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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with seasonal

31May 12

Comforting Carrot, Coriander and Cumin soup

Carrot and Coriander SoupWhen out of the UK for a few years, I was missing those wonderful Covent Garden soups, especially my favourite – carrot and coriander.  So after a fruitless search to uncover them on the supermarket shelves, I decided to get making my own version which I call comforting carrot, coriander and cumin soup, and I’m so glad I did.  I like the alliteration, but the flavour’s even better, because nothing beats fresh home-made soup!  Carrots are a delicious root vegetable packed with carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

I’ve given this traditional recipe a little extra kick with the addition of cumin.  I like to make mine pretty intense for extra comfort, but you can vary the amount to your own taste.  I’ve kept the cumin content moderate in this recipe for you, so add or take away as you wish.

What you need:

  • 500g fresh carrots, washed and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped and some kept aside for the garnish
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. Add the oil to a large pan and soften the onions and carrots together for a few minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the ground cumin, salt, and ground pepper.  Stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring the liquid to the boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
  4. Add most of the coriander and blend the ingredients into a soup to the texture of your choice. I like mine a little rough, but it’s just as yummy smooth.
  5. Serve in pretty bowls topped with a coriander garnish.

20 minutes to prepare – 20-30 minutes to cook

Makes 4 servings

Note: In general, carrot and coriander make for a great combination in soups. If you want to add a bit more protein, try this bacon, carrot, butter bean and coriander soup. It’s a bit heartier, so keep it in mind if you are quite hungry.

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12May 12

Rhubarb and Marzipan Crumble

 

Rhubarb and Marzipan crumbleSpring is in the air! Well, perhaps not quite yet. But no matter the time of year, I enjoy the occasional treat to satisfy my sweet tooth. However, knowing that I am also eating fruits and veggies helps me justify these cravings.

Rhubarb comes into season in March and is readily available in the UK until May - so there’s still a chance to get some good rhubarb, just! Every year, as soon as I see it in the greengrocer, I pick it up so I can make a favourite of mine, rhubarb crumble.

 

 

This year I made this classic crumble pudding with a sweet surprise.  In this recipe, the natural tartness of the rhubarb contrasts really well with the almondy sweetness of the marzipan.

What you need:

  • 10 rhubarb sticks
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 110g Demerara sugar
  • 110g butter, left at room temperature for a while to soften
  • 190g flour
  • 150g Marzipan, cut into thin strips

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Chop the rhubarb into cubes, pop it on an oven tray, sprinkle over the water and caster sugar and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the rhubarb from the oven once it is cooked, and transfer it to an ovenproof dish.
  4. Create the crumble by rubbing the butter, flour and Demerara sugar together.
  5. Place the thin strips of marzipan across the top of the rhubarb before sprinkling the crumble mixture on.
  6. Bake the crumble in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the rhubarb mixture is soft and bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream. (optional)
30 mins to prepare, 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook
 
Makes: 4 servings

A little more about rhubarb…

The edible part of the rhubarb plant, the stalk, is technically a vegetable, though we think of it as a fruit.

Rhubarb seems to have become a popular food in the 17th Century when cheap sugar became accessible.

Rhubarb is thought to have first been cultivated in China in 2700BC.

It is said that the Romans believed that people who ate rhubarb were barbaric in nature (possibly because of its natural bitterness) and that the name rhubarb may have been derived from the Latin word rhabarbarum meaning ‘root of the barbarians’.

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26Mar 12

Moules Mariniere

Moules MariniereMoules mariniere brings back memories of holidays in the south of France and close to the Spanish border where moules frites (mussels and chips) and mussels in Asturian cider are very popular.

British Mussels are in season in February.  If you’re lucky enough to find good ones, you will soon be making succulent and tasty mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, which you can enjoy as a starter, or as a main meal with nice hunks of granary bread, chips or a mixed salad.  It looks stunning in its presentation and is sophisticated to the palette.

Moules mariniere is most fun prepared in company, sampling the white wine together as you cook.  I use a splash of good white wine from the bottle I want to drink with the meal rather than a cheap cooking wine, which I believe improves the flavour significantly. Try this recipe with a very well chilled oaked chardonnay.

What you need:

  • 1.75kg fresh mussels
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 120ml double cream (substitute for light crème fraiche if desired)

What you do:

  1. Wash the mussels thoroughly, removing and binning any that have opened and don’t close when lightly pressed in your fingers.
  2. Remove the beards from the mussels – these are the tough and fibrous strands which stick out of the closed shells.  Rinse the mussels once again.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan (which needs to be large enough for the mussels to reach only half way up the pan) and fry the shallots and the onion until soft.
  4. Splash in the wine and add the mussels.  Turn up the heat at this point, cover the pan with a lid, and steam the mussels for 3-4 minutes.  Whilst the mussels are cooking, move them about every now and then by gently shaking the pan; there’s no need to remove the lid to do this.
  5. Pour in the cream, add the coriander, and remove from the heat.

10-15 minutes to prepare and cook

Makes: 4 generous starters or light main meals

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