RECIPE: British Herb Dumplings

dumplings

First, it is important to note that a British dumpling is a very different food to Chinese dumplings. These are suet-based dumplings that are generally served with broths and stews. They are cheap and easy food to make that will make a dish complete. The addition of herbs to the dumpling adds more flavour. Here is how to make British herb dumplings.

Makes: 12 dumplings.

Ingredients for British Herb Dumplings

  • 9 oz/ 250 g self-raising flour
  • 4 1/2 oz/ 125 g shredded suet
  • 7 fl oz/ 200 ml water
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper

How to Make Herb Dumplings

  1. Put the flour in a mixing bowl and stir in the suet, salt, and herbs.
  2. Season with black pepper.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the cold water.
  4. Stir the mixture together with your hand to create a soft dough.
  5. Flour your hands and divide the mixture into 12 pieces and hand-roll into balls.
  6. Dumplings take about 20 minutes to cook through, so drop them into your soup, stew, or broth 20 minutes before you are ready to serve. 
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RECIPE: Flatbreads

middle-east-flat-bread-671234_960_720

Flatbreads are served as part of many cuisines from across the globe and are given a variety of names. While soft, they are fantastic for wiping up dishes with sauce, such as curries. When made crisp and cut into pieces, they are the perfect accompaniment to dips, such as guacamole, baba ganoush, or houmous. They are also budget-friendly and quick to make. Here is how to make flatbreads for six people. 

Ingredients for Flatbreads

  • 7 oz/ 200g plain flour
  • 3 1/2 fl oz/ 100 ml warm water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp olive oil (plus additional oil for cooking)

How to Make Flatbreads

  1. Put the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Slowly add the water while stirring in with your hand to create a dough.
  3. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and put the dough on the flour.
  4. Add the olive oil to the dough and knead for five minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into six balls.
  6. Roll each dough ball into a round, flat shape.
  7. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan and spread around the pan using kitchen paper. 
  8. Cook each flatbread for two minutes on each side until it puffs up a little and has some brown patches from contact with the pan. 
  9. If you want soft flatbreads, you can now serve.
  10. For crisp flatbreads, brush each flatbread with a little oil before baking for five minutes in the oven. 
  11. Cut into pieces and serve. 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE: Simple Humous

hummus

Houmous, also known as hummus, is a chickpea-based dip of Middle Eastern origin. It is proof that some of the simplest dishes to make are also the most delicious. It is fantastic served with flatbreads or as a dip for crudites. Her is how to make a simple, delicious, and cheap houmous.

Ingredients for Houmous

  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Paprika (optional)

How to Make Humous

  1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse in cold water.
  2. Put the chickpeas in a food processor with the olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice.
  3. Blitz the ingredients until they have formed a smooth paste.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika if you wish. 

RECIPE: Creamy Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup

Mushroom soup is perfect all year round as it is both warming for the autumn and winter months, and a light meal option for spring and summer. It is also a quick and easy meal to make that is budget-friendly. Here is how to make mushroom soup. 

Ingredients for Mushroom Soup

  • 300g button mushrooms
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 ml double cream

How to Make Mushroom Soup

Clean and slice the mushrooms

.Crush the garlic and then chop the onions and celery.

Add the butter and oil to a large saucepan and put over a medium heat on the hob.

Add the celery, onions and garlic and cook for two minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and add the pan lid.

Cook for a further five minutes.

Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Season with salt and black pepper and then blend the mixture

Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes before removing from the heat and serving into soup bowls. 

 

 

 

RECIPE: Cauliflower Cheese

cauliflower

Cauliflower cheese is a delicious accompaniment to a meal and works particularly well with roasted meats, pies, and fish. It is also a tasty meal in its own right for vegetarians. Some people are deterred from making cauliflower cheese at home as they are worried that the cheese sauce is complicated to make. However, this is not the case as this recipe is quick and easy to make. Here is how to make cauliflower cheese.

