Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I was stuck home today with a sick child so I basically have spent the day in the kitchen, which of course I haven’t minded at all and definitely not complaining.

I have been staring at a large butternut squash all week and decided I have to do something with it. When researching recipes I was tossing up between squash fries, a squash and sage pasta sauce or the soup which I made. I think I will have to give them all a try because they were all so appealing. I went with the soup though because it sounded strangely incredible and I knew it would last in the fridge for at least five days. I have to say I am becoming a bit of a fan of regular cooking.

I say this a lot although the house smelt incredible from all the delicious vegetables roasting in the oven that were covered in the spices I coated them in.  The recipe was really quiet strange with the combination of apple, carrot and squash as well as cinnamon and and cumin. The flavours it created together though were of restaurant quality and I can’t wait to make it for my mum back at home who adores soup.

So I did struggle a little bit I have to say, cutting and peeling the squash nearly gave me a workout. I goggled what was the easiest way to do it and read that if you put it in the microwave it loosens it.  I think it worked slightly although I didn’t leave it in long enough. It still was a mission though.

I wouldn’t change a thing when I make it next time although maybe doubling it and freezing some.

TIP: Scrape out the seeds, remove gunk and place in boiling water for ten minutes. Place on baking tray with baking paper and over in a tsp of olive oil. Bake on 180 for 10 minutes. Enjoy.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup 
serves 4 – 6 

1 Large Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 – 2 Apples, sliced and cored
1 Onion, chopped
2 – 4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Cumin
3 Cups Chicken Broth

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the butternut squash, 3 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 Tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 Tsp Salt and 1/2 Tsp Cumin. Mix together, coating the squash well. Spread out on a large baking sheet.

In the same bowl (that the butternut squash was in), toss the Apple Slices, Onion, and Carrots to coat with the remaining oil and spices left in the bowl. Place on the same baking tray and roast for 40 minutes.

In a large saucepan over medium heat add 2 tbsp of Olive Oil.

Add the roasted ingredients and then the Chicken Broth.

Add 1 Tsp each of Salt and Cinnamon.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Cover for 20 minutes.

Using a blender, combine and puree the ingredients until smooth.

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Thai & Asian Cooking Class

Yesterday I went to a cooking class at ‘The Smart School of Cookery’ and learnt some fantastic thai and asian inspired dishes. It was an amazing experience and I learnt so much, not just recipes but general tricks and tips in the kitchen. I even bought another four class vouchers.

I sat in the corner hoping to take photos (as it was not allowed) of the dishes although it was really hard. I did though take down notes of things I learnt. These included:
– Freezing fruit before adding to a sorbet or an ice-cream realises the natural sugars which means there is no need for added sugar.
– Freezing chilli distributes the heat through out and makes it easier to grate.
– 90% of a herbs flavour is in the stalk
– Eat and buy fish that is wild rather then farmed as farmed fish grow by consuming each others waste and don’t contain a lot of meat as they don’t have room to swim like wild fish do.
– A pinch = three fingers and a thumb.
– Dry noodles contain a plastic film which keeps them long life. Before cooking with them put them in boiling water and use thongs to separate. The film will come off and the noodles will not be glugy.
– Don’t wash mushrooms as they are to delicate.
– When cooking fish/ seafood make sure you only turn once to prevent it from going watery.
– Use icing sugar to tame the heat of chilli.
– For sticky use short grain rice add twice the boiling water

I learnt all of these new today which I found very resourceful for my future cooking. Especially the icing sugar in chilli, I can’t tolerate spice.

In the class we made a variety of dishes. I will post the ingredients and recipes as well as extra tips I remember.

Thai Fish Cakes

200g Chosen fish/ Prawns, (cooked and flaked/chopped)
60g Mayonnaise
1 Spring Onion, chopped
100g Breadcrumbs
1 Egg White, semi stiff

Mix all ingredients except the egg white and breadcrumbs together and form small balls or cakes.

Roll in the semi stiff egg white then place in breadcrumbs.

Fry in a little oil until golden. Remove to paper towel to remove extra oil.

Sweet Chilli Sauce

2 Chillies, frozen
200ml Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Oil

Grate the chillies and place in a saucepan with water, sugar and oil.

Bring to the boil and reduce by half.

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Vegetable Noodel Broth
500ml Vegetable/ Chicken Stock
1 Tsp Garlic Paste
2 Tsp Ginger, frozen and grated
1 Tsp Chilli, frozen and grated
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Juice and zest of 1 Lime and Lemon
1 Pack Dried Egg Noodles, soaked to remove wax
Shredded Vegetables – carrot, bok choy, snow peas, mushroom etc
Coriander and Shallots to season.

Chop/ slice all vegetables.

Place egg noodles in boiling water to remove wax film. (Noodles should be al dente).

Bring stock, garlic, ginger, chilli, fish sauce & soy sauce to the boil. Season to taste and add more flavours if desired (you should be able to taste each ingredient).

Add vegetables & noodles for two – five minutes.

Serve with a generous amount of coriander and shallots.

Season with lemon and lime juice.

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Whole Baked Sea Bass with a Thai Infused Sauce
Whole Sea Bass/ Fish of choice
400ml Coconut Milk
2 Tsp Chilli
2 Tsp Garlic Paste
2 Tsp Ginger, grated from frozen
1 Tsp Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Fish Sauce
1 Tsp Turmeric
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Place fish on a baking tray covered in foil and then baking paper.

Score both sides of a Fish and squeeze lemon in each section.

Mix together the coconut milk, chilli, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce & turmeric.

Pour half of the sauce over the fish.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Heat extra sauce in microwave a pour over fish and rice when serving.

Mango Rice

1 Onion, sliced
Basmati Rice (1 cup = 2 serves)
1 Mango
1/2 Cup Icing Sugar

Sweat the onion in a fry pan.

Add the rice to a saucepan adding same amount of water plus one cup. (e.g. 4 cups of rice, 5 cups of water)

Cover and put in oven on 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until water has all gone and rice is fluffy.

Meanwhile dice mango and place on a baking tray sprinkling with the icing sugar. Place in oven for the last 15 minutes (mango will caramelise).

Mango Sorbet/ Granita
2 Mangoes, cut into chunks
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water

Place mango in a food processor or blender and puree.

Place water and sugar in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved.

Add mango and heat.

Place on a lined baking tray and freeze until desired.