Wednesday, 28 January 2015

#BoothsMakesSoup - Health + Value + Flavour

Recently those lovely people at Booths Supermarket sent us a parcel containing two of their new soup bags, each of which contain all the ingredients you need to make a delicious soup. We received a pasta and bean soup bag and Thai sweet potato and noodle soup bag.

They also sent a fab new shopping bag and yes "I flippin' love booths" as I have had the flu recently Mr LF followed the recipe for the Pasta and bean soup carefully, substituting gluten free pasta for the macaroni supplied and he created a great wholesome tasty soup, perfect sick bed food.

Like most soup recipes, its not really complicated, just chopped vegetables cooked in stock with added beans and pasta.

Finished by adding the beans and the pasta, all the ingredients are in the bag except a tiny amount of oil and water for the stock cube. 

Below are the ingredients for the Thai sweet potato noodle soup, again easily made gluten free by subbing the noodles for rice noodles.

The soup bags were supplied by Booths free of charge for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Potato, spinach, pea and basil soup - a tasty vegan feast

Another week has passed and we have another soup recipe for you, this one does have some reseamblence to shrek's swamp but trust me its very tasty and great for making when you hardly have anything in the cupboards. For the sake of economy I use frozen peas and spinach and there is no waste either.


Vegan as it contains only vegetables, however if this isn't important to you then its delicious served topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese or swirled with creme fraiche or yogurt.

Thickened by blending half the ingredients in to the soup its low in fat and containes no flours or grains so its gluten free too.

What you need
  • Onion - peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes - peeled and diced
  • 3 blobs of frozen spinach
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little olive or rapeseed oil
  • Handful fresh basil
What you do
  • Fry the onion and the potato in a little oil add the vegetable stock to the pan, simmer until softened
  • Add the frozen peans and frozen spinach to the pan and bring back to the simmer and the spinach is defrosted. Add the basil 
  • Now blitz half the pan with a stick blender until smooth and retaining some chunky vegetables for texture.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Serve piping hot

We are linking up to "Eat your Greens" over on Allotment 2 Kitchen , the challenge being to cook with a green vegetable and for the recipe to be vegeterian.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Lancashire Hotpot - made with love and a perfect winter dish

I love Lancashire hotpot and as a born and bred Lancastrian so I should, its the perfect frugal comfort food which will happily blip away in the oven whilst you get on with other things. Requiring minimal effort you can still deliver a wow dish for your supper (or in a Northerner case tea) table.

I decided recently to experiment with different ways of cooking the dish and in my opinion this is the best method so far, ideal served with a green vegetable or just the traditional accompaniments of pickled beetroot or red cabbage.

What you need
  • Diced lamb pieces (ask your butcher whats the best and cheapest)
  • 3 large white potatoes 
  • 1 large white onion - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots - peeled and chopped
  • Lamb stock ( I use essential cuisine - the best in my humble opinion)
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce (use gluten free brown sauce if necessary)
  • Cornflour
  • Thyme and rosemary - finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little rapeseed oil
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 160c
  • Heat the oil in cast iron casserole dish
  • Fry off the lamb pieces in batches until lightly caramelised
  • Remove from pan to plate
  • Fry in the same pan the onion and carrot until slightly golden, add the lamb back to the pan and add a tablespoon or so of cornflour.
  • Stir and add the herbs and sauce, remove from the heat
  • Stir again and top the vegetable and lamb mixture with potato slices
  • Pour enough lamb stock to just be visible on the top of the potato topping, put lid on casserole dish and place in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Once the time has passed the vegetables with be tender and the meat cooked, remove the lid and place back in the oven for another 15 -30 minutes until the top is golden and slightly crispy.
  • Serve immediately with a green vegetable (cabbage / kale is nice) and traditional hotpot accompaniments

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Spicy roots soup, a classic winter warmer

In the spirit of eating healthy I have been prepping some easy lunches that I can take to work, I love soup but only homemade hits the spot for me. By making your own soup you are in control of the ingredients, the level of spicing and also the portion size, and I don't know about anybody else but I can't eat a huge portion of soup (i.e can sized) so taking a packed portion works out great for me.

The clipping from my scrap book that the recipe is based on, I think its from a Tesco magazine.

Recently I noticed in Aldi they had some BPA free snap lockable soup containers on special buy so I took the plunge and purchased a set. I am hoping that this will encourage me to take my portions to work for a nutritious healthy lunch, so far so good.

My new soup container
Its an easy recipe and uses the odd root vegetable you have in your fridge or vegetable rack, the recipe also uses very little oil so its low fat and has lovely gentle spicing which enhances the sweet earthy vegetable flavours in the soup.

What you need
  • 1 onion chopped (red or white)
  • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • Couple of carrots, peeled and chopped ( I use organic if I can get them as I find they are sweeter)
  • 1 small swede - peeled and chopped
  • 1 large white potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large parsnip - peeled and chopped
  • A litre or so of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of dried red chilli (I used crumbled whole ones)
  • A little yogurt to serve - optional or some omega 3 seeds
  • A little rapeseed oil
What you do 
  • Gently fry the onion and garlic in a little oil in a large saucepan, until softened slightly.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until they are starting softened and very slightly caramelised.
  • Add the spices to the pan and the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Blitz with a hand blender or in a liquidiser until you reach your desired soup consistency, you may need to add water.
  • Re heat to simmering point and serve swirled with natural yogurt or sprinkled with seeds
  • Delicious.
  • This recipe freezes beautifully

I am linking this recipe up to "Vegetable palette" over at A2K (Allotment to Kitchen), who's theme this month is Detox recipes. 


