Butternut & sweet potato soup
After you have spent hours in the kitchen creating the perfect Christmas feast, have drunk too much and really just want to sit back, relax and enjoy your family on boxing day, Nigellas butternut and sweet potato soup is just what you need. Your friends and family all feel the same but of course Christmas is a time to feast so get out the leftovers and make this ultra simple and so tasty soup to have with all of those leftovers. You leave the skins on the butternut and sweet potatoes which makes it so very simple. You do need a blender for this one. (4 to 6 people)
What you need
1 large onion roughly chopped
1 large butternut seeded and roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato roughly chopped
1 liter vegetable stock
Heat an oven to 200 Celsius and spread the chopped vegetables over a baking tray.
Drizzle over some olive oil, getting a little on each piece of vegetable, then give a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon, about 1 teaspoon of each and bake for 1 hour.
The vegetables should have little brown bits on the edges and be soft.
In 3 or 4 lots blend the vegetables with about ½ a cup of hot vegetable stock. You want a nice thick consistency which you will thin down later.
Once you have blended all of the veg and transferred to a bowl, add vegetable stock to get the consistency you like. It should still be thick and wholesome.
Serve with a generous amount of sour cream, warm crusty bread and some of the leftovers from Christmas day for a fabulous quick meal.
As a hangover remedy, spice it up with some Tabasco sauce. Try the Mango and avocado salsa recipe for your leftover gammon.
Merry Christmas all
I have really enjoyed this year of cooking and want to thank all my subscribers and visitors for their input and kind words. You, my visitor are the life blood of this recipe site and without your visits and comments this would be a lonely space.
I started this cookbook in the hope that my passion for food and cooking would rub off on a few people and would inspire them to cook with easy, tasty recipes. The biggest bonus would be that you have come closer to your children, family members and friends by getting them involved or simply appreciating the time and effort that you have put in to make a fabulous meal. Enjoying time together around the table with fantastic home cooked food is an experience unlike any other and one I hope you all experience over the festive season.
Thanks again folks, and may your Christmas be a delicious, loving affair with your friends and family.
Good health, happiness and laughter to you all in 2010.
Cheers for now
I will continue to post new recipes over Christmas so please check in from time to time.
The Christmas recipes can be found, at
Try a few of these festive recipes
And of course don’t forget to pick up your lasyt minute Christmas gifts, most of which can be delivered in 24 hours.
German baked cheesecake
This Cheesecake recipe is really good. It has a rich lively filling with a few raisins that make it something extraordinary. There is something so appealing about a beautifully browned baked cheesecake with its rich and creamy center you just have to try this. The pastry is part of it’s unique flavour so make the extra effort. (23cm springform cake tin)
What you need
100g cold butter cubed
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
4 large eggs separated
200g white sugar
500g cream cheese (room temp)
500g sour cream
3 tablespoons maizena (corn flour)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
First we need to make the pastry
Sift the flour a pile on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Don’t be shy, make it a nice size well. Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the well and start to combine them with you fingers.
To start off with take a little flour from the inside edge all around and get messy folks, pinching all of the ingredients together to combine them. Now take a spatula or pastry scraper and work in all of the flour until you have a course crumb texture.
Bring the dough into a ball and knead it until smooth. If it is still sticky knead in a tablespoon or so of flour until you get a nice smooth pastry.
Wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge for ½ and hour while you prepare the filling ingredients.
Heat your oven to 200 Celsius, lightly butter the inside of the tin, roll out the chilled dough and line the bottom and sides of the tine with pastry that is about 3mm thick. Pop it back in the fridge.
Add the egg yolks to a mixing bowl and beat well. Add sugar in 3 equal amounts beating well after each addition until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Now do the same with the cream cheese and beat well until smooth.
Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the egg whites and stir with a spoon until well combined.
Quickly beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the mixture gently.
Now fill the pastry lined tin with the mixture(it should almost reach the top of the tin) and bake it for 1 hour in the middle of the oven.
Check on it after ½ an hour and if it is browned already, cover loosely with tin foil to prevent it from burning.
