Couronne

We like a challenge, so, upon flicking through recipe books to find inspiration for last weeks menu our eyes were drawn to a beautiful work of buttery art in Paul Hollywood’s “Bread”. Before the latest season of The Great British Bake Off we (and probably most of the nation) would have never heard of a couronne. Now however we know that a couronne is a round treat made of soft, rich, buttery dough, which is usually sweet and stuffed with dried fruit or similar. The recipe we came across was for a savoury one, still rich, still buttery but filled with prosciutto, basil and oozy mozzarella – you can find the recipe here. It was lust at first sight and we put it straight on the menu for Saturday. We’ve made two enriched doughs before – challah and cinnamon buns so this is still fairly new ground for us. The dough is made entirely in a mixer with a dough hook because it’s so sticky and hard to work by hand, mainly due to the huge amounts of butter! This has a whole pack of butter in it. Hello cholesterol problems! But as an occasional treat it’s fine, and it’s so tasty that you have to think “sod it!”.

We’re not saying this is the easiest bread in the world, probably not the best choice for your first foray into yeasted bakes, but we’re by no means experts and it turned out beautifully! Bread, and especially enriched doughs, are seen as really scary by some people (i.e. us, just over a year ago!) but it’s one of the most therapeutic ways to spend an hour or two and you get something really delicious at the end of it. Anyway, enough wanging on, on with the main event!

First up: the dough. Your butter must be soft for this so we used an old Mary Berry tip (cheers Bezza!) – cube your butter and place in a jug/bowl of lukewarm water to soften it. The water shouldn’t feel particularly warm to the touch otherwise you’ll end up with a bowl of melted butter and water, just slightly warm. The strong white flour is placed in the bowl of a mixer with yeast and salt, and then milk and eggs are added. Use the dough hook to combine these and then, while it’s still running, slowly add the butter. This should take at least 5 minutes but ours took about 15 because our mixer isn’t the sturdiest! Once all of the butter has been added and there are no large streaks of it take it out and leave to rise in a large, oiled bowl for at least 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

Getting nice and stretchy.
Getting nice and stretchy.

When it has risen tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Don’t knock back, just roll out to a large rectangle (about 50cm by 30cm and about 1.5cm thick). Now’s the time to put the toppings on – we followed the recipe but because this one was a success we now can’t stop dreaming up new fillings! Anyway, for this one lay the strips of prosciutto over the dough trying to cover as much of it as possible. Then tear the mozzarella over and lastly tear the basil leaves over. Roll it up starting from a long edge so you have a large sausage of dough with the filling swirled in the middle. Now comes the slightly tricky part; slice the dough lengthways down the sausage and then grabbing the ends tightly twist it quite tightly so that you end up with a rope-like structure with most of the filling on the inside. Coil this into a circle and place on piece of lightly oiled greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

Couronne With Fillings

Couronne Before Baking

This beast then needs to prove for an hour or two until roughly doubled in size again. Preheat the oven to 200°C after about an hour of rising. When you’re ready to bake brush the couronne with a beaten egg and sprinkle on some grated parmesan, and pop in the oven for around 25 minutes. After this time you should be greeted by a golden monster, complete with oozy cheese! Leave it to cool for at least 20-30 minutes, it will still be warm after this time but not boiling hot.

Phwoar!
Phwoar!

We had ours served with the salad that was suggested in the book with spinach, roasted butternut squash, goats cheese, olives and spring onions and we added our own little crunch with toasted pinenuts. This was a brilliant dinner, it would be ideal for when friends are over too and what an amazing impression it would make when it landed on the table! We also had the couronne with tomato-based soups later in the week which was lovely too.

Bread filled with cheese, covering in cheese, served with cheese... what could be better?
Bread filled with cheese, covered in cheese, served with cheese… what could be better?

So give yourself a day when you’ve got time to give this recipe a bit of love and attention and give it a go, it’s so worth it, we would say for the sense of pride alone but the cheesy delight that you end up with isn’t bad either!

 

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What We’ve Been Baking

We’ve been getting our bake on a fair bit lately, but unfortunately the stuffing of baked goods into our mouths took precedence over photographing our efforts on many occasions! So here is a little roundup of our bakes, I’m sure we’ll be making them again soon and we will try to be better bloggers so we can give you proper recipes.

