Homemade Asparagus Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 600g asparagus, end bit removed and sliced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 ltr boiling water
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250ml milk
  • salt & pepper for seasoningthumbnail_20180601_155059

Method:

  1. Start by preparing the stock. Add the vegetable stock cubes and the lemon juice to the boiling water, cover pan and turn the hob on full heat. Turn off when boiling, give it a good stir with a whisk and leave it on the side.
  2. Heat a separate pan on a medium to high heat and add butter. Add onions and asparagus to pan (leave 4 asparagus tips on the side for garnish later on). Mix thoroughly and let cook for around 1 minute. Add flour and leave to cook for about 45 seconds whilst stirring it.
  3. Start adding the stock, ladle by ladle, and stir until the butter and flour are thoroughly dissolved. We do this so we prevent lumps forming in the soup. Once the flour and butter are dissolved, you can add all of your stock at one go. Bring it to the boil and leave it to simmer for around 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper as you please. Add milk and blitz it.

Tip: For the garnish, heat up some butter in a shallow frying pan and add the asparagus tips. Leave to cook for about 20 seconds whilst turning them so that butter touches all sides. Place in middle of plate and you can drizzle some butter from the pan to the plate (as seen on the main picture)

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Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients for batter

  • 260g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 295ml vegetable oil
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g grated peeled carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)
  • 100g coarsely chopped pecans
  • 65g raisins

Ingredients for frosting

  • 225g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 80ml whipping cream
  • 50g coarsely chopped pecans, for topping cake

Method

MAKE BATTER

  1. Heat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth.  Stir in the carrots, nuts and raisins.

BAKE CAKE

  1. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-45 mins or until when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  2. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely.

TO FINISH

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until fluffy. Pour in cream and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  2. Chill covered until ready to frost cake.
  3. When the cake layers are completely cool, frost the top of one cake layer, place the other cake layer on top. Frost the top of the cake and decorate with pecans as you wish.

Corned Beef Pie with Vodka Pastry!

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 300g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200g butter
  • 70ml water
  • 30ml vodka
  • Pinch of sea salt

Method

IMPORTANT TIP!!
Before you actually start this pastry, put the measured flour and baking powder in a bag, the water in a small plastic cup and place in freezer. Cut the butter in small cubes and put that also in the freezer. Do this before otherwise it would be too difficult to cut the butter once frozen. Leave them in freezer for about an hour.

  1. When you are ready to start the pastry, take out the ingredients from the freezer. Place the flour mix and the butter pieces in a food processor and mix until it starts resembling coarse crumbs.
  2. Start pouring the icy water slowly and also the vodka, until it all starts to come together. Work the dough lightly into a ball.
  3. Refrigerate for at least two hours or freeze for about 30 minutes. This dough can also be left in the freezer and used when you need to bake.
  4. When ready, take out dough and cut it into two. Lay on a piece of baking paper lightly floured and cover with another piece of baking paper.
  5. Butter pie dish.
  6. Start rolling out the dough until it is bigger than your pie pan. Pick up the dough which is on the paper and turn it over onto your pie pan, remove the paper slowly and gently press it in. Do not worry if it breaks, you can easily patch it! Prick the base with a fork.
  7. Add filling (as explained in below comment) pressing it down with the back of a spoon and proceed to roll out the top the same way. Prick the top with a fork too.
  8. Trim away extra dough (you can use these trimmings to decorate) and brush whole surface with a beaten egg.
  9. Place in a preheated oven and bake at 180c till golden brown.

