Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup // Amy Elizabeth

Apparently it is scientifically proven that soup will make you feel better when you’re ill. And none more so than chicken noodle soup, in my opinion. This soup is surprisingly simple to make, even if you’re a little under the weather, and the combination of comforting noodles, hot broth and a little spicy kick at the end is sure to cure what ails you. I’m not usually a big soup eater – I don’t find it really fills me up, so I get hungry almost straight away – but sometimes it’s exactly what you’re craving, especially when it’s so miserable out.

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup // Amy Elizabeth

This soup is totally adaptable, too. Use up some of your favourite vegetables by throwing them in the mix, or swap out the rice vermicelli noodles for more substantial egg ones. You could even use small pasta shapes in place of the noodles (but don’t you dare think about leaving out the carbs altogether). Skip the chilli flakes when you’re making the stock for a mellower flavour, or garnish with fresh chillies or hot sauce if you like it fiery.  Want to make this even easier? Use the meat and bones from one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens to make your stock and soup. All that said, you must eat this under a blanket whilst wearing pyjamas and, preferably, with your favourite trashy TV show playing. There’s no negotiating on that part, sorry. 

Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
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For the broth
  1. bones of one whole roast chicken
  2. 1 large onion, peeled and chopped in half
  3. 1 large carrot, chopped into 2-3 pieces
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed
  5. 1-2 tsp. dried thyme
  6. 1-2 tsp. chilli flakes
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 2 litres of water (or enough to cover the contents above)
For the soup
  1. shredded meat from 1 whole roast chicken
  2. 2 carrots, diced
  3. handful on mangetout, sliced
  4. 4 nests of rice vermicelli noodles
  5. fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pop all of the ingredients for the broth into the slow cooker, making sure the contents are covered by the water (add more if not) and cook for 5 hours on high or 10 hours on low.
  2. Strain into a large bowl and rest in the fridge overnight.
  3. Remove as much of the fat from the top of the broth as possible (it should be solid after the night in the fridge).
  4. Pour the broth into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the leek and carrot and cook until just going tender.
  5. Add the rice noodles and the chicken, cooking for a further 2-3 minutes until the noodles have softened and the chicken is warmed through.
  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley, if using. Slurp noisily when eating.
Notes
  1. The finished soup can be frozen in individual portions and reheated when needed, either in a saucepan or by blasting in the microwave in one minute intervals until piping hot.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Tomato & Orzo Soup

Tomato and Orzo Soup // Amy Elizabeth

It’s soup season. I like to think I’ll be sipping my soup from a mug whilst dressed in autumnal knits and staring out over a beautiful foggy landscape, but more realistically I’m eating it al desko because it’s too cold to go on a walk at lunchtime. But, however you’re eating it, this soup is delicious and warming. It’s got all the classic flavours of a good tomato soup, but with the addition of some orzo for a bit of texture and some more substance. Orzo’s a bit of a new obsession of mine; I’ve been using it instead of rice in risottos and it’s kind of the best. As with all soups, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer until you need it, and is best served with plenty of cheese on top, and crusty bread to dip. It’s almost enough to make these colder temperatures worth it, isn’t it? 

Tomato and Orzo Soup // Amy Elizabeth

Tomato and Orzo Soup
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 3 gloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
  4. 3 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  5. 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  6. pinch dried chilli flakes, to taste
  7. 1 tsp. caster sugar
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  9. double cream, to taste
  10. 150g orzo
  11. parmesan, to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a minute more, stirring regularly and checking the garlic doesn't start to brown. Lower the heat, if needed.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano , chilli flakes, caster sugar, salt & pepper. Mix together and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  5. Stir the double cream into the tomato soup - a generous swirl should sort you out but taste as you go so it's just how you like it!
  6. Stir in the orzo and serve with freshly grated parmesan and black pepper.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

Tomato and Orzo Soup // Amy Elizabeth

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Blood Orange and Mozzarella Salad

Blood Orange and Mozzarella Salad // Amy Elizabeth

In summer, I am all about the seasonal produce. I cannot get enough of salad, berries, fresh fruits and delicious produce. I pile my basket high at the greengrocers, and can barely get through it all, such is my greed and excitement. In winter, however? Not so much. I’m not saying that root vegetables are boring but… well, that is what I’m saying. It’s just so much harder to get excited about a carrot than it is a strawberry or raspberry. Maybe it’s because so much ‘seasonal’ produce in winter is actually available, and pretty tasty, all year around. There’s not much difference between a carrot in January and a carrot in June.

