my sweet potato and cut it in half then cut into manageable wedges and then peel it. I then cut it into smaller wedges and microwave on medium high for at least 5 minutes. It may take more minutes in your microwave but better to be too slow than over cook it. I am just trying to get it “under-done”.

Once “under-done”. Add mesquite seasoning and a little oil to coat, just enough to make the seasoning stick to the taters. Pan fry the shallot until caramelized nicely. We want flavor here not “onion/shallot taste”. Then add your sweet potatoes to the pan and gently pan fry until golden brown and caramelised. At the end before you take them out of the pan spritz it with your lemon juice……… just makes it special.

I just love these little mouth watering gems. Let me know if you try them. They are nice served with sour cream.

* If you can’t get Durkee Grill Creations where you live I recommend using whatever Cajun or mesquite spice mix you can get from your local grocery store. I have used both.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Cape Fish Continental Seafood and Grill

Today my husband and I went to Windsor Castle to see the changing of the guards. It was a wonderful thing and so worth the trip (especially if you are an American living in Britain like me). On the way back we stopped for lunch at this place called Cape Fish Continental Seafood and Grill. I cannot say enough about the great service we got. These people really go the extra mile. From the basket of bread with butter to the mint at the end of the meal. The food was wonderful. My husband had fish and chips and I had chicken salad with dijon honey mustard dressing.
My pictures don't do it justice it was that good. They offer an extensive menu and I can't wait to go back and try something else.
P.S. We did check with the proprietors and they were happy for us to use this on our food blog.

Location: In case you want to check it out it's near Amersham on London Road in St Giles, England. Tell them Sherrie sent you over !

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Mini Meatloaf

I love meatloaf and my favorite way it to have it in little mini meatloaves. They're so easy to do and they're the perfect serving size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tin. Okay let's make these things.

Mini Meatloaf
1/2 lb ground beef (ground mince)
1/4 lb ground pork
1 shallot or small onion minced up small
1 large egg
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 tsp parsley flakes or chopped fresh
1 tsp black ground pepper
2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Topping for mini meatloaves
1/4 c tomato ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
Mix all together in measuring cup. Microwave for about 10 seconds just to heat the ingredients enough to melt the sugar.

After the mini meatloaves have cooked for 30 minutes brush the tops with the topping. Put back in the oven and cook another 15 minutes. I give them another brush on top and put back in for 5 minutes.

Yield appx 6 mini meatloaves

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Farro Risotto

I saw an article over at Kalyn's Kitchen about Farro. Now I had never heard of Farro but it really did peak my interest so thank you Kalyn. I bought a little package and today I got a chance to "play". My pictures do not do this wonderful grain justice. I just love it ! It's chewy , it's oat tasting, it's great !

Farro Risotto
Adapted from the recipe at Food and Wine Magazine by Barbara Lynch
1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2. 1 small white onion, finely chopped (I used a shallot)
3. 1 1/2 cups farro (10 ounces)
4. 1/4 cup dry white wine (you could sub chicken broth here)
5. 3 cups water
6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
7. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
8. 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
9. Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat it with the oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the water, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until absorbed between additions. The farro is done when it is al dente and suspended in the thick, creamy liquid, about 25 minutes total.
3. Stir in the heavy cream, the cheese and butter and simmer until the risotto has thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves: 4 - 6 people

Note: This risotto won’t be like your classic risotto made with Arborio rice. This is more like a creamy pasta dish. And it’s chewy, wonderfully chewy. In my opinion you can use this just like a pasta......I see Mac and Cheese Farro . . .
Sherrie ♥

Ham and Potato Soup

Click on picture for larger image

With the weather cooling off here and the fact that I cooked a small ham in the crockpot the day before I decided it was time for Ham and Potato Soup. I love this soup it's filling, healthy and inexpensive to cook. And a little goes a long way. I used this ham three different nights and then we finished it for breakfast this morning along with scrambled eggs.

1 cup cooked cubed ham
3 large potatoes peeled and cubed small
1 large carrot peeled and cubed small
1/4 cup of green peas (I used frozen)
1 tsp butter or margarine
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped finely (from a jar is okay)
Water, milk, salt and pepper

I started with a 4 quart pot. I filled it 2/3 of the way full with hot water. I then added my potatoes and carrot and boiled for appx 10 minutes until semi-tender (do not over cook). I then added my peas and cooked another 5 minutes. At this point I poured off about half the water out of the pot. Add in the butter. Take about 1/2 cup of the potatoes out and mash. Then add back to the soup. That will act as a little thickening agent. Add ham and approximately 1 cup of milk (I used 2%). Add salt, pepper to taste. Add parsley. I then simmered it maybe 5 more minutes just to let the ham flavor mix with it all. We really enjoyed this and will have it again.

Our Favorite Salad Dressing

Our favorite salad dressing recipe was given to me by a friend but at the time I didn't have any sesame or poppy seeds so I made it without and we're not wild about minced onion so that was another option I left off. This is so tasty I double the recipe and make it up in a quart jar. Then, I transfer it to a squeezy bottle and place it in my refrigerator. I don't even buy dressing from the grocery store any more not since discovering this.
Here is my take on it:

1/4 c white sugar (you can add more if you like it sweeter)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika

Mix all ingredients together, shake up until sugar is dissolved.