Speedy Spicy Tomato Carrot & Apple Soup

There’s nothing nicer on a drizzly damp night than some spicy home made soup, and it just so happens that’s exactly what we had for tea tonight.

There’s also nothing nicer than something that only takes 20 minutes to prepare and cook.

So here is a very quick recipe for a very quick meal.

Tomato and Apple Spicy Soup

1 Onion
2 tsp Tomato Puree
200g ( half a tin ) Chopped Tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 Potato
4 Carrots
1 Apple
1l Vegetable Stock
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Roughly chop the onion and put in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, tomato puree and sugar. Stir well until the onions are coated in the puree then add the chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
cook tomatoes and onion
Roughly chop the carrots, potato and apple and add to the pot, stir well for a couple of minutes and add the vegetable stock and cayenne pepper.

roughly chop veg
Boil for 15 minutes until the veg are tender then blend. Serve up with a splash of cream or a dollop of creme fraiche and some warm crusty bread.
serve with creme fraiche or cream
Simple, quick and delicious.

A Bientot.


Potato Nest Quiche

OK so its not the best name I’ve come up with, but its the best I’ve got for this dish.

As you may have already surmised I get quite easily distracted in the kitchen, so when small one requested quiche for dinner things didn’t go exactly to plan. Not that there’s anything wrong with quiche ( unless you happen to be my father who maintains to this day that ‘real men don’t eat quiche’), in fact I love a good quiche and its a bit of a family favourite, but I got a little distracted by all the  potatoes in the cupboard. Then I had an idea……

Potato Nest Quiche

6 large Potatoes

1 Onion

3 eggs

1 large Tomato

200g Lardons ( or chopped bacon )

50g grated Cheese

100ml Crème fraîche

Salt and Pepper to season

Peel, grate and rinse the potatoes, then dry them. Its best if you can do this well in advance to allow the potato to dry out. When I had rinsed them I hung them in a muslin bag for a couple of hours, but if you are a bit pushed for time, place the potato between sheets of kitchen roll and press down firmly to remove as much moisture as you can.

wash and drain potatoes







Beat one egg in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper then add 1 onion which has been finely chopped or grated. Add the potatoes to this mixture and stir well.

Grease 6 muffin cases ( you may need a couple more depending on how large your potatoes are ) and firmly press the potato mixture into shape.

Pop these in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees) for 15 – 20 minutes until they begin to brown.

line muffin cases with potato

While your shells are in the oven, lightly fry the lardons or bacon with a chopped tomato.

Beat your 2 remaining eggs with the crémé fraîche and a little seasoning.

lardon, tomatoes, egg and creme fraiche

Take the potato shells out of the oven and turn it down to 170 degrees.  Spoon in the lardon and tomatoes but don’t press them down.. Slowly pour in the egg mixture until the cases are full. ( I say pour slowly as it is VERY easy to overfill the cases and make your clearing up so much messier than it needs to be !)

fill the potato nests

Once the cases are filled sprinkle the tops with cheese and return to the oven for 30-35 minutes until they have risen well and the cheese has formed a light crust.

bake for 30-35 minutes

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing the cases.
These little Quiche-ish-‘s are fantastic warm as part of a main meal, but are also pretty amazing when the are cold and served with a spoon of chutney on the side . Thankfully they gained the small person seal of approval and she has already asked for me to make them again. which will be fine unless I get distracted again….


A Bientôt

Parslip* Soup

This year has been a complete disaster in the garden, after a tiny crop of early radishes we have harvested close to nothing from our tiny veg patch. A combination of peculiar seasonal weather and voracious insects have left slim pickings indeed. So when hubby required a leaf or two of parsley to complete the evening meal it was off to the market we had to go. I don’t know if it’s the same in the UK, but here in France it’s almost impossible to buy a small amount of parsley, and the bunch we were left with after the required leaves had been plundered was … rather large.
parsleyNow if you are a regular follower of this blog you will already know that I loathe throwing anything away, but what to do with a big bunch of parsley on a chilly autumnal weekend ? I went through, and rejected, a few ideas involving breads and pestos and plumped for one of my favourite standbys; soup.


But parsley on it’s own would be far too strong a flavour and it needed something that would compliment the slight sweetness of the herb, but not overpower it. Tricky.

My musings were put to a decisive end at the supermarket when we all got very excited to see that they had on sale the seldom seen pleasure of ‘Panais Anglais’. Now whilst that may sound rather exotic and strange it is quite simply the humble parsnip.

Parsnips are not a usual feature on the supermarket shelves in this part of France,  (they are traditionally grown as donkey fodder rather than for human consumption!), but as the influx of ex-pats to the region grows ever larger so has the demand for this ‘strange’ delicacy. The suffix of ‘Anglais’ has been added not as point of origin, but as an indication of who will most likely be buying them.

So there was my answer, all I had to do now was make the soup.


Parslip* Soup.

3 tbsp olive oil
100g of leek, roughly chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
50g of Parsley,  with stems removed ( reserve a few leaves for garnish)
200g of chopped Parsnip
1 apple, diced
1 l of vegetable stock

Warm the oil in a large pan the add the chopped onion, leek and garlic. Stir well then cover and sweat for a few minutes making sure the vegetables don’t start to brown too much.

Add the parsley and stir until the leaves have wilted, then add the chopped parsnip and apple. Cover and sweat for a few more minutes then add 1 litre of vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15- 20 minutes.

When the parsnip has softened, blend the soup till smooth and serve immediately with a swirl of creme fraiche or cream and garnish with the remaining parsley leaves.
Parslip SoupThis is a rich, thick, slightly sweet soup which, ( in my opinion at least), is perfect for a rainy autumnal evening warmer. And its a fabulous colour too 🙂

A Bientôt

*No it’s not a spelling mistake, it’s a clever play on words.

Souper simple Tomato Soup

“What would you like for lunch sweetie?”

“Tomato soup would be lovely mum”

“Sorry pickle, we haven’t got any.”

“Well there’s tomatoes in the fridge, you could just make some.”

“But I’ve never made tomato soup before.”


Sometimes I’m a victim of my own success …. A quick forage around the kitchen revealed that there was no earthly reason that I couldn’t give it a try so here we have my first ever attempt at tomato soup….

1 large onion

1 carrot

3 cloves of garlic

1 glug of olive oil

2 big squeezes of tomato puree

2 bay leaves

4 large ripe tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

1/2 litre veg stock

Chop the carrot onion and garlic and sweat in large pan with oil for 5 mins making sure they do not burn. Add tomato puree stir well till all your ingredients are coated in the puree and sweat for another 5 minutes.

Whilst doing that skin the tomatoes. Now its not entirely necessary to skin the tomatoes, but I much prefer the flavour and if you have never peeled tomatoes before it’s a LOT easier than it sounds Pierce skin of tomatoes 2 or 3 times and place in a large bowl. Completely cover with boiling water. And wait…

Not long, about 2 or 3 minutes is usually enough. Remove from the water with a spoon and simply slide the skin off the tomato. If the skin does not fall away then place back in boiling water for another minute. Easy peasy.*

When that is done, chop roughly and remove the hard stalks. Add them to the pan, give it a good stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. Now add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the 2 bay leaves, blend and serve with a generous swirl of cream or creme fraiche and a sprinkle of basil. Et Voila, as they say in these parts.

And what was the verdict? Well there was none left and it has been decided ( not by me) that when my daughters school friends next come over to tea they will be having soup. Whether they like it or not!

A bientot.

*This method also works for any similarly skinned fruit (peaches, plums nectarines and – if you have the patience-grapes too)