Foodie Friday – Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted Garlic Soup

I always thought that garlic soup would sort of blow your head off flavour wise, but of course roasting the garlic makes it much milder and this soup that I made for the first time recently will become a favourite I think. I suspect it would be a good cure for a cold too!


2 large garlic heads
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups onion
1 cup carrots
1 large potato
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh-ground pepper
¼ cup cream


Roast the garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C/ gas mark 4. Using a serrated knife, cut the top off each garlic head so that the tip of each clove is exposed. Place the garlic heads on a large piece of aluminium foil and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bay leaves and fold the foil to form a parcel. Place the parcel in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Cool slightly. In a small bowl, squeeze the garlic head until all of the roasted flesh is released. Discard outer husks and bay leaves.

To make the soup: In a large heavy-duty saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil and butter, add onions, and cook over medium heat until translucent–about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the potato, chicken stock, white wine, roasted garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring the soup to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 35 minutes.

To finish the soup: Using a blender, purée the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the cream. Heat until warmed. Do not boil. Enjoy.

I think this soup comes under the category of hygge. It’s a winter warmer comfort.

Foodie Friday – coconut lime cauliflower rice

Cauliflower Rice

I was given a copy of Hemsley Hemsley – a cookery book for my birthday last month and I’ve tried a couple of the recipes so far. This one is suitable for vegans!

1 heaped tablespoon of desiccated coconut
1 quantity of uncooked cauliflower rice
3 tablespoons of coconut milk
grated zest and juice of half a lime
a pinch of diced fresh red chilli (optional)
salt and black pepper

To make cauliflower rice

Remove the cauliflower leaves and tough stalk. Us the ‘S’ blade of a food processor to whizz up the cauliflower until it resembles rice.

!. Toast the desiccated coconut in a dry frying pan for two minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Place the uncooked cauliflower rice in the same pan, add the coconut milk and stir together.

3. Cook over a medium heat with a lid on the pan, for 4 – 6 minutes until tender. After 3 minutes check to make sure that the liquid hasn’t boiled dry.

4. When the cauliflower rice is cooked add the grated zest and squeeze in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chilli if you’re using it.

I really liked this dish, I love just plain cauliflower but this was a nice change and I really liked the texture of it.

Jack was less impressed though, he wasn’t too keen on the coconut aspect of it – you can’t please everyone I suppose.

Foodie Friday – Bakewell Raspberry Meringue Pie

I had a packet of frozen shortcrust pastry that I bought around Christmas so I wanted to use it up. I decided to team it up with a packet of pre-rolled marzipan also unused since Christmas. I decided to make a combination of Bakewell tart and meringue pie.

Bakewell Raspberry Meringue Pie

I blind baked the pastry case as normal and when it was cool I spread home-made raspberry jam on it then moulded the marzipan into the pastry case. I also had frozen rasps in the freezer and after they had thawed I lined the marzipan with rasps. There was a lot of juice after the raspberries had thawed and I used it to make raspberry curd using the rasp juice instead of the classic lemon.

Bakewell Raspberry Meringue Pie

This was an experiment which was a success and I’ll definitely do it again. If you don’t have a meringue pie recipe you can follow this one here.

Foodie Friday – Cheese souffle

I was only about 16 or 17 when I first made cheese souffle and I didn’t realise that souffles were regarded as ‘difficult’ and often avoided by experienced cooks. Luckily my first cheese souffle turned out well using this recipe.

Cheese souffle

3 eggs
25 g or 1 oz of butter
15g or half oz flour
142 ml or 1/4 pint milk
75 g or 3 oz grated cheese
seasoning, including dry mustard

Separate the eggs. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, gradually add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly, add cheese seasoning and egg yolks one by one, beating well. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and put into a greased oven proof dish or souffle dish. Cook in the centre of a moderately hot oven, 400 F / 200 C / Gas Mark 6 for about 20 minutes, till well risen and brown. Serve at once.

I use ordinary cheddar cheese for this recipe and I only use mustard as a seasoning, about a teaspoonful. I think there is enough salt in the cheese already. Accompany it with a salad.

This is based on a Marguerite Patten recipe.

Foodie Friday – cherry scones


It’s no secret that for years I’ve been trying to bake decent scones and each batch always comes out resembling hockey pucks more than anything you would want to eat, so I swore that this was going to be my last go. Jack was going to get the gig if these ones failed, he’s the keen scone eater anyway!

To my surprise though, these ones are the best yet, although as Jack says the texture is a bit more cake-ish than scones should be, a plus as far as I’m concerned. The recipe is for plain scones but cherry scones are our favourites and most of the shop bought cherry scones are very disappointing. I swear they stick a few pieces of cherry on the outside of them as often on the inside there isn’t so much as a hint of cherry.

