Sunday, 30 November 2014

Leek and Potato Soup with Chorizo crumbs and Cheese croutons

With the nights drawing in and not only chilly starts but chilly nights too I do declare soup season officially open! I always enjoy making soup, there is something so nourishing and rewarding about it! I must admit I have no real memories of ever really eating leek and potato soup, its certainly the first time I have made it but I had some leeks going spare and I had bought a giant bag of potatoes going cheap and it sort of called out to me to make it!

Whilst the soup was lovely on its own…. do make the tiny extra bit of effort to make the topping too! The cheesy topped croutons are a doddle to make and the sweet smoky spicy chorizo pieces add a nice little extra bite! The soup reheats very well too the following day for lunch! I packed up a little container with the extra croutons and chorizo pieces and got some admiring looks in the works kitchen whilst assembling!

Makes 4 servings


2 large leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 medium white potatoes, diced. I.e. maris piper variety
20g butter
800ml vegetable stock (1 heaped tsp marigold bouillon powder)
300ml milk
70g picante chorizo
2 slices wholemeal bread
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Flavoured olive oil

Halve the chorizo lengthways and then slice each half lengthways again, finely slice so you have nice little thin quarters.

Heat a large deep saucepan and fry the chorizo for a couple of minutes to release the lovely oil but not burning the chorizo, scoop out into a bowl. Add the butter to the saucepan (and remaining chorizo oil), then fry the leeks for 4-5 minutes until softened, stir in the potato chunks and cover, reduce the temperature and gently cook them without browning for 10-15 minutes or until just softening. Add the stock, milk and stir well and re-cover, gently bubble away for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the bread and brush with the oil on both sides, use a sharp knife to slice into little triangles. Keeping the triangles close together grate a thin layer of parmesan over the top, place on a baking tray and cook in a medium hot oven until crispy and lightly golden.

Blend the soup until smooth and serve in bowls, top with a couple of cheesy triangles and sprinkle over a few of the chorizo pieces.

A comfort hug in a bowl.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Turkey, Pecan and Cranberry Strudel

Trying to come up with this dishes name was initially easy in my planning process but after actually making it did Strudel still fit the bill I wondered? Strudels tend to be more of the sweet variety but in a restaurant for lunch the other week I had a roasted vegetable and goats cheese one so I think I can happily borrow the name for this occasion! I did momentarily consider the word puff that makes me just think of dragon's which is obviously just plainly wrong! Plus it might be rather tricky catching one....

When it comes to leftovers, I really do enjoy making them into something new and always relish the challenge! With Christmas approaching faster than Santa's sleigh it is most probable you might just have quite a few leftovers from the big meal to play with - and Sainsbury's asked me to create something using leftover Turkey. Now Turkey leftovers and Christmas makes me think of turkey curry and boxing day, something a bit of a joke nowadays - yes it does make a rather nice curry but there is so much more you can do with it too! Its usually a very lean meat, and whilst most people go for the white breast meat I am much more fond of the slightly gamier tasting brown meat, usually the thighs or legs and chances are you might have that in particular leftover, though this dish would work well with either so don't worry too much if its only a small joint like a crown you have leftovers from.

Whilst I may fold the pastry a little differently next time, overall it was a great success and I really enjoyed having our pre-Christmas dinner last Sunday complete with fairy lights! My strudel was a great use of leftovers - the cranberry sauce left from who know's when and a handful of pecan nuts added a tasty crunch to the mixture too! You could probably use walnuts equally well if that's what you have leftover instead. The sweet, slightly tangy cranberry with the lovely pecan crunch and sweet turkey meat was really tasty, definitely a keeper of a recipe!

Turkey, Pecan and Cranberry Strudel

Serves 3-4 adults, fairly easy


200g cooked brown Turkey meat, shredded
50g butter
100g cranberry sauce
50g pecan nuts
6 sheets of filo pastry, by Sainsbury's
30g plain flour
30g unsalted butter
200ml milk
1 tbsp poppyseeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 190o.

Place the pecans on a heavy baking sheet, cook for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted - do not forget - they burn super fast (as I found out the hard way!) remove from the oven and lightly break up into smaller chunks.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk together thoroughly, slowly add the milk bit by bit to form a thick roux, until all combined and simmer for about 5 minutes or until it coats the back of the spoon well. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and stir through the turkey.

In a small pan melt the butter and keep warm.

Unroll the filo sheets gently, place one on a flexible baking sheet or parchment paper in a rectangular shape, brush with butter thinly all over, repeat with a further three sheets. You need to work fast as filo dries out fast - if needed dampen some kitchen paper and place on top of the open sheets.

