Broccoli & cauliflower soup with Cornish Blue

Broccoli soupMore cold weather, more soup. I could happily live on soup – there are so many variations that each one is like having a completely different meal. From something fast to throw together after work, like Pea & Mint or super-quick Thai Noodle, all the way up to slow-cooked Oxtail & Pearl Barley or Goulash Soup with Caraway Dumplings at the more ‘hearty and cockle-warming’ end of the scale, there’s definitely a soup for every mood.

Today’s recipe is for something that sits nicely in between – warming, hearty and tasty, with the bonus of being simple to prepare and quick to cook. The blue cheese (or any type of cheese that you like) really does make things extra moreish. Robin ran amok on a Cornish cheese website a few weeks ago, and I received a surprise package of a whole wheel of Yarg and half of a wheel of Cornish Blue. We seem to have been eating it forever, but it’s still taking up half of the bottom shelf of the fridge – though there are surely worse problems in the world than too much cheese. Continue reading “Broccoli & cauliflower soup with Cornish Blue”

‘Dal’ soup with spinach

My friend Jean gave me a (subtle, of course) nudge last week, about the dearth of recipes bursting forth (or failing to burst forth in this case) from aviewfrommykitchen. Hmmm, must do better.

I have no excuse for this, other than terminal inertia, brought on by having no fixed timetable for anything at all. Not to mention that our meals of late have not exactly been inspiring – there are only so many recipes you need for cheese on toast or bangers & mash.

I haven’t been entirely idle – I signed up for sourdough-baking school and my sourdough starters have never been so well-tended, or so well-used. Our kitchen is permanently coated with a light dusting of flour, and I seem to endlessly have chewing-gum-style dough stuck in my hair. We have home-baked bread almost all of the time, and our next door neighbour also gets to share – she is a key worker and deserves treats; a girl’s got to keep body and soul together in these difficult times. I also feel guilty every morning when, from the safety of my duvet, I hear the sounds of her de-icing her car, something I admit that I have never done in my 57 years until last week (even then I managed to re-ice the windscreen by very foolishly using the screen washer when we were part way down the drive to the main road – the water froze on contact with the screen, completely obscuring my view, and I nearly smacked straight into the guy from two doors down – ooops).

Continue reading “‘Dal’ soup with spinach”

Sourdough English Muffins

dsc00942-3-1Strictly speaking, these are made with the discarded part of your sourdough starter, which some careless people throw away. Because the starter has been lingering, unloved, in the fridge for a week or so, it has lost a bit of its ‘oomph’, so might struggle to provide a satisfactory rise for a loaf of bread (not that it’s ever stopped me in the past when I’ve forgotten to feed my starter). However, it is also brilliant for giving a tangy je ne sais quoi to English muffins, crumpets, flatbreads, and all manner of cakes and American-style muffins (more of which in the weeks to come).

If you don’t have sourdough starter, you can easily make these muffins with rapid-action dried yeast – directions are given in the recipe below. The flavour and texture will be slightly different, but they will still be delicious, and far superior to the muffins you buy in the supermarket. Continue reading “Sourdough English Muffins”

Sticky toffee muffins, salted caramel glaze

sticky-toffee-muffins

I haven’t posted here for a while – but I have bona fide excuses. They include: an in-built tendency towards procrastination, terminal idleness, and a pure reluctance to cook because it’s too flipping hot. (I’ve also been doing 1.5 km of laps every day while the pool is still warm enough to swim, as my shorts seem to have inexplicably shrunk during lockdown).

Yesterday I made these muffins, thinking they would slot in as an easy pud for when our friend Linda came over last night and a good thing to stash in the freezer for another day. None of them made it to the freezer, but a couple did leave the house with Linda (I only made half of the quantity in the recipe here, so we only started with seven), and we have one each to look forward to with a cuppa this afternoon. And yes, for those of you paying attention out there, making half of the quantity left me with half of an egg, which was not wasted, but used to seal the blind-baked pastry for an egg custart tart that is coming with us to our friend’s house this evening. Continue reading “Sticky toffee muffins, salted caramel glaze”

An outstandingly good potato bread

20200730_141005I’ve been planning to make potato bread ever since the Honey & Co cookbook landed in my Christmas stocking back when we were still living full time in Turkey. I’ve just checked and that was Christmas 2014. Ooops. A lot of loaves have been baked in both of our kitchens since then, but only this week have I finally managed a potato version.

I was swapping bread notes with some instagram bread-baking chums and Stefano Arturi from ‘Italian Home Cooking’ very generously shared the recipe that he uses – from the 1996 book ‘Baking with Julia’ by Julia Child. As ever, I felt the original recipe involved unnecessary faffing, so I’ve further simplified it. Continue reading “An outstandingly good potato bread”

Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary

IMG_20200619_122326_142It has to be said that lockdown is beginning to lose any appeal that it may have had in the beginning (the fact that it has rained non-stop for the last ten days may have had some bearing on that, I admit). I can’t remember whether we are 11 or 12 weeks in, I can no longer be bothered to count, and anyway I can’t see out from under my fringe. We remind ourselves daily that we and our families are incredibly fortunate – none of us has had Covid-19, nobody has lost their job, everyone has a secure home and we are all financially keeping heads above water – for now at least. Continue reading “Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary”

Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping

Vegan banana bread (600 x 356) resizedI am fully stocked with flour again – a box containing five large bags of organic plain flour from the Cotswold Flour Mill arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. I am not intentionally stockpiling, but they are struggling with the sheer volume of orders, so are currently only delivering if you buy the entire box. Hopefully it will last me until the shops return to normal, whenever that will be. Continue reading “Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping”

Springtime minestrone with wild garlic & butter beans

20200504_195728I have set myself a challenge of going to the supermarket an absolute maximum of once a week (though I do allow myself a quick dash into the village store to get fresh milk and fresh fruit in between). Robin is staying at home apart from our daily walk on the Bissoe Trail, owing to his advancing years and marginally dodgy ticker, so I figure that the fewer times I expose myself (and ergo him) to our new friend Corona, the better for everyone.

This means we end up with an odd collection of bits of this and bits of that in the veggie drawer, inevitably leading to either a cheesy-veggie tart or a bowl of soup. Last night we had severe storms down here on the coast, don’t you know, so soup was just the ticket. And the sourdough starter was calling to be topped up, so it seemed the perfect time to bake a couple of loaves of rye/durum wheat sourdough for dunking purposes. Continue reading “Springtime minestrone with wild garlic & butter beans”

Smoked mackerel paté & quick-pickled cucumber

20200401_151858 (2)With the end of Week Two of temporary ‘lockdown’ fast approaching, we are starting to get the hang of it. This week we should have been in Warwickshire and had planned to meet some friends for lunch – instead we had afternoon coffee and buns and a surprisingly satisfactory chat via Zoom. Continue reading “Smoked mackerel paté & quick-pickled cucumber”

Toscakaka (Swedish almond cake)

Toscakaka cakeWell, these are strange times. I hope you and all your loved ones are well. We should have been going back to Turkey about now, but it looks as though we will be in Cornwall until after the summer.

I am very much aware that there are worse places to be – today we were out for our daily walk on the Bissoe Trail and I think it’s fair to say that spring has thoroughly sprung. Primroses, daffodils, tulips, camelias and rhododendrons are in full and beautiful bloom – a cheering site to say the least.

Continue reading “Toscakaka (Swedish almond cake)”