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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Topped with saffron cream, this soup is wonderful on a chilly day.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

50g/2oz/4 tbsp butter

1 onion,

Chopped 450g/1 lb Jerusalem artichokes,

Peeled and cut into chunks

900ml/1 ½ pints/3 ¾ cups hot chicken stock

150ml/ ¼ pint/ 2/3 cups milk

150l/ ¼ pint/ 2/3 cup double cream

Good pinch of saffron powder

Salt and ground black paper

Snipped fresh chives, to garnish

1 Place the butter and onion in a large microwave proof bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, until soft, stirring once.

2 Add the artichokes to the bowl and stir to coat them in the butter. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Pour in the stock and milk, then cover and microwave on HIGH for 5-8 minutes, stirring once. Cool slightly, then processor until smooth.

3 Strain the soup back into the bowl. Add half the cream, season to taste, and microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes to reheat. Lightly whip the reaming cream with the saffron powder. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and put a spoonful of saffron cream in the center of each. Scatter over the snipped chives and serve at once.

Italian Fish Soup

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced a few saffron threads 5ml/1 tsp dried thyme large pinch of cayenne paper 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2x400g/14oz cans peeled tomatoes,  drained and chopped 175ml/6fl oz/ ¾  cup dry white wine 1.85 liters/3 ½  pints/8 cups hot fish stock  350g/12oz white, skinless fish fillets, cut into pieces 450g/1lb monkfish, membrane removed, cut into pieces  450g/1lb mussels in the shell, thoroughly scrubbed 225g/8oz small squid, cleaned and cut into rings 30ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley salt and ground black paper thickly sliced bread, to serve

1 Place the oil in a large microwave proof bowl. Stir in the onion, saffron, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.

2 Stir in the tomatoes, white wine and fish stock. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time

Curried Parsnip Soup

The spices impart a delicious, mild curry flavour to sweet parsnips.

Serves 4

25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove,

Crushed 1 onion,

Chopped 5ml/1 tbsp ground cumin

5ml/1 tbsp ground coriander

450g/1 tbsp parsnips, (about4) sliced

10ml/2 tbsp medium curry paste

450ml/ ¾ pint/1 7/8 cups hot chicken stock

450ml/ ¾ pint/1 7/8 cups milk

60ml/4 tbsp soured cream

Squeeze of lemon juice

Salt and ground black paper chopped fresh coriander, to garnish garlic and coriander naaan bread, to serve

1 Place the butter in a large microwaveproof bowl with the garlic and onion. Cover the bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices and microwave on HIGH for a further 1 minute.

2 Add the parsnips and stir until well coated with butter. Then stir in the curry paste, followed by the stock. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, until the parsnips are tender.

3 Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the soup to the bowl and stir in the milk. Microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, then add 30ml/2 tbsp of the soured cream, the lemon juce and seasoning to taste.

4 Stir the fresh coriander into the remaining soured cream and use to top each portion of soup. Serve with naan bread.

Coconut Salmon

This is an ideal dish to serve at dinner parties

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

10ml/ 2 tsp ground cumin

10ml/2 tsp chilli power

2.5 ml/ ½ tsp ground turmeric

30ml/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1.5 ml/ ¼ tsp salt

4 salmon steaks, about 175g/ 6 oz each

45ml/ 3 tbsp oil

1 onion, chopped

2 green chillies, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2.5 cm/ 1 in piece fresh root ginger, grated

5ml/1 tsp ground coriander

175 ml/ 6 fl oz/ ¾ cup coconut milk

Spring onion rice, to serve

Fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish

1 Mix 5ml/ 1tsp of the ground cumin with the chilli power, turmeric, vinegar and salt. Rub this spice paste over the salmon steaks and leave to marinate for about 15 minutes.

2 Place the oil in a large, deep microwave proof dish. Add the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring halfway though cooking. Process this cooked mixture to a paste in a food processor or blender.

3 Return the paste to the dish. Stir in the remaining cumin, the ground coriander and coconut milk. Microwave on HIGH for 2 -2 ½ minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

4 Add the salmon steaks, cover and microwave on MEDIUM for 9-10 minutes, rearranging halfway through cooking, until the fish is cooking. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with coriander. Serve rice flavoured with spring onions with the salmon.

COOK’S TIP

To make coconut milk, dissolve grated creamed coconut in boiling water and strain it into a jug, if necessary.