With the prepared pastry, spoon over the prepared turkey mixture down the middle, allowing an inch gap on the sides. Spoon over the cranberry sauce, butter the exposed pastry and place a new filo sheet over the top, pressing out any air gently. Repeat with a further sheet over the top.

Fold up the opposite ends, inwards, brushing again with butter to seal. Using sharp scissors, make horizontal slashes about an inch apart but not through to the filling, and brush again with butter. Fold up the slashed pieces of filo in an alternate pattern. Cover liberally with remaining butter and sprinkle over the poppyseeds.

Lifting the sheet onto a heavy based baking tray, bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. My oven is questionable as to its temperature but you want a fairly hot oven!

Slice into portions and serve with roasted baby potatoes and a green vegetable medley, I sauteed leeks with courgettes and it went very well together! Oh and lots of gravy!

With thanks to Sainsbury's who provided vouchers to cover my time and ingredients.

As I used up some neglected cranberry sauce, leftover Turkey meat and the last few pecans I am sending my festive recipe over to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's No Waste Food Challenge which is being held by Slice Off Me this November!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Herby Black Eyed Beans

Sometimes, when deciding what to make as a side dish that doesn't involve either pasta, rice or potatoes it can get a little overwhelming or puzzling. Afterall I also have polenta, Kaska grains, bulgur wheat, couscous, toasted couscous and various tins of beans at any one time to choose from!   And this is where tinned beans are magic friends! I was a bit of a latecomer to tinned beans, I really disliked baked beans growing up, and thanks to my mum thought I didn’t like kidney beans either (yes I was that fussy fellow diner picking those red beans out, sorry, beans, please forgive me!) but a chance eating out of politeness at a family gathering I realised actually they are rather nice, and indeed edible and I started exploring things with beans… quite often they are just part of the fabric of a recipe – take chilli con carne as a prime example or within the spicy bean burgers I often make, with sweet potato but its not often they are a side dish in their own right – times are a’changin and beans are getting a new lease of life!

Black eyed beans were a random purchase, I think they had various beans & pulses on offer at 4 tins for one whole pound and I stumbled across the b-e-b’s and vaguely remembered that I thought I liked them, and I most definitely do! They are nicely creamy, savoury and overall very versatile bean. Definitely hoarding material friendly!

I loved this dish – in fact we both did and its something that will be on my repertoire of quick and tasty side dishes! The creamy beans, fragrant hints of mint and earthiness from the cumin, plus a little green chilli zing made for a very pleasant meal!

This works really well as part of a mezze type affair, served warm.

1 x 400g tin Black eyed Beans, drained
2 large salad tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion finely sliced
½ tsp dried mint
½ tsp cumin seed
½ green chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Water, to loosen

Greek yoghurt with a squeeze of lime if you have some, to serve

In a shallow frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli, tomatoes, cumin, mint, reduce the heat and gently poke around for about 5 minutes or until the tomato chunks are starting to go squishy. Add a little water if its getting too dry but not enough to flood the pans contents either! Stir through the beans and gently cook, covered for a further ten minutes to fully heat through the beans and keeping the mixture moist. Stir occasionally, allowing the tomato to break down into the mixture.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on the side of something nice and add a dollop of lime streaked yoghurt on top. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Veggie Secret Sausage Kebabs

Whilst I can make a perfectly decent barbecue sauce, I was trying to have a raid on the numerous jars collecting in the fridge (there is one full shelf and stragglers in the door and lurking on other shelves! I really am trying harder to use them up!) and I stumbled across a neglected opened jar of Opies Smoked Garlic BBQ Sauce I think my dad had originally bought over back in the summer – it’s a really tasty sauce and had me scheming as to how I would use it up....

In the meantime I was sent some veggie friendly sausages – now in the past the thought of a veggie sausage had me running to the hills as I had never found a decent one and I've been subjected to some pretty insipid non-beast’s along the way! Whilst I have mastered a veggie sausage roll with excellent they are not actually sausage shaped or suitable to cook on the grill and this is where my Secret Sausages stepped in! Reading the blurb off the back of the packet I tried, they hare 90% less fat, 50% of the calories and 35% less salt vs a regular sausage. Oh and 3 sausages count as 1 of your 5 a day too! Sounding like a health food right? All quite impressive indeed….

