Friday, 7 March 2008

Playing catch-up

It seems like a little while since I posted about the food adventures part of our new years resolution; remember, the part where we have to try out at least one new recipe a week? Well, technically we have been trying new recipes because the bread and cakes I have been baking have been totally new to us. However I don't want to lose track of the savoury side of things. Although there is a bit of a sweet tooth in Our Lovely Flat (tm) we also eat tonnes of vegetables. It's kind of hard not to being vegetarians who love food.

So this week, the arrival of our Abel and Cole box prompted me to get adventurous. It had some lovely fresh broccoli and parsnips in it and not wanting to risk losing their freshness (I somehow always manage to forget about parsnips and discover them days later slightly wrinkled and squidgy) I decided to have an evening of experimentation.

The first thing I did was raid my recipe scrap book looking for the Apple and Parsnip soup recipe I had cut out of the Observer months ago. Alas I can't remember which chef recommended it, but I thought I'd have a bash anyway. I thought I would make it straight away to catch the freshness of the veg and then freeze it so on a future occasion when neither of us fancied cooking we would have tasty healthy "fast" food.

I had to adapt the recipe as I didn't quite have enough parsnip, but I figured with it only being the two of us it wouldn't matter too much. It smelt nice, and hopefully it will taste nice too. Updates to follow as and when.

I then set about making dinner for that evening (Wednesday). I wanted something simple but healthy and very tasty. I decided to make a pasta dish with the broccoli. The photo doesn't really do it justice as it was a real success, very simple to make and so tasty it didn't even feel righteous! It was totally of my own invention, and I was very pleased to see N grin while munching it. I've called it "pesto broccoli" because essentially that's what it is!

And now for the recipes:

Apple and Parsnip soup (adapted from an Observer Food Monthly recipe - I've just transcribed it as I made it)

2 large parsnips sliced (they were pretty large I have to say!)
1 large onion sliced
2 small apples sliced (the recipe said peel them, I didn't bother as we use organic and I think the peel adds flavour)
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock (I forgot to use the frozen stock I'd made, I must remember next time)
1 bay leaf
small handful of fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
knob of butter

Melt the butter in a large pan. Once melted saute the onions until soft but not golden, add the parsnips and cook until slightly tender. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Then add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the parsnips are tender. Remove from the heat and add the apple, stir well and then when slightly cooled place the place in a blender, removing as much of the liquid as possible and whizz until smooth, slowly adding the liquid to get the consistency you prefer. Replace on the heat briefly, but do not boil, before serving.

Pesto broccoli pasta

1 1/2 heads of broccoli (basically enough for two people)
two spoons of pesto (I used it from the jar, but will use fresh as soon as our basil grows!)
two spoons of cream cheese
freshly ground black pepper

NB I didn't really measure the cheese and pesto, I just used a normal spoon from the cutlery draw.

Steam the broccoli until slightly tender, maintaining the lovely colour and crunch. Once it is ready shake off the excess water and in another pan over a low heat mixed together the cream cheese, pesto and pepper until it was slightly melted and well combined, then add the broccoli and stir until well coated. Serve immediately with pasta of your choosing.

Enjoy, we certainly did!

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