Blood Orange and Mozzarella Salad // Amy Elizabeth

There are exceptions to the rule, of course, and it’s those that get me excited to go into the kitchen during winter and make up something new. Before Christmas, pomegranates were my jam and I was putting those delicious seeds onto everything in sight. Now? It’s blood oranges. They are just the most beautiful colour, and they could not be tastier than they are right now. There’s something about their limited availability that makes them that much more appealing – as in dating, as in the kitchen in this instance. Is this paragraph getting weird? I’m okay with it. When my love affair with blood oranges ends, it will be time to get re-acquainted with the beauty of rhubarb, but until them I am making the most of these zingy little fruits and everything you can do with them. 

Blood Orange and Mozzarella Salad // Amy Elizabeth

This salad is a true thing of beauty. It’s got the freshness and the rich flavour of the blood orange, the subtle creaminess of the mozzarella, the saltiness of the proscuitto and the pepperiness of the rocket. It’s basically a flavour party in your mouth and everyone’s invited. I’m not usually one for chowing down on salads during the winter – I am all about making the most of comfort food during the cold season – but this is most definitely worth getting a little bit healthy for. It’s my little January present to you. 

Blood Orange and Mozzarella Salad
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 blood orange
  2. 2 slices of proscuitto
  3. 1/2 ball of mozzarella
  4. 1 big handful of rocket
  5. olive oil
  6. balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Using a knife, remove the skin from the blood orange and slice thickly.
  2. Place the rocket on a plate, and scatter over strips of proscuitto and slices of blood orange. Tear over the mozzarella.
  3. Drizzle over a light splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Tuck in!
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Honey

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Honey // Amy Elizabeth

I think we all have memories of over-cooked brussels sprouts gracing their Christmas tables. They’re not the most popular of vegetables, and it’s probably because they’re so often boiled to within an inch of their lives. None of us would be our best selves under such conditions. However, treat these babies right and they will make a great addition to a festive feast. A touch of honey, a dash of vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper – that’s all you need. Sharpness, sweetness and a little bit of caramelisation from the roasting adds enough flavour to your brussels sprouts that they’ll become the star of the show. Can you believe it? 

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Honey // Amy Elizabeth

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Honey
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 300g brussels sprouts
  2. salt & pepper
  3. olive oil
  4. 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. runny honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Prepare the brussels sprouts by chopping off the ends and peeling off the outer leaves. Cut them in half.
  3. Place in a baking tray and add a glug of olive oil and plenty of salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes until cooked through and starting to caramelise and get a little crispy.
  5. Add another drizzle of oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat.
  6. Serve as part of a festive feast!
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Easy Rum Chocolate Truffles

easy chocolate truffles

I think we can all agree that chocolate is one of the best things about being a human. It’s sweet, creamy, delicious, and it fights off Dementors. Or something. Either way, it’s a total winner and I, for one, cannot get enough. Dark, milk, white, it doesn’t really matter; I will happily eat a block of chocolate all to myself. However, in an effort to be a little healthier in my old(er) age, I have been choosing quality over quantity. It’s not quite as fun as gorging on a bar of Galaxy whilst watching Bridget Jones’ Diary, or some other such cliché, but it has its perks. Like these truffles. Just three ingredients and a little bit of love, and you have yourself some more-ish, decadent truffles. They’re very rich, which means that even the likes of me and my chocolate addiction can only manage a couple at a time. So it’s really a win-win. Mouthfuls of rum-my, chocolate-y goodness and you can still say you’ve made a healthy choice. Or thereabouts. When it comes to my health, I’m aiming for better, not best. I will never be the girl that turns down chocolate, especially when it tastes as good as these. 

rum truffles recipe

Easy Chocolate Rum Truffles
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Ingredients
  1. 200g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa or above)
  2. 70ml coconut milk
  3. 2 tsp. rum (optional)
  4. cocoa powder for dusting
Instructions
  1. Break up the chocolate into small pieces or, even better, chop it up. The smaller the pieces are, the quicker and better they will melt! Place in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk until it's warmed through and just simmering. Pour over the chocolate and cover with a tea towel.
  3. Leave for 5 minutes, then uncover and add the rum, if using. Stir together until the mixture is smooth. If you are struggling, place the bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water to melt the remaining chocolate, or zap in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time.
  4. Cover with cling-film and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours until solid.
  5. Using a tablespoon, scoop small balls of mixture and then quickly roll and shape them into truffle shape!
  6. Place your cocoa powder on a plate and roll the truffles around lightly until coated.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Store your truffles in the fridge to keep them fresh and stop them from melting into a sticky mess, but bring them out 10-15 minutes before you want to eat them.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Easy Pork & Chilli Gyoza

Easy Pork Gyoza

Do you know when you get an idea in your head, and you can’t rest until you see it through? These gyozas were one of those ideas, for me. I love gyozas of all flavours, but they always seemed like they would be tricky to make from scratch so I’d relegated them to a restaurant-only dish. However, after reading Lil’s post on them, I got it into my head that I needed to try it for myself and, after a trip to the Asian supermarket for wrappers (they were in the frozen section!) and a read of this recipe, I was armed and ready to go. And, you know what? They were easier than I thought. Almost therapeutic to make: a little like origami. 

