Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pumpkin soup with a kick!

Pumpkin soup has rarely tasted so exciting!

Great, simple recipe which will warm the cockles of your heart.


You will need:

1 litre of chicken stock (preferably fresh but stock cubes will do)

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

500g pumpkin (peeled weight)

15g fresh root ginger (about the size of your thumb)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 lime


This is what you do:

1. if using, dissolve the stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water

2. peel + roughly chop the onion and garlic

3. gently soften without colouring in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat with 1/2 tsp of salt

4. peel + finely chop the ginger

5. add the coriander seeds, chilli flakes and ginger, stir and cook, covered with a lid, for 5 mins

6. peel and dice the pumpkin

7. stir the pumpkin into the onions, cook, stirring constantly, for 2 mins

8. add the stock and bring to a simmer

9. simmer for 15 mins or until the pumkin is soft

10. blitz in batches in a food processor

11. adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

12. just before serving, add a squeeze of lime + freshly chopped coriander


This recipe also works well with carrots and butternut squash.


To make the soup more substantial, you could add a blob of fresh goats cheese.

Serve with good bread or thin multi-seed Ryvita crispbreads.


Just the thing for (Saturday) lunch after a walk, football practice or work in the garden.

Bon appetit!




All things carrot

I have got a thing for organic carrots at the moment and I like the current trend for using root vegetables in cakes.

In baking, they add sweetness and moisture so you can use less sugar and fat.

Although I am not at all fanatical about buying organic, I think organic carrots, especially bunched ones with the green tops still on, do taste much better than their non-organic counterparts.

We are testing some new Savvy Cook recipes at the moment.

This one has passed the test and is here to stay!

 Carrot and nut traybake

 You will need:

100g walnut pieces

100g ground almonds

150g dried figs, chopped coarsely

150g spelt flour

300g carrots, washed, dried and grated coarsely

2 medium free range eggs

150ml fresh orange juice

2 tbsp lemon juice

t tbsp grated lemon zest

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

Oblong (brownie) tin, 18 x 30cm, lined with greaseproof paper.

Here’s what you do:

1. pre-heat the oven to 180C

2. whisk the eggs with the orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, ground ginger and salt.

3. add figs, nuts and ground almonds to the flour and mix well.

4. add the grated carrots.

5. pour in the egg mixture and stir to combine.

6. pour the mixture into the tin, making sure it is spread evenly.

7. bake for 45 minutes.

8. leave to cool completely before cutting into 16 pieces.

Nutrition per bar:

147kcals, 4g protein, 8g fat, 14g carbohydrates

I will give you the recipe for a warming carrot, ginger and lime soup later this week.

We’re on a roll with carrots – rarely have they tasted so exciting!


Unexpectedly delicious cake

You know that feeling when you just fancy baking something easy and uncomplicated?

We had some overripe bananas in the fruitbowl that kept staring at me; I really don’t like to eat them like this, and they kept being overlooked but they are perfect for baking.

I used:

500g of bananas, weight without the skin, chopped coarsely

155g semolina (would have preferred quick cook polenta but this was all I had)

125g unsalted butter, soft

150g demerara sugar

150g plain flour

1 tsp bi-carbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 medium free range eggs

250 natural yoghurt (I like Yeo Valley)

small handful of chopped walnuts of flaked almonds

This is what you do:

1.Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

2. Line and butter a 23cm diameter spring form, lightly dust with flour.

3. Combine the flour, semolina, cinnamon and bi-carb.

4. Whisk the eggs.

5. Cream the butter with the sugar until it is very pale and the sugar has been absorbed (use a handheld mixer or food processor).

6. Add the eggs, bit by bit, making sure it has been absorbed by the sugar/butter mixture before you add more.

7. Add the flour and yoghurt in about 4 batches, alternating between flour and yoghurt, mixing very lightly with a large spoon or plastic spatula. Be careful not to overmix!

8. Add the chopped banana, again mix with a very hand, until just combined.

8. Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle with flaked almonds or walnut.

9. Bake for 1 hour: check after 45 minutes that the top is not getting too dark, otherwise cover with a piece of  foil.

10. Let the cake cool in the tin for about 30 mins before transferring to a wire rack.

Because of the high banana content, this cake goes off very quickly. Keep in the fridge and bring to room temperature before eating.

Very nice with a cup of very strong, black tea! I like Yorkshire tea.


Joined at the hip

Conjoined apples

Conjoined apples

Perhaps this is the start of a weird and wonderful fruit & veg collection….

Sounds like a retirement project – so not me for me, yet.

I used these two fused-together apples at a local primary school to discuss seasonality (amongst other things) as part of  lesson about food &  a healthy lifestyle.

Food really lends itself to cross curricular working, which is a great way for kids to learn.