Plain Scones

225g (8oz) of self-raising flour
40g (1 and a half oz) of sugar
75g (3 oz) of butter or margarine, diced
30 ml ( 1 fl oz) of milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F) Gas mark 7

Lightly grease a baking sheet and dust with a little flour.

Put the flour into a large bowl, add the sugar and then rub in the diced butter or margarine, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk and beaten egg and briefly mix it all together.

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead lightly and form a dough. Roll out to a thickness of at least 2.5 cm or 1 inch. Cut out the scones using a 6.5 cm cutter (2.5 inches)

Brush the scones lightly with a little bit of milk if you are that way inclined, I don’t bother.

Bake for about 10 minutes until risen and golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.

If you want to add fruit as I did do so just before the milk and agg are added. Use 3 oz of cherries (halved) sultanas, dates or cheese if you wish.

I decided to try this recipe because I thought that as it uses self-raising flour there was a better chance of it working. So it isn’t quite as dense as normal scones. I left mine in slightly too long, next time I’ll check them after just 8 minutes I think.

I forgot to re-do the ingredients using a US set of cups, so if anyone wants me to do that let me know and I’ll do it next time and amend the post.


Foodie Friday – Cheese and Onion Pasty

cheese pasty

This cheese pasty is big enough to feed four people, a real winter warmer but would be good cold for a picnic. The addition of apple makes it better than anything like this available in the shops, and of course you know exactly what is in it!
Preheat oven to 200 C / 425F / Gas Mark 7

200g/ 8 oz potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch slices
1 medium sized onion
1 eating apple, peeled and cored
4 oz cheddar cheese or something similar (grated)
one packet of frozen puff pastry
1 beaten egg (optional)
salt and pepper (optional)

1. Put the sliced potatoes into a small pan of salted water and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and leave to cool.

2. Thinly slice the apple and onion (I used a mandolin to do this)
Put them into a large bowl with the grated cheese and the cooled potato. Season with pepper and mix together until well combined. I dodged the salt.

3. Divide the pastry in half with one piece slightly larger. Roll out on a floured surface. The smaller piece should measure around 30cm x 21 cm / 12 inches x 8 inches. Place it on a lightly greased baking sheet.

4. Pile the cheese, potato, apple, onion mixture onto the rolled out pastry and level leaving a one inch border around the edge. Brush the border with the beaten egg or water.

5. Roll out the remaining pastry so that it will cover the mixture without stretching. Seal the edges by pressing with a fork. Cut some horizontal slashes across the top and brush the pastry with more beaten egg if desired.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 220 c / 425 F / gas mark 7

After 15 minutes lower the temperature to 200 c/ 400 F/ gas mark 6 and cook for another 10 or 15 minutes until golden and well risen.

Serve with veggies of your choice.

This is the first time I’ve tried this recipe and next time I’m going to cook the onion a bit before adding to the mixture as although I cut it as thin as possible on a mandolin it was still too firm for my liking. Otherwise the pasty is delicious. A quarter of it is one good serving.

cheese pasty

Foodie Friday – Cheshire Parkin

I’m not sure if Cheshire Parkin is any different from any other sort of parkin, but that’s what this recipe is called. Parkin is a traditional ginger cake from the north of England.

ginger cake  - parkin

225 g/ 8oz/ 2.5 cups of course oatmeal
75g/ 3oz/ three quarters of a cup of self-raising flour
50g/ 2 oz/ half a cup of demerara (brown) sugar
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
225g/ 8oz golden syrup or black treacle or mixture of both
125g/4oz/ 1 stick of margarine
70 ml/ 2.5 fluid oz of milk

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Melt the syrup and margarine in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
3. Stir in the milk to make a soft consistency.
4. Grease a 20cm/8 inch round sandwich tin or a seven inch square tin and line it with greaseproof paper. Put the mixture into the tin and level it.
5. Bake in the middle of a moderate oven, Gas 4, 350 F or 180 C for around 1 hour, when it should be firm to the touch. Cut into squares.
6. Leave in tin to cool.

The recipe says that this is best left for a couple of days before eating but I have never been able to wait that long, in fact we had eaten some before I got around to taking a photo, which is why it looks rectangular, not square. Judge the syrup by how much is in the tin or bottle if you don’t have scales. I think it amounted to around 6 big rounded spoonfuls.

I left my parkin in too long, an hour in my new oven is too much, all ovens are different of course so you’re best to keep checking it. For me it was too hard but giving it a whizz in the microwave on medium softened it to the perfect consistency and it tastes really nice when it’s warm. Otherwise we ate it with custard!

Foodie Friday – Tomato and Bean Soup

tomato and bean soup

I’ve blogged about this soup recipe before, it is based on a Greek recipe and it’s a favourite with my family. I almost always have a pot of soup on the go in fact last summer was so miserable that I was even making soup in July! Anyway, this is one that I throw together fast and cook up in my pressure cooker. I’ve taken to leaving out the celery as neither of us are very keen on it and it means that I’m left with a load of celery which is unlikely to be used now that we are empty nesters.

