Oxfordshire OX27 8DP
(Serves 4 – 5 people for lunch)
This is great with our Fougasse bread recipe, or any other good bread.
A rather unusual and incongruous vegetable to make into soup is the marrow, but try this recipe for Spicy Marrow Soup and even confirmed marrow haters (and we have a couple in our family!) will be converted.
The smoked paprika makes a huge contribution to the taste and is available in major supermarkets
— use it if you can rather than regular paprika.
The pungent taste of Thai mint
goes really well with the spiciness.
Regular mint can of course be substituted if you need to.
Stuffed nasturtium flowers make pretty little appetisers to serve with drinks.
Choose large flowers if possible.
Check for insects hiding inside and then stuff 3/4 full with a herby cream cheese mix, or a thickish dip like guacamole.
Wrap the petals around the top of the stuffing and serve on thick slices of cucumber or small round crackers.
Make the most of the leafy herbs available with this warming soup topped with fresh herb leaves.
Chop the onion, carrot, celery garlic and chilli together very finely and
sauté in a large pan
over a medium to low heat until soft but not brown.
Add the spices and sauté for another minute or so until the spices are fragrant.
Add the lentils and the zest from the lemon along with the stock and simmer for 45 minutes
over a very low heat until the lentils soften and completely break up.
Add the tomatoes to the soup and heat through whilst seasoning with the juice from the lemon,
and salt to taste.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a good dollop of greek yoghurt and some leafy herbs before serving.
Serves 3 – 4 people.
In the kitchen the beginning of autumn is the season of soups.
At this time of year there gluts of fruit and vegetables, either in your garden or in the local markets, just waiting to be used!
Soup is great to make in bulk: some to eat now for a delicious lunch and some to freeze in suitable portions for winter time. Paired with some good bread either from the local bakers or made from some of the recipes on our website, soup makes a filling lunch for autumn and winter.
Ways to use up tomatoes is the order of the day for us as autumn approaches! Try this soup either with your own tomatoes or some of the flavoursome varieties now available to buy.
In a large pan gently fry the onions, garlic and celery in 2 tbs olive oil until softened.
Add the tomatoes, apples and sliced sage leaves, cover and cook gently over a low heat for 45 minutes.
Add the stock (vegetable stock can be used for a vegetarian option) and simmer for another 30 minutes.
When the soup has cooled slightly — you can hurry this up by standing the pan in a sink of cold water! — liquidise the soup until it is smooth. For an extra smooth soup you can now sieve out the tomatoes seeds, which always seem to miss being liquidised, but we find that it is great just as it is.
When you are ready to serve, heat about 1 cm olive oil in your smallest pan and toss in the sage leaves for garnish. Sizzle them until they are crisp — 30 second to a minute — keep an eye on them or they will burn.
Drain the crisp leaves briefly on kitchen paper and sprinkle on soup immediately before serving.
For a real taste of the Mediterranean use it with lamb.
This mix with lemon and feta cheese really takes you to Greece or Turkey and those hot sunny days!
Pull the oregano leaves from the woody stems and chop very lightly, just enough to release the flavour.
Put into a serving bowl with the oil.
Add the finely chopped spring onions along with the crumbled feta and lemon juice.
Stir in a good grinding of black pepper and its ready to serve.
This is great with lamb steaks or chops, cooked quickly on a griddle pan, or soon — maybe in a month or so — on the barbecue. Looking forward to summer!
Mix together 300g cream cheese (low fat or otherwise),
2 tablespoons of grated horseradish, 100ml mayonnaise and lots of black pepper.
Add chopped mint or parsley if desired.
For a more substantial dip crumble in some crisply grilled bacon.
Cool in the fridge before serving.
Lovely served with celery sticks, grilled pitta bread and cucumber wedges.
This is a Turkish form of tzatziki popular over all over the near and far East.
Peel the cucumber and cut into small dice.
Sprinkle with the salt and leave in a colander for 1 hour to drain.
Wash well and squeeze to remove the moisture with kitchen paper.
Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar and add to the yoghurt with plenty of black pepper and the chopped mint leaves.
Mix in the cucumber just before serving.
Serve with pitta breads or as a sauce with kebabs or grilled lamb.
