Tomato Soup (Jamie Oliver)

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

olive oil

2-14 oz cans of plum tomatoes

6 large ripe tomatoes

small bunch of fresh basil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all of your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is slightly golden. Add the boiling broth to the pan with your canned and fresh whole tomatoes, including the green stalks that may still be attached to some of them. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Meanwhile pick your basil leaves.

Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the basil leaves. Using an immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth. Season again before dividing between your serving bowls.


Pea and Mint Soup (Jamie Oliver)

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

olive oil

5 1/2 cups frozen peas

small bunch of fresh mint

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional: 3/4 cooked ham

 

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients to the pan and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape and the onion is slightly golden. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables. Add your peas. Give the soup a quick stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pick your mint leaves.

When the peas have softened, remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the mint leaves. Using an immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth. If using ham, chop it up and stir in. Heat through before dividing between your serving bowls. Really nice served with a toasted slice of ciabatta, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.


Fruit Scones (Jamie Oliver)

1 cup mixture of dried cherries and/or raisins

orange juice for soaking

4 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup butter

2 large eggs

1/3 cup milk

salt

good quality jam

2/3 cup clotted or heavy cream, whipped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Soak the cherries and raisins in a little bowl with just enough orange juice to cover them. While they’re soaking, pulse the flour, baking powder and butter in a food processor just the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk with a good pinch of salt. Then pour the beaten eggs, milk, cherries and raisins into the well in the flour mixture and stir well, adding a splash more milk if necessary, until you have a soft, dry dough. If your dough feels a little dry, add an extra splash of milk.

Dust a clean work surface and your rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough until it’s 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass, cut out 10 circles from the dough and place these on a non-stick cookie sheet. Dip a pastry brush into some milk and brush some on the top of each scone. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until risen and brown. Take them out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cut each scone in half across the middle. Spoon a dollop of jam onto the bottom half of each one, followed by a dollop of clotted or whipped cream and put the tops back on.


Spinach with Raisins

1/3 cup raisins

2 lbs fresh spinach

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 tablespoons pine nuts

salt and pepper

croutons, to serve

Put the raisins into a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and let soak.

Rinse spinach well, then shake off surplus water but do not dry the leaves. Into a large saucepan, put spinach. Cover and cook until spinach wilts. Uncover and cook until excess moisture has evaporated. Chop coarsely. Drain raisins.

Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and pine nuts and fry, stirring occasionally, until it begins to color. Stir in spinach and raisins, season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Serve with croutons sprinkled over the top.


Asparagus with Egg

1- 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus

1 hard cooked egg, finely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove

3/4 cup fresh coarse bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Using a small, sharp kitchen knife, cut off woody part at end of asparagus stems. Working from tip to bottom, scrap off scales from stems. Tie stems into 4 bundles with kitchen string.

In a deep saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add asparagus bundles, tips pointing downward. Cover pan with a lid or dome of oil and simmer 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is just tender. Remove asparagus and untie bundles. Drain asparagus on a thick pad of paper towels. Arrange on a warm serving platter, sprinkle egg over stems, cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and fry until lightly browned. Discard garlic. Stir bread crumbs into pan and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring, until crisp and golden. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, then pour it over asparagus, leaving tips uncovered. Serve immediately.


Valencian Orange Salad

4 large oranges

1/2 spanish onion thinly sliced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

pinch of sugar

pitted ripe olives, to garnish

With a sharp knife, peel oranges and cut away pith and membrane from outsides. Thinly slice oranges and remove seeds.

Separate onion slices into rings. Arrange orange and onion slices on plate.

In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Pour dressing over the orange and onion slices. Sprinkle olives over the top, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

 


Early Autumn Minestrone (Jamie Oliver)

7. oz cannellini or borlotti bean, fresh or dried and soaked overnight

1 bay leaf

1 tomato, squashed

1 small potato, peeled

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

olive oil

4 slices smoked pancetta, chopped

2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped

1/2 head of fennel, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves and stems separated

2-14 oz cans of good quality plum tomatoes

2 small zucchini, quartered and sliced

a glass of red wine

1/2 lb swiss chard or spinach, washed and roughly sliced (including stalks)

2 cups chicken, ham or vegetable stock

2 oz dried pasta

extra virgin olive oil

a block of parmesan cheese, to serve

Add your fresh or dried and soaked beans to a pan of water with the bay leaf, squashed tomato and potato. Cook until tender– they must be soft. Drain (reserving half a glass of the cooking water) and discard the bay leaf, tomato and potato. Now season with salt, pepper and a splash of oil.

While the beans are cooking, make your soffrito. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped pancetta, onions, carrots, fennel, garlic, and the finely sliced basil stems. Sweat very slowly on low heat, with the lid just ajar, for around 15-20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and red wine and simmer for 15 minutes.

Now add the chard or spinach, stock and beans. Put the dried pasta into a plastic bag, squeeze all of the air out and tie the end up. Bash gently with a rolling pin to break the pasta into pieces. Snip the end off the bag and empty the contents into the soup. Stir and continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked.

If you think the soup is looking too thick, add a little more stock or some of the reserved cooking water to thin it down a bit. Then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the torn up basil leaves and with some extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top. Put a block of parmesan and a grater on the table for everyone to help themselves.