RECIPE: Spicy Tomato Dip

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If you are having people around to your home, one of the easiest things to serve is a selection of dips with other tasty morsels, such as crudites and flatbreads for dipping. A spicy tomato dip is a delicious option that is easy to make in advance and keep chilled until you are ready to serve. Here is an easy recipe for spicy tomato dip. 

Ingredients for Spicy Tomato Dip

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree

How to Make Spicy Tomato Dip

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and chilli powder and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped onion and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Blitz the mixture for a few seconds for a chunky dip or a little longer for a smooth dip using either a hand blender or a food processor. 
  6. Transfer to a container and leave to cool. 
  7. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Other Dips You Might Like to Try

Guacamole

Raita

Salsa

Mango Salsa

Blue Cheese Dip

Baba Ganoush

Humous

You can try these with flatbreads or wholemeal flatbreads.

 

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RECIPE: Carrot and Coriander Soup

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If you want a low-budget meal to make, then there are few that can beat carrot and coriander soup in terms of cost. Despite the fact that this soup is cheap and easy to make, it still has plenty of flavour and is packed full of nutrients. This healthy soup is also a great option for vegetarians and vegans. Here is an easy recipe for carrot and coriander soup that serves four to six people.

Ingredients for Carrot and Coriander Soup

  • 450g/ 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.2 litres/ 2 pints vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make Carrot and Coriander Soup

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat then add the onions and carrots.
  2. Cook for five minutes until carrots and onions are beginning to soften.
  3. Add the ground coriander and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a further two minutes. 
  4. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Either use a hand blender to blend the ingredients together or blend in a food processor before returning to the pan. 
  6. Stir in the fresh, chopped coriander and cook for a few minutes before serving. 

RECIPE: Basil Pesto

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If you want a quick, simple and tasty tea, then pasta served with green pesto is a great choice. Making your own pesto is simple and, in addition to serving with pasta dishes, you can use the pesto as an ingredient in many other recipes. Here is an easy recipe for basil pesto. 

Ingredients for Basil Pesto

  • 80g fresh basil
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 150 ml olive oil

How to Make Basil Pesto

  1. Put a small pan over a medium heat on the pan and add the pine nuts.
  2. Cook for five minutes, shaking occasionally, to lightly toast the nuts. 
  3. Transfer the pine nuts to a food processor with all the other ingredients.
  4. Blitz to combine the ingredients.
  5. Your basil pesto is now ready to use with pasta or as an ingredient for another dish. 

RECIPE: Leek and Potato Soup

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Soup is one of the easiest and cheapest soups to make and there are so many variations. One of my personal favourites is leek and potato soup. This creamy soup is ideal for any time of the year and can be used for a starter, a lunch or as a main meal when served with a generous chunk of fresh bread and butter. Here is an easy recipe for leek and potato soup that serves four to six people.

Ingredients for Leek and Potato Soup

  • 3 leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 4 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1.2 litres/ 2 pints vegetable stock
  • 150 ml/ 5 fl. oz. double cream
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped chives for serving

How to Make Leek and Potato Soup

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the leeks and potatoes and cook for five minutes or until they are beginning to soften.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Either use a hand blender to blend the mixture to the consistency of your choice or transfer to a food processor for blending before returning to the pan. 
  5. Put the soup on a low heat, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Stir in most of the cream, retaining just a little for the top. 
  7. Cook for a further five minutes.
  8. Serve into soup bowls and decorate with a small swirl of cream and a sprinkle of chives. 

RECIPE: Easy Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

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Italian food is a favourite in my house and I enjoy cooking this cuisine because it consists of simple ingredients and flavours. Italian food is also usually really quick and easy to make and well-suited to those who are cooking on a budget. One of the easiest things to make is pasta in a tomato and basil sauce. This is something that you can also liven up by adding a vast range of ingredients to this basic dish. Making your own sauce for the pasta is simple and far more delicious than anything you can buy out of a jar. Here is an easy recipe for tomato and basil pasta sauce.

Ingredients for Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A handful of fresh basil, torn
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the crushed garlic and cook for one minute.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and sugar to the pan. 
  4. Increase the heat to bring the tomato sauce to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.
  6. Add the torn basil and season with salt and black pepper.
  7. Cook for another two minutes and then stir into cooked, drained pasta.

 

RECIPE: Celery and Apple Soup

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Soup is one of the easiest and cheapest meals to make and there are so many different varieties you can try. They are a great option for a light lunch and soup is something you can make in batches in advance so you have it ready to warm through when hunger strikes. This recipe for celery and apple soup is delicious and refreshing. Here is how to make celery and apple soup.

Ingredients for Celery and Apple Soup

  • 1 head of celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cooking apple
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 250ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped chives

How to Make Celery and Apple Soup

  1. Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the potatoes, celery, and onion and cook for five minutes.
  3. Add the apple and the vegetable stock and turn up the heat to bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Either blend the ingredients using a hand blender or transfer to a food processor and blend before returning to the pan.
  6. Add the milk and stir through.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bring the soup back to the boil.
  9. Serve into soup bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives.

RECIPE: Potato Gratin

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If you want an interesting way of serving potatoes as a side dish or you want a filling vegetarian option, then potato gratin is a delicious choice. It is a quick and simple to make. Here is a recipe for potato gratin.

Ingredients for Potato Gratin

  • 8 medium white potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 100g soft cheese
  • 200g cheddar or similar cheese, grated
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Potato Gratin

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.
  2. Peel the potatoes and then slice them thinly- approximately 3mm thickness.
  3. Layer the enough of the potatoes in an ovenproof dish to completely cover the bottom.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Top and tail an onion and remove the skin. Cut in half lengthways.
  6. Lie the onion on the flat side and slice thinly.
  7. Spread the onion slices over the potatoes. 
  8. Use two teaspoons to create small ‘dollops’ of soft cheese and dot these across the potatoes and onions.
  9. Layer more potatoes over the top, overlapping slightly to create a pattern, as in the photos.
  10. Cut the butter into small cubes and dot over the top of the potatoes.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Put the dish in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and add the grated cheese.
  14. Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Here is the finished result with braising steak in onion gravy, fine beans, and julienne carrots.

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