Posts from the “Foodie forum” Category

Feast your eyes on this

The Cotswolds called to us and we wellied up and went running – to Alex James’ farm to be precise. A magical land filled with music, merry-go-rounds and food, glorious food. Here are a few of the tastiest titbits from our BIG Feastival weekend.

INTRODUCING: All the fun of the fair!

INTRODUCING: When Boden met Alex James from BLUR!

INTRODUCING: Jamie Oliver’s chum and our favourite food blogger Miss Foodwise with her fave Feastival treat, one of Pizza Pilgrims finest!

INTRODUCING: Sasha from Liberty London Girl added a touch of Boden to her Feastival ensembles. See more stylish snaps over on her blog.

INTRODUCING: Shini of blog Park & Cube who attended Feastival with blogger friends Kit of Styleslicker and Helen of MSQT.

INTRODUCING: Mini Darth and his family including blogger mum Lou from Little Green Shed.

Thank you also to Alyson from That’s Not My Age and Kate from Fabric of my Life for accompanying us on our foodie adventure. Same time next year?

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The Boden Blends

Quench your thirst with this cocktail of concoctions from Boden staff…

Cocktail: Mike’s Mojito

Who: Mike

Job: Senior Production Manager

Ingredients: Rum |Brown sugar | Fresh mint | Soda water | Lots of ice and a slice

Sipping soundtrack: “It’s Alright, I Feel it (feat. Jocelyn Brown)” by Masters at Work

Most enjoyed: Rainbow Room in New York

Cocktail: Whisky Mac

Who: Lawrence

Job: Email Marketing Manager

Ingredients: Whiskey | Ginger Wine | Crushed ice

Sipping soundtrack: Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks

Most enjoyed: On a sunny afternoon

Mocktail: Mauby and Cane Sugar Cooler

Who: Nelissa

Job: Assistant Marketing Manager

Ingredients: Mauby (Caribbean tree bark syrup) |Pure Cane Sugar Juice | Crushed ice

Sipping soundtrack: Vibes Cyah Done by Machel Montano

Most enjoyed: In Trinidad

Cocktail: White Russian

Who: Sharna

Job: Email Campaign Executive

Ingredients: Cream | Milk | Coffee Liqueur | Vodka | Ice

Sipping soundtrack: In homage to the drink, Lets Get in On, Barry White!

Feel good factor: High. It’s creamy and yummy, makes you just want to be lying in the sun kicking back.

Most enjoyed: On holiday in Lombok, Indonesia

Cocktail: Pisco Sour

Who: Jayne

Job: Online Editor

Ingredients: Pisco | Lemon juice | White sugar | Egg white | Ice | Blend to smooth

Sipping soundtrack: Float on by Modest Mouse

Most enjoyed: In a restaurant over-looking the beach at Lima

Cocktail: Lychee Martini

Who: Chloë

Job: Social Media Manager

Ingredients: Vodka | Kwai Feh Lychee Liqueur | Lychee Juice & Lychee to garnish

Sipping soundtrack: Blondie, Heart of Glass

Most enjoyed: With a smile

1 Comment

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Rich, dark and velvety, this cake will make the most of any left over stout from Saturday’s celebrations.

Louise from www.iloveweekendbaking.wordpress.com says: “Whilst you can’t actually taste the Guinness, it definitely adds a deepness to the flavour.  The texture is so lusciously smooth that I like to use a crunchy meringue topping, but you could use a simple cream cheese icing if you prefer.”

 

Ingredients:

250ml Guinness

250g unsalted butter

75g cocoa powder

400g caster sugar

142ml sour cream

2 medium eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

275g plain flour

2 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

3 tbsp blackberry jam

 

For the meringue:

3 medium egg whites

165g caster sugar

 

Method:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 23cm spring form tin.

2. Heat the butter and Guinness in a large saucepan until the butter has melted.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar until there are no lumps and the mixture is well combined.

3. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract and add to the chocolate mix folding through until combined.  Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda and whisk through.

4. Pour the mix into the springform tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

5. Once cool, remove from the tin.  Use a skewer to punch holes through the top of the cake.  Heat up the jam in a saucepan over a low heat and use a pastry brush to brush over the top of the cake.  Leave for the jam to cool.

