What’s Cooking – Broccoli Soup

What’s Cooking – Broccoli SoupNo matter what I do to stop it, I do occasionally wake up in a morning and harbour a strange thought: today I will not crave meat as a true carnivore should, today I shall crave something healthy, today I shall change my spots and become a herbivore! Gimme vegetables!

Once this feeling has a hold of me it is unshakable and nagging constantly so to the kitchen I wander and root around in the pantry instead of the freezer. Green things pass through my fingers instead of wings or ribs… I am on a mission.

Oh, some broccoli, and a carrot, I am off to a good start. Discovered some celery that didn’t feel too soft and then my nose reminded me of the wondrous mint plant growing on my kitchen window sill.

The answer was thus obvious to me and my nagging craving relaxed, I was now firmly set on the path towards broccoli soup heaven…

Ingredients:

  • 500g broccoli
  • 250g fresh green celery
  • 250g potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1tsp dry mint
  • 1.2 litre of chicken stock
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Wash, (peel) and roughly chop broccoli, celery, potatoes and carrots.

Peel and slice garlic.

Prepare 1.2l of stock. I used a chicken one from Knorr but a vegetable one will also suit this soup well.

In your cooking pot heat up a splash of olive oil; once hot add the garlic and dry mint and fry for about 1 minute. You just want to release the garlic aroma. Do not let the garlic brown.

Add celery and fry for a further 2 to 3 minutes.

Now add the broccoli, carrots and potatoes as well as your earlier prepared stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring all to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add a handful of fresh mint and puree it using a blender.

Serve with chopped fresh mint and pumpkin seeds.

What’s Cooking – My Broccoli SoupWhat’s Cooking - My Broccoli SoupDelicious!

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?

It cooks, it fries, and it bakes… my journey with a Redmond Multicooker

1. Redmond MulticookerA good few months ago I was gifted a beautiful looking Redmond Multicooker to “play with”. At first Mark wasn’t too impressed as any new appliance in the kitchen inevitably means less work top space; but as it ended up it actually helped us save some space 🙂

My Redmond Multicooker (RMC-M4502E ) has 34 programs – 16 automatic and 18 manual programs which enables you to cook meat, fish, poultry and seafood, vegetables, oatmeal, soup, pasta; deep fry, make yogurt and desserts, bake, and more! 3D heating helps save valuable minerals and vitamins in the food. The Redmond Multicooker features a wide temperature range from 40°C up to 160°C in handy 20°C intervals and cooking times range from 5 minutes all the way up to 12 hours in 5 minute intervals. It is perfect for making traditional meals, as well as yogurt, cottage cheese, fondue, French fries, and nuggets; it can also bake bread or cakes, prepare baby food, proof dough, pasteurize, sterilize, and more. And in this hectic modern life if you are late for dinner it will keep it warm for you for up to 24 hours 😉

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

I found this lovely introduction video which shows the cooker in its full glory.

If at this point you are wondering why you would need it… well let me explain…

Firstly, the Redmond Multicooker offers a fully automated cooking system, which means that you can simply pop your ingredients in and forget about it until it beeps 🙂 unless you are cooking a recipe which requires you to add something mid cook of course. Sometimes our busy lifestyle gets on top of us, and I bet we have all had at one time or another a cooking disaster resulting in a burnt dinner because we didn’t turn the stove off on time because we are distracted with the phone, kids or another emergency that requires immediate attention.

Secondly, due to its enclosed nature, cooking in it doesn’t present any hazard. We all know what toddles can be like… little hands go everywhere… using a multicooker means no risk of potential injuries… no hot surface to get burned on, no risk of running into the cooker with giant pot of soup or stew cooking on top.

Third, a Redmond Multicooker actually helps you to save space. Instead of a steamer, rice cooker, deep fat fryer, or a separate baby food warmer all you have is one machine, which does it all. It is an ideal all in one cooker for small kitchens. Not only does it save space, it also saves money as cooking in it is much cheaper than using an energy hungry stove or an oven, and it’s an absolute doddle to clean.