First up for a charity Bake Sale at Bird’s work we made Raspberry & Blueberry Cheesecake Brownies and Challah. The brownies were immense – gooey, sweet, and a little bit sharp from the berries and the cream cheese. We will definitely be baking these again! We’ve got a feeling Fats’ family will be particularly fond of these…

The beautiful swirls before baking
The beautiful swirls before baking
The finished article! (sorry about the naff Instagram quality)
The finished article! (sorry about the naff Instagram quality)

Challah is a Jewish enriched bread, it’s sort of like brioche, soft, light, slightly sweet and so moreish. Apparently it makes amazing french toast too but we’ve never had enough left over to make it, oops! We shaped ours into a simple 3 strand plait, simple but quite effective.

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Plain Challah
Plain Challah
Slightly wonky poppyseed Challah
Slightly wonky poppyseed Challah

Lastly, and firmly on the savoury front, some little rye and poppyseed rolls made in ramekins, not only adorable but a great way of making bread stay fresh for days as you aren’t cutting into a loaf. We simply made half the usual amount (so 250g of flour) but still followed our basic bread recipe, using around 1/3 rye flour and 2/3 strong white flour. These also made very cute little pieces of toast!

The rolls before baking
The rolls before baking
They rose more than expected!
They rose more than expected!

So that’s what we’ve been baking, hopefully we can share the full recipes with you soon. What have you been baking lately?

Filipino Pork Adobo

We found this recipe for Pork Adobo whilst flicking through one of our favourite recipe books for inspiration (Around The World in 120 Recipes by Allegra McEvedy, which we’ve wanged on about before). Adobo-ing refers to the process of cooking meat in vinegar and soy, along with plenty – and we mean a serious amount – of garlic. It’s not just pork that can be Adobo’d, either – chicken, fish and veg are often cooked in the same way. This dish has some really big flavours, but we found it to be totally delicious, and nowhere near as scary as the ingredients appear. The original recipe is available in full on the BBC website.

Pork Adobo is considered by many to be the national dish of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan recently put the Philippines on the front pages of the news around the world, and the humanitarian situation there is still desperate. At least 5,000 people died in the worst storm in the country’s history, and many times more have been displaced or affected. Scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how you can help.

Thats a lot of garlic!
Thats a lot of garlic!
A great topping, adds lots of texture too!
A great topping, adds lots of texture too!

We started off by preparing the garlic – all 5 cloves, which is a lot between 2. Half of this is basically deep-fried in groundnut oil, before being set aside to be used as a topping for the finished dish. The belly pork is then added to the oil and left to brown, stirring occasionally, until it pretty much sticks to the pan. It’ll look delicious once it starts to brown, so don’t be hasty.

Pork belly will be wonderfully tender when cooked
Pork belly will be wonderfully tender when cooked

The veg (a red onion and a green or red pepper) is then added along with the rest of the garlic and a good chunk of grated ginger. Foodie tip here – keep some portions of ginger in the freezer, just in case. It makes it really easy to grate, and it also makes really good lemon and ginger tea. Leave the veg to soften for about 7 or 8 minutes. Stir in about half a teaspoon of paprika for some smokiness. Now for the liquids – 250 ml water, about half that of white wine vinegar and half again of light soy sauce. That’s a lot of flavour! Don’t panic though, it really mellows with cooking. Throw in a few bay leaves and some whole peppercorns, and you’re pretty much done. Bring to a good simmer and leave to cook with the lid off for about an hour – you want the liquid to reduce to a much thicker consistency.

Pork Adobo In Pan

Put some plain white rice on to cook about 10 minutes before the pork is done, and there you have it. This was our first time attempting Filipino food, and we will definitely be trying it again – it was absolutely delicious.

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Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by Typhoon Haiyan, as they try to rebuild their lives. If you want to help, you can donate via the Oxfam website.

Za’atar Steak with Spicy Sumac Roasted Vegetables

Bird has a bit of a problem. It’s the reason our spice cupboard (yes, we have a whole cupboard) is the biggest mess you’ve ever seen. It’s an obsessive need to buy any interesting spice that she’s heard of, or one that she hasn’t, that we don’t currently own. This time resulted in za’atar and sumac cluttering up our kitchen. These are both widely used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking – sumac is a beautiful deep red/purple course powder made of crushed, dried fruits which, despite their fiery colouring have no heat, just a beautiful lemony tang. Lebanese style Za’atar contains sumac along with some earthy freshness from thyme and oregano, aniseed sweetness from fennel and rich creaminess from toasted sesame seeds. Za’atar can come in many guises, this is just the blend of ours, have a look and see what you can find!