1 mugful of dried haricot beans soaked overnight
3 tomatoes, quartered or about 12 cherry tomatoes
2 onions
4 carrots
3 sticks of celery (optional)
2 200g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree
chopped parsley and thyme (to your taste)

Roughly chop the onions carrots and celery and whizz up in a blender with water. You will have to do this a few times to deal with it all. Reserve some of the carrot and celery just roughly chopped if you like chunky bits in your soup as we do. Add all of this to a large pan with the haricot beans and tins of tomatoes. Then. add the tomato puree, dried oregano and chopped parsley and thyme. Lastly, add the quartered tomatoes and more water. I use my pressure cooker for this recipe as then you don’t have to bother about soaking the beans first, just cook at pressure for about 20 minutes. I add enough water to make about 12 bowls of soup. If you don’t have a pressure cooker then just boil it all up for about 1 hour. Season to taste. Try it, you’ll love it. If you can’t be bothered with the dried beans, try using ordinary tinned beans at the end. Obviously you will only have to boil the soup until the vegetables are cooked. I’ve never tried it with tinned beans but I think it will work fine. The photo above is from an older post, you can see the celery in it as I was still putting it in back then.

Foodie Friday – Oatmeal Biscuits

I like baking things with oatmeal in them because I can ‘kid on’ to myself that they are really quite healthy, but if you look at the amount of sweet stuff in the ingredients list you will realise that I am of course deluding myself. Och well, THEY do say that porridge oats bring your cholesterol down so these biscuits are maybe not too bad for you! Yes it does look like a cake, it’s a sort of inbetweeny texture, perfect if you don’t want anything too hard against your teeth!

oatcake biscuits

100g/ 4 oz of flour/ 1 cup (with plain flour add 1 level tsp of baking powder)
half a level teaspoon of salt
100g/ 4 oz/ 1.5 cups oatmeal or porridge oats
50g/ 2 oz/ a third of a cup of sugar
75g/ 3 oz black treacle (molasses)
100g/ 4 oz / 1 stick of butter or margarine
oatmeal to sprinkle on top

Put the flour, baking powder if used and salt together into a bowl. Stir in the oatmeal. Put the sugar, black treacle and butter or margarine into a saucepan and heat gently until just melted. Cool slightly and then add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Press the mixture into a round cake tin, I lined mine with greaseproof paper, but you could just grease the tin. Sprinkle the surface with some oatmeal. Bake in the centre of the oven at 350 F / 180 C or Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly, cut into wedges, then lift out carefully and complete cooling on a wire tray.

This is a recipe which you can play around with a lot, if you aren’t too keen on the flavour of black treacle then you could substitute golden syrup, which I think is called corn syrup in the US. You could also add some spices like ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg, or add some dried fruit. In future I don’t think I’ll bother to sprinkle the oatmeal on top. I also think that the next time I try this recipe I’ll leave out the 2 oz of sugar as although this is tasty I found it to be very sweet.

The easiest way to measure the treacle is of course to put the tin on your scales and take spoonfuls out of it until the weight has gone down by the required amount, 3 ounces in this case. You’re best to err on the side of underbaking I think as if you overbake it will be really hard, definitely best with custard poured over it to soften it! This batch is quite soft, almost cakey in texture, certainly not crunchy, which with my teeth is a bonus!

I had intended having a Foodie Friday last week and baked shortbread for the blogpost. I’ve made plenty of shortbread in my days, but I was given a new shortbread mould as a Christmas present, one of those pottery ones with a lovely thistle design on it, but the shortbread just refused to come out of it, despite the fact that I did as instructed and dusted it with icing/powdered sugar. Obviously I didn’t put enough sugar into it so I’ll have to have another go at that soon.

Southern food (America)

bean dish

Whilst Peggy was with us she cooked some traditional southern US food. This bowl is full of pinto beans and ham hock or hough as we say in Scotland, it was very tasty. I suppose it’s peasant food but that’s my favourite kind and the weather was cold enough to want winter warmers. If you’re interested you can see a recipe similar to the one Peggy used here.

The photo below is of hoecakes which are made from cornmeal which Peggy had to bring with her as you can’t get it in the shops in Scotland. Again, very tasty, like thick pancakes with a distinctive flavour of corn. You can read about them and see a recipe here.

hoe cakes

Peggy also brought a tub of grits with her. I had always wondered what grits were, now I know, it looks similar to porridge but again has a corn flavour. I preferred it straight but it can be eaten with syrup, I tried that but it drowned out the corn taste. A lot of southern US food does seem to be very sweet, or has syrup added where I wouldn’t expect it to be, which reminded me of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird when her lunchtime guest from school asked for syrup for his ham, much to her disgust. She got skelped for that!