Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Summer Soup Interlude

Dear readers,

apologies for the lull in posting - there are some changes happening, and there's no way of telling whether they are going to go a David Bowie or Judas Priest direction at this stage.

But while I've been running around like a headless chick, I found comfort in the ladle of a brilliant, family run, local soupery, somewhat cheekily named Naked Soup. The jury is still out on the amusement factor of this name. But be that as it may, I find that, when summer consists of a maximum temperature that would count as winter in other parts of the world, soup is reliable, spoonable tummy joy.

Summer and Soup in Glasgow
Photo: kalico 10 on Flickr

So, today, when I paid a visit to the abovementioned establishment, I mentioned to the young, handsome lad behind the till just how yumsome the soup of my choice was. And hey, presto, here's the recipe. (Of course, if you are in town, please check out the cafe! Their coffee is on par with the soup, served with a corner of caramel slice.)

Lentil-Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup
(serves about a third of customers at lunchtime - adjust to smaller portions as necessary)

Add water to 3 sweet potatoes, 2 large onions (both in chunks), 100g stock cubes and 1.6kg red lentils. Boil untill the lentils are soft.. Add 1 tin of coconut milk, season, blend, and enjoy the goodness!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Here's One I'm Preparing Right Now

A quick post while I'm anticipating the arrival of six hungry dinner guests (and the accompanying logistical problems that arise from living in a rental flat clearly not designed for entertaining the masses): a recipe which allows even those of us who have not been raptured to partake in heavenly experiences.

I discovered this recipe while sharing a flat with a young gardener at Hardwick Hall - a young gardener with a brilliant cookbook collection which turned me as green with envy as his thumb. There it was: stripey, colourful, and so full of brilliant, exciting and mouthwatering recipes that I a) didn't even mind that there weren't many pictures in there (a no-no when it comes to cookbooks otherwise - I want to see what I'm going to make, even if it is a cold, hairsprayed version of the real thing), and b) almost missed an appointment because I kept on saying "I'll just read one more recipe and then I'll go".
Photo from

The book in question is Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook. Month by month, it lists fresh produce and a multitude of recipes for each. And not your bog standard recipes, either, as you will soon see. Aforementioned gardener made me promise to put all the words back into the book before I leave. I nicked a few on a notepad. Apologies. Here's what's chilling in the freezer compartment of my fridge right now, waiting to be spooned onto plates with fresh strawberries.

Basil Ice Cream (adapted from Sarah Raven)
Take one bunch of fresh basil, chop it roughly and then mix together with 250g caster sugar. Add 150g mascarpone and stir for a while to get rid of the sugar crystals and infuse everything with the basil aroma. Add the juice of one lemon as you go along. Finally, add ca. 600g of full fat natural yoghurt.

Put into a freezer friendly container, the container then into the freezer, and give a good stir with a fork (breaking up any solid masses that might build up) every couple of hours. If your freezer is too cold, do something about it. It's best made the late morning of your dinner party, for perfect consistency. Raven warns that this ice cream doesn't keep for long. I'd say, rather, it doesn't last long. Mmmh. Serve with fresh strawberries.