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Spicy Parsnip Soup

Serves: 4 (as a starter)

Time: 50 mins


  • 4-8 Parsnips (depending on size)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2  White Onions
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Mild Curry Powder
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (For frying)
  • Salt and pepper (for seasoning)


  1. On a chopping board peel and dice the carrots and onions
  2. Peel the parsnips, remove the core using a knife and cut into small pieces
  3. In a saucepan heat up the oil for a few minutes
  4. Add the diced onion and sweat for a few more minutes
  5. Stir in the carrots and parsnips
  6. Add the curry powder and stir to make sure all of the powder has been incorporated into the mixture
  7. Crumble a vegetable stock cube into the milk and pour slowly into the sauce pan
  8. Once the soup has come to the boil, turn heat down and simmer for10-15 minutes or until all of the vegetables are soft and cooked
  9. Take the soup off the heat and using a hand blender, blend the mixture making sure all of the vegetables have been blended
  10. Season to taste

11. Serve and enjoy!

This soup has a subtle kick to it and will warm you up, especially with the colder harsher winter months that are upon us!!

Cranberry Sauce

Portions: 6 (approx.)

Time: 15 mins


  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75 ml orange juice (fresh or carton)
  • 75ml cranberry juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 250g cranberries (fresh or frozen)


  1. Using a grater on the smallest setting, zest your orange onto a plate
  2. Pick the storks off the cranberries.
  3. Place the orange juice, cranberry juice, zest, sugar and the cranberries into a medium sized saucepan
  4. On a low heat gently cook the cranberries until they are soft; this should take around 10 minutes
  5. Take off the heat and allow to cook, you will notice that the sauce will thicken slightly, this is normal.

This sauce will keep fresh for a week in an airtight container. To save yourself time on Christmas day you can make this a few days beforehand.

Prawn cocktail

Serves: 4

Time: 20 mins


  • 200g peel and cooked prawns
  • 8 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1tsp brandy (optional)
  • ½ iceberg lettuce
  • 1 Lemon


  1. Place the mayonnaise into a bowl
  2. Add the ketchup, Worcester sauce, brandy (if using) and a little lemon juice (1tsp approx) to the mayonnaise and give a good stir. The sauce will turn a dark pink colour which is normal. This is called a Marie Rose sauce
  3. on a chopping board roughly chop the lettuce into small bit sized pieces and place into the bottom of the chosen crockery
  4. place 2 tbsp prawns on top of the lettuce
  5. Pour the Marie Rose sauce over the prawns (just enough so the prawns are covered)
  6. Add a wedge of lemon and serve

Traditionally brown bread and butter is served with fish and is ideal with this starter. Tomato and cucumber can be added to the lettuce which enhances the flavour. An alternative to prawn cocktail is prawns with avocado which again is a very nice light starter to have before a heavy meal.

Roasted Seasonal Vegetables

Serves: 4

Time: 60 mins


  • 4 Parsnips peeled
  • 4 Carrots peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 3 Onions
  • 3 medium sized Potatoes
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • Salt and Pepper (for seasoning)


  1. Pre heat the oven to 200˚C/ Gas mark 4/ 400˚F
  2. On a chopping board peel all ingredients and take off the outer skin of the onion, and remove the core of the parsnips
  3. Cut the Parsnips and carrots into “baton style strips” (thin slices) and place in an oven tray
  4. Slice the onions into thin slices and add to the other vegetables which are in the tray.
  5. Cut the potatoes into quarters and add to the oven dish
  6. Drizzle the oil and honey over the vegetables and mix to insure that everything has been covered
  7. Season with salt and pepper and place the tray into the oven for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown in colour
  8. About half way through the cooking (25 mins roughly) give the tray a quick stir, this prevents the vegetables from burning but helps them cook more evenly.

 You can use all root vegetables that are in season. They go very well with roasts especially Christmas dinner.

Review:Jamie Oliver’s Bruschette

Thumb rating:👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Skill level: Easy

Taste: Two types of Bruschette one aubergine with mint and the other tomato with basil.

Ingredients easy to get?  Yes all ingredients were bought from the local supermarket- ripe tomatoes would have improved the recipe.

Serves: 5-10 (depending on portion sizes).

Costs £4.63 for both Bruschette recipes.







My thoughts on the recipe…

This week’s recipe comes from Jamie’s Italy cook book. All of the ingredients were ordered from a local supermarket with no problems or substitutes.

A 400g French baguette was purchased to use as the base to put the bruschette’s mix on.

I have made bruschette in the past and find it a winner when dinning for others. Apart from a little prep it is a very easy starter to do when entertaining.

The tomatoes used in the tomato and basil bruschetta recipe could have been riper making it easier to cut and get all of those important juices and flavours out. The French stick slices were put in a hot oven with a little olive oil until golden brown, this helps the toppings sit nicely on the bread.

Was the recipe easy to follow?

This was a very straight forward recipe to follow and very quick to do, with little prep needed.

Would you cook it again?

This dish was a winner when I was entertaining guests and could be made in advance as it is suitable hot or cold.

I cut the bread stick slices a bit too thick, so next time I would cut the bread into thinner slices and also add some more mint to the aubergines as I feel there was not quite enough flavour coming through.

What changes did you make?

As the tomatoes were not as ripe as I would have liked, I de-cored and chopped the whole tomatoes and added to the mix, even though I should have de-seeded and squeeze the tomatoes.

I do not own a griddle pan, so fried the aubergines in a normal pan with a little olive oil.

What the wife asked about the recipe…

What does a sprig mean?

A sprig is a noun and means a shoot, twig or small branch of herbs.

What is a griddle pan?

A griddle pan is a pan which is like a frying pan but has groves in it. This can be used to achieve a scorch mark when frying.

Can I use dried herbs instead?

You could but the true herb flavours would be weaker than fresh herbs.


In summary an easy recipe to follow with little effort. Very quick to make and is ideal for when entertaining.