A colourful, mouth-watering Minestrone

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I love weekends filled with cooking. The house smells fantastic, the fridge and freezer fill up with beautiful meals that I’ll be enjoying in the following weeks. A spiced peach jam, lentil and eggplant sheperds pie, spanish lentil soup, clam and corn chowder, vichyssoise and this delicious minestrone. If I had more time, I’d document all I’ve done but sometimes you just want to get on with it!!! I’ll be running full steam ahead over the next weeks, I will start canning and pickling on top of cooking comfort food we all crave once the wearher cools. I can’t wait!

Minestrone has a flexible ingredient list according to what you have on hand and what’s seasonal. It checks all the boxes for me at the end of summer. Fresh ingredients, warmth and a hit of flavour with all those fragrant herbs from the garden. So any ingredient you see in this list can be switched to what suits your tastes and what you’ve picked up at the market 🙂

Ingredients

2-3 chipolata sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup fresh roma beans

1 of each green and yellow zuchini, quartered

1 onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch kale, shredded

1 large tomato, diced

200-300 gr. fusilli or similar pasta

Sprigs of each fresh oregano and thyme

1 teaspoon each chili flakes and fennel seeds, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking

1 litre chicken stock

Parmesan shavings and basil to garnish

Instructions

Heat a little olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add onions and sweat for a few minutes then add garlic until fragrant. Add sausage pieces then zucchini, stirring frm time to time. Whe sausage starts to colour add tomatoes and beans. Stir to combine and continue to cook until tomatoes start blistering, add stock, herbs, spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to come to a slow simmer, then add kale and pasta and cook for 20-30 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Serve in large soup bowl topped with parmesan and granish with basil. Makes 4-6 portions, freezes for up to a month and keeps n the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

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I almost forgot them (!), Fresh minted pea soup

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When I went to the market last weekend, with the fact that I didn’t know when I’d be back in mind, I bought quite a large quantity of fresh produce. I bought this bag of fresh peas, thinking I could make something further into the week. As I was rummaging around my produce drawers in the fridge, I found the bag of peas, which I had completely forgotten! Great surprise 🙂 Minted pea soup it is! This is a soup that I love making when the heat starts as you eat it cold, it is tasty and refreshing, Mint and peas go well together, top it off with some coconut cream and you have a delicious summer soup that starts off a BBQ dinner perfectly. So even if it’s rainy out there (what a weird summer to date!), enjoy it to it’s fullest ’cause it won’t last!

IMG_0800RECIPE

1 cup freshly shelled peas

3/4 cups stock

1 small shallot, minced

1 small bunch mint, leaves and stalk

1 teaspoon butter

Salt & pepper to taste

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INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a small saucepan on medium heat, add butter and when sizzling, add shallots. Stir until shallots are glassy then add peas. Stir to blend and add stock, season with salt and pepper. Cook at a gentle simmer for 5 minutes or until peas are cooked. Place contents of the saucepan in blender with coconut cream and mint and blend on high until smooth. Serve in bowl and garnish with mint leaves, edible flowers and coconut cream. Serves 1. Enjoy!

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Keeping hope alive & Fiddlehead VeloutĂ©

IMG_0505IMG_0506IMG_0507IMG_0508I can’t quite believe it, but it snowed today… Now it didn’t stick around mind you, but still, snow… in May… So lets actively deny that it happened and move on! So on that note, fiddleheads appeared at the market this week and I jumped on them! As they are only around for a week or two, I wanted to make sure I had the chance to broaden my recipe range.  I had been thinking of making an asparagus veloutĂ© when it occurred to me, let’s try out a veloutĂ© with fiddleheads, so… One attempt and beautiful results! Oh, and p.s., my truffle oil obsession continues!!!

Recipe

2 cups fiddleheads, rinsed

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

2 cups stock

3/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup whipped

1 large shallot, thinly sliced, reserve 1-2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon butter

Salt & pepper to taste

Truffle oil

Instructions

Sauté shallot in butter until glassy, add fiddleheads and sauté a further 2-3 minutes. Add stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, fry reserved shallots in olive oil until crisp and browned. Drain on absorbent paper. Add vegetables and stock in blender with the cream and blend on high until smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve in bowls topped with whipped cream, fried shallots and a few drops of truffle oil. Serves 2. Bon appétit!

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Spanish lentil soup to soothe the soul

March… the month of make it or break it! I’ve personally had it with winter. I generally get through the winter without complaining too much but for some reason this year seems to be rougher. Not enough sun, not enough warmth, too much gloom… I’ve been cooking meals that reassure me, that make me feel like there is hope! This recipe is a classic in my house. It gets tweaked a tiny bit from time to time, however I’m sure it remains true to my grandmother’s original recipe! If you can find a true, good chorizo, you’re set. I love that this recipe is from my spanish roots and yet all the ingredients are local. The only imported product is the smoked paprika! The soup is perfectly paired with a creamy goat cheese and a crusty country bread. It’s hearty, tasty, and comforting!!!

 

Recipe

1 cup lentils

1 medium chorizo, sliced

2 cups chicken broth (or water)

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 tomato, crushed

1 large shallot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat oilve oil on medium heat in saucepan, add shallots until soft and translucent. Add garlic and stir. Add tomatoes, carrots and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add chorizo and lentils and stir to mix. Add broth and simmer on low for +/- 30 minutes or until lentils are just soft under tooth. Can be frozen up to 4 months. makes 2 large portions. Enjoy!

 

 

Clam chowder for a blistery winter Sunday

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It’s snowing… I can’t complain so much about the snow, we haven’t gotten that much this winter. But the cold… The cat’s have cabin fever, they regularly pull out new toys from their basket or they mope around. I’m not an emotional eater, however when I’m bored, I suddenly have all sorts of cravings! So I’m constantly searching for dishes that satisfy me deeply and that way I can steer away from the bad stuff!

I have great childhood memories from spending summer vacation in Maine. The ocean, the sun, friends, watching the 4th of July fireworks on the beach, surfing and eating all sorts of stuff we weren’t allowed the rest of the year, i.e. chips, sugary cereals, soda… A rainy day was an excuse to go for day trips to Ogunquit or Kennebunk Port, buy fudge and candy at the candyhouse or go buy some christmas decorations at the christmas shop! And there was always one day we’d walk on the beach to go eat lobster rolls, clam chowder and fried clams from a shack by the beach. Funny how the simplest things make us so happy and give us our most cherished memories 🙂 This chowder is super quick to make and super satisfying, a perfect pairing would be these biscuits, it’s not exactly what I ate as a child, but I love it!

scn_0047Clam chowder

Ingredients

1 can clams

1 large potato, diced and blanched

1 cup corn kernels

2 large slices bacon, diced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Minced chives for garnish

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Instructions

Cook bacon in skillet until browned, add shallot and toss until translucent. Add corn, paprika and toss then add clams in their juice. Transfer into a pan add potatoes and coconut milk. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve and garnish with chives. Enjoy!

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