Ingredients for Cauliflower Cheese

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 oz/ 50 g butter
  • 2 oz/ 50 g plain flour
  • 6 oz/ 160 g cheese for the sauce
  • 3 oz/ 80 g cheese for topping
  • 1200 ml/ 2-pint milk
  • Black pepper and salt

How to Make Cauliflower Cheese

  1. Measure your ingredients first.
  2. Remove the leaves and main stem from the cauliflower, then break into florets.
  3. Add the cauliflower to a pan of salted boiling water.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, start the cheese sauce.
  5. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. 
  6. Sieve the flour into the melted butter and stir.
  7. Cook for two minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk a little at a time continuously stirring until you have created a smooth sauce.
  9. Season with the salt and black pepper .
  10. Simmer gently over a low heat for approximately eight minutes.
  11. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  12. Drain the cauliflower before adding to a large, oven-proof dish. Any excess water will cause the sauce to split, so dabbing with kitchen paper can help to make sure the broccoli and cauliflower are thoroughly dry.
  13. Pour over the cheese sauce so it is evenly distributed.
  14. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top of the dish.
  15. Cook on a high heat in the oven for 15 minutes or until the top of the dish is golden brown. 

TIPS

Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin– Adding broccoli, mustard, and breadcrumbs to this dish makes a great vegetarian meal. Read the recipe here.

Meat Lovers– Add some leftover ham to the cauliflower cheese before transferring to the oven if you prefer meat dishes.

RECIPE: Easy Guacamole

guacamole

Guacamole is one of the simplest dips to make as it requires no cooking skill whatsoever. It is also a good way to make use of any ripe avocados you have in your refrigerator. These are packed with nutrients, meaning they are a fantastic ingredient to include in a healthy, balanced diet. Guacamole is delicious served as an accompaniment to salads, crudites, or tortilla chips. It is perfect for a snack or as an addition to a buffet table. This dip is also cheap to make and is suitable for vegetarians. Here is how to make guacamole. 

Ingredients for Guacamole

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Guacamole

  1. Remove the stones and skin from the avocados and roughly chop’
  2. Finely chop the red onion.
  3. Cut the lime in half and use a juicer to remove the juice,
  4. Put the avocados in a bowl and squash with the back of a fork until you get the consistency you prefer.
  5. Add the finely chopped red onion, the crushed garlic and the lime juice.
  6. Mix the ingredients together and add salt and black pepper to taste. 

Tips

  • If you want a smoother consistency, use a blender to pulp the avocado flesh.
  • Spice it up with a chopped chilli if you want a kick to your dip.

RECIPE: Easy Tomato, Courgette, and Bell Pepper Soup

tomato soup

Even a culinary novice can whip together a soup as they are one of the easiest dishes to make. This tomato, courgette, and bell pepper soup is quick and simple to make and is perfect as either a starter or a family meal served with bread or croutons. It is also equally as suitable as a warming dish in the winter months or as a refreshing dish during summer. This soup is also cheap to make, packed full of nutrients, and a great vegetarian option. Here is how to make tomato, courgette, and bell pepper soup. 

Ingredients for Tomato, Courgette and Bell Pepper Soup

  • 3 medium courgettes (zucchini)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Handful fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Sour cream or creme fraiche for serving
  • Olive oil for cooking

How to Make Tomato, Courgette and Bell Pepper Soup

  1. Chop the onions, peppers, and courgettes then crush the garlic.
  2. Heat some olive oil over a medium heat in a large pan.
  3. Add the chopped onions and peppers and cook until softened.
  4. Add the crushed garlic and chopped courgettes.
  5. Sprinkle over the vegetable stock cubes and add enough boiled water over the vegetables to cover. 
  6. Bring to a simmer and then add the tinned tomatoes.
  7. Season the soup with salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. Take most of the fresh basil and roughly tear before adding to the pan. Save some basil as a garnish for the top of the soup.
  9. Cook the soup for 20 minutes then remove from heat and leave to cool for a while.
  10. Blend the soup, with either a blender or a hand blender, to your preferred consistency. 
  11. Serve into soup bowls and add a swirl of either soured cream of creme fraiche and a sprig of basil.
  12. Serve the soup alone or with croutons or warm crusty bread. 

Tips

Tomatoes- Use fresh tomatoes if you prefer.

Garlic– the garlic is optional and just adds an extra level of flavour. If you are not a fan of garlic, leave this ingredient out. 

Spice it up- If you are a fan of spice, it is simple to add some spiciness to this dish. Either add a chopped chilli or some paprika to the dish; both work well.

Peppers- You can add any colour you like. I only use one red and one yellow for the colour.