Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nigella's Happiness Soup for Random Recipes

I love Random Recipes but for the past few months (probably more, I just don't want to count) for various reasons I haven't been able to take part. This month however I had no excuses because to celebrate 30 months of Random Recipes the lovely Dom decided we had to pick book number 30 from our collections and turn to page 30 to find out our fate for this month. By sheer coincidence book number 30 from my list of books in my Cookbook Room was none other than Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson, which I just happen to be reviewing this month anyway! Total bonus. Unfortunately though page 30 turned out to be the title page for the chapter on Pasta so since we all at times like to turn back the clock a bit I went to pages 28 & 29 which was her recipe for “Happiness Soup”.

I know what you are probably thinking, what on earth is “Happiness Soup” and even I myself thought she may have overstepped the mark just a touch with this one, however the first line of the recipe is asking us to forgive her for the tweeness of the title. Ok Nigella, you are forgiven, especially because after making the soup I can kind of see where she was coming from as this soup is so incredibly bright and summery it would cheer up anyone on even the dreariest of days! The recipe is incredibly simple and straightforward and the end result delicious. It's very light and the lemon juice gives it a lovely bright, refreshing taste, but the addition of the rice makes it heartier.

If I had to criticise it I would say that there wasn't any need for the 3 tablespoons of oil (2 would be more than plenty) and the turmeric again could be cut down as it didn't do anything other than turn the soup an insanely bright luminescent yellow! Next time I make this (which I will) I'll definitely use less olive oil and half the amount of turmeric. I also have to say that this soup rather unusually for soups was better the day it was made. When I had some the following day I had to add more stock as the rice had absorbed the majority of it but the lemon flavour was a little overpowering. All in all though if you can get beautiful yellow courgettes/zucchini's then I definitely recommend giving this soup a try and see if it turns your frown upside down!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Warm Tomato & Chorizo Salad with Olives

Whenever my husband is away for work I always try to eat as many tomatoes as possible! It means I get my full-on tomato fix without having to listen to any complaints, change recipes or make him something else, and he's happy as he doesn't have to eat it!! Tomato Pasta is always high on the list as well as many different Tomato Salads including this one with Chorizo and Black Olives.

I'm not sure if this should really be called a Salad but in all honesty I couldn't think of a better way to describe it! It's a perfect meal for a warm Summer evening when you want something full of punchy flavours but still light enough not to leave you sluggish and overly full. I like to eat it with lots of fresh, crusty French bread to mop up all the sauces but it is also delicious served as part of a Tapas menu or for something a little more filling spooned through some hot pasta and for an extra special treat I have it with a few slices of mozzarella on the side. As far as I am concerned it doesn't get any better than this, especially when enjoyed outside in the sun with a cold glass of white wine. Bliss.

Since this is a dish I save as a treat just for myself this recipe only serves 1 but it can easily be adapted to feed many more.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flatbread Pizza

This has got to be one of my favourite things to eat for lunch. It's so super quick and easy but so unbelievably delicious. All you need is some bought flatbreads (for example pita bread), some cheese and tomato and in less than 10 minutes you have an amazing lunch. Of course just like any pizza you can change the toppings to whatever you like. In the middle of Summer I will quite often add some thin ribbons of Zucchini but for the most part I can't resist the classic and very simple Tomato and Mozzarella.

Quantities make 1 pizza

1 flatbread of your choice ( I use wholemeal pita's that are thin)
Extra virgin olive oil
½ tomato, roughly chopped
Fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped or torn apart
4 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
½ fresh chilli, finely chopped (optional)
scattering of fresh basil leaves
Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

To make the pizza simply brush a little extra virgin olive oil over one side of the flatbread. Scatter over the chopped tomato, mozzarella, olives and chilli and then pop onto a baking tray and cook under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbling and the edges of the flat bread starting to crisp.

Sprinkle over a little Maldon salt, some cracked black pepper and the fresh basil leaves then if you like finish with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and if you want to take it up another notch some really good quality balsamic vinegar. So easy but so good!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Both my husband and Wee One absolutely love Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream and every weekend (more or less!) for a special treat after dinner that is exactly what Wee One asks for (complete with Chocolate Sauce and Sprinkles!), so I decided for a change to make some Mint Chocolate Cupcakes instead. Light and moist chocolate cupcakes are topped with a lovely fresh tasting mint buttercream creating the perfect popular flavour combination! It is my basic cupcake recipe and is so simple to make that even Wee One helped out, both with the cupcakes and decorating (unfortunately his finished cupcakes didn't quite make the photography session!!).

If you are a fan of Mint Chocolate you will love these and they are special enough that they would make a delicious fun dessert to offer at your next dinner party.....the only problem I had was that they didn't even last until the weekend!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cooking the Books ~ July

I am so delighted as it seems that Summer has arrived for us here in Canada (and hopefully for you too wherever you are!), so to celebrate my favourite season of the year for this month's Cooking the Books I am reviewing not one but two books! 

First up and how could I resist Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson. An older book perhaps but a true classic guaranteed to inspire when the sun is shining! Secondly I had to put a Barbecue book to the test so I chose Ross Dobson's Fired Up: No Nonsense Barbecuing. I can't wait - let's just hope the sun stays around!

As usual if you have either of these books why not take them off the bookshelf and try a recipe or two from them. Or if you have a favourite recipe that you love to make from these books let me know! So in a lazy, hot sun induced manner let's start Cooking the Books!
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