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Sweet Potato & Red Chili Soup

 

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Soup… We absolutely love it in our house. Not the tinned variety of course. It has to be ‘Ome-made! And it’s so easy to make. You take your favourite ingredients sweat them off in some butter add some stock, cook for a bit and then blitz. Not leek and potato soup though, that can’t be blitzed. That’s completely breaking the rules, that has to be… ‘lumpy’.

 

If you make your own stock it’s even better. Even if it’s chucking the bones from the leftover roast chicken in a pot and boiling for an hour, you will be left with a nicechicken stock blog base for a soup. Of course if your one of those non-meat eating types you can make a stock from those manky left over carrots at the back of the fridge any veg trimmings and some onion. If you roast the veg for 20 minutes or so you’ll get more flavour and a deeper colour to your stock too.

 

So heres a recipe for a soup I made the other day along with a recipe for some cumin, ginger and garlic croutons. If you don’t have the croutons with this soup I suggest putting the spices used to flavour them in the soup. Although this recipe has chillies and spices in it it is no way spicy. If you prefer it spicier just up the amount of red chili in the recipe.

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Sweet Potato & Red Chili Soup

 

Ingredients 

 

50g butter                                                       Diced Potatoes Blog

1 medium onion roughly sliced

2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

200g (a large baker) potato cubed

700g sweet potatoes (4 small or 3 medium)cubed

1 large carrot diced

1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or extra black if you haven’t)

1 teaspoon salt

1 heaped teaspoon mild curry massala (or curry powder)Diced Carrots Blog

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 litre of stock

2 medium sized red chillies deseeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Ground black pepper and salt to taste

 

Method

 

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Gently fry the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.

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Add both types of potato and carrot to the pan along with the white pepper, salt, curry massala, allspice and thyme. Gently sweat all the veg off for a further 10 minutes stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn.

Add your stock which should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately forty minutes or until all the veg is cooked through and soft. Take off the heat and carefully blitz with a hand blender, blender or food processor.

Put back on the heat and add the remaining ingredients. The soup will be ready after 20 minutes.

 Sweet Potato Soup Blog

 

Cumin Ginger & Garlic Croutons

 

8 slices white bread

Olive oil

2 teaspoon crushed garlic

2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Salt and black pepper

 

Method

 

Cut the bread into cubes and put in a shallow roasting/baking tin.

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the garlic, cumin and ginger. Give the croutons a good toss and then sprinkle a little more olive oil on them and toss them again.

croutons cooking blog

Put in an oven preheated to 165°C on fan setting (185°C for conventional)the croutons will take 30 – 40 minutes but you need to regularly check on them and give them a shake or turn every 10 minutes or so.

Once the croutons are cooked they can be used straight away. Once the croutons are completely cool they can be put in a sealed container where they should be good for up to five days.

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Happy soup making!

 

 

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Crispy Cornflake Tart… For An Old Fart!

Most people I know seem to remember this from their schooldays… I don’t! What a deprived childhood I must have had!

It’s one of Kits favourites. I remember her telling me about it and I was just looking at her with a vacant “what are you on about?” look on my face.

Then Kit turns up with a slice from a little buttie shop up the road “see! Cornflake Tart!”.

OK, I have to admit, looks like I was missing out.

Kits’ workplace has a thing about colleagues bringing something in on their Birthday so when Kits came round I suggested a Cornflake Tart… (Hence the title of the Blog… not that I’m saying Kits old, or a tart… can someone pass me a shovel please!)

This really is the easiest thing in the world to make. If you have Kids they’ll love it! However I don’t see why kids should have all the fun! Everybody loves a bit of retro these days, and when it tastes this good!

Recipe

Shortcrust Pastry

225g plain flour

100g cold diced butter

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp icing sugar

Mix the dry ingredients and then rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 – 3 tbsp iced cold water to bring the mixture together. Leave to rest in a cool (not a fridge) place for 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out to about 3mm thickness and use to line a greased flan/quiche tin or shallow baking dish. Prick (snigger!) the base all over with a fork.

Place some baking paper in the tin followed by some tin foil and then fill with some baking beans. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take out of the oven and remove the baking beans, foil and paper. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes or so until the pastry is cooked and beginning to colour then take out of the oven.

