- Full Title: Simply Scrumptious Recipes, Quiches and Salads
- Autor: Valerie Remy-Milora
- Print Length: 107 pages
- Publication Date: October 7, 2013
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: B00FPVBIO6
- Download File Format | Size: zip | 461,57 Kb
How to Use the Most Versatile Appliance in Your Kitchen
Photography by Deirdre Rooney
To my mother, grandmothers, and aunts—all wonderful cooks
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii
Perfect Freezing Every Time. . . . . . . . . x
Raw Freeze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Cook Once, Eat Twice . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Cooking for a Crowd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Pastry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Sweets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
About the Author
About the Publisher
A cookbook, no matter how big or small, cannot be done without the help of friends and colleagues—especially when one is a freelancer.
The biggest thank you must go to Beth Pilar and Deirdre Rooney. Beth, for her patience and care in testing many of the recipes and for her honest comments. Deirdre, for her guidance in art direction and beautiful photographs for this book. I remember it was so, so hot during the shoots, but Deirdre and Beth worked super-hard and with humor—there was no air-conditioning in the studio! It was fun, but not always easy.
To Frigidaire, for the loan of a smart standup, frost-free freezer that was a great help during the writing, testing, and photographing of the recipes for this book.
To Staub USA Inc. and Le Creuset of America Inc. for the use of their beautiful pots, co-cottes, roasting dishes, wok, and grill pan used for testing the recipes and in some of the photographs—thank you.
A big thank you to Jean Conlon, Clive Streeter, and Valerie Berry for the loan of their studios for the shoots.
To my dear art-director friends, Matthew Axe and Scot Schy, who offered me sound advice during the shoots. They listened to me on short notice—most appreciated. Thank you.
Thank you so much to my family of friends in New York who put up with the dinner parties in my non-air-conditioned apartment, where shamelessly I pushed my recipes on them. All your comments were taken on board.
To Jane Druker, Bill Tikos, and Liz Marcy for helping me get this book off the ground, into a project, and finally a book. Thank you.
To Level for their design—I am very happy our paths have crossed.
And finally, thank you to Harriet Bell for believing in this idea, and to everyone at HarperCollins who has guided me through the stages of producing a book.
In many homes, the freezer is nothing more than a place to display family photos and children’s artwork, attached with a collection of magnets. Or, worse still, the freezer can be a dusty repository in the basement or garage to which too-good-to-pass-up supermarket bargains are consigned, never to be used.
Can I Freeze It? will help you transform your freezer into the most essential appliance in your kitchen, allowing you to prepare family meals as well as dishes for entertaining well ahead of time. If the cupboard is bare, at least the freezer will be full of make-ahead meals, sweet and savory frozen pies, and other dishes.
“Can I freeze it?” is the question I’m most often asked when giving out recipes. This book explains what you can and can’t freeze successfully and offers lots of recipes that show how to use your freezer to its best advantage. On the other hand, this isn’t an encyclopedic guide to preparing and freezing seasonal fruits and vegetables from the garden or farmers’ market.
You will find information on how to make the most of your freezer space, how to freeze foods effectively, and most of all how to prepare dishes for the freezer without it becoming a chore.
how freezing works
Freezing preserves food by slowing down the
Always place unfrozen food in the coldest
growth of the microorganisms that cause de-
part of the freezer until solid, then organize
cay. It does not kill microorganisms; but to
the freezer as appropriate, with foods that are
grow they require water, and if the water
to be stored the longest kept in the coldest
within the cells of the food has been turned
parts at the back, and foods that will be used
into ice, that means it is unavailable for bac-
quickly kept close to the front or on top.
terial growth and chemical reactions.
Many freezers have a “fast-freeze” switch,
In order to achieve proper freezing and
which lowers the temperature to enable
prevention of decay, a constant temperature
food to be frozen more quickly. Once the
of 0°F/−18°C or less is required. Some
food is solid, turn off the fast-freeze
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e brought such imaginative and critical resources to the church that for many years—and even now during the homophobic reaction that has swept fundamentalism—they have been the unacknowledged arbiters of the culture.