…But how do they actually compare vs a pork versions you may wonder? Okay so succulent meaty pork they are not but in their own right they held their shape well after being diced up and cooked, had a pleasant, slightly coarse texture that resembled the nice vegetables inside, not some mashed pulp of gawd knows what! Whilst they were not exactly very exciting on their own, flavour wise, livened up with the bbq sauce they worked a treat and would be a very acceptable vegetarian offering say for example at a bbq or a family gathering. I do cook mostly from scratch but I am only human and use a handful of cheat ingredients for when time is short and these are definitely something that’s handy to keep in the freezer on standby!

This particular packet of Secret Sausage's were Rosemary and Garlic, and they are made with green beans, mixed peppers, rice and rosemary, plus garlic of course! They are vegetarian society approved product as well as being gluten free so are suitable for special diets.

6 Rosemary & Garlic Secret Sausages
½ a large courgette
1 medium red pepper
BBQ sauce, to glaze - about 1 cup
Spray oil, to cook

Makes 4-6 kebabs

Using a sharp knife cut each sausage into 3 equal pieces. Halve the courgette length way's and again so you have four long quarters. Slice into 1 cm chunks.

De-seed the pepper and cut into half inch squares.

Thread alternate pieces of courgette, sausage and pepper onto the kebabs. Spray with oil and grill for about five minutes, brush over the bbq sauce and cook for a further five minutes, turn the kebabs over, grill lightly before glazing again until cooked through – about 5 minutes.

Serve with my herby beans (my next post) or a nice salad or as we are now winter mash is perfectly acceptable!

As I finally used up the last of my neglected jar of Barbecue sauce I have entered my Kebab's into Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary's No Waste Food Challenge which is being held by Slice Off Me this November!

Disclaimer: I was sent a variety of Secret Sausage's for review. I recevied no payment for this and all images, text and opinions remain the property of Anne's Kitchen.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week simply flew by! We stuck to some of the plan but with B's man flu and being generally exhausted from sofa surfing a lot of the dinners became quicker versions. Tuesday's Cauliflower tart failed at the first hurdle as I realised upon taking the pastry out of the fridge it was puff and not shortcrust. And B turned his nose up at the idea anyway so we had cauliflower cheese instead and I had fortunately picked up some pork mince reduced, so I added some Jerk seasoning and made little pasties instead with the pastry. I think B was actually secretly delighted by this impromptu meal as I got meekly told 'we never have pie'!

This week I am determined to clear some cupboard space, I actually bought a new vegetable tiered thingy yesterday to keep in our larder aka Narnia to store excess tins! Do not let me buy tomatoes this side of Christmas, I seem to have accidentally hoarded them!! How normal is it to have 15 tins of chopped tomatoes, a large jar of passata, 3 cartons of chilli & pepper passata? Anyone else guilty?

I have made this weeks plan but also have spare a packet of mushrooms and a lot of new potatoes. Most likely one of the meals will change or will be lots of soup made for lunches! Tonight's meatball spaghetti is using up half a pack of sausage meat leftover from the recent sausage roll festival here!

Sausage Meatball Spaghetti 
Aubergine katsu curry, courgettes and noodles 
Chorizo, leek and squash hash with poached eggs 
Tuna pasta bake 
Thai Chicken wing broth or naughty takeaway

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Spicy Mushroom & Bean Sausage rolls

Now calling these ‘sausage’ is a bit misleading as there's no Pork in them and the term parcels implies something much larger and I can’t think of anything smaller than rolls. Plus I was making alongside their meatier counterparts so I decided to keep the ‘sausage’ part…you understand I am sure what I am waffling on about!

I have never made a veggie version of sausage rolls before, see I am actually rather fond of properly made pork ones when not in veggie phase but some bought outside of home are often rather questionable in their quality and after trying a truly awful, dry and claggy vegetarian sausage roll from a health food shop, it was time to embark on my own.. plus I was making these prior to going to see my wonderful auntie in the west country, who also by chance is a vegetarian so I thought she wouldn’t mind at all being a guinea pig! So I lovingly made these up from scratch, parcelled up and took them for a road trip!

Considering they are my first ever attempt at a veggie friendly sausage roll, I am super happy with them, plus everyone loved them! The spicing was perfect – hints of chilli, cinnamon and more from the Baharat seasoning, which was randomly picked up last year on holiday in Jersey, the filling texture was chunky but still fine enough to munch without pulling half the filling out and the vegetables all complemented each other very well. Wrapped in a loving puff pastry blanket what more you can want?

This will make enough for 13 generous cocktail sized sausage rolls – simply double up the filling to use the whole pastry sheet up!


