Moroccan Sweet Potato & Chick Pea Soup

23/05/2014 | By

Well – so much for autumn in the Adelaide Hills. We’ve been enduring unimaginable weather torments here for the last week or two, with day after day of warm sunshine and endlessly mild and balmy evenings.

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Turkish Red Lentil Soup

08/11/2013 | By

The Blue Mosque

My recent holiday in Istanbul was nothing short of gastronomic heaven. As a result of it’s unique geographic location, straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey’s cuisine is a blissful combination of Central Asian, European and Middle Eastern cuisines all brought together and cultivated in 400 years of Ottoman kitchens. Their culinary tradition is rich in the use of lamb, beef, chicken, fish, vegetables of all kinds, pulses and the generous use of herbs and spices, in particular some of my favourites – cumin, mint, oregano, parsley and paprika. During the week I spent there I dined at street food stalls, traditional Turkish lunch houses and restaurants run by the new breed of modern, young, Turkish chefs and I did not have one dud meal. Not one. As you can imagine, that made me a very happy girl.

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Seasonal Secrets – What’s in the box 29/30 June

01/07/2011 | By

Well folks, it is a sad week for Adelaide Food Connect subscribers.  No link to this week’s box, but for all the details on the demise of Community Supported Agriculture in it’s current form in Adelaide, check here.

You will note I said “in it’s current form”.  While there is a great deal of disappointment in the Food Connect community, there is far more goodwill and I urge you all to bring it with you when you attend the (yet to be announced) public meeting.  The meeting will be held to address the issues of account settlements, but will also be an opportunity for us all to look at new ways carry on the future of CSA here in Adelaide.  Please bring all of your ideas and enthusiasm to this meeting so that together we can help raise a phoenix from these ashes.

In the meantime, this weekly post will not stop – it will just alter it’s name slightly and will henceforth be known simply as “Seasonal Secrets”.  It may take me a little longer to change the title on the blog page – I’m having a little problem with that. (Any help from Thesis buffs gratefully received.)

So – on to this week.  It’s a glorious day today, but I’m told that winter is on its way back this weekend and what better way to challenge it than with a big pot of soup?  There are plenty of soup options in the boxes this last week and, if you are looking for spinach suggestions, might I suggest shredding it finely and bunging it in with whatever soup you make.  Leek and potato is a favourite in our house, dead simple and can be instant greened up by the addition of the shredded spinach towards the end of cooking, but before the mulching part of the procedure.  Broccoli soup is another simple dish and the spinach won’t be spotted by even the most vigilant teen in an already green soup.

The perfect accompaniment to soup is a fresh, warm, cheesy savoury muffin and, depending on what you put in them, they can just about be a meal in themselves.  They are also very easily frozen – brilliant for a weekend bake-up to save time on school lunches during the week.  These are limited only as far as your imagination and I’ve put some suggestions at the bottom of the recipe – so knock yourselves out!

Basic Savoury Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups SR flour (white or 1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white)
  • approx 1-2 cups of additions (see suggestions)
  • 1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup milk)
  • 125 ml oil or melted butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 180C.
  2. Grease or spray muffin tray.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix wet ingredients together.
  5. Blend together, mixing until only JUST combined.
  6. Spoon into muffin pans and bake 20-30 minutes or until they are golden brown and spring back when touched.

Quick notes

It is generally wise to combine grated cheddar with parmesan for a cheesy muffin or the fats in the cheddar will be too heavy for the muffins.

Variations

A combination of grated cheddar cheese and grated parmesan, cubed feta, grated zucchini, carrots, pumpkin, chopped capsicum, chopped roasted capsicum, mushrooms, olives, finely shredded spinach, chopped sun dried tomatoes, chopped bacon or ham, finely chopped fresh herbs, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc.

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 12

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Seasonal Secrets – What’s in the box 22/23 June

24/06/2011 | By

This weekly post is aimed at offering some simple recipe suggestions to the subscribers of Adelaide Food Connect weekly fresh produce boxes.  It can be a challenge to deal with the same seasonal produce week after week and I hope to help inspire with fresh ideas.  The link to the list of contents for all the boxes is here.

It’s the end of another week and we are now officially over the “hump” of winter, with the celebration of the winter solstice yesterday – our days will now gradually begin to lengthen, although we have a long way to go yet folks.  I was thrilled to find parsnips in my box this week and will be celebrating with a big roast over the weekend.

I spent a bit of time cooking last weekend and some of you who saw my Facebook posts were keen check out the recipes which I promised to share today – so here they are, as promised, although at the cost of a spinach recipe this week.

First up was a very simple Moroccanish carrot and red lentil soup.

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots, cubed
  • 200 gms red lentils
  • 1-1/2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • sal & pepper
  • lemons

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over moderate heat and saute onions and garlic until soft and golden.
  2. Add carrots and continue to saute until they are just beginning to change colour and caramelise a little. This helps to bring out the sugars in the carrots, making the soup richer and sweeter.
  3. Add lentils, stock and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until the lentils and carrots are soft.
  4. Remove cinnamon stick and puree soup with a stab mixer or cool it and put it in a processor and whizz until smooth.
  5. Return to pan, add cumin, coriander and season to taste.
  6. Reheat over gentle heat until hot, but not boiling.
  7. Serve, adding a good squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl.

Number of servings (yield): 6


I also made a cake which was an old favourite, shared with me by a friend more years ago than I care to remember, that I had completely forgotten about.  It popped back into my head last weekend when I was searching for ways to use up my glut of lemons.  It is quite rich, but seriously good – and especially wicked with an extra drizzle of pouring cream over it.


