recipes for healthy living

Tag: carrot

Carrot Soup with Star Anise served with Croque Monsieur Toasts


I got given out to recently for having hard to get ingredients in my recipes. Hands up straight away, there is star anise in this one, NOT a show stopper if you don’t have it but it really elevates the carrot soup from a nice everyday flavoured soup to something altogether more delicious. Not that I think it is terribly difficult to get but I do get that you might not just have it handy!. I have always given any recipe a go even when I didn’t have absolutely everything on this list. When I was young, I couldn’t wait for my mum and dad to go out as the kitchen became my domain, I’d take out her recipe book (An old General Electric book which came with the cooker) and decide what delights I was going to make. The upside was being able to offer a plate of delicious biscuits or cake when they arrived home, the downside was often trying to hid the fact that I had used all the eggs in some disaster now hidden at the bottom of the bin. Years later my mum told she she would often be out with my dad wondering (worring) what on earth I would be up to in the kitchen while she was out.

Carrot Soup with Star Anise provides delicious flavour but also immune boosting nutrients, anti viral and anti fungal healing properties.

Carrot Soup with Star Anise
Serves 5
3 tablespoons butter
1 large chopped onion
2 whole star anise,
1 large garlic clove, chopped and mashed
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 heaped tbsp chopped Coriander

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, star anise, bay leaves, and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and broth. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove and discard the star anise and blend the soup until very smooth; return to same pot.
Season well to taste and serve with Croque Monsieur Toasts
Perfect brought to work the next day too!

Croque Monsieur Toasts

Easy method – Pile thick slices of country bread high with grated gruyere, season well, sprinkle over a few dashes of worcester sauce and grill under a high heat until bubbly melting and deliciously gooey.

If you have the time and the inclination to make a bechamel based Croque Monsieur then read on!

Serves 4
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcester sauce
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 (¼”-thick) slices country bread, Gluten Free preferably lightly toasted
8oz. Gruyère cheese

Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
Whisk in flour and nutmeg and cook out for about 2 minutes.
Gently heat the milk then whisk in and work until smooth.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add the grated cheese and work until it has incorporated – continue to cook until it has thickened about 6 minutes.
Whisk in mustard,Worcester and season well.
Place 4 slices bread on a baking sheet. Thickly spread the cheese sauce over the bread and toast until the grill until the sauce is brown and bubbly – worth the effort as it is unbelievably yummy.

OO&L Cheese

Read here if you would like my list of store cupboard essentials which I think make the difference to everyday recipes.

Duxelle of Mixed Mushrooms Celeriac and Carrot

A Duxelle is a usually a finely chopped mixture of mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs sautéed in butter and or cream and then usually reduced to a paste – used most notably in Beef Wellington or as a garnish. Adapted slightly and not turned into a paste, this makes a delicious side dish working really well with a whole roast chicken. It also works perfectly as a stuffing for chicken breasts which I have done here as well as serving some on the side. This amount makes enough to fill 4 chicken breasts or 2 breasts and some over for a side dish. The flavours of mushroom and celeriac work really well together and I added a glug of madeira to the pan which also is the perfect partner for mushrooms. Topped with cream and really well seasoned, this tastes so good – even someone who thought they did not like celeriac, absolutely loved it.

4 carrots peeled and diced finely
About 30gr mixed mushrooms roughly chopped
2 slices from a big celeriac diced finely – make sure you roughly have the same amount as the carrot
A glug of madeira (say 30mls)
100ml cream
salt and pepper
2 small shallots finely chopped
1 big clove garlic peeled and crushed and mashed
20gr butter
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan and add the shallot and garlic and fry until softened.
Tip in the carrot and celeriac and toss to coat in the butter oil.
Season well and cook for about 5 minutes with a lid on to begin softening the vegetables.
Tip in the mushrooms and toss to coat and cook on a medium heat.
Turn up the heat momentarilly and then tip in the glug of madeira and let it burn the alcohol off then turn back to medium.
Add the cream and stir.
Cover until the veggies are cooked. Make sure you don’t boil the cream.
If you are using to stuff the chicken breasts then spread out on a plate to cool
When it is cool, make a pocket in the chicken fillets (free range), season them well and stuff with the mixture. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180C and then served on a bed of Celeria Mash (I knew the rest of it would come in handy) with the rest of the duxelle on the side.
ready to cook
Absolutely delicious, really easy, very tasty and a great way to liven up chicken.

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