Creamy Potato Soup

I don’t particularly love winters, nor do i hate them. I have mixed feelings. There are days when i don’t feel like getting out of bed all day (yeah, like that can ever happen…sigh!) but that’s not how life works right? So i grab a cuppa joe (or many) and it keeps me going. All last week, besides craving caffeine, i was craving some comforting hot potato soup.

Off to the kitchen! making the soup is actually quite simple and easy but takes a lot of patience. Basically, you just chop things up and throw them in a pot. Then let it simmer away. I didn’t have a prepared broth before hand, so i first made the chicken broth and then loaded it with veggies and potatoes. And all things yummy.

This potato soup is thick, sumptuous and heart warming. It’s comfort food at its best, and don’t even bother figuring out the calorie count. Just enjoy the warmth and richness. For me soups are definitely the nicest part of winter!

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CREAMY POTATO SOUP

Adapted this recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tblsp butter + 1 tblsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the butter and oil. Add in garlic and diced onion. Saute just enough to soften the onions up a bit, dont let them get any color.
  2. Add in the carrots and potatoes. Pour in the chicken broth and let it come to a boil.
  3. Let it simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft.
  4. whisk together the flour and milk and add to the soup. mix well and let it simmer for another 5 mintues. Turn of the heat, let soup cool slightly before blending it in a food processor/blender.
  5. Blend 3/4 of the soup to a smooth texture. Pour back into the pan.
  6. Now add seasoning and taste.
  7. Heat it back up and stir in the cream and cheese. Mix until all is well combines.
  8. serve hot garnished with green onions, crispy fried sausage/chicken bits, shredded cheese or croutons.

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Coffee Walnut Cake

*Big Sigh!* Finally I get some peace-time for myself to write down  all the mumble jumble thoughts that have been attacking me all day. But first i need a pat on the back; I finally managed to make some lovely delicious buttercream frosting without spoiling it. yayyy!

So, my better half had been asking me for long now to make him a buttery walnut cake to go with our morning coffee ritual (or in my case for breakfast, odd time snacking and dessert!) but the selfish me had been putting it off since i don’t like walnuts much and had no intention of baking a boring walnut cake. But then, i wanted to be the sweet wifey so decided to go ahead with it…no wait, not just any walnut cake…a Coffee Walnut cake with some addictive aromatic coffee flavor in it. I personally love everything coffee! so this cake should be a total win win for all of us! And it sure was 🙂

coffee walnut cake

This cake has a wonderfully nutty, tender and moist texture. It was buttery alright! but i believe that’s where all the goodness came from 🙂 the coffee flavor was a little mild for me..will try enhancing it more next time. It’s definitely a great treat to serve with a cup of hot coffee or tea. But the best part for me was that my dear husband absolutely loveddd this cake. Makes me feel totally euphoric!

I adapted this recipe from Sara Danesin Medio (2011 MasterChef finalist) … found on the BBC food website.

INGREDIENTS:

[for the sponge]

50 grams walnut pieces

180 grams super fine sugar

180 grams soft butter (plus some for greasing)

160 grams plain flour

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

 ½ teaspoon baking soda

 3 large eggs 

1-2 tablespoons milk

[for the buttercream frosting]

175 grams icing sugar

90 grams soft butter

1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (dissolved in 1 tsp boiling water)

approx 10 walnut halves (to decorate)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

2. crush the walnut pieces. Set aside.

3. Dissolve the espresso powder/granules in 1 tblsp water. Set aside.

4. Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and well combined. Fold in the flour, walnut pieces and the instant espresso mixture. I repeat…fold in! put away the beaters now.

5. Pour the batter into a greased pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before frosting.

TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM:

1. With a hand beater or stand mixer, add in lump free icing sugar, then add the butter and beat them together.

2. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 teaspoon boiling water and add it while still hot to the mixing bowl, blending it until smooth.

3. That’s it! simple as that.

4. Now frost the cake any way you like. Swirly patterns are easier and look more homemade and inviting 🙂

5. Gently press the walnut halves on the top and enjoy the delicious cake with your favorite hot drink!

Bread Pudding

Do you ever get crazy cravings out of the blue?…I do! This is one of those desserts (more like a breakfast dessert) that i just HAD to make. Plus having an extra loaf of bread in the refrigerator was my perfect motivation.

It’s a very simple straightforward recipe for a bread pudding. You can whip this up pretty easily if you have leftover bread (any kind of bread will do) and some milk and eggs. To fancy it up, serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

bread pudding

INGREDIENTS:

. 6-8 slices day old bread (or enough bread chunks to fill up a 10″ x 10″ dish/pan).

. 2 tblsp butter, melted

. 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

. 3 eggs

. 2 cups milk

. 1/3 cup sugar

. 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

. 1 tsp vanilla extract

INGREDIENTS FOR TOPPING SAUCE:

. 1 cup milk

. 2 tblsp butter

. 3 tblsp brown sugar

. 1 tblsp flour

. pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 175c

2. Lightly butter the pan or dish you are using

3. Tear or cut up the bread into bite size pieces; spread it out in the pan.

4. Drizzle butter over it and sprinkle raisins if you are using them.

5. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk,sugar,cinnamon and vanilla. Beat well until combined.

6. Pour this pudding mixture over the bread and lightly push down with a fork until the bread is covered with the liquid.

7. Bake for around 60 minutes or until set (there shouldn’t be any runny stuff at the bottom).

DIRECTIONS FOR SAUCE:

1. Mix everything together in a saucepan.

2. Bring to boil and keep whisking it.

3. When it starts to thicken and becomes all nice and smooth take it off the heat. Set aside.

4. Spoon over warm pudding before serving.

Enjoy!

Creamy salad dressing/dip

creamy dressing/dip

This is really a deliciously creamy dressing, which i prefer to indulge in mostly as a dip.

You can drizzle (or pour) over a healthy salad, serve with fries, carrot sticks, nachos, plain potato chips, fried chicken, nuggets, or even with burgers…just about anything i say. Serving options are limitless. It’s especially ideal to make for snack parties.

Here’s what you need:

makes approx 1 cup

. 1 tblsp onion, finely chopped

. 1 clove of fresh garlic, finely chopped

. 1/4 cup sour cream

. 1/4 cup mayonnaise

. 1/4 cup plain yogurt

. 1 tsp Tabasco sauce

. 1/2 tsp salt

. 1/4 tsp white pepper

. 2 tblsp lemon juice

What you need to do:

1. In a food processor, add in the garlic clove and onion and process until they are finely chopped up.

2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until nicely mixed and seems light and fluffy.

3. Refrigerate overnight in a jar with a lid before serving. Helps all the flavors come together.

Enjoy!