Eunice Power - Outside Catering Company, Waterford, Ireland.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Carrot and Ginger Soup

Since I was a child carrots have appeared on my dinner plate several times a week. My mum used to tell us that they helped us see better in the dark - and she wasn't too far from the truth. Carrots are energizing and are a great antiseptic, as well as having anti oxidant qualities. Did you know that a single carrot will supply all your vitamin A needs for the whole day. My children often snack on raw carrots, and I use them not just as a veggie but also in baking, muffins and delicious carrot cake.

When I was growing up Ginger was considered somewhat exotic and wasn't always as readily available in our fruit and veg counters as it is now. Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flu's or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract. In fact I remember well when I was expecting my children I used to consume packets of gingersnaps to counteract the dreaded morning sickness. 

The following recipe combines these two super foods in one pot, resulting the most delicious soup. It takes minutes to assemble and the benefits will remain with you for the rest of the day.

Serves 4 

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ red chili - deseeded and chopped (optional- but great for a bit of added heat)
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 700g carrots, peeled, topped, tailed and chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger root
  • 900ml light vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or fresh coriander
  1. Fry the onion, garlic and chili in the oil for 5 minutes in the large saucepan, covered, without browning. 
  2. Add the carrots and ginger. Cover and lightly fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. 
  4. Purée the soup in the blender. 
  5. Reheat, if necessary, to serve. 
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley or coriander.

Seville orange marmalade

As I write this, the distinctive aroma of bitter sweet Seville Oranges simmering in the kitchen wafts to where I am working - I can think of no better reminder that the New Year is upon me. The following is the Seville orange Marmalade recipe that I have used each January since I got married- my husband is addicted to the stuff - he could have worse habits I suppose? In our house marmalade is not just slathered on brown bread and scones but eaten with cheese, ham and other savouries- yum! 

This recipe makes 1.4kg, 3lbs of marmalade
  • 450g Seville Oranges, washed
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 900g sugar (I use granulated sugar but if you prefer a darker marmalade use Demerara sugar)
  1. Half the oranges and lemon, then squeeze them. Using a dessert spoon scoop out any remaining membrane. Tie the pips membrane and extra membrane that has come away during squeezing in a piece of muslin.
  2. Next slice the oranges thinly or thickly or cheat like I do and chop them up in the food processor. 
  3. Put the chopped peel, along with juice, muslin bag, lemon juice and 1.1litres of water in a bowl and leave to soak overnight. This helps to extract the maximum amount of pectin from the fruit pulp, which will give a better set. It also helps to soften the peel, which will reduce the amount of cooking needed. 
  4. In a heavy based saucepan transfer the contents of the bowl and leave to simmer for 2 hours or until the peel is really soft and the liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Remove the muslin bag, squeezing it well allowing the juices run back into the pan. 
  6. Add the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached - this should take about 20 minutes. 
  7. Remove any scum from the top; allow cooling for ten minutes or so and then potting into sterilized jars and cover.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Orange and Pomegranate salad

With Christmas behind me I crave some fresh tangy food to tantalise my palate. This is a wonderfully fresh salad made pretty with the jewel like pomegranate seeds. By sprinkling a little feta on top you have a light starter. I love this salad for breakfast or dessert.

It's as simple as this....

Peel and slice oranges, if you can get some blood oranges as well as well as regular oranges all the better, the more colour the better, arrange on a serving dish, drizzle with a little honey and scatter pomegranate seeds and some shredded mint leaves over the oranges


Beetroot Risotto with Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

Beetroot gives this dish a wonderfully vibrant colour. The flavour and texture of the Goats Cheese is a perfect foil to the earthiness of the beetroot. 

Serves 4
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 225g Arborio rice
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 ¼ pints / 750ml vegetable stock
  • 3 medium sized beetroot cooked and peeled
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Extra parmesan cheese to serve
  • 200g of Ardsallagh goats cheese
  • A handful of finely chopped chives.
Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the rice, salt and pepper and cook stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add just enough stock to cover the rice and continue cooking, stirring all of the time until most of the stock has been absorbed.

Continue adding stock until most of it has been absorbed and continue in this way adding more stock until it is completely absorbed and the rice is tender.

Meanwhile liquidise the beetroot with some freshly milled salt and black pepper, then stir this into the rice. Heat through for 1 - 2 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan. Adjust the seasoning, divide between four bowls top, crumble some goats cheese on each portion, and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.


Roast Beetroot and Carrots with Seville marmalade glaze

What a wonderful companions these too make. A carrot will supply all your vitamin A needs for the whole day whilst beetroot is a natural detoxifier and blood purifier and is also rich in a variety of nutrients that are important for the immune system to work with full efficiency because beets encourage the production of antibodies that fight against the disease or infection in our body - they are the perfect veggies for our après Christmas bodies!
  • 4 medium sized beetroot, cooked until al dente and peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 medium sized carrots, cooked until al dente and peeled and cut similar sized chunks as the beetroot
  • I table spoon of Seville orange marmalade
  • 1 dessert spoon of olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper.
  1. Pre heat the oven to 170C. Put a roasting tin in the oven to warm.
  2. Mix the marmalade and olive oil in a bowl, add the carrots and carrots and stir until the carrots and beetroot are coated with the olive oil/marmalade, season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the roasting tin and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. I usually serve these with some toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds.