Tag Archives: seasonal cooking

Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms

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Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
I’m not too fond of soup, which makes me strangely unRussian. In Russia it’s considered an essential part of lunch. One hasn’t eaten until one has slurped on soup.
I think it’s the childhood memories of mom’s voice ringing in my ears, “Eat your SOUP” and the promise to 8 year old self, “When I am a grownup I never eat soup again” that left my family soupLESS for most of my marriage. It’s a shame because Brad really loves soup.

I can’t remember saying the word “soup” as many times in 2 minutes as I have just now. It’s a fun word to say, don’t you think? Fun fact: the word for “soup” in Russian? “Soup”!

I am not 8 anymore and now know that soups could be incredibly healthy and nutritious while also being warm and comforting when the weather turns miserable – welcome hug for the soul.  You will fall in love with this Chestnut and Squash Soup with dried porcini mushrooms. I’ve used Coquina Squash for its sweetness but Butternut Squash will be beautiful as well.  This soup is such a wonderful blend of the nuttiness of chestnuts and sweetness of squash while dried porcini mushrooms bring in the deep aroma of the forest. Serve it with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Pure delight. Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
Ingredients:

  • Pancetta or bacon- 50 gr.
  • Red Onions- 2
  • Coquina Squash- 1
  • Fresh Thyme- a few sprigs
  • Dried Porcini Mushrooms (or any other dried mushrooms)-40 gr/1/4 cup
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Chestnut puree- 400 gr/15 oz can
  • Chilli flakes (optional)- 1/4 tsp.
  • Stew Mix (barley, split peas and lentils) or barley- 1/4 cup
  • Chicken stock- 1 1/2 litres
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms

Method:

It’s a good idea to peel and chop all the ingredients before you get going with the soup making so you are prepared and organised.

Cut your bacon into 1 cm pieces, peel, deseed and dice your squash into 1 cm dice as well, peel and chop your onions and remove thyme leaves from the sprigs. Soak the dried mushrooms in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms Prep

Set a large pot on the stove and heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in it, then cook your bacon over medium heat, add onions, chilli flakes if using and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes until onions are softened. Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
Now add squash, barley and lentil mix and stir to lightly coat the ingredients with oil. Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms Prep
Lastly add your pureed chestnuts, dried mushrooms with the liquid (make sure none of the grit get in there) and chicken stock, a pinch of salt and pepper, turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
Check if your squash is cooked at the end, remove 1/2 of the soup and blend it in a food processor, then return it back to the pot and combine for a thicker texture. Alternatively you can blend all of it if you prefer a smoother soup but I love having a bit of roughness to it.
Chestnut Coquina Squash Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
Serve with lightly toasted bread and a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.Chestnut Coquina Squash with Porcini Mushrooms
This recipe was adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s Great Britain”.

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
‘Tis the season for every kind of pumpkin flavoured treat to make an appearance. Great news for everyone but is there really a recipe worth sharing that hasn’t been done before??
I’ve thought long and hard as I love bringing you things new and fresh. Here is the result. Moist and flavourful pumpkin muffins with Cornish toffee and sprinkled with honeycomb pieces. I’ve never baked anything with honeycomb before but when I saw it at a shop I was immediately inspired. Growing up, the only way I ever ate pumpkin was pumpkin roasted with honey. Naturally, combining pumpkin and honey in a muffin just screamed childhood to me! Then I added caramel flavoured toffee…just for fun. Can you see all the toffee bits in there?

I didn’t know what to expect but what I got was a crackled muffin top because honeycomb melted and seeped into the muffins and toffee studded bottom!Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
AMAZING!
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
They are so so so tasty I can’t stop eating them! I said “I” but what is meant is that my kids can’t stop eating them. 😉

Ingredients: ( Makes 3 dozen/36 muffins)

  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • Baking Powder-3 tsp.
  • Baking Soda-2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon-3 tsp.
  • Pumpkin Spice (nutmeg, cloves, ginger)- 1 tsp.
  • Oil-2 cups
  • Demerara Sugar- 2 1/2 cups
  • Eggs- 6 large
  • Pumpkin puree- 28 oz (1 large can or use your own like I did)
  • Cornish Toffee- 1/2 cup/100 gr
  • Honeycomb pieces-1/2 cup/100gr

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325F/150C. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl (remember it’s a very big recipe) combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  Use a stand mixer if you have one or a hand mixer.

3. Add oil, sugar,  eggs, pumpkin puree  and toffee and mix well. Fill your muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with honeycomb pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Repeat. Twice.

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
Can you imagine the aroma that wafts through your house while you are baking three batches of muffins? Indescribable.
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins