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Leeks are still at their seasonal best in February and March, so should be locally available and full of flavour.  Try this yummy recipe and enjoy some warm, nutritious comfort food to keep those winter blues away. 

Ingredients

4 medium leeks
3 large floury potatoes
olive oil
75 cL vegetable stock
25 cL milk
Salt and pepper

Please remember to cook leeks before eating!

Method

  1. Peel the leeks and potatoes and chop
  2. Fry the leeks in a dash of olive oil until soft
  3. Add in the potatoes, plus a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well
  4. Heat through gently for a few minutes
  5. Add the stock and milk, turn up the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes until the potatoes are cooked
  6. Allow the soup to cool a little
  7. Blend until smooth
  8. Add a little more water if required for your desired consistency
  9. Serve with a teaspoon of cream drizzled on the top along with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds

 

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For a New Year Holiday Break in one of Britain’s most beautiful cities visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org

Mince pies are one of the true tastes of Christmas, but if you only ever eat mass-produced ones, they are generally bland and pretty disappointing. 

This recipe is my very favorite…and I have tried a few.  ..And the secret is all in the pastry.  Handed down to me by a dear farming lady, who is famous locally for her fantastic home cooked fayre, follow a few easy steps to get fabulous results. 

 This recipe makes between 28 and 36 (depending on how thick you like your pastry).  But if you have too much pastry for one baking session, you can put any left over into a bag and freeze for later use. 

…But be warned these mince pies are so delicious you will never have enough.  I made 30 yesterday and have only 5 left – I should however point out that I didn’t actually eat them all myself, but did give a fair few away to friend and neighbours!

Ingredients
1/2 lb self-raising flour
1/2 lb plain flour
1/2 lb butter (preferably at room temperature)
3 oz caster sugar
2 oz lard or margarine (preferably at room temperature)
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
Around 500g of good quality mince meat

Method

  1. Mix flour and sugar together in a large bowl
  2. Rub diced cubes of margarine and butter into the flour sugar mix, until the consistency is like bread crumbs
  3. Mix the egg yolks and fresh orange juice together, then add to the bowl of dry ingredients
  4. Mix together and form a ball of pastry with your hands
  5. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes
  6. Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface
  7. With pastry cutters, cut an equal number of large and slightly smaller circles for the mince pie bases and lids
  8. Grease a baking tray with butter
  9. Put mince pie bases into the baking tray
  10. Add good quality mincemeat, but don’t overfill
  11. Lightly dampen the edges of the pastry bases using a brush dipped in water
  12. Press the lids securely on, taking care to seal the lids to the bases
  13. With a pointed knife make two small cuts into the centre of each mince pie lid to act as a vent
  14. Brush lightly with milk
  15. Cook 175 C for 15 to 20 min
  16. Place on a baking tray to cool
  17. Dust with icing sugar 
  18. Store in an air tight container for later or alternatively, if you are like me, eat NOW!

And if whilst munching your mince pie and drinking a glass of something by the fire, your thoughts drift to holiday plans for the new year, visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org.

 

Stylish modern accommodation for up to 6 people with everything you need for a very comfortable stay

 

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I made this delicious beetroot soup for a dinner party on saturday. It went down a treat! It’s full of deep flavour – but not heavy – as you might expect of something made mainly from  root vegetables.

Why don’t you try it to warm your cockles on a cold winter’s evening – possibly on holiday in Edinburgh!

Ingredients
6  Large raw beetroot
1  Large carrot
1  Parsnip
1  Leek
13  peppercorns
5/6  dried mushrooms – oyster or porcini
4/6 allspice berries
3  Bay leaves
4  Tablespoons lemon juice
1  pint vegetable stock (I used swiss veg bouillon by  Marigold)
3 pints water
Garnish;  Soured Cream, Dill

Method
Peel and chop beetroot into quarters. Clean and peel carrot  parsnips and leek; rough chop. Put all ingredients including stock and water into large saucepan. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for 2 hours partially covered.

Here’s the messy part – so do it next to the sink perhaps and try to avoid splashing! Strain through fine sieve into another pan. Retrieve beetroot chunks and discard other solids. Chop beetrood into fine chunks and return to soup. Simmer again then serve with swirl of sour cream and sprigs of dill.

This recipe is visually stunning and also delicious – serve if possible with home made rolls!! Recipe for those maybe another day!

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