Soup Sunday: Black Bean Soup & Hummus


Mmmmm, I have to say that of all the soups, this one is my favourite. It is so tasty, warming, and filling- and full of one of my favourite and least glamorous foods- beans. I just love beans, the taste and the texture, and they are the main ingredient in this wonderful soup.

Black Bean Soup

1 lb of stewing beef (cut small) or alternatively I used leftover roast beef cut into pieces
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 can of tomato paste
1 heaped tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder

3 or 4 cans of black beans with liquid (depending on the size of your pot or crowd)
1 cup of chicken stock

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. If you are using raw beef, add the beef, browning it on all sides then add the onions to fry until transparent. If you are using leftover roast beef you can add both at the same time. Once the onions are transparent, add the tomato paste and spices and stir all together with the meat, heating it all and making sure it is all incorporated.


Then add the beans- the whole can, liquids and all- and the chicken stock. Trust me, although you may have never used an undrained can of beans in your life- this is really really good.


Then you just let it cook for a while on the stove and mix all the flavours together- I would say about 20 minutes is fine if you used leftover beef, and 30-45 minutes if you used raw beef to give it time to tenderize!

mmmm so hearty and delicious!

And I served this, most untraditionally, with tortillas and hummus, which is still delicious.

If you would like to know how I make Hummus

1 can of chick peas (drained)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
juice of one lemon (approx. 1/3 of a cup)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oriental sesame oil

Blend all together in a food processor- or if you have a super snazzy blender like I do *brushes off shoulders and displays my christmas present of two years ago*

Then you can mix it all on super high power!

mmmm so much delicious!

Alternatively you can fry yourself up a simple cheese quesadilla- and that goes perfectly as well!

Hope you all are having wonderfully delicious Sundays! – So close to Christmas- I will do more Christmas posts this week- I have decorations- a crochet project & more coming soon!

xo erin

Soup Sunday: Wonton Soup


Hi All, this Soup Sunday I have a bit of a different soup, something that I had never made before but I really enjoyed!- Wonton Soup

Now I would say that this soup is more of an appetizer soup, as there aren’t very many veggies involved, and fairly small servings of meat, but if you wanted to add some more vegetables to the broth (bok choy? maybe) and a few more wontons per serving than you could make a pretty decent meal out of it!

Wonton Soup

6 cups of chicken broth (I used turkey broth made from boiling the bones of a roast turkey I made the day before)
4 chopped green onions
1/2 a chili pepper, sliced thinly

1/2 pkg of wonton wrappers
1/2 lb of ground pork
1 tsp oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp ground ginger

Heat the broth in a pot and add the onions and the chili, allowing it to heat up and incorporate the flavours and spice.

Combine the ground pork with the sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger until it is thoroughly mixed. Then make them into your wontons!


To make the wontons:


First wet your wonton wrapper I did this on a plate with water- refilling from a little bowl:

Then you add your meat about 1 tsp (very small amount) don’t overstuff!!:
Then you fold it over on the diagonal and seal the edges by rubbing them down:

Then once the edges are sealed I like to fold them over so they are like little packages:

Keep going until you have a heap of them- although don’t actually pile them all together like I did because they will all stick together!
Then drop them in a pot of boiling water- when they float they are done and you can take them out!
 (as you can see there is a quiche in the background because someone didn’t think that this soup would be enough for their dinner!)
I like to stir them just a little so that they don’t stick to the bottom, but they only take a couple of minutes!

Then you can add them to your soup. I like to portion off the wontons into bowl and then ladle the broth over top.

So tasty!
mmmmmmmmm…
I hope everyone had a wonderfully delicious Sunday like I did! – and I will be back soon with more Christmas posts!
Happy Sunday everyone!
xo erin

Not so Soup and not so Sunday: Lasagna on Monday


Only my third Sunday into Soup Sunday and I have already failed. No soup and dunkable companion this week, this week is Lasagna Monday (notice my post title rhymes- I’m just that cool). 

But really- what’s a girl to do when she is craving some cheezy delicious saucy pasta goodness- well make lasagna of course.

I promise the soup will come back next week- but for this week- onto lasagna!