Also to "Extra Veg" over on Utterly Scrummy Food and also Fuss Free Flavours as this soup contains lots of extra veg.


And "No Croutons Required" hosted this month by Lisa's Kitchen a vegetarian challenge for soups and salads, co hosted by Tinned Tomatoes .

                                                           no croutons required 2015

And a new challenge "Recipe Clippings" as this is based on a recipe I have in my trusty soups scrapbook, this is hosted our on Farmers Girl Kitchen


And lastly Tea Time Treats, the theme this month being packed lunches and hosted this month over at Hedgecombers. A challenge jointly hosted by Lavender and Lovage.

                                                        Teatime Treat Linky Party logo

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Gorgeous granola

Granola is so expensive in the shops and the ingredients in it some seems to be of variable quality too, I have often hunted for the solitary pecan nut in maple, pecan granola !

So I decided I would have a go at making my own and wow can you taste the difference, plus you are in control of the ingredients in your mix, so you can ensure it has more of the things you like in it (in my case maple syrup and cinnamon) and less of the things you don't (in my case gluten, some commercially produced brands contain wheat flour to bind the ingredients). It also works out much more economical too as a box of quality granola often retails for more than £2.50 and this mix makes probably twice as much than in contained in a box.

So if you are on a health kick for the new year why not start by making your own granola, its healthy and very very tasty.

What you need
  • 3 cups oats (check gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc)
  • 1 cup of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, flax, etc)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cups of maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of dried fruit chopped (any you like)
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Mix the oats, spices, salt, maple syrup and seeds and coconut oil in a large bowl.
  • Tip onto 2 large baking trays and level off gently, bake for 15 minutes or so and then turn the oats over.
  • Bake for another 15 minutes or so until golden and the mixture is drying out and turning crispy (do not burn)
  • Mix the warm oats with the chopped nuts and dried fruit in a large bowl and then empty back on to the trays to cool.
  • Store in an airtight jar once fully cool.
  • Serve with yogurt or fruit, delicious .....

I am linking up to Credit Crunch Munch for this frugal yet wonderful granola recipe hosted over at Fuss Free Flavours and co hosted by Camilla at Fab Food for all.

                         Credit Crunch Munch

Monday, 5 January 2015

Win a fabulous whole fruit juicer from Domu - Start the new year the right way !

Wow ! we have a fabulous giveaway of a Whole fruit Juicer just for you, this great juicer is from people at Domu from their Vonshef range.

This juicer has been Voted and Reviewed by Great British Food Magazine as one of their Top Five Juicers on the market and gives Fast and Easy juicing from a large chute, fitting whole fruits and vegetables with ease.
It also has an Impressive 2-speed rotary dial switch, so you can juice a variety of fruits and vegetables and an Extremely Large 2 Litre detachable pulp container, plus a Sleek and Stylish Stainless Steel Mesh Strainer.

So if one of your New Years resolutions is to start juicing this is the perfect juicer for you, juicing is great for you and a great way to up your fruit and vegetable intake.

The full Vonshef range is avaliable from Domu and also Amazon.

Entry to our fabulous giveaway is by easy reafflecopter entry, just follow the instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules for giveaway

We have one juicer to giveaway, this can only be posted to UK addresses and will be sent direct from Domu.

  • Simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget above. 
  • To be in with a chance of winning you must complete ALL the required fields. 
  • All entries will be checked and verified before a winner is announced. 
  • You can increase your chances of winning by Tweeting on a daily basis. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a random winner. 
  • The competition runs until the 19th January 2015
  • If you win, you MUST send me your delivery details quickly and within 24 hours or the prize will be passed to the next person drawn. 
Please see the Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter widget for the rules and more information.

The Prize for this giveaway is provided by Domu (Designer Habitat) who will send the item direct to the winner.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Nicola Hanmer - Commercial Catering Manager for The Mill at St Catherines Park

This months featured foodie for our first Quick bite of Lancashire food 2015 is Nicola Hanmer of The Mill at St Catherines Park. Nicola and her team are passionate about serving local seasonal food in this beautiful cafe supporting the vital works of St Catherines Hospice. Here is a link to an earlier post re The Mill.

On to our usual questions, which Nicola has kindly answered for us.

  • What is your favourite cookery, food book or publication ?
Would have to be anything written by Nigel Slater or Elizabeth David

  • What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Gradely stuff!

  • If you werent doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
Working for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) training street children in Vietnam or Cambodia to work in the hospitality industry

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
Le Cruset casserole dish – in our family known as the magic pot – as everything you cook in them comes out so much better or my Gaggia coffee machine!

  •  Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My mum who passed away at St Catherine’s in 1997, Richard E Grant & Graham Norton for a little bit of fun, Mathew Fort, Jay Rayner & Nigel Slater & our own Nigel Haworth to talk about food!

  • What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Always give your best and you will never have any regrets

  • Describe your style in three words
Passionate, Loyal, Enthusiastic

  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
Does a whole cafe worth of kit count, we recently bought a new kitchen  & 60 covers of kit for our new Mill Cafe at St Catherines Park.

  • What is your greatest achievement to date ?
Working for a charity thats very close to my heart and being able to give something back

  • What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Someone who will remain nameless!

  • Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldnt expect
I was a philatelist at school


If you work in the food sector in Lancashire and are interested in being featured, please get in touch.

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