They have been the master orchestrators of the Spirit. Most preachers could not survive without the young, underpaid keyboard man underlining his words with rhetorical stabs and moanlike runs. Evangelist Ernestine Cleveland grumbled, “You all can’t have church unless you got some punk on the organ.” Along with the women members of the congregation—all of them pledged to their pastor and many, according to legend, romantically attached as well—gay men have helped conduct the Spirit. “When the sissies jump out of their seats, folks know to stand up.” Their worship is gracefully athletic. I’ve seen gay men stand and move rhythmically through most of a pastor’s message, anticipating the communal shout that may be a sermon’s length away, that may never even occur. I’ve seen dancing leaps that can only be compared to broad jumps—while running, Reverend Isaac Douglas is said to have leapt over a small pond.
The children have also brought the cold eyes of a professional to the ritual and ceremony. “If you ain’t moved them,” says DeLois Barrett Campbell, “you ain’t done nothing.” Mahalia Jackson was the world’s gospel queen, but her gay pals could always upset her by saying that her best singing days were over. The critics were nice, and the fortune she earned spoke for itself. But she knew that the children were the real judges.
They have also made the church their special arena. As recently as 2007 I saw a middle-aged man dance around a Harlem church with a fire that no hip-hopper could approach. I asked Brother Charles if he had ever danced in a club. “Sir, they tried to make me a soul singer. They said I had the looks and the voice. But soon as that band started up I got as stiff as a white boy. I lost all my rhythm.” Perhaps because it wasn’t his blues. I long ago concluded that gospel music was the blues of gay men and lesbians. This may explain why so many great singers either didn’t go into pop or failed in their trying. Bishop Carl Bean, a former Motown artist, says, “I just never felt right up there, singing about my girl.” The late Gloria Griffin, who made a stab at club singing, in emulation of her great friend Aretha Franklin, gave it up. “I can sing about the love of God. The love of man, I don’t know too much about that.”
However, the first time I heard the word “soul” as it is currently used, it was in a gay context. In 1957 Sam Cooke confounded the church by moving from gospel to R&B. “He’ll do fine,” a clerk at Harlem’s Record Shack assured me. “He’s got soul.” He then informed me that Sam liked men as well as women. “Sure he’s gay, how else could he have that much soul?” (I next heard the term used by Malcolm X, who asserted that soul was black people’s contribution to America.)
One of gospel’s great appeals to this nonbeliever has been the vast emotional territory it claims for itself. I first learned this at the Apollo Theater in 1958. At that time local disc jockeys would rent the place for a week and present “gospel caravans” featuring the leading stars in “programs” that ran for ninety minutes, three times a day. The last night was always the most memorable, the occasion for the singers to let out all stops, and programs might last for two or three hours—three times as long as a typical blues show. The 1958 Easter caravan had many highlights, among them Marion Williams and Clara Ward’s hair-raising duet of the seasonally appropriate “Old Rugged Cross.” But earlier, Julius Cheeks, a male quartet singer, had “plumb demolished the place” with a tribute to mothers. Nowhere in the lyric was a baldly religious image. The song was all about a mother working herself to death for her children.
Sometimes I get to wonder,
Did I treat my mother right?
She used to moan early in the morning,
She used to groan very late at night.
The weeping and wailing had nothing to do with scripture, and yet would not have been countenanced in any other setting. Several years later, another last night coincided with the attacks on civil rights marchers. Prompted by the moment, Johnny Martin of the Mighty Clouds of Joy rushed to the microphone: “I wanna say this for the folk in Alabama … ‘There’s a Bright Side Somewhere.’ ” The theater erupted; he seemed to leap out of himself, and the other Clouds could barely hold him down. All over the theater, men and women were running up the aisles, hollering their rage and despair.