Lasagna

1 lb italian spice sausage meat (out of casings) – alternatively you can use ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 of a bell pepper
2 cans of tomato sauce (I use Hunt’s Thick&Rich)
Fresh Basil – just to be fancy

1 very large portabello mushroom -or 2 smaller ones-  thinly sliced

1 pkg of lasagna noodles

4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 container of 2% cottage cheese (500g)
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese

To make the sauce fry the sausage in the bottom of a pot, breaking it up into small pieces.

When the sausage starts to brown, add the onion, garlic and peppers, fry with the sausage until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked.

Add the cans of sauce and simmer together for 10 minutes. Then throw on some of your fancy fresh basil.






Meanwhile, boil some water in a large pot and cook the lasagna noodles until just before al dente- still slightly firm.


Now on to the layers- first in the bottom of a casserole dish (I used a 9X13) put down about 3/4 cup of sauce






then a layer of noodles, then a layer of cheese (that I will guestimate at 1 cup of cheese and 1/4 of your container of cottage cheese)






then a layer of noodles, then a layer of sauce topped with a thin layer of the sliced mushrooms





Then you continue on in this ‘noodles-cheese-noodles-sauce&mushrooms’ pattern until your dish is about to overflow- ending your layers with noodles topped with a small amount of sauce and a lot of cheese along with the feta cheese just to give a little something extra. 

I have estimated this out to have 3 cheese layers in the lasagna and then the rest of the cheese on top plus the feta, but if you like more layers you can add more cheese or sauce. I can honestly say that I don’t measure anything for this recipe and these are my best educated guesses and it never turns out exactly the same every time, but it is always delicious.

This is also the time that it is completely appropriate to break out the wine- if you haven’t already.


Then into the oven at 375 for 45 minutes 


obligatory shot of my mom’s fancy new oven (since I was fortunate enough to make this when I went home for the weekend) ohhh ahhh



And yet again more wine- the most essential part of cooking-

Then serve this up with a side salad – just to add the green to your plate – and voila! 





Some seriously delicious dinner right there!

I hope you all have an equally delicious Monday!

xo erin

Soup Sundays: Vegetable Beef with Cheddar Biscuits


This Soup Sunday is a classic soup, one of the heartiest, tastiest and warming soups of all- Vegetable Beef-, with one of the tastiest dunkable companions- the cheddar biscuit.

This soup should almost be named the ‘anything and everything’ soup because you can put literally anything and everything in it. Take the ingredient list below as more of general guidelines for vegetables to add to your soup- because you can really add anything that you want!

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 1/2 lbs of stewing beef, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp paprika

2 cups chopped carrots/turnip/potatoes/other root vegetable

2 1/2 cups (or more) of beef stock
1/2 can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup cooked barley
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 cup of chopped brussels sprouts
1/2 cup corn

Sear beef in the bottom of a soup pot. when the outside has browned, add onions and mushrooms, cook until the onions are translucent. Add basil, oregano and paprika coating the meat, onions and mushrooms, fry for 1-2 minutes. 


Meanwhile cook root vegetables in a bit of water in the microwave (to reduce the amount of time it takes to cook in the soup).


Add beef stock, tomato sauce, and root vegetables with water to the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add barley, beans, brussels sprouts and corn, then continue to simmer until the meat is tender and the brussels sprouts are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste- then serve your tasty soup!

Don’t forget to make these dunkable companions to go with it! These are my absolute favourite thing to go with soup- so tender and flaky!

Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed 
3/4 cup cubed cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in the butter, mixing with a pastry blender until it is in little pieces, making a crumb-like texture. Add the pieces of cheese, coating them with the flour mixture, then add the milk and mix until it is just comes together. Spoon onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400°F for 20 – 25 minutes, until lightly brown. makes 12 small biscuits or 6 large biscuits. Serve warm with butter.. mmmmmm.

It has been so nice having soup every Sunday this fall :), and enjoying the leftovers for lunch through the week. Snuggling onto the couch with a mug of soup and a cheese biscuit, watching TV. I have been loving the new season of Downton Abbey- all the accessories they wear- it makes me want to make some beautiful hair pieces. I’ve also been loving a BBC show called The Paradise- the period costumes, the accents – it give me the warm fuzzies.

