Tuesday, 21 January 2014

roasted butternut squash soup with ras al hanout

well the rain and the cold is here, so soup time it is!  Also am feeling poorly and should probably supplement my diet with more than whisky hot toddies and Dairy Milk.  I love soup - so little effort for so much comforting goodness.  Here's one of my favourites - a simple roasted butternut squash soup that you can spice up in any number of ways.  This is so easy to make and pep up with your favourite spices.  I will often make this with curry powder instead of the ras al hanout.  

A simple and comforting soup - perfect for these colder evenings. 

top tip:  No need to peel the squash before cooking, as it's much easier after you have roasted it.

recipe author:  chip butties and noodle soup  
serves:  3-4 


1 butternut squash
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ras al hanout (optional or you can use your spice of choice
coriander or parsley - chopped
1.5 litre good chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. preheat the oven to 200c
  2. chop the butternut squash and onion into chunky pieces and put in a roasting tin and before mixing with the ras al hanout, olive oil, garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. roast for about 20-30 minutes until the veg is softened and slightly caramelised around the edges. 
  4. carefully peel the squash (you can scoop it easily with a spoon from the skin), then add with them rest of the ingredients to a large saucepan.
  5. Add the stock and simmer for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the heat and blending.
  6. add your fresh herbs if using and serve immediately.  


I have also entered this recipe onto the Four Seasons Food blog challenge for January.  Hosted by delicieux and Eat Your Veg.  The theme this month is virtuous food :-)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Polish Plum Cake

My Polish Plum cake - perfect for snowy days and homesickness

Well we're here!  The Limousin region of France if you were wondering.  A long, stressful, cramped journey with 2 cats and a camper van to our new abode in rural France.  A dream that has become a reality.  And what a shock it is!  Leaving friends and family, full time paid employment, and a daily routine we understood....also the reason I have been away from the blog for so long.   

We are working hard everyday, and sometimes it feels like wading through red tape in a big vat of treacle...while wearing wellies that keep falling off.  But we have faith and know we will get there in the end (wherever there may be).  Or understand that where we are is fine too.  That we can enjoy the moments and laugh at ourselves sometimes, and appreciate what we have: the opportunity and chance to follow our dreams. 

This is the first cake I have been inspired to bake in our new house.  I was looking for a taste of home, and memories of my Babcia's baking.  A simple cake with a few ingredients.  To make our house smell like home...I hope you enjoy.  Do let me know how you get on and what your favourite taste of home is?

2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter - at room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup milk 
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon/orange
pinch of salt 
about 12 plums - halved and de-stoned
1/3 cup icing sugar

  • preheat your oven to a moderate heat - about 175C.
  • grease and line a baking tin - I used a 20x30cm size.
  • sieve the flour into a large bowl, then add all the other ingredients and mix for 3-4 minutes with an electric whisk.
  • pour half the batter into your tin then add the halved plums in a single layer before adding the rest of the batter on top
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes - or until the cake is well risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  • remove from the tin after 10-15 minutes and leave to cool on a rack before sprinkling with icing sugar.  
  • Enjoy a nice big slice with a cup of tea - mine's an Earl Grey. 

Check out my other Polish inspired recipes:

Polish honey and spice gingerbread (piernik)

I have posted this recipe for Polish Plum Cake onto Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays over at Cookin w/ Luv