07 February, 2007

Easy Peasy Pea Soup

My Mum flew over for a visit a couple of weeks ago and, as well as a ton of lovely new clothes and toys for baby, gave me a wonderfully easy recipe for pea soup. Hubby loved it, so it's on the menu for whenever I feel like something really simple and delicious. It really does fill you up, so you can have it all on its own with a littel bread for a hearty meal.

2 Large onions
1 tbsp butter
500g dried green peas
2 Cabbanos sausages (or any other spicy & smokey dried sausage)
2 tbsp Chicken soup stock
2 Litres water
1 cup milk or cream
Ground black pepper
Tabasco (optional)

Note: I use a pressure cooker for this recipe. Without a pressure cooker, be sure to soak the peas overnight before use and add an extra half an hour to the cooking time.

Slice and fry the onions in the butter until lightly browned. Add the sliced cabbanos and 1/2 tsp plack pepper and fry for one more minute. Rinse the peas and add to the onion & sausage mix with the rest of the ingredients, except the cream/milk. Stir and put the lid on the pressure cooker. Turn up the heat until the pressure builds up. Once pressurised, turn the heat down low to cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn off heat and depressurise. Open the pot and stir well. Use a hand-held food processor to blitz the soup into an even consistency. If the soup seems too thin, cook with the lid off until it thickens. If too thick, add some milk. Add the milk or cream and stir well. Season to taste with more pepper or a few drops of tabasco. Serve.

29 December, 2006

Savoury Carrot & Cinnamon Rye Bread

Since I'm downstairs with baby during the day, I figured I'd really get into the role by doing something creative in the kitchen. So, I whipped out the bread machine my ex-company gave me as a gift a while ago and started experimenting. It was surprisingly easy to make great bread. I'll share the 'keepers' with you.

Savoury Carrot & Cinnamon Bread
This bread is wonderfully aromatic and makes the house smell fantastic. If I ever decide to sell up, I'll be baking this when people come around few viewings. Oh, and it tastes fab too.

Just throw the following ingredients into the bread machine and bake on the wholemeal bread cycle. This recipe makes a 1.5lb loaf and I recommend a dark crust.

1 cup strong white flour
2 cups rye flour
1 cup water
1 large carrot, finely grated
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp yeast

07 December, 2006

Tahina, Pecan & Cardamom Cookies

I don't usually bake cakes or cookies, so I thought I'd share one of my few baking recipes. These cookies are just so quick and easy to make, and taste so good, that even I make the effort every once in a while.

1/2 cup unsweetened tahina paste
110g butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup pecans
2 whole cardamom pods
1/2 tsp baking powder
Greaseproof paper baking sheets

1. This recipe goes very quickly, so start by preheating the oven to 160C (325F).

2. Cream together the butter and the sugar (easier if the butter is at room temperature first).

3. Add the tahina paste and vanilla.

4. Seive in the flour & baking powder.

5. Chop the pecans into small pieces (or you can put them into a small sandwich bag and bash them about a bit with a rolling pin) and add them too.

6. Split open the cardamom pods, to reveal the black seeds inside. Grind the seeds into a fine powder with a pestle and mortar (discarding the outer green husk) and add to the bowl.

7. Mix everything really well until a dough is formed. Divide the mixture into 30 small balls.

8. Line a baking try with the baking sheet and space out the balls 3-4 inches apart. You'll probably need to bake them in batches.

9. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving them on to a wire rack to cool. If you touch them before this, they will fall apart.

10. Allow to cool (they really do taste better cool!) and enjoy. They really are wonderful!