Chicken, Sweetcorn and Shitake Mushroom Soup

Chicken, Sweetcorn and Shitake Soup

Chicken, Sweetcorn and Shitake Soup

This is another dish I started making in self-defense as it was so popular with the Junior Sorority that I was spending a goodly proportion of the budget on the tinned version. Like most Asian soups the emphasis is on fresh, which suits me just fine because that means short cooking times to leave the vegetables crisp and colourful. The broth in my version is not quite as thick as the commercial ones .. add a little creamed corn or an extra tablespoon of cornflour if it’s too thin for you. I have included the single serve option in the notes.

Please Note: I made a typo when I originally posted this recipe. You need 50g of dried mushrooms NOT 500g. My sincere apologies to those of you who made mushroom-with-incidental-stuff soup before I noticed.

TexMex Steak ‘n Beans Pottage

Tex-Mex Steak 'n Beans Pottage

Tex-Mex Steak 'n Beans Pottage

The first time I made this using leftovers from a BBQ. The rich, meaty stick-to-your ribs goodness was an instant hit. TBone is wonderful as the bone gives a silky texture to the broth, however any decent steak will do as long as you use a good stock. I also use a 375g packet of McKenzie’s four bean mix which may not be available in your area, so substitute 2 cups of mixed dried beans. Experiment with chilli varieties to make it as hot (or not) as you like. I used Jalepeño which gives it some subtlety, a little extra warmth for the cockles of your heart. If you don’t have American chilli jelly, or sweet chilli jam in your cupboard, ½ cup of sweet chiili sauce would be an acceptable substitute.

Salsa de Tomatillo con Aguacate (Serious Guacamole)

Serious Guacamole

Serious Guacamole

I love the internet .. well most of the time anyway. I went looking for a way to utilise the mid Autumn glut of Tomatillos in a creative contribution to a party supper. This is my adaptation of one of Zarela Martinez recipes, recommended to accompany grilled meats, chicken and fish. Complex, rich flavour .. warm, spicy and slightly acid .. had us all instant addicts. Certainly the large bowl intended for the party never made it out the door. Judging from the contented expression worn by my hitherto avocado-pathic Littlest Angel as she scooped it into her mouth with corn chips, there may just be mutiny in the ranks if I make Guacamole any other way.

Muesli Slice

Muesli Slice in Pan

Muesli Slice in Pan

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This began it’s life as an emergency measure to use up a batch of unusually loosely set jam. It was an instant hit with the Junior Sorority as a lunch-box filler, and Beloved as an on-the-run breakfast substitute. It’s appeal for me is its good nutritional value, and high fibre content. The ease and speed that a batch or two comes together is also a definite bonus. Low mess, low fuss easily qualifies as a cheat.

Spiced Pumpkin and Cashew Pesto

Spiced Pumpkin and Cashew Pesto

Spiced Pumpkin and Cashew Pesto

This is a very versatile little pesto. As a nourishing instant breakfast, pumpkin pesto spread over thick slices of toast and topped with tomato or swiss cheese it has few parallels. With just a little imagination, that extends to crusty bread as a base for bruschetta or an exotic BLT. It makes a fabulous dip served with crackers, crudites or toasted pita bread. It’s spiciness lends itself to casseroles or soups, especially those featuring lighter meats like chicken, veal or turkey. Stirred through cooked pasta it makes an aromatic and delicious instant dinner .. especially for vegetarians who will get a big mineral boost from the cashews.