BBV’s Garlic and Brie Soup with “I don’t know why i decided to do this” Flat Bread

Hello again, I hope you have all tried the cocktails but now its time to start feeding those hungry guests of yours.

Now usually i would class soup as a starter as a bit of a cop out but its the damn holidays and I don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen whilst everyone else is having a wonderful time, drinking all the booze. This quick, easy but flavourful soup will be a hit with both the carnivores and veggies at the dinner table and looks deceptively like you have spent hours making it (my tip, make it the night before and warm it up). If you really hate yourself I will also tell you how to make quick, flat bread to serve alongside.

Roasted Garlic and Brie Soup

  • 2 heads of roasted garlic (put he heads in the baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast on a low heat for about an hour till all gooey)
  • 200g Brie, rind removed and chopped (or less – I recommend adding a bit at a time to taste)
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp cup flour
  • 1.5 ltrs chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano)
  • optional: fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion and carrot and saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly until the vegetables have softened.

Add flour and stir for another minute to combine. Then add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring often.

Carefully squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the heads (then spend the rest of the day sniffing your fingers), and place them in the food processor (or blender). Add in one cup soup mixture and process until smooth. Return processed mixture to pot and add in the thyme and oregano. Bring to a simmer.

Add cheese and stir slowly until melted. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper (or a tiny dash of white pepper), and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley if you’d like.

Flat bread for dipping

For the basic dough:

  • 500g Strong, white bread flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 10g Of instant yeast
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 300mls Warm water

Method

Put the flour in a large, warm mixing bowl and add the salt and the dried yeast. Add the butter and most of the water, then mix with your hands to bring the mixture together. Gradually add the remaining water until all the flour is mixed in.

Put the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 5-10 minutes. When the dough feels smooth and silky, place it back in the mixing bowl, cover it with a warm tea towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for at least an hour until the dough has doubled in size. Tip the dough on to a floured surface, fold repeatedly until all the air is knocked out of it, then tear it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then roll out to the desired size (i’m told about 16″ long is a good diameter).

Put the baking sheet of flat breads in a warm place 10-15 minutes. Warm a heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat. Rub very lightly with a little olive oil then place two or three flat breads into the pan and cook them for 3-4 minutes. Once they have started to darken here and there, turn them over and cook the other side.

Of course if you can’t be bothered, crusty bread rolls are just as good!

BBV

Nigel Slater's aubergine and feta flatbreads

Nigel Slaters flat bread

BBV’s Scarlett Miss Charlotte cocktail

Apparently it’s Christmas time which everyone knows is about eating good food, drinking good booze and pretending we like our fellow wo/man. Over the next few weeks I will be picking some of my favorite dishes to serve on the grand day itself starting off with one of my favorite cocktails.

I first tried this cocktail on a night out when i first moved to Bristol and have been obsessed with it ever since. It’s not the easiest to find the ingredients for but well worth tracking down if you can. Otherwise you can prepare for the holidays and make everything in advance…yeah it’s all about the homemade flavoured vodka! I also named my stage name after this drink so it is a little close to my liquored up heart.

Don’t get thinking this is only for Christmas! This refreshing, sweet yet fresh drink is perfect for summer BBQ’s especially when you track down some super fresh raspberries!

The Scarlett Miss Charlotte

Ingredients

  • 3 fluid ounces raspberry vodka (If you can’t find it make your own, recipe found here http://www.rosalilium.com/2011/10/diy-how-to-make-raspberry-vodka/)
  • 25 ml raspberry Schnapps (techinee) or use grenadine if you can’t find it
  • 3 fluid ounces raspberry puree (Again you make this yourself buy cooking down and straining a bunch of raspberries)
  • 2 limes, squeezed
  • soda water, to top up
  • garnish with lime wedge

How to make;

  1. half fill a 14 oz glass with ice and pour over vodka, schnapps and squeeze in lime juice and raspberry puree.
  2. if using a tumbler put the larger half of the cocktail shaker on the top of the glass tumbler hold tight and shake until their is condensation on outside of the cocktail shaker.
  3. tap cocktail shaker gently on a surface to release glass and pour from cocktail shaker back into tumbler.
  4. top up with soda water and garnish with whole lime.

It’s that easy!

It should look a little something like this…

Finally, BBV’s baked eggs

image

Sorry for the delay in posting, i am currently between houses and this is the first chance i have had to sit down and type anything…mostly because i have been sent home from work, sick.

