Pirate soup

This soup is hot, so I hope you can all cope you bunch of landlubbers. Ever dreamed of being a pirate, sailing round the Caribbean sitting in a hammock under a blue sky sun beating down on you all around you can hear the crying of macaws ahh lovely . This soup has all the elements from roasted red peppers for warmth, sweet potatoes for silky velvety texture, roasted chilli for a fiery kick, coconuts to calm it down and lime to add a bit of zing. I want to hear tales of you behaving like a pirate and drinking rum after you have eaten this soup.


Vegetable stock

4 sweet potato,

3 red pepper

tin coconut milk

fresh chilli,



fresh coriander


Roast the peppers and chilli until blackened. Heat a little oil in a pan and add onion and sweet potatoes cook for 15 mins . Peel and deseed the chilli and peppers and add to the vegetables . Add the coconut milk and 500ml of vegetable stock , cook for ten minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and lime juice

Health benefits

Chilli contains natural pain relief, it lowers cholesterol and clears congestion by stimulating secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs. (which is why you should have a curry if you have a cold) In addition Chilli peppers’ bright red colour signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. The anti-infection vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defence against invading pathogens. And finally chillies help you lose weight – All that heat you feel after eating hot chilli peppers takes energy–and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.

Sweet Potatoes are orange which means they contain beta carotene or pro-vitamin A which as I have just said is the anti infection vitamin so no more colds or flu.

Did You know…Pirate joke

Q – What does a pirate take for indigestion?

A – Yo ho ho and a bottle of Tums!


Filed under food, healthy, Homemade, recipe, soup, Uncategorized, vegetarian

Carrot and Cardamom soup

Inspired by the cooking of southern India. Carrots are gently infused with cardamom and fresh curry leaves. It is a fragrant soup and quite delicate in taste – Enjoy


Onion diced

1 kg carrots diced

1 stick of celery

25g butter

4 green cardamom pods

4 stalks of curry leaves fresh

2 litres of stock

Olive oil


Melt butter and oil in a pan and add carrots onion and celery, sweat for 15 mins with the lid on until all is soft and fragrant. Heat the cardamom pods in a dry frying pan for two mins. Split the pods open and add the seeds to the carrots with the stock and the curry leaves. Simmer for 30 minutes and blend until smooth. Just prior to serving add a knob of butter and season to taste.

Health benefits

Cardamom is a fantastic ingredient as it helps detoxify the body of all that caffeine you drink to keep you stimulated. It is also a key ingredient in love potions so watch out who you look at whilst eating your soup or you might fall in love with them!

Carrots are incredibly rich in vitamin A which is important in maintaining healthy skin and helps the body to resist infection – no more days off sick

Did You know…

The French court of Louis XI subsisted mainly on soup because they believed that chewing would cause them to develop facial wrinkles

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CD lunch box

Get an old cd disk tower and reuse it as a bagel holder. It even locks shut. What better way than this to transport your favourite bagel to work.

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Tomato, lentil and caraway soup

Born from the Kasbahs of Turkey. Smokey, mysterious and beautiful with the ability to take your breath away.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove chopped
1 green pepper diced
1 onion diced
1 dried red chilli
1 tsp caraway seeds
500g passata
tin of plum tomatoes
salt and pepper
500cl vegetable stock


Heat the oil and add the chopped garlic, the caraway seeds and crumble the dried chilli, heat till fragrant.  Add the onion and green pepper and cook for 10 mins or until till soft .  Add the tin of tomatoes and the lentils stir for 2 mins.  Add the passata and the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 40 mins. To serve, you could add some grated cheese or/and some finely chopped fresh parsley

Health benefits
Lentils are so good for keeping you full for a long time as well as cleaning out your insides with all that fibre.

Canned tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant and has cancer-preventing properties, these cancers now include colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. Prevention of heart disease has been shown to be another antioxidant role played by lycopene.

Did You know…
In one of the short stories in Dubliners by James Joyce, a character eats caraway seeds to mask the alcohol on his breath.