My other great TV fashion inspiration source (very different from the previous two shows) is Revenge. The ladies (and men) on that show wear the most amazing things,- the nautical themes *swoon*- my fashion fav is Charlotte- she is always just so polished but edgy and fresh- just love it! – And I will definitely be finding some inspiration for future sewing projects from this latest season! Also who can not LOVE Nolan – and pretty much everything he wears and does? 

Anyways, enough of my TV fashion idiols, back to the kitchen- when will we finally invent dishes that wash themselves?

xo erin

Friendship Cake


Around this time every year, if I am attentive enough, I will remember to start the best 30 day process -the process of friendship cake.

Friendship cake is one of my grandma’s recipes. It takes 30 days to make, and it is usually started in late November so that it can be ready for Christmas. Friendship cake starts, as all good cakes start, with alcohol, which is either in the form of brandy (if you are starting the friendship cake) or in the form of starter – given to you by someone who just finished making their own friendship cake. 

This is where the ‘friendship’ comes into friendship cake, because at the end of the process you are left with not only lovely cake, but also the ‘starter’ for more friendship cakes that you can give away to your friends so that they can start their own friendship cake- spreading the love of cake.

Making this cake involves 30 days where you ferment fruit with sugar and alcohol on your counter. At the 30 day mark you drain the liquid (giving it away to your closest friends) and add fruit to cake batter, making delicious, boozy, fruit filled cakes, ready to be enjoyed and shared on Christmas.

The best part of friendship cake is that it is the ultimate Christmas present.  
-To make 6 lovely and thoughtful presents – I make my cakes into 6 loafs, wrap them beautifully, and put the 1 1/2 cups of starter into a jar with a nice handwritten recipe card with the instructions for friendship cake. Not only are you giving delicious cake, but you are giving them the chance to be part of a chain of ongoing friendship cakes. And they will also know that you spent 30 days on their present! But let’s be honest, only 5 friends will get this for Christmas because I have to save at least one loaf for myself!

Friendship Cake

1 1/2 cups of ‘starter’ or Apricot Brandy (or if you aren’t particular like me, any fruit brandy in your possession)
6 1/2 cups of sugar
1- 28oz can of sliced peaches in syrup (not drained)
1- 19oz can of chunk pineapple (not drained)
1- 28oz can of fruit cocktail in syrup (not drained)
1- 375ml jar of maraschino cherries (drained and halved)

For each cake: (batch makes 3 cakes/ 6 loafs)

1 yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 small pkg vanilla instant pudding
1 c chopped walnuts

Day 1 – Combine starter, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and peaches into a very large bowl. Cover and stir once everday.


Day 10 – Add 2 cups of sugar and pineapple with juices. Cover and stir once everyday.


Day 20 – Add 2 cups of sugar, fruit cocktail and cherries. Cover and stir once everyday.


Day 30 – Drain fruit, divide juice into 1 1/2 cup portions (of friendship cake starter) and give away to very lucky friends. Divide fruit into 3 portions (one for each cake). 


For each cake, mix all of the ingredients for the cake together mixing it at a medium speed until well combined, add the fruit and stir in until fully incorporated. I suggest doing each cake separately since it would be a very large amount to do all 3 at once, but you can definitely do all 3 at once if you have a bowl big enough. 


For each cake, grease either 1 bundt pan or 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 °F for 65 minutes (if using a bundt pan) or 50 minutes (for two loaves).

Today is the day that I start my friendship cake!

First step – the brandy. So this is either starter that you were given, or the recipe says apricot brandy, but I didn’t have apricot brandy, I had “Old Plum Brandy” which has been sitting on my bar cart for a little too long and I figured that it wouldn’t be too different- so 1 1/2 cups of that!

Next sugar, 2 1/2 cups of that…

And finally peaches in their syrup… yum

Now to be mixed in a very large bowl! 

And I will let this sit, covered on my kitchen table, stirring once everyday, until the next step on day 10!  Always dreaming of the cakes that are to come 🙂 !
– And now back to the sewing cave, to think up more Christmas sewing ideas!
Erin

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