Wholly Guacamole!

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I’m a fan of good guacamole. Not the processed, sloppy, remnants of the flu like guacamole you find at the supermarkets, but the fresh, zingy, pack-a-taste-punch stuff.  Completely, totally, wholly guacamole.

For this recipe you’ll need:
2 ripe avocados
3 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
A small bunch of coriander
A handful of ripe baby plum tomatoes
A lime or two (I didn’t have any limes in so used lemons instead which are fine but I prefer limes for this really)
Half to a whole jalapeño chilli.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Chop up the the onions, coriander, tomatoes, chilli and garlic very finely.

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Chop up the avocados until they’re slightly mashed but chunky at the same time, then add in the chopped ingredients and mix through. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze in the juice from one of the limes (or lemons). Give it a taste. Add more lime juice/seasoning as needed. Put the avocado stones back into the guacamole to prevent it discolouring, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Delicious!

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Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

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Isn’t wonderful how just a few quality ingredients can produce such a tasty outcome? Today was a dreary, drizzly day and I wanted something wholesome and warming to brighten it up. After a little digging around in the fridge I concocted this simple soup using a leek, a couple of sticks of celery, a head of broccoli stalk and all, some stock, seasoning, a teaspoon of crushed garlic and a few cubes of frozen spinach.

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Soften the leek and celery in a pan with some oil, adding in the garlic after a couple of minutes. Throw in the broccoli and add the stock. I used some chicken stock and also some water I had frozen after cooking red cabbage earlier in the week.  I figured anything that turns this vivid purple colour naturally must contain some goodness!

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When the broccoli was tender I whizzed the soup up and realised that it was a revolting mushroom colour due to the blending of the green vegetables and the purple stock, so threw in a few cubes of frozen spinach to try to remedy the colour failure, along with the crumbled blue cheese.

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Thankfully it worked and some vibrancy was restored! I served this with a few Slow Roasted Herby Cherry Tomatoes and some chopped garlic chives.

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Slow roasted herby cherry tomatoes

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I’ve had a little bowl of beautiful cherry and vine tomatoes ripening nicely on the kitchen windowsill for a few days (they taste so much better when they’re not kept in the fridge), and have been looking forward to their deliciously flavoursome fate.

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By slow roasting them on a low heat with a few simple ingredients they’re elevated to a new herby, sweet, caramelised level.

Firstly take a bunch of fresh herbs. I used basil, thyme and rosemary from the garden as well as a couple of bay leaves from our enormous bay tree.

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I love the beautiful, delicate little thyme flowers that appear this time of year. Gorgeous and edible too!

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Very finely chop the herbs, leaving the bay leaves whole though, and put them in a bowl with the halved tomatoes and some crushed garlic. Drizzle with olive oil (I used extra virgin for added flavour and because the oven is set to a low temp).

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Place cut side up on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 130oC for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until they’re sticky, and starting to darken around the edges.

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They’ll come out beautifully sweet, slightly charred and caramelised, and have an incredible depth of flavour.

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Throw them on practically anything, if they last long enough… My three year old demolished half of them within ten minutes of them coming out of the oven! I had a few on my Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup for lunch, and Phoebe had some in her anchovy, olive and pea spaghetti for dinner, which she wolfed down! A hit all round I’d say. Enjoy!

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Pre-pancake light supper

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Growing up, pancake day was always a lot of fun. My mum would make the best pancake mixture the night before, and let it rest in the fridge, ready for cooking up the next day. I remember each year my sister and I would ask if we could just have pancakes for dinner, and some years we succeeded! Either way, we’d end up sitting around the table watching one, or both, of our parents flipping those paper thin, golden disks of deliciousness. My dad was chief tosser in our house, and Sarah and I took great delight in the fact we could call him that one day a year without being banished to our rooms! Anyway, as much as I still adore pancakes I wanted to get some goodness in our tummies this evening before our carb and sugar laden treats.

Soup is a great way if getting lots of veggie and fruity goodness into Phoebe, so I simply roasted off a tray of baby vine and halved salad tomatoes, along with a leek, five or six cloves of garlic and a couple of small diced sweet potatoes.

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Once they were sliced, I seasoned with a teaspoon of cumin seeds, freshly ground black pepper and salt, and a glug of olive oil, before putting in the oven at 160oC for about an hour and fifteen minutes, turning occasionally.

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Once roasted, I added them to a pot of simmering stock (I suggest using veg or chicken) and whizzed up until smooth. If you want a really smooth soup then I’d recommend passing it through a sieve, but it really isn’t necessary. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. I served ours with a drizzle of double cream and some garlic chives. Delicious!

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