You will notice it rise above the edge of the tin and then when you remove it, it will sink down… That’s what it’s supposed to do.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about an hour, then pace it in the fridge for about 4 or 5 hours to cool and for the filling to solidify properly. Remove from the tin.
Serve it with fresh whipped cream and a little fresh fruit… It is incredible.
New Orleans Bananas
The year is almost over and this dessert screams good times. It has rum, bananas, rasins and cinnamon. It’s a really great way to end a dinner party and takes little effort to prepare. (4-6 people with ice cream.)
What you need
4 large ripe bananas
Handful of raisins (a little less than 1/2 a cup)
3 tots dark rum
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream
First put the 3 tots of rum into a cup and toss in the raisins, set them aside to plump up.
In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir until it has completely melted. Slice the bananas through the center, add to the sauce and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until soft, turning them gently every now and then.
Sprinkle over the cinnamon, add the raisins and rum mixture and allow to heat through for about another 2 minutes or so.
That’s that, sauce done.
Serve hot or cold topped off with a ball or 2 of ice cream.
I have been asked quite a few times how to get kids eating vegetables and actually enjoying them. Well, this butternut recipe includes apples with a little orange juice which naturally sweetens the vegetables and really tastes fantastic. Butternut with apple is a great Christmas vegetable where nice sweetened vegetables go beautifully with the glazed gammon recipe and will have the kids tucking into the vegetables. (6 servings)
What you need
1 butternut chopped
3 apples chopped
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Sueeze of orange juice
Pinch of cinnamon
Peel, seed and chop up the butternut into bite size pieces. Place a pot of water on the stove, bring to the boil and steam the butternut for about 5 minutes to soften slightly.
While the butternut is steaming chop up the apple into similar size pieces.
Now take an oven dish, scatter the butternut and apple into the dish, drizzle a little olive oil over the pieces, sprinkle over the orange zest, grate over the ginger and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Now sueeze 1/2 the zested orange over the top.
Pop it into a 200 Celsius oven for about 20 minutes or until soft.
Could not be easier, delicious sweet butternut with apples. The picture is of butternut only which has been sweetened in the same way.
Don’t forget the rest of the Christmas recipes.
Deep fried calamari
Here is another fantastic and simple calamari recipe, if you have any calamaro rings left over from marinating for you salad make some deep fried calamari rings to dip into tartare sauce as another calamari antipasti or as a meal with a side salad and a some crisp potato wedges.
What you need
1kg calamari rings
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups breadcrumbs (for this recipe, bought breadcrumbs are best)
Heat oil in a pot for frying, you want about 5cm of oil at least.
Beat together the egg and the milk in a bowl and drop in the calamari rings, shake them about a bit to cover all of the calamari in egg.
Place the ½ of the breadcrumbs on a large plate, take the calamari out of the egg and shake of excess egg. Then place them on the plate and cover with the remaining breadcrumbs.
Press the breadcrumbs onto the calamari rings with your fingertips to ensure that the stick well.
Drop the coated calamari rings into the oil in batches and deep fry until they are golden brown and crisp. You will have to turn them to get them evenly browned and crisp on both sides.
Remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper.
Here is the marinated calamari recipe.
Marinated calamari is a fantastic Italian dish which is great on it’s own as an antipasti or sprinkled onto a salad for a summer lunch. It’s so hot out these days I thought I would give you all something really easy that also keeps in the fridge very well, ready for an anytime quick lunch or snack. (500g Calamari is ample for 3 ot 4 salads as a meal, so make as much or as little as you need)
What you need
500g Calamari rings
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
palm of chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and drop in the calamari rings. Reduce the heat to medium straight away and leave to simmer for 10 minutes until the calamari is white and tender.
Drain the calamari.
In a bowl add the lemon juice and oil, toss in the calamari, mix it about, cover with cling film and place in the fridge over night.
In the morning, remove from the fridge, add the garlic and the parsley, mix and return to the fridge for at least 2 to 3 hours.
That is it, you have a fantastic antipasti ready any time..
Serve it as an antipasti in the marinade and if you are having it on a salad, sprinkle over the rings and spoon over a little of the marinade.
Try the deep fried calamari recipe, just like your local pub.