There might have been a biblical implication to the events down south; Dr. King had certainly insisted on that. But back in 1958, I saw something more surprising. As a novelty attraction, the caravan’s sponsors had hired a professional actor named Gilbert Adkins to recite part of James Weldon Johnson’
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hings I want to cook that week. At my parents’ house in Ohio, I’m hungry for fresh asparagus from the farm next door. If I were on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I’d be going crazy for cherries; and in Charleston, I’d be sure to get my hands on Carolina Gold rice. I am far more interested in telling a local story than in importing ingredients from anywhere. For me it’s a living truth, overwhelmingly exciting. You might get to the point where you grow all your own food, or you may just want to cook a simple dinner for friends. However you get there from here, it’s amazing. Celebrate that.
A MEAL IN A BOWL
I OFTEN THINK THAT if we reimagined the all-American meal in a bowl instead of on a plate, we’d create meals differently than we do now. A bowl demands another way of eating. You can’t cut a big steak in a bowl. Instead, a bowl of rice or grains can become the stage for so many delicious vegetables: stews of beans, piles of greens, roasted roots, sparked by zingy pickles and relishes. How satisfying! For the way I like to eat, vegetables often work better in bowls. Many recipes in this book provide imaginative ideas for eating that way.
OUR UNIQUE PROCESS of producing V is for Vegetables meant that our little editorial team of producer, photographer, recipe editor, and sous chef shopped for, cooked, tasted, tested, photographed, wrote, and critiqued each recipe—all in real time. I cooked every dish in a home kitchen, not in a photography studio. And although I had to put up with no small amount of back talk from the peanut gallery, it gave our process a bit of a reality check: If one of us found a component of a recipe too fussy, or an ingredient unrealistic for the home cook, I really listened, and that made our working together fun. Our photo shoots became a happy, real-world laboratory where we used the very process of producing recipes to test new ideas as we tasted our way through the book. Sometimes I reinterpreted tried-and-true classics; other times I invented exciting ways to discover and enjoy each vegetable.
A RECIPE IS A SKETCH, NOT A BLUEPRINT
IF A RECIPE CALLS FOR something green, find something green. If you have no kale for that Kale Soup with Potatoes & Leeks (here), use zucchini, or collards, or Swiss chard. You want to make a salad? Use mustard or young radish tops; almost any combination of leafy greens will work. Turnip & Squash Stew with Chicken (here) will be great with any root vegetable. This is the time to discover wonderful artisanal ingredients like oil-cured anchovies (here); a pristine, sustainable seafood like squid; pickled ginger (here); or yellow lentils (here), which can completely change a dish. Sweet potatoes with red cabbage? Imagine! Use your intuition. Experiments can lead to happy solutions. As cooks we are part foragers and part magicians. But this book doesn’t celebrate those rare varieties that only grow deep in the forest or on the top of some mountain, hard to find, impossible to get your hands on. Garden variety is thrilling to me.
One of the challenges in writing this book was to find a way into the home cook’s imagination; to express the sincere appreciation that comes from tasting complex flavors, being seduced by color and texture, falling in love with vegetables. Because in our lifetimes, many of us have rarely known the vegetable as a star; it can be difficult to imagine menus where that is the case. I may improvise a recipe, but I’m not just making it up out of the blue. My recipes are not tricky or unapproachable; I’ve developed them to share, not to show off. I lean on my love of the vegetable first, then on my culinary foundation. And always, it is about the best way to make that thing taste good. Sometimes I follow rules; sometimes I break them. Knowing when to do which is what makes a cook. I’m hoping to pass that knowledge along to you.
“The artichoke above all is the vegetable expression of civilized living.”
—JANE GRIGSON, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, 1978
ARTICHOKES, FOR ME, were always elusive. Kind of dangerous. Really beautiful. But I didn’t understand what people loved about eating a prickly thistle; I never got their seductive quality. Even though as a chef I had dutifully learned how to “turn” artichokes, it took spending an Easter with my daughters in Rome (where artichokes are prized and prepared with great style) to truly become enamored of this vegetable. Artichokes—fried whole (alla giudia), braised with fava beans in spring vignarola, sliced raw with anchovies and lots of lemon, and baked on pizza—were a real discovery for me as an eater. As I travelled to other places where artichokes are grown and appreciated, I began to experience the nostalgia around the tradition of eating them, and I really fell in love. I felt inspired
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75g unsweetened puffed rice
100g mixed dried fruit
100g dried cranberries or sour cherries
semi-skimmed milk or low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve
assorted fresh berries (optional)
195 calories per portion (without milk)241 calories per portion (with 100ml semi-skimmed milk)
Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the almonds and toast them for 3–5 minutes, turning occasionally. Keep a careful eye on them so they don’t burn. Tip the nuts into a large mixing bowl and allow them to cool slightly.
