Potatoes would have to be one of my favourite foods yet I was a little uninspired when it came to potato week in the challenge. I guess mostly my love of potatoes is as a side, smooth and creamy mash, crispy roast potatoes, the humble chip done really well for example and not a star though they do star in some fabulous dishes all alone, one of favourites being the potato pancake/rosti/hash brown - whatever you choose to call it.
I also found it funny that I chose a Spanish dish and a soup dish which after seafood week next week are the 2 themes for week 34 and 35, must be sub-consciously thinking ahead! My soup dish wasn't actually meant to be for the challenge, I was just wanting a very quick meal to throw together for Friday night dinner & was looking through Nigella Express for inspiration where I found the recipe. I wouldn't even call it a recipe, its more just a couple of ingredients thrown into a pot & cooked for a while then whizzed up. That's what I love about soups really, the simplicity of some fresh ingredients cooked in the one pot, maybe a fresh slice of bread on the side & you have a fabulous warming winter meal. This sweet potato and pumpkin soup was no exception, sweet and creamy with a lovely tang thanks to the sour cream I added at the end & everyone had a smile on their face.
Note the recipe calls for buttermilk which I substituted with sour cream as I love it in soups and I had some in the fridge just calling out to be stirred through. Nigella also suggests buying pre-chopped veggies, I didn't go that far, really it's not that difficult to slice up some pumpkin and potato is it?
Butternut and sweet potato Soup - Nigella Lawson - Nigella Express
350g diced butternut pumpkin and sweet potato from a packet. (I used one large sweet potato and half a pumpkin)
750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock ( I used 1 litre to make up for the extra veg I put in)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
Freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons buttermilk
Put the diced veggies and hot stock in a large saucepan with the stock and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for approx 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add some pepper to taste.
Puree the soup with a stick mixer or blender, stir through buttermilk (or sour cream) to serve.
For my second dish firstly I would like to apologize for the photo, it wasn't a pretty dish, which combined with the lack of good light & my poor food styling does not make it look very appetizing at all. This was a quick spanish dinner from The Hungry Girls Cookbook Volume 2. If you haven't heard of the book, it's a small collection (12) of recipes put together by 3 local girls, you can read all about it here.
Some typical Spanish ingredients such as , potatoes, capsicums, smoked paprika, chorizo all done in a bit of a fry up was perfect for me to knock up after work one night for the in laws, that's right, I am back working. At this stage only 2 days a week from home so you wouldnt think it would be too much different to my old ways but those 2 days throw me about. Josh is very clingy so when I finish at 5 he really bawls for me so even this quick meal is difficult, it breaks your heart when all they want is you & you cant go to them, he really is a mummy's boy which Chloe never was (girl that is!). I think from now on on work nights I will try & cook the night before so all I have to do is reheat. Anyway back to the dish, nothing spectacular but a nice comforting dinner all the same. You really have to watch the salt & get your flavours balanced right, I found the potatoes needed lots of salt yet the chorizo didn't so it was hard to get it perfect.
Note that the recipe feeds 3-4 so I adjusted the quantities to feed more, extra spuds & chorizo
Quick Spanish dinner - The Hungry Girls Cookbook - Volume 2
4 medium potatoes (about 800g)
2 large red capsicums
1 medium onion
1 small semi-dried chorizo (about 125g)
2 garlic cloves
Big handful parsley leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the potatoes in their skins until just soft.
Meanwhile, get everything else ready, halve and seed the capsicums and cut the strips in half widthwise. Finely slice the onion. Cut the chorizo in half lengthwise then thinly slice it. Finely chop the garlic and roughly chop the parsley.
When the potatoes are half cooked, heat a frying pan over high heat and add the oil and capsicums. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the capsicum skins are starting to wrinkle. Turn the heat back a little, add the inion and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes, until the onion and capsicum are collapsed and browning at the edges. meanwhile, drain the potatoes and cut into bite sized chunks.
Add the chorizo, garlic and paprika to the pan and fry for another few minutes, until the chorizo has browned slightly. Add the potatoes and salt and stir gently until the potatoes are covered in the rust coloured juices. Stir in the parsley. Taste & adjust the seasoning as required.