Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr

If you are a parent and have children, you will know that from year 6, exams become an important part of their lives. Whether it’s SATS, GCSE’s, A Levels. College or University exams. The end game always focuses on tests or exams. Since today is the start of GCSE’s here in England these Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes, are designed to lift the spirits and fill the tummies of all students sitting their exams.

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes with coffee – study fuel!

Of course these cupcakes could and should be made all year round, such is their delicious simplicity. Chocolate cake topped with the ultimate white chocolate vanilla frosting. Perfect for chocolate lovers everywhere.

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes the reflect balance of flavours.

A quick bake

Since these cupcakes can be made, from start to finish in under an hour, they are also handy for short notice or unexpected guests. Likewise they can be whipped up, literally, in moments. The comforting aroma of home baking, wrapping around your weary children, like a cosy, soft blanket, when they arrive home.

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes comfort at the ready.

While my hard working teens are sitting and studying for their exams, I can be found in the kitchen. Busy rustling up delicious, sustained energy food and lots of treats. The amount of energy burned up during studying is vast. Since this can be a tough time of year for them, their usual ‘healthy’ food intake is topped up with extra yummy goodies!

Recipe: Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes makes 12

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

50g/2oz Caster Sugar

50g/2oz Light Brown Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Free Eggs

60g Plain White Flower

1tsp Baking Powder

40g Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

For the frosting:

150g/5oz Icing Sugar

75g/3oz Unsalted softened to room temperature

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

100g/4oz White Chocolate

Sprinkles of your choice

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

First of all line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

Making the cupcakes

  • Into a medium sized bowl add the butter, both sugars and salt. Beat together until the mixture is free from lumps and smooth.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and all three eggs.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
  • Beat/whisk all of the ingredients together until fully mixed.
  • Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases – approximately one dessert spoonful of mixture per case.
  • Place the cupcake tin into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • The chocolate cupcakes are baked when they spring back from a light touch.
  • When baked remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes  before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to fully cool.
FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Making, filling and baking chocolate cupcakes

Preparing the frosting and decorating the cupcakes

  • Note – due to the high chocolate content of the frosting it is advisable to make it directly before piping, while it is soft.
  • Firstly, break up the white chocolate and place in a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Set to one side.
  • Into a separate bowl add the icing sugar, butter and one teaspoon of very hot water, from a recently boiled kettle. Whisk until almost combined.
  • Place the bowl with the white chocolate into the microwave. Heat for 20 seconds, stirring in between, until the chocolate is liquid.
  • Pour the warm, melted chocolate in with the butter and icing sugar mixture.
  • Whisk the ingredients together immediately and then continue to whisk until the frosting is light and fluffy. During the whisking add the vanilla bean paste.
FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Making the frosting, piping and decorating the chocolate cupcakes.
  • Fit a large piping bag with a large closed star piping nozzle.
  • Fill the piping bag with the frosting and proceed to pipe rose swirls on each cupcake. Starting in the centre of the cupcake, pipe the shape of an ‘e’ then continue around until the cupcake has a complete swirl on top.
  • Finally, sprinkle over your choice of decoration.
FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes so good!

Serve with a hug, smile and a hot drink!

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes much needed.

Store these cupcakes in an airtight container where they will last for three days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes you may also like these:

Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Gluten Free Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes

Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

While cupcakes are delicious, the cookies are for those meltdown moments when the pressure is simply too much. Firstly, so that whoever reads this blog post realises that they aren’t on their own. Sometimes it all gets too much. Fresh air, good music and a break all help. As do hugs, talking and simply letting it all out.

Wishing anyone taking exams, all the very best. If you do your best, no one can expect more of you than that x.

Sammie xx

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr
Follow Us
twitterpinteresttumblrinstagram

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese has to be right up there on the list of all time comfort foods. Am I right? Because this is such an easy dish to prepare it makes it even more comforting. Rather than stressing in the kitchen using a gazillion ingredients with a complex recipe, you can relax while slowly steaming cauliflower and stirring the cheese sauce. Resulting in a dish that is as good on it’s own or as a side dish.

