Saturday Market – a lazy recipe

I went to the market this morning and got excited about garlic. Weird I know. This is a favourite spread I make, if you add a bit more oil and juice of a whole lemon you can make it a dip consistency. I like it in warm pita bread with slices of juicy tomato.

Ingredients

1 400g can butter beans
3 cloves of garlic (or more if you’re brave)
half a cup of chopped parsley
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
salt

Method

Step 1 Rinse and drain the beans

Step 2 Finely chop the garlic, I use some course ground salt to help it mush up, put into blender

Step 3 Chop the parsley, add to blender

Step 3 Add juice of half a lemon to the blender, with the oil and the beans

Step 4 Blend,

Step 5 serve with toasted pita bread.

 

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Summer Cheesecake

This cheesecake is frozen rather than baked, and it’s perfect for summer. I have a rough method for making this and it comes out different every time but always delicious. You can make it ahead of time, I usually make it a day or two before serving, but I assume it would be fine in the freezer for longer.

Ingredients

Base

  • I packet biscuits to give 250g biscuit crumbs, I use Bastogne because they already have some spice in the biscuit and a nice caramel colour
  • 100-120 grams of butter, melted

Filling

  • cream cheese 200g (full fat)
  • quark or yoghurt 400g (full fat)
  • icing sugar about 100g
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • gelatin 4 sheets

Method

Step 1

Crush the biscuits into a rough crumb, add melted butter, mix together

Cheesecake step 1Step 2

Press the mixture into the base of a springform tin, the one I use is relatively small, 18cm. Put the base in the freezer while you make the filling.

cheesecake step 2Step 3

Blend together all the filling ingredients except the gelatin. I use a wand blender to do this.
Soften the gelatin sheets in a little warm water, add the whole lot to the mixture and blend again. I’ve found the mix of cream cheese and yoghurt/quark makes a lighter filling that’s perfect after a meal.

Step 4

Pour filling into prepared base and put cheesecake into the freezer.

When it’s semi set add any flavouring (see below), you’ll need to wait about an hour to do this otherwise your flavouring will all sink to the bottom of the cheesecake. Put it back in the freezer for at least 3 more hours.

Step 5

I used some raspberry jam thinned with hot water to a coulis consistency in this one, here it is out of the freezer.

Take the cheesecake out of the freezer before the meal, on a warm day it will defrost to a refreshing temperature in about 2 hours. If you get it wrong it’s more like an ice cream cake which is still delicious.

Step 5

Serve on your prettiest plate.

serve cheesecakeFlavouring Ideas

I’ve experimented with adding some flavourings to the filling, add them to a semi-set cheesecake, I used raspberry ripple

  • Raspberry Ripple; stir in some raspberry coulis
  • Cherry Delight; macerate fresh cherries (without stones) in kirsch
  • Apricot Appeal; macerate dried apricots in Grand Marnier
  • Citrus Scented; double up on the lemon zest, add candied peel, decorate with caramelised orange segments

Saturday Market – Cauliflower Soup

I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, I don’t think I’ve ever bought it at the market before, but a friend isn’t well and this was her request. So, for the first time in my life I’ve made cauliflower soup. It’s delicious!

I found a lovely head of cauliflower, and googled for a recipe.

cauliflower

 

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 1 potato
  • oil
  • 3 cups of stock
  • salt, pepper, spices

Method

Step 1

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add finely sliced onion, salt, pepper, and half a teaspoon of spice mix – I used Ras el Hanout today. I think Garam Marsala would also work, I wanted to give a touch of a warm flavour to the soup. Cook on a medium low heat to soften the onions.

cauliflowersoup-2

Step 2

Dice the potato, add it to the onion mix. The final soup is blended so you don’t need to be too fussy about the size of the pieces.

cauliflowersoup-3

Step 3

Chop cauliflower into florets, add to pan and mix well.

cauliflowersoup-4

Step 4

Add enough stock to the pan to cover the vegetables, turn up the heat to boil the soup. Cook until all the vegetables are soft, this doesn’t take long, around 12 minutes.

cauliflowersoup-5

Step 5

Remove from heat and blend until smooth.

cauliflowersoup-6Step 6

Serve warm, you can stir in some cream to make the soup richer but the potato already makes it creamy and delicious.

Saturday Market; Pumpkin Soup

Summer stretched to the end of September this year, but I’ve gone from sandals to boots in about a fortnight. It’s suddenly autumn. Today was chilly and a little rainy. Time for soup.

Pumpkin soup. This is a hearty version perfect for this time of year, it uses just four ingredients; butternut pumpkin, red onions, olive oil and sage. Butternut pumpkin works best for a rich creamy soup. I found the pumpkin in the market for a euro each.

butternut pumpkin
I have sage growing on my terrace, the wonderfully pungent purple sage.

purple sageI chopped and de-seeded the pumpkin, peeled and halved two red onions, put them in a roasting dish, and then roughly chopped a handful of sage and sprinkled it over the vegetables. Drizzled the olive oil over.

vegetables ready for roasting to make pumpkin soup
Roast the whole lot at about 150C (in a fan oven) for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Remove from the oven.

Roast vegetables for pumpkin soupAllow to cool, then peel the skin off the pumpkin and put all vegetables into a pot, add about two cups of hot stock and blend. Adjust seasoning.

Warm through and serve – you can add sour cream, croutons, grated cheese – whatever pleases you. A big bowl with thick slabs of toasted bread is a warming, soothing lunch.

Pumpkin soupIt will keep in the fridge for around five days, and freezes well.

Fig it!

At Saturday’s market figs were on offer, 10 figs for 3 euro. Best price all year. I love the dusky rich colour of figs, their distinctive flavour that can go either sweet or savoury. One of my favourite holiday memories is of standing under an ancient, spreading fig tree in Molise (south Italy) and eating fresh ripe figs warmed by the sun. Every summer I want to recreate that flavour memory so I couldn’t resist. 2016-09-17-15-14-34One of my favourite ways to eat figs is fresh in a salad with a creamy goat’s cheese. The rich sweetness of the figs is a perfect foil for the sharpness of the cheese. But this time I wanted to go sweet, so I poached them in a sweet wine with some spices and honey. I’ve also used a solution of honey, water and a few drops of orange water for a non-alcoholic version.

My mix this time was 200 ml of “half sweet” wine, about two teaspoons of honey, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and one or two star anise thrown in. I heated the poaching mix and dropped in the semi-quartered the figs. I cooked them until soft – be careful, they disintegrate easily so don’t stir and do watch them. Spoon the poaching mix over the figs as they cook.

2016-09-23-21-40-53I served them still warm with good thick Greek yoghurt.

2016-09-24-09-32-38

Saturday Market; Lilypad Soup

lilypadsoupA rather nice thing happened at the market on Saturday, I purchased my vegetables as usual, and as I paid I was offered some baby asparagus. They were past their best, or as the stall keeper tactfully put it “you need to use them soon”. I did, I made this soup yesterday which contains no lilypads but plenty of asparagus. When I saw the colour match with the table cloth I couldn’t resist the name.

I based the recipe on one I found on the BBC food site. It worked out well, it’s full of flavour without tasting too strongly of asparagus.

Lilypad Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 200g asparagus roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4-5 sprigs of oregano, leaves only
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • 150 ml double cream
  • good olive oil to drizzle
  • crusty bread to serve
Preparation
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, add the leek, asparagus, potato, and oregano saute for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable stock, add more water if the vegetables aren’t covered.
  3. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer until all vegetables are cooked.
  4. Take off the heat, blend with a wand blender until smooth. Add cream and blend again
  5. Return to heat, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve pour into bowls, drizzle some good olive oil on the top and serve crusty bread on the side.

Notes;

If you don’t want to serve it straight away, or want to store some of the soup, I would reserve the cream until you re-heat the soup just before serving. I didn’t test it but the soup mixture without cream should freeze fairly well.

If a vegan version is needed skip the butter but double the cooking oil, and add an extra potato and a little more stock or water. The potato does give the soup a creamy texture.

Saturday Market – Delicious

I love doing my shopping at the market on Saturday morning, I love it even more on a sunny day when the stalls are full of delicious produce like this.


I had never seen white asparagus until I moved to the Netherlands. I’m not quite a fan yet, although I do love it in a creamy soup,┬á (recipe from my friend Cooksterella).