Kiwi and Blackcurrant Soups

Cold Kiwi Soupwith White Wine

Kiwi and Blackcurrant Soups

So good to make the most of summer fruits! The first one includes white wine so maybe not for a family tea!

Cold Kiwi Fruit Soup with White Wine

Ingredients

1 pint / 600mls / 2½ cups of sweet white wine

4-5 tablespoons of caster sugar

4 whole cloves

1 stick of cinnamon

4-5 tablespoons of maple syrup

5 kiwi fruit

4fl oz / 125mls / ½ cup of whipping cream

Few sprigs of mint to garnish

Method

  1. Put the wine, sugar, cloves and cinnamon n a pan and bring to the boil
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup. Leave to cool then strain.
  3. Peel the kiwi fruit, cut a few slices and reserve for garnish.
  4. Sieve the remaining fruit to remove the seeds.
  5. Beat the puree into the spiced wine with the cream. Chill
  6. Serve the soup decorated with slices of kiwi fruit and sprigs of mint.

 

The next one is alcohol free!

Blackcurrant Soup with Apples

Ingredients

12oz / 350 g / blackcurrants

2 medium sized cooking apples

3 oz / 75g / ⅓ cup of sugar

Strip of lemon rind

1 stick of cinnamon

18 fl oz / 500 mls / 2¼ cups of water

Juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

Little extra sugar

 

Method

  1. Wash the blackcurrants and place in a pan with the sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon and water.
  2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft
  3. Press the soup through a sieve, discarding the lemon rind and cinnamon stick.
  4. Make up to 1¼ pints / 750mls / 3 cups with more water if necessary
  5. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut into slices and place in a pan with the fruit soup and lemon juice.
  6. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Blend the cornflour with a little cold water, add to the soup and stir until thickened.
  8. Simmer for a further 5 minutes and add extra sugar to taste.

Serve hot or cold

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. If you’re thinking about growing blackcurrants and/or apples there are some easy to follow downloadable guides on this page: Growing Guides

 

Rhubarb and Gooseberry Soups

Rhubarb Soupwith Berries

Two more delicious fruit soups to enjoy!

Rhubarb soup with Berries

This fruit soup includes a recipe for dumplings, similar to the snow dumplings on this page (ink to apricot soup page). Scroll down for a delicious gooseberry soup (recipe suggests cooling the gooseberry soup for four hours so make it early!)

 

Rhubarb Soup with Berries

Ingredients

1lb / 450g rhubarb

40z / 100g / ½ cup sugar

½ pint / 300mls / 1¼ medium white wine

8oz / 225g raspberries

1lb / 450g strawberries

For the dumplings:

1 egg white

2-3 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Wash the rhubarb and cut into small pieces.
  2. Put the sugar in a pan and heat, stirring all the time, until it becomes golden brown
  3. Pour in the wine and heat, stirring, until the caramelized sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add the rhubarb and raspberries. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Press through a sieve and return to the pan.
  6. Hull the strawberries and cut them in half.
  7. Stir into the soup and leave to cool.

Dumplings:

  1. Whisk the egg white until stiff, add 1 teaspoon of the sugar and whisk again until glossy.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil then remove from the heat.
  3. Take small portions of the egg white mixture using a teaspoon and drop them into the water.
  4. Cover the pan and leave for five minutes until the dumplings become firm
  5. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and float on the soup.
  6. Combine the remaining sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the dumplings

 

Cold Gooseberry Soup

Ingredients

½ pint / 300mls / 1¼ cups of water

Rind of 1 lemon

½ stick of cinnamon

2¼ lbs / 1 kg / 2¼ cups dessert gooseberries

12fl.oz / 350mls / 1½ cups of red wine

5 oz / 150g / ⅔ cup of sugar

Method

  1. Bring the water, lemon rind and cinnamon stick t the boil.
  2. Add the gooseberries and cook for about 8 minutes until soft
  3. Discard the cinnamon and lemon rind
  4. Liquidize the soup
  5. Return to the pan, add the wine and sugar and stir until boiling.
  6. Cool for 4 hours.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Rescue Remedies

