We are excited to share these simple but delicious recipes from Community Chef, an organisation that runs cookery workshops, including our Man with a Pan cooking course for male carers. Community Chef delivers training courses for cookery leaders, food banks, community cafes and community organisations. Their training empowers others to set up and run their own food related initiatives which in turn improves the health and wellbeing of their communities. Find out more on their website here.

10-minute Pea Soup

A quick and delicious soup using for the spring. Frozen peas are convenient to use and a great source of protein, soluble fibre and slow release carbohydrates.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

300g frozen peas or petit pois

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil

500ml of made up vegetable or chicken stock – 1 stock cube or 2 tsp bullion powder

200ml milk

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Blanch the frozen peas in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water then drain again. Make up the 500ml of stock with boiling water
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the onions over a medium heat with a pinch of salt. Add the chopped garlic and fry for a minute before adding the peas and stock.
  3. Bring this to the boil then add the milk and bring back up to the boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat blend until smooth with a hand blender.
  4. Season well with salt and pepper and serve

Variations

  • For pea and mint soup, add 2 tablespoons of mint, roughly chopped, when you add the peas and stock. Garnish with a dollop of yoghurt and extra chopped mint.
  • Use cream instead of milk for a richer soup.
  • To keep it plant based, soak 50g of cashew nuts in 100ml of boiling water for 30 minutes and blend to a cream.

Savoury Muffins

A yummy savoury muffin with countless variations. They keep well and can be made in bulk and frozen. Makes 12 small or 8 large muffins.

Ingredients

50ml sunflower oil

2 eggs

100ml milk

200g self-raising white flour or 50/50 white and wholemeal

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp each of salt and ground pepper

5 spring onions, finely sliced

200g frozen corn, blanched in boiling water for a moment then drained

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into small cubes

200g feta cheese, cubed

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp sesame seeds, optional

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175’c
  2. Line your muffin tins with paper cases or grease well with butter.
  3. Beat together the eggs, oil and milk until frothy then add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper and mix well to form a batter.
  4. Fold in the oregano, cheese, onions, pepper and sweetcorn and mix well.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases 2/3rd full and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until well risen and golden. Check they are done by inserting a skewer. If it comes out still gummy, bake for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Cool completely before eating.

Variations

  • For gluten free muffins, use 125g of doves farm self-raising flour and 75g of fine polenta or cornmeal.
  • Other vegetables can be added, but juicy ingredients such as fresh tomatoes will alter the consistency of the mixture, so either add a little more flour or slice and drain the ingredient before using.
  • The feta cheese can be replaced with other hard cheeses like cheddar.
  • Try adding some savoury flavour bombs like fresh or dried chilli, sliced olives or sundried tomatoes.

 

Chilli Beans

This dish is quick to make, versatile and lends itself to bulking up and countless variations. Beans are inexpensive and nutritious. They are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins B and fibre, and when eaten with bread or rice provide a source of vegetable protein. This will make enough chilli for 4 hungry people.

2 tins of red kidney, pinto or borlotti beans (drained and washed)

1 onion (chopped)

2 tomatoes (chopped) or 1 tin of plum tomatoes

1 sweet pepper (chopped)

1 small tin or a handful of frozen sweetcorn

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 mild red chilli or 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Salt, sugar and pepper

Olive or sunflower oil

Method

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan and gently fry the chopped onions until browned.
  2. Add the chopped garlic, pepper and chilli and cook for a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and the beans.
  3. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the corn and cook on a low simmer for another 15 minutes. Season with a of sugar. salt and extra chilli to taste.

 

Variations

  • Meaty Chilli: add 200g of lean beef or turkey mince to the onions and brown lightly before adding the vegetables and beans. You will need to cook this for a little longer to make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked.
  • Fajitas: spread a large spoon of beans onto the bottom third of a tortilla bread, sprinkle over some tasty toppings like grated or cream cheese, chopped onion, fresh coriander or rocket. Fold in the end with the beans and roll up the tortilla.
  • Enchiladas: roll up a tortilla with 3 heaped tbsp of beans inside up and place side by side in a baking tray. Pour over 200ml of crème fresh or cheese sauce and layer with sliced tomatoes before baking in a hot oven for 20 minutes.
  • Nachos: spoon the chilli beans over nacho corn chips, top with grated cheese and grill until the cheese melts. Serve with a chopped onion and pepper salad, dressed with fresh lime juice.
  • Quesadillas: Spread a couple of tbsps. of chilli beans over a tortilla bread and top with some grated cheese, chopped peppers and spring onions. Place another tortilla on top to make a sandwich. Heat a frying pan and brush with a little oil and gently fy on both sides until the bread is crisp and the cheese starts to ooze.

Everyday Bread 50/50

This versatile dough is easy to work with, quick to prepare and perfect for a variety of bread products. This is a low knead dough. It makes enough dough for 20 rolls or 2 large loaves of bread.

Ingredients

500g wholemeal flour

500g strong white flour

650ml warm water (20’c)

10g/2tsp quick dried yeast

15g/3tsp salt

Method

Weigh out the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and pour in the water. Using one hand or a spoon mix these ingredients to form sticky dough. Allow this to sit for five -ten minutes

before continuing. On a clear, dry work surface, vigorously knead the dough for 5 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and leave in a warm place to ferment for an hour. Re-knead it briefly, then allow to double in size, about 2 more hours. The cooler the temperature the slower the rise. Knock the dough back and gently re knead before using in one of the following ways:

Tin loaves

Oil 2 x 1kg bread tins. Divide dough in half, and flatten each into a disk, fold this in 3, turn 90’ and roll it up like a thick Swiss roll. Place these seal side down into the tins, place tins into a plastic bag and allow them to proof in a warm place for 60 -90 minutes The dough should rise above the top of the tin. Dust the top with flour and cut a 1cm deep lengthways slash across the loaf. Place this straight away into in a pre-heated oven (220c/400f) Bake at this temperature for 5 min then lower to 180c/360fc and bake for a further 25-35 minutes. Cool before slicing

Rolls

Roll out the dough to a sausage shape and cut into either 50g for small or 100g pieces for large rolls. To make round rolls, take a portion of dough and using a circular motion with the palm of your hand, gently roll the dough on a floured surface while drawing your fingers upwards to create a ball shape. The ball shape can also be created by rolling the dough between the palms of both hands using the same circular motion. Place each ball on a large oiled tray allowing enough space between them for the rolls to double in size. Dust with flour or brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Allow these to rise in a warm place for up to 60 minutes bake in a pre-heated oven (220c/400f) for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180c/360f. Bake for a further 10 minutes and allow the rolls to cool slightly on a rack before cutting.

Flatbreads

Roll out the dough to a sausage shape and cut into 8 or 16 equal portions. Roll these in to balls and set them aside for a short while to allow the gluten to relax. Heat a heavy bottomed pan or skillet. Roll out the dough to form thin disks of 30cm or 15cm diameter. Slap the breads onto the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the bread over and use a folded tea towel to press the bread lightly onto the pan. This helps it to cook. The bread will begin to inflate with pockets of air. Press these pockets down and keep moving the bread. After about 1 min, turn the bread again and cook for a further 30 seconds. Place the cooked breads between a clean cloth and keep warm. These can also be cooked in the oven on pre-heated baking trays and will resemble pitta breads.