6. To make the meringue, break three egg whites into a large clean bowl.  Don’t forget the eggs will expand once whisked! (Use a clean tea towel or kitchen paper to remove any grease from the bowl before using.)  Use an electric whisk, or plenty of elbow grease to whisk the whites until foamy and it forms soft floppy peaks.  Add a third of the sugar and whisk until thickened.  Continue to gradually add the sugar and whisk until all combined and the meringue forms stiff peaks.

7. Wrap a double-folded strip of baking paper around the sides of the cake with a piece of string.  Then transfer the meringue into a piping bag to decorate the cake, or use a spatula and fork to spread it over and spike it up.

8. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 150°C until the top is crunchy and the middle is still squidgy.  You could also use a baking blowtorch or a grill on a low heat.

9. As an alternative, you could whip up this quick dessert using the same recipe.  Bake the cake as above.  Heat a handful of blackberries in a saucepan with a splash of water and a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar.  Use a potato masher to crush the berries and heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Strain through a sieve to separate the seeds.

10. Divide between serving glasses with a few berries in the bottom of each.  Crumble up the cake and spoon into the glasses.  Top with a layer of crumbled meringue that you could either make or buy.  Speedy and scrummy, and you’ll most likely have a slice or two of cake leftover to enjoy!

 

www.twitter.com/love_baking

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Apple Brown Betty from Mary Berry

Mary Berry is possibly the sweetest lady in the baking world and author of hoards of cookery books – most of which are undoubtedly smeared with sploshes of lovingly prepared recipes, the clear sign of a beloved recipe book. Today she introduces her Apple Brown Betty – the perfect pud for a Mother’s Day lunch.

Mary Berry says: “Apple Brown Betty is a classic British pudding which brings back memories of childhood. Raw apples are tossed in sugar, cinnamon and a dash of lemon, and then layered with buttered breadcrumbs, finishing with a sprinkling of sugar and baked until golden brown. Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice-cream – a winner on Mothering Sunday”.

 

Ingredients (serves 6)

30-45 g butter

175 g stale breadcrumbs

1 kg cooking apples, quartered, cored, peeled and thinly sliced

125 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1 tpsp lemon juice

1-2 tpsp ground cinnamon

Use a deep1.5-2 litre ovenproof dish

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs and stir over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the crumbs are crisp and golden. Remove from the heat.

Toss the apples with the caster sugar, lemon juice, and ground cinnamon.

Press one-quarter of the crisp breadcrumbs over the bottom of the dish.

Cover with half of the apple mixture and sprinkle with a further one-quarter of the breadcrumbs.

Arrange the remaining apple mixture on top of the breadcrumbs, spoon over any juices, and cover with the remaining breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the top of the pudding lightly with caster sugar.

Cover the dish with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (180°C fan, Gas 6) for about 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue baking for a further 20 minutes or until the apples are tender and the top is golden brown. Serve warm.

For more yummy recipes from Mary Berry, there’s oodles to choose from in her Complete Cookbook.

12 Comments

Hummingbird Bakery’s Blueberry Crumble Loaf

We love cake at Boden, in all its many guises. But we rarely indulge a sweet loaf, it just isn’t as common around these parts as its circular cousin. However, if any loaf could woo us away from our tea-time staple it’s a wedge of Blueberry Crumble Loaf from our friends at Hummingbird Bakery. De-lish…

Blueberries are the all-American berry, but you can use other types. As you can see from the picture, the berries will sink as the loaf cooks.

Serves 8–10

 

For the sponge

190g (7oz) unsalted butter,

softened, plus extra

for greasing

190g (7oz) plain flour,

plus extra for dusting

190g (7oz) caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

25ml (1fl oz) whole milk

100g (3½oz) fresh or frozen

(and defrosted) blueberries

50g (1¾oz) pecans, chopped

 

For the crumble topping

25g (1oz) plain flour

10g (⅓oz) unsalted butter

15g (½oz) soft light brown sugar

20g (¾oz) pecans, chopped

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

One 8.5 x 17.5cm (3½ x 7in)

loaf tin with 7.5cm (3in) sides

 

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3, then grease the loaf tin

with butter and dust with flour.

 

2. First make the crumble topping. In a bowl, rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in the remaining ingredients, and then set aside.

 

3. Next make the sponge. Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Break the eggs in one at a time, mixing well, on a medium speed, after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure every bit of the mixture is incorporated.

