Soup-erb Leek and Potato Soup 

As a daughter of a Scouser, I haven’t ever made Leek and Potato soup. However, my Mum, announced that it was her favourite soup, when I said about this recipe. It is basically an onion soup, but with the very Welsh vegetables leeks. It has a few simple ingredients, and yes it looks like snot, but I hoovered it up, as did my kids. It was really tasty and took no time, and hardly effort to make. I can’t help but think the perfect addition would be bacon, but I am aware that my love of bacon has taken over this blog, so I stuck with a few shakes of paprika.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 large leek, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

Knob of butter

Splash of milk

400ml of chicken stock (veg stock if you’re veggie)

Salt and pepper

Shake of paprika

Method:

Chop and peel all of the veg.

Add the leek to a pan with the butter, stir occasionally until the leek looks glossy and starts to cook, on a low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the potato and stir in the butter. Add the chicken stock, salt, paprika and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potato is cooked.

Add to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Put the soup back into the pan and add a splosh of whole fat milk.

Serve with cheese on toast.

 

 

 

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You Want a Pizza Me? 

I think people are always impressed by the thought of homemade pizza. But it’s actually easy peasy, and quite fun. The only annoying part is that you have to leave it to rise for 1 hour, so it does require some preparation.

This is also perfect to get the children involved in making and choosing what topping they want, and I swear they tend to be much more enthusiastic about eating it.

A tip is to make sure it’s not to thick, try and make it more of an oval shape than round, as it will fit on a baking tray better.

Makes: 4 medium sized pizzas.

Ingredients:

500g of plain flour

2x 7g sachets of yeast

Pinch of salt

Splash of oil

400ml Luke warm water

Tomato Purée tube

Herbs: basil, sage and oregano.

Pesto (from a jar)

Whatever toppings you’d like: mushrooms, Peppers, spinach, sweet corn, ham, red onion, pineapple etc.

Cheeses including smoked cheese, cheddar or mozzarella. 

Method:

Put the flour, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl, then make a whole in the middle and slowly add the water, bit by bit. Until it’s a soft sticky dough. I like to get in there with my hands.

Start to knead the dough on a floured surface, pulling and stretching it for a few minutes and put it back into the bowl in a ball shape.

Then pop a tea towel over the top of bowl and leave for about 1 hour. 

It will have risen to twice the size. 

Then place on a floured surface and roll in to an oval shape of about 0.5cm thickness. 

Add the tomotoe puree or pesto and spread out.

Then add toppings that you’d like and then add the cheese on top.

Cook on a baking tray on 180 deg C/350 deg F: gas 4 for about 15 mins. Make sure the base is cooked if not, pop on back into the oven without the tray.

Return of the Mac and Cheese.

mac-and-cheese

Nothing is more satisfying than Mac and Cheese, well hold on tight, because if you add broccoli and bacon then you have a dream come true. This loving dish can be on the table in 15 minutes flat, and really 15 minutes, not Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals, that really take 45 minutes. I did use cauliflower, for a take on cauliflower cheese, but it looked too beige, even my 4 year old asked “why is it all the same colour’. So a bit of broccoli and bacon spruces it up.

I’ve gone on a bit about cheese sauce on this blog, which I didn’t realise until now. So I’ll be lazy, due to being in a Mac and Cheese coma,  and just post the link for the cheese sauce from a previous recipe. The secret ingredient is again, nutmeg.

Also if you fancy another take on Cauliflower cheese, then you can visit the archives for this delicious and equally as satisfying recipe. It’s made with coconut milk , if you’re looking for a healthier option.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Floret of broccoli, cut up very small

100g macaroni pasta

Cheese Sauce:

1.2 litres (2 pints) whole fat milk

50g (2oz) butter

50g  (20z) plain flour

250g (8oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Teaspoon of nutmeg

Method:

Put the cut up broccoli and pasta in a pan together and boil for 7-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, follow the link for the cheese sauce directions, and add nutmeg instead of paprika at the end.

Stir it all together, then in the frying pan you used for the cheese sauce, cut up 3 thick strips of smoked bacon and fry until crispy. I use scissors to do this.

Add the bacon sprinkled on top to the dishes of mac and cheese.

 

Peanut Butter, Noodle, Soulful Soup

This little bowl of comfort will make all the wrongs in the world right. Its super healthy and cleansing, as its packed with vegetables, and the dollop of peanut butter makes it creamy and soothing. I am currently sneezing and coughing whilst writing this. And I love to make this when I’m feeling run down, ill or in need of some warmth and self love. It’s satisfyingly filling, and I think that’s because there is so much goodness in one bowl. I’m currently up to my eye balls in antibiotics and ibuprofen so I’m not sure any of this makes sense, it does to me in my ill world.

This is so easy as well, as after you’ve prepared the veg, then you basically chuck it all in the pan. If your a ninja veg cutter, you can have this on the table in 15 minutes.

Try with some shavings of cheese or some salmon flakes.

Also just to note I had a  courgette already in the fridge, as due to a wet winter and snow in unexpected places in Europe, there is a shortage of courgettes, I went to buy one and it was £2.30. So they are worth their weight in gold at the moment. So maybe use a spiralized parsnip instead. Or if you don’t care, then sprinkle some gold on at the end. Live a little!

