Farmhouse Vegetable Soup

Farmhouse Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup is full of goodness, blending cauliflower, carrots, celery, and onions. Perfect for a cold winter’s day. Just serve with some crusty bread and a slice of your favourite cheese.

Farmhouse Vegetable Soup

6 –8 servings
  • Preparation time : 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp)
  • 1.2 litres (40 fl oz) good chicken stock (5 cups)
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) natural yogurt (½ cup)
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • Serve with some crusty bread and a slice of favourite cheese.


  • Method
  • Peel and finely chop the carrots and onions, chop the celery sticks and break the cauliflower into small florets.

  • Now melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Add the vegetables and stir to coat with the butter.
  • Cook the vegetables over a medium–low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the stock and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the vegetables, reserving the liquid.
  • Purée the vegetables and return to a clean saucepan.
  • Add the reserved cooking liquid and then stir in the yogurt.
  • Reheat gently but do not let it boil.
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Updated: March 26, 2019

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Update  This recipe includes a mixture of spices that resembles the Mixed Spice that we used in the UK but don’t find here in Canada. An alternative is to use 3½ teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Tastier than store-bought, we enjoy these traditional hot cross buns at Easter and all year round! I have to thank Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bakeoff for the idea of adding an apple to the recipe. It adds to the flavour and gives them a softer, more moist, texture.

I use a KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook but you can knead by hand if you prefer.

Hot Cross Buns

12 buns
  • Step 1
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Waiting time: About 2 hours
  • Step 2
  • Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
  • Waiting time: 1 hours
  • Step 3
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white/all purpose flour (3½ cups)
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) instant yeast
  • 10 g (1½ tsp) salt
  • 75 g (2½ oz) caster sugar/fine white sugar (¼ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 150 g (5 oz) sultanas (1 cup)
  • 80 g (3 oz) chopped, mixed peel (½ cup)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 40 g (1½ oz) unsalted butter, softened (room temperature) (3 tbsp)
  • 1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), beaten
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) whole/full fat milk (warm, about 40°C/100°F) (1¼ cups)
  • ¾ tsp all spice
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger

  • For the crosses
  • 75 g (2½ oz) plain/cake & pastry flour (½ cup)
  • 75 ml (2½ fl oz) water (¼ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • For the glaze
  • 3 tsp apricot jam
  • 1 tsp water


  • Method


  • Step 1
  • If you store your yeast in the fridge, take it out first and allow it to warm to room temperature. Chop the mixed peel and the apple into small cubes, grate the zest of an orange into the mixture, and put to one side.

  • Weigh out the salt, sugar, and yeast, and add to the flour in the mixer bowl, putting the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Then add the sultanas and the fruit that you chopped up, as well as the spices. Mix all these dry ingredients together. (This allows the flour to coat the fruit and prevent it sticking together.)

  • Soften the butter, warm the milk to about 100°F (40°C), and then add the butter and a whisked egg to the milk, and stir. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix on speed 1 until it is all evenly mixed. This only takes about a minute. Then mix on speed 2 for another 8 minutes. While this is kneading, lightly oil a large bowl for the dough to rise in.

  • The dough should now be smooth, the sides of the bowl should be clean, and the dough should come off the dough hook without sticking. Tip it out onto a lightly floured (or oiled) surface and shape it into a ball. Put it into the oiled bowl, make sure there's a coating of oil over the whole dough, and cover with a tea towel or cling film.

  • Leave it to rise until it's at least doubled in size.* At room temperature, this should take a minimum of an hour but it's fine to leave it for 2–3 hours. The longer the better – it improves the flavour.

  • While waiting, prepare a large baking tray – line with baking parchment.

  • Step 2
  • Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a smooth ball. (To do this, flatten the dough with your hand flat, then moving your hand in a circular motion, gradually lift the palm while leaving the finger tips on the work surface, forming a cage around the dough. Do this quite quickly.)

  • Place the dough balls on the baking tray, laid out four by three, about an inch apart. This will give them room to grow so that they’re almost touching after proving. (You want them to join up when baking so that you have to tear them apart when finished.) Cover with a tea towel, or place inside a clean plastic bag, and leave to prove for about an hour. You can tell when they're ready when they've doubled in size again and the dough springs back readily if you poke it gently with your finger.

  • Before the end of the hour, preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5

  • Step 3
  • For the crosses
  • Mix the flour and water into a paste and add to a piping bag with a fine nozzle. Make one half of the crosses by piping across each row of buns in one sweep, starting on the tray and finishing each sweep on the tray at the other side. When all the buns are piped in one direction, turn the tray and repeat, forming the crosses.

  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

  • For the glaze
  • Warm the apricot jam with a teaspoon of boiling water and brush over the tops of the buns while they’re still warm.

  • Allow to cool on a wire rack.

  • Unless you can't wait, freeze the buns and defrost when needed.

Tip

  • It's not easy to accurately divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I weigh the bowl with the risen dough in it, turn out the dough and then weigh the bowl again. The difference is the weight of the dough. Divide that by 12 and then weigh each portion as you cut it, adding or subtracting bits of dough until they're approximately right. With this recipe they worked out to be about 103 g (3⅔ oz) each

Note

  • * Doubled in size means doubled in volume. This means that if the dough is in the shape of a ball, the diameter increases by about 25%.
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Updated: March 3, 2019

Crunchy Apple Crumble

Crunchy Apple Crumble Crunchy Apple Crumble

Apples are cooked with raisins and a hint of cinnamon while walnuts added to the crumble mixture to make this a real crunchy apple crumble. One of those comforting desserts, perfect for a winter’s day, and served with lots of cream.

Crunchy Apple Crumble

6 servings
  • Preparation time: About 25 minutes
  • Standing time: 1 hour
  • Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • For the fruit
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) Bramley apples (or any variety suitable for cooking) (about 6)
  • 70 g (2½ oz) light muscovado sugar/soft light brown sugar (¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 85 g (3 oz) raisins (⅓ cup)
  • a little softened butter for greasing

  • For the crumble
  • 55 g (2 oz) walnut pieces (½ cup)
  • 125 g (4½ oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1 cup)
  • 100 g (3½ oz) chilled butter, cubed (½ cup, or 1 stick less 1 tbsp)
  • 55 g (2 oz) demerara sugar (¼ cup)
  • To serve
  • Double cream/whipping or heavy cream

Equipment

  • You will also need a 23 cm (9 inch) shallow ovenproof dish


  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).

  • Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Then place them in a large bowl.

  • Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, add to the apples and toss to coat.

  • Now add the raisins, separating those that may have stuck together, and toss to evenly distribute.

  • Grease the ovenproof dish and then tip in the apples. Sprinkle over 4 tablespoons of water, cover the dish with foil, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn over the apple slices halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven, turn the slices over again, and set aside for about 1 hour to cool.

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), (gas 6).

  • To prepare the crumble, finely chop the walnut pieces and then set to one side.

  • Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the walnuts. The mixture should look like large breadcrumbs.

  • Mix in the sugar and then spoon the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the apples.

  • Bake for 30 minutes until the crumble is browning and the juices are starting to bubble through.

  • Serve with a jug of cream.
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Updated: March 3, 2019