 

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon, then add in three stages to the creamed butter and eggs, pouring in the milk after the second batch has been added. Mix well on a medium speed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl once again to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.

 

5. Increase the speed to medium-to-high and continue mixing until the batter is smooth and even, then add the blueberries and chopped pecans, stirring them into the batter by hand and making sure they are evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top.

 

6. Bake in the oven for 50–60 minutes or until the sponge feels firm and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, with no cake batter sticking to it. Allow the loaf to cool a little before turning it out of the tin on to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into slices to serve.

*A tip for home bakers. Only fill the tin two thirds full in case of over rising.

If you’d like to try your hand at this recipe by Tarek Malouf or one of the others in the yummy Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days buy your copy here.

 

22 Comments

One Pot Wonder Roast Chicken

After a hard days graft at Boden House we want something for tea that quickens our step on the walk home just so we get a little closer to gobbling it up. This one pot roast from Abel & Cole may be weekend only fodder for many but it’s actually pretty low prep and superbly satisfying.  

Gaz (aka Gary Congress) is our brilliant photographer. He’s also a fantastic cook. This is his rockin’ one pot chicken recipe – with the veg, the bird and the gravy all in one pot.

Prep: 15 mins / Cook: 1 hr 30 mins

Serves: 4 – 6 people

 

Ingredients

1.4kg chicken*

A few onions and/or leeks

A few carrots

Some spuds or some root veg (apart from beetroot – unless you want a pink chick!)

A few crushed garlic cloves

1 orange or lemon, halved

A handful of rosemary, thyme or a few bay leaves

A glass of white wine

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

A drizzle of olive oil

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

2. Remove the giblets from the bird. Use them to make a stock with the bones. Place the chicken in a lidded pot – one big enough for the bird and some veg around it.

3. Peel (if needed) and roughly chop your veg. Cozy it up in the pot around the chicken. Toss a few cloves in the pot.

4. Halve your orange/lemon. Squeeze a little juice over, then pop the rest in the cavity of the chicken.

5. Add some herbs: chopped and scattered over or whole and tucked into the pot. Season well. Pour the wine in. Gloss with olive oil.

6. Cover with lid. Pop in the oven for 1 hr.

7. Uncover. Crank the heat up to 220°C/Gas 8. Let the bird brown for 20-30 mins, till nicely golden. Test that it’s done by piercing the fat part of the leg with a knife. If the juices run clear, it’s done.

8. Let it rest for 15-30 mins before carving, the longer the better – up to an hour is perfectly suitable. It will stay surprisingly warm.

Delicious with the accompanying veg and some quickly cooked up seasonal greens.

*If you want to cook a larger chicken, add an extra 5 mins to the cooking time for each 100g added to the weight.

The lovely folk and Abel & Cole have also given us an offer for their super healthy, vitamin crammed fruit and veg boxes: Simply enter code HEALTHYVEG at the checkout.  This offer will allow Boden Community members to receive a free Abel and Cole cookbook with their order (while stocks last) and a 4th veg box free. Enjoy!

7 Comments

Stack em up!

Some like pancakes with lemon and a sprinkle of sugar, many prefer a smear of chocolate spread and the odd few shun the sweet and sticky sauces in favour for a savoury fix like cheese – or even Marmite (yes – we know)! Today our social wiz kid Hayley brings us some of her favoured fillings…

Pancake Day takes me back to being a kid when I would come home from school and my dad would be flipping around lots of glorious golden circles in the kitchen and then it would be my turn to see if I could successfully manage a flip. Rarely did one of mine make it! We’d then pile them up on a plate and pass the lemon and sugar around the table and eat, eat, eat, until our bellies were full, occasionally adding a drop of jam to one or two.

Now, whether it’s nostalgia or just the sheer yumminess –pancake day never fails to deliver that warm fuzzy feeling. However now I’m all grown-up, I’m a little more experimental with my toppings. Here’s a few recipes I like to rustle up…

Blueberries and Cream

Grab a box of fresh blueberries or a dollop of compote if you can’t get hold of  any, plus some whipping cream. I’ll come clean – I used squirty cream from a tube (Anchor) but if you can whip up your own it’s probably a bit tastier.

I went for a stacking/layering method. Great fun and super indulgent.