RescueRemedies

Rescue Remedies
I’m all for a little home baking but occasionally things go tins up. Don’t despair – it may not be the end of the world. Here are a few ideas to rescue something from the wreckage…
1. Sponge Cakes:
If the cake is too ‘al dente’ to call a sponge, cut off all the burnt bits and slice the rest into fairly thick slices or break into pieces. Put into a wide bottomed serving dish.
Pour thick fruit syrup (or a tin of fruit cocktail) over the sponge and leave to marinate for about an hour. Then top with jelly, custard, cream or ice cream. Serve chilled.
2. Jams and Jellies:
If the jam or jelly isn’t going to set, pour into your prepared jars anyway. Label the jars as syrup and use it to pour over desserts and ice creams.
3. Bread:
If your home-baked loaf needs an orthodontist standing by, grate it into breadcrumbs and store in a freezer bag. Use to coat rissoles or fish. And if there are some leftover, don’t forget the birds.
4. Chicken:
Too dry to enjoy? Cut meat into pieces and cover with stock in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for at least half an hour. Add some diced or sliced veggies, such as potatoes, onions, leeks etc; and simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Add a handful of pearl barley and a sprinkle of sage and onion stuffing mix for extra bulk and flavour.
5. Wine:
If your wine turned to vinegar, don’t flush it away with your tears, bottle it and label as wine vinegar! And it doesn’t have to be ‘grape’ based. Taste it then use for dressing salads and adding a little je ne sais quoi to your recipes.
Oh, and if you let your tea go cold while rescuing your disaster, pour it into a small pan, add a little cinnamon or cloves and heat until nearly boiling, then remember to drink it!

NB:  When re-heating meat, make sure it’s piping hot right through before serving.

To your culinary success!
Linda x

P.S. Download a couple of free recipe books here

Strawberry and Cherry Soups

Strawberry Soup

Both these recipes are served cold so, as I mentioned in the Apricot recipe, they may work well as a pouring sauce for desserts.

Cold Strawberry Soup

Ingredients

1½ lbs / 675g.  strawberries

2-3 tablespoons of sugar

8fl.oz. / 225mls / 1 cup orange juice

Method

  1. Reserve a few strawberries for garnish and hull the rest (remove leaves and centre core if preferred)
  2. Liquidize or sieve prepared strawberries
  3. Stir in the sugar and orange juice and mix well
  4. Stir soup, garnish and serve.

 

Cold Cherry Soup

Ingredients

1½ lbs / 675g.  morello cherries

½ pint / 300mls / ¾ cup of red or white wine

1¼ pints / 750 mls / 3 cups of water

Strip of lemon rind

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 stick of cinnamon

1 whole clove

3 oz. / 75g. / ⅓ cup sugar

2-3 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)

 

Method

  1. Remove stalks and stones from the cherries
  2. Put the wine, water, lemon rind, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, clove and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the cherries and simmer for about 8 minutes.
  4. Blend the cornflour with a little cold water, add to the pan and stir until boiling.
  5. Simmer for one minute.
  6. Discard the rind, cinnamon and clove and cool.

TIP: The original recipe suggests serving with snow dumplings (snow dumpling recipe on this page)

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. Strawberries are easy to grow yourself. Check out this downloadable guide from your favourite online retailer:

Strawberries

 

How to Grow Strawberries

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble

 

 

Apple and Chocolate Soups

Apple & Borage Soup

Apple and Chocolate Soups

Another couple of fun recipes from Cooking for Today. The first one seems to have rather a lot of sugar, but uses tart apples. I’m thinking perhaps sweeter apples and less sugar may work. Don’t know if honey would be a good alternative but may be worth a try….

 

Cold Apple Soup with Borage

Ingredients

1lb / 450g. tart dessert apples

8fl.oz / 225ml / 1 cup medium white wine

4fl.oz / 125ml / ½ cup lemon juice

½ pint / 8fl.oz / 1¼ cups water

5oz. / 150g. / ⅔ cup of sugar

2-3 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)

Few borage leaves and flowers

Method

  1. Peel, quarter and core the apples and cut into slices.
  2. Put the wine, water and lemon juice into a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the apple slices and simmer until tender but not soft. Remove the apple slices and keep aside.
  4. Add the sugar to the cooking liquid and bring to the boil.
  5. Mix the cornflour with a little cold water, stir into the pan and simmer for another two minutes.
  6. Return the apple slices to the pan and chill.
  7. Garnish with borage leaves and flowers.

 

And this one should delight chocolate lovers!

Chocolate Soup

Ingredients

3-4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

1litre/ 1¾ pints / 4⅓ cups milk

3oz. / 75g. / ¾ cup of grated chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)

pinch of salt

sugar

Method

  1. Mix the cornflour with a little of the milk.
  2. Put the rest of the milk in a pan with the grated chocolate and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the cornflour mixture to the pan and cook gently for three minutes, stirring all the time.
  4. Add the vanilla essence and salt, and sugar to taste. Stir well until sugar has dissolved.

