Several of my previous posts were dedicated to the recipes which require some time investment, but for the vast majority of us time is an expensive commodity. So, this post I'd like to dedicate to the recipes which are either very simple and quick to execute or use some shortcuts for the sake of convenience and time saving.
Let's start with pureed soups! In my opinion those are some of the simplest and quickest starters one can imagine. It seems to me, with some sauteed onions, spice mix as per you liking and generous spoon of double cream, any vegetables combination will do for the pureed soup! Add to this some hot freshly baked bun, pinch of freshly cut greenery and a cute bowl for the presentation and you got yourself an easy starter for your guests entertaining.
Below are two of my favorites when it comes to pureed soups.
Courgettes and Lime Soup
- 200 g mixture of shallots and red onions (or whichever you have in hand)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large courgettes
- 2 lime wedges
- 100 ml double cream
- 0.5 liter water
- 1 stock cube and any additional seasoning for your liking
- grated Parmesan for serving (optional))
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion mixture and saute for about 2 minutes alone. Then add courgettes and saute further for about 6 minutes on a medium heat. Add hot boiled water and stock cube with seasoning and simmer on low heat for further 10 minutes. Afterwards, blitz everything with a blender or in a food processor until creamy. Add double cream and lime juice with zest, stir through and serve!
Pureed Pumpkin Soup
- 1 medium onion and 1 clove garlic
- 1 can of pureed pumpkin
- 1 can of evaporated milk
- 50 g butter
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 0.5 liter of boiled water
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1 Tbsp of Caribbean Mild Curry Powder ( or any curry of your liking)
Heat butter in a large saucepan. Add finely chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft. Then, add brown sugar and cook for about a minute more. Add hot boiling water, stock cube, spices and pumpkin. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add evaporated milk and cook for 5 minutes more. Process in a food processor until smooth. Sometimes, if I am too lazy, I skip this step because my family doesn't mind occasional onion piece. Serve warm with half of a tsp of cream.
Desserts usually take so much time. But not the below one! Quick to prepare, it should be prepared one day in advance leaving your next day free for other activities! So, it's a double win!
"Lazy" Mille-Feuille or Napoleon Roll
- 1 pack light puff pastry sheet
- 1 can of caramel condensed milk
- 300 g butter
- vanilla as per your taste
- 5 heaped Tbsp of cream fraiche (or 100ml of custard)
- 100 g chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 100 g dark chocolate
Roll out the pastry sheet and cut into thin stripes of 1 cm wide. Spread the stripes over large baking sheet and bake at 200C until golden brown. Leave aside to cool.
Soften butter to a room temperature and beat with a food mixer until fluffy. Start adding caramel milk spoon by spoon while mixing. Add cream fraiche or custard (cooled) in the same manner. Add vanilla, hazelnuts or other taste additives (almond, brandy, orange zest etc) as per your liking, and mix again. Don't worry if the mixture might not seem homogeneous at certain point of time - the liquid will be absorbed by the puff stripes and it's not going to ruin your cake.
Take a generous sheet of cling film. Spread the center with a bit of caramel mixture and put about 5 puff stripes on top, spread with caramel butter again. Continue like that until 2 stripes left (put them aside for the decoration), somewhere in the middle of the layering process, spread the stripes with melted dark chocolate. Cover with cling film and roll tightly into a compact baton. Place into a fridge and leave overnight. In the morning unwrap and decorated with crushed puff stripes remaining. You can either serve the cake as it is or cut into smaller portions.