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

Fresh, creamy white florets of seasonal cauliflower, lightly steamed and smothered in a thick, nutmeg scented, cheese sauce. And like a fluffy duvet, or wood burning fire, it wraps you in its warm embrace and brings you home.

Friends and family recall that Homemade Cauliflower Cheese reminds them of comfort food from their childhood. Perhaps back to a time when life seemed simpler? And while it isn’t something I make, or eat that often, when the gooey cheese sauce spreads slowly over my plate I am in comfort food heaven.

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese golden and bubbling comfort food.

The World Has Gone Crazy For Cauliflower

Since the humble cauliflower has been discovered as a carbohydrate substitute it is now used as a replacement for rice, pizza base, potato salad and other culinary substitutes. A quick look on Pinterest yields a variety of recipes. My Homemade Cauliflower Cheese recipe celebrates the humble cauliflower rather than trying to disguise it!

Tender, baked cauliflower, covered in a homemade cheese sauce, is for me one of the best ways to eat this delicious vegetable. While part of the brassica family, where cabbages, broccoli and brussel sprouts are its cousins, cauliflower has a slightly sweet flavour, not dissimilar to the thick leaves of white cabbage. And, cooked properly its texture is dense and meaty, making it a filling vegetarian dish when serving on its own.

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese so temptingly delicious.

I enjoy eating Homemade Cauliflower Cheese with a roast dinner, or sausage and mash. While the bubbling cheese sauce goes so well with proper gravy dinners, it is also unbelievably good with Yorkshire puddings. Likewise, it pairs extremely well when served alongside thick slices of home cooked gammon.

Recipe: Homemade Cauliflower Cheese serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 large head of Cauliflower or 2 smaller ones

75g/3oz Unsalted Butter

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

150g/5.5oz Mature Cheddar Cheese – grated – hold back 2 tablespoons from adding to the sauce, for sprinkling over the assembled dish – I use Wyke Farms

500ml Milk Whole or Semi Skimmed

1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg – I buy Barts whole nutmegs and grate them myself on the coarse side of a box grater. Freshly grated nutmeg lifts the cheese sauce, subtly adding another level of flavour.

1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

Making The Cheese Sauce

  • First of all place the butter into a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt over a medium heat.
  • Add in all the flour, stir for a couple of minutes so that the flour and butter become a bubbling paste (roux).
  • Pour in roughly 100ml of the milk and stir vigorously. The flour, butter and milk will come together to form a thick clump.
  • Add another 100mls of milk and keep stirring until all the milk is incorporated.
  • Continue as before, adding the milk in 100ml quantities, stirring thoroughly. If you are worried that some lumps will not disappear simple switch to a balloon whisk.
  • After adding all the milk, you will have a smooth, thick-ish white sauce.
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Showing the stages of making the white sauce.
  • Add the pepper and nutmeg to the bechemel (white sauce) and stir thoroughly. I generally don’t add salt as the cheese tends to lend its saltiness to the final flavour, however, a quick taste check once the cheese has melted will allow you to adjust the seasonings.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and tip in the grated cheese. Stir until it is melted and you have a smooth cheese sauce.
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Delicious Cheese Sauce ready for pouring over Cauliflower and baking.

Preparing The Cauliflower And Assembling The Dish For Baking

  • Prepare the cauliflower by cutting off most of the green leaves, breaking into florets, rinsing under a tap a and then steaming for no longer than 5 minutes.
  • Place the steamed cauliflower florets into an oven proof dish and pour over the cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle over the reserved cheese, this gives the topping extra colour and gooey cheese!
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese ready for the oven.
  • When making ahead, allow to cool, cover in tented foil, so that the topping doesn’t stick to it. The dish can be left on the side for a couple of hours. Alternatively place in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 2 days.
  • Bake the Homemade Cauliflower Cheese in an oven, preheated to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F, for 30-40 minutes. When the top is golden and bubbling and a fork can pierce the base of a cauliflower floret the dish is baked.
  • Once baked, remove from the oven and serve.
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese also goes well with fish dishes, such as smoked haddock, or any firm, white fish, especially when served with mashed potatoes!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Cauliflower Cheese you may also like these:

Leek Colcannon

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Leek Colcannon.