Anyway I won’t gross you all out with tales of my leaking face and terrible cough and tell you about dem dere eggs. Feast your eyes on one of the most simple yet impressive brunches you could make for guests or, if you are like me, just for yourself because I don’t play well with other children…

You will need;
Eggs
Garlic
Tom paste
Tinned toms
Chopped chillies
Chopped ham or chorzio
Paprika
Seasoning
Fresh, crusty bread
Butter
Olive oil
Ramekins

– In a saucepan very, very gently fry the chopped garlic, if you burn it start again because it will taste bitter and awful.
– Add in the tomato paste and let it cook out gently. You should always let tomato paste cook out else it too will taste bad
– Add the meat if you are using and coat in the garlic and tomato, add the chili if you are using then pour in the tinned tomatoes and season.
– Let this reduce down for a few minutes, i like my sauce quite thick, you might decide you like it a bit thinner, its all about taste.
– Once at your desired constancy pour the sauce into the ramekin/s (i can eat one tins worth of this for brunch, you may be less of a porker or more!) and then crack your eggs on top of the sauce and scatter some paprika on top.
– Bake at 180c for about 10/15 mins, keep checking to make sure you haven’t roasted the eggs into oblivion.
– Serve with a metric ton of warm, crusty, buttery bread for dipping, a pot of coffee and the latest episode of Sunday Brunch on the telly.

BBV out!

BBV’s Badass Falafal Burgers And Kickass Cajun Wedges

So…winters coming which is when we are all looking for comfort food to make us feel a bit better.

The magic of this recipe is that it can be as quick or as involved as you like. I am not going to judge you for using falafel mix from a packet and cajun spice from a jar. In fact i do the same thing! I will however be going down the long winded route in todays post, just in case you fancy a midweek challenge.

This is also, obviously, a veggie option and works as leftovers for lunch too, even cold!

So to start, make up your Cajun seasoning, I use the following quantities and keep them in a small mason jar in the fridge to use as and when. Most of these things you should already have in the cupboard but if not your local supermarket should have them. Even better, if you are lucky enough to live near a whole food or health shop like i do, you can weigh your own spices and dried herbs and they cost a fraction of the price!

So;

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper (or 2 use tablespoons black pepper)
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 4 -5 tablespoons sea salt

Mix that all up and use as and when you need (great on chicken, rice, potatoes, in soup etc)

Then you want to make your falafel. Into a food processor throw in;

  • 400g can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
  • 2 Garlic cloves chopped
  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp plain flour

Once blended form into patties and leave to rest.

Next you want to chop up some potatoes into wedges and par boil them for 10 minutes, leave the skins on because they are yummy! Whilst they are boiling, turn the oven up to 200c and pop a tray with a drizzle of olive oil in there to heat up.

Drain the wedges, put in your seasoning (2 tablespoons worth or so) and shake them up vigorously. Chuck them in the pan and go back to knitting the hat I blogged last week for twenty minutes.

Chop some onion and then get a pan warmed up on the hob with a little more oil. Put in your burgers and the onions and start to fry. Keep an eye on it as the falafel can catch and burn.

Flip once the burgers have formed a tasty crust and keep those onions moving. Don’t forget to shake up those wedges to make sure they get nice and crispy!

Slice up your buns or pitta if you are having them and go to town on that bad boy with condiments! My personal weakness is sweet chilli hummus and grated carrot. But you could have salad, garlic mayo, sweet chilli sauce, peppers, salsa…anything!

Assemble your plate and volia! Nomtastic, good for the waist line and cheap to boot!

How to knit a simple hat

Hello again and welcome along. A fab way to look great, save money and learn a skill is to get those knitting needles out. They are super cheap to buy from Ebay or ask a relative if you can have some of theirs. Once you have learned to knit and purl you can make scarves until the cows come home but eventually, you are going to get bored.

A great place to start

So here is a simple pattern to knit your very own hat, they make fab gifts as well if Christmas is going to be  a tight one and once you get into it, you should be able to knock one out in a few days. This pattern is for people that can cast on and off and can knit and purl. The hat can be as deep or as shallow as you like, i like my hats like hipster beanies, lots of extra room!