Here’s my trio of pancakes laced with layers of cream oozing out of the middle and blueberries scattered on top. Cut them up so you eat all three layers in one go!

Strawberries and Cream

Keeping my theme of fresh fruit and cream, strawberries and cream never fails to hit the spot. I also sloshed some strawberry syrup over the top – the kind you get from the ice-cream man – addictive and naughty but nice.

Tip: Use cookie cutters to create pancake shapes such as hearts or stars. Make sure you butter the cutters first so the batter doesn’t stick and be careful with getting the cooked pancake out as the cutter will be piping hot.

Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

We’re all familiar with the Nutella crêpe which has become a well known family favourite but I’m an even bigger fan of chocolate if it’s icy cold! Yummy hot pancakes, ice cold ice-cream and a dribble of warm chocolate sauce = perfection.

Chocolate, Fruit and Nut

I love this crunch combo of cashew nuts, chocolate coated nuts and raisins with a chocolate sauce. The raisins can be added on top of the pancakes or even to the batter before you fry.

Also, we had to share these snaps from our BC Queen of Pancakes Melanie, who managed to create an aligator shaped treat and also spelt out her love for Boden in her frying pan. Bravo!

Check out Melanie’s pancake blog here. Happy Pancake Day!

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Expert advice on creating Party bags with pizzazz

We’ve called in children’s party pundit Lorraine for the lowdown on party protocol for small sorts.

I work for The Party Times and we are an online magazine that specialises in all things party!  I have two children aged 2 and 8, and am lucky enough to now be able to work from home so I juggle work with school and nursery runs, watching endless clips of Peppa Pig, trying to lose baby Annabel and arguing about homework.

Here are my top ten tips for children’s party bags!

1. Back to Basics – Remember that no child cares how much money has been spent! Bright colours and their own name on the bag are what count. For the teeniest tots simply taking home their own balloon, a board book or a bath toy will give them plenty to smile about.

2. Beat the budget – Throwing a party can become expensive, especially if you’ve got lots of guests. Cost-cutting corners could include decorating brown paper bags with stickers, felt tips and writing on the child’s name. Filling each party bag with a handful of sweets and some bubbles is an easy and inexpensive option too. Ready-to-pack party bag kits are often an economical alternative.

3. Food Allergies – Check first that none of the invited children have any food allergies. If they do, then avoid putting any sweets, chocolate or cake in them, or keep special bags separate and clearly named.

4. Be Prepared – Always have a couple of spare party bags up your sleeve just in case someone who wasn’t able to come suddenly appears.

5. Varied Ages - Quite often siblings will come to younger parties so don’t be afraid to have some different party bag bits for older guests.

6. Out of Sight – Don’t have a table of bags in the room throughout the party as they will distract the children’s attention away from food, games and other fun. Keep the bags hidden away till the end and bring them out as an exciting surprise at home-time.

7. Get Crafty – If you have a craft activity during your party such as painting or cookie decorating, guests can take these home as a souvenir of a great day. They could decorate their own party box or bag as an activity too.

8. Lucky Dip – Instead of a traditional party bag, saying goodbye at the door with a lucky dip is a fun idea. Wrap all the little gifts for extra excitement – cotton bags are cute and can be used again.  You could have a dip for the boys and one for the girls.

I love these cotton ones we stock over on Party Pieces:


9. Party themes - If you are hosting a character or themed party then surprise them by ensuring the party bag goodies all relate to their chosen theme! Peppa Pig and her brother George are popular with boys and girls so these kits will keep them amused for hours.

10. Party Cake - When sending pieces of birthday cake home with little ones use delightful little cake slice boxes to avoid the gorgeous cake being squashed before it gets home. You could make your own or buy in some like these ones.

Of course, every party bag needs a slice of cake. For something a little different how about this fairy cake recipe from Fiona Cairns?

Blueberry yogurt fairy cakes

 

These delicious cakes, oozing with blueberries, will convince even the most health-conscious that eating cake can be a fairly wholesome experience! Ring the changes by using raspberries or blackberries, or a mixture.

MAKES 36

For the cakes:

36 paper fairy cake cases

300g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

220g plain yogurt, at room temperature

2 eggs, lightly beaten

170g golden caster sugar

125g unsalted butter, melted
and cooled

200g blueberries

1 tsp vanilla extract

finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

For the topping:

600g cream cheese (half-fat, if you prefer)

120g golden icing sugar, sifted

grape violet food colour paste

To decorate:

250g blueberries

3 tbsp caster sugar

squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C/340°F/gas mark 3½.

