Butternut & Bean Soup


Back with another recipe this week, a butternut squash and butter bean soup. Great for these colder and windy days we are having. Deliciously healthy, earthy and even creamy with the flavour of the butter beans.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a medium sized butternut squash
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (400g) butter beans, drained
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion granules
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Method:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 200 (fan) and bake the butternut squash for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. Once you’ve removed the squash from the oven, scoop out its contents, disposing of the skin and place in a bowl. Using the back of a fork, thoroughly mush the squash until it’s mashed but not fully puréed, then leave to one side.
  3. Get yourself a saucepan and on medium heat, start by frying the garlic in the oil for a minute.
  4. Then add the squash, add all the seasonings and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the butter beans and fry for another 2 minutes.
  6. Pour in the stock, mix and leave to cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add a generous sprig of rosemary, cover and leave for an additional 5 minutes and then serve.

Enjoy ☺️

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Blood Orange Sour

We are nearly half way through the month and let’s be honest, we are all preparing for the Christmas holidays. Preparation is well underway in our household and it’s kicking off with a banger. Starting with this glass of deliciousness; a blood orange sour. Blood oranges are just so so tasty, a beautiful dark red flesh with a sweet but ‘soury’ citrus flavour that is just too good! I’ve doubled the alcohol quantity on this one and believe me, you won’t be disappointed and nor will your guests be over the celebratory period.

Ingredients:

  • 100ml Blood Orange Gin ( I used Beefeater Gin)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (golden syrup will also work well)
  • 350 ml smooth blood orange juice
  • Rosemary
  • Ice … lots of it

Method:

  1. Using a jug mix the gin, syrup and blood orange juice together thoroughly.
  2. Take 2 tumbler glasses and a couple of rosemary leaves and rub around the rim of both glasses
  3. Place 3-4 rosemary leaves at the bottom of each glass and fill generously with ice cubes.
  4. Evenly distribute the gin mixture into both glasses. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve.

Enjoy 😊

Beef & Peanut Stew

The perfect combination of meaty, spicy and nutty all in one. A classic if you’re feeling a mix up of flavours in this hearty dish; perfect for Autumn.

Ingredients:

  • 350g diced beef
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 450ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. On medium heat, start by browning the meat for a couple of minutes, then remove and keep to one side.
  2. Pour in the oil and add the shallot, garlic, fresh chilli and ginger and fry together for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potato, cayenne pepper and season with salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, mix and bring to the boil.
  5. Pour in the stock and add the peanut butter and mix thoroughly. Drop the heat to medium low, cover and leave to cook and thicken for two hours or until the beef has become soft and tender, stir every 15-20 minutes or so ensuring that nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Enjoy ☺️

Persimmon & Burrata Salad

That’s right guys, we are back with a cheeky little autumnal recipe. Keeping it nice and simple with this first week back, plus, let’s be honest it’s not so cold out there for this time of the year so I think we can get away with a salad, albeit a ‘warmish’ salad.
As a kid I had known persimmon as ‘Kaki’ fruit as that’s the word my parents had taught it to me as. In Italian it’s referred to as Kaki and it wasn’t until much later in life that I discovered that here in the UK it is called a persimmon and I’ve also heard it referred to as Sharon fruit? I don’t know where the Sharon comes from but hey?! Now I’m just going off on fruit names, let’s get back to the good stuff. Go on have a lil’ read of this recipe, you know you want to give this a go…

Ingredients:

  • 2 Persimmon/ Kaki fruit, cut into rings
  • 1 Burrata, drained
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 fan. Evenly distribute the persimmon rings on the baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flip them over half way through.
  2. In the meantime, take a small bowl and add the mustard, golden syrup, olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  3. Dress your dish of choice by starting with the persimmon, then using your hands tear the burrata and delicately place on and around the fruit. Drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Enjoy 🙂

Time For Reflection

It’s been a few weeks and I’m sure you’re wondering where the recipes have gone. I’ve been taking some time out to have a little reflection and spend some quality time with loved ones.

Growing up, the importance of family time was so valuable as it brought all the members together; both immediate and extended family united and connected with each other. For me, the vast majority of the time this was (and is) centred at the table sharing delicious food; food from all avenues of my cultural background. Lucky for me there are a fair few cuisines in there so, basically, I’m spoilt for choice!

During this time of reflection, not only does the food bring you together but it allows you to connect with people. Highlighting those family and friends who want to be around and those who have always been a constant; believe me, I am truly grateful and appreciative.