2. Redmond Multicooker

A Redmond Multicooker comes with a good range of handy accessories that include: a steam basket, deep fry basket with handle, measuring cup, serving spoon, tirpaddle, spoon/paddle holder, bowl extraction tongs and of course the main cooking bowl which has a durable non-stick coating.

We have cooked a range of dishes in our Redmond Multicooker and I would like to share with you two of my favourite.

First I want to tell you about a Fresh Mushroom Soup.

To be honest I’ve never had a mushroom soup based on fresh mushrooms before but it tastes great and the smell is simply amazing. The best part is that you can actually have this one soup served three different ways and it will taste ever so slightly different.

Redmond Multicooker and Fresh Mushroom Soup

“Plain” just as it comes from the cooker.

Redmond Multicooker and My Fresh Mushroom Soup

With added cream, which makes it more mellow and creamy (surprise, surprise).

With or without the added cream but blended into a silky smooth creamed soup (I am sorry no picture of this one).

Redmond Multicooker and My Banana Nut Cake

The second recipe I would like to share with you is for a Banana Nut Cake. We were a bit sceptical when it comes to baking in our multicooker, but just have a look at this cake… I am not sure I would be able to get a bake like this in my traditional oven to be honest.

Redmond Multicooker and Banana Nut Cake

Baking in a Redmond Multicooker sounds a bit tricky… This is due in part because mid way through the bake you have to flip the cake over. I was terrified the first time we tried it. I simply thought that my cake was going to fell apart… but it didn’t…

Redmond Multicooker and Banana Nut Cake in the making

… actually the whole turning process was extremely easy and straightforward: use tongs to remove bowl; put a large plate on top of the bowl, turn cooking bowl upside down allowing your cake to fall onto the plate and then simple slide the cake back into cooking bowl, the whole action took less than 30 seconds… it sounds much more complicated than it actually is.

Redmond Multicooker RMC-M4502E is priced at £139.90 and it can be purchased from their website at Multicooker.com. This is a mid range multicooker; their basic model starts from just £69 and goes up to £184.90 which will give you a pressure multicooker.

I really like my multicooker 🙂

What do you think about it?

Would you like one?

Does it sound like something you might be interested in?

*I was compensated for my time needed to fully test Redmond Multicooker.

What’s Cooking – Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Today I would love to share with you a recipe for Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. This recipe comes from “The Superfood Kitchen” cookbook by Parragon Books.

What’s Cooking – Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

What are superfoods you might ask?

Well, superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for your health and well-being.

“The Superfood Kitchen” cookbook is packed full of recipes helping you get the most out of your food. You can pick from breakfast, lunch and snacks, main courses as well as the essential desserts and baking selection. Each one of the 50 recipes included in the book have clear indications of its calories and other nutritional values.

I started my discovery of this cookbook with their Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup recipe. We totally loved this soup and I am confident you will enjoy it as well.

So, let’s get cooking 🙂

This recipe will serve 4. You will need 10 minutes to get things ready plus an additional 35 minutes of cooking time.

Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup - Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers; deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 onion; finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove; finely chopped
  • 300g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp cold water
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock (homemade obviously the preferred option)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Basil (optional)
  • 250g fresh tomatoes; finely chopped (optional)

Method:

Put the oil, water, peppers, garlic and onion in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

If you are using fresh tomatoes this would be the perfect time to add them then cover with a lid and simmer for additional 10 minutes.

If not… Then still just cover with a lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Add tinned tomatoes and stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with fresh basil if you choose to use it.

Optionally you can add the fresh basil into the soup together with the tinned tomatoes and stock; it will change the final taste of the soup (not sure if it will make it better… I would guess the basil taste to be more pronounced, we didn’t cook it this way so I can’t comment with authority).

What’s Cooking - Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

So, why this soup is so special?

All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C and k, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant vitamin A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer and diseases related to aging and they support the immune function. And best of all one serving is less than 100calories 😉

What are your favourite superfoods?

***
The Superfood Kitchen
ISBN 978-1-4723-6454-8
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2014
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 128
RRP: £8
Paperback; perfect bound

*I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.