Sunday, 30 October 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

When I was younger my family always used to get chicken noodle soup from the local kosher restaurant, and I'm not going lie I really liked it, but I always found it too salty. I think the idea came to me maybe last winter to make some for myself and it actually worked really well, and I don't know what's in it that does this, but it always seems to make people better when they've got one of those winter bugs. And, as is the case with all soups, it lasts for ages, so you can always just cover it up and put it in the fridge, and the next time you want some, just pour yourself a bowl and heat it up!

This recipe is really flexible, you can have more or less noodles, different veggies, smaller or larger chunks of chicken, etc.. I used purple carrots in this soup as opposed to your normal orange ones simply because I saw them in the fridge and decided that they looked cool (they do). In hindsight, it probably would have been a better idea to have used the normal carrots, as my soup turned out purple and, though it still tasted just as yummy, it looked slightly less appetising and I felt like Bridget Jones cooking her blue soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4-6

Bare Necessities:
Noodles (About one portion should be fine, add more if you want)
1 Onion
a dash Oil
a pinch Salt
1 litre Chicken Stock/ Stock Cubes (Enough to make 1 litre of stock, for me that was 2 cubes, read the back of the package to find out)
2 cups/250g Chicken (cooked. If you don't have any cooked chicken, just fry it in a tiny bit of oil and slice it up first.)
1 Carrot

1. Put a dash of oil and a pinch of salt in a saucepan with some water and bring to boiling.
2. Put in the noodles and cook them for the time that i says on the back of the packet, but I personally would cook them slightly underdone, because they will continue to cook when you put them in with the rest of the soup.
3. Combine 1 litre of boiling water with the stock cubes, but if your using stock instead of stock cubes, ignore this step.
4. Finely dice the onion. (Tip: What makes you cry when you chop up onions is the vapour from the centre of the onion. Once you've chopped the onion in half, put it face down. This not only makes it easier to cut, but it helps prevent as many of the vapours get to your eyes.)
5. Fry the onions until golden brown with a dash of oil in a saucepan.
6. Once the onions are golden, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil and then reduce the heat so that it simmers.
7. Finely slice the Carrot.
8. Put the chopped carrot into the stock.
9. Add the chicken.
10. Once the carrots are cooked, add the noodles and turn off the heat.
11. Serve up and enjoy!

Unless you use purple carrots, yours shouldn't be purple like mine!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Banana, Chocolate Chip And Oat Muffins

Ok, so my mother has this habit of buying loads of fruit and veg with the intentions of being healthy, yet most of it tends to just go off, as was the case with the 6 bananas I found this morning on the brink of ripeness.

I have a strong objection to wasting food, so I scoured the house for a decent recipe in which I could use 6 bananas and I came across this one.

It's actually pretty good, though I personally think it would taste really nice with some chopped pecans in it as well, so ill put it in brackets should you decide to put it in. :)

Oh, and it makes a lot more muffins than you would think, mine were HUGE, so feel free to halve the recipe.

Banana, Chocolate Chip And Oat Muffins

Bare Necessities:

1 1/2 cups/ 375g Milk
1 1/2 cups/ 150g Oats
3 cups/ 300g Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Baking Soda/Bicarb of Soda
1/2 cup/ 112g Butter (room temp is easier, but it's fine if you've just taken it out of the fridge, just cut it up smaller, but it takes longer)
2 cups/ 425g Sugar (in the photos, mine look quite dark, but that's just because I used dark sugar because I couldn't find any white sugar, just bear in mind that the darker the sugar is, the sweeter it is)
6 Bananas (older bananas are better, but don't use mouldy or off ones, that would be stupid, just use the browner ones that you wouldn't normally choose to eat)
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup/ 175g (1/2 cup/ 87.5g) Chocolate chips
(1/2 cup/ 112g Chopped Pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 325F/165C and put the muffin cups in the muffin tray.
2. In one bowl, mix together the oats and milk.
3. In a second bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt, chocolate and pecans (if you're having them)
4. In a large third bowl (and this is the last one), cream together the butter and sugar.
5. Then blend in the bananas (chop or mash them up first, it makes it easier), eggs, vanilla and the oat mixture with the creamed butter and sugar.
6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
7. Scoop the mixture into the muffin cups and place in the oven.
8. Bake for 25-35 mins, or until you can put a knife in one and it comes out clean (or relatively, you can obviously ignore any melted chocolate)
9. Leave on a cooling rack to cool and then enjoy (hopefully!)

First Post!

Hi! My name is Aoife (pronounced EE-FA) Bear Casson (yes my middle name is actually Bear, no, I'm not taking the piss), I'm (almost) 16 years old and I'm taking my GCSE/IGCSE's at the end of this year (eek!). I have a puppy called Alfie (AKA floor cleaner extraordinaire), an older brother called Freddie who never stops eating and a mother called Charlotte who shares my love for cooking.

Hmmm, my interests, well, I have many, so here are a few: I love cooking, drawing (especially Manga), maths (but I'm NOT a geek, promise!), gadgets (ok, so maybe I am a bit), music, singing, photography, crafts, poetry, writing short stories, card games, and looking after my dog. From time to time a may post a couple photos that I've taken, some pictures of my dog or maybe some drawings. When I'm older, I really hope to become a TV advert designer (fingers crossed). 

I usually test my food on any willing subjects, which tends to by my mother, brother, visiting friends and family and any neighbours who happen to be floating about.

For quite a while I have been thinking about starting a cooking blog after following Diamonds For Dessert and Smitten Kitchen, but I only recently decided to 'just do it' and start one myself. I guess I chose the name as a kind of pun, because, although I don't actually cook 'bare', my middle name is Bear, and I don't like to use those ridiculous ingredients that you see in those posh cooking books and cost a fortune and are impossible to find, I just prefer to use the stuff that's easy to find and cheap (the BARE essentials you might say). Ok I'll admit it, it is a terrible pun, but it was all I could think of, so it will have to do!

The next post will actually be a recipe, not just me rambling (though there may be some of that too, so be warned), I hope you like it! :)