Autumn Warmer Carrot, Cumin & Lentil Soup

Hi everyone, this week I would like to share one of my favourite soup recipes for these Autumn evenings when it’s getting chilly. After a busy day in the Cookery School, there is nothing nicer than a hot steaming bowl of soup and some fresh baked bread from the oven.

I hope you all have a lovely Halloween and it won’t be long before we all start planning for Christmas and this week we are all so excited here in Ballyknocken as we launched our brand new website, we would really love to hear how you are finding it, we  hope that is is easy to navigate and you can book everything online now including those all important Christmas Gift Vouchers with ease and comfort.

If you have any problems at all please do call the lovely Sharon Kelly or Debbie Gartland in the office and they will be delighted to help you out. 0404 44627

Take care and hopefully see you at one of our cookery classes soon, the full Winter calendar is on the website

C

soup pic

Carrot, Cumin and Lentil Soup

Serves 4 -5

 

2 tbsp butter

5 medium carrots, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 potatoes, chopped

1tsp ground cumin or to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper and sugar (good pinch)

1.2l chicken stock

4 tbsp red lentils

50ml milk

Cream for garnishing

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped vegetables, cumin, salt, pepper and sugar. Cover with parchment paper to retain the steam and cover with saucepan lid.
  2. Leave to simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove lid, add the stock and simmer until the vegetables are soft.  Add the lentils and simmer for a further 6 minutes.
  3. Place the vegetables and liquid in a food processor and puree / blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and stir in the milk.
  4. Garnish with a swirl of cream and serve immediately.

 

 

Halloween is fast approaching… Creepy Spider Cupcakes

Hi all, I hope you are all well and enjoying all the beautiful colours of autumn. Here at Ballyknocken Cookery School we are getting very excited about our Head Chef Junior Chef Halloween special class. It is always a hit every year with grown ups and kids alike.  All the classes I teach here at the school are great, but the Head Chef  Junior Chef is always extra special to us.

To celebrate fast approaching Halloween this week in my recipe blog, I would like to share a firm favourite of mine that I worked on as Brand Ambassador for Whirlpool Ireland. This is a recipe that is great fun to make with the kids at this time of year. I hope you all enjoy the class and remember we still have some availability in the house for anyone who would like to take a well deserved break that weekend.

In other news, I am delighted to see the videos I worked on with my friends in Mummy Pages, go live this week on their amazing site. Be sure to keep an eye out on my Facebook and Twitter for all the links to recipes such as, Slow Roasted Pork, or a healthy alternative to Fish & Chips, Coconut Fish Goujons & Lime Wedges with Mushy Peas.

Finally, I really do hope you are all enjoying The Taste of Success, Tuesday nights on RTE1 at 8.30, I know I am loving every minute and excited for the winner announcement and just to end on a high note I was absolutely thrilled to find out that Lords and Ladles, the series I worked on this year with Paul Clarke and Derry Quinn has been nominated for an IFTA award. I may get red carpet ready and soon.

So have a fantastic weekend and I will speak to you all very soon.

Catherine

Spider Cupcakes

The children will love to make these and it will keep them busy for a good while, measuring, mixing and decorating. 

Creepy Spider Cupcakes

Makes 12 small cupcakes

 

For the cupcakes:

100g caster sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs, lightly beaten

100g self raising flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

4 tbsp milk

 

For the vanilla butter cream:

90g butter, softened

180g icing sugar

4 tbsp cocoa, sifted

2 tbsp milk

12 cupcake cases

Black licorice strings or wheels

24 “smarties” for eyes

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.

To make the cupcakes, cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the beaten eggs.

Fold in the flour, add the cocoa powder and carefully stir in the milk.

Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or when a skewer is inserted into the centre it should come out clean. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

To make the butter cream, cream the butter, icing sugar and cocoa together until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, spread the cupcakes or pipe the chocolate butter cream over the top.

To decorate, cut the licorice into 8 x 4cm equal lengths and place 4 on each side and place 2smarties for “eyes”.

 

Tip: Add 2 tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 tbsp of white chocolate drops into the cupcake mixture. 

Have

Catherine’s Chicken Pasta Bake

Hi Everybody

Great fun at Newstalk yesterday October 28th with Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue. Talking about all ways to keep the kids fed and entertained at Halloween.

Remember Halloween is just one day and when it comes to children’s diets it is not about what they do or eat on one day; it’s what they do every day of the year.

Teaching children how to cook is a fun way to change their attitude to food. Check out my calendar of cookery classes here http://www.thecookeryschool.ie/calender.php for details on our Head Chef Junior Chef classes, perfect for your budding little chef!

Here is my Chicken Pasta Bake recipe to help you fill those kiddies up before trick or treating and all that junk food ! For more recipes like this, my latest cookbook Bake Like An Italian has all you need!

Catherine’s Chicken Pasta Bake

Il pasticcio al pollo di Catherine / Serves 4 hungry adults or 6 children

I ask what would you like for dinner and the reply is chicken pasta bake all the time, so I hope that your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine. It’s so easy to whizz it up, especially during term time, when everything is very hectic.

extra virgin olive oil

400g penne

3 chicken fillets, poached and roughly diced or shredded

120g frozen peas

100g tinned or frozen sweetcorn

5 tbsp breadcrumbs

4 tbsp grated Parmesan

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the sauce:

75g butter

75g plain flour

1 litre milk

75g grated mature white Cheddar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease a medium gratin or lasagne dish with a little olive oil.

2 Cook the penne according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, retain 100ml of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

3 To make the sauce, combine the butter, flour and milk in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and just bring to the boil while whisking all the time to form a loose sauce.

Stir in the cheese and add some of the pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4 Place the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, peas and sweetcorn in a large bowl. Pour over the sauce and mix well. Spoon the pasta into the gratin dish and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden.

I add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard for a little extra zing, but I don’t tell the children!