Monday, January 25, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash and Chicken Soup.

A cold and wet January in London calls for something that is tasty and heart warming and this soup ticks all the correct boxes. Not only is the soup tasty, but it is ready and on the table in about twenty five minutes, so it is still very do-able after a hard day at work.


1 butternut squash peeled and diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of Thai green curry paste
1 can of coconut milk
5 cups of chicken broth
2 1/2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
4 chicken breasts thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
sprinkle of sea salt

Fried leeks
raw scallion or spring onion

Heat the oil in a large heavy pan and sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger in the oil for about five minutes. Add the curry paste and stir well in. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, chili sauce, squash, and stir again . Bring everything to a boil, and simmer for about fifteen minutes until the squash is al dente. Add the chicken, sugar, and salt and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the pumpkin done. Taste to see that it has sweet, tart and spicy balance, top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges dipped in salt.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chilli With Pumpkin

I desperately wanted to eat chilli this weekend and when I looked the only beans I had were chickpeas, sooooooooooo as I did not fancy the chilli chick pea combination, plan B came about. Surprisingly enough the pumkin was delicious with chilli, so much so I think I will add it anyway the next time I make it. Although the chilli is technically ready when it is cooked it tastes better the next day, it improves with keeping and is one of the few dishes that develop a depth of flavour in the freezer.

4 dried ancho chiles
3 oz. bacon, diced
3/4 pounds onion, chopped
1 kilo of stewing beef cubed
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
10 Ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bottle dark beer such as Guinness
4 fresh chillis
2 large handfuls finely chopped fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
1 peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash

cilantro leaves
chopped red onion
diced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
warm tortillas


Place chilies in medium bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to completely cover. Soak until chilies soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sauté the bacon until it begins to brown, then add onions, reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Place the beef in a bag with seasoned flour and toss to coat. Drain chilies, reserving soaking liquid and blend them. Add all the ingredients to the pot except the squash and the fresh coriander. Cook for a few hours on a simmer until tender. Add the squash for the last ten minutes of cooking time and when it is ready add the coriander leaves.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Healthy Spiced Pumpkin bread

Healthy spiced pumpkin bread

Nothing is as comforting as a spicy bread or cake in Winter and this recipe is moist and delicious. it would make excellent french toast for breakfast.


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
3 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
Handful toasted pumpkin seeds or walnuts, or both

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.