Foodie Friday – Soup & Pesto

This Foodie Friday I do not have any proper recipes to share, just a couple of quick things I made during the week and a story about Pumpkin Lady.

First of all Pesto – this went down very well with the Boyo – the jar I made was big enough to last a while but it was scoffed within 3 days.

I toasted some pine nuts in a dry non-stick pan then blended them until they were the consistency of peanut butter (this would actually make a nice change from peanut butter).

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I then blended that with fresh basil, 2 cloves of garlic, some sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and seasoning.

For quantities just use whatever you feel is best for you, I added more basil and olive oil until it was the consistency I liked and ours was quite garlicky as the Boyo is a big garlic fan.

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Next time I will try roasted peppers and some chilli flakes for a different twist.

The fresh basil smells amazing and pesto is so versatile.

Initially for our tea I roasted some slices of chicken breast in the oven with a little italian seasoning, then topped the chicken with the pesto near the end of the cooking time, I served it with tomato and basil rice, grilled courgettes and I crushed some toasted pine nuts and sprinkled with parmesan over the top. It was delicious.

We then had it in sandwiches, dipped crackers into it, had it with camembert and foccacia for lunch, and I also topped burgers with pesto and mozzarella.

I think the price was comparable with shop-bought jars as so often pesto is on special offer but the fresh taste beat the shop jar hands down. Definitely something I will make on a more regular basis now – and I even have a little basil plant on my windowsill to help me!

I had a pumpkin to use up this week. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen my very attractive looking pumpkin lady. I don’t know about you but very often in my family if we are up late and are very tired or it is past midnight we’ll say ‘oh dear it’s so late I’m going to turn into a pumpkin’ (must originate from cinderella). Last Friday the Boyo was away working in London and I knew he wouldn’t be back until after midnight. So I got a pumpkin, drew a face on it, put a wig on (we already had that in house), my old specs and finished her off with a touch of lippy.

I then put the pumpkin in bed with a wee note.

I’d already told the Boyo that I would be in bed asleep as he would be getting back late.

So he got home and found I had actually turned into a pumpkin.

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Well this meant I had a pumpkin to cook. Having never made anything with pumpkin before I decided the easiest thing to make would be soup. I didn’t follow any recipe or particular quantities I just put an assortment of vegetables into a pot, roasted some of the pumpkin, added some lentils and made soup. It turned out rather tasty and stocked up my freezer for weekday lunches nicely.

I used:

Pumpkin

Carrots

Onions (red and brown)

Yellow Pepper

Red lentils

Celery

Spinach

Chicken & Vegetable stock (BIG pot so needed lot of stock)

Thyme

Salt & Pepper

Dash of Worcester sauce

Cook until all soft, then blend. Voila. Tasty soup.image

Party Time – Simple Savoury Treats

Picnic

A wee while ago I helped host a friends baby shower. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed making lots of tasty treats for our ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’. For savoury food we had a selection of cheeses, meats, olives, tomatoes in a basil dressing and slices of fresh baguette for people to choose from.

I also made my simple (cheats) version of sausage rolls and Rosemary and Pesto Palmiers.

Sausage Rolls

1 x block of ready made puff pastry (about £1 in Sainsburys) Room temperature.

8 x Sausages (fairly basic plain ones will do)

Spices – I tend to use a BBQ spice blend and plenty of black pepper

Tomato puree – a couple of tablespoons

1 x beaten egg.

Get your sausages an cut them open, peel off the skin and put the sausage meat into a large bowl and mash it up with a fork. Add your spices and tomato purée, season. Stir well and leave in the fridge whilst you get the pastry ready.

Make sure your work surface is clean and spread flour over it, this will prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out the pastry until it is about the thickness of £1 coin, then cut it into little squares – I got around 24 sausage rolls from 1 block but it depends on how large you would like them to be. Put some of the sausage meat mix into the middle, fold over the pastry, brush a little egg down 1 edge to seal.

Leave it in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

Brush each of the Sausage rolls with the beaten egg (or a little milk) before baking in a hot oven for around 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.

My Sausage rolls never look perfect – I like to call them ‘rustic’ but they always go down well at partie and are great cold for picnics and a snack when wandering the hills.

Rosemary and Pesto Palmiers (little pastry bites!) (Vegetarian)

I adapted this from a recipe I found on the BBC food website, they used sun dried tomato but I love the taste pesto gives these little bites. I could quite easily eat them all, very more-ish!

1 x Block of Ready Made Pastry Room temperature

Pesto (I like roasted red pepper pesto but any works fine!)

Rosemary (dried works fine)

1 x egg beaten.

Make sure your work surface is clean and spread flour over it, this will prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out the pastry until it is about the thickness of £1 coin.

Spread pesto and sprinkle rosemary all over the pastry, ensuring to cover it all. Some sun dried tomato purée also works well.

With the shortest end facing you, take both long edges of the pastry and roll them towards each other to meet in the middle. Brush a little egg down the centre to stick the two halves together.

Leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.

Once firm use a sharp knife to slice into pieces around 1cm thick. Place on a baking tray with the cut side facing upwards. Brush well with a little beaten egg.

Bake in a hot oven for around 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.

Again these little treats are great for picnics and they are a nice side with cold meat such as salami or with soup on a chilly day.

Enjoy!

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