Easy Minestrone soup- Helppo Minestrone keitto

WP_20131101_005This is one of Rachel Khoo’s recipes. As usual I did not follow the recipe religiously but decided to add something and leave something out, but I would say this minestrone soup was inspired by Rachel’s Khoo’s soup that can be found in her book ”The Little Paris Kitchen”.  This soup belongs to the Provençal cuisine and is perfect now when the winter is approaching and houses are cooler (at least here in England). The secret of this delicious soup is the ”pistou”, it gives such a wonderful touch for it and of course you need  a proper loaf of French country style bread on side! My dear Aussie husband almost licked her soup bowl last night as the soup was so tasty, so you should try to make it too! By the way I love the small Creuset soup bowls that you can see in the picture. They are fantastic. The soup stays warm for ages and also you can put them to the oven and cook small portions of soup like onion soup in them. They are visually gorgeous too, don’t you think?

Soup:

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

500ml chicken stock

500ml vegetable stock

3 tbs tomato puree

1-2 tbs sugar

sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 red capsicum

1 carrot

1 zucchini

1 can of Green giant beans in tomato sauce (or white beans in tomato sauce)

1 portion of pasta (1cm bunch of dry pasta) -I used corn and rice pasta to keep it gluten free.

50ml dry white wine

1. Cut the onions and garlic. Fry them until golden brown.

2. Add chicken and vegetable stock.

3. Add tomato puree, sugar, thyme and bay leaf.

4. Add the cut carrot, capsicum and zucchini and let it simmer.

5. Add gigantic beans and their sauce. Add the wine.

6. Finally add the pasta (fold the long ones to smaller pieces) and cook until Al dente.

Pistou:

bunch of basil

3 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1. Puree until it is pesto like consistency.

Serve the soup with the small bit of ”pistou” on top -yum! Bon Appétit!

Tämä resepti on Rachel Khoon. Kuten yleensä, en seurannut ohjetta orjallisesti vaan sovelsin lisäämällä jotakin ja jättämällä jotakin pois. Toisin sanoen, tämä resepti on Rachel Khoon innoittama ja antoi minulle inspiraation luovasti soveltaa hänen mainiota minestrone keiton ohjettaan. Koko ohjeen salaisuus piilee mielestäni ”pistou” pureessa (hieman kuten pesto), joka tarjoillaan keiton silmänä ja antaa viimeisen silauksen herkulliseen reseptiin. Ohje on helppo ja nopea, juuri sopiva työpäivän jälkeiseen kiireiseen kokkailuun tai kotiäidin minuuttiaikatauluun. Tämä ihanainen keitto tulee luonnollisesti tarjoilla ranskalaisen maalaisleivän kanssa! Kuvassa näkyvät Creuset keittokulhot ovat ehdottomia suosikkejani. Keitto pysyy niissä lämpimänä pitkään ja  kulhot voi myös laittaa uuniin ja niissä voi kypsentää esimerkiksi yksittäisiä sipulikeittoannoksia.  Kulhot ovat visuaalisesti myös kauniita, eikö?

Keitto:

1 sipuli

2 valkosipulin kynttä

500ml kanalientä

500ml kasvislientä

3 rkl tomaattipuretta

1-2 rkl sokeria

muutama oksa timjamia

1 laakerinlehti

1 punainen paprika

1 porkkana

1 kesäkurpitsa

1 purkki kreikkalaisia giganttipapuja (voipapuja) tomaattikastikkeessa tai sitten vaaleita papuja tomaattikastikkeessa

1 annos pastaa (1cm nippu kuivaa spagettia) Voit käyttää maissi tai riisipastaa gluteiinittomaan ohjeeseen.

50ml kuivaa valkoviiniä

1. Pilko sipuli ja valkosipuli. Ruskista sipulit pannulla.

2. Lisää kana- ja kasvisliemet.

3. Lisää tomaattipure, sokeri, timjami ja laakerinlehti.

4. Lisää pilkotut porkkanan, paprikan ja kesäkurpitsan palat.

5. Lisää pavut ja viini.

6. Viimeiseksi lisää pasta ja keitä siten, että pasta on juuri al dente.

Pistou:

nippu basilikaa

3 rkl oliiviöljyä

2 valkosipulin kynttä

1. Soseuta kunnes on sileää sosetta.

Tarjoile keitto pienen pistou silmäkkeen kanssa -herkullista! Bon Appétit

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Slow cooker Chicken -Slow Cooker Kanaa

I promised I would post a recipe for you if my whole chicken slow cooker dish was even a decent one. In fact it was super tasty even though I threw all the ingredients in without any recipe. You can obviously apply the recipe depending what suits for you and whatever you happen to have in your pantry at the moment. The whole point of using a slow cooker is just leave the ingredients cooking for hours and hours.

