Leek fritters

IMG_0038 (1) - Edited (1)Now. It’s been quite some time since I posted, so I figured I needed a pretty decent recipe for my comeback. This one evolved when I received a veg box with an enormous leek, and frankly, was at a loss as to what I could make. This grew from a lovely recipe of Ottolenghi’s and has got me buying leeks of my own accord now!

 

What you’ll need

For the fritters:
30g olive oil
1 large leek, chopped in 2cm chunks (220g prepared weight)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
10g flat-leaf parsley or coriander (leaves and fine stems), chopped
½ tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 egg, separated
80g plain (/all purpose) flour
1 tbsp baking powder
100ml milk
35g butter, melted

For the sauce (optional):
100g greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
15g flat-leaf parsley or coriander (/cilantro) leaves, chopped

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What to do

In a large frying pan, heat 15g of olive oil and saute the leek and onion until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the chilli, parsley/coriander, spices, sugar and salt, and set aside.

In a new bowl (and using a hand mixer if you have one), beat the egg white until firm peaks form (somewhere between soft and stiff). Gently fold into the leek mixture.

In a third bowl (or your empty second one), combine the flour, baking soda, milk, melted butter and egg yolk, and whisk (or use your hand mixer) until you have a smooth mixture. Gently stir into your leek mixture, and you’re ready to get fritter-ing!

Heating the remaining olive oil in your pan, fry the fritters on low-medium for 5 minutes on each side. I fried three at a time and got 11 out of the batch – enough for dinner and lunch for two people.

While they’re frying, whip up the sauce (or alternatively some greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice will do nicely as well). Pop the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and parsley/coriander in a food processor (or blender) and blend until you have a green-ish sauce. Transfer to a small bowl to serve.

And… enjoy!

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Soup-er food

IMG_1642December is one month that wouldn’t be complete without a little overindulgence, and by the time January rolls around I usually find I’ve taken the festive merrymaking just slightly too far. That said, there’s something I quite like about re-setting in January, and my rebound from overindulgence usually brings about new cravings for fruit, vegetables, and generally-speaking healthier foods.

This year soup seemed like the perfect antidote to turkey and stuffing, and with a brand new cookbook gracing my bookshelf (Sunday Soup (Chronicle Books 2008) – a splendid Christmas gift from my sister), I was eager to test out a new recipe. Betty Rosbottom‘s recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream is fresh yet hearty, and makes for a completely satisfying meal on a cold winter evening.

What you’ll need:

IMG_1630For the soup
5 tbsp/75g unsalted butter
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash (I used 1 large one)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (I used 3 medium leeks)
1/2 cup (that’s a 125mL cup full) coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup (that’s a 125mL cup full) coarsely chopped celery
IMG_16322 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped, plus an extra for garnish
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
5 (1250mL) cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups (375mL) apple cider (that’s cloudy apple juice for the Brits)
salt

For the apple cider cream
2/3 cup (165 mL) sour cream
5 bacon slices, sauteed until crisp, drained and crumbled

Note:
I doubled the recipe, so don’t worry if there looks to be rather a lot of some ingredients in the photos…

IMG_1636What to do:
The thing that takes the most time when it comes to making this soup is the prep. Butternut squash is always an underestimated nemesis, so once you’ve finished chopping, slicing and dicing, take comfort in the fact that the hard work is over.

For the soup
Begin by melting the butter in a large heavy bottomed pan (this pan will need to be large enough to hold all of your ingredients). Add the butternut squash, leeks, carrots and celery, IMG_1637and sautée over medium heat for 10-12 miuntes until they begin to soften. Add the apples, thyme, sage, chicken stock and 1 cup of the apple juice. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until all of the vegetables are tender), then remove from the heat.

For the cider cream, boil the remaining 1/2 cup of cloudy apple juice and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (this will take 5-10 minutes). Cool then stir into the sour cream.

IMG_1641After this, purée the soup in a food processor (this will require a number of small batches) and season the puréed mixture to taste with salt. If necessary, you may wish to reheat the soup in your saucepan, however ours was toasty enough without.

When it comes to presentation, I love how easy it is to make this soup look gourmet. Fill your bowls with soup, drizzle each serving with apple cider cream, sprinkle with bacon and garnish with a few razor-thin slices of apple.

IMG_1644Bon appétit you chef extraordinaire!