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season and spice

Trialing the season and spice monthly box selection. This month got elderflower heads, long pepper to make strawberries with elderflower and pepper cream. Saffron, rouille mix, soup mix to make a bouillabaisse and some cajun powder for bbq’s.

Strawberry with elderflower and long pepper was amazing will make again and turn into ice cream I think.  Bouillabaisse was a triumph though would adapt recipe a bit in future (one niggle this is a seasonal recipe and it tells you to put mussels in which are out of season – remember only buy mussels in a month with an R in it).

I used the cajun powder on a chicken which I roasted – similar to what I normally put onto my chicken fennel, cayenne, salt, pepper and thyme.

I love getting a monthly selection – it makes me cook things I wouldn’t normally cook which is always a good thing, I get to try out new spices and understand how they work and the recipes are very simple.  looking forward to next months selection.

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Smoked salt

Latest supermarket strange reduction maldon smoked salt – normally £1.99 for a little box reduced to 49p – have a look in sainsbury’s maybe they are discontinuing or changing the packaging. Well I had to get some.

So far have added it to my spicy north African prawn dish, some cajun pork and a courgette soup. It smells great,  like a bbq on a beach would smell salty and smokey – no idea if it is having much effect on the food, life is too short to cook the dish twice one with smoked salt one without! bet it is lovely on its own with some unsalted butter and fresh bread though – yum

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A long relationship with a bar

It all started with a skinny little bar called North Bar. Leeds had no decent bars back in the day ( pubs yes, but not bars) North was one of the first to open (alongside arts, oporto and Normans). It sold interesting beer but also a great gin and tonic – this was the dark days when gin and tonics came in wine glasses with an ice cube and a slice of lemon from a jar. North was my first experience in Leeds, of lots of ice and a squeeze of fresh lime. We would all pile in – they would do table service (this was a shocking level of service, they even let you set up a tab!!). But as I got older North got busier and louder – I needed somewhere quieter to sip wine and maybe have some food with friends.

Ahh lovely North bar opened a sister bar down the road called the Reliance in 2001. Here my relationship developed from casual lover to committed relationship. Just four months after Reliance opened we got married there (me and my husband, not me and the bar). Joss (owner manager) had never done a wedding at Reliance (we had never got married) but between us we managed to get a band (thanks to the bargirls boyfriend – she said they were good I believed her and they were) get a cake (thanks to the frustrated chef who always wanted a chance to do some fancy spun sugar work) and order in crisp white linen and silver cutlery (thanks Joss)

The pub was closed to the public, the florist and the chief usher (Mark now creative director for World Events) worked all day decorating the bar with flowers  (using vegetables as flower containers)help move furniture, lay tables. As it was October, the food needed to be hearty and welcoming. We chose sausages – five different types plus two vegetarian and three different types of mash all with gravy. How were we to know that come the wedding day the temperature was 25c instead of the expected 14c.

Thank God we had opted for Tapas and cava for the evening guests. The day was wonderful (might be biased) the staff were lovely and we all had a great day. As a wedding present the bar gave us the cctv footage of the evening – hmm bit like being in the big brother house.

The Reliance continued being a favourite bar – we always had birthdays and anniversaries there.

Then they opened another bar Cross keys, this is the sophisticated business sibling. All grown up gastropub with fabulous interior. This is the perfect work meeting spot, after work drinks, or Sunday lunch. It is in the Round Foundry a complex made up of architects, design agencies, new media agencies (and another brilliant bar Midnight Bell) . Have taken mum to Cross Keys on Mother’s Day where she got a free glass of Champagne ( how sweet).

It doesn’t stop there last year the latest family member, little sister Further North  was opened- which is on my doorstep in Chapel Allerton, it is tiny has great olives and means I don’t have to pay for a taxi to get there or back! I love North bar and all the rest of the clan.

Now I want them to open somewhere with a lovely big beer garden. Will take some photos this weekend and post them up.

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