Getting creative in the kitchen and writing recipes are my absolute passion and just the thing I really adore doing; it keeps me positive, calm and motivated. I am this way mainly because of my upbringing and valuing the importance of good food. If you are having good food at home then you’re lucky to have those foundations and the understanding of the additional values that comes with that. Additionally, family recipes. l’ve always found that these, especially the ones passed from generation to generation, are made with nothing but genuine love, and in turn, feel that that’s why home food and cooking is always a winner and the best food that you can have. Treasure those recipes that have been given to you, or even ask for a few, especially your favourites, and cook and share them with others. Below, I have found some photographs of some homemade family food to share with you, this is a combination of Armenian, Iraqi, Sardinian and Italian food.

The recipes will be back soon, it may be next week or even the week after but just hold on a little longer and the food goodies will be arriving in your emails soon.

Carla x

Chorizo & Black Bean Chilli

That’s right guys, I thought it is time for a mix up. Chicken and Chorizo… I mean, how many more of those are we going to see? Being in the kitchen is the place to get adventurous, try different flavour combinations and let your tastebuds run wild with deliciousness.

Ingredients:

  • I can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 112g chorizo
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Method:

  1. On medium heat fry the chorizo and garlic in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the black beans and fry for two minutes.
  3. Then, add all the seasonings and cook for a further couple of minutes
  4. Put in the tomatoes, the Worcestershire sauce, mix well and cover. Leave to cook for 15 minutes and then serve. Optional: if too spicy serve with a dollop of natural yogurt.

Enjoy 🙂

Courgette, Halloumi & Tahini Salad

Autumn is just beginning which means courgettes are at their best. They’re often overlooked but this recipe gives them a leading role. Perfect for a quick and easy lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 courgette, sliced into rings
  • 115g halloumi, sliced into batons
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 50g fine bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan) or grill at medium-high heat. Either using the same or two baking trays place the courgettes and halloumi into the oven or grill and leave for 10 minutes. Check after this time and flip both the courgette and halloumi. Cook for a further 5 minutes or so or until the courgette and halloumi are lightly- golden brown.
  2. Prepare the bulgur wheat according to the packet and set aside.
  3. Take a small bowl and mix the tahini and the tablespoon of water together thoroughly. Initially, it may look like it has separated but keep stirring and until they combine and the liquid thickens a little. Then add the lemon and do the same until fully incorporated.
  4. Pour in the olive oil, parsley, and mint into the bulgur wheat and mix.
  5. Take your dish of choice and start assembling all the components. Start with the bulgur at the bottom and then the courgette and halloumi, distributing both evening around the plate. Finally, drizzle over the tahini dressing and serve.

Enjoy 🙂

Cauliflower & Fig Smoothie

Yes, that’s right guys cauliflower, you read that correctly. A unique combination of ingredients to get you started for the day. A slightly thicker consistency than most smoothies so it can also be used as the base for a breakfast bowl, just add a few more figs or some chopped banana or whatever you fancy really; mix it up as you like. A combination of both sweet, savoury and earthy flavours making this recipe like no other.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 4 soft figs
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 dsp peanut butter
  • 1 dsp golden syrup
  • 8-10 ice cubes

Method:

1. Using a blender or food processor blitz all ingredients until smooth. Serve in a glass or alternatively in a bowl if you prefer using the mixture as a breakfast bowl base.

Black Bean & Mushroom Barley

I can never understand why Pearl Barley doesn’t get as much love as other grains. Sure, it takes a bit longer to cook but its flavour is insane! It can hold its own against the earthy combo of the Black Beans and Mushrooms and the little kick at the end completes it perfectly. If you’ve never tried out Pearl Barley (or even if you have) then this is definitely worth a go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 closed cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 100g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • 1 dsp Worcestershire sauce

Method:

  1. Start by frying the mushrooms for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally on medium heat.
  2. Then, pour in the olive oil and add the garlic and fry until the garlic starts to lightly brown.
  3. Add the black beans and the seasonings, mix and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the syrup, Worcestershire sauce and stock, mix well, cover and drop the heat. Leave to cook for 40 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the barley has softened but still has a bite to it.

Enjoy 🙂

Courgette Gazpacho

A twist on the Spanish classic; only no tomatoes and a considerably greener looking chilled soup. A real refresher, filled with natural and healthy ingredients. In this recipe I decided to remove any bits in the blending process, however you can leave it the way it is and enjoy the earthier flavours and added texture. Additionally, if you keep the sieved bits in a separate bowl you could either boil up some potatoes or some pasta and use that as your base, mixed with some extra virgin olive oil; this way nothing goes to waste and you get all the nutrients from the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400ml water
  • 1 spring onion
  • A handful of curly kale
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra Virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  2. Strain the mixture through a sieve and into a deep bowl or jug.
  3. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
    Optional: upon serving drizzle over some extra olive oil and serve.

Enjoy ☺️