Roasted tomato, pepper & garlic soup

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It’s New Years Day 2016; the start of a new calander year for us all. Despite a very late night watching a film with my family into the ‘wee small hours’, the body clock kicked in and wouldn’t let me have a lay in, sadly, so it was time to get up, have breakfast and create my first dish of the new year then!

Roasted tomato, pepper & garlic soup

Having bought 3 nets of reduced tomatoes in Tesco a couple of days ago (29p/pack), as well as a pack of Romaro peppers (reduced to 39p), along with a couple of yellow peppers and garlic from my fridge, basil growing in a pot on my kitchen windowsill and some fabulous basil infused extra virgin olive oil from Pomora that I picked up at the BBC Good Food Winter show in November, I set about prepping and making a delicious soup for today’s lunch.  Measurements aren’t an exact science here; it’s more about the flavour and your own personal taste guiding you through to the finished product, but to give you an idea what I threw together to make my soup, here’s what I used:

25 salad tomatoes

2 Romaro red peppers

2 Yellow peppers

4 cloves of garlic

6 Stems of fresh basil (stalks and leaves)

15ml Pomora basil extra virgin olive oil

Pinch sea salt

15ml Tomato puree

15ml Sugar

5ml Turmeric powder

Black pepper

15ml Balsamic vinegar

 

1. Preheat your often to 180℃.

2. Halve the tomatoes. Remove the stalks, seeds and pith from the peppers. Peel the garlic and put all of these into a large, heavy based roasting dish (my Le Creuset roasting pan is ideal for this).

3. Throw in the basil, then sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with oil.  Toss or stir together until all the vegetables are coated in the oil.

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4. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy and the peppers and garlic are cooked.

5. Remove the tomato skins into a sieve and squeeze the juices from them back into your roasting dish (no point in wasting that delicious, roasted flavour, eh?!)

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6. Transfer the roasted tomatoes, peppers, garlic etc. from your roasting pan to a blender (I use a Kenwood blender jug attachment on my trusty Kenwood Major Titanium stand mixer).  Add the tomato purée, sugar, turmeric and a good grinding of black pepper, then blitz until smooth.

7. Pour the soup into a saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and heat through, tasting and adjusting your seasoning if required.

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8. Serve with a splash of double cream and some lovely, crunchy croutons.

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The Pomora Extra Virgin Olive Oil was a free sample I picked up at the BBC Good Food Show.  It was not provided in order for me to develop or publish a recipe on behalf of Pomora.

Have a happy, tasty new year!

Chicken a la King

An old recipe I copied down from a magazine in the late 1980’s when I first got married was for the very ‘exotic’ Chicken a la King.  We thought we were so sophisticated when we sat down to our meal in our first house and it’s something we’ve enjoyed eating every so often since then.  My apologies for not being able to give credit to the original recipe writer, but it’s been with me for over 25 years on a scrappy piece of paper.  I’ve changed it slightly as I really don’t like mushrooms, so they’re no longer in my own version of this recipe, but please feel free to ‘add the fungus’ if you so wish!

4 Chicken breasts, skinned
40g Butter
10ml Oil
1 Onion, diced
100g Mushroom, sliced (not on my plate!)
2tbs Cornflour
60ml cold Water
20ml Tomato purée
Black Pepper to taste
250ml Chicken stock
1tsp dried Basil
2 Tomatoes, skinned & sliced
150ml Single cream
1/2 Green Pepper, sliced
1/2 Red Pepper, sliced

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Heat the butter & oil in a frying pan.
3. Fry the chicken on both sides until golden.
4. Remove the chicken breasts to a casserole dish and set to one side.
5. Fry the onions and mushrooms (if using) until softened, but not coloured.
6. Mix the cornflour and water together until smooth.
7. To the pan, add the tomato purée, black pepper, stock and cornflour/water and bring to the boil, continuously stirring until thickened, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
8. Add the basil, sliced tomatoes, cream and sliced peppers and stir through.
9. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and cover with the lid.

10. Place your casserole dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

 Serve with roasted potato and sweet potato wedges with broccoli and cauliflower.

I’m entering this ‘old favourite’ in to the Community Cooks Competition with the Central Co-Op.

I received a gift voucher from the Central Co-Op with which to purchase ingredients for my competition entry. 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Stroganoff

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2tbs Oil

3 Chicken breasts, cubed
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 Red Pepper sliced
½ Yellow Pepper, sliced
1 Red onion, diced
1tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
¼ Knorr Mixed Chillies Flavour Pot (or to taste)
6 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
150ml Single cream
25ml Boiling water
Chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, to serve
Smoked Paprika, to serve
1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.
2. Add the chicken pieces and fry until golden on all sides.
3. Add the garlic, peppers, onion, Jamaican jerk seasoning, ¼ Knorr Flavour Pot and cook until the onion is transparent.
4. Add the cherry tomatoes, cream, boiling water and chopped basil.
5. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 15 minutes until cooked through.
6. Taste the sauce and season according to your personal taste.
7. Serve with tagliatelle or spaghetti and sprinkle with chopped parsley and a dusting of smoked paprika.
I only added ¼ of the Knorr Mixed Chillies Flavour Pot as I don’t like really hot and spicy foods, and this provided more than enough heat for me. These Flavour Pots are potent and I would recommend adding less than you think you need and adjusting as necessary with more if it’s not hot enough.

Knorr Flavour Pots – Garlic, herb with Chicken Ras El Hanout

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I’m really loving how easy these Knorr Flavour Pots are to use; a perfect blend of flavour combined with absolute ease of use makes meal preparation so much easier.

Tonight I combined two of the Flavour Pots; the garlic and the mixed herbs with 2tsp of Ras El Hanout seasoning and 1tbs of rapeseed oil into a large bowl and mixing them thoroughly. I then cut 4 chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and coated them all in the garlic, herb & spice mixture before covering the bowl with cling film and placing in the fridge for 4-6 hours to marinade and infuse the chicken with these amazing flavours.

The chicken pieces were placed onto a baking tray and cooked at 200°C for 25-30 minutes until the chicken was cooked through.  Served simply with a stuffed bell pepper and some home made roast potato wedges was the perfect, simple tea time treat.  

 There were some of the chicken pieces leftover after serving dinner, so I’ve allowed them to cool ready to go with a salad for my lunch on Monday.
 
The Knorr pots were given to me by the Unilever Kitchen and Knorr UK.  I was under no obligation to create this recipe or to post a positive review on the product.  My review above is a true reflection of how simple, convenient & delicious I have found these Flavour Pots.