Mushroom soup with stilton, apple & walnut croûtes

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Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 organic chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • ½ a bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • 100 g basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon single cream
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil
  • For the croûtes
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 eating apple
  • ½ a bunch of fresh curly parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 50 g Stilton cheese
  • 1 small handful shelled walnuts
  • For the soup
  • 2 onions

Method

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Oven grill on high • Large lidded pan, medium heat • Griddle pan, high heat • Stick blender

START COOKING
Peel, halve and finely slice the onions and put them into the large pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil • Crumble in the stock cube, add a pinch of salt and pepper, strip in the thyme leaves and squash in 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic through a garlic crusher • De-stalk the chestnut mushrooms and place the tops on the griddle pan, turning when charred • Tear the chestnut stalks and portobellos into the onion pan, add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes • Pour in 1 litre of boiling water and boil with the lid on

Cut 4 slices of ciabatta at an angle and add to the griddle pan • When charred on both sides, rub with a halved garlic clove • Coarsely grate or slice the apple into matchsticks and toss with the roughly chopped parsley and a little lemon juice • Place the chestnut mushrooms on the toasts, crumble over the stilton and walnuts, then pop under the grill until the cheese is melted

Use the stick blender to purée the soup to a consistency you like, then season to taste, if needed, and swirl in the cream and truffle oil • Top the toasts with pinches of apple and parsley and serve on the side

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Roast carrot & fennel soup

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Ingredients

  • 1 kg carrots , peeled, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 bulbs of fennel , trimmed and sliced, tops reserved to serve
  • 1 onion , sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic , unpeeled
  • 1.6 litres vegetable stock
  • 100 ml single cream , to serve
  • For the flatbreads
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 250 g strong bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for shaping

Method

Recipe by Alice Hart

Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Put the carrots, fennel and onion in a roasting dish and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, then add the garlic cloves. Stir everything thoroughly and return to the oven for 20 minutes more, until the vegetables are soft and browned. Remove the papery skins from the garlic cloves.

Put the roasted veg in a large pan with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, then liquidise with a stick blender, until completely smooth.

Now make the flatbreads. Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Crush roughly with a pestle and mortar, then pour into a bowl with the flour and ½ teaspoon of salt. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 100ml of hand-hot (not boiling) water, then add it to the flour mixture with the oil and 60–75ml of hot water and mix until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead for 5 minutes.

Pop the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm and set aside to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Then, with oiled hands, divide the dough into 8 and roughly roll each one into a thin oval. Stack them up, separating them with baking paper to stop them from sticking together.

Heat a griddle pan until it’s smoking hot and add the flatbreads (you’ll need to do this in batches). Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until charred and puffed up. Keep warm in a tea towel while cooking the rest.

Gently reheat the soup, and serve with a swirl of cream, a scattering of fennel tops and the hot flatbreads.

Orecchiette with raw tomato sauce

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Ingredients

  • 500 g red and yellow cherry tomatoes , quartered
  • 150 g black olives , stoned
  • 6 anchovy fillets in oil , drained and finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic , finely sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 g orecchiette pasta
  • 1 sprig fresh marjoram, oregano or thyme , leaves picked

Method

Put the tomatoes into a large mixing bowl with the olives, anchovies and garlic. Add a few lugs of the best olive oil you can find, season to taste and gently stir together.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until tender, then drain and add to the mixing bowl. Stir it all together and let it sit for a minute or two, so the pasta starts to suck up all the lovely flavoured juices in the bowl. Stir again, check the seasoning and serve sprinkled with the marjoram, oregano or thyme leaves.

Prawn & chorizo orzo

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Ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 200 g quality chorizo
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 400 ml passata
  • 300 g orzo
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes, on the vine
  • 400 g large cooked shelled king prawns , from sustainable sources

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.

Peel and finely chop the garlic, and slice the chorizo. Pick and finely chop the basil.

Heat half the oil in a heavy-based pan. Fry the garlic and chorizo for 3 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the vinegar.

Add the passata and 300ml of water, then the orzo. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the orzo is al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking.

Spread the cherry tomatoes over a baking tray, drizzle with the rest of the oil and season. Roast for 10 minutes, or until soft.

Stir half the basil into the pasta, along with the prawns.

Divide between bowls, top with the remaining basil and serve the roasted tomatoes alongside.

Cajun roast chicken, veg & spicy gravy

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Ingredients

  • 1 x 1.6 kg whole free-range chicken
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tesapoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 750 g carrots
  • 1.25 kg potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 organic stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour

Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6. Place the chicken on a clean board.

Bash the dried herbs and spices with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper in a pestle and mortar.

Grate in the orange zest, pick in half the thyme leaves, and bash again. Mix in 1 tablespoon of oil, then rub the spice mix all over the chicken.

Peel and roughly chop the onion, roughly chop 1 carrot, then place in a roasting tin.

Sit the chicken on top, and rub a good drizzle of oil into the skin. Halve the zested orange; pop 1 half in the chicken, reserve the other.

Reduce the oven to 180ºC/gas 4 and roast for around 1 hour 15 minutes, or till the chicken is golden and when pierced in the thickest part, the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, halve and parboil the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes; drain and let sit to steam dry for a few minutes.

Shake to scuff the edges, then tip into a roasting tin and season with salt. Mix in the unpeeled garlic and a lug of oil. Roast with the chicken for 50 minutes.

Halve the remaining carrots lengthways, then parboil for 4 minutes; drain and steam dry.