Lupailin reseptiä slow cooker kanastani, siis kokonaisesta kanasta, jonka valmistin lauantaina. Minulla ei ollut lainkaan reseptia vaan heittelin sekaan ainesosia sitä mukaan kuin mieleeni juolahti ja kuinka ollakaan, kanasta tuli varsin herkullista. Luulen tosin, että syynä tähän lienee pikemminkin ihanainen slow cooker kuin kokkailutaitoni! Voitte soveltaa reseptiä oman mielihalunne mukaan. Onhan koko slow cookerin idea harras ja pitkä kypsentäminen. Voitte valita esimerkiksi yhden yrtin, jota suositte ja rakentaa aterian sen ympärille. Minulle tämä yrtti oli timjami.

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For 4-5 people:

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

500ml chicken stock

100ml dry white wine

700g parsnips

1 whole free range chicken

2-3 tbs chopped thyme

3 tbs BBQ sauce

3-4 tbs jerk chicken spice

1 tsp onion granules

1 tsp black pepper

1. Cut the parsnips and slice the onion.

2. Rub the BBQ sauce on the chicken skin and cover it with the jerk chicken spice.

3. Put the parsnips and the onion slices in the bottom of the slow cooker, pour the chicken stock and wine on top, add the spices.

4. Set the chicken on the top of the parsnips. Crush the garlic on top and into the sauce.

5. Cook in the slow cooker at least 5 hours.

Remember to reuse the chicken stock that you have left after this meal. The stock will be perfect for risottos, soups or paellas.

Enjoy!

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Neljälle tai viidelle hengelle:

1 sipuli

3 valkosipulin kynttä

500ml kanalientä

100ml kuivaa valkoviiniä

700g palsternakkaa

1 kokonainen vapaa kana

2-3 rkl timjamia

3 rkl BBQ-kastiketta/grillikastiketta

3-4 rkl jerk chicken maustetta (tai jotakin tulista maustemixiä!)

1tl sipulijauhetta

1 tl mustapippuria

1. Pilko palsternakka ja sipuli.

2. Hiero grillikastike kanan nahan päälle ja ripottele paksu kerros jerk chicken maustejauhetta.

3. Laita palsternakka, sipuli, valkoviini, kanaliemi ja mausteet slow cookeriin.

4. Asettele kana palsternakkojen päälle ja musrkaa valkosipulin kynnet kanan päälle ja liemen joukkoon.

5. Anna kypsyä vähintään viisi tuntia, mitä pidempään sen parempi!!

Muista uudelleenkäyttää kanaliemi, joka jää yli tästä ateriasta. Liemi on ideaalia juuri risottoihin, keittoihin tai paellaan!

Nauti!

Shepherd’s Pie eli jauhelihaperunasoselaatikko

Dear readers, England is not only London as I try to tell myself every time when I find the streets full of people and I get anxious of this busy city. Oxford Street at Christmas time is a hell on earth I can tell. You feel like an ant climing the massive anthill that never ends.

London is full of contrasts. I think it is the city you hate and love at the same time. Nothing works, everything is broken all the time, but at the same time the city is vivid, it is always full of life, the exciting events never run out, there are always people keen for going out and party. I think the pubs capture the essence of London. There are multiple pubs, small and big, old fashioned, modern, oldemen pubs, yougsters’ pubs, fancy pubs, cozy pubs… We have been testing as many pubs as we have been able to. One dish you (almost) always find on the pub menus is the Shepherd’s Pie. English people love their pies, but for me this pie was a mystery. I haven’t ever actually ordered it because I wasn’t sure what kind of pie would be brought to my plate.

By googling the name, I finally found that Shepherd’s pie wasn’t actually a pie at all in the sense of an ordinary English pie. Shpeherd’s pie is what we Finnish people know as ”jauhelihaperunasoselaatikko” (a long word I know), which can be translated as ”mince meat potato mash pie”. This is a famous or should I say notorious Finnish school cantine dish. Every Finn has eaten this dish at school cantines. I have to admit that for me these memories are not the most pleasant ones. As much as Finnish school food is appreciated, the picture of this dish in my mind is some gluey potatomash floating with some greasy mince meat whilst having very watery consistency which means that the spoonful falls off from your fork and it never ends up to your mouth..

To face my bad memories of this dish I decided to cook it myself. I thought it must be even a little bit tasty if English people love it so much..or is the love of it simply explained by the bad British kitchen? To play a good and sweet English housewife, I wanted to test the recipe.

As Australians owe their cuisine mainly to British, my dear Aussie man knew immediately Shepherd’s Pie  and he almost smelled it from the corridor when entering home. He loved this dish and I have to say so did I. The home made Shepherd’s Pie was a totally different experience from the ones served in the school cantines back in the 90s. This is a cheap, good and healthy home food.

