What’s Cooking – Leek and Potato Soup

What’s Cooking – Leek and Potato SoupThe weather is still being chilly at times and I think soups are the perfect warming up dish.

I haven’t cooked a lot of soups for many years now but lately they have been becoming a much more regular feature in our home. I guess you could say I have re-discovered my long lost love for soups.

My leek and potato soup is quick and easy and it doesn’t really require any special preparation… as long as you have some leeks…

What’s Cooking – Leek and Potato Soup IngredientsIngredients:

  • 500g leeks
  • 500g potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 25g butter
  • 1l stock – I used a ham stock
  • 1 mixed herbs flavour pot
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Double cream (optional)
  • Croutons (optional)

Method:

Rinse and wash your leeks of all visible dirt, then cut them lengthwise into strips and finally chop into small pieces. Now get ready for a proper wash session. Place your leeks in a large bowl of water and use your hands to agitate the pieces in order to loosen up the hidden and super fine dirt and sand. Any dirt should fall to the bottom of your bowl. Repeat this process three times just to be sure that there is no remaining grains of sand. There is nothing worse than having an unexpected crunch between your teeth when eating what should be a soft soup!

Peel and chop your potatoes, carrot and onion into small chunks (1cm/1cm cubes are ideal) or just rough slices for the onion.

In a large heavy bottom cooking pot melt the butter.

What’s Cooking – Leek and Potato Soup in the makingAdd the leeks, season generously with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.

After this time add onions, potatoes and carrots, put the lid on and leave on a gentle heat to simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Prepare your stock – I used 2 ham flavour stock cubes from Knorr and one mixed herbs flavour pot.

Add the stock to your cooking pot and bring all to a boil. At this point you can check for flavouring and add any additional seasoning if needed.

Once the soup is boiling reduce the heat and let it cook, on a medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Turn the heat off and use table top blender or a hand blender to turn your soup into a smooth cream of a soup.

Serve if you are ready to dine or store for later.

What’s Cooking - Leek and Potato SoupI like my leek and potato soup with a dash of cream and some croutons just to add some texture into it.

Do you like leek and potato soup?

What’s your favourite soup?

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup

I love mushrooms. I think my love for them has its roots in my childhood as every year we would go camping to the woods and one of my favourite activities (in addition to swimming and rolling on a sandy beach by the lake) was mushrooming. Every year we would come home with a car boot filled with dried mushrooms ready for the winter season.

My mum would often cook mushroom soup but it was always based on those dried mushrooms we had picked during the summer. So without even noticing it, it turns out I’ve never had a fresh mushroom soup… until now.

Ingredients for Fresh Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 300g mushrooms
  • 500g potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2l stock, I used a chicken stock from Knorr
  • 1 Knorr Garden Herbs Flavour Pot
  • Salt (optional)
  • Cream (optional)

Method:

Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size.

Place the mushrooms into your cooking pot, add the stock, flavour pot and mix well. I used 2 Knorr stock cubes to make 2 litres of stock (the packaging would advice 4 cubes for this amount of water but I didn’t want my soup to have too strong chicken flavour).

Bring up to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes.

After this time remove any scum (if there is any) and add all remaining ingredients.

Cook for further 40 minutes.

After this time you are ready to serve.

Fresh Mushroom Soup in the making

I actually cooked my soup in a Redmond Multicooker (you can read all about it here). If you have one too the cooking instructions are as follows: Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size. Place mushrooms into the bowl, add stock, flavour pot and mix well. Close the lid. Press “Menu” button to select “SOUP” program. Use “Hour/Min” and then “Cooking Time” buttons to set the time of 1 hour. Press “Start”. 40 minutes before the program finishes, re¬move the scum, add vegetables and stir well. Cook until the program finishes.

This is a really light and tasty soup. I think it would work pretty well with a veggie stock, but I simply didn’t have any. Depending on the type of stock you are using you might want to check the salt level and maybe add some if needed. For me it wasn’t necessary as the two cubes of chicken stock had more than enough flavour so I could skip adding any additional salt.

What’s Cooking – My Fresh Mushroom SoupWhat’s Cooking - Fresh Mushroom Soup.

The soup can be served “plain” or with added cream (much better in my opinion).

If you decide to add cream I would suggest adding it just before serving to each bowl; this way your remaining soup will last longer in the fridge.

If the lumps are going to be a problem for you, such as if it is for young children then a quick blast with a blender and bingo you have a type of cream of mushroom soup.

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup.What’s Cooking - Fresh Mushroom Soup

Do you like mushroom soup?

If not, why not? what‘s wrong with you?

Packed Lunches, Mexican Chicken and The Wrapper

Packed Lunches, Mexican Chicken and The Wrapper

I don’t know about you but given the choice I would take a packed lunch over a shop bought one any day. With so much nastiness going into our food these days it is nice to know what we are actually eating. This means making your own food from scratch from good quality locally sourced (if possible) ingredients.

