Creamy Veggie Tortellini Soup

Creamy Veggie Tortellini Soup

The weather has turned decidedly autumnal hasn't it? I don't mind as I love Autumn, but I'm having to try really hard to resist the temptation to turn the heating on. *MUST NOT TURN IT ON BEFORE HALLOWEEN*

The problem is I work from home a few days a week so by lunchtime my feet have usually turned to ice blocks and my fingers have turned purple (maybe I need to type faster?). I always try and go on a long power walk on my lunch break to get the circulation going again and to clear my head - it helps a lot but I also crave warm and filling meals at this time of year to keep me going until dinner time, which seems to be getting later and later thanks to the kids after school activities. On Mondays the eldest two have swimming lessons, On Tuesdays my daughter has gymnastics after school, all three then go to the village youth club and my eldest daughter also has brownies. Wednesdays is football training for my son (and hubby has recently come out of retirement!). Thursdays is a double whammy of netball for eldest daughter and nursery day for youngest. Fridays it's tennis, Saturday football matches and Sundays...well Sundays are now filled with hockey training and matches. Phew. No wonder my head feels like it's about to explode trying to remember where everyone is and what time they need picking up - it's like a military operation. On top of this manic schedule I work 30 hours a week, so it feels like I'm on a little hamster wheel until the holidays come around. I shouldn't complain - I love being busy, but sometimes I crave a quiet calm evening where we can all sit down and eat dinner without it being a rush.

Creamy Veggie Tortellini Soup

Back to the recipe and this creamy vegetable tortellini soup is just perfect for cooler Autumn days when you need something filling to stop you reaching for the biscuit tin mid afternoon - I crave carbs like crazy when its cold. I chuck in whatever vegetables I have, so it could be anything ranging from courgettes, peas, carrots, sweetcorn, peppers or spinach. I also make a mushroom version (I'll post it soon) with mushroom tortellini and sliced chestnut mushrooms - it's a bit more grown up, especially with a bit of blue cheese added at the end. I really do LOVE this soup though and in my opinion there's no better lunch at this time of year.

I know I tell you to try all of my recipes, but you really do need to try this!

Creamy Veggie Tortellini Soup

CREAMY VEGGIE TORTELLINI SOUP




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Creamy Veggie Tortellini Soup
Creamy Veggie Tortellini Soup
A creamy vegetable tortellini soup made with spinach and ricotta tortellini, fresh spinach leaves, peas and carrots in a creamy cheesy soup.
Ingredients
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
  • 3 TSBP Plain Flour
  • 600ml Vegetable Stock
  • 300g Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini
  • 100g Fresh Spinach
  • 50g Frozen Peas
  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
Instructions
Step 1: In a large pan gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots and Italian Seasoning in a little butter for about 5 minutes.Step 2: Stir in the plain flour then add the stock. Bring to the boil to thicken then turn down the heat.Step 3: Add the tortellini, spinach and peas to the soup and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the cream, parmesan and nutmeg.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield 4 bowls

I'm entering this recipe into the Pasta Please blogging challenge hosted by Jac and Chris and also Honest Mums Brilliant Blog Posts Linky
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Meal Plan 19th - 25th September 2016

Meal Plan

Autumn has arrived it seems so this weeks meals are going to involve frugal comfort food at its best. I took unpaid leave in August so I could spend the summer with the kids....hence we're a bit low on funds at the moment. I'm really hoping I can scrape to payday on Friday without going into the red.

Here's what I've come up with thanks to my well stocked freezer and cupboards!

Monday 19th September
Two Sausage Pasta Bake using Debbie&Andrews new Buttered Onion and Mustard Sausages and spicy Chorizo

Tuesday 20th September
Pea and Cheddar Risotto

Wednesday 21st September
Frittata and HM Sweet Potato Wedges

Thursday 22nd September
Fish Finger Sandwiches

Friday 23rd September
Brie and Ham Panini's with Coleslaw

Saturday 24th September
Slow Cooker Chicken Korma, Rice and Naans

Sunday 25th September
Roast Gammon, Roast Sweet Potato, Cauli and Broccoli Cheese, Carrots and Stuffing

Dreamy Vanilla Cupcakes with a Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes

Debenhams kindly asked me to try out some products from their baking range recently. I said yes of course and a lovely big parcel arrived last weekend full of baking goodies including numerous icing tools, palette knives, a pie bird (something I’ve always wanted and a blackberry and apple pie is definitely on the list to make this weekend!), a rather cool retro looking flour sifter, a sugar shaker, lots of pretty cupcake cases and some icing bags with different size nozzles. The first recipe I made, trialling some of the products, were these Dreamy Vanilla Cupcakes with a super smooth buttercream frosting. I was really keen to try out this icing bag and nozzle kit and was impressed with how well the icing went on! They didn’t look half bad given I’ve never been that good at icing cakes. I usually leave cake decoration to my Mother in Law who is a chef and cake decorator extraordinaire…but I’m very tempted to have a go at some more intricate icing designs using some of the icing tools and crimpers that were sent to me.