Warm 150g – 200g of jam (Strawberry is traditional but I used raspberry for that nice hint of tartness against the sweetness of the topping) once the jam has loosened up pour into the pastry case and carefully spread out to cover the bottom evenly.

Cornflake Topping

120g golden syrup

75g butter

30g caster sugar

120g cornflakes

Melt the butter, golden syrup and sugar together in a pan. Once melted and bubbling take off the heat and add the cornflakes. Gently but thoroughly mix so all the cornflakes are coated then spoon onto the jam filled tart case. Gently spread the topping out so it is even then pop back into the oven for 5 minutes or so to set and firm up. Remove from the oven.

The tart is best eaten warm with a good dollop of custard but is equally as nice cold on it’s own. Just don’t try and sneak some when nobody’s looking as you may find yourself in detention!

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BBQ Short Ribs

Short Ribs Feature BlogSo one Friday I get a call from Mick the Butcher… “Jez” (Yeah, I know it’s Jerome or ‘Ome, I’ve never been a Jez but then Mick is Mike so I guess we’re even!) “I’ve got some Highland short ribs in d’ya want ’em?”

It turns out that a restaurant had ordered them but then decided at the last minute to change their mind, more fool them… what a treat!

The beast that the ribs hailed from came from a very well looked after herd of Highland Cross (Cross as in crossed with another breed not a bit ticked off… although if they knew what was coming I’m sure they’d be pretty livid!) cattle that reside about ten minutes walk from our house. Well you can’t get much more local than that!

 

If you have never cooked short ribs at first glance they seem particularly fatty. However you have to remember that these tasty hunks of meat need slow cooking at a temperature that allows the fat to render down and flavour the rest of the meat before being given a blast on a high heat to crisp up the remaining fat.Ribs n Rub

When it comes to cooking big chunks of meat I have to admit that the Americans seem to have it right. So, dry rub of spices, seasoning, sugar and herbs it is before a last minute glaze of something slightly sweet and spicy… I just know that the kids are going to get messy for this tea time!

The best thing to have with these ribs is a nice side of chips… or fries if you want to be really Americanised, salad and a nice vinegary ‘slaw’ to cut through the richness of the meat. We even had a squirt of tomato ketchup to finish it off, to be fair it went really well!

 

Cooked Short Ribs

 

BBQ Short Rib Of Beef

 

I used 4.5 Kilo of ribs which would feed 8 hungry people. They do heat up quite well so if you have any left over you could always freeze until needed or you could halve the amount if you wanted to do less.

 

Dry Rub

2 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoon smoked paprika (If you have it)

2 teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoon Muscavado sugar (or dark brown or molasses)

2 teaspoons of salt

a good grind of black pepper

1  tablespoon dried oregano

 

Mix all the ingredients together and then rub into the ribs using your hands. The ribs can then be left to marinate up to 24 hours.

 

To cook preheat the oven to 220°C/428°F (slightly less if using a fan oven).

Place the ribs on a rack in a large roasting dish. Cover with a double layer of foil and then place in the oven. Turn the temperature down to165°C/330°F (145°C/290°F if using fan assisted oven).

The ribs can now be left to cook for 6 hours.

 

Sweet Chilli Glaze

 

50ml of vinegar (white wine or cider)

50ml water

2 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon chilli powder (or more if you like a real kick!)

dash of ‘Ome Made Chilli Sauce (or your favourite hot sauce)

1 tablespoon Tomato Ketchup

pinch of salt/pepper

1 teaspoon (about 1 clove) of crushed garlic

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes

 

Once the ribs have finished their slow cooking take out of the oven and turn the oven temperature up to a  high heat (alternatively the ribs can be finished on a BBQ or can be left to cool and finished off another day)

Take the foil off the ribs and using a pastry brush give the ribs a good coating of glaze all over.

Put back in the oven (or on a BBQ) for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take out of the oven again, give another coating of glaze and cook for a further 20 minutes after which the ribs should look shiny, sticky and slightly charred, if not cook for a little longer.Shortribs

Once finished leave the ribs for ten minutes or so before serving, you don’t want to take the roof of your mouth off while eating… the ribs can be like the food equivalent to Napalm!

Oh… and make sure you have a hose ready to clean the kids down with afterwards!