Lemon, Apricot & Ginger Sour Cream Cake

Ingredients

  • 185 gms butter
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 chopped, dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup chopped, crystalised ginger
  • 3/4 sour cream
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda

Instructions

  1. Grease and flour a 20cm Baba or ring tin.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C.
  3. Cream butter, rind and sugar until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  4. Fold in apricots, ginger and sour cream.
  5. Sift flour and bicarb together and fold into mixture.
  6. Spread evenly in prepared tin and bake approx 1 hour.
  7. Leave in tin for 10 minutes, before turning onto cake rack to cool.
  8. To serve, dust with icing sugar.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

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Seasonal Secrets – What’s in the box 15/16 June

17/06/2011 | By

Hello my lovelies and welcome to another week of winter and winter food.  This weekly post is aimed at offering some simple recipe suggestions to the subscribers of Adelaide Food Connect weekly fresh produce boxes.  It can be a challenge to deal with the same seasonal produce week after week and I hope to help inspire with fresh ideas.  The link to this week’s box is here.

I thought we’d take a little look at the humble turnip this week.  There continues to be a degree of confusion over what (if any) difference there is between turnips and swedes – confusion which is addressed, although not resolved, in this article from the UK”s “The Guardian”.  Turnips are generally judged to be pretty boring, having a fairly bland flavour and little nutritional value, aside from their vitamin C content which is presumably largely destroyed on cooking.  The Scots love them and make one of their national dishes (mashed neeps) from them and the Romans used to slow cook them and pound them up with honey, vinegar, grapes and oil.  They are very useful for bulking up soups and casseroles and the green tops (the most nutritious part of the plant) can be cooked or used in salads.  The serving suggestion I have for them is pretty simple and takes a leaf from the Romans book, although it might also be worth sprinkling them with some ras el hanout or baharat seasoning to give them a little more interest.

Recipe: Honeyed Turnips

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium turnips, diced or chopped into even sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • OR
  • Ras el hanout
  • OR
  • Baharat seasoning

Instructions

  1. Cook turnips in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until just done, but still a little firm.
  2. Drain and shake pan over heat to evaporate any remaining water.
  3. Reduce heat to moderate/low, add butter and honey and stir gently to coat, continue cooking over low heat to caramelise a little.
  4. Season as desired.

Number of servings (yield): 4

Honeyed Turnips.

My spinach suggestion for this week is a hearty soup – perfect for rainy, wintry weekends like the one we are predicted to be facing.  There is loads of nutrition in this soup (you could even bung your turnips in if necessary) and all it needs is some crusty sourdough bread to complete the meal.  The basic Lemon, Lentil and Spinach soup recipe is here, but I think I might be adding some cinnamon and cumin to it when I make it – just because I can’t help myself.

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What’s in the box – 6/7 April

08/04/2011 | By

The list of contents for this week’s boxes is here.

I’ve been a little preoccupied with zucchini this week.

I’ve been faced with the challenge of dealing with one of those great big ones.  You know the kind – the ones that someone so generously gives you, and all you can think of is how many meals it is going to take to get through it all, as you smile and accept it gratefully and graciously.  Zucchini is a member of the squash family and, as such, has it’s roots in the America’s, although the variety of squash known as “zucchini” was developed in Italy, probably towards the end of the 19th century.  Anyone who has ever grown them will be familiar with how very prolifically they can fruit.  Indeed, anyone who has ever grown them will probably be familiar with the experience of seeing their friends and neighbours run shreiking as they advance with yet another armful to offer.  However, they are versatile, lend themselves to blending with any number of different flavours and ingredients and contain serviceable amounts of folate, potassium, vitamin A and manganese.

I tackled my monster squash in three different ways.  The first was by baking a chocolate zucchini cake.  I figured chocolate cake with chocolate icing was an easy way to get it down the kids throats with the minimal amount of fuss.  The recipe I used was less than ideal, though, so I won’t be sharing it until it has been quite significantly tweaked – although the icing did the trick for my kids.  Actually, sometimes I wonder why I bother with cake, when all they really want is the icing.

My second effort was to make zucchini soup.  This was very simple and basic.  The potato thickens the soup and makes it quite creamy, but milk can be added if you prefer more body to the soup.

Recipe: Zucchini Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 3-4 zucchini, diced
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • Small bunch of fresh thyme, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in medium sized saucepan and saute onion until soft.
  2. Add vegetables and cover with stock. Bring to boil and simmer 7-10 minutes until potato and zucchini are soft.
  3. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then puree until smooth in a blender or food processor or using a stick blender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add thyme.
  5. Reheat until hot, but not boiling, to serve .

Zucchini Soup

The last of the beast was put into an old and popular standby – Zucchini Slice.  I had thought that everybody in the whole world was familiar with Zucchini Slice and it was a staple for my children when they were small, who loved it’s cheesiness.  I loved it because huge amounts of vegetables could be hidden in it, so I was very surprised to meet a woman (with both a veggie patch and young children) who was unfamiliar with it.   I include the recipe here for any of you who might not know of it and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks for helping to nourish my kids in their formative years.  Any number of substitutions and/or additions apply here.  Ham or salami can be used in place of the bacon and grated/finely chopped vegetables can be added at will.  This freezes brilliantly, reheats well and is just as nice cold in the school lunch boxes.  If necessary, it can  also be tarted up with fresh herbs, sundried tomatoes and feta, cut into small cubes and served as finger food at parties.  The recipe for this or something very similar can be found on any recipe website – this is just the one that I used.

Recipe: Zucchini Slice

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup SR flour
  • 350 gms zucchini, grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 rashers bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Add rest of ingredients, mix well.
  4. Pour into greased, ovenproof baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.

Zucchini Slice

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