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

Handful of kale ripped up

1 large carrot spiralized

1 courgette spiralized

1 red onion, chopped finely

Tablespoon of peanut butter

Dried wholemeal noodles, enough for 1 person

Chicken stock  (or vegetable stock if you’re veggie) in 750ml of boiling water

Thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped up

Method:

Prepare all the vegetables, as stated above, shove in a pan and heat gently, and stir continuously for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and dollop of peanut butter, then stir throughout until the peanut butter is evenly distributed.

Warm until its starting to boil, about another 5 minutes, add a shake of pepper, then serve immediately.

Hygge Gratin, with Bacon and Mushroom

Comfort ‘hygge’ food, to me, includes, cheese and bacon. Therefore, I’ve come up with this little winter warmer. That you can serve as a side, perhaps with the ‘hygge’ salmon salad, or on it’s own is also amazing. This is a bit naughty and probably doesn’t fit with everyone’s January diet plans, but I thought I’d indulge a bit before I check into a chocolate rehab centre, I’m hoping these exist. Plus, my last blog was a salad, so I feel the balance is right, which is what ‘hygge’ is all about.

The only downside to this dish is that you have to use 3 pans. I bet the Danes would just chill out under candle light smugly waiting for each part to cook, but I haven’t got my personality around to being this ‘hygge’ yet. As I get hangry, which is angry when hungry.

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side.

Ingredients:

2 baking potatoes, slices into 1cm slices, leave the skin on

10 chestnut mushrooms, cut into thin sllices

3 pieces of good quality bacon, chopped into small pieces with a pair of scissors

Cheese Sauce

1.2 litres (2 pints) whole fat milk

50g (2oz) butter

50g  (20z) plain flour

250g (8oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Teaspoon of Paprika

Method:

Put the sliced potato into a pan of boiling water, add a pinch of salt, set your timer for 10 minutes.

In a frying pan, fry the chopped up bacon and mushrooms, add a shake of oregano. No oil is needed, as there will be oils from the bacon. Fry until the bacon is cooked.

Meanwhile, start the cheese sauce, the instructions in detail are in my Cheesy, Pleasy Lasagne recipe. Add the paprika before you add the cheese.

This should all take 10 minutes.

Then, carefully construct the gratin. Layer potatoes, then a third of the sauce, then the bacon and mushroom mixture. Do this so it has 3 layers, and then finish with a layer of potatoes and a grating of cheese.

Put this under the grill for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has gone golden and the potatoes on top a bit crispy.

This is on the table in 20 minutes, which probably isn’t very ‘hygge’ but it’s still impressive, no?

Hygge, Warm, Wonderful Salad 

This is a cosy, hearty, wholesome, hygge salad. It has the warmth of the roasted sweet potato and salmon. Then, the crunch and freshness of the lemon and pomegranate. Plus its pretty healthy, whilst being satisfying and warm. This is exactly what we need this time of year, as my post Christmas belly is 33% cheese, 33% chocolate  and 33% Baileys.

I have this with one of the nutmeg cheese curls. You might as well pop some candles on, sit on a sheep skin rug, make a fire and a grow a beard, as this is definately ‘hygge’.

The salmon pieces and the sweet potato pieces are the same size, so that it looks nice, the sweet potato and salmon cook roughly the same time and so you can shovel it into your gob easily.

Ingredients:

Per person.

Drizzle of rape seed oil

Sprig of rosemary, cut up finely

Salt and pepper

1 piece of salmon, cut into cubes

1/2 sweet potato, cut into cubes

Handful of spinach or rocket

1/2 celery stick, cut up into chunky pieces

1/2 pomegranate

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C.

Drizzle the bottom of an oven proof dish, with just enough oil to cover the bottom, then add the rosemary and salt and pepper. Put this in the oven for 10 minutes.

Whilst, you are waiting for the oil to heat up cut the sweet potato and salmon into cubes, roughly the same size. Then cut the celery, and bash out the pomegranate.

After ten minutes, take the pan of oil out of the oven. Place the cubes of salmon in the middle and skin side down in the oil, so that the skin goes crispy and makes a sizzling noise. The around the outside place the sweet potato, coat the sweet potato in the oil.

Cook for 30 minutes and add to the rest of the ingredients. Then add a squeeze of lemon.

 

Nutmeg, Nordic Cheese Curls 

The epitome of ‘hygge’ seems to be a bread of some sort. Especially  with a cinammon or nutmeg vibe to it. Therefore, these little darlings are so simple and tasty, and they keep for up to 3 days.

Try these with some tomato soup, you can’t get much wintery and ‘hygge’ than that.

Makes: 6

Ingredients:

For the pastry (or you can use ready made pastry)

200g self raising flour

50g butter

100ml whole milk

Filling:

2 teaspoons of nutmeg

50g cheddar cheese, grated

Sprinkle of sesame seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven 200 deg C.

In a bowl add the flour, butter and nutmeg and mix well with your fingers. Breaking up and mixing it all together. Then add the milk bit by bit until it is a doughy texture.

If it’s too dry, add milk, and if it’s too wet add so more flour.

Kneed the pastry for a few seconds and then try and get it into a rectangular shape. The role out to 0.5cm thickness.

Add the grated cheese to the middle, and then roll the longest side so that it’s like a large sausage.

Then cut into half, and then each half makes 3 rolls.

Push down the edges so that they seal well, and put the swirl side facing up.

Then sprinkle some sesame seeds on each one. Place in the top of the oven for 25 minutes until they are all gooey and brown.