Simple potato soup

This soup is such a classic in Polish cuisine. Potato soup must surely be the easiest dish to make! I remember having it at least once a week as a child. It wouldn’t necessarily be blended as, in those days, clear soups seemed to be more popular in Poland. I only started blending mine when I moved to UK (fifteen years ago!) and prefer them that way. Fusion cuisine, eh? It’s also much easier to feed the kids as there is NOTHING that they can take out of their bowl!! So, yes, a winner! Ok, so they can just refuse to eat but hey, I’m ready to take that chance...

I used a parsley root in this recipe which is as common in Poland as parsnip is in UK. They look very similar (parsley root tends to be smaller and thinner), smell similar as well and I know plenty of fellow Poles who took one for the other. If you can’t get hold of one just use parsley leaves. I get mine in my local Polish/Eastern European shop. I’m pretty sure you can find one near you! Or online. You can find everything online these days!

Also, in this recipe, I used white pepper and pink Himalayan salt but you don’t have to. I sprinkled some dried chilli flakes on top to give it a bit of warmth (it was a chilli day yesterday) without altering the dish. Hope you enjoy it!

1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, sliced
1 celery stick, sliced
1 carrot, sliced (I left the skin on, just scrubbed it clean)
1 parsley root, sliced (not peeled, the same as the carrot)
5 potatoes, peeled, cut in fours
1l stock or enough to cover all the veg
Salt and pepper to season

1. Heat up the oil in the pan. 

2. Add the onion and celery stick and fry on medium heat until the onion turns translucent.

3. Add the carrot and parsley root and warm up for a minute or two. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t catch or turn crispy. 

4. Add potatoes, again, warm them through for a minute. 

5. Add stock and leave to cook for approximately 30 minutes on medium heat or until all the veg is soft. 

6.  Once the veg has softened up and cooked through, turn the heat off and leave the soup to cool down. 

7. Blend everything until smooth, warm up again and season to taste. 

8. Serve with some chilli flakes and buttered slices of sourdough bread. 

Pasta with green peas and bacon

I like pasta because it's tasty and QUICK. My husband laughs at me that my go-to dish is pesto pasta (it is...). He hates pesto...

Anyway... Pasta is the kind of food that is a life saver when you don’t have much time to cook but still want to eat something homemade. You can have a meal from scratch in 10 minutes - what’s not to like? Throw in a handful of veg/meat and you’re ready to go. Swap your pasta to the brown type and it’s even healthier (ok, it takes longer to cook so let’s say 20 minutes). Also, you can just make a basic tomato sauce, freeze it and next time it’s a ready, one pan meal. There are so many things you can do with pasta - possibilities are endless!

I must admit this was a leftover dinner. I was looking in the fridge for things that needed using, found an open packet of bacon, some Greek yoghurt and after digging in the freezer (I mean really digging - we have one of those freezers that open from the top so if you want to get anything out you have to pretend to be an archaeologist on a mission) I discovered half a packet of peas and an idea was born. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

1 pork stock cube
Half a packet of spaghetti 
1tbsp olive oil
Smoked bacon, chopped, 150g
Frozen peas 200g
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 handfuls of grated mature cheddar

1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Add the stock cube to the boiling water.

2. Heat up the frying pan on the highest setting and, when really hot, add bacon and fry for a couple of minutes while stirring continuously.

3. Turn the heat down. Add olive oil. Fry the bacon until it’s just turning crisp.

4. By this time your pasta should be cooked al dente. Add it to the frying pan, together with some of the cooking water (Id say a cup) and mix with bacon. Add frozen peas and stir everything through. Keep the cooking water in case the sauce gets too thick. 

5. Add Greek yoghurt - do it carefully so it doesn’t split. I usually dollop it in one spot, wait until it warms through and then stir it in. 

6. Leave it to cook on low heat, checking it occasionally. If the sauce gets too thick add a bit more of cooking water. 

7. Plate up and sprinkle with grated Cheddar. Season with black pepper. You shouldn’t need to use salt as the cooking water would be quite salty thanks to the stock cube.

Porridge with peanut butter, walnuts and honey

I love porridge. It has to be sweet, I can’t be bothered with the savoury version and certainly not for breakfast. Fruit is my first choice but sometimes I like to add nuts, seeds or raisins. Today I chose some peanut butter and walnuts, for a change. The sky is grey and I needed a big hug in a bowl before doing the school run. It worked!

I have recently started cooking my porridge overnight in a 1 litre slow cooker but I’m yet to master the whole process so the recipe for that will come later (hopefully...). It’s still a bit of a hit and miss! Normally it’s edible (apart from the first one) but it’s not perfect (yet). 

Serves 3 people

1 cup of porridge oats
2 cups of milk of your choice (I used semi skimmed)
1 cup of water (or milk, down to preference)
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp honey
A handful of walnuts

1. Put the porridge oats in a pot with milk and water and slowly bring to the boil. Stir continuously. 

2. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down and leave to simmer until the oats absorb all the liquid. Stir continuously. 

3. When the oats are ready take the pot off the heat and stir peanut butter and honey. The amount of both is entirely up to you and your taste buds! Taste before you add more. 

4. Crumble walnuts on top and enjoy!