Category Archives: Starters

Simple Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes
  • 1tsp dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic granules (optional)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • A good pinch of sugar
  • 900ml-1ltr vegetable stock

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 170C/150C Fan
  • Cut the tomatoes in half and place them skin side down in a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, dried basil and optionally a light dusting of garlic granules.
  • Get these in the oven and slow roast for around 30mins.
  • In the mean time prep your vegetables – peel and dice the onion, carrot and celery into small pieces.
  • With around 10mins left on the oven, heat 2tbsp of olive oil on a low heat, then add the onion, carrot and celery.
  • Cook on a low heat for around 10mins until soft.
  • Add 2tbsp of puree and stir until coated.
  • Add the tomatoes, sugar and a good amount of black pepper.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for around 10mins until the tomatoes are softened and have released their juices.
  • Add the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 25mins.
  • Use a stick blender or food processor to smooth the soup.

Vegetable Soup

Chef’s tip: You can freeze this soup for up to a month

Indregients (makes around 6 portions)

  • 6-7 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 leek
  • 3 medium carrots (or 2 large)
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 red pepper
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dried basil
  • Garlic powder

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 170C/160C Fan and lightly drizzle some olive oil in an oven dish
  • Slice your tomatoes in half and place them skin side down in the dish. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, dried basil and garlic powder.
  • Put the tomatoes in the oven and cook for at least 45mins.
  • While they’re cooking, put a large high sided saucepan on a medium heat and add some olive oil.
  • Slice the onion and garlic, and add to the pot.
  • Next slice the leek and add this.
  • Now for the red pepper.
  • Keep going with the celery, carrots (keep the skins on for extra fibre), and the sweet potato (peel this one), chopping them into small pieces and add them to the pot.
  • Stir the vegetables every few minutes until the tomatoes are done.
  • Take the tomatoes out of the oven, add them to the pot and stir them in to release the juice.
  • Add the vegetable stock and a good amount of black pepper.
  • Cover and simmer for at least 30mins.
  • Use a good stick blender to whizz the soup into a smooth mixture.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Chef’s tip: Serve with a butter/garlic sauce, creamy white wine sauce or a basic tomato and basil.

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients

  • 350g/12oz sweet potato in skins
  • Small piece of peeled fresh ginger, very finely grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1tbsp grated parmesan
  • 150g/5oz plain flour
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas 6
  • Wash the potatoes, prick with a fork and cook them on a baking tray for around 40mins-1hr (or until soft).
  • Remove potatoes from the oven, slice in half and let cool for 2mins.
  • Scoop out the flesh onto a clean tea towel/kitchen towel or muslin and squeeze to remove any excess moisture.
  • Put the potato in a bowl and add the ginger, seasoning, egg yolk and parmesan.
  • Sift in the flour and mix together with a fork and fingers for a soft warm dough – HANDLE LIGHTLY
  • Cut into 4 pieces on a lightly floured surface
  • Roll each piece into long thin sausages and cut into small pieces.
  • Cook in boiling water for 2mins or until they rise to the top.

Tomato and Onion Pakoras

Ingredients

  • 2 large red onions (sliced)
  • 2 large tomatoes (sliced)
  • 50g finely sliced ginger
  • 2-3 finely chopped birds eye chillies
  • 50g curry leaves
  • 1/2 a bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200-300g gram flour

Method

  • Heat lots of sunflower oil in a wok or very deep saucepan, enough to deep fry the pakoras in.
  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a big bowl until it all sticks together.
  • Take a little piece of onion and drop it into the oil to test the heat. It should sizzle and float but not cook too quickly.
  • Drop 3-4 scoopfuls of mixture into the oil at a time.
  • Scoop the pakoras out onto kitchen towel.
  • Serve with mango chutney and yoghurt dip.

 

Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • Crusty loaf of bread
  • Red or green pesto (optional – depends what you like)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Mozzarella (optional)
  • Parmesan (optional)

Method

  • Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan
  • Slice the crusty bread, brush one side with oil and place oil side down on an oven tray. Bake for 5mins or until crunchy on top.
  • Chop the onion and garlic and very lightly fry for a couple of minutes to soften and sweeten the flavour. Take off the heat to cool.
  • Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil.
  • Stir in the onion and garlic mixture.
  • If you’re using it, spread a thin layer of the pesto on the oiled side of the bread.
  • Layer with the topping mixture.
  • If you’re adding mozzarella, place it on top and melt it under the grill.
  • Sprinkle with black pepper and parmesan.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Serves: 6-8 people

Chef’s tip: You should taste the soup at various stages once it’s all in the pan. You may want to add more salt/pepper/stock as you go. This is a complicated recipe and should be tailored to your personal taste along the way.

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet red peppers
  • 3lbs or 1.36kg of plum tomatoes
  • 1tbsp dried basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL: granulated garlic
  • 1/3 tube of tomato puree (add more if you think it needs)
  • 1 shallot peeled and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1.1l chicken stock (usually I use less than this to keep the soup a bit thicker)
  • 115ml double cream
  • 1tbsp sugar

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4
  • Cut the tomatoes in half and lay flat side up in an oiled baking tray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil (add granulated garlic if you have).
  • Bake tomatoes in the oven for 1 hour, shaking the pan every 30mins.
  • While the tomatoes are roasting, add 2tbsp of olive oil to a large heavy based pan (not on any heat). Add the diced shallot and chopped garlic. You will cook these later.
  • When the hour is up, turn the oven down to 150C/130C fan/Gas 2 and bake the tomatoes for another hour, again shaking the pan every 30mins.
  • While the tomatoes are still cooking, you can roast the peppers. If you have access to an open flame like a BBQ or gas hob, you can use this to burn the outside of your peppers but I find it much easier to grill them on high. Chop them into quarters, lay skin side up on a baking tray and grill on the highest heat and keep an eye on them until the skins are black.
  • Place the peppers into a bowl and cover with clingfilm for 15mins to cool down.
  • Now it’s time to remove the skins. Run the peppers under cold water while you do this as it makes this easier. Rub the skin and it should come off. Get all of the black parts off, and all bits of unburnt skin.
  • Cut the peppers into small pieces, about 2cm square, and leave in a bowl.
  • When your tomatoes are done, use a potato masher to mash them up. You can do this through a sieve if you want to remove the skins, but they will get whizzed up later anyway.
  • Now cook the shallots and garlic on a medium heat for 2-3mins.
  • Add the peppers, tomatoes, puree and half the stock.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30mins.
  • At this point, use a stick blender or food processor to blend to a smooth soup. If it’s too thick for you at this point, add a bit more stock.
  • Add the cream and the sugar and give it another quick blend.