Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

I love soup season. This soup, with it’s seasonal veg, warms my very soul. ‘It is absolutely yum’ (the Master of Mischief, age 4) and when served up with warm and buttery crusty bread it is always a hit with the kiddies. Even my husband (Mr ‘I’m not bloody eating that’ gave it a thumbs up) Enjoy!

You Will Need

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (I prefer to use 1 tbsp of garlic granules)

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp tomato puree

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and diced

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

600ml chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you want, I prefer to use chicken)

1 can coconut milk

Chilli flakes to garnish, if preferred

Method

Over a medium heat, start by cooking the onion for 1-2 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and oregano and continue to fry for a few seconds while stirring.

Add the tomato puree, butternut squash and sweet potato chunks and fry for a further 2 minutes.

After this, add the stock and bring the whole pot to the boil.

Reduce to a medium heat and simmer until the butternut squash and sweet potato are cooked. (I usually give it 30 minutes; you may wish to leave it longer or less depending on the size of your chunks)

I also like to give it a stir halfway through.

Once the squash and sweet potato are cooked, add the coconut milk and simmer again for a few minutes.

Using a hand blender (or food processor) whizz the soup until smooth.

Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a side of warm crusty bread.

Other Ideas

I love the flavours of this soup. I serve it with a sprinkle of chilli flakes to add a dash of heat, but not too much, as I usually serve it up for the kids. If you wanted to add extra kick you could add a deseeded and chopped red chilli at the same time you add the garlic and herbs. If you’re really brave, bung a second one in there.

If you want to bulk up the soup and add some extra hidden veggies (its all getting blended so why not eh?) you could add things such as mushrooms, peppers, carrots and celery with the onions to create a veggie base for the soup.

Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark

This recipe is the epitome of fake baking. With very few ingredients, zero cooking time and a vast variety of flavours, this is everything a busy parent needs in order to trick their children into thinking they are baking, without doing any actual baking! An extra bonus with this delectable treat is that the end product is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect for a night-time naughty or an afternoon delight.

These quantities are for white chocolate and sprinkle bark and a mint chocolate bark. See the other ideas section at the bottom of the page for a variety of other flavours.

White Chocolate Sprinkle Bark

You will need:

4 100g bars white chocolate (I used the 30p bars from Morrisons simply because they were cheap, whether you choose to use branded or baking chocolate is a choice I will leave up to you)

Sprinkles of your choosing (for this recipe I used mermaid sprinkles)

Method

Break the chocolate into a large bowl and melt. I usually melt my chocolate in a heat proof dish over a pan of boiling water. You may choose to microwave your chocolate. If you do decide to microwave, I would recommend 30 seconds to start then stir and continue to microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between and repeating until the chocolate is smooth.

Pour the melted chocolate onto a sheet of parchment or baking paper and spread evenly until you have a thick layer of chocolate.

Add your sprinkles

Allow to cool slightly and then leave in the fridge until set.

Once all the chocolate has set, roughly chop into shards.

Mint Chocolate Bark

You will need:

4 100g bars of milk chocolate (as before, I use the cheap stuff, you can use whichever brand or make of chocolate you prefer)

½ tsp peppermint extract

1 pack mint aero bubbles (a bar of mint aero of other variety of mint bubble chocolate will also work)

1 pack after eight minis

Method

Break the chocolate into a large bowl and melt. I usually melt my chocolate in a heat proof dish over a pan of boiling water. You may choose to microwave your chocolate. If you do decide to microwave, I would recommend 30 seconds to start then stir and continue to microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between and repeating until the chocolate is smooth.

Once the chocolate has melted, add the peppermint extract and stir well.

Pour the melted mint chocolate onto a sheet of parchment or baking paper and spread evenly until you have a thick layer of chocolate.

Smash the aero bubbles until they are a mixture of small chunks and minty dust.

Sprinkle the smashed aero bubble chocolate over the melted chocolate, add as many after eight minis to the top as you want.

Allow to cool slightly and then leave in the fridge until set.

Once all the chocolate has set, roughly chop into shards.

Other Ideas

So. Many. Options!

You can literally top your bark with anything. The options are endless. Below are my top 5 ideas to vary your chocolate bark flavours.

  1. Salted Caramel: for this flavour I use milk chocolate and add small fudge chunks and crushed up pretzels. The salt and the sweet are a heavenly combination.
  2. White chocolate and strawberry mallow: for this I use white chocolate, chopped dried strawberries and mini marshmallows.
  3. Candy Cane: this is great for Christmas! It works well with white or milk chocolate. Add ½ tsp of peppermint to the chocolate after melting and top with crushed up candy canes. So yummy!
  4. Mini Eggs: for this I use a white chocolate and crushed up mini eggs. The pastel colours of the eggs and the white chocolate look really pretty together.
  5. Rainbow Bark: you can do this a couple of ways. Firstly, you could buy coloured chocolate, melt and swirl together to make a mix of colours and then sprinkle the top with skittles or smarties. Another way to do it if you don’t want to use coloured chocolate (it can be expensive), or if you can’t find it (where I live, you’ve more chance of finding rocking horse shit) is to use plain white chocolate and cover it with as many colourful sweets and sprinkles as you can find. You can either lay the sweets on top in rainbow colour order or you can bung them altogether and create a colourful feast for the eyes.

There are probably a million more variations, these are just my top 5. Let me know in the comments what flavours you decide to do.

Happy Faking!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Soup

This is a soup-er dish to make. It is easy to do and is packed with hidden veggies which is great for the kids. We served ours at tea time with a big salad and homemade crusty bread. We had the leftovers for lunch the next day. This dish is definitely a household favourite!

You Will Need

4 red peppers (halved and de-seeded)

1 white onion

2 sticks celery

2 carrots

1 courgette

450ml vegetable stock

2tbsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic granules

½ pack goats cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Rub the chopped and de-seeded peppers with the olive oil and roast in the oven on a medium heat for 30 minutes (or until they are tender)

Dice the onion, celery carrot and courgette and in a large pan lightly fry all of the chopped vegetables with the garlic.

Once the veg is softening add the vegetable stock and simmer.

Remove the peppers from the oven and add to the pan, stirring well.

Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and using a hand blender, blend the soup until it is smooth.

Add the goats cheese and stir well (until the cheese is mixed through)

Return the soup to a low heat and simmer until it reaches a suitable eating temperature. Make sure not to boil the soup.

Season to taste and serve.

Other Ideas

If you don’t want to include the cheese, try adding some tomato puree to the soup for extra flavour.

If you don’t have a hand blended, simply allow to cool slightly and add to a smoothie maker or large blender to whizz into a soup. Return to the pan after and heat to a suitable temperature.

Soup is a great way to sneak extra veggies into your child’s diet without them ever knowing. Add as much or as little as you want to your soup base. If you feel you are veering into veg soup territory, increase your pepper count accordingly to balance the mix and keep your pepper flavours nice and strong.