Gorgeous Garlic Potatoes

120420131491

Another simple and easy side dish that works well with stews, casseroles and roasts.

Ingredients

Serves up to 6

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

4 large baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped and crushed

300ml of vegetable stock

25g of extra mature cheddar cheese, grated

a tiny curl of butter

Salt and pepper

Method

Dawn: This makes a nice alternative potato dish to accompany a traditional Sunday roast.

Andrew: Yes, there are many varieties of potatoes and all are so versatile when cooking.

Dawn: There is that old saying: “Variety is the spice of life”! And our food needs to be varied to provide us with all the nutrition our bodies demand. That’s an excellent point, Andrew. There are over 80 varieties in the UK that are grown commercially and being from the carbohydrate family, provide a valuable source of energy which our bodies need. 

  • Put the butter in a large frying pan and melt; then, add the onion and garlic cooking for a few minutes until softened. Set aside in a dish.
  • Next, place the potatoes in the frying pan using the juices from the onion. Layer the potatoes. As you do this, add a little of the softened onion and garlic to each layer, evenly scattering the mixture upon each layer.
  • Pour over the vegetable stock over the potatoes making sure all have been covered with the stock.

Andrew: Can I use a creamy white sauce instead? 

Dawn: Yes, that would make a delicious alternative to this healthier version. 

Andrew: In fact, a super quick version of this dish could be made using a tin of chicken soup rather than vegetable stock. 

  • Add the grated cheese to the top of the dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the ovenproof dish with kitchen foil.
  • Place in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6, 200°C electric for 1 hour. Then, remove the kitchen foil and cook for a further 20-30 minutes while the top browns. Test to see if the potatoes are cooked by sticking a fork into them and if tender, they’re cooked.

Andrew: Mmm…certainly smells lovely!

Dawn: And tastes divine!

For more of the Cooking Duo’s easy, tasty and inexpensive recipes and cooking tips, follow this blog and Twitter account @Love_Food_UK

Plentiful Curried Parsnip Soup

DSCI0830

So morish a recipe if ever there was one! Filling, tasty and a firm favourite that makes a great starter or a substantial lunch.

Ingredients

Serves upto 6

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 onion, sliced and chopped

600g of parsnips, peeled and chopped

1.2l vegetable stock (using two-three stock cubes)

Method

  • Put the cumin seeds into a large saucepan and toast for about 5 minutes until they are releasing their heady aromas.
  • Add the chopped onion.

Andrew: Where’s the cooking oil?

Dawn: I’m not using any in this recipe but it can be added to the saucepan after the cumin seeds have been toasted, if you prefer. 

Andrew: You could also use coriander seed and cardamom seed. Let them ‘pop’ in the pan and then crush with the back of a spoon or with a pestle and mortar before continuing.

Dawn: Interesting twist. I will try that one.

  • Cook the chopped onion until softened, for approximately 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Next, add the vegetable stock and the chopped parsnips.
  • Bring the saucepan contents up to boil and lower the heat.
  • Simmer until the parsnips are soft, for approximately 20 minutes.
  • With an electric hand whisk, blend the parsnips, cumin and vegetable stock mixture to form a smooth texture.
  • Serve warm with crusty, tasty wholemeal bread and add a twirl of single cream into the top.

Andrew: I love this soup! A veggie friend make some some time ago and it was delicious. For a fabulous variation grate some Bramley apple into the soup after it has been blended, heating through for 3-4 minutes to add the apple flavour and texture.

Dawn: And oh, so very simple to make!!! Costs pennies to achieve a really tasty and nutritious meal. 

For more tasty and easy meals, follow our blog here and our Twitter account over at @Love_Food_UK

Tasty Tomato and Basil Soup

DSCI0541

Soups. Hearty. Warming. Sometimes served cold as in the Med. Nutritious. Filling. Easy to make. And relatively inexpensive to pull together, here’s a real Winter warmer one for you.

Andrew: I love soups. I often have one at lunchtime as they are so simple to heat through and keeps me going through the afternoon. Chilled soups are excellent too. The Mediterranean vegetables absorb so much flavour that seems even more potent when cold. Garlic is especially good for this.

Dawn: Keeping the Vampires away!  You will find this one is so easy to freeze, too.

Ingredients

Serves 6 generous portions

1 large onion, peeled, sliced and diced

1 clove of garlic, peeled, chopped and crushed

1 tsp of dried basil (or fresh)

1.2 litres of vegetable stock (using two good quality stock cubes)

2 x 400g tins of tomatoes

Method

  • Put the diced onion into a large saucepan, adding a little cold water so it doesn’t burn.

Andrew: Can I use oil? 

Dawn: Yes, a teaspoon of cooking oil, any sort, will be fine. Even butter. Simply melt it before adding the onion. And warm the cooking oil prior to adding the onions, too. I prefer not to use oil as cooking the onion in water will soften it just as well and reduces the fat content. 

Andrew: In the Mediterranean, it is almost expected that you will use Olive Oil!

  • Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring it so it doesn’t stick and if need be, to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, add a little more water but make sure its hot water added to the hot cooking onion.
  • Once the onion is soft, add the garlic. Cook for a further minute.
  • Now add the two tins of tomatoes. If whole tomatoes, chop them. It speeds up they’re cooking time.
  • Add the vegetable stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the basil and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • With an electric hand whisk, pulse the soup so the ingredients become one thick consistency.
  • Now, season and hey, presto! Tasty Tomato and Basil Soup for you!

Andrew: Mmm…and serve with a wholemeal, crusty slice of warmed bread?

Dawn: Absolutely! You may even choose to add a nice green mixed salad. An ideal lunch time meal to set you up for the afternoon.