Recipe: Pear and frangipane tart

Last weekend was one of those really special weekends, the joy of which lingers well into the following week. A big bunch of my university friends and I got together in the beautiful Cotswolds for two days of catch-ups, amazing food (tartiflette, crumble, slow-cooked lamb…), long muddy walks, wine, board games, and so much tea. It was quite perfect really. I was in charge of bringing Friday night’s pudding, and I chose Angela Hartnett’s pear and frangipane tart.
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Recipe: Mince pie cupcakes

I’d like to share a recipe from my beautiful friend and fellow food blogger, Jennie (aka Scarlet Scorch Droppers). Jennie and I met at college, and – reflecting on well over a decade of friendship – many of our adventures together, unsurprisingly, seem to revolve around food. From decadent afternoon teas in London, to beachside plates of fried rice on the island of Cheung Chau, to homemade bread dipped in oozy baked Camembert, Jennie and I are avid food fiends – and proud of it! I hope this awesome lady and I will share many more food-related exploits in the years to come.
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Recipe: Easy spiced apple compote

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned ways of using up fruit and veg that have seen better days. Here is another really quick and easy way of using up apples languishing in the fruit bowl – a little too wrinkled to eat on their own as a snack, but still good for cooking up in a pan with some warming spices.
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Recipe: Celeriac, apple and chestnut soup

A warming and flavoursome soup, perfect for blustery winter days. It’s a joyful celebration of the season’s bounty – the creamy earthiness of the chestnuts is a good foil to the celeriac’s crisp taste and the apple’s perky sweetness.

The recipe below is vegan, but if you like, serving it with some fried bacon lardons sprinkled over the top would add a satisfyingly salty crunch. It would also be delicious swirled through with a spoonful of crème fraîche.

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Prep time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes 4 large or 6 small portions

 

Cook’s notes:

The apples I used for this were slightly old and wrinkly, but it doesn’t matter at all once they’re peeled and blended. Soup is a very forgiving medium for past-their-best fruits and vegetables.

Unless you’re feeding a crowd, you might want to decant the soup into freezer bags in portions, labelling each portion with the contents and date it was made. In the past I have unearthed far too many containers of unidentifiable frozen stuff (chicken stock? soup?) and am now scrupulous about labelling!

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Celeriac, apple and chestnut soup


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 200g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 large (or 2 small) eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and soften for a few minutes, stirring so the onion doesn’t catch or brown.
  • Add the celeriac and apple(s), and allow to soften for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the chestnuts, stock and thyme, increase the heat, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes, until the celeriac is tender and can be easily sliced with a knife.
  • Remove from the heat, allow the soup to cool slightly, then blitz with a handheld blender, or in a food processor until it is very smooth – there should be no pieces of veg lurking! Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Reheat if needed, and serve with warm crusty bread.