Friday, March 15, 2013

Broccoli Cream Soup

As much as I would like it to be too warm for soup, the reality is, it is still that time of year where you can look forward to and enjoy a warm and filling bowl of great soup. The temperature is hovering around zero, it's been wet and rainy, and it is damp. There's nothing better than a bowl of soup to come home to.

My kids love soup, any kind of soup - mushroom, tomato, chicken noodle, and now broccoli cream soup (loaded with vegetables) is one of their favourites. The bonus is that they love to feed themselves soup, and if you can imagine three hungry little mouths all snapping and whining at dinner time, you will understand why I love soup so much too :)

I know you would expect this soup to be green - like broccoli - but I added so much other goodness to it, the colour changed a little. It is still very delicious though. Beware, one bowl might not be enough!

Broccoli Cream Soup
Makes 3L (or 12 cups)

4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 L chicken stock
500g broccoli florets (about 2 bunches)
200g cauliflower florets (about 1/2 a head)
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
30g parmesan cheese

Heat butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic and salt, stirring well until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes with chicken stock, scraping up and bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add broccoli and cauliflower and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables have cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, puree with hand blender, adding cream, salt & pepper and parmesan cheese. Serve hot.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lemon Slice

This was one of the recipes my dad used to make - I can't say "cook", because other than melting butter, that's about as complicated as it gets. I don't know whether he made this because he enjoyed the actual "cooking" process, or that he just liked to eat. Of course, he didn't add the little flower and silver dragee to the tops, but I like to add some pretty to everything. Food should be beautiful all the time, never eat ugly food - there's too much beautiful food out there and definitely not enough time.

Lemon slice was always made with another treat called Hedgehog, which I may make at a later point, for a special occasion. It was made any time we had people over to our house, any time we were invited over to someone's house, when we went camping and at holiday time.

The smell of lemons and condensed milk brings back so many happy memories, and the taste is very familiar too. It reminds me so much of good times with my dad (and almost cutting my tongue while licking the lid of the condensed milk can, so glamourous!).

Lemon Slice
Makes about 40 (two-bite) squares, depending on how big you cut them.  

450g marie biscuits (tea biscuit)
2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened)
zest from 2 lemons
1 can sweetened condensed milk
225g butter

65g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
juice from 2 lemons
a little hot water, if needed to make a spreadable consistency

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan and line with a foil sling. You want the foil to be longer than the bottom of the pan and hang over the sides, so you can lift the slice out in one piece. Lightly grease the foil.  
Process biscuits in food processor until they resemble fine crumbs.
Place into a bowl with the shredded coconut and lemon zest, mix well to distribute the lemon zest well.
In a small pan on the stove, or a small bowl in the microwave, melt the condensed milk and butter together. Pour over the crushed biscuits and mix well until everything is moistened.
Press evenly into base of the prepared pan, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine butter, icing sugar and lemon juice in bowl of stand mixer, and mix well. You may need to add a little hot water to ensure a smooth, spreadable consistency, depending on how large and juicy your lemons are. Spread evenly over chilled base.

Place in refrigerator for a further 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cut as desired.