Perfectly Mashed Potatoes

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes

As the nights draw in, I find comfort in warming, hearty food. That isn’t to say I don’t believe in balance, I absolutely do. So, on a day when we indulge in Homemade Cauliflower Cheese, we wouldn’t have dessert. That said we rarely do eat pudding, except perhaps on a Sunday, something I am working on! When it’s hot in the summer, my body craves salads and cold food. Yet as soon as the annual September chill hits the air I long for warming meals like Steak Leek and Ale Pie or Chunky Chilli.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in the kitchen, enjoy preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr
Follow Us
twitterpinteresttumblrinstagram

Toffee Apple Crumble

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr

So it is June 1st 2016 today. If you were expecting an ice cream recipe, or a light, summery pavlova, sorry folks. It’s been pouring with rain since yesterday, with very little let up and it’s cold. Instead I have a wonderfully comforting pudding for you, Toffee Apple Crumble.

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble tart Bramley apples topped with a toffee crumble mix.

The perfect combination of flavours. Tart, just cooked slices of Bramley apple, covered in a light crumble with more than a hint of toffee flavour.

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble a delightfully comforting pudding.

Toffee Apple Crumble came about as the result of a need for something warm and comforting, that was also not too labour intensive to make. Whatever the reason; tiredness, pain, just-can’t-be-bothered, it’s been a long day, this recipe is quick and easy to make. Bake in the oven, whist you relax and you have yourself a top notch pudding that feels like a warm blanket is being wrapped around you as you eat.

I will also confess an extra cheat. I had 2 x 300g packets of ready prepared, frozen Bramley apple slices, from  Waitrose in the freezer. Some days I just have to use ready prepared and I’m good with that.

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble extra yummy when served with homemade custard.

Now, in all honesty, I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘pudding’ person. In most instances I’d rather have cheese and biscuits…….. Thought I’d give you all a moment there to digest that fact (my puns are getting worse!!!).

However strange it may seem, I do actually like a proper pudding instead of a meal. Yesterday, when I made this Toffee Apple Crumble, I actually ate it for lunch. Quite often, for example over Christmas, I’ll have Christmas pudding and cream for lunch or supper. So I do enjoy puddings, just on their own, as a meal in itself!

I know I am in the minority and that there is such a thing as a ‘pudding tummy’ where, once you have finished your main meal there is ALWAYS room for something a little sweet to round off the meal. I applaud you, I really do. When I’m full, well, that’s me finished. No pudding or cheese and biscuits.

Oh how I wish I could eat as much as I did when I was younger and competing in every sport I could!!!

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble a tasty twist on a classic dessert.

Oddly, I really enjoy making puddings. My hubby is definitely a pudding man. Upon receiving a microwave as a wedding present, it took him under 30 seconds to find the recipe for lemon sponge! Something I still have yet to make for him. Oops!

I think it is the joy of seeing someone’s face, full of pleasure, as they tuck in and devour a well made, tasty pudding, that gives me so much pleasure. My wonderful hubby’s face when he saw the Toffee Apple Crumble, was absolute pleasure. Married twenty years this year and I still enjoy cooking for him as much as I always have.

Recipe: Toffee Apple Crumble serves 6 real pudding lovers!

250g/9oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Baking Powder

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – cold and cut into cubes

1/2 packet  Wright’s Baking  Toffee Cake Mix – TIP make double the amount of crumble topping add a whole bag of Toffee Cake Mix and freeze half in a freezer bag for up to 3 months!

2 tablespoons Demerara Sugar

600g Peeled Sliced Bramley Apples – peeled weight – start with approx 1kg of apples

1 teaspoon Corn Flour

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, add the cold, cubed butter.
  • Use either a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour see Perfect All Butter Shortcrust Pastry, or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the toffee cake mix into the bowl and thoroughly mix.
  • Place the Bramley apple slices in a deep pie dish.
  • Add the corn flour, sugar and cinnamon and toss the apple slices, to coat them with clean hands.
  • Cover the apple slices with the toffee crumble mix and then sprinkle over the demerara sugar for extra crunch and an added toffee flavour.
FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble ready for the oven.
  • Place the Toffee Apple Crumble dish onto a baking tray and place in the centre of a preheated oven.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden and the apples underneath are softened.
  • Once baked remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. I’ve found that letting a crumble sit for a while stops the topping from falling apart as I dish it up.
  • Serve with homemade custard (recipe coming soon), cream, vanilla ice cream, or on it’s own. If it hadn’t been so cold and wasn’t raining, I would absolutely have gone out to the garage and had  Very Vanilla Ice Cream with my custard!
FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble and homemade custard.

Toffee Apples are traditionally associated with Autumn, when apples are in abundance. My Toffee Apple Crumble brings those flavours together in a dessert that is perfect, whenever a warm, comforting pudding is needed.

If you have enjoyed this Toffee Apple Crumble recipe here are a few others you may also like:

Amazing Apple Pie

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie with a delicious pie crust

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
Blackberry Nectarine Tart quick and easy with puff pastry.

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble

FF Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble another fast ic crumble recipe.

Do you have a ‘pudding tummy’?

Do you choose your dessert first, when out for a meal?

I love hearing what your eating habits are, as weird as that sounds. I’m not talking peculiar flavour combinations, simply which foods you prefer and those you try to avoid.

Thank you again for all the kind comments that you leave here on the blog and on Instagram and Twitter. Please keep them coming along with the gorgeous photos of your makes and bakes.

I hope the weather is beautiful wherever you are and you can enjoy feasting and haing fun in the sun!

Sammie xx

Wright’s Baking sent me some cake mixes to try. I was not paid for writing this post and as always, all pictures, content, opinions and views are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr
Follow Us
twitterpinteresttumblrinstagram

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr

How good does this delicious Roast Chicken Noodle Soup look? And it tastes even better.

FF Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

Since it’s not very often I mention the words ‘low calorie’ or ‘low fat’ here, on feastingisfun, yet it would seem, I may have put on a few pounds. And I’m guessing I may not be the only one. Am I right?

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup - delicious, easy to make and virtually fat free! www.feastingisfun.com
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup – delicious, easy to make and virtually fat free

So, I’ve come up with a delicious way to help you save money and keep your weight in check, my Roast Chicken Noodle Soup.

Seriously, one roasted, chicken breast, a few veggies and this soup feeds 4 people. Also it can easily be doubled, if cooking for a crowd, or kept in the fridge, waiting for a quick, thorough re-heat, after a long day at work.

What’s not to love?

FF Roast Chicken Noodle Soup
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

I roasted a chicken breast quarter for this recipe, but leftovers from a Sunday roast would work perfectly. Also we are having roast turkey today and I intend to make a batch of this soup with a little of the leftovers, for the week ahead.

And did I mention this soup is virtually fat free. One teaspoon of olive oil, to sauté the vegetables, is all the added fat there is.

While you could poach the chicken, instead of roasting it. Yet that would rule out leftovers AND all the flavour in this Roast Chicken Noodle Soup comes from roasting the meat, at the start.

Since I’m happy to defer to the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten in these matters. Because she has been cooking chicken, for her husband Jeffrey, for many, many years and if she says roasting chicken imparts the most flavour, well who am I to argue?

Why The Need For Homemade Soup?

Also have a confession to make. Because I have never liked, pre-made, chicken noodle soup. Since it is what is know in our family as ‘headache food!’ And don’t ask me how it got that name, it just did.

So, in the interests of clarity, I’m talking packet soups. You know the flat packets that when ripped open reveal powder and dehydrated vegetables. Never liked the chicken noodle one – loved minestrone though!

Freshly made Roast Chicken Noodle Soup – not a packet mix in sight!