Ever since, I’ve been making big batches of these, and freezing them for mid-week dinners. I serve them with a steaming hot bowl of noodles and stir-fried veg, with some sesame oil and soy sauce. A few sesame seeds never did any harm, either. They’re so satisfying and, after the initial time outlay, so quick and easy. It’s something a little bit different and, although my dumplings will never be as good as Dorshi’s, they’re pretty darn tasty, too. 

Easy Pork Gyoza

A word of warning: these will stick to the steamer! I used my standard metal steamer (the one I use for veggies), and the first time I had a bit of a disaster, with the wrappers all ripping open, leaving everything a bit of a mess. The next time I greased the steam with a little bit of olive oil before putting in the gyoza, and there were no problems! I’m sure there are more technical ways of doing it, or equipment you can buy (one of those bamboo ones, perhaps?!) but I was working with what I had!

Oh, you can also stick the steamed gyoza in a frying pan if you want a slightly crispier finish, but I like them just steamed. 

Easy Pork Gyoza

Easy Pork & Chilli Gyozas
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pack of gyoza wrappers (around 50)
  2. 500g pork mince
  3. 1 chilli, finely chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  5. 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. grated ginger
  7. 1 tsp. fish sauce
  8. 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  9. water
Instructions
  1. Mix together the mince, chilli, garlic, spring onions, ginger, fish sauce and soy sauce until well incorporated. You want an even mix of all the ingredients and flavours in each dumpling!
  2. Place around a tablespoon in the centre of each wrapper. Wet the edges and fold over until sealed.
  3. Wet the sealed edge and pleat gently all the way along.
  4. Set on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Try not to place them too close together, as they'll stick together!
  5. Repeat until all the mixture or all the wrappers are used up.
  6. Steam for 12-14 minutes until the centres are piping hot.
Notes
  1. You can freeze the gyozas by placing the baking tray(s) in the freezer - make sure the gyozas aren't touching as they'll stick together and potentially rip when cooked. Once they're frozen, you can transfer to bags or tupperware. You can cook the gyoza from frozen - just steam for 15-17 minutes and make sure the insides are hot before eating.
Adapted from Persephone H
Adapted from Persephone H
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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The Best Ever Salad

Spring Salad

I am a recent salad convert. The salads of my past were sad, uninspiring things, and as such I avoided them. Particularly in restaurants. Who orders a salad in a restaurant?! A fool, that’s who. Something has switched for me, though – and I think this salad might be the culprit. Far from forcing it down in the name of health, this salad makes me want to devour it daily. No limp lettuce or too-crunchy croutons. Now I’m craving salad regularly – the fresh flavours, the delicious dressings and, a little bit, the feeling of smug satisfaction.

Spring Salad

This salad is good for you. Boy, is it good for you. Body and soul. Using the very best of British springtime produce, there are plenty of crunchy green veggies in there, complimented by the saltiness of the parma ham, the slight punch of mustard and the zing of lemon. It’s all in the textures, too. Really crisp radishes, slightly charred tenderstem broccoli, creamy mozzarella. If this is starting to sound like a love letter, I guess that’s because it kind of is. I love this salad. I love it for lunch. I love it served on a giant platter as a starter for four. I love it for dinner, with crusty bread to mop up the dressing. I love it when I’m eating it, and I love it when I’m not. I want it everyday. This really is the best ever salad. 

Spring Salad

The Best Ever Salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ball of mozzarella
  2. 250g purple-sprouting or tenderstem broccoli, trimmed
  3. 1 small soft-leaved lettuce, washed & leaves removed
  4. 5-10 radishes, sliced
  5. 6-8 slices parma ham
  6. olive oil
  7. zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
  8. 1 big squidge honey
  9. 1 tsp. wholegrain mustard
  10. seasoning
Instructions
  1. Drain the mozzarella and leave to come to room temperature.
  2. Toss the broccoli with some olive oil and seasoning until lightly coated. Heat a large frying pan and gently fry the broccoli until warm and cooked through, but with a little bite - around 4-5 minutes.
  3. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate or platter and cover with the broccoli. Scatter over the slices radishes and tear over the mozzarella and parma ham.
  4. Mix together the lemon zest, juice, honey and mustard. Whisk in around 50ml of olive oil and season to taste - it should be sweet and sharp. If it gets too oily, add more lemon juice and mustard.
Notes
  1. Serve with crusty bread. There should be enough for 2 for a light meal, or 4 as a starter or snack.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

I love to cook (and to eat). I cook every day but there are still so many basic things that I have never even tried or considered turning my hand to, for fear that they would be too difficult or time-consuming. For someone who spends so much time in the kitchen, I can be pretty lazy (hello, shop-bought pastry…). It’s something I’m trying to work on this year – my New Year’s resolutions were to bake more bread and make more pastry and so far I’m on track, although certainly not an expert in either (yet) – but it has inspired me to start experimenting a bit more.

