Tuesday, 2 October 2007

(Not Very) Fancy Feast

I love getting parcels in the post, don't you? Even when I know it's coming because I ordered it, it's still exciting. Today my new Le Creuset bean pots arrived from Pots and Pans, so I had to make some soup to serve in them at dinnertime. We quite often make an evening meal of soup with bread and cheese, but these pots will make a basic supper seem sooo much more glam, I hope. This is the soup I decided to make, which you could just as easily have for lunch or dress it up with a swirl of cream for an elegant first course.

Carrot & Coriander Soup

olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp ground coriander
6-8 carrots, peeled and sliced
600ml vegetable stock
fresh parsley

Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the onion gently until soft. Stir in the ground coriander, then add the carrots and pur in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour or so until the carrots are really soft. Purée the soup, then reheat gently, adding milk to bring it to the consistency you want. Stir in some chopped parsley just before serving.

To go with the soup, I made some soda bread, which we had with some local Gorwydd  Caerphilly cheese. Soda bread is particularly useful if you want a homemade loaf but are short of time as it's relatively quick to make and bake. It's very good with soup; with a toothsome crust and a good dense crumb, it's brilliant for dipping.

Soda Bread

125g wholemeal bread flour
125g white bread flour
2 tbsp porridge oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml milk, mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice

Mix the flours, oats, salt and bicarb. together, then slowly stir in the milk to make a sticky dough. It is very sticky, but try to resist the tempotation to add more flour. Just form it into some semblance of a ball, slap it down onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook at 220°c for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°c and cook for 20 minutes more. Leave the loaf to stand on a rack for 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Because soup, bread and cheese is quite light for the main meal of the day, I like to make it into a real feast by following the main course with a hearty pudding, something like a crumble or steamed sponge. Today I got out the pressure cooker and made a Spotted Dick, studded with juicy sultanas. If you don't have a pressure cooker, steam the pudding for 2 hours in a pan filled with boiling water to halfway up the side of the basin.

Spotted Dick
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
125g suet
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
175g sultanas
2 large eggs
about 100ml milk

Grease a 750ml pudding basin. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and suet together, then stir in the sultanas. Beat the eggs and milk together, then add to the flour mixture. Combine all the ingredients thoroughly, adding a little more milk if you need it, to give a soft 'dropping' consistency. Cover the basin with a greased, pleated piece of foil, tie with string, then place in a pressure cooker with 750ml boiling water. Steam for 15 minutes, then cook at pressure for 30 minutes. Turn the pudding out onto a plate and serve, with custard of course.


Elaine said...

Hi Cath - I was so happy to see your recipe for Spotted Dick when I came to look at your blog today because lo and behold I found a treasure at my grocery store today! Suet! The first time I have ever seen it for sale in Canada in 27 years, so your recipe arrived just at the right time! Guess what's on the menu for tomorrow? Stew and lovely suet dumplings followed by your Spotted Dick! What a huge treat!
My Canadian daughter in law has also discovered a little store in Cambridge, Ontario which sells only British groceries and she is taking me on Thursday - so no doubt I will have myself a nice little spending spree on long-forgotten goodies! I am so looking forward to the trip to Cambridge and the dumplings and suet pudding! Happy day!
in Canada

elaine said...

The Spotted Dick was delicious Cath. Thanks for sharing the recipe. A long forgotten treat!
Elaine in


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