Posts Tagged potatoes

Watercress soup

Watercress Soup madebyjayne.com

I’m dragging myself kicking and screaming onto the healthy train this new year! I’m finding it hard to get out of bad habits left over from the holiday season, possibly the very cold weather we have had recently is making it harder. However I’m trying to get back into healthier habits. One thing we will be having for dinner this week is watercress soup. I first tried this soup in France, in a supermarket of all places! We were given a sample while shopping, if I had made that soup for my husband he wouldn’t have even tried it but in a French supermarket it was somehow appealing to him and not only did he try but he liked it! Always delighted to find a healthier meal for that my husband will have too,  I recreated it when we got back. It’s very simple and quick to make. Watercress is high in antioxidants and it’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, helping to boost the immune system which is good for this time of the year. It’s also very low in calories which is always good news.

This is a very mild tasting soup, the watercress adds some peppery tones but it is overall a simple clean tasting soup, I will be having it accompanied with a salad but some crusty bread would be fabulous served with this soup. Be careful not to blend for too long or the potatoes go gloopy.

Watercress Soup

  • 400 grams potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 250 mls vegetable stock (homemade if you have it otherwise try to find a stock that is lower sodium and doesn’t contain msg)
  • 2 x 75 gram bags of watercress
  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan, when heated add the onions and potatoes. Stir to coat in the oil then turn the heat down, cover and leave to sweat for about 5 minutes, this will soften the onion and potato without browning.
  2. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, the potatoes should be almost ready.
  3. Add all the watercress, leave it resting on top and put the lid back on so the watercress can steam. Cook for 5 minutes, check to see that the potatoes are soft and the watercress wilted.
  4. Blend to your preferred smoothness. My husband likes no lumps at all so I use a blender but a more chunky finish with a stick blender is also nice.
  5. Serve immediately. This soup freezes well.

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Recipe Testing Vanessa Kimbell’s Lemon Roast Chicken & Caraway Potatoes

 
I was delighted to be able to test a recipe for Vanessa Kimbell. She, rather amazingly, has given up work for a year to write her cook book, called Prepped, full of inspiration for “time short foodies”. Lord knows we all seem to be short on time! I cant wait to see it in print! 
I tested one of Vanessa’s linked recipes, Lemon Roast Chicken & Caraway Potatoes followed by Caraway & Lemon Chicken Pasties using what was left of the chicken and potatoes. The linked recipe idea is a time saving way of using one lot of ingredients to make 2 meals. Which is music to my ears!

 

The Lemon Roast chicken is roasted with the addition of lemon and garlic, adding cream along with the juices from the chicken to make a luscious gravy at the end. While roasting the chicken the potatoes are cooked and mashed then adding butter, lemon zest, caraway and Parmesan. This was a delicious combination- really I could have eaten it just like that! But that wasn’t the end for those lovely potatoes! Reserving half for the pasties another time you shape the remainder into patties. bread them and shallow fry -delicious!
The potatoes compliment the lemon chicken perfectly and with the gravy made from the lemony juices of the chicken it all marries together fantastically.

The recipe below is Vanessa’s and may change slightly when the book is printed as this is the test recipe.
My chicken took a lot longer to cook- slow oven!

Lemon Chicken  

A Large Chicken about 1.6kg

3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil

2 teaspoons of good quality sea salt
5- 6 cloves of Garlic
2 Lemons
½ teaspoon of sugar
30 ml of single cre2 Bay leaves2 sprigs of Rosemary
2/3 tablespoons of corn starch
some chives for scattering

Method.
1 Pre heat the oven to 240°C/475°F/gas 9
2 Sprinkle salt over the top of the chicken and place springs of Rosemary, garlic and the bay leaves inside the cavity. Pop a whole lemon in the cavity too.
3 Drop the temperature to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook the chicken for 1 hour.
Remove the zest and juice the lemon then add both to the juices from the chicken.
Baste the chicken with the juices.
After 20 more minutes in the oven you can check that is cooked by inserting a skewer in the thigh and making sure that the juices are clear. If they are still pink return to the oven for ten more minutes and repeat the test.
5 Remove the chicken from the baking pan and set to one side to rest. A few minutes rest are important in order to allow the meat to relax, it will be much more tender as a result.
In the mean time set to on making the gravy. Strain the liquid into a gravy separator returning the juice back to the original baking pan. Over a medium heat add the last of the lemon juice, and stir in the sugar. I do always taste here, and can add more or less sugar, salt or water depending on my tastes.
6 You can use corn flour made into a watery paste and add it in whilst stirring to thicken the sauce. It is best cook this through for a minute or so. For a voluptuous sauce just before serving stir in two or three tablespoons of creamIit the gravy. Slice the meat and cover in this lemon infused gravy. As you serve scatter chopped chives.

Serve with the caraway and lemon potato cakes, recipe below, as before it is Vanessa’a test recipe and therefore may change.

Caraway Potatoes 

You will need 100g per potato cake. This recipe makes 8 potato cakes and leaves half left over to make the pasties with the following day
1kg potatoes such as Maris Piper
100g butter
1 level tbs Caraway seeds
200g Parmesan cheese
zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs
Sea salt
Pepper
4/5 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 Cover with water and boil the potatoes in saucepan for 20 minutes. Drain, pop them back into the pan and add the butter, caraway parmesan, zest and just one of the eggs. Mix really well.
Season with salt and pepper.
2 Using your hands form into six patties.
3 Beat the egg and place into a saucer. Place the breadcrumbs into a saucer and gently dip the patties in egg, then cover in breadcrumbs before frying in a heavy based pan in oil until golden brown. Be careful not to handle them

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 I can not tell you how delighted I was the following day, (a Monday- my worst day for cooking dinner) to have most of that nights meal already “prepped”!  All I had to do was unroll some ready made pastry and use the rest of the chicken and potatoes from the night before to make Caraway and Lemon chicken pasties. What a time saving treat! Delicious too!
The recipe was with one packet of pastry to make 4 pasties but I had rather a lot of filling left so with another packet of pastry you could make 6 possibly 8 pasties.
 
Caraway and Lemon Chicken Pasties

To make 4 pasties
250g Roast Chicken chopped
400g caraway potato mix
1 packet 375 grams of short crust pastry (2pks if you have extra filling left, as I did)
1 egg for glazing
A small amount of egg and milk to brush over the pastry

Preheat oven to 190 C/400 F/gas 5
In a bowl add the remaining potatoes from the recipe above. Mix well with the chicken
Roll out the pastry divide into four and pop four equal dollops of the mix on the to pastry and fold up the sides to form a parcel. Makes sure the parcel is sealed using some of the beaten egg on the seams if you are having trouble getting the pastry to stay together.
Turn the pies over, pop a small incision it the top of the pie and glaze with egg. You can set these to one side for a day or freeze them at this point.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so until golden brown.

  

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