Sumac
Sumac

We also had a craving for steak and thought it would be fun to try our new spices on some lovely rib eye steaks. It’s most unusual for us to not have any chilli in things so we put a little in with the vegetables and then smothered the steaks in za’atar and oil and popped them on a really hot griddle pan for just a few seconds a side. This is a brilliant meal for those who love their aromatic spices but don’t get on so well with chilli as you could leave it out entirely and still have a burst of gorgeous spices. It’s also incredibly flexible, these spices are slightly mellower than many we use so would go with mild fish, vegetables or white meat right through to steak like we did.

Ingredients

  • mixed vegetables which are great for roasting – we used an aubergine, some peppers, red onion and mushrooms
  • 1 heaped tsp of sumac
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • vine tomatoes
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 steaks
  • 1 tbsp of za’atar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • flatbreads/pitta breads to serve

Bit of a non-recipe really… preheat the oven to 190°C. Chop up all of the vegetables apart from the tomatoes into bite sized chunks and mix with the sumac, the chilli flakes if using, the sea salt and the olive oil in a large roasting dish and whack them in the oven. They will take about 45 minutes to roast and need a shake around every 15 minutes or so. Mix the za’atar with the extra virgin olive oil to form a paste and smear all over the steaks to briefly marinate. After nearly half an hour of the vegetables roasting add in the vine tomatoes. Then after a further 10 minutes add the pomegranate molasses to add some tangy sweetness.

Sumac vegetables

Now is the time to get your griddle pan super hot and then stick the steaks on, we did ours for less than a minute a side because we love ours really rare but just turn the heat under the griddle down a little and cook it for longer. Make sure you scrape all of the toasted herbs and seeds onto the steak, the sesame seeds are gorgeous! Serve with the vegetables and some warmed flatbreads or pittas (and a cheeky glass of wine!).

Steak with vegetables

Spontaneous Pear Crumble 2 Ways

We recently came into possession of a couple of pears (by way of a charity walk-to-work day organised by Bird!) and we thought that rather than just eat them we’d make them into crumbles – much more interesting to blog! We’ve done these mini crumbles before, with apple, but we thought we would give you a couple of more interesting flavour ideas. We’ve gone with a couple of contrasting flavours – a sweet, spicy sugar syrup with cardamom, cinnamon and star anise and a tart, fruity alternative made with raspberries.

Ingredients – for the topping, you’ll need (makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

To make the topping, simply rub together the butter and flour in your fingertips until you get breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and mix together. Easy or what?!

To make the sweet and spicy crumbles, you’ll need (makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pear

To make the sugar syrup, add all of the ingredients to a pan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Leave it bubbling away to let the flavours infuse for about 5 minutes. If you see the sugar syrup start to darken, stop – it’s done! Chop your pear up into small (~1 cm) cubes and put it into 2 ramekins (or other small dishes), pour over the sugar syrup (taking out the whole spices) and cover with a couple of centimetres (just over half an inch) of topping.

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas...?
Is it too early to start talking about Christmas…?

For the fruity berry crumbles, you’ll need (again, makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 2 tbsp raspberries
  • 1 pear

Almost no preparation required here, just chop up your pear up into small cubes and put it into 2 small ramekins, and cover with topping. We keep some frozen raspberries in the freezer, which are useful for all sorts of things in the winter.

Raspberry and Pear

Once the crumbles are assembled, place in an oven at 180 C for 20-25 minutes – you should see the top go a lovely golden colour. Sit back and enjoy your tasty, warming winter treat!

Crumble and Coffee
Spicy Pear Crumble and Coffee
Pear and Raspberry Crumble
Pear and Raspberry Crumble

Comforting Italian Meatballs

This meal is like a hug on a plate. That sounds pretty weird but you know those meals that you just know you love, you think about making them a few days in advance, you plan them for a day when you have plenty of time to eat slowly, chat over wine and then go and collapse in an undignified heap on the sofa afterwards? This is one of those meals. Originally a Nigella Lawson recipe we think, but possibly adapted over time (sorry Nigella!) the meatballs are soft, fragrant with oregano and with a delicious salty tang from parmesan or pecorino cheese. They’re served with a rich tomato sauce which is so simple to make and mountains of pasta.

