Pea & Mint Soup

I love eating a simple soup for dinner in the summer months, I know it sounds odd, but I find it a lot easier to eat lighter/smaller meals when the weather is hot.  This Pea & Mint soup is a summer staple for me.  I like to make a big batch and then divide it up into portions and freeze it for later.

- 450g peas (garden or petit pois work well)
- 2tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 chopped onion
- 25g butter
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 1 medium sized potato, chopped into equal pieces
- 750ml vegetable stock
- double cream to serve (optional)

How to:-
1. In a large saucepot, cook the chopped onion in the butter for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add the potato and vegetable stock.  Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add the mint and peas and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes,
4. Blend in a food processor until smooth and serve with double cream if desired.


Ludlow Spring Food & Beer Festival

Last weekend I went to the Ludlow Spring Food & Beer Festival.  The small event is set in the grounds of the local castle, which has some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside from the top.  The Spring show is mainly focused around a big Beer & Cider tent with a handful of independent and local traders selling homemade deserts, breads, preserves, cheeses and the like, as well as a cooking demonstration tent which is sponsored by the foodie magazine, Olive.  It's a much smaller affair than the main Ludlow Food Festival which takes place in September, but it's still a lovely day out and a great way to support local & independent individuals and companies.


Giant Chocolate & Cherry Cake-Cookies

'Cake-Cookies' are something that my sister and I used to make on rainy days when we were kids.  As the name suggests, they are a combination of cake (as these have a slightly spongey centre) and cookie (with a slightly crunchy outside).

Makes 8

- 125g unsalted butter at room temp
- 120g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 220g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 100g glacier cherries
- 75g milk chocolate, broken up into small chunks

How to:-
1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4.
2. Combined the butter and sugar in a bowl.  Add one of the eggs, making sure to beat it in the mixture thoroughly before adding the second egg. 
3. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing well.  Add the rest of the ingredients (cocoa powder, cherries and chocolate chunks) and again mix well.
4. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.  Using two spoons, heap the mixture into 8 portions onto the tray and slightly flatten out evenly, leaving space for the mixture to spread a little as it cooks.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes and allow to stand for 5-10 mins before serving.


Satay veggie stir fry with Quorn Mince

A quick and easy meal that beats any greasy takeaway! 

Serves 4

- 450g Quorn mince (or other alternative)
- 250g egg noodles
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 150g green beans
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- 3tbsp soy sauce
- 3tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 3tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

How to:-
1. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or deep frying pan on a medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until it's soft.  Add the garlic and Quorn mince and cook for 10 minutes.  Take off the heat and set aside.
2. In a seperate saucepan, add the chilli, soy and sweet chilli sauces and pour over 150ml hot water.  Allow to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally.
3. Cook the egg noodles according to the pack instructions.  Drain, and then stir in the Quorn mince, peanut butter, green beans and pepper.  Bring back to the boil, add the sauce and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
4. Garnish with fresh coriander if desired.