A lot of people don’t prepare their own lunch. When asked why the most common answer would be lack of time and energy, lack of ability to actually cook or simply a lack of good will. Making your own lunch can be fun 🙂

A few days ago I prepared a quick and easy Mexican chicken which we used as a filling in our lunch sandwiches.

All you need is 15 minutes and you can have a tasty fresh chicken sandwich on your plate.

Ingredients:

Method:

Heat up a heavy bottom frying pan.

Cut your chicken into desired size – 1cm x 1cm cubes work for me.

In a medium size bowl mix oil, chicken stock and flavour pot.

Add the chicken chunks into the bowl and mix well massaging the flavours into the chicken.

Fry on the well preheated frying pan for 10 to 12 minutes; stir and toss well to ensure that all pieces of the chicken are cooked.

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool down a little.

Add mayonnaise and mix gentry.

Serve with your favourite bread or as an addition to salad.

My Mexicans Chicken went into a sandwich. As it contained mayonnaise I didn’t even butter the thins 😉

Then my Mexican Chicken sandwiches went into The Wrapper… a brilliant product perfect for packed lunches.

The Wrapper is a reusable sandwich wrapper. It costs £5.50 and it comes in many lovely designs. I totally love the idea behind it; no more wrapping our food in foil or paper. Now everyone has their own personal wrapper to keep their food fresh for longer.

The Wrapper is extremely easy to use:

Packed Lunches, My Mexican Chicken and The Wrapper

And if it gets dirty you simply wipe it clean 😉

Not only is it perfect for packed lunches but it also doubles as an eating mat. No more crumbs in the car; no more eating from the dirty table in the park and no more unnecessary rubbish.

I hope that The Wrapper idea takes off and it becomes a must have product in every household. Can you even imagine how many tons of rubbish we could avoid if everyone swapped to it and simply wrapped their food in The Wrapper?

Packed Lunches, Mexican Chicken and The Wrapper.

What do you think? Would you use The Wrapper in your own home?

What’s Cooking – The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

What’s Cooking – The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

I’ve already shared a steak sauce with you, so next in line must be the steak itself! For us any steak is a treat, so an aged fillet steak is only for days that will never be forgotten. They aren’t even close to being cheap so they have to be reserved for special occasions to add another layer to the wonder that is making that day special to us. Lately we haven’t actually had any special occasions to celebrate but Mark wouldn’t believe me that a Worcestershire Steak Sauce is so amazingly nice, so we made that the occasion so we could cook one so he could try it for himself.

What’s Cooking  The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

We got some lovely fillet steaks from Donald Russell. We were lucky as a 160g steak if bought in packs of four were on special offer 🙂

If you going to push the boat out and have a steak then you might as well have the best cut and what can be better than a buttery-tender prime fillet beef steak?

(Oh my, I am drooling just thinking about the dinner we had).

So anyway, we had our steaks, all we needed now was a Knorr Stock Cube and a little bit of olive oil.

Following what Marco Pierre White told me to do; we seasoned our steaks with only the Knorr stock cube instead of adding any salt. Why? Let me tell you:

First of all it will coat and stick much better to the meat then just salt would.

Secondly, as all the meat is evenly covered it will enhance the flavour of the meat better and thus elevate it to the next level.

And third because he said so 😉 and despite the evidence I do occasionally do as I am told.

Once you have all the ingredients you need:

  • Steaks
  • A Knorr stock cube
  • A dash of Olive oil

… it is time to cook.

Method:

Heat a large, heavy, thick-bottomed frying pan – we used our cast iron one as it is simply perfect for it. It must be “smoking” hot, so the surface of the meat caramelises.

What’s Cooking -- The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White.

In a small bowl crush the Knorr stock cube and mix it with a little bit of olive oil creating a paste. You can use whatever flavour you want – I guess beef would be ideal in this situation… however we used chicken…

Season your steaks with the paste. Make sure it is spread evenly on both sides of the meat. Don’t put it too thick. You want just a little flavour enhancement.

What’s Cooking - The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White.

Put the steaks into the frying pan and fry for about 2 minutes on one side, then turn over and fry for 1 minute, then take the frying pan away from the heat still leaving the steak in the frying pan. Now watch your steak. Once you see the blood start to break the surface, your steak is ready – it will be a perfect medium-rare.

Add all other bits you are having with it and dig in!

What’s Cooking - The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

Oh and don’t forget about the star of the show your Worcestershire Steak Sauce!

What’s Cooking -- The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White

I did find a video recipe for both steak and a Worcestershire Steak Sauce. If you dislike onions and prefer peppercorns in your sauce have a look at this video; you might find it helpful.

The Perfect Steak à la Marco Pierre White