Tip into a roasting tin, season, and mix with the honey, remaining thyme leaves and orange juice, and a drizzle of oil. Set aside.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven. Pop the carrots in the oven and check the potatoes, shaking the tray to turn them, and turn the oven up to 200ºC/gas 6. Keep an eye on the veg, so they don’t burn, while you make the gravy.

Transfer the chicken to a board to rest and loosely cover in foil.

Dissolve the stock cube in 750ml of just-boiled water. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and scrape the sticky bits off the bottom. Get the flour nice and dark (not burnt), then add the stock.

Bring to the boil, then simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring. When the gravy reaches the consistency you like, strain it through a sieve.

By now the roast veg should be ready to serve with the cajun roast chicken and spicy gravy.

Chickpea curry

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 x 400 g tin chickpeas
  • 1-2 fresh green chillies
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon asafoetida
  • ½ c 400 g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dhana jeera powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon sugar , optional
  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander
  • ½ tesapoon garam masala

Method

Peel and finely chop the onions, drain and rinse the chickpeas and finely slice the green chillies.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds; once they’re crackling, add the asafoetida. Stir in the onions and fry until transparent and turning golden at the edges.

Chop and add the tinned tomatoes, then cook for another 5 minutes, before adding the ginger, garlic and green chilli pastes, the red chilli powder, dhana jeera, sugar (if using), and a pinch of sea salt. Keep stirring and cook for further 5 minutes.

Sir the chickpeas into the pan. Add 250ml water to make a thick sauce. Place the lid on the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Pick and finely chop the coriander, then sprinkle on top along with the garam masala and finely sliced green chillies, to serve.

Spiced aubergine & coconut curry

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 6 Asian round aubergines
  • 3cm piece of ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 12 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 x 400 g tin of coconut milk
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander

Method

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.

Quarter and add the aubergines and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender, tossing well to colour them all over. Set aside.

Peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic, then peel and very finely slice the white onion (use a mandolin if you have one).

Add the rest of the oil to the pan, tip in the cumin and mustard seeds and fry until they begin to pop.

Lower the heat slightly, add the curry leaves and dried chillies and continue to cook until the leaves are crisp and translucent. Stir in the ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute.

Add the sliced onion along with ½ teaspoon of sea salt, lower the heat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Stir in the tomato purée, garam masala and coconut milk. Bring it to a simmer, return the aubergine to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until it’s soft but still firm to the bite.

Finely slice the red onion, pick and chop the coriander leaves, then combine in a small serving dish. Divide the curry between bowls and serve with the red onion salad and poppadoms, if you like.

Pumpkin & ginger soup

Pumpkin & ginger soup

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pumpkin
  • 2 shallots
  • 75 g ginger
  • a few sprigs of fresh herbs , such as chives, mint
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 litre organic vegetable stock
  • 125 ml coconut milk , plus extra to serve
  • ½ tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1 lime

Method

Deseed and roughly chop the pumpkin, peel and chop the shallots, then peel and finely grate the ginger. Pick and finely chop the herbs.

Place the pumpkin, shallots, ginger and some oil in a large saucepan and sauté until soft.

Add the stock, coconut milk and chilli powder. Season, then bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

Blitz in a food processor then serve with the fresh herbs, lime juice and a splash of coconut milk.

Szechuan sweet & sour prawns

Szechuan sweet & sour prawns

Ingredients

  • 300 g pineapple
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies
  • sea salt
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 24 peeled raw king prawns
  • groudnut oil , or vegetable oil
  • 150 ml unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon cornflour
  • ½ bunch of fresh coriander

Method

Peel and slice the pineapple lengthways into 8 wedges, then cut out and discard the woody core. Preheat a large griddle pan over a high heat, add the pineapple for 4 minutes, or until charred and bar-marked, turning occasionally, then remove to a board to cool. Meanwhile, halve, deseed and finely slice the peppers lengthways. Add to the griddle for about 3 minutes, or until slightly softened and bar-marked, turning halfway.

Peel the garlic and deseed the chillies, then roughly chop and place into a pestle and mortar. Bash with a pinch of salt to a rough paste. Peel, finely chop and add the ginger, then bash until broken down and combined. Place the chilli paste into a large bowl with the prawns and a splash of oil, then mix well.

Heat a lug of oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the prawn mixture and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until just cooked through. Meanwhile, chop the cooled pineapple into bite-sized chunks. In a bowl, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy, cornflour and a splash of water, then add to the wok with the chargrilled pineapple and peppers. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for about 2 minutes, or until thickened and reduced. Pick over the coriander leaves, then serve with steamed rice.

Three cheese risotto

Three cheese risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock , hot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions , peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery , trimmed and finely chopped
  • 400 g risotto rice
  • 2 glasses dry white wine
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 g Appenzeller or Gruyere cheese , roughly chopped
  • 75 g Taleggio cheese , roughly chopped
  • 1 knob butter
  • 40 g Parmesan cheese , freshly grated

Method

Heat the stock in a pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice to the pan and turn up the heat. Cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until the rice looks slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring – any alcohol flavours will evaporate.

Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is cooked but still holds its shape – this takes about 15 minutes.

Stir in the Appenzeller and Taleggio. Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste, then beat in the butter and Parmesan. Place a lid on the pan and leave to rest for 2 to 3 minutes – your risotto will get nice and oozy. Enjoy!