Now that we have arrived in September I automatically get that overwhelming feeling that we getting closer and closer to the end of the year and forgive me for saying it… but Christmas! I associate this time and the next few months with the preparations for the end of the year and the slow change we make from summer into the autumn time. Before we know it the leaves on the trees will start to fall and the temperature will drop and soon we shall be referring back to those cosy jumpers and jackets that we are very well acquainted with.
To slowly ease ourselves back into those ‘winter warmer’ meals I have made this Sweet Potato Soup which is so flavourful, and currently brilliant to have as a light lunch with some sourdough bread. Fantastic for those who are still working from home but fancy that lunchtime heartiness instead of a cold dish.
1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium sized white onion, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
165ml coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic
1 vegetable stock cube (I used Knorr)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
In a pan, fry the garlic, ginger and onion in the olive oil until lightly browned on medium-low heat.
Then add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the sweet potato, tomato, coconut milk and stock cube and mix well for a further 2 minutes.
Pour in the water and give it a good mix.
Leave to boil on medium-low heat for 13-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
Take the pan off the heat and put the contents into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.
Put the soup back in the pan and give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper if required.
During the lockdown period everyone has gone to town on making banana bread. Now, don’t get me wrong, banana bread is good but I wanted to mix things up a bit and made my own little twist to a classic dessert. So here we are, another way to make use of those extra bananas; I hope you all enjoy.
3 ripe bananas
100ml coconut milk
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
1 dessert spoon of coconut flakes
70g self-raising flour
30g light brown sugar
2tsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5.
Roughly slice the bananas, layer and spread across a baking dish.
Put the coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup in a bowl and give it a good mix.
In a separate bowl put the flour and butter together and rub to make a crumble.
Then add the sugar and the coconut flakes and mix together with your hands.
Pour over the coconut milk mixture over the bananas.
Evenly scatter the crumble over the bananas and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown.
Best served hot. Delicious on its own or with a serving of single cream or ice cream.
I’ve never really had a massive sweet tooth, I am definitely a more savoury kind of girl; as I’m sure you’ve seen from my recipes they are more focused on more ‘main meals’ rather than sweets and desserts. To be honest, I don’t think I am very good at the whole ‘baking thing’, but hey, I do actually quite enjoy it and am willing to give it a go.
I was gifted a bundt tin a while ago now and hadn’t got round to using it. Of course, during this weird lockdown time I thought I’d do some experimenting and give it a whirl. For my first bundt cake bake I was quite proud of myself, it turned out better than I thought it would. I attempted to make a spiced bundt cake that consisted of ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg- delish, I know. There is definitely room for improvement though, I found that the spices were not as prominent as I’d’ve liked, the texture was soft but not as light (hence the icing to give it some added moisture) and the mixture rose a lot more than I thought it would; perhaps too much cake mix or baking powder. Considering the tin I have is smaller than the ‘standard’ sized bundt tins, the end result was bigger than I expected.
Now that I have given it a go I am slightly more confident to try again and to also try other bakes.
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it is so versatile. You can mix up the bean and vegetable content; ideal if you have some leftover ingredients that need using up. A meat-free, hearty comfort food; perfect with rice.
1 can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 large carrot
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 sweet pepper, chopped into small chunks
1 small red onion, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 large cup mushrooms, slice into chunks
2tbsp olive oil
1/2tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground cayenne pepper
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
Ground black pepper to taste
1tsp sugar (optional)
In a pan, put the olive oil, onion and garlic and fry on a medium heat until soft and lightly browned.
Then add the carrot, sweet pepper, mushrooms and fry together for 2-3 minutes.
Add the allspice, paprika, cayenne, oregano, a sprinkling of pepper and the beans and continue to cook and stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and the juice and the water. Stir and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes. If the chilli is quite dense in flavour then add the sugar to balance the flavour.
I was having a cheeky scroll through my @isaporidelmondo Instagram yesterday when I came across a message on the Castle Terrace Restaurant page. Unfortunately, they have had to make the decision to shut the restaurant due to the coronavirus.
I am not going to lie… I am gutted. Gutted.
The first time I visited Edinburgh was actually in 2017, that was when I dined at the Castle Terrace restaurant. Even though it was a while ago I still remember my experience there as if it were only a few days ago. I loved every single thing about it: the staff, the service and the food; just ticked all the right boxes. I remember having a Bloody Mary which, to this day, I can still taste- it was that good! Even the canapés just blew me away, there were three lined up in a row all with completely different flavours that just burst into life in your mouth; especially the green one which, if I remember correctly, has the flavour of a caesar salad. My favourite course was actually the first, Mackerel tartare, it just brings a massive smile to my face just thinking about it. Whenever I have spoken about Castle Terrace to friends, loved ones and colleagues I have never failed to mention that particular starter- a culinary memory that I will treasure forever. I managed to find some of my pictures from when I dined there and have fitted them at the end of this post; excuse the quality though, they are a bit old.
I am so sad as there are so many restaurants and outlets within the hospitality industry that have been massively impacted by this pandemic; it’s so awful and such a shame to see the collapse of some truly amazing establishments.
I am grateful to have had the pleasure to dine at Castle Terrace, a truly wonderful dining experience that I will never, ever forget. To the Chef and all the staff there, thank you and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.