A weekend of quick and easy recipes

On May 13, 2014 by battenburgbelle

Even though it’s May and the weather really ought to be getting better, it is STILL soup season here. And I’m not talking about a lovely chilled vichysoisse or gazpacho. Oh no. On the upside, this Butternut Squash and Parmesan Soup is a definite contender for best soup ever, so silky and flavoursome.

Butternut squash and parmesan soup

Butternut squash and parmesan soup with optional bacon

I added the fried up bacon just because it needed using – it worked a treat, but is not compulsory. This was so very fabulous that I will share the recipe without further ado:

1 medium onion, chopped
large knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
650ml stock (I used chicken this time, but vegetarian would be fine)
1 tbsp lemon juice
30-40g Parmesan, grated

Heat the butter and oil gently in a large saucepan, then add the onion and squash. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Blend until smooth, add the lemon juice, season to taste, add the parmesan.
If you want to add the bacon, dice a couple of rashers and fry them for a couple of minutes.

I totally LOVE this soup – try it!

In other news, the time to empty out the freezer is upon me again, so I decided to do something with a pork loin that had been there a while. Rather than just grill it and serve it to Mr B with some vegetables, I had a bit of time, so I brined it (albeit very briefly – ie about an hour in with salt and water – I’m afraid I can’t remember the quantities), then griddled it. I tried a bit – it was indeed very tender and juicy, which is what the brining process is intended to do. I finally got around to checking out the Dean & Deluca cook book I spotted in a charity shop in Colchester while staying with “Uncle Patrick” and family a couple of months ago.

Pork loin with apple and onion

Pork loin with a little compôte of apple and onion

It’s a massive book and happens to include amongst many other tempting dishes a list of suggested “add-ons for pork chops”, one of which involved apples and onions, both of which were here in plentiful supply. Slice them up, cook them slowly in a reasonably generous amount of butter, add a bit of finely chopped sage at the end – and there you have it, a little compôte of apples and onions. I tested a bit and I now have another quick mid-week supper on the list – the apple/onion combo was very tasty and perfect with the pork and I predict it would be great with a sausage-based meal too.

And another onion success: we had burgers on Sunday night (best-ever according to Missy B, which was nice) and there was a stray half a red onion. Sliced raw red onion is ok with a burger, but not very exciting, so I made a little (almost instant) chutney – I sliced the onion thinly, fried it gently in olive oil, added a teaspoon of sugar, then added some red wine plus a generous teaspoon of a secret ingredient. This was in fact an actual secret ingredient – I bought a little jar of Fortnum & Mason’s Balsamic Jelly for a colleague in the secret santa at Christmas but at the end of the meal it was still there on the festive table, so I did what was only right an proper and stuck it in my handbag.

Festive Balsamic Jelly

Festive Balsamic Jelly

Who would leave such a treat behind?? But their loss was definitely my gain.

One Response to “A weekend of quick and easy recipes”

  • Love your style. I suppose it might have been rude to say “oi! Have you spurned your Secret Santa gift?” – you would have given the game away. I can just imagine you doing a shifty look around to see if anyone was around then filching it. Genius!

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