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Tomato and Basil Soup with Cheese Toasts

Saturday 15 November 2014
My 11yo made this soup as a practise session before her Food Technology class this week.  She devised and tested the recipe herself.  It was delicious! I'll get her to cook a double batch next time and we'll save it in portions for lunches during the week.  11yo also took photos of her finished meal, I might have some food blogger competition from her soon. 

Tomato and Basil Soup 

1 Tblsp oil - 3p
1 onion, finely diced - 7p
2 cloves garlic, finely diced - 2p
400g tin chopped tomatoes - 40p
500ml vegetable stock - 3p
1 large carrot, peeled and grated - 4p
3 Tblsp chopped fresh basil - free (growing in our garden)

Put a little oil into a large saucepan. Cook onion over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, stock and carrot. Bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add two tablespoons of the basil then cook for a further 5 minutes. Using a blender, blend soup until smooth. Pour into 4 bowls and serve topped with left over fresh basil.  Total cost of soup was 59p.

I've entered this soup into the Credit Crunch Munch blog challenge, created by Helen and Camilla, hosted this month by My Little Italian Kitchen.  It was a frugal but delicious lunch, especially because we used homemade bread and reduced for quick sale cheese.

I am also entering this soup into Extra Veg, the blogging challenge created by Helen and I, hosted this month by Fuss Free Living.

I'm also entering this soup into No Croutons Required, created by Jac, hosted this month by Lisa's Kitchen

ncr logo

I've entered this soup into Family Foodies, created by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, hosted by Eat Your Veg this month.  The theme is Vegetarian.


Our Meal Plan for this week - 10/11/2014

Sunday 9 November 2014
We've had a rather trying week this week.  Bubs has had a growth spurt so was feeding every 2 hours for a few days and other challenging things have happened that I shall not share but it has been quite a week to say the least and one I don't ever want repeated.  Bubs was weighed when the Health Visitor called around and he is growing very well indeed and is a healthy and happy baby.  Hurrah!  

We now all have colds, just to make life even more joyous.  My motto for now is "This too shall pass!" and I am sure the week ahead will bring healing to our ills and hopefully be much more positive and much less stressful than last week.

Our Meal Plan for this week is all about easy, comforting and nourishing meals.  Hopefully all the kids will be at school if they are well enough, if not then they will be nursed at home in the cosy and warm until their ills have gone.  My husband will hopefully be going to work 2 days this week as part of his phased return after his stroke.  Thankfully he seems to have escaped the worst of the cold, as has bubs who is only slightly snuffly.

Breakfasts will be porridge with home made fruit compote, a warming and filling start to the day.  Porridge is also gentle on sore throats and the consistency can be easily adjusted.  On the weekend we may have pancakes and crumpets if we are not too exhausted from the week.  


Lunches will be soup in flasks for those at work and school and I shall be having the same at home.  Soups will be accompanied by a home made bread roll or Savoury Pull Apart Bread, a piece of fruit or two and a small baked treat for afters.


Quick and Easy Root Vegetable and Lentil Curry - Meatfree Monday

Quick and Easy Oven Baked Risotto - with lots of vegetables added so there's enough for Tuesday and Wednesday

Versatile Beef Casserole - Friday and as pasties on Saturday

There is no Shopping List this week as I am tired and full of cold.  I hope to be back on top form next week.

Don't forget to check out other Meal Plans on the linky hosted by 
At Home With Mrs M.

Date and Walnut Log with Cheese Biscuits

Sunday 2 November 2014
I also made a savoury edible Christmas gift recipe, for the lovelies at Sainsbury's, because not everyone is into sweet treats and I do like a good cheese biscuit to nibble on with a glass of wine.

These biscuits are very easy to make, you just need to remember to mix together equal quantities of plain flour, butter and grated cheese. What could be simpler?!

The Date and Walnut Log just involves measuring ingredients into a food processor, mixing them, forming the mixture into logs then wrapping the logs to look pretty. So easy!

I normally include the Date and Walnut Log with Cheese Biscuits in a hamper with a bottle of wine and some other savoury goodies.

Date and Walnut Log

150g walnuts
50g almonds, toasted 
250g dried dates, chopped
100g dried apricots, chopped
50g chopped crystallised ginger
1 or 2 Tblsp brandy
1 Tblsp honey
2 tsp mixed spice

Put half of the nuts into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until fairly finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined and the mixture starts to come together.

Remove the mixture from the food processor and, using wet hands, form into logs about 1 or 2 inches in diameter. I made 5 short logs from this recipe. Wrap the logs in clingfilm and chill in the fridge to firm up. Wrap the clingfilm enclosed logs in decorative paper and include in a hamper of other delicious savoury treats. Ensure the logs are kept cold/refrigerated. These logs will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

Savoury Cheese Biscuits

100g butter, chilled and diced
100g strong Cheddar
100g plain white or wholemeal flour

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Put the butter, cheese and flour into a food processor and process until the mixture forms a stiff ball of dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter then wrap in clingffilm and chill in the fridge for half an hour or until you are ready to bake the biscuits.  

Cut 1/2cm slices off the biscuit dough log and put them on your prepared trays, allow a little room for them to spread.

Bake in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for a couple of minutes then carefully transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Store the biscuits in an airtight container.  The cooked biscuits can also be frozen.

*I was compensated for my time, expertise and ingredients when creating these recipes*

Easy Christmas Cake Balls

Saturday 1 November 2014
I was asked by the lovelies at Sainaburys to come up with an easy edible Christmas gift recipe.  I've been making these Christmas cake balls for a few years now and they are very simple to make but look rather impressive.  My 3 girls enjoy making them, there's no cooking involved apart from melting chocolate, the rest of the process is just assembling and decorating.

You can use homemade Christmas cake or store bought, whichever you prefer.  All the decorating supplies are readily available too.  I normally use Green and Blacks Maya Gold chocolate if giving these to adults as it adds a lovely spice and flavour, if giving to children I usually use either milk chocolate or a 60% dark chocolate.

I top my Christmas cake balls with a little white and red sugarpaste to make them look like Christmas puddings but you could decorate them however you like.  I've rolled them in finely chopped nuts or shavings of chocolate previously and they went down very well indeed.

Easy Christmas Cake Balls

400g Christmas cake
1 cup chocolate buttercream or melted chocolate
extra melted chocolate for dipping
white and red sugarpaste
red edible glitter

Crumble the Christmas cake into a bowl and add enough buttercream or melted chocolate to moisten the crumbs so they hold together if you try and shape them into a ball.  You don't want the mixture to be too wet.

Form the mixture into balls then put them on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.  Chill in the fridge to firm up.  Roll out the white sugarpaste on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and cut out small white flower shapes with a cutter.  Roll small portions of red sugar paste into balls and then roll in edible glitter.

Melt the chocolate, either in a microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then dip the balls in the chocolate and return to the chilled tray.  Top with the white and red sugarpaste decorations before the chocolate sets as this will adhere them to the cake balls.  Leave to set at room temperature or chill in the fridge for a short time if you are in a hurry.  These are best eaten within 3 days of making them.

*I was compensated for my time, expertise and ingredients when creating this recipe*
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