If there’s one thing I love about the autumn it’s the return of soups to my life. I started with a slow cooker Minestrone last week but this week’s broccoli and cheese soup can be prepared in 20 minutes so a quick and easy recipe. It also makes 4 portions so I kept two back and put them in the freezer as I have this for my lunch when the family is out of the house. Interestingly it’s very low calories too which is always good news to me because if I can save calories in the day I can make more of my evening meal :)
This soup can be prepared in a saucepan on the stove or if you have one, a soup maker. I used my soup kettle which is handy as it does all the cooking and blending and bleeps to let you know your soup is ready. Just pour into bowls and serve.
Broccoli and Mature Cheddar soup
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 potato peeled and diced
1 litre of stock – I used vegetable stock but chicken would work just as well
1 head of broccoli cut into florets
2 tsps wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper
150 g mature Cheddar cheese grated to garnish with.
Fry the onion and garlic gently until softened in a thick bottom saucepan or frying pan if transferring to a soup maker.
Add to the soup maker along with all the other ingredients (NOT the cheese) and set on smooth. Your soup will be ready in 22 minutes.
OR add the potato to the saucepan and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the chopped broccoli, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Using a hand blender whizz until smooth or whizz in a food processor.
Return to the pan and add the mustard, season to taste.
Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle with mature Cheddar cheese. Offer thick fresh bread to accompany.
Rummaging around in the fridge I discovered I still have cheeses that were bought for Christmas lying around, big unopened pieces! Now I can’t throw anything out without checking first so I opened them up and having trimmed off the edges they were all perfectly fine but of course I needed to use them quick – Ta dah!
A Cheeseboard Quiche that I could eat for lunch during the week.
I love quiche. I eat it cold in the summer, warm in the winter and if there’s one on a buffet I have to have a bit on my plate so again using ready made shortcrust pastry I give you my latest ‘use up the leftovers’ recipe and please keep in mind this is an incredibly adaptable dish, just use the same mixture to cover your fillings – a selection of my favourite alternative fillings are given below
Ready to roll shortcrust pastry
3 large eggs
200 ml milk
salt and pepper
ham – mine was a cheap sandwich ham
leftover cheese – I had Stilton and Red Leicester
- Heat the oven to 200C Gas 6
- Roll out the pastry larger than the base of your dish (and the sides!). Roll over your rolling pin on itself to pick it up and move it over your pie dish, ease the pastry into the dish making sure it’s not tight as it will shrink so allow lots of pastry in. Allow the edges to hang over untidily (you can cut later) Prick the bottom with a fork 2/3 times. Overdo it and all your filling will seep out and burn. I know because I’ve done it!
- Place a sheet of baking paper in the pie loosely, tip in your baking beans and push towards the edges where it will shrink more. I have used the Tala ceramic baking beans here.
- Bake ‘blind’ for 20 mins till the pastry looks golden around the edge.
- Whilst the case is baking finely chop an onion and fry it slowly until it is soft and golden.
- Whilst the onion is frying, beat the eggs and milk in a bowl with seasoning. You can add double cream instead of milk to make a richer mixture but as you know I’m trying to lose weight
- Remove the baking beans form the pastry case and bake for another 10 mins until golden all over
- Brush beaten egg over any cracks or fork holes and bake for another couple of mins
- Cut the overhanging pastry off with a serrated knife and turn the oven down to 150C Gas 2
- Scatter the onion evenly over the pastry case, Add the ham and cheese evenly over the base then pour on your egg mixture
- Make sure it’s all even, I always have my quiche dish on a baking tray and then slot it in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes until the filling has set.
- sausage and broccoli (or another veg)
- asparagus and ham
- cherry tomatoes and chorizo
- cooked vegetables (carrots, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms)
- anything you’ve got lying around in the fridge – go for it!
And to finish off this was the spectacular sunset I had outside my garden window last night – look at the colour!