Tag Archives: Sunday’s

Spicy butternut squash soup

22 Nov

This is the second recipe using the other half of the butternut squash I bought last week. Another wintery, comforting meal. Butternut squash gives a really thick, wholesome soup which makes it easily substantial enough with a lump of bread and cheese for a good dinner.
I took inspiration from Lorraine Pascal’s recipe and used a good sprinkle of chilli and ginger, along with a squeeze of lemon before serving.
This feeds 4 for a starter or 2 for a main course, it is a very good value meal, especially if using dried chilli powder or flakes and dried ginger.

Ingredients:
Half a butternut squash
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 Whole chilli or a pinch of flakes/powder (or as much as you like – depending on how adventurous you are feeling!)
Half a vegetable stock cube diluted with 1 litre water
One thumb’s worth of grated fresh ginger or a pinch of dried ginger
A squeeze of lemon (or lime) juice
Salt and pepper

TIP: Add curry powder instead of chilli and ginger for another take on spicy butternut squash soup!

Method:
1.Heat your oven to 190celcius (fan)
2. Half your butternut squash lengthways, season with salt and pepper and place a peeled garlic clove into the hollow of the squash. Put in the oven for around 40minutes or until you squash is soft and easily scoopable.
3. While your squash is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil large saucepan on a low heat and once heated, add your onion. It should soften and not sizzle and burn if the heat is correct. Fry your onion for 5 minutes then add your spices. Take off the heat if the onion is cooked. Prepare your stock.
4. Once the squash is soft, roughly cut your garlic clove and add it to the pan, then scoop out the flesh from the squash and add it to the pan.
5. Pour your stock over and with a hand held blender, blend the ingredients together.
6. Reduce on a simmering heat until you have your desired consistency. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to serve. You can also add a blob of crème fraiche!

Super-quick last-minute birthday butterfly cupcakes

8 Nov


As part of my uni studies, I have been lucky enough to end up in Nice, France for the year (sun, warmth, amazing fresh seafood and Mediterranean veg, not to mention specialist olive oil shops (!) – my HEAVEN!)

Tonight is my friend’s birthday meal and it’s quite frankly illegal to have a birthday party without a birthday cake in my eyes (and stomach…)! Patisserie shops are everywhere, my local patisserie has a selection of around 20 bite size variations of larger patisserie, that changes almost every day (I am currently in the process of slowly trying every one…)

However, larger celebration ‘cakes’ – are around 35euros a piece. In France, you can’t really get a traditional birthday Victoria sponge, and my student pocket couldn’t really afford such a splurge on a cake, so I thought it would be a better idea to buy a selection of the mini delights, and make my own last minute, incredibly easy traditional British cupcakes!

Ingredients are minimal, stuff to be found in your cupboard/fridge whatever the day, making it an ideal Sunday afternoon unplanned bake (in France, even in the middle of Nice, EVERYTHING shuts down on a Sunday!)

Makes around 12 large cupcakes –
100g butter softened

140g caster sugar

150g self raising flour (I used plain flour+1tsp baking powder due to the lack of self-raising in France)

2 large eggs

To decorate:
150g butter softened
280g icing sugar
12 frozen (defrost first) or fresh raspberries, or any other berry you fancy!

TIP: Buying a large bag of frozen berries will last you ages, it’s about half the price of fresh berries, and you can keep them in your freezer for whenever you fancy a berry fix!

Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius (fan)
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all the cake ingredients and combine until you have a smooth batter. You may have a add a few drops of milk to make the batter fall  off a wooden spoon when tapped.
  • Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases and fill each one about 2/3rd full.
  • Bake for around 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden and firm to touch.
  • Whilst cupcakes are cooling on a wire rack, make the buttercream. Soften the butte r in a large bowl, little by little sieve the icing sugar into the bowl, mixing until you have a good consistency. The butterceam should not be too runny. It should be thick enough to hold shape on top of the cupcake.
  • To make the butterfly wings, use a sharp knife to slice off the top part of each cake. Cut that circle in half.
  • Add some buttercream inside the hole that you have just made in the top of the cake, then arrange the two halves on top of the buttercream at an angle to make the wings.
  • Repeat for each cake, then pop a raspberry on each cake and enjoy!

Maximum pleasure with minimum ingredients and time!