I’m always looking for new ways to use up any gluts in the garden – courgettes were the gift that just kept on giving this Summer.
Check out this delicious yet simple recipe for Courgette & Parmesan Soup, inspired by a old favourite, The River Cafe.
It’s great to have a quick & easy savoury snack or canape recipe up your sleeve, especially something that’s a little different. Our guests love these savoury muffins, which are great as a pre-dinner treat with a drink. They also make a super, healthy alternative to the boring sandwich in kids lunchboxes!
While we are fans here of savouries, we do love a little sweet treat, especially with our morning coffee. You will find it hard to limit yourself to one of these White Chocolate & Strawberry Crumble Square….you have been warned!!!
Courgette & Parmesan Soup
(Inspired by the River Cafe)
Good glug of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & crushed
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
500ml good quality chicken or veg stock
140 ml double cream
1 small bunch of basil, chopped
1 small bunch parsely, chopped
120 g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. Cut courgettes lengthways then chop into rough pieces.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan, cook the courgettes & garlic slowly for approx 25 minutes until they are soft. Add salt & pepper & stock and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat allow to cool slightly. Using a stick blender, whizz up the soup until smooth.
4. Add in cream and freshly chopped herbs and Parmesan.
5. Heat gently until the Parmesan is melted throughout. Don’t overcook or the herbs will lose their lovely greeness.
6. Serve with crusty bread or toasted sourdough, rubbed with garlic & a drizzle of olive oil.
The following is the basic recipe, into which you can add lots of different savoury ingredients. These make fab canapes or nibbles!
I use silicone mini-muffin trays, so easy and quick to use.
Basic savoury muffin recipe:
• 6 tbsp sunflower oil
• 280g / 10oz plain flour
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• pinch salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 2 free range eggs
• 250ml / 9fl oz buttermilk
Spice them up by adding the following ingredient options:
• 150g smoked salmon, finely chopped + 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (plus a few sprigs & dollop of crème fraiche for garnish)
• 100g chopped sundried tomatoes, 1 garlic clove crushed & freshly chopped basil. Top with grated parmesan before going into oven.
• 100g – 150g Vintage cheddar grated, 1 bunch spring onions finely sliced.
• 100g spicy Chorizo finely chopped, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 small red pepper finely chopped, 1 clove of garlic crushed.
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius / 400 F / Gas Mark 6. Grease your muffin tins.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt & pepper into a large bowl.
3. Place eggs, buttermilk & oil together in a large jug or bowl & whisk until combined. Make well in centre of dry ingredients and add the milk/egg mixture, then your choice of additional flavour options above. Stir gently to combine, do not over-mix.
4. Spoon mixture into trays & bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes for mini-muffins, 20 minutes for large muffins. They should be well risen, golden colour and firm to touch.
5. Leave to cool in tin for 5 mins then serve at room temp.
Strawberry & White Chocolate Crumble Squares
225g Plain Flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
100g Caster sugar,
85g soft light brown sugar,
150g porridge oats,
200g good strawberry jam (raspberry works great too!)
100g white choc chips,
25g flaked almonds
Pre-Heat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 f/ Gas mark 5. Line a 30cm x 20cm baking tin. Sift flour & baking powder in a large bowl or food processor. Add in sugars & mix well. Add butter & rub in until it resembles breadcrumbs (if using a bowl) or blitz in the food processor. Stir in the oats. Press 3/4 of the mixture into the tin then bake in oven for 10 mins.
Take out then spread jam over base & sprinkle over the choc chips. Add almond flakes to the remaining crumb mixture then sprinkle evenly over the top. Press down gently. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool in tin before cutting into slices.