Pour the oats and puffed rice into a large rubber-sealed jar or plastic food container. Add the toasted almonds, mixed dried fruit and cranberries or sour cherries and mix everything together well.
Enjoy a 50g portion of the muesli for breakfast with semi-skimmed milk or low-fat natural yoghurt and some fresh berries if you like.
Instead of prawns, you could add some thinly sliced ham or fresh tomato quarters and a handful of spinach.
PAN-FRIED BACON WITH POACHED EGG AND BALSAMIC TOMATOES
Guess what? You don’t have to give up your bacon and eggs when you’re dieting – just slightly change the way you cook them. Poaching the eggs and dry-frying the bacon saves on fat and the whole dish tastes just as good. Choose good lean bacon and avoid streaky.
1 tsp sunflower oil
4 rashers of rindless smoked back bacon
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 large very fresh eggs (fridge cold)
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
good handful of watercress
drizzle of good-quality balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
264 calories per portion
Brush a large non-stick frying pan with sunflower oil, using the tip of a pastry brush. Place the pan over a medium heat and add the bacon. Cook for 2 minutes until lightly browned, then turn and dry-fry on the other side for another 3 minutes.
While the bacon is cooking, half fill a medium non-stick saucepan with water, add the vinegar and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, so the water is only just bubbling.
Crack the eggs into the water, 1 at a time, spacing them well apart. Cook for 2½ minutes. The eggs should rise to the surface within a minute. If the egg white sticks to the bottom of the pan, lift it gently with a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you can use a hob-top egg poacher, lightly greased with sunflower oil.
Add the tomatoes to the pan with the bacon and season with plenty of black pepper. Cook the tomatoes for about a minute until just beginning to soften, turning them once. Put a small pile of watercress on each plate.
Place some bacon and tomatoes on the plates and drizzle with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Take the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and place them on top. Season with a little more pepper and tuck in right away while it’s all lovely and hot.
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH SMOKED SALMON
This is a treat – light but tasty and packed with protein. It takes next to no time to prepare and makes a really special weekend breakfast or brunch. Shows that you can breakfast like a king and still keep the calories under control.
4 medium eggs
1 tbsp freshly snipped chives, plus a few extra to garnish (optional)
4 slices of smoked salmon (about 75g)
1 English muffin, cut in half
flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
354 calories per portion
Beat the eggs with a pinch of flaked sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Use a metal whisk and make sure you beat the eggs really well. Stir in the chives if you’re using them.
Melt the butter in a medium non-stick saucepan over a low heat. Pour the beaten eggs into the pan and cook very gently for 2 minutes, stirring slowly until the eggs are softly scrambled. Remove from the heat and stir for a few seconds more – the eggs will continue to cook for a while.
While the eggs are cooking, toast the muffin and put 1 half on each plate, cut side up. Spoon the scrambled eggs over the muffins, add the slices of smoked salmon and season with a little more black pepper. Garnish with extra chives if you wish. Serve immediately.
FRESH FRUIT COMPOTE WITH HOME-MADE GRANOLA
We find a bowl of this compote, topped with some of our special crunchy granola and a spoonful of low-fat yoghurt, sets us up a treat in the morning. It’s like sunshine for your insides.
300ml apple juice (we prefer the cloudy type)
150g jumbo porridge oats
15g flaked almonds
50g mixed dried fruit
2 Bramley cooking apples (about 150g each)
4 fresh ripe plums, stoned and cut into quarters
75g golden caster sugar
200g strawberries, hulled
6 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt (optional)
243 calories per portion (without yoghurt)252 calories per portion (with yoghurt)
To make the granola, preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
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and if you’re going to learn how to bake, it’s best to learn from old-school grandmas.)