These Dreamy Vanilla Cupcakes were light and fluffy with a silky smooth creamy buttercream frosting - perfect for a child’s birthday party. My three, well four if you count hubby, polished off the whole lot in 2 days. You gotta love buttercream, although not so much when your 18 month old wipes it in their lovely clean hair!

Vanilla Cupcakes

DREAMY VANILLA CUPCAKES




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Dreamy Vanilla Cupcakes
A dreamy vanilla cupcake recipe with super smooth buttercream icing
Ingredients
  • For the Cupcakes you will need:
  • 110g Butter, softened
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 110g Self Raising Flour
  • For the Buttercream:
  • 140g Butter, softenend
  • 280g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 1 TBSP Milk
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper casesStep 2: Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract.Step 3: Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full.Step 4: Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.Step 5: For the buttercream icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until sof then add the icing usgar, milk and vanilla extract. A stand mixer is good for this but you can do it by hand. Pipe onto cooled cakes.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield: 9

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookies

To celebrate the start of the new series of Great British Bake-Off, Aldi contacted me to see if I'd like to take part in their 'Aldi's Amazing Bakes' challenge. The aim of the challenge was to rustle up a tasty baked treat on a budget using Aldi ingredients. They kindly sent me some Aldi vouchers and I headed off to their brand new store in Bideford, just a few minutes away from my office (no more 40 mile round trips to Liskeard anymore!!), to see what I could find for inspiration.

I decided to keep things simple and make some super easy chewy choc chip cookies. Perfect for after school snacks now the kids are back at school! You could vary the recipe quite easily by using raisins instead of choc chips, or maybe even some chopped nuts.

This is a great base recipe for adding your own little twist. Enjoy!

Aldi Ingredients
The Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookies

 CHEWY CHOC CHIP COOKIES




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The Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookies
Condensed milk makes these choc chip cookies extra chewy
Ingredients
  • FOR CHEWY CHOC CHIP COOKIES YOU WILL NEED
  • 220g Butter
  • 220g Caster Sugar
  • 170g tube Condensed Milk
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 100g Milk Choc Chips
  • 1 TBSP Milk
Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan)Step 2: Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl the mix in the condensed milk, vanilla extract and milk.Step 3: Add in the flour and stir to combine then fold in the choc chips.Step 4: Place walnut size balls on a greased baking sheet (you will need 2 large ones) and bake for 12 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before removing to a cooling rack.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield 30


Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Pots

Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Pots

Chocolate Pots have to be one of the easiest desserts to make (you would have to try really hard to get them wrong)....and unfortunately for the waistline, they are even easier to eat. These Chocolate Pots do have a little twist though, which sets them apart from other chocolate pot recipes and ensures a bit more of an adult taste. The Chocolate Pots here have been infused with a hint of Earl Grey tea and taste absolutely divine, especially if you're a fan of the chocolate orange combo.

O-Teas, a UK based speciality tea company, sent me some of their tea range to sample recently (I'm in love with their ginger tea which is so warming) and challenged me to use their Earl Grey tea in one of my recipes, hence these Chocolate Pots were born. This quintessentially British tea is typically a black tea, flavoured with oil from the rind of a bergamot orange. If you didn't know, bergamot is an intensely flavoured citrus fruit somewhere between the flavour of an orange and lemon, with a little grapefruit thrown in for good measure....and it works very well with chocolate!

The pyramid shaped bags make them ideal for infusing flavour and I used a couple of the tea bags to infuse the cream and milk, which forms the base of the chocolate pots. Once the cream had reached boiling point I whipped the tea bags out and poured the hot cream over the chocolate (I used half milk and half dark chocolate) to melt it. Doing it this way gave the Chocolate Pots a lovely subtle hint of earl grey flavour but if you wanted a stronger taste I would empty the contents of the tea bags into the cream then strain it through a sieve once the cream has come to the boil.

The Chocolate Pots will happily sit in the fridge for a few days so it's an ideal make ahead dessert for a summer BBQ or you could even freeze them if you wanted to. They have a fantastic silky smooth texture and are very very moreish- my waistline can vouch for that.