So creating this recipe was a double challenge. Firstly to see if I could make a Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup with very little fat and secondly, to see if I could eat it (without getting a headache) and enjoy it and make it taste way better than the packet soup from my childhood. That’s three things – never mind!

Anyway, I totally scored on all points. This Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup is delicious, low-fat nutritious and no headache!!!!

This is how to make it:

Recipe: Serves 4 portions Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

Approx 225g/8oz Roast Chicken – deboned, skin off and shredded – leftovers are fine

1tsp Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion – finely diced

3 Carrots – finely diced

2 Celery Sticks – finely diced

1/2tsp Fresh Thyme – strip the leaves from the stalk (halve if using dried)

1 Chicken Stock Cube – I use Knorr dissolved in 1.2l/2 pints boiling water

100g/4oz Vermicelli or other small, dried pasta

Salt and Pepper to season

Method:

Making The Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

First of all, roast a breast quarter of chicken, at 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F for 30-40 minutes, until cooked through, if not using leftover roast chicken.

One delicious roasted chicken breast quarter.
One delicious roasted chicken breast quarter.
When slightly cooled, remove the skin and shred the chicke, discarding any bone.
When slightly cooled, remove the skin and shred the chicken, discarding any bone.

Alternatively shred approximately 225g/8oz of roast chicken or turkey.

Place a large pan, over a medium heat and add the oil.

Add the diced onion, carrots and celery to the pan.
Add the diced onion, carrots and celery to the pan.

Saute the vegetables until just softened, approx 7 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken and fresh thyme to the pan.

Pour over the chicken stock.
Pour over the chicken stock.

Weigh out the noodles of your choice.

I used broken up vermicelli.
I used broken up vermicelli.

Add the noodles to the soup.

Taste for seasoning. And add salt and pepper as necessary.

Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked.

Serve immediately.

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup add some parsley to garnish and serve. www.feastingisfun.com
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup add some parsley to garnish and serve.

And to make a hearty meal out of this soup serve with some thick, crusty bread like my Wholemeal Cob Loaf or Wholemeal Loaf.

Also, if you want to avoid carbs altogether, you could add shredded cabbage, or spirilized courgette (zucchini).

This Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup is absolutely delicious, quick to make, fab for using up leftovers and feeds 4 people for very little. Resulting in a win-win recipe and one that I make frequently.

If you love this Roast Chicken Noodle Soup then you might want to have a look at these –

Carrot Soup also low fat,

FF Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup served with crumbled Stliton cheese.

Leek and Potato Soup leave out the cream and you will lower the calories in this delicious soup!

Leek and Potato Soup velvety comfort.
Leek and Potato Soup velvety comfort.

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup.

FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup just add crusty bread!

Soup is one of my comfort foods. Whether it’s full of chunky veggies or blitzed to a smooth velvety texture I can always count on a bowlful to make meal feel better. Also if the recipe is quick and easy that simply adds to the pleasure of making soup. Leaving me feeling relaxed and nourished.

So whatever you are baking, making and creating in your kitchen, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr
Follow Us
twitterpinteresttumblrinstagram

Leek and Potato Soup

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr

Hi, thanks for stopping bytoday.  I hope you are well?  As for me, I have a rotten sore throat (plus the high temperature etc that go with these horrid virus’). I need soup! Not any old soup, Leek and Potato Soup!  I love this soup, it’s the one thing I can eat when I am feeling unwell and haven’t got an appetite.  When I’m unwell this is what I feast on.

Ooh it's like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x
Ooh it’s like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x Leek and Potato Soup

So I make a big batch of this soup when I’m well, then I freeze it in single portions.  That way if I’m not feeling bril, like today, all I have to do is grab a portion out of the freezer, reheat and eat!

Recipe: Leek and Potato Soup

0.5Kg  Leeks

0.5kg  Potatoes – I’ve used King Edwards, floury potatoes work best in this recipe.

