A Craft in the Life: Coconut and Courgette Soup

Over the last few weeks me and my mum have brought back several varieties of courgettes from volunteering at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. The walled garden is currently packed full of courgette and marrow plants, covering the plots with their large green leaves, bright orange flowers with green and yellow courgettes hanging off twisted vines. In order to use up all the courgettes we now have in the fridge, I decided to make a large batch of Coconut and Courgette Soup. This soup is one my family’s favourites, as the combination of soft courgette and sweet coconut milk gives a refreshing and very moreish flavour 🙂

Soup and Animals 016

Coconut and Courgette Soup

You will need:

2.2lb /1kg Courgettes (Around 8) or Marrows

Salt

1 Large Onion, Chopped (Either white or Red)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed

2 Tbsps Chopped Basil and Mint

1L /35 fl oz Vegetable Stock

250ml /8½ fl oz Coconut Milk

Soup and Animals 001

Let’s get started!

  • Peel, de seed and chop the courgettes/marrows into 2cm chunks.
  • Put them into a colander, sprinkle with salt and let them drain for 30 minutes to get rid of the excess water, then pat them dry with a tea towel/kitchen paper.

Soup and Animals 005

  • In a large stock/soup pot, fry the onion gently in oil until softened.
  • Add the ginger and garlic, along with the salted courgettes, basil and mint.
  • Pour over half the stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Soup and Animals 012

  • Once the courgettes are soft, remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Blend in a food processor and return to the pot with the rest of the stock and coconut milk, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Soup and Animals 013

  • Season to taste then serve topped with extra chopped basil/mint.
  • You are all done 🙂

This Coconut and Courgette Soup definitely works well as a summer soup, due to it’s light, refreshing flavour and bright green colour. The recipe makes a large batch of soup which you can store in the fridge for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure to test the soup before you add any final seasoning, as salting the courgettes before cooking can be enough salt. I love the addition of the coconut milk in this soup, as it gives a delicious creamy taste which is really complemented by the mint and basil. Definitely try it out 🙂

A Craft in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Roasted Tomato, Red Onion, Basil and Mozzarella Quiche

Since I brought a fluted flan tin to make a Bakewell Tart I have been searching for a delicious and simple looking recipe so that I can make my very first quiche! Looking through BBC good food I found this recipe that really made me think of summer sunshine and picnics with my friends and family. I love the combination of tomatoes and basil, however I much prefer mozzarella to Parmesan so I decided to make a twist on the original recipe – changing the cheese and also adding tangy sweet red onion.

IMG_5834

Roasted Tomato, Red Onion, Basil and Mozzarella Quiche  

You will need:

For the shortcrust pastry

6 oz/175g Plain Flour

2½ oz/75g Chilled Butter

2 tbsp Cold Water

For the filling

5 oz/150g Cherry Tomatoes

1-2 tsp Olive/Sunflower Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 oz/50g Mozzarella ripped into small pieces

1 Small Thinly Sliced Red Onion

1 Egg

5 fl oz/142ml Double Cream

Handful of Shredded Fresh Basil Leaves, and a little to sprinkle over the top of the quiche

IMG_5817

Let’s get started!

  • To make the pastry, combine the flour and butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 2 tbsp of cold water and begin to pull the mixture together into a ball, if needed add the final tbsp to form a soft dough.

IMG_0858

  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface large enough to line a 20cm/8in flan tin. Press the pastry gently into the tin ensuring it lays smoothly against the fluted sides.

March 2014 030

  • Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6.
  • Place the cherry tomatoes and red onion in a small roasting tin, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper before placing on the lowest shelf in your oven – to slowly cook.

IMG_5818

  • Once chilled, line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans (If you don’t have any you can always use rice, beans or pulses – as long as they are dry and heavy enough to prevent the pastry from puffing up!). Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans/foil and continue to bake for 5 minute to dry out the centre of the base.

March 2014 032

  • Keep a close eye on the tomatoes/onion, and remove once the tomatoes start to pop open and the onions caramalise.
  • Beat together the eggs and cream before adding the basil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Once the pastry case has cooked, sprinkle half the pieces of mozzarella over the base, then top with the tomato/onion mixture.
  • Pour over the egg/cream mixture until it just reaches the top of the pastry case, and finally top with the rest of the mozzarella.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is set and appears golden brown.

IMG_5824

  • Leave the pastry to cool in the tin, then remove onto a serving plate and top with fresh whole basil leaves.
  • You are all done! 🙂

I have made quiches before under the supervision of my mum but never completely on my own, so I was worried about ending up with a soggy pastry base! I was pleasantly surprised as my final quiche came out looking really delicious. If you haven’t made your own shortcrust pastry before I would definitely encourage you to try, as not only does it make you feel like a cooking pro but it also tastes amazing.

IMG_5828

I really love the smell of the tomatoes and onion as they are roasting in the oven! Mozzarella cheese is one of favourite cheeses and I’m really glad I choose to use it, as the combination of tomato, onion and fresh basil worked really well. I love the look of the finished quiche, especially when topped with a few whole basil leaves. This whole recipe makes me think about how much I can’t wait for sunshine, long walks and of course one of my favourite things about summer – picnics! 🙂

A Bake in the Life…