Cauliflower soup with blue cheese

This is one of those simple to make, delicious soups that’s great for using up the veggies and cheese left in your cupboard at the end of the week. You can make it as a smooth and sophisticated dinner party style soup for a starter, or one with a little more rustic texture for lunch or supper with some crusty bread. I prefer mine made with chicken stock but, if you want this to be 100% vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead.

Cauliflower cheese soup

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, washed and chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 50g blue cheese such as Stilton or Roquefort, crumbled
  • 1 large knob of butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
  • Chopped chives or parsley to garnish 
  • Salt and white pepper

To make…

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, celery and potato. Gently sweat them in the melted butter over a very low heat for about 15 minutes, add the chopped leeks and cauliflower for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock and cook gently on a low simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • If you want a 100% smooth soup, use a stick blender and blend the whole thing. If you want something with a little more texture, ladle half of the mixture into a jug, blend and then return to the pan. If it’s too thick, add a little water.
  • Stir in the creme fraiche and the crumbled cheese.
  • Check for seasoning with salt and white pepper.
  • Serve in hot bowls, garnish with chopped chives or parsley.

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Prawn curry with tamarind, coconut and spinach

This is one of those quick but delicious supper dishes that really hits the spot. The creamed coconut goes perfectly with the fragrant spices and tomatoes in the sauce and the prawns and spinach create the perfect one-pot dish – I serve it with plain basmati rice. Once the ingredients are prepped (about 10 minutes), it takes just another ten to create the sauce and cook the rice. This recipe serves two generously.

prawn curry with spinach

  • 400g of raw jumbo prawns
  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 x 4-cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (I make mine with fresh tamarind paste but you can buy it in a jar e.g. Waitrose Cook’s Ingredients range – if you can’t get it just add the juice of a fresh lime)
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 large pinches of chilli flakes
  • 100g creamed coconut
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach – wilted
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • Basmati rice to serve

To make…

  1. Wilt the spinach in a wok over a medium heat and then set aside on a plate.
  2. Dry the wok and heat the oil in it.
  3. Stir-fry the shallot for a few minutes and then add the grated garlic and ginger. Stir and after a couple of minutes add the ground coriander, turmeric, tamarind, tinned tomatoes, ketchup, chilli flakes, a pinch of sea salt and creamed coconut. Stir thoroughly over a medium heat and allow the flavours to infuse. Check for seasoning – add a little more chilli or salt to taste.
  4. Add the raw prawns and then the wilted spinach – it will take just a few minutes for the prawns to cook through.
  5. Serve with rice and a good handful of fresh coriander.

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Pork vindalho

The Portuguese-Indian colony of Goa was the birthplace of the vindaloo or vindahlo curry. It has a slightly bad rep in this country where dishes bearing this name are all about super-spicy chilli heat but the real thing is finer, full of sweet and hot flavour from wine vinegar (vinho) and lots of garlic, alhos. I like to make mine with a good quality cider vinegar (although wine, rice or coconut vinegar are also good) and a couple of pinches of chilli flakes. The spice paste takes a little effort to make from scratch but it’s so worth it – the final sauce has a complex flavour and works beautifully with pork and I have also made it with skinned duck legs and breast meat. I usually make a big batch and freeze half. Like most curry dishes, it’s best made ahead and reheated as the flavours really develop then. I serve it with basmati rice and a green vegetable like wilted spinach or steamed green beans.

porkvindail

  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 mustards seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 5cm stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 5 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of light vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced into half rings
  • 8 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 300g tin of tomatoes
  • 800g boneless pork shoulder, chopped into rough chunks

To make…

  1. First, make the vindahlo spice paste. Grind the cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, peppercorns, mustard seeds and cinnamon in a coffee/spice grinder. Add the spices to a bowl with the coriander, chilli flakes, turmeric, salt, sugar and vinegar. Mix and set aside.
  2. Heat half the oil in a frying pan, add the onions to the pan and cook gently for about 15 minutes until soft, brown and caramelised. Add the fried onions, garlic and ginger paste in an electric blender with 4 tablespoons of water and whizz into a smooth paste. Mix into the spice and vinegar paste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. Dry off the meat cubes with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a cooking pot (I use a Le Creuset casserole), brown the meat in batches and set aside on a plate.
  5. Add the spice paste to the pot and stir for a few minutes. Add the meat and any accumulated meat juices. Stir, add the stock and tomatoes.
  6. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for about an hour until the pork is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
  7. Serve with fluffy mounds of basmati rice and a green vegetable like spinach or green beans.

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Posted in Meat main courses, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment