Squash And Vegetable Soup

It’s that time of year when everywhere you look, pumpkins and squashes adorned the shelves in shops.

If you’re looking for something to do with them other than carving out ghoulish faces or pumpkin pie, look no further!

This delicious soup is hands down the tastiest thing I make at this time of year, and to make matters even better, my kids eat it! Surely that’s worthy of a parent point?!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty for seconds);

1kg Squash or pumpkin

2 carrots, cubed

2 large potatoes, skin on cubed

2 small onions, sliced

2 cloves of Garlic (or more, depending on taste buds)

2 pints of Vegetable stock

Sprigs of Rosemary & Sage

Seasoning

3 slices of brown bread

1tbsp olive oil

Method;

Start off by quartering the squash and carefully cut off the skin. Cut into large chunks, deseed and chuck them into a large saucepan.

Next, add the remaining vegetables and crushed garlic. Remove the herb leaves from the stalks and roughly tear up and pop on top of the vegetables.

Cover the ingredients with 2 pints of vegetable stock and bring up to boil on a medium heat.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for about 35/40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The next part is up to you and depends on your preference. You can eat the soup nice and Chunky as it is, or you can pulse it with a handheld blender for a few seconds. I chose the latter as my kids like their soups nice and smooth.

While the soup is cooling down, roughly chop up 3 slices of bread (crusts off) to make some croutons and place a large frying pan onto a low heat to warm up. Add a splash of olive oil and add the cubed bread.

Gently fry until the croutons are nice and crisp on each side, it should only take a couple of minutes.

Now serve up the soup and pop some crispy croutons on top.

Autumnal Pork & Vegetable Stew

This delicious stew is perfect for these cooler days and tastes like a hug in a bowl. It’s so easy and the kids love it, so a real winner in our house!

Ingredients (serves 4 with plenty left for seconds);

3 pork chops, fat off and removed from the bone (optional)

3 potatoes, skin left on & cubed

1 sweet potato, skin left on & cubed

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 carrots, cut into chunks

1 apple, cored and diced

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Cup of frozen peas

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Handful of fresh Sage, crushed and chopped (keep a few leaves aside to garnish when you plate up)

1 vegetable stock cube

Sprinkling of gravy granules

Method;

Preheat the oven to gas mark 180°C, and place all of the ingredients (except for the stock cube, gravy powder and frozen peas) into a large casserole pot. Cover with water and bring to boil on a medium heat on the hob. Reduce the heat to a simmer and sprinkle in the vegetable stock cube, stir. Put the lid on and pop into the oven.

After an hour, remove the casserole pot from the oven and stir. Sprinkle a generous amount of gravy granules over the top, stir and put it back into the oven for 45 minutes, until the gravy is thick and the vegetables are tender. Stir in the frozen peas and pop back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool down until ready to eat. Garnish with some fresh sage leaves and serve with chunky bread.

Bon appetite!

Wrap Platter For A Hungry Gathering Of Mini Eaters

This platter of mini wraps is the perfect solution when you have lots of mouths to feed at lunch time, it always receives a cheer of approval from the kids! Based on their favourite sandwich fillings, ingredients included:

To feed 5 children:

*3 Wholemeal and 5 white Wraps

*Tuna & cucumber

*Ham

*Cheese

*Baby Tomatoes

*Rocket to dress

Simply spread your ingredients onto flat wraps, roll and cut into equal portions. Place onto serving dish and decorate with rocket, baby tomatoes and some cucumber.

This lunch platter will be making an appearance again over the weekend, that’s for sure!

Focaccia Stuffed With Pesto & Tomatoes

If you are looking for a food project this weekend, look no further as this is it. We’ve upped the ante by adding juicy cherry tomatoes and by slapping red pesto into a traditional Focaccia.

Ingredients:

500g Strong plain Flour

7g Sachet Yeast

1tsp Salt

3tbsp Red Pesto (see link https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/red-pesto-sauce/ for one of our recipes or shop bought is absolutely fine)

100ml Olive Oil & extra to drizzle (I used my herb & chilli infused olive oil https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/homemade-herb-chilli-infused-olive-oil/ for an extra twist)

5 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary, leaves picked

200g Cherry Tomatoes

Sea Salt flakes to garnish

300ml Lukewarm water

Method:

Pour 300ml into a jug and add the sachet of yeast, stir. Leave for a couple of minutes until it starts to froth.

In a large bowl, tip in the flour and add the salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and then add 75ml Olive oil. Use a knife to stir the mixture, until a rough dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. If necessary, sprinkle extra flour on the dough to prevent it sticking.

Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover and leave for 40 mins – 1hr to prove. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it onto a clean, floured surface and knead for a couple of seconds to knock the air out of it.

Shape the dough into a rectangle and roll out to roughly 20 x 10inches. Mix together the red pesto and sprigs of rosemary and smear over one half of the dough.

Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and pinch together to seal it.

Now put the bread into a roasting tin (lined with baking paper) and cover with cling film. Place somewhere warm for an hour to prove further. Preheat the oven to 220C, fan 200C, Gas mark 7.

When the bread is ready for the oven, drizzle over 2tbls of Olive oil and rub it in gently. Gently press the Cherry tomatoes into the dough and use your fingers to gently dent the rest of the dough. Pop in some sprigs of Rosemary. Scatter over the sea salt flakes. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for a further 20 minutes.

Place the bread into the oven, bake for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 200C, fan 180C, Gas mark 6 and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the bread has risen and looks golden. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Cut into slices or chunks and enjoy with your main of choice (we had steaks and a nice crispy salad!!

Bon appetite lovely people! X

You Deserve Butter!

James’ Spiced Fruit Loaf

We did warn you that James is a serial bread maker didn’t we? Here’s his debut bread recipe for his divine fruit loaf. Definitely something for the weekend.

Packed with fruit and has a good hit of cinnamon this tea time treat is delicious with thickly spread butter.

Ingredients

  • 400g Strong white bread flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 40g Butter
  • 40g Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g raisins
  • 75g dried apricots
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml water

 

Bread Machine

This recipe works for both making by hand and in a machine. Obviously a bread machine is far easier but there is nothing quite like doing it yourself!

Depending on your bread machine either add the dry or wet ingredients first as they do differ. But either add all the dry ingredients then add the water and milk on top or the other way round. Make sure that you keep the salt and the yeast separated. Use either a sweet bread setting or if you are not sure then the standard medium sized loaf will do.

Press start and in a few hours……….ta-dah!

 

Made by Hand

Ok this is the longer, but ultimately more satisfying method!

In a food processor add the flour salt and yeast, add the yeast and salt to opposite side of the bowl. Add the butter, sugar, eggs, milk and half the water.

Mix at a slow speed for a few minutes until it comes together and is nice and elastic. Add the fruit and spice and mix again until combined.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to rise in a warm place (I have a nice warm cupboard with pipes in!) leave for 1 1/2 hours.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead it until all the air has been knocked out of it. Cut the dough in half and shape them into ball by tucking the dough underneath itself.

Place each loaf on a lined baking tray inside a plastic bag and leave to prove for a hour.

Once risen bake at 210°C for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy! James