Chocolate Pots


Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Pots


By Beth Sachs

Ingredients:
225ml Double Cream
175ml Milk
2 Earl Grey Tea Bags
200g Milk Chocolate, chopped
200g Divine Dark Chocolate, chopped
Divine Cocoa Powder for dusting

Instructions:
Step 1: Put the cream, whole milk and tea bags in a pan and bring to the boil
Step 2: Remove the tea bags and pour the cream over the chocolate.
Step 3: Mix well and pour into small glasses. Chill before serving.

Meal Plan 15th - 21st August 2016

Meal Plan

I can't believe the school holidays are nearly half over already! At least the weather is looking up this week -  I just hope it lasts until next weekend as we're off to a wedding in Bristol. We've decided to drive up and back in a day so we don't have to fork out on a Hotel.... I forsee three very tired children on Sunday!

The kids have christened their new wetsuits today - a fab little buy from Aldi's new store in Bideford - I'll definitely be shopping there as often as I can. The choice of fruit and veg looked a lot better than my local Lidl.

Anyway on to this weeks meal plan. I'm working on a few commissioned posts this week so I've tried to incorporate them into my 'plan' where I can. What's everyone else cooking/baking this week?

Monday 15th August
Smoked Salmon and Runner Bean Pasta

Tuesday 16th August
Pea Risotto

Wednesday 17th August
Lamb Skewers with Pita Bread, Hummus and Salsa

Thursday 18th August
Slow Cooker Lemon and Garlic Chicken, Rice and Peas

Friday 19th August
Leftover Slow Cooker Lemon and Garlic Chicken and Pasta

Saturday 20th August
Off to Bristol for a wedding

Sunday 21st August
Fridgebottom Frittata

Giveaway: A Month's Supply of Kelly's Ice Cream

Kelly's Ice Cream

I recently took part in the Kelly's of Cornwall Ice Cream Scooping Challenge which is running throughout the whole of August. The aim of the challenge was to come up with a brand new Ice Cream Sundae recipe to tickle the taste buds. I obliged (obviously, because who can refuse proper Cornish Ice Cream) and came up with this amazing Strawberry Honeycomb 'Cheesecake' Sundae recipe using their Honeycomb Crunch Ice Cream.

Strawberry Honeycomb Cheesecake Sundae recipe


Kelly's have kindly given me a month's supply of Ice Cream vouchers to giveaway on my blog so one of you can enjoy a bowl (or several bowls in this case) of their yummy Cornish Ice Cream this summer. You could even try recreating my Strawberry Honeycomb 'Cheesecake' Sundae recipe, or perhaps invent a new Sundae recipe of your own.

To enter the giveaway all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Strawberry Honeycomb 'Cheesecake' Sundae

Strawberry Honeycomb Cheesecake Sundae

Kelly's of Cornwall, makers of yummy Cornish ice cream got in touch recently to see if I'd like to get involved with their Summer Scooping Challenge...er yes! The aim of the challenge was to create an Ice Cream Sundae recipe using some of their products, that would act as the perfect summer dessert.

If you know me, you will know my absolute favourite summer dessert is cheesecake - I could it eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner given the chance....and I did once! So with cheesecake firmly in mind I set about making a Strawberry 'Cheesecake' Ice Cream Sundae and ended up creating something truly amazing. They were so good I ate both myself - the kids didn't get a look in.

I used a Honeycomb Crunch ice cream for this recipe to give it some added crunchiness but a normal vanilla or strawberry would work well too. I also wanted the ice cream to be quite soft, to try and emulate the texture of a traditional cheesecake, so I took the ice cream out of the freezer about 10 minutes before scooping. However, if you wanted a firmer texture, take the ice cream out of the freezer at the time you need it and follow Kelly's top tips to get that elusive perfect scoop...
  • 1. Dip your ice cream scoop in some very hot water, then dry off with a paper towel before inserting into the ice cream.
  • 2. Use metal ice cream scoop if possible as it ensures a strong scooping action.
  • 3. Pull the scoop towards you and the ice cream should curl into a perfect scoop.