Ingredients (serves 4, generously – we actually made half of this mixture as our freezer is fit to bursting so we didn’t want leftovers but this freezes beautifully if you have the space!)

Meatballs:

  • 250g pork, minced
  • 250g beef, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs or semolina
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (preferably not extra-virgin)
  • 700g tomato passata
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 100ml full fat milk

So it looks like a lot of ingredients but plenty of them are storecupboard favourites, it’s really not intimidating at all! To make the meatballs you basically chuck everything in a bowl and then get your hands messy but there are some cheats you can do to make it even easier! This is a no chopping recipe, a knife free zone (almost).

Grab yourself a mini chopper or food processor and blitz up a hunk of parmesan, once it’s finely chopped whack it in a bowl. Pop the clove of garlic (peeled) and about 10-20 oregano leaves (depending on size) into the blender, whizz until chopped and chuck them straight into a big bowl which you will make your meatballs in. Now you will have some bits of garlic and oregano stuck to the side of your blender… do you want to waste them? Do you want to spend forever scraping them all out? No. So grab a small piece of bread, whizz that up to breadcrumbs and then chuck all of that in the large bowl too. Whizz up a bit more bread so you’ve got enough breadcrumbs to perfect the texture of your meatballs and you’re ready to go! Add all of the other meatball ingredients to the bowl, the measurements above usually work fine but if you have a particularly small or large egg then you will need to adjust the breadcrumbs accordingly. Get your hands in there and squish it all together, but try not to squash all of the texture out of this, you want the meatballs to be light and still retain a bit of texture. Once it’s mixed fairly well shape into meatballs, this should make around 16-20. Pop these on a plate or a tray in the fridge, they need at least half an hour to chill but can be left for hours.

Meatballs

To make the tomato sauce you’ll need your food processor/chopper again. It would be a total lie if we said we washed ours between using it for the breadcrumbs etc, a quick wipe and it’s good to go. Peel the onion, chop into large chunks and put it in the blender along with the peeled garlic cloves and dried oregano. Whizz this up really well, you want a grainy paste rather than finely chopped. Place a large saucepan over a low heat and add the olive oil and butter, once bubbling scrape in the onion/garlic/oregano paste and cook for about 10 minutes stirring almost constantly. This mixture shouldn’t colour, it should just soften and become really aromatic. After this time tip in the passata, and then half fill the jar/carton with cold water, give it a shake to get all of the bits off the side and add this to the pan too. Season it with the sugar, salt and pepper at this stage. It will seem really thin but it’s got a fair bit of cooking to do. Simmer this for about 15 minutes. Pour in the milk and mix well, then take the meatballs out of the fridge and gently drop them into the tomato sauce, you want them to be completely submerged and not on top of each other which is why you need a big pan! Resist the urge to stir at all or prod them around as they will just break apart. Put a lid on half covering the pan and leave them to gently simmer away.

Now is the time to get some water on for your pasta, the meatballs will take about 20-25 minutes to cook, we served ours with tagliatelle which takes about 8 minutes to cook. Once the meatballs have had around 15 minutes cooking time they will be less fragile so feel free to have a gentle stir of the pan to make sure nothing is catching on the bottom. Once the pasta is cooked we like to drain it, then put in a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce to coat the pasta and then serve the meatballs on top with more sauce, but you could just whack a big bowl of pasta and a big dish of meatballs on the table for everyone to help themselves! Serve with the leftover grated cheese (and if you’re anything like us, the block of cheese and a grater), a glass of red wine, a few twists of black pepper and prepare to feel like you’re getting the best hug in the world from an old friend.

Meatballs and pasta

 

Thai Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu

This was only our second ever time cooking with tofu. Bird is a big fan and often chooses it over meat options when eating Thai food out but our first attempt about two years ago fell a little flat (well, more accurately, it fell a little slimy). However we got a real craving for it and decided to try again. The tofu we bought helpfully had some cooking instructions on and told us to press the tofu for a better and firmer texture, we figured it knew best so went along with it. What a huge difference! Much firmer, much less fragile, and when cooked MUCH crispier! The extremely-helpful-packaging suggested a minimum of 10 minutes but we left ours for 30 minutes. To press tofu simply drain it of the fluid it’s packaged in and then wrap it in about 2-3 layers of kitchen paper. Place it on a chopping board with another chopping board on top and place a weight on it. This doesn’t have to be really heavy, we used 2 cookery books but a large saucepan would be perfect too. Then make yourself a cuppa and go and chill out for a while. When you come back to it simply unwrap it, use a fresh piece of kitchen paper to give it a wipe down and then get cooking!