For the sauce

2 large onions finely chopped

2 tnsp olive oil

500g minced lamb or beef

2 tbsp plain flour

2-3 bay leaves (crushed)

1 tsp thyme

2 small slices of anchovy

1 big tin of chopped tomatoes

3tsp BBQ sauce

300-400ml beef or lamb stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pie:

6-8 potatoes

20-30g butter

1/2 dl milk

1 egg yolk

For the top:

cheese

1.Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Cut the onions. Cook the onions in the frying pan until they turn to golden.  Add the mince meat. Cook until the meat is brown. Add teh flour and the spices. Add the stock, BBQ sauce and the chopped tomatoes. Cook it in a low heat for 1h so that the sauce gets lovely sweet flavour. The secret is slow cooking!

3. Peel the potatoes and cut them into halves if they are big. Cook them under the water for 15min until tender. Make the mash with the smoother stick or electric whisker. Add the butter and milk, egg yolk and a pinch of salt if needed.

4. Build the pie. Set the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Set the mashed potatoes on the top of the sauce. Grate some cheese (Extra mature Cheddar or Parmesan) on the top. Cook in the oven for 20 min so that the top turns to nicely golden brown.

Mustard-Honey Chicken

This is the recipe I originally found on BBC food website, but I change it a bit to get it more flavoursome. The sauce tastes heavenly and the best way to use leftover sauce is to cook chicken pies with this sauce as a filling. I bought Le Creuset here in London a few weeks after we moved here and now I have been testing all the different casserole recipes one can do. This recipe is best made in the oven in the casserole. All the flavours get stronger and softer.

4 servings

7-8 chicken thighs (skin removed) or 3 big chicken breasts bones in them

2 onions

500g parsnips

2 carrots

300ml vegetable stock

3/4 dl whole grain mustard

3 tbs honey

fresh thyme

1 ts salt

1. Set the oven in 180 celsius degrees. Cook the chicken thighs in a frying pan to make them golden brown. Then remove them on a plate to wait.

2. Cook the onions so that they become brown and sweet. Whilst onions are getting cooked cut the parsnips and carrots into the long sticks.

3. Mix the vegetable stock, mustard and honey together.

4. Take your casserole. Mix the chicken thighs, onions, carrots and parsnips. Add the vegetable-mustard-honey sauce. Bring it to simmer. Add fresh thyme according to your taste. I like thyme so I add  1/2 dl of fresh cut thyme. Salt the sauce.

5. Set the lid on and put the casserole into the oven of 180 celsius degrees for 20-40 min.

6. Serve the dish with the salad.

For Cheeselovers: Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

(2-4 servings)

2-4 chicken fillets/boneless chicken breasts

100-150 goat cheese

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves crushed/dried thyme

4-8 thin bacon slices

4-6 tomatos

3-5 garlic cloves (peeled)

1-2 onions (cut in half)

oilve oil

salt and blackpepper

Preheat the oven to 175 c degrees. Cut the tomatoes into thin slices and place them in the bottom of the baking dish. Cut onions in half. Peel the garlic cloves. Place garlic cloves and onions in the middle of the tomatos. Dizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme leaves/crushed thyme on them. Cut the goat cheese into slices. Make slits in the chicken fillets/breasts, open the slits and put some goat cheese in each of them. Fold the chicken so that the goat cheese is hidden inside of the chicken fillets and wrap each one in few slices of bacon. Put the chicken on the tomato base, sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken fillets as well. Cover the baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Serve with fresh French counrty bread, veggies or just simply with potatos.

Delish Parsnip Salad

This salad has a unique flavour which makes so difficult to get bored with it. If I want to cook something different, special and something that I doubt my guests have tasted before, I cook this delish parsnip salad.  Fresh thyme in the dressing is the secret, I think.

This is from the magazine in Finland that promotes heart friendly food, so bear in mind it is a guilt free dish.

(4 servings)
2 parsnips (2x 200g)
oil
salt
blackpepper
rocket salad
Parmesan -cheese (small slices)

Dressing:
1/2 dl balsamico
1 tsp mustard
3 tbsp capers
2tsp sugar
blackpepper
1-2 tbsp fresh thyme, crushed (if you don’t have fresh, the dry thyme, spice goes well)1/2 dl oil

(do not use olive oil, its taste is too dominating, prefer some neutral vegetable oil, in Finland we have so called ”rypsiöljy”

Preheat the oven to 225 c degrees. Peel and cut the parsnips, turn them in oil and season with salt and blackpepper. Place them on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes. Wash, dry and place the salad on the plate. Make the dressing by combining the ingredients.

When parsnips are ready, let them cool for a while. Sprinkle them on the rocketsalad and sprinkle some Parmesan -cheese on it as well. Pour the nice dressing on the salad. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish. Yummy.