Thursday, 29 September 2011

Parsnip & Fennel Soup

This was an unexpected success and my other half loved it! Parsnip and Fennel didn't seem like obvious partners but it was what I had in the fridge so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm pleased I did! I had thought the 'aniseed-iness' of the fennel would be overpowering but in fact it wasn't at all and the combination worked well.

Also not sure why I decided to make soup today, when summer seems to have returned and it's been baking hot outside and in all day.  I guess I've just got the soup bee in my bonnet!

This recipe makes about two large bowls of a fairly thick soup.

Parsnip & Fennel Soup

Ingredients
3 small parsnips (about 150g peeled weight)
1/2 large bulb of fennel (about 150g prepared weight)
1 Scallion shallot or small onion
1/2 litre vegetable stock
Sprinkling of cumin

Method
Roughly chop the vegetables.  Put all the ingredients, except the cumin, in a pan. Cook until soft. Blend with a stick blender. Garnish with a sprinkling of cumin and serve it with either the Pumpkin Seed & Oat Bread Rolls or the Flatbread with Fennel & Caraway Seeds

Approximate Nutritional Values per Serving
CaloriesFatSat FatProteinCarbsSugar
90 Kj0.40.02.520.84.1

Pumpkin Seed & Oat Bread Rolls

Pumpkin Seed & Oat Bread Rolls

Ingredients
225 g Strong Wholemeal flour
250 g Strong White flour
25 g jumbo rolled oats
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1.1/4 teaspoons fast action dried yeast
1.1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1.1/4 teaspoons salt
30 ml sunflower oil
340 ml water

Method
Add the ingredients to the breadmaker pan, in the usual order required by your machine and and set it to either the dough or pizza programme. When the programme has finished, remove from the breadmaker and divide into 16 pieces. Shape into rolls and spread out evenly on an oiled baking sheet.

Pumpkin Seed & Oat Bread Rolls

Brush water over the top of the bread and sprinkle a few seeds and oats on the top for decoration . Press the seeds in lightly. Then just leave in a warm place until it has risen a bit. Preheat the oven while you're waiting.

Bake in a preheated oven at Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes, or until cooked.


Approximate Nutritional Values per Roll
CaloriesFatSat FatProteinCarbsSugar
128 Kj3.10.65.119.90.5

These rolls go very well with my recipe for Parsnip & Fennel soup .


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bluet Damselfly

These are to be found in many places around the Norfolk Broads. I love the vivid blue of these pretty damselflies.


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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Photo Prints by Sunlight (cyanotypes)

These are prints that are made using the sun & chemicals to develop the image.  It's a method that works well for prints where the lines of the image, rather than the tones, are important. It's fun to do and you can get quite creative with it.   You can use a photo negative as I have here or you can use objects such leaves, flowers or paper cut-outs to create shapes.



This photo was taken in the cafe in West Runton, Norfolk where we sometimes go - they do a great toasted cheese & onion sandwich! They used to serve the tea in old-fashioned china tea cups which I particularly liked.  The original photo was taken some time ago as they now serve the tea in mugs. If you've never been to West Runton, it's great for cliffs, rock pools, breakwaters and walks on the beach (oh, and of course, the cheese and onion toasted sandwiches!) Anyway, I digress!

The method to produce a print like this is as follows:
  • scan the photo into the computer and enlarge it up to the size of the print that you want
  • invert the image to make a negative print 
  • make an inkjet print onto transparency film
  • brush some watercolour paper with the chemicals.  In my example above, I deliberately brushed the chemicals on, leaving brushstrokes in the style of watercolour painting to match the style of paper used
  • lay the transparency negative on top and clip together so that the negative can't move
  • expose to bright sunlight for between 10 and 20 minutes. The length of time that you expose the paper to the sun for will determine how dark the print is.
  • rinse under clean water
  • dry away from the sun


And yes, one of those books really is that price! It's a rare one.

I mounted my print on to foam board and kept the perforated ends to keep the effect of watercolour.  The chemicals required to produce these types of prints can be purchased from specialist photographic materials suppliers, details can be found online. 

Here are another two of my photos that I did the same treatment on.  These are of a beautiful cafe in Bilbao, called the Cafe Boulevard.









Flat Bread with Fennel & Caraway Seeds

I love caraway & fennel seeds on bread and the little flakes of salt crystals that you come across now and again on this bread are an extra little treat.

I wanted to make a tasty bread to go with the soup I was making for lunch. But there wasn't a lot of time so it needed to be one that could be made in the breadmaker. I also wanted it to be a little bit special as we're entertaining my father-in-law this weekend. After flicking through my recipe collection for inspiration, I cobbled together this recipe.

One of the great things about this bread is that it's quick & easy to make - 45 minutes of the breadmaker doing the manual work, about 20 minutes rising time and 20 minutes in the oven. That's only about 1.1/2 hours total which is pretty quick for a loaf of bread!

Flat Bread with Fennel & Caraway Seeds

Ingredients for Dough
2 tspns fast action dried yeast
250 g strong white flour
250 g Allinson Wholemeal Seed & Grain flour
3 tbspns olive oil
1 tspn brown sugar
1 tspn salt
150 ml semi skimmed milk
150 ml water

Ingredients for Seed Mix
Fennel seeds
Caraway seeds
Maldon sea salt crystals

Method
Add the dough ingredients to the breadmaker pan, in the usual order required by your machine and and set it to either the dough or pizza programme, When the programme has finished, remove from the breadmaker and roll out into a rough rectangle about 1.5 cm thick. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Brush water over the top of the bread and sprinkle the seed mix over the top. Press the seeds in lightly with the rolling pin. Score the dough lightly with a sharp knife to divide into 12 portions. Portioning it isn't really necessary but I do it because I like to know what calories/fat etc I'm feeding to myself and my family! Then just leave in a warm place until it has risen a bit. Preheat the oven while you're waiting.

Bake in a preheated oven at Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes, or until cooked.


Approximate Nutritional Values per Serving
CaloriesFatSat FatProteinCarbsSugar
179 Kj4.60.816.127.51.7

It went really well with the Chicken & Broccoli soup that we had for lunch.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Who You Looking At?

 

I turned the house upside down today looking for a mount cutter for some pictures which I am re-mounting.  

As I delved into drawers and cupboards that I don't use very often, I came across this photo which I took a few years ago.   I was quite proud of it at the time because despite hand holding quite a heavy SLR, I had managed to get quite good focus on the face of the butterfly.  

I'll swear he/she is posing for this photograph!

(By the way, I found the mount cutter!)






Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Butternut Squash & Butter Bean Soup

Time for soup!


Butternut Squash & Butter Bean Soup

Looks like summer has almost left us and with the approach of autumn and lots of lovely fresh veg in the shops, it's time to bring out the soup recipes again.

This one is one of our favourites, and it's what we're having for lunch today. It has a smooth, almost creamy texture and makes a soup of medium thickness. It's also filling, low in fat and very quick and easy to make. This recipe makes about 1.1/2 litres of soup, or 4 large bowls.


Ingredients
4 sprays Fry Light olive oil
1  medium onion
2 cloves garlic
850g  peeled weight butternut squash (about half of a medium size squash)
1  410g tin butter beans (220 g drained weight)
1/2  tspn dried rosemary (or an equivalent amount of fresh, finely chopped)
1 litre vegetable stock

Roughly chop the onion, garlic and butternut squash and cook gently for a few minutes until the onions are soft.  Add the stock, herbs & butter beans and cook for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft.  Blend with a stick blender.

Approximate Nutritional Values per Serving
CaloriesFatSat FatProteinCarbsSugar
121 Kj1.00.25.723.83.5
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