TIP: To intensify the chocolate flavour, add 2-3 tablespoons of very strong coffee to the milk. And for extra special occasions, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of coffee liqueur after the soup has been removed from the heat.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

The Secret Addiction

The SecretAddiction

The Secret Addiction

The drug that’s causing world wide health problems, even fatalities in some cases, is and always has been legal. And no, in this case I’m not talking about alcohol or nicotine.

The drug that generations have been addicted to, and is now manifesting itself in over a million new sufferers of diabetic conditions every year is sugar.

Not the natural sugars that occur in fruit and vegetables, but the processed type that turns up in practically every single packaged food we buy.

Even a tin of soup will probably contain sugar, it may be under a different name; dextrose, glucose etc; but it will still be processed sugar.

The problem is that humans are natural beings and when we feed ourselves with processed foods, our bodies have to work overtime to digest them properly.

This can result in insulin levels being corrupted and lead to sugar intolerances as well as any number of medical conditions such as;

IBS,
allergies,
heart problems,
diabetes
obesity.

Percentage of fats should be taken into consideration in a healthy diet, but in fact the human body can digest or eliminate fats easier than it can deal with processed sugar.

If you’ve been trying to lose weight, watching the calories and doing your best but never quite managing the course, it may be that sugar is a huge obstacle between you and your ideal body.

Processed sugars give us a quick rush of energy, that’s why we use them, but the problem is that the rush becomes a ‘come-down’ very quickly, and although the mind doesn’t consider it as a drug come-down, the body feels differently, and will translate that feeling to the brain to get another sugar rush soon. It surely must be impossible for the untrained mind to eat just one chocolate out of a box!

Eliminating processed sugar from our everyday diet is not an easy task. But it is possible. Buying or growing fresh foods and checking packets in the supermarket before you buy is a start, but basically it’s all about mindset.

Make up your mind to get off the drugs and be healthy!

Allow a month to start re-training your taste buds, and during that month, experience as many different tastes as possible.

**Grow some herbs and spice up mealtimes.
**Use dried fruits to satisfy the sweet craving. – Check they haven’t been crystallized though.
**Put a few dried dates in a freezer bag and freeze for an hour or two. They come out like chewy caramels -almost!

Often, when processed sugar is eliminated from the diet, the body feels drawn to fruit. Eat as much fruit as you like, it’s much better than using it as an attractive feature in the lounge before throwing it away because no-one would eat it after a large slice of chocolate cake. Well, who would?

Occasionally a small amount of sugar will sneak into your food without you realizing. Don’t worry but be aware and avoid it the next day. After a few weeks, it’s amazing how you can sense sugar content, before tasting it.

It’s very likely there will be a natural weight-loss by avoiding sugar. Because the body doesn’t experience the ‘come-down’ so regularly, we aren’t tempted by the fridge or larder every five minutes, and so naturally eat less.

Speed up the weight loss:

One other danger drug that needs to be mentioned is white flour. Not in itself particularly harmful maybe, but because of the processing, it doesn’t easily digest in the body. White flour – present in pastries and bread as well as cakes and biscuits, has a very similar effect as processed sugar. Avoiding gluten will help.

Getting hung up on calorie counting or fad diets can be tiresome and time consuming. A simple decision to eat healthy stuff instead of processed food will result in a healthy body not an ailing or overweight one.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Apricot Soup

apricotsoup

“Cold Apricot Soup”

Here’s another yummy fruit soup recipe. Because it’s supposed to be served cold, I think it may be a good pouring sauce over ice cream or other dessert. Anyway, here goes…

 

Ingredients

450g / 1lb ripe apricots

1litre / 1.75 pints / 4.3 cups of water

100g / 4oz / ½ cup of sugar

½ stick of cinnamon

2 slices of lemon

4-5 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)

Few drops of vanilla essence

Lemon juice

 

Method

  1. Cover the apricots with boiling water, drain and peel. Cut in half and remove stones.
  2. Reserve a few apricots for garnish and cut the rest into 1cm (½inch) wide strips.
  3. Put the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon slices in a pan and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the apricot slices and cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Discard the cinnamon and lemon slices, then liquidize or sieve the soup and return to the pan and re-heat.
  6. Blend the cornflour with a little cold water, mix into the soup and stir until boiling.
  7. Stir in the vanilla essence and lemon juice to taste and leave to cool.
  8. Stir in the reserved apricot halves into the soup.
  9. Serve with snow dumplings if liked. Recipe below.

