Souper Sunday – carrot and coriander

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This is such a quick, easy and cheap soup to make – I can’t believe I’ve never done it before.  The children loved it.

Peel and roughly chop around 1kg of carrots.

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Add them to a large pan with a couple of chopped onions and fry in olive oil for around five minutes.

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Add a teaspoon of dried coriander and around a pint and a half of stock (I used Kalko vegetable stock cubes) and simmer for around 20 minutes until the veggies are soft.

Add a large bunch of fresh coriander leaves (and stalks) and blitz the lot with a blender.

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Season to taste and serve with some crusty bread.

Delicious

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Fabulous! Floor standing lamp from Homebase. Buy it!

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I recently purchased this fantastic floor standing lamp from Homebase to put in our back room.  It is a real bargain at just £79.99.  An Anglepoise would have been nice but at this price it was impossible to resist.  And there’s currently 20% off lighting so you can get it for even less.

http://www.homebase.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=110&storeId=10151&partNumber=074860

 

 

 

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Fabulous! Merrell Ellenwood Jacket

I’ve spent the last two years trying to find the perfect school run winter coat.  One that I can wear with jeans and converse if it’s not raining, or biker boots/wellies if it is.

I may have just found it.

It’s not cheap and it’s possibly not the most stylish of coats but I reckon it will do just the job.

Buy it now at http://www.fieldandtrek.co.uk for £149.

Tried and tested?  Not yet.  But I’ve ordered it and it’s due to arrive on the 4 November.

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Google, Starbucks, Amazon – too tempting to boycott?

I know it’s wrong.  Huge American owned conglomerates that avoid paying millions of pounds in tax to the UK government.  I’ve tried, I really have, but Amazon has defeated me.

As a stay at home Mum with three little ones I never get the chance to go to a real shop (supermarkets and kids’ shoe shops don’t count).  I admit I’ve become a tad boring on the clothes front as I shop online at the same places again and again because I know the sizes and I don’t have the time to waste being more adventurous.

Although we do okay financially with one income, I have to be extremely careful with how much I spend.  It’s really easy to avoid Starbucks and Google.  Amazon, however, is a different matter.   I decided to boycott it when the whole tax avoidance issue hit the headlines and instead spent more of my precious time searching the web to find the cheapest price.  It worked for a while and I often managed to find what I wanted but always seemed to be stung by a delivery charge.

The pull back to Amazon was simply too great.  Time and time again it’s cheaper than anyone else and there generally isn’t a delivery charge.   Do I feel guilty?  Just a little but not enough to stop me.  They’ve won and my principals are out the window.

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Souper Sunday – bacon and butter beans

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Yummy bacon and butter bean soup

In my quest to find more interesting ingredients for my weekly soup dish for the children, I decided to try a bacon and butter bean combination.  As with all my soups I generally only vaguely follow a recipe and frequently make it up as I go along.

To start with I chopped up a couple of onions, a large leek and a few sticks of celery that had been hanging around in my fridge for a week and were looking decidedly floppy.

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I then added 2 pints of cold water to 8oz of dried butter beans, brought it to the boil and then let it continue boiling for another minute before taking it off the heat.  I added a bay leaf, brought it back to the boil again and then let it simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

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This gave me the pefect opportunity to start peeling the mountain of apples I’ve acquired for my Monster Chutney.

I then fried the onion, leek and celery along with a few crushed cloves of garlic and two chopped up pieces of streaky bacon bought from my favorite organic butchers.  I tipped the butter beans and their liquid into the pan with the rest of the ingredients, covered and simmered for 20 minutes or so.

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Finally, I mashed the butter beans on the side of the pan with a fork, thinned it down with milk and added parsley and seasoning to taste.

My kids almost finished their portions and Photogeezer finished off the leftovers when he got home from work.

Success rating?

9/10 for adults (easy to make, tasty, healthy)

6/10 for kids (marked down as they weren’t convinced by the “bits”)

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Lots of lovely jam jars

Even though I’ve spent the whole year saving jam jars for the Autumn chutney season, I always seem to run out.  Any old jam jar will do for friends and family however, now I’m planning to sell them I really need to up my game and make them look pretty – well, as pretty as a jar of Monster Chutney could be.

I’ve just come across this lovely website and it might just be the answer to my jam jar prayers.

http://www.jamjarshop.com

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Boozy Fruit

Well, I managed it by 9am this morning.  Raisins, currents, dates, figs, orange, cinnamon and lots of lovely brandy are now soaking nicely.  I need to stir it every day for the next week and then once a week for another five. I wonder if it will convert me to the delights of fruit cake?

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