Posts Tagged ‘smoked bacon’

I’m keen to try simple meal-in-a-pot recipes that can be prepared in advance.

This is one inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe from an old newspaper clipping.

We found it hard not to finish it off last night–impossible in fact!


“Well it’s just one medium sweet potato, a single fennel bulb and some chickpeas.”

(I added smoked paprika and halved the amount of smoked bacon in the original.)

“Oh–go on then!”

So much for moderation.

For 2/3

1 onion–chopped

2 sticks of celery–chopped

2 tblsps olive oil

3 garlic cloves–pulped with a teaspoon of salt

1 tsp rosemary spears–chopped fine

2oz/50gms smoked bacon–cubed

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 medium sweet potato–peeled, sliced into thick rounds and these halved

1 fennel bulb–outer leaves removed and sliced thick on the vertical

1/2 pint stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

250gms cooked chickpeas

200ml coconut cream*

2 tblsps breadcrumbs

2 tblsps parmesan cheese–grated

  • set the oven to 190C/360F
  • Heat the oil in a medium size, shallow sauté pan.
  • Fry the onion and the celery for a couple of minutes over a medium heat–


  • then add the garlic, rosemary and bacon and paprika.


  • Stir these together and continue cooking and stirring as the vegetables begin to soften and the bacon colours–about ten minutes.
  • Turn the chickpeas into the pan and mix them in.


  • Add the sweet potato half-rounds and the fennel slices and mix them in.


  • Ease in the stock and the coconut cream.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring it to the boil and sprinkle over the parmesan and breadcrumb mixture.


  • Place in the middle of the oven for about thirty minutes.
  • From oven to plate and tuck in!


*The difference between coconut milk/cream and cream of coconut is fully explained here: 


It looks like milk, it is NOT sweetened and it does NOT taste of coconut!


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Another bean soup–can’t have too many in my opinion!

Interior insulation for the post prandial walk on a chilly winter day.

This satisfying soup is based on one in Elizabeth Romer’s lovely book, The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Family.

Her account of the Cerroti family’s daily existence is a good read and full of authentic seasonal recipes.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions – chopped small

2 sticks of celery – chopped small

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

100 g/4 oz smoked bacon/pancetta – use unsmoked if you prefer – chopped small

4 tbsp parsley – chopped

1 x 450 g/16 oz can tomatoes – drained and chopped

350 g/12 oz tinned/jarred white beans – drained, rinsed and puréed–use the best quality beans you can find–it makes a difference

570 ml/1 pint/ vegetable stock – more if you like (I use organic veg. stock cubes)

150 g/6 oz “short” wholewheat pasta – (i.e. penne or farfalle, not spaghetti)

salt and pepper

freshly-grated parmesan

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, celery, garlic, bacon and parsley, and turn them in the oil.
  • Cook them over a gentle heat until the vegetables are tender and the bacon is colouring up – this is the “taste engine” of the soup and needs some time – at least 20 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and mix them in and allow to meld for a good 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and mix in.
  • Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • These stages are important for a good depth of flavour and shouldn’t be rushed.
  • The soup should look beautiful now – with a warm glow.
  • Add half the stock and let it meld in.
  • Add the pasta and the rest of the stock and cook the pasta in the soup.
  • It may take a little longer than pasta normally does (I put a lid on at this point to help).
  • Be careful that this thick and unctuous soup does not stick and burn.
  • If you prefer it looser, add more stock and cook on a little to incorporate it.
  • Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste –remembering that the bacon and stock can be salty.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and swirls of olive oil.

(This nourishing soup is included in my cookbook–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.)

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This is pushing it, I know–cauliflowers have been featuring a tad too much lately.

We had this for supper the other night and Meredith said, “What is this, it’s so creamy? It’s not potatoes is it?  It’s delicious.”

Cauliflower soup,”  I said sheepishly. Somehow cauliflower is not a vegetable that’s easy to own!

This recipe is adapted from one by Nigel Slater that I spotted in a newspaper last week.

The key ingredient is smoky bacon.

1 large cauliflower--broken into florets

2 cloves of garlic–chopped

1 medium onion–chopped

4 rashers of smoked bacon–chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 litre/2 pints stock

salt and pepper

  • Gently heat the oil in a pan and sauté the bacon bits until they colour a bit.
  • Add the garlic and onion.
  • Cook the mix on for five minutes until the onion has softened.
  • While this happens break up the cauliflower into florets and add to a large saucepan.
  • When ready add the onion and bacon mix to the cauliflower pan with the bay leaves and the stock.
  • Cover and bring this mix up to the simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Lift a thirdish of the mix out of the pan and into a bowl with a slotted spoon letting the liquid fall back in the pan
  • Liquidise the contents of the pan and test the seasoning.
  • Add back the set-aside florets and serve the soup hot.

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