 

Snow Dumplings

Ingredients

500mls / 18fl.oz. / 2¼ cups of milk

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

25g / 1oz. / 2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

150g / 5oz. / scant 1 cup semolina

1 egg

 

Method

  1. Bring the milk, lemon rind, sugar and salt to the boil.
  2. Remove from heat, add the semolina and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball.
  3. Heat for one minute, stirring all the time.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and beat in the egg.
  5. Fill a large pan two thirds full with salted water and bring to boiling point.
  6. Using two wet teaspoons, form small dumplings from the semolina mixture and drop carefully into the boiling water.
  7. Cook gently for 5-7 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, drain and serve with the soup.

 

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Banana Soup

bananasouprecipe

I’ve been sorting through my old cookery books and found some delicious looking recipes from a book called ‘Cooking for Today’ published about 30 years ago. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’d love to hear from you if you try them 🙂 The first ones I’m going to copy are all soups based on fruits.

I think it may work to change things like chicken stock for vegetable stock if you are vegan or vegetarian. Also, one of the ingredients in this first recipe is onion powder, which seems a bit ‘processed’ – so maybe try with a couple of spoonfuls of finely grated onion?

So, numero uno on the list is Sweet-sour banana soup

Ingredients

5 ripe bananas

150ml / ¼pint / ⅔ cup / whipping cream

4-5 tablespoons of wine vinegar

1-2 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon onion powder (or maybe a couple of teaspoons of very finely grated onion)

750ml/ 1¼ pints /3 cups chicken stock

salt

few sprigs of mint to garnish

 

Method

  1. Peel and mash 4 of the bananas
  2. Mix in the cream, and stir in the vinegar, sugar and onion powder
  3. Heat the stock in a pan and gradually whisk in the banana mixture
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Season with a little salt to taste and serve garnished with slices of the remaining banana and sprigs of mint.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Grow your own Beans

Although green beans have been cultivated for home use since the 16th century, string-less varieties weren’t really known until the turn of the 20th century. Most hybrids we buy now are string-less unless left too long on the plant.

Delicious green bean types include:
Runner Beans
French Beans
Broad Beans
And there are plenty of varieties of each.
Some bean plants grow as a small bush, others need to climb. Make sure you know what type you are growing as you may need to put up a structure if you have a climbing variety.

If you are in the UK, Thompson & Morgan have a whole range of beans to grow at home, including this variety:

beanstandm

 

Dwarf Bean ‘Delinel’

 

 

Healthy Reasons
Green beans are a good source of vitamins A and C, and Folate. They should be cooked before eating to remove any toxins in the skin.
Beans are also high in protein and dietary fibre.

Try this quick and delicious recipe. All quantities are approximate. Go with your instincts!

Green Beans with garlic and basil
Ingredients:
1lb (450g or 2½ cups) of green beans, washed and cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Black pepper

Method:
1. Cook beans in boiling water, or steam, until just tender. Drain well
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok
3. Cook garlic for a minute then add beans, basil and black pepper
4. Stir thoroughly and heat through gently for a few minutes.
5. Serve immediately

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. Recipe and intro from How to Grow Beans

Beans

 

Download from your favourite supplier

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Supermarket Survival Tactics

SupermarketSurvivalTactics

“Supermarket Survival Tactics”

Supermarkets can drain your pocket, your energy and your time. Here are nine supermarket survival tips for successful supermarket shopping….

1. Eat before you go – an empty stomach is sure to guide you towards the chocolate and snacks.

2. Don’t take the kids! – they always find something they ‘must have.’

3. Do it online – no petrol costs, no browsing the shelves wondering what treats to buy.

4. Prepare a detailed list – and stick to it 🙂

5. Be brave and check out shop’s own brand – some are good and often a lot cheaper.

6. Avoid sweets and snacks aisles – you don’t NEED to visit these shelves – so don’t.

7. BOGOF – Buy one get one free if you NEED it – not just because it’s half-price – twice as much chocolate is twice the calories and sugar if not twice the cost.

8. Go on your own or with a good friend – on your own you can think more clearly, and a good friend can steer you in the right direction!

9. Don’t ‘pop-in’ every day – if you have a freezer, a monthly shop could work.

Happy Shopping!

Linda x