Fennel Veggie Soup

Soups are my favourite lunch because they are light but filling, and I don’t feel like all I want to do is lay down for the rest of the day after I eat. Also, I can make them from just about any vegetable combo I have in my precious fruit and veggie cart in the kitchen.

Fennel soup is the one I made today and thought, Well, why don’t I just share this with you? So, here it is!

What you’ll need:

1 fennel bulb

1 medium size carrot

1 parsnip

1/2 of medium size cauliflower or 1 small one

1 piece of ginger of about 1cm (optional)

1 vegetable cube

1,2 l of water

Salt, pepper

For serving (optional):

Toasted seeds (poppy, sesame, linseeds, pumpkin and sunflower)

Fresh parsley or coriander

Croutons

Crème Fraîche or sour cream

 

Fennel Veggie Soup, Quick (less than 30 minutes) & easy recipe for a light lunch or dinner. Add some toasted seeds and herbs and you got yourself a hearty and nutritious meal. Biljana Hutchinson #soup #lunch #LightLunch #vegetarian #recipe #EasyRecipes #QuickAndEasy

 

Place the pot with 1,2l of water on the high heat. In the meantime, wash fennel and the rest of the veggies and cut them into chunks. When the water is boiling, put all the ingredients together in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high and let them simmer for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. (Use the fork to check if they are ready.)

Blend it either in a blender or with a stick mixer and season to taste. Let it rest for a couple of minutes and serve.

 

Serving

Either serve it my favourite way, with a sprinkle of toasted seeds, croutons and fresh coriander or, my kids’ favourite way, with a dollop of creme fresh or sour cream.

You can turn my favourite way into your favourite way by making your combination of seeds and herbs. I picked poppy, sesame, linseeds, pumpkin and sunflower because they are my favourite and I always have them ready.

If there are some extra seeds, store them in a glass jar and use to sprinkle your breakfast cereal or a salad.

Herb-wise, the same thing – make it your own. Instead of parsley or coriander, you can use dill, basil or chives, even tarragon. Careful with tarragon though, it’s quite intensive. Keep your hand steady as little goes a long way.

You could eat the soup plain too, skipping all the extra bits and bobs. It’s delicious on its own. I just like to add to it for heartiness and nutrition.

 

Fennel Veggie Soup, Quick (less than 30 minutes) & easy recipe for a light lunch or dinner. Add some toasted seeds and herbs and you got yourself a hearty and nutritious meal. Biljana Hutchinson #soup #lunch #LightLunch #vegetarian #recipe #EasyRecipes #QuickAndEasy

 

Seed & Spice Toasting

Pick your seeds, in a dry pan with them, heat them up to medium and toss them for a few minutes. At the first whiff of the spicy smoke, take them off the heat. They are ready. For extra crunchiness, you could leave them in the pan for another 30 seconds or so.

Careful not to leave the seeds in the heat unattended cause they burn easily and more often than not go bitter. You’ll have to bin them and start from the beginning.

This whole toasting venture takes about 5 minutes, and the flavour and aroma they give to the dishes are fantastic and so worth it!

 

What’s your favourite soup? Or lunch? Please comment and share so we can inspire each other and exchange some recipes.

If you liked this post, you might try my casserole recipe too.

You could also share this recipe with your friends by clicking the buttons below to tweet it, facebook it, pin it or google + it (or more!). Your sharing will help me spread the word, build my blog and make my day. Cheers for your caring!

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What’s All This Cooking Stuff!?

Maybe these recipes seem a bit random, but I came to love cooking, baking and all things kitchen. When combined with my family’s love for eating – it’s a perfect match.

Before I had children, I was not cooking nor baking for more than one reason: I worked long hours, and I lived on my own. Also, I wasn’t interested in learning how to cook after a 12-hour day in the field, and I mostly ate fast food on the go.

 

What's All This Cooking Stuff!?! How I became a passionate family chef, Biljana Hutchinson #cooking #chef #food #interest

 

My mum, a wise woman and a fantastic cook, used to tell me every time I’d say that maybe I should learn to cook this or that, ‘Don’t worry about it, when the time comes you’ll learn’. Or ‘Don’t worry about it, you’ll learn when you have to’. My menu consisted of eggs in 5 or 6 ways, pasta in 105 or 106 ways and three kinds of soup, two of which were from the packet.

Working in Afghanistan where we had cooks preparing delicious food for us didn’t do me any favours either. Until 2011 when my daughter was born. A few months later the time for me to learn how to cook had come.

Mum was there to help as she did and I started going to a local green market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I started finding my own favourite local producers, buying meat from the butcher’s, fresh herbs and preparing food for our little girl and for us.

 

What's All This Cooking Stuff!?! How I became a passionate family chef, Biljana Hutchinson #cooking #chef #food #interest

 

I already read a lot about food and knew a little bit about healthy eating, dos and don ts of nutritionism, so this was a chance to apply my knowledge and expand it. And so I did. I read more about healthy eating, I talked to friends that knew about it more than me, I learned and learned and applied as much as I could to our everyday meal rituals creating new and improving our existing eating habits.

I started cooking, baking, brazing, grilling, kneading, you name it. There was a lot of burning of both me and the food at the beginning. But, I did it every day, trying something new, finding recipes and following them to the letter. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

While exploring cooking, I found that it helped tremendously with my healing too. It had pretty much the same effect on me as my therapy – my mind had a new focus in which I could fully engage not only because I was learning new things but because I could be creative in a brand new way.

Two years ago we moved back to the UK, and it was then that cooking indeed became my new passion in a sense that I started exploring, creating and combining ingredients outside of the recipes I had. I gained enough confidence to test combinations and my knowledge, and I am so happy and proud of myself that it’s working! Wooooohooooo!