Chicken pies are just great and this recipe is for 6 small pies or about 20 ramekin sized pies which are excellent for a snack instead of the usual snack types. Just load them onto a tray with teaspoons and believe me your guests will love them. I had similar little pies at the opening of a shop earlier this month and they were a real hit. You could also try a mini version of chicken lasagna for a change.
What you need
1 whole chicken
1 liter chicken stock
1 onion roughly chopped
Pinch of whole black peppercorns (about 8 or so)
2 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
salt and black pepper
2 egg yolks lightly beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 punnet mushrooms chopped(250g)
1 packet bacon chopped into small pieces
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 roll froxen puff pastry (400g)
In a large pot on a medium to high heat, heat the stock, add the onion, peppercorns, mixed spice and cloves. Pop in the chicken and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes. You want the stock to be bubbling slowly, so adjust the heat down if it is boiling.
Remove the chicken and allow to cool until you can handle it with your hands. Leave the stock on the stove and allow it to continue simmering until it has reduced by about half.
Now peel off the skin and remove as much meat as you can, making sure there are no bones or cartilage in your pie of chicken meat. Toss out the bones and the skin and break up the meat into morsel size pieces.
Fry the bacon pieces in medium until well cooked, remove and set aside.
Add your mushrooms to the simmering stock and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes until soft. remove from the heat, get a whisk add the egg yolks and whisk fast until the mixture turns creamy and thickens. Add the lemon juice, stir, taste and season a little with salt and pepper.
Now add the chicken, parsley and the bacon to the creamy mushroom sauce and mix to combine everything.
Cover and allow the mixture to cool.
Take 6 small ovenproof bowls of about 6cm deep and 10cm diameter, butter them lightly and share the mixture evenly between them. If you are using ramekins fill them to 3/4 full.
Now place a piece of pastry over the top of each bowl, brush with a mixture of egg and milk, pierce the center with a knife and place in a 200 Celsius oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is beautifully browned.
You are going to love these folks. Try some of the other festive recipes.
Baked sesame salmon
There is little like a fresh piece piece of Cape salmon covered in toasted sesame seeds for a hot summers day meal. this recipe is so easy and so quick it’s hard to believe. This is all about the fantastic flavour of salmon, enhanced a little but preserving that delicate salmon flavour. (for 2 but make as many as you need)
What you need
2x 250g Cape salmon fillets
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Mange Tout finely sliced
Carrot finely shredded
Celery finely shredded
Heat your oven to very hot or about 240 Celsius.
Line a baking tray with alluminium foil, place the fish on the foil and give them a grind of salt. Then squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
Bake for 15 or 20 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon, until the salmon is cooked through and the sesames seeds are beautifully browned and toasty.
Simply place on a bed of the shredded raw vegetables and you are done.
salmon has so many health benefits that we should be eating a lot more of it, it’s failry expensive so save it for a special occasion. And for the guys out there, what could be easier to impress a lady?
A great dessert for this recipe is to make this Warm cherry sauce served with some good vanilla ice cream.
Green vegetable curry
This Thai vegetable curry is mild with a coconut cream sauce that makes vegetables taste like nothing you have ever tasted before. There are so many of us who don’t eat enough vegetables and what I usually do is have Chinese food when I feel I need more vegetables in my diet but this recipe makes vegetarian food positivly delicious. It is a great recipe for entertaining and as one of a few Thai dishes will feed 8 to 10 people. (6 people)
What you need
100g green beans in 5cm pieces
1 red pepper sliced thinly
150g broccoli broken into pieces
4 baby marrows sliced
2 cups cabbage finely sliced
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons green curry paste(available in any supermarket)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (1 tin)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
rind of 1 lemon grated
2 teaspoons brown sugar
In a pot over a medium heat add a splash of oil, the onions and the green curry paste. Cook gently, stirring for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Now add the water and coconut milk, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium low and allow it to simmer and reduce for about 4/5 minutes.
Now add all of the vegetables, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Lastly add the fish sauce, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice, give it a good mix and cook for another 3 minutes or so.
Thats that, it is truly delicious and something you just have to try. Try this coconut beef curry, which is also unbelievably good.