Materials Needed:

  • 3 oz of 4 ply wool in any color
  • #8 or #9 Knitting needles
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors

Abbreviations for this project:
Stitch = st
Stitches = sts
Stockinette/Stocking Stitch = St st
Knit 3 stitches together = k3tog
Ribbing of knit 1, purl 1 = 1 x 1 rib

Instructions for knitting your hat:

  • Cast on 86 sts to your knitting needle.
  • Work in 1 x 1 rib until your work measures 1 inch long.
  • Row 1. Knit 86 sts.
  • Row 2. Purl 86 sts.
  • Carry on with this until your hat reaches the size you want and finish on a purl
  • To shape the top of the hat;
  • Row 1. *Knit 3 sts., then k3tog, (To do this, simply do a knit stitch but instead of sliding your right needle under only one of the stitches on the left needle, slide the right needle through three stitches and knit them all together as you would have done with the one.)right to the end.
  • Row 2. Purl as normal
  • Keep decreasing your stitches by knitting 3 and purling as normal till you reach the last 3 stitches (or the smallest amount you are left with, your stitches might be a bit out)

Finishing your Hat:

  • Measure about 15 inches of yarn from your last stitch and cut yarn.
  • Thread the large yarn needle with the yarn end.
  • Pull the knitting needle out of the last 3 stitches.
  • Send the yarn needle through the 3 stitch loops.
  • Pull the yarn until you can no longer pull and the last stitch loops disappear into what makes the top of the hat.
  • Fold the hat, right sides together and bottom edges even.
  • Start sewing the hat edges together with the same needle and yarn from the top of the hat down to the bottom edge.
  • Tie a secure knot when you reach the bottom edge.
  • Turn the hat right side out.

Done!

Here is my finished product

You might notice the band near the top, that is where i got my knits and purls mixed up, but you wouldn’t know it was a mistake to look at it. Give the hat a go with different colours and patterns.
BBV out.

BBV’s sweet potato, winter warmer, soup.

 

So the best way to keep costs down but still have filling and tasty food is learn how to make a few decent soups. It freezes, it tastes great and it is the perfect excuse to have some thick slices of fresh bread and butter. I am trying to only have meat once a day to save costs so again soup is fantastic for getting all your vitamins and five a day without spending a fortune (though I will be posting recipes for meaty soups in the future because we all like a choice!).However the danger is you start replacing meat with cheese…at least that is the danger I am finding. Destined to be a chubby vivante forever!

My sweet potato soup has a good kick of chilli which can be omitted for the more fragile of you and remember, if you get your veggies locally at the green grocers you will save a fortune. Not only is it cheaper, you don’t have to throw away tons of crappy plastic packaging. Though do remember to take bags with decent handles with you else you are guaranteed an embarrassing bag splitting accident on the way home.

BBV’s sweet potato soup (makes enough for about 4 people or a weeks worth of lunches)

Ingredients;

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • As much chilli as you like, i used half a hot one
  • Red pepper
  • Stock – veggie or chicken is fine, depends how meat free you feel
  • Cumin seeds
  • Ground coriander
  • Tomato paste
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

Method

  • Put olive oil into a large pan and allow to warm on a lowish heat
  • Slice the onion and add to the pan, we only want to sweat these not fry so keep an eye on them and reduce the heat if they don’t behave
  • Chop the garlic and add, again you don’t want to burn the garlic because it will taste bitter and horrid
  • Once the onion starts to go translucent (science speak for see through) add the chopped chilli and red pepper and cook through
  • Whilst the base ingredients are doing their thing peel your sweet potatoes and chop into chunks
  • Add the potatoes to the mix and start cooking, then add your cumin, coriander, salt and lots of black pepper
  • Squeeze some tomato paste into a lump at the bottom of the pan, it is so important to let the paste cook out else it doesn’t taste too good. Stir it all in and add your stock.
  • You want enough liquid to just cover the veg (you can add more later for your idea soup consistency) and turn up the heat to get it boiling. Once boiling turn down the heat to a simmer and leave for at least 10 mins.
  • Once everything is soft transfer the mixture either to a blender or use a handheld job and blend till smooth. If you think the soup is too thick then add some more water but be careful, you can always add more liquid, taking it out again is going to require more cooking.
  • Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or similar or, if you are like me, some warm bread and far too much butter
  • Enjoy!
This is about what your finished product should look like

By the way the photo is a stock photo as I am sans camera and my phone has decided that when i use the flash it should promptly turn itself off. Hopefully will be sorting some sort of picture taking equipment soon.

BBV

Hello and welcome along!

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog

It hit me the other day that my life is a walking contradiction. I work a boring office job, get paid pittance and live in a bedsit in a rather gentrified area of town. On the other hand I am a massive foodie, love the finer things in life and have learned over the years to  live well on a shoe string, never dropping the middle class mask I have embraced and learned to love as I’ve got older. I am hoping you will find my recipes, reviews, social ramblings and tips for living far too well in relation to your bank balance as entertaining as i find writing them.

I am hoping to update with my first post of interest this week and have a wonderful chocolate cake planned for the weekend so watch this space!

Bedsit Bonne Vivante