So here I am – sharing my own recipes! How cool is that! If somebody had told me only two years ago that I’d be doing this, I would have laughed out loud to their silliness and throw them out for daring to ridicule me in my own house in front of my own kids secretly wanting them to be right after slamming the door behind them…

Cooking makes me happy and is one of the things that gives me a feeling of achievement at the end of the day. There will be plenty more food to prepare and enjoy and many more recipes to share

Coconut Squares

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Another one of my favourite desserts because it is moist with tasty chocolate glaze and quick. You can get these delicious little (or big) squares ready in about 30 minutes, so this recipe is handy to have when unexpected guests show up at your door. Or the expected ones but you realise that you forgot about the desert. Personal experience talk…

 

Coconut Squares, Recipe for a quick, easy & tasty dessert, Biljana Hutchinson #dessert #sweets #food #coconut
I bet you can hardly wait to try these 😉

 

Makes 16 – 20 squares

2 cups all-purpose flour (or, my favourite, wholemeal Spelt flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups light brown or Demerara sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 cup natural yoghurt
1 cup milk (skim is fine too)
1 tsp vanilla paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

 

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and coconut together. Whisk milk, yoghurt, oil and vanilla paste (or seeds) together and add to dry ingredients. Pour the batter into well-greased and sprinkled with flour 9×13 baking pan and bake it in a preheated oven at 180C (350F) degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

 

Chocolate Glaze

 

While your squares are baking, prepare the glaze in a small pan. Place:
100g cooking chocolate (plain or milk)
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp milk

and melt it on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally so it does not stick to the pan.

 

Once the squares are ready, take them out of the oven and pour hot glaze over them. Let them cool before serving. Enjoy your dessert warm or cold with cream or ice-cream to your taste or simply on its own. Don’t forget a cup of coffee or tea…

 

You can keep them in a plastic container in the fridge for about 4-5 days, but if your house is anything like ours, the squares don’t stand a chance for more than a day :).

B’s Beef Casserole with Potato and Celery Mash

One of my favourite dishes to make and to eat. Easy and delicious.

B's Beef Stew with Potato & Celery Mash, Easy, hearty and delicious meal. For healthy(er) option, go for celery mash or cauliflower one. One of my all-time favourites. Mouthwatering.
Taaaaaasty!

Serves 5-6 

 

600g of diced beef (use any cut you like, I prefer shin-cut for stews)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, finely chopped
2-3 medium-size garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 medium-size carrots halved lengthwise and cut into medium size cubes
3-4 medium-size parsnips halved lengthwise and cut into medium size cubes
3-4 celery sticks, cut into small or medium size cubes
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp plain flour
sprig of thyme (or to taste)
1 glass of red wine (about 150ml or 200ml of dark beer)
500ml of beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Potato & Celery Mash:

3-4 medium-size potatoes

half of the medium-size celery root

100g butter or 1 stick

100ml milk

salt and black pepper

Quick tip: for creamier mash, add a dollop of Crème fraîche.

 

Preheat oven at 220C/425F/7 gas mark. Coat the meat in flour and leave on the side. Cut onions and garlic and place them in the casserole with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, butter and a pinch of sea salt on medium-high heat until soft, for about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots and parsnips together with bay leaves until soft, for 10-15 minutes. Add the meat and sprigs of thyme, freshly ground black pepper. Add wine and cook everything for only a few minutes, then add stock or crushed cubes and add 500ml of water bringing everything to a gentle simmer. Cover (if you don’t have the lid, use tin foil) and place it in the oven for 2 hours.

 

About 30 minutes before your casserole is ready, prepare potato and celery mash. Peel potatoes and celery root and cut them into about 1cm cubes. Boil them in salted water and when they are soft and ready, drain and leave them to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Mash them with freshly ground black pepper, milk and butter. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

 

When the casserole is ready and out of the oven, leave it to sit for about 10-15 minutes.

 

Serve with a dollop or two of mash and sprinkle with fresh parsley or coriander.

 

Pour yourself a glass of favourite drink and dig in!

 

 

All You Need Is B’s Chocolate Cake

All You Need is B's Chocolate Cake, super quick, super easy and super tasty chocolate cake recipe, Biljana Hutchinson #recipe #chocolatecake #cake #dessert #easyrecipes

This cake was discovered by my mum and it is awesome! I took over the recipe and slightly modified it to make it lighter but it is still (oh yes, it is!) a chocolate cake.  I’m sharing it with you because I’m a selfless person who believes that chocolate cake is like a little black dress – a classic that everyone loves. Also, because I want you to mention me every time you talk about this cake.

It is a 30-minute sweet venture and your friends will be asking for the recipe like it’s nobody’s business.

Serves 16 – 20 
(or 6 – 7 in our house)

2 cups of natural yoghurt
2 cups of light brown sugar (or demerara)
1 cup of semolina flour
1 cup of plain flour
1/3 cup of oil
2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
Handful of crushed nuts (pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts), optional

Combine both flowers, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Add oil and yoghurt to dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture into a well-greased 9×13 baking pan, sprinkled with a little bit of flour and bake it in a preheated oven at 200C (390F) degrees for 25 minutes. Start checking after 20 minutes, the cake should be soft but not wobbly.

While the cake is in the oven, take a medium pan, put it on a low heat and make a smooth glaze by adding

10 tbsp of light brown (or demerara) sugar
10 tbsp of milk
100g of butter (about 1/2 of a cup)
100g of plain or milk cooking chocolate

When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven, pierce it with a fork or a knife in two dozen places and pour the hot glaze over it. Leave it to cool for a couple of hours, ideally. In our house, the cooling time varies between 15 minutes and 2 hours depending on how long the kids (read: I) can wait. Serve with vanilla ice cream or cream topping.

Let me know how much you like it (wink).