1 puff pastry ready rolled sheet, halved down the middle to form two long rectangles (do this whilst still rolled! Mine was bought from Sainsbury's)
200g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ red romano pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
100g cooked black eyed beans
1.5tsp baharat seasoning
1 egg, beaten
Poppyseeds, to decorate


Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, gently cook the onion until softened, stir through the mushrooms, carrot and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, sweating them down – be careful not to burn them, stir through the garlic, baharat, and the beans and heat through, press down lightly to gently mash the beans, season to taste with salt and pepper – the mixture should be fairly dry looking and well mixed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down.

Pre-heat the oven to I would approximate at about 200o - my oven has been on the blink for some time (and housing company apparently deny) so mine was 240o on the dial..

Open out the pastry sheet, brush the top and bottom halves with the beaten egg. Arrange the cooled mixture down the middle keeping it well together, to form a long sausage, pat down to form a column of sorts. 

Gently pull up the bottom half of the pastry over the mixture, brush the top with more egg and pull up the top side, gently teasing over – you want about a centimetre or so of overlap. Brush all over with egg and sprinkle with poppyseed's. Gently press the knife almost through to the bottom to form slices, on the nice sheet they provide with the pastry.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and cooked through. Allow to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Serve warm. If they get the chance to cool that far! They can also be reheated in a warm oven for about 10-15 minutes. Oh and they travel well too! 

Perfect for picnics, late brunches..snacks and light lunches too! Pretty much no excuse needed really.

I am sending these over to Treat Petite for November held by Cakeyboi and this months host The Baking Explorer - as mentioned above I made these with my Auntie T in my mind - all through my up's, down's and frankly inside out stages she has been my rock and its lovely to say thank you in the best way I know how - baking something that tastes great!

My veggie rolls are perfect for all the family - and for the great Family Foodies challenge, which has gone Vegetarian for November and so I have sent them over to the lovely hosts Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash

Monday, 3 November 2014

Meal Planning Monday & Catch-Up

Sorry for the late post - we have already eaten tonight's meal but I am squeezing posting in between finishing work, making dinner, transferring holiday photos and getting ready for my Pilates class! Tonight is not going to be fun - I had my flu jab today - as my Mr B has gone down with it and to be honest after just about seeing the back of a chest infection flu is not on my agenda! Trouble is thanks to the flu jab my left arm is now very sore and it will mean the stretches are, er, gonna be interesting!

Last week I didn't meal plan- mainly as I had actually taken my eldest niece A to Devon for the week, staying with lovely family. We did lots of cooking though I wish I had taken more pictures! A highlight was a pudding - simple bowl of slowly cooked semolina - but topped with caramelised satsuma segments in a ginger and cinnamon spiced butter! Oh and of course a piece of Curly Wurly at A's insistence it needed chocolate - who I am to disagree? Also we made blue cheese and poppyseed biscuits, a rather lovely spicy lentil soup using all sorts of leftovers, a tomato and pesto chicken thigh bake with a lot of cheese on too! Oh and baked apples stuffed with rum spiked sultanas and almonds. Oh and the most awesome ginger crunch biscuits - I will blog them soon, they lasted less than two days from being baked! Ooops!!

Then there was the lunch out to Torquay where we dined on Calamari, Surf rolls, chips, pickled onion-onion rings and deli cucumbers! 

And another lunch out at The Big Food Show in Exeter that very kindly gave us tickets - that was a lovely butternut squash and blue cheese tart with assorted salady bits. Needless to say I really need to cut back as the leggings for tonight's class are feeling pretty snug!! It was great to visit the show for the first time - it was busy but not as crazy manic busy compared to London shows I've attended and we got to see the Hairy Bikers and Marcus Bean cook on stage - plus picking up a few extra treats to take back home! I got my dad some beer called Pheasant Plucker, not one to say when tipsy...!

This weeks plan is not finalised, I won't lie. Mr B doesn't have much appetite so we are playing it on a day by day basis - but the fridge is full and will roughly play out as follows! We are also both exhausted from lack of sleeping so it may all just go awol! I bought the smoked tofu on a random impulse buy - I have only ever beer battered the regular kind but fancy some experimenting - do please leave me a comment if you have a better suggestion for it!!

Chorizo & Cheese omelette, baby corn and asparagus 
Cauliflower cheese tart, courgette and leek saute 
Smoked sausage stir fry 
Butternut squash and Smoked Tofu bake 
Aubergine Jambalya 

Mrs M's Linky
Tomorrow I plan to blog some amazing veggie sausage rolls for you - here is a sneak peek of them:

And yes they do cry out Eat me Eat me!

01 09 10