1tsp  Nutmeg – freshly grated

1/2tsp  Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/2tsp  Black Pepper – freshly ground

1  Vegetable Stock Cube

1  Tbs  Butter – for sautéing leeks

50mls plus a little extra Double Cream

Method :

Place a large, heavy based saucepan on the hob, add the butter and melt on a slow heat.

Trim the top and bottom of the leeks.  Make a slit down the entire length of each leek.  Wash each leek thoroughly under cold water, making sure that any dirt, trapped between the layers, is washed out. (This is best done under a tap of cold running water – or you can chop the leeks, place in a bowl filled with cold water, swish about to dislodge any dirt and drain.)

Chop the leeks into roughly 1/2″ dice.

Add the chopped leeks to the melted butter in the pan.  Then add half of the salt and stir ( the salt will stop the leeks burning).  Sauté the leeks for 5-10 minutes on a medium/low heat until translucent (the dark green parts of the leek won’t change, don’t worry that’s ok!).

Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.
Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.

Whilst the leeks are sautéing peel and chop the potatoes (1″ dice for the potatoes).  Place the prepared potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water.

Once the leeks are translucent add the potatoes and the water they have been stored in.  Pour over enough recently boiled water, from a kettle, until the potatoes and leeks are completely covered in liquid.

The potatoes added.
The potatoes added.

Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the stock cube, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Hold back on adding the rest of the salt, stock cubes vary in their saltiness.  Better to add a the salt later, than have an over salted ruined soup!!!

Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.
Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.

Cook the soup on a gentle simmer for at least an hour.  This slow cooking breaks down the tough fibres found in the dark green tops of the leeks, enhancing not only the colour, but, importantly the flavour of the soup.  I’ve made this soup before leaving it to simmer happily, on a low heat, all morning.  Not only did it taste delicious, the house had a wonderful, welcoming, warm aroma!

When the soup is fully cooked it’s time to blend! There are various ways to do this:  A potato masher can be used to simply ‘mash’ the potatoes and leeks into the liquid.  This will not give the smoothness achieved by using a blender, but creates a wonderful textured soup.

 

An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.
An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.

I’ve used an immersion blender for my soup.  As can be seen from the photo, make sure you move your pan away from direct heat whilst blending.  The soup is completely blended until super smooth.

Other ways of blending including using a liquidiser or food processor.  I personally would not liquidise the soup until it has cooled.  Whatever you decide, ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions for your appliance.  Just looking out for your safety xx.

When you have your soup at the desired texture, stir in 50mls of double cream.  This makes such a difference.  If you are seriously counting the calories (or are allergic to milk products), check the soup for seasoning and eat as is.  However, I don’t skip the cream stage!!! Once this relatively small amount of cream has been added it enriches the soup, rounds out all of the flavours and takes the soup to a whole other taste experience – basically it’s worth adding the cream!!!!!

It's only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you're worth it!!!
It’s only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you’re worth it!!!

Then serve yourself up a big bowl, with a little extra swirl of cream, should you desire and enjoy.

Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.
Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.

A warming feast to enjoy in the colder months.  Excellent for soothing sore throats.

This soup freezes very well for up to 3 months.  Pour into single serving, freezer proof plastic containers.  Perfect for sharing if one of your friends or family members fall ill.  Once frozen it is very portable, so a bowlful of homemade soup is just a quick drive away!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Leek And Potato Soup you may also like these:

Warming Winter Vegetable Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

 

See even simple easy soup can be shared.

Sammie x

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr
Follow Us
twitterpinteresttumblrinstagram

Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr

Since we are a family of five, make ahead meals really are helpful when life gets busy. And if the recipe can be made in one pot and I am eternally grateful. My Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole ticks both boxes. Either bubbling away on the hob, or  in the oven, it’s aroma fills the house with a warm spicy scent. Almost like a warm hug welcoming you home.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Why I love Autumn

Before we get on with the recipe, I wanted to share my thoughts. Autumn, or Fall as it’s called in the States is my favourite season. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Summer, in fact, I like all the seasons. Much as the glorious, unending sunshine places like California offer, I simply love the change in seasons we enjoy here in England. Read Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

While there is something about, at first, the almost subtle change in weather, usually towards the end of August/beginning of September where I live. Whether it’s the deep, deep green of the leaves on the trees, or the rustle as the wind blows through the drying out leaves. Followed by the gorgeous change, through deepest red to fiery orange and a last nod to the daily lowering of the sun in the sky, as the leaves turn yellow. And confetti, like fluttering of the leaves on a blowy day. Likewise the ravages of an adorned tree, ripped overnight of its leafy covering, by a violent storm.

Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole served with crusty bread.

The welcoming warmth of sunshine. Especially on a clear, frosty, day. Also, there is something to be said though for darker, rain and wind filled days, snuggled up on the sofa, the smell of a spicy casserole, gently bubbling away in the oven. And puddings! A must, some may say essential,  during the colder months.

Creating a cheap meal using quality  products

Since first making this dish it has evolved to the final recipe given here. While most of the ingredients are relatively cheap, it is essential to use good quality sausages. Pale, flabby pink sausages will simply disintegrate during the long cooking process. So adding quality pork sausages enhances  the overall flavour of the dish. Especially as one packet will feed up to six people.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole an easy one pan meal.

You will need a large ( 4 litre) ovenproof casserole dish, or bigger if doubling the recipe to feed a crowd.

Recipe: Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole serves 4 – 6

1 Large Onion – chopped into small dice

1 Aubergine – chopped into 1/2″ cubes

450g/1lb Good Quality Sausages each sausage chopped into 4 pieces – I use Graig Farm Sausages

2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin of baked beans

2 x 400g butter beans – strained & rinsed with cold water

4 individual bulbs of garlic – minced

1 chilli (or 1tsp chilli flakes) finely chopped

200mls of red wine I use Claret( or 100ml Port – any type except Tawny)

2 tbs tomato puree

1/2tsp Celery Seeds

3/4tsp Fennel Seeds

Handful of fresh parsley chopped and added after serving

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to season.

Note: Having made this dish many times, it has never needed the addition of salt.

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

Assembling the casserole

  • First of all place the onion, aubergine and sausages in the casserole dish Andrew pour over the red wine or Port.
  • Add both tins of tomatoes, then half fill each tin with cold water, swirl around so that you get all of the tomato juices left inside the tin and pour over the casserole.
  • Next tip in the baked beans and swirl the tin with water as before, pouring into the dish, then add the rinsed butter beans.
  • Add the tomato purée, minced garlic, chilli, celery seeds, fennel seeds and a good grinding of black pepper
  • If needed add more cold water until all the ingredients are just covered with liquid. Making sure there is still a good inch between the liquid and the top of the casserole dish.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Making the casserole.
  • Place the lid (or cover tightly with tin foil) on to the dish and place in the oven.
  • Cook at 180C for 1/2 hour then reduce the heat to 140C/120C fan, gas mark 1, very low oven temperature.
  • Leave to cook for 3 hours. Check and top up with recently boiled water so that the ingredients are just covered with liquid again.
  • Clamp on the lid (or foil) and return to the oven for 2 more hours. You can repeat the liquid adding throughout the day, the longer this casserole cooks the better it tastes!
  • The Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole will be cooked after 5 1/2 hours.
  • Serve in bowls, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley for fresh, grassy, Vitamin C filled flavour.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Finally add fresh crusty bread for dunking in the spicy juices.

Leftovers can be chilled, portioned into individual freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole you may also like these:

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Slow Roasted Cider Pork.

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chunky Chilli

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Chunky Chilli

 

I have wonderful memories attached to making this meal. While on holiday in Devon I wanted to make a meal for friends. Cooking dinner for our hosts resulted in more people being added to the guest list during the day. So extra beans, tomatoes and wine added, we sat happily around their big oak table, enjoying good food and most importantly, great company. Friendships were forged as conversation flowed. Most importantly, it was a feast to remember.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

Share
twitterpinteresttumblr
Follow Us
twitterpinteresttumblrinstagram