Tofu marinading

Ingredients

  • 1 block of pressed tofu
  • 1 litre of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 red chilli, sliced thinly
  • 2-3 spring onions, white parts sliced thinly, green parts sliced thicker on the diagonal
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • Zest of 1 lime (you will use the lime juice to season later)
  • noodles, either straight-to-wok or dried ones cooked and drained
  • vegetables, we used baby corn, mange tout and pak choi but use whatever you fancy making sure you have a mix of crunchy and leafy
  • dark soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • coriander leaves

Chop your tofu into 1-2 inch cubes and place in a bowl. Drizzle over around 1-2 tsp of dark soy sauce and let the flavour soak in. Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then add in the sugar, the white part of the spring onions, the garlic, the lime zest and most of the ginger and chilli – the rest will be cooked with the tofu. Let this simmer away for about 10 minutes to let the flavours mingle.

Onions, chilli, ginger

After this time grab a wok and heat the vegetable oil in it over a medium-high heat. Once hot throw in the tofu and the remaining ginger and chilli. Our tofu took about 7 minutes to become golden and crispy all over. Keep an eye on the tofu turning it over every 30 seconds or so to make sure it colours evenly. Put the noodles in with the soup and let it come back to the boil. This is the time to season it with dark soy sauce, fish sauce and lime – the amounts are completely up to you, try with 1 tsp of soy sauce and fish sauce and the juice of half a lime and then keep tasting and adding until it’s perfect for you.

Tofu fall

When the tofu is almost ready chuck the vegetables in with the soup, we reserved the leaves of the pak choi as they just need to wilt in. Let the vegetables cook for around 1 minute – you want them to retain some bite! At this stage pour the toasted sesame oil over the tofu, let it cook for a last few seconds and then tip into some kitchen paper to drain slightly. Season it with about 1 tsp of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Put any leafy vegetables in the soup to wilt and then serve immediately.

Crispy tofu

Dish yourself up a bowl of the noodle soup, top with the crispy tofu and garnish with the green parts of the spring onions and the coriander leaves – this would also be lovely with some crushed peanuts. We had ours with a wedge of lime to add extra zing at the table and a simple infusion of lemon and ginger to drink.

Tofu with noodle soup

This has filled us with confidence to try tofu again soon, maybe with a stir fry, a curry or a salad… any suggestions?

Fluffy Lemon Pancakes

We made these pancakes a long time ago and then forgot to post them… oops! But we’re posting them for you now as so many people will be baking their hearts out in the run up to Christmas (sorry about the c-bomb guys!) and this is a rather neat way of using up some leftovers. Remember when we made these lemon tarts? It made a bit too much mixture and it was far too tasty to contemplate throwing it down the sink so we popped it in the fridge and vowed to make something with it the following night. What we came up with was fluffy American-style lemon pancakes! Neither of us had ever made an American-style pancake before (British ones are more like crepes, they don’t have a rising agent) so it was pure making it up as we went along but these turned out beautifully. The measurements are total guesses, you’ll just have to go on the look and feel of your batter.

Ingredients

  • Leftover Tarte au Citron mixture
  • About 75g of plain flour (but this was just a guess based on how much lemon filling we had left)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A little milk

Simply chuck the flour in to the lemon tart mixture and mix together, add the baking powder and then drizzle in milk while whisking until you reach a thick, liquid consistency. Then just heat a little butter and flavourless oil in a frying pan and dollop spoonfuls of your mixture in! Ours took around 2 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other but just try to keep an eye on them. They’ll keep warm in a low oven and then eat them with whatever you fancy!

Pancake cooking

We hadn’t planned on making pancakes so we just had ours with a little butter on top but these would be lovely with some honey, maple syrup, or berries and yoghurt. We had some cut up into strips over yoghurt with some honey drizzled on for breakfast the next morning! If you don’t happen to have any lemon tart mixture lying around then you could make a standard American pancake recipe and add in some lemon zest for a citrusy kick.

