Saturday, 15 December 2007

Farmgirl's Use It Or Lose It Lentil & Escarole Soup

from the blog: Farmgirl

Makes About 8 to 10 cups

Few Tablespoons good olive oil
12 ounces onions, chopped (about 2 medium)
12 ounces carrots, chopped (about 3 to 4 medium)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups lentils, any kind
12 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can tomatoes, any size, any kind; I love Muir Glen brand)
7 cups homemade chicken stock (or good quality storebought)
4 to 8 ounces (or more) escarole,(or other leafy green veg) coarsley chopped

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium. Add onion and carrots and cook about 5 minutes, stirring so the oil coats the vegetables. Make a space in the bottom of the pan, add the garlic, and cook for another two minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is cooked but not brown.Add the lentils, tomatoes, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer, with the lid cracked, for about 45 minutes. Stir every now and again.Add the chopped escarole and cook another 5 minutes. Carefully puree about half of the soup in a blender on low speed until still slightly chunky, then return to the pot. Or use an immersion hand blender (you know I am crazy about my KitchenAid) to puree the soup to desired consistency. Cook over medium heat another five minutes.Serve hot, garnished as desired, and preferably with some kind of yummy bread, such as a crusty sourdough or a loaf of my Beyond Easy Beer Bread. (Just mix up the batter while the soup is coming to a boil, and you will have hot, fresh bread ready when the soup is.) This soup keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully (assuming you haven't run out of freezer containers).

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Summer Treats from Nirvana

Chestnuts (peeled or soaked dried)
Milk, water or stock
Put Chestnuts in saucepan, cover with liquid, and simmer gently until soft. Mash and put through a mouli or blend in food processor.
Can add salt or sugar to taste.
Chestnut puree forms a base for many recipes.

700g Chestnut puree as above
2 litres ice cream
300 mls cream
125g of crystallised cherries, candied orange peel, seedless raisins and currants which are soaked overnight in Muscat wine.
Mix chestnut puree, ice cream, cream and fruit together and refreeze. When 1/2 frozen mixes with fork and refreeze in a mould.

150g butter
150g castor sugar
3 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
25g flaked almonds
Grated rind and juice of 1 lime
200g raspberries

For the syrup
Juice of 2 limes
Grated peel of 1 lime
100g sugar

Cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually beat in the eggs and mix in flour, almonds and rind. Then stir in the lime juice .Fold in three quarters of the raspberries .Grease and line a 20 cm cake tin, spoon in mix, smooth the surface and scatter remaining raspberries on top. (They will sink as cake rises.) Bake at 180C (350F) for 40 minutes.
To make syrup put lime juice, peel and sugar in a small saucepan, heat gently to dissolve sugar. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer and drizzle the syrup over the cake. Allow to cool before turning out.

100g sugar
60ml port or cassis
20g gelatine
Put the raspberries and sugar into a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until soft and sieve to remove pips Sprinkle the gelatine over 150 ml of water and heat gently until it dissolves. Pour onto the raspberry puree and stir. Add the port. Transfer to a jelly mould add a few whole berries and chill to set. When ready to serve invert the jelly onto a plate and serve with elderflower cream. Can be made with black or red currants as well.

300 mls cream
75 mls Nirvana Elderflower Cordial
Add elderflower cordial to cream and whip.

Serves 6
For the ice cream
2 egg yolks
4 tablesp .icing sugar
250g mascarpone
2 tsp vanilla essence
Whisk to together the egg yolks and icing sugar until really thick. Add the mascarpone and vanilla to the egg mix and beat .Put in container and freeze until firm.
For the sauce
200g Red currants, pureed and sieved
100g chestnut puree
Mix chestnut puree and red currants together and serve with the ice cream.

Maggie Beer ‘Beat the Chef”
150gm Dark couverture chocolate
100ml cream
8 teaspoons red currant jelly
4 tablespoons fresh red currants
In a microwave proof container combine the cream & chocolate, stirring to combine.
Using small macchiato glasses or similar place 2 teaspoons of red currant jelly into each glass then top with chocolate mixture leaving room at the top for fresh currants. Finish with a layer of fresh currants.
Chill 15 minutes before serving

500g gooseberries
40 g butter
300ml whipping cream
Top & tail gooseberries & put them in a pan with butter. Moisten with 2 tablespoons water. Cover pan & cook gently, shaking pan occasionally, until gooseberries are soft. Crush them lightly with a fork once or twice during cooking. Sweeten to taste & put aside.
In a large bowl whisk cream until it stands in soft floppy peaks. With a large metal spoon, fold in the gooseberries. Pile into a large glass bowl, chill & serve.

Quentin Jones ‘Beat the Chef’
200gm red currants
1 dessertspoon sugar
2 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
Heat red currants in small saucepan with sugar & wine. Cook for a few minutes until juices run Add red currant jelly. Reduce a little.
Serve with poultry or game meat.

1 cup grated raw beetroot
1-2 Tbsp Nirvana raspberry vinegar.
Place grated beetroot in salad bowl, toss in raspberry vinegar and serve.

Blackcurrants add a real zing to salads.
Prepare a selection of lettuce leaves, fresh green peas or beans, chopped spring onions, blackcurrants. Toss in Nirvana raspberry or blackcurrant vinegar and serve.