Line fairy cake trays with the paper cases. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, eggs, sugar and butter using a large spoon. Add the flour mixture, berries, vanilla and lemon zest. Stir until combined, but do not over-mix. Divide between the cases and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the cakes spring back to the touch. (You may need to bake in batches.) Stand for a few minutes in the trays, then remove to cool on a wire rack.

To make the topping, beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar. Add enough food colour to make a pale lilac. Divide the cream cheese between the cakes.

For the decoration, place the blueberries in a pan with the sugar, lemon juice and 1 tbsp water. Very lightly stew together for a minute or two, then strain the blueberries and dry on kitchen towel. Reduce the blueberry syrup in the pan until quite sticky and, when cool, swirl a little on to the frosting on each cake using the back of a spoon. Just before serving, place about three of the blueberries on each cake.

(If you don’t wish to poach the blueberries and drizzle over the syrup, then simply top each cake with a few uncooked blueberries.)

Enjoy!

Lorraine x

From THE BIRTHDAY CAKE BOOK by FIONA CAIRNS, published by Quadrille (£18.99, hardback)

Photos ©LAURA EDWARDS

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Miss Hope’s Valentine Rasberry Marshmallows

Who better to turn for a sticky sweet Valentine’s treat than the delectable Miss Hope of Hope & Greenwood fame? Our sentiments exactly…    

Warming up for Valentine’s Day I had the enormous pleasure of making this truly delicious fresh raspberry studded, sticky, fluffy, marshmallow for my Boden girlfriends at the Rosey O’Conner’s Hip and Thigh exercise class. There is nothing I like more than to wiz up a batch of sticky marshmallow while still wearing my nightie. I love my Boden girlfriends, the tall ones, the small ones the lumpy bumpy ones. The ladies there were so excited they fashioned me a throne out of Ryvita crackers and crowned me with a Vanilla and Chocolate Muller light with sprinkles.

Makes around 25 thigh expanding cubes.

It takes about 1hour to make but please allow for setting times of 2 hours

For the Mallow

1 lb (450g) Sugar
1 tbsp Liquid glucose
7 fl oz. (200ml) Water

1 sachet of powdered gelatine
4 fl oz (115ml) hot water

2 large egg whites (or dried egg if you are feeling a bit wartime)
For the Raspberry Coulis

10oz (300g) fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp caster sugar

To Dust

Icing Sugar
Cornflour

You will need

20cm sq. x 4cm H. (8″ x 1½”) square baking tin lined with greaseproof paper.

A very large pan

Sugar thermometer

1. Place roughly half the fresh raspberries (set the other half aside for decoration later) in a pan with the caster sugar. Cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes, stirring until it is a lovely ruby red mush. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl, pressing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a metal spoon. Leave to cool.

2. Line the baking tray with parchment and, using a sieve shake equal amounts of icing sugar and cornflower until the parchment is lightly dusted.

3. Put the sugar, glucose and water into a heavy-based pan and give it a quick stir. Bring to a gentle boil and continue cooking for about 15 long minutes until the mixture reaches 260°F (127°C) on a sugar thermometer.

4. While you are waiting sprinkle the gelatine over the 4 fl oz (115ml) of hot water (following the makers guidelines) making sure it is dissolved properly.

5. Locate you electric whisk and whisk the 2 egg whites together in a large mixing bowl until stiff.

6. When the syrup reaches the correct temperature remove it from the heat and remove the thermometer. Pour the gelatine into the syrup. Be careful it will bubble and spit like Mr Greenwood when spaghetti son has stolen his socks.

7. Still whisking slowly add the syrup and gelatine mixture to the eggs. With the mixer on fast, whisk for a further 20-25 minutes until the mixture is thick, shiny and holding its shape reasonably well on the whisk. This seems like ages, you could probably read all of War and Peace.

8. Using a spoon gently fold the raspberry coulis through the mallow mixture to create a rippled effect.

9. Spoon half the mallow mixture into the dusted tin and place the reserved raspberries over the top. Spoon the remainder of the mallow mix over the top of the fresh raspberries, smooth with a flat knife if necessary.

10. Leave the mallow to set for about 2 hours. Dust a second piece of parchment with icing sugar and cornflour. Turn the mallow out on to the paper. Cut into squares, dust the cut edges and leave to dry on a wire rack.

Handy Hint

Make a white Chocolate Dipping Sauce – Melt 200g of white chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, pour into a clean bowl and dip away.

 

Not ones to shy away from a calorie laden snack, we’ll be knocking up a few batches of these moreish mallows in the Boden kitchen. How about you? 

17 Comments

Tuscan(ish) chickpea soup from Renée Elliott

Cold weather – no problem! As long as there are warm things in plentiful supply close at hand. Ideally a roaring log fire – not so ideal, the scalding heat from the radiator burning your bum. To warm you up from the inside out, how about a cauldron of chickpea soup bubbling away on the stove? This recipe from our friend Renée is just the thing.

Well, I can’t say there is much going on here.  Even our dog, Gumbo, just sits in my flowerpot for most of the day, to avoid the North wind.

It’s cold, but no rain means no snow on the mountain, so the kids can’t go sledding or skiing.  For them, it’s long days at school followed by evening fires and hot water bottles.  At times like this, all I want is food that is warm and filling and nourishing.  But as usual, as a working mother with three kids, cooking must be easy, healthy and delicious.

This morning, I took Gumbo for his walk and wondered what to make for supper.  Luckily, I’d put a cup of chickpeas in water to soak overnight with the thought of making hummus, but even though we’d enjoy it with hot bread straight from the oven, the thought of dip is chilling.

I start dreaming about the warming, filling chickpea soup that I had in a local restaurant a few weeks ago so I decided to have a go at a version of my own, adding a little cayenne pepper, which is oh so warming and Southern (my Mom is fromNew Orleans).  I also throw in spinach to add another veg.

The traditional Tuscan Chickpea Soup is served with a slice of bread or bits of bread in it.  But…I’m not a fan of soggy bread – and white bread just doesn’t cut it with me – so I serve the soup over cooked brown rice (in the style of Creole gumbo), and then it makes a complete meal for us and the kids.

Tuscan(ish) Chickpea Soup

This thick, filling soup is inspired by the classic Zuppa de Ceci that I’ve enjoyed in Tuscany.  You can cook your own beans as in the recipe below – or use tinned to make this meal even quicker and easier.

SERVES: 4

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes

COOKING TIME: 2 hours and 10 minutes (30 minutes if using tinned beans)

STORAGE:  Refrigerate soup and rice for up to 3 days.  Freeze the soup for up to 3 months.

200g/7oz/1 cup dried chickpeas or 500g/1lb 2oz cooked

1 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar

1/2 strip of kombu seaweed, 8x10cm/3¼ x 2in, cut into tiny pieces (optional)

2 large tomatoes, chopped, or 200g/7oz tinned chopped tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 head of garlic, cloves peeled

90g/3¼oz frozen spinach, chopped (easiest to chop while partially frozen)

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1½ tsp fine sea salt

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

grated parmesan cheese, to serve

cooked brown rice, to serve

1 Put the dried chickpeas, vinegar and double the volume of warm water in a medium saucepan and leave to soak, covered, overnight at room temperature.

2 Drain the water and rinse the beans well.  Cover generously with water and bring to the boil over a high heat.  Boil hard for 10 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the surface.  Reduce the heat to low, add the kombu (if using) and simmer, covered, for 1½ hours, adding boiling water if necessary to ensure the beans stay covered.

3 Pour off any excess water so that the water just covers the beans.  Add the tomato, onion, garlic, spinach and cayenne pepper, and simmer on low for another 30 minutes until the beans and vegetables are soft.  Add the salt and olive oil.  Serve hot over brown rice, with extra oil and grated parmesan, if desired.

A huge range of products is available on-line from Planet Organic.  If you live in London, you can receive fresh products.   Planet Organic offer Boden Community members a 10 per cent discount, so type in BODEN in the discount code.

For more recipes you and your family will enjoy, check out “The Best Recipes for Babies & Toddlers” (by me) in the book section of the website.  Not just for babies, the book has recipes from 12 months that are great for the whole family.

Eat well; live better.

Renée Elliott

Founder, Planet Organic

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