Crush the garlic cloves to a paste in a pestle and mortar with ¼ tsp salt.
Spoon the mayonnaise and crème fraiche into a bowl and mix in the garlic paste, mustard and lemon thyme leaves. Season with black pepper and more salt if desired.
Serve decorated with golden lemon thyme leaves.
Any left over dip will keep in the fridge to be used as a topping for baked potatoes or a sauce with kebabs.
A warming bowlful (serves 4)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently sweat the onion and garlic until it is soft but not browned.
Stir in the potato dice and continue gently frying for a minute or two.
Season to taste with black pepper and salt and add the vegetable stock.
Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the crème fraiche and reheat.
Chop the parsley including the finer stalks until you have enough to fill a coffee mug tightly packed. Add this to the soup, stir well and turn off the heat.
In a minute or so the parsley will be wilted, allow the soup to cool slightly and then liquidise until smooth.
Serve garnished with more chopped parsley and, for a more substantial meal, some of our sage bread still warm from the oven.
Serves 4 – 6
This warming winter soup uses sweet potatoes that are now readily available, but you can of course substitute ordinary potatoes in the recipe if you wish.
Heat the oven to 350F, Gas mark 4 or 180C.
Separate the garlic into individual cloves and put onto a small baking tray – unpeeled.
Drizzle with 1 tbs of the oil and roast for about 15 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and gently cook the onions until very soft and only just coloured. Add the sweet potato pieces and the thyme leaves. Cover with a lid and leave to sweat for a further 5 minutes.
Add 1 litre of the stock and simmer the pan gently uncovered for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its papery peel into a small bowl. Stir this garlic pulp into the soup and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Blend the soup to a smooth puree adding the remaining stock if it is too thick, stir in the crème fraiche and add seasoning to taste.
A real winner, both for taste and ease of preparation
Mix together the yoghurt, tomato juice and milk in a large bowl,
add the rest of the ingredients and chill for 2 hour in the fridge before serving garnished with the basil leaves.
This recipe will serve 4, try it with our home-made sage bread.
Melt the butter and gently cook the onion for 5 minutes, then add the peeled and diced cucumber
and continue to cook for another 5 minutes but do not allow the vegetables to brown.
Stir in the flour, followed by 1 litre of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender and add the remaining stock, season to taste.
Beat together the egg yolks and cream with a little of the hot soup. Reheat the rest of the soup and add the egg mixture to the pan along with the finely chopped Japanese parsley.
Stir over a low heat for a few minutes to thicken but do not allow to boil. Serve garnished with chopped Japanese parsley leaves.
Soften the onion in the butter, add the potato dice and cover the pan.
Leave the vegetables to sweat for 10 minutes over a low heat.
Stir in the lettuce followed by the seasonings and the stock.
Simmer for 15 minutes then add the sorrel leaves.
Liquidise the soup until it is quite smooth. The acidity of sorrel varies with the time of year so exact quantities are difficult, slightly more maybe needed.
Reheat the soup to nearly boiling point then stir in the crème fraiche. Serve sprinkled with a little more chopped sorrel.
These olives are tasty and moreish to serve with drinks, or they can be used as part of a mixed starter.
Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the olives in a jar or plastic bowl with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 5 days before serving, giving them a shake or a stir each day.
Large flat portabello mushrooms are great for this dish as they hold a lot of stuffing!
Wipe the mushrooms and cut out their stems with a sharp pointed knife.
Put them into a food processor with the bread, garlic, herbs and seasoning.
Blend until chopped but not totally pulverised.
Preheat the grill to high and put the mushroom tops into a shallow baking tray.
Put a tsp of butter into each mushroom and spread across the surface.
Cook under the grill for about 5 minutes.
Then pile in the breadcrumb mix and divide the grated cheese between the 4 mushrooms.
Return to the grill for another 3 – 4 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling,
and the filling is well heated through.
A classic way to cook sorrel and makes a tasty supper with some crusty bread. Serves 4 – 6 people.
This is lovely with crusty bread, or for a more filling lunch try it with our Rosemary and Cheese Scone Roulade (under 'Herby Home Baking' in our recipe section).