 

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2 large tins corned beef
  • 1 small can tomato paste (about 120g)
  • 4 large carrots, finely diced
  • 500g frozen peas
  • 2 large onions finely diced
  • 6 small potatoes, cooked and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 vegetable cube
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • A little water

 

Method:

  1. Heat the oil and add the carrots and 1 onion and cook until carrots are soft. If necessary add a little water.
  2. Cook the peas in a different pan. Start by heating the oil and add the other onion. Cook until soft and stir in the frozen peas. Fill up the pan with water until it almost covers the peas. Add the veg cube , bring to boil and leave to simmer for around 20mins with the lid on. If they become too dry, add some more water.
  3. Preheat the oven at 180°C. In the meantime you can also cook the potatoes, do not cook them too much and set aside.
  4. When carrots & onion are cooked, add the corned beef and tomato paste. Give it a good stir and simmer for a couple of minutes until the corned beef smashes down.
  5. Stir well again and turn off the heat. Mash the potatoes and stir them in. Set the mixture aside.
  6. When peas are nice and soft, drain them well and add to the corned beef mixture.
  7. Butter pie pan and carry on with the pastry as explained above.

Sea Bass with Mediterranean Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 sea bass, gutted and scaled
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, washed and roughly chopped
  • a handful of pitted green and black olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oilseabass2

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven on mark 7
  2. Score the sea bass from both sides of the fillet (watch video at 8:48 to see how). Place it on a piece of foil.IMG_E1216[1]
  3. For the salsa, prepare a small bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Finally drizzle a good amount of olive oil and give a good stir.
  4. Pour the salsa all over the sea bass and make sure you close the foil tightly so that no steam can escape whilst cooking (watch video at 7:05 to see how).
  5. Transfer the sea bass onto a roasting tray and place in oven. Leave to cook for around 20 minutes.

Tip: To remove the bones, click here for an easy method!

 

 

 

 

Stewed Stuffed Calamari with Ricotta

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 4 calamari/squid (cleaned)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp capers
  • A handful black stoned olives
  • Some white wine
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 potatoes, peeled
  • Fresh thyme
  • 500g ricotta
  • Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • Toothpicks!

 

Method

Filling for calamari:

  1. Put ricotta in a large bowl and mash it up with a fork. Add chopped parsley and eggs, combine together very well.
  2. With a spoon, start filling your calamari. Leave some space at the opening so you can then close it with a toothpick.

Salsa for stew:

  1. Heat up some oil in pan and add onions, garlic and thyme. Cook until onions are soft.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook well until almost sticks to the pan.
  3. Add some white wine and simmer until reduced.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, stir well scraping bottom of the pan.
  5. Add rest of ingredients (stuffed calamari, capers, olives and potatoes) and add some water until all are covered well.
  6. Bring to boil and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 45 mins or until calamari are cooked nice and tender.

Spinach, Ricotta and Smoked Salmon Egg Roll

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • Small bunch of spinach
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 200g ricotta or soft spreadable cheese
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • Salt & pepper as you wish

Method

  1. Preheat oven 180c/ gas mark 4.
  2. Wash and chop spinach and leave on side to drain well.
  3. Whisk the eggs, add parmesan and finally spinach. Combine well.
  4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pour in mixture to cover whole surface. Pat down spinach with a spatula. spnach roll 2
  5.  Place in oven and leave for about 15-20 mins.
  6. Take out and leave to cool completely.
  7. When cooled place another baking paper on top and turn the whole thing upside down to be able to remove the other baking paper.
  8. Start filling in by spreading ricotta or soft cheese then smoked salmon. Roll it as in a roly-poly and wrap in baking paper. Put in fridge for about 2hrs.
  9. Slice and serve.spinach roll 3spinach roll 4

Short Pastry

Ingredients

  • 230g plain flour
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • cold water
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Start by mixing butter with flour. Rub in with your hands until it resembles fine bread crumbs. You can also use a k beater to do this.
  2. Add egg yolks and salt and combine all together until dough starts to form.
  3. Start adding water, little by litte, until all flour is blended in and continue to knead to form a nice smooth dough. Transfer dough to a working top and continue to knead.. You know you’re ready, once the bowl is cleared and you don’t have any dough sticking to your hands!
  4. Cover with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hr.