Whole-wheat flour contains every part of the wheat grain: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. I know, big words, but basically, the bran is the wrapper (and a great source of fiber), the germ is like the yolk of the wheat berry (where the oils and plant embryo are stored), and the endosperm is the starchy part of the kernel (the food the germ eats to grow up into a big ol’ wheat stalk). Baking with whole wheat is fun and challenging in that you get nuttier flavors, but you really have to pay attention. Because of the oils and bran found in whole-wheat flour, it doesn’t rise as high as white flour and might spoil more quickly if not properly stored. But use it right and your little baked yummlies will be that much more yummly.
Graham flour is whole-wheat flour that’s milled so that the starch is ground very fine but the germ and the bran are left coarse. You use it to make graham crackers. You can certainly use regular whole-wheat flour for graham crackers, but don’t let me catch you. I’ll call you out!
White whole-wheat flour is real whole-wheat flour. No tricks. Whole-wheat flour that’s brown is milled from red (or sometimes golden) wheat. White whole-wheat flour is made from hard white spring wheat. The most important difference is that white whole-wheat flour has much less protein and also tastes more like white flour. It doesn’t have the earthy flavors of whole-grain red wheat flour.
In essence, the chewier you want your product to be, the higher the protein content you want in the flour. The more tender and delicate (like me), the less protein. And never forget—color is flavor. Now let’s get into leavening agents, which make things rise. There are three types of leavening that I want to discuss:
Chemical leavening agents are most commonly baking soda and baking powder. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), as we all know from playing with vinegar, makes bubbles when you combine it with an acid. Baking powder is baking soda plus cornstarch and a powdered acid, usually cream of tartar. If you have a recipe that calls for baking soda and cream of tartar, don’t ignore the cream of tartar or your cookies won’t rise and they’ll taste of nickels. Many recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda. This is when a smaller ratio of cream of tartar is needed and there’s enough other acid in the recipe to neutralize the sodium bicarbonate. Double-acting baking powder has two acids in it; one that reacts in a batter when it’s wet and one that reacts to the heat in the oven.
You need to know this because if your baking soda isn’t reacting with anything or you have too much in your cookies, they really will taste like nickels. If this happens, check your recipe and see if you forgot something (or the recipe writer forgot something), and also check the date on the can of baking powder. It slowly reacts with air over time and becomes weaker, and baking powder has a habit of sitting in your pantry for years. Also, make sure you mix the batter properly and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the batter is homogeneous.
Biological leavening agents are yeasts. Dry yeast, fresh yeast, brewer’s yeast, and sourdough starter—all yeast. You have to love your yeast—it’s a living organism, and when you treat it right, keep it warm, and feed it, it does what it’s supposed to do—it eats and farts and pees. Yeast eats sugar and starch, farts out CO2, and pees out alcohol. The CO2 expands and makes the bread rise, and the alcohol adds flavor. Yummy!
Mechanical leavening is making things rise using air and steam. You can whip air into your batter, which expands in the oven and makes your cake rise (it’s how French people make genoise); you can make a laminated dough like puff pastry, in which the moisture in the dough steams between layers of butter and flour and rises that way; and you can also add yeast to a laminated dough and make danishes! A lot of leavening is actually a combination of mechanical and biological or chemical. In cookies, for example, you cream the butter and sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy, then add baking soda or baking powder, and the action of the air plus the action of the CO2 make the cookies rise.
Now let’s talk about some of the ingredients that can be confusing to a new baker, or even someone who has been using these ingredients for a while. I’ve been cooking since I was fourteen, and it wasn’t until four months into culinary school that one of my teachers caught on that I thought “zest” was a fancy word for “juice.” I had no idea you could eat the lemon peel! Let’s start with the letter Z, shall we?
Zest is the outermost layer of a citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, and so on), also known by the fancy word “exocarp.” Sounds like a Swedish black metal band, right? Anyway, the essential
Slice the melon in half and discard the seeds. Slice the melon into segments or chunks. Set aside.