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Lemon curd was one such experiment – and a very successful one at that. I was making a batch of blueberry scones and was just about to buy a jar of lemon curd to accompany them, when it struck me that I could give making it a go. A quick Google of the recipe confirmed that it was so much easier than I had originally thought it might be (no sugar thermometers in sight!) and so I gathered up my ingredients and gave it a whirl. Believe me when I say that this might be one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever tried, proving once and for all that I should stop being a kitchen wuss and get stuck in to some new recipes every once in a while. The resulting curd is sweet and tangy and ever so satisfying sat in a big jar in my fridge. There’s nothing quite like that smugness that comes from making something yourself, is there? 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd
Yields 500
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Ingredients
  1. zest & juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
  2. 200g caster sugar
  3. 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  4. 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, as if you were melting chocolate. Heat until the butter has melted, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and pour into the lemon mixture. Whisk to combine the two.
  3. Leave to cook over the pan of water for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before spooning into a sterilised jar. Pop in the fridge until you fancy a snack!
Notes
  1. Here's a little tutorial on how to sterilise jars: http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/how-to-sterilise-jars/
Adapted from BBC Food
Adapted from BBC Food
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Garlic & Thyme Mushrooms on Toast

Mushrooms on Toast

Sometimes the simple things really are the best. Fresh bedding. A hug. the first snowdrop of Spring. And Mushrooms on Toast. There’s no need to complicate it – this dish is simple and all the better for it. A chance encounter in an almost-empty fridge led me to this recipe and I’ve been hooked ever since. I don’t think anyone can resist a slice of hot, buttered toast – even more so when it’s topped with earthy mushrooms in a garlicky cream sauce. The perfect lunchtime snack for this bitterly cold time of year. 

Mushrooms on Toast

Garlic & Thyme Mushrooms on Toast
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. a big knob of unsalted butter
  2. 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  3. 1 clove of garlic, minced or finely grated
  4. 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  5. 30ml double cream
  6. 1-2 slices of toast
  7. Parmesan, to serve
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms are starting to soften, adding more butter if they start to stick.
  2. Add the garlic and thyme and stir together. Cook for 2 minutes more until mushrooms are soft and the garlic has cooked through - try not to let it brown.
  3. Pour in the cream and stir. Leave for a minute, stirring occasionally, until the cream has thickened.
  4. Serve the mushrooms on top of a slice or two of toast with a liberal grating of Parmesan.
Notes
  1. I used a mixture of button mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms but really any mushrooms will do!
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Mushrooms on Toast

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Easy Chocolate Fudge

Easy Chocolate Fudge

I have dreams of opening a chocolaterie. This is a new dream, borne of reading ‘Chocolat’ too many times, and certainly not one that is likely to come to fruition any time soon, my chocolate-making skills being what they are. But the thought of being surrounded by the smell of melting chocolate all day, tying boxes of treats with luxurious ribbons and spreading joy with truffles and caramels is definitely a tempting one. To keep the dream alive, I bought the ‘Chocolat’ recipe book and satisfied my chocolate cravings by losing myself in its pages and then opting for the simplest recipe – Chocolate Fudge. I’ve made three batches so far, with different ratios of dark/milk chocolate, and each one has been devoured by colleagues, friends and, um, me within hours of opening the tin. It’s just irresistible. If you’re looking for an easy DIY present for Christmas, or just fancy putting a smile on someone’s face, make this fudge, and be sure to snaffle a few pieces before you give it away. 

Easy Chocolate Fudge

Easy Chocolate Fudge
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Ingredients
  1. 300g dark chocolate
  2. 100g milk chocolate
  3. 397g sweetened condensed milk
  4. 25g unsalted butter
  5. 100g icing sugar
  6. 40g cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Line a square baking tin with baking paper and leave to one side.
  2. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat when fully melted.
  3. In a separate saucepan, gently heat the butter and condensed milk until the butter is melted and the mixture is warmed through.
  4. Mix together with the chocolate. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and stir together until fully combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and use a knife to smooth the top. Place in the fridge for at least an hour until set.
  6. Remove the fudge from the fridge and cut using a knife warmed under the hot tap for a minute (it helps cut through). Dust with cocoa powder and enjoy!
Adapted from Joanne Harris & Fran Warde
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

 

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