Lemon Pancakes

Mustard Pork with Roasted Parsnip, Celeriac and Potatoes

We had our first frosty morning of the winter here in Bristol, so we thought we just had to blog about parsnips! (That makes sense, honest…) Not only are parsnips arguably the best part of a roast dinner, they make a great companion to pork chops, chicken, lamb… if you’re roasting some potatoes at this time of year, you might as well chuck in a parsnip! We’re also roasting some celeriac, which has the most incredible flavour – describing it as “a bit like celery” is insulting really – it’s much more than that! This dish has some bold flavours going on – mustard, parsnip, celeriac and nutmeg –  but they’re a perfect hearty and comforting combination with the cold nights upon us.

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 150 g new potatoes
  • 2 medium/1 large parsnip
  • 1/2 celeriac
  • Couple of sprigs of thyme (or about a tsp dried)
  • 3-4 sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pork chops
  • 2 tbsp mustard (we used 1 tbsp Dijon and 1 tbsp wholegrain)
  • Small cabbage
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg
  • Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 °C. Chop up your potato, parsnip and celeriac into ~3cm chunks (smaller if you want them to cook quicker). Put the potatoes in a pan of water, bring them to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Put 1 tbsp of the olive oil into a roasting dish and place in the oven to heat up for about 5 minutes. While the potatoes are parboiling and the dish is heating up, take the leaves off your sprigs of thyme. After the potatoes have been boiling for around 5 minutes throw in the parsnip and celeriac and let it boil for another minute or so. When everything is ready, add the potato, parsnip, celeriac, sage leaves and thyme to the roasting dish and admire the sizzle! Whack it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

To make the mustard topping for your pork, simply mix together your mustard and the remaining olive oil. Smear a thick layer of this onto each pork chop – if you’re not a fan of mustard you can skip this step or choose not to eat the mustard, but we wolfed it down! When the vegetables have about 15 minutes left, take the roasting dish out and place the pork on top of the veg, with the mustard facing upwards. Place back in the oven for the remaining cooking time.

Parsnip and Potatoes

Slice the cabbage thinly, and add it to a wok or large saucepan with some melted butter in it. Add the chicken stock and grate in the nutmeg and a few cracks of black pepper. Keep it moving until it’s cooked – it should be finished along with everything else.

Now plate yourself up a tasty, hearty, full-flavoured meal! We enjoyed ours with a glass of red wine, perfect after a hard day’s work or as a lovely weekend treat.

Mustard Pork with Parsnip and Potatoes

Smoky Sweet Potato Soup

It’s rare these days for us to have a soup without some delectable little morsel sitting on top of it jazzing it up – this time it’s crispy chorizo which adds a different texture as well as a big hit of smoky flavour. Taking a few minutes to create a topping for your soup makes all the difference, whether that’s simply some cheese crumbled or grated over, some crisped up meat or vegetables, croutons, pesto… the options are endless! It adds another dimension to soup which to some is a boring dish, we however are a little obsessed!

This is a favourite for autumn/winter; it is comforting, warming, sweet, spicy and smoky and just begs to be mopped up with a big hunk of bread. You can make this soup even sweeter, the flavours even more intense, by roasting the onion and potato first but honestly, the flavours are so great that if you are short of time (as we were) it really won’t suffer from just chucking it all in a pan.

Sweet potato soup ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into roughly 1 inch cubes
  • crushed chillies (as much as you like! We used around 1 heaped tsp)
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • Chicken or vegetable stock, enough to cover the vegetables
  • A chunk of chorizo, diced into 1 cm cubes

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, when hot add the onion and sweet potato. Stir to coat in the oil and cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the sweet potato is starting to sear. Add the paprika and the crushed chillies. Cook this for a further couple of minutes and then cover with stock. Let this bubble away for around 15 minutes or until the potato is soft. Blitz the soup until smooth, we have a stick blender and think we’ve wanged on about it before but BUY ONE. They are cheap and make life so much easier if you’re anywhere near as much of a soup fiend as we both are. Your soup is ready to serve as it is, or perhaps with a drizzle of cream or sour cream. We chose to fry some cubes of chorizo in a non-stick frying pan until really crisp and top the soup with them and their oil. Enjoy! This would be lovely with our basic bread recipe or how about an adapted Paul Hollywood roll recipe, maybe with some manchego? What are your favourite autumn/winter warmers?

Sweet potato soup