Dress the rocket in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt, to taste.
Wrap the prosciutto slices around the grissini.
Arrange the dressed rocket and melon on a large serving platter with the prosciutto-wrapped grissini.
BRUSCHETTE CON PESCHE E PROSCIUTTO
BRUSCHETTA OF PEACHES AND PROSCIUTTO
Cooking time: 12 minutes
100 ml/3½ fl oz/7 tbsp white wine
2 tsp granulated sugar
8 fresh mint leaves
2 peaches, cut into quarters
4 slices of country-style bread (any will do, but Pugliese-style or sourdough are good)
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
4 slices of prosciutto (Parma ham)
Place the white wine, sugar and 4 of the mint leaves in a small saucepan and place over a low–medium heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture reduces by about half. Do not let the mixture boil.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan (skillet) or griddle pan over a low–medium heat and lightly toast the peaches for about 5 minutes, turning them over so that all the sides get some colour.
Toast the slices of bread, drizzle with a little olive oil, then top with the roasted peaches and prosciutto slices. Finally, drizzle over the reduced wine sauce and garnish with the remaining mint leaves.
MELE E PERE ARROSTO CON PROSCIUTTO
PROSCIUTTO WITH ROASTED APPLES AND PEARS
Cooking time: 25–30 minutes (including prep time)
4 small apples (about 300 g/10½ oz)
2 large Conference pears (about 400 g/14 oz)
2 rosemary sprigs
6 sage leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 small lemon
20 g/¾ oz/2½ tbsp raw pistachio nuts
8 slices of prosciutto (Parma ham), about 125 g/4½ oz
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.
Wash the fruit. Slice the apples into fairly thick rounds and the pears lengthways into 4 quarters, discarding the pips. Place the fruit in a roasting tin (oven pan), sprinkle with the herbs, some salt and pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. Roast in the hot oven for 15–20 minutes, until cooked through (but not falling apart) and golden.
Meanwhile, roast the pistachio nuts: spread them out on a baking tray (oven pan) and place in the hot oven for about 5 minutes; or toast in a frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool, then rub them between thumb and fingers to remove the skins.
Arrange the fruit on a serving dish with the slices of prosciutto, sprinkle with the skinned pistachio nuts, and serve.
SUSINE E FICHI AL FORNO CON PROSCIUTTO
CARAMELISED PLUMS AND FIGS WITH PROSCIUTTO
Cooking time: 20 minutes (including prep time)
4–6 large figs (about 240 g/8½ oz)
4 large plums (about 500 g/1 lb 2 oz)
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
juice of ½ lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
120 g/4¼ oz mixed baby salad leaves
25 g/1 oz/2½ tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
8–12 slices of prosciutto
Preheat the oven to 210°C fan/230°C/455°F/gas mark 8.
Wash and dry the fruit. Slice the figs in half. Remove the stones (pits) from the plums and slice into segments. Place the fruit in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the thyme and sugar, and roast in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and lemon juice, season with some salt and pepper, and dress the salad leaves. Arrange the salad leaves on a large serving platter and top with the warm, caramelized fruit. Scatter over the chopped walnuts and the slices of prosciutto, then drizzle over a little more olive oil before serving.
Soups are simple to prepare, don’t need a long time to cook and provide a nutritious, satisfying meal at any time. They are very versatile – depending on personal taste and the type of soup, they can be served either as they are, with chunky pieces of vegetables or other ingredients, or whizzed to a smooth, creamy consistency. They can also be prepared in advance and gently reheated to serve, or divided into portions and frozen for later. In fact, soups are so easy to prepare, it is often worth making more to put in the freezer, so that you always have a healthy meal to hand on those super-busy days or for when the cupboard is bare.
There is something so nourishing and feel-good about homemade soup that eating it always takes me back to my childhood, when we would very often have thick bean soups during the winter. We used to make them with dried pulses, which we always kept in our store cupboard, but these had to be soaked overnight and the cooking time was long. These days, we’re lucky to have such a vast range of ready-