Strawberry Honeycomb 'Cheesecake' Sundae


STRAWBERRY HONEYCOMB 'CHEESECAKE' SUNDAE




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Strawberry Honeycomb 'Cheesecake' Sundae
An ice cream cheesecake sundae recipe using crushed digestive biscuits as the base, 2 scoops of honeycomb ice cream, sliced strawberries with a reduced sugar strawberry sauce drizzled on top.
Ingredients
Instructions
Step 1: Mix together the melted butter and crushed digestives in a bowl and spoon half the mixture into the 2 sundae bowls.Step 2: Place 2 scoops of Honeycomb Ice Cream into the sundae bowls. It's best if it's on the softer side so take out of the freezer about 10 minutes before using.Step 3: Place the strawberries over the top then drizzle with strawberry sauce. Finally sprinkle over the remaining digestives and serve.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield 2


Pin the Strawberry Honeycomb Cheesecake Sundae for later...
Strawberry Honeycomb Cheesecake Sundae

Strawberry Honeycomb Cheesecake Sundae

Disclosure: I received an ice cream hamper from Kelly's Ice Cream in order to take part in the challenge. All thoughts are my own.

Cornish Splits with Jam and Clotted Cream

Cornish Splits with Jam and Clotted Cream

Traditional Cornish Splits ..... just a little bit yummy don't you think? Being Cornish I'm obviously biased but they really do tickle my taste buds with the sweet doughy-ness of the roll, the silky smooth clotted cream and the tangy fruit jam. These beauties are super easy to make too, especially if you've got a breadmaker handy, but the dough can be made by hand if you prefer. There is just something really comforting and homely about splits. The sweet, yeast levened rolls were traditionally piled high and wrapped in tea towels then 'split' with finger and thumbs ready for their glorious crowning with jam and clotted cream. Understandably they were everyone's favourite tea time treat in these parts but have lost favour in recent years due to the popularity of the scone. It's definitely time for a split revival!

If jam and clotted cream doesn't tickle your fancy as a filling, you could always try a thunder and lightening split, which is clotted cream and syrup! These in particular bring back lovely childhood memories at my grandparents house, where Nana would emerge from the kitchen with a plate of thunder and lightening splits literally dripping in clotted cream and syrup. I can taste them now....

Cornish Splits


As luck would have it, Afternoon Tea week starts today and runs until the 14th August so why not roll up your sleeves, get your pinny on and give these Cornish splits a go. Whether you go for the traditional jam and clotted cream or thunder and lightening you won't be disappointed.


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Cornish Splits with Jam and Clotted Cream
A traditional yeast levened roll filled with jam and clotted cream for a 'proper' Cornish cream tea experience
Ingredients
  • 1 TSP Dried Yeast
  • 450g Strong White Flour
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 75g Butter, cubed
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 250ml Whole Milk
  • Tub of Clotted Cream Clotted Cream
  • Jar of Raspberry Jam
Instructions
Step 1: To make the dough in a breadmaker, put all the ingredients APART from the clotted cream and jam in your breadmaker pan and select a soft roll dough program (setting 15 with a Panasonic SD-2500 for example). If you prefer to make the dough by hand I'd recommend following this recipe from Rodda's.Step 2: Once the dough is ready, turn out and knead a little before splitting into 8 equal size pieces. Shape into 8 rolls and place on a greased baking sheet.Step 3: Preheat the oven to 220c/200cfan. Leave the rolls to prove under a tea towel for 30 minutes before baking for about 20 minutes in the oven.Step 4: Leave to cool before splitting open and filling with the jam and clotted cream.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield 8


Pin these Cornish Splits for later...
Cornish Splits with jam and clotted cream


#TeaTimeTreats - I'm entering these splits into the Tea Time Treats blogging challenge co-hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage, Jo at Jo's Kitchen and Travels for Taste blog, which this month is celebrating all things Afternoon Tea!

Tea Time Treats


Meal Plan 8th -14th August 2016

Meal Plan


We enjoyed a weekend of Olympics action here and have a busy week ahead. Picnics on the beach (weather permitting), a double sleepover for my eldest two, a trip to The Milky Way, a swimming party, Rockpooling with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and some much needed gardening and cleaning at home....who said the summer holidays were relaxing?! It's just the way I like it to be honest...busy busy busy.

Food wise I'm trying to clear out one of my freezers so I can give it a much needed defrost session - I thought new freezers were meant to be self defrosting? Just another job on the to do list!

Monday 8th August
Thai Red Prawn Curry with Basmati Rice

Tuesday 9th August
Tortellini Pasta Soup

Wednesday 10th August
Homemade Kievs, Wedges and Broccoli

Thursday 11th August
Smoked Salmon and Pea Risotto

Friday 12th August
Slow Cooker Pork Fillet, Sweet Potato Mash, Runner Beans

Saturday 13th August
Panini's, Coleslaw and Salad

Sunday 14th August
Leftovers....or maybe a trip to the pub
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