Sunday, 21 February 2010

Crisps & Soup

Homemade Crisps / Potato Chips

Yesterday I decided to try to make crisps - or potato chips as the American's call them. I've been wanting to try for a while now and never got around to it, but looking in the cupboard in the morning I discovered half a dozen left over Baby New Potatoes from last weeks dinner so figured it was worth a try to use them up.

Because "simple" is my middle and last name I looked up on the web the best (i.e easiest) way to make them. The first result was to slice them, soak in vegetable oil, then put in the microwave. I was a little bit dubious that this would really work as to my knowledge a microwave oven never makes things crispy, and by their very nature, crisps need to be crispy! But I gave it a go....sure enough they came out soggy and remained so even after dabbing with kitchen toweling and leaving for a while. Into the bin they went.

The two remaining methods are to oven bake or to deep fry. I chose the latter method to try next, basically because anything I put into our oven tends to come out black. I swear the damned things got a nuclear core. Its not just "fan assisted" its got isotopes as well.

I deviated slightly from the YouTube video I watched first as they used a heck of a lot of vegetable oil. I just got my smallest saucepan, put about a cup or sunflower oil in it and heated it up until it bubbled. Having already thinly sliced the potatoes up - I left the skins on as thats where the fibre is - I added them a slice at a time to the pan. Be careful not to overload the pan as its better to do a few at a time.

I guess they took about 5 minutes to cook. Its very easy to tell because they become golden brown - just like crisps, and when you gently move them around with a slotted serving spoon they feel "crispy". Ensure that they are crisp though because the last thing you want is "soggy" ones. Leave any that arent light brown in the pan a little longer and remove the ones which are done onto kitchen towelling to dab them dry. Add another load of potato slices to the pan so this can be frying while youre doing something else.

Next I put the finished crisps into a bowl and seasoned. I did the three batches of crisps I made into three different flavours. The first I sprinkled Paprika over, put the lid on the bowl and shook them to get them all coated. The next batch I made I finished off with ground pepper, and the final ones I finished off with just salt.

And that was it. Extremely simple really.

Homemade Vegetable & Bacon Soup

This is something I've been making for a few months now and is an adaption of my sister Madeleine's recipe which was amazingly good. This is my cheapskate method, which the family love anyway.

Serves 6-7 people
The 4 of us eat this and theres enough left over for whoevers at home during the week to eat a bowl for lunch for a few days.


1.5Kg Carrots
1 head of Broccoli
1/2 a Swede (optional)
2 Beef stock cubes (I use "Kallo" brand)
6 rashers of chopped smoked bacon (streaky is good but any type is ok)
1 tsp dried Ginger
1 pinch of dried Chilli flakes
1 tsp dried Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tsp of Chicken Tikka Massala powder

You will need a hand blender for this recipe too.

1. Put the stock cubes in a large soup tureen. Add the dried Ginger, Garlic & Chilli.
2. Boil a kettle of water and pour this into the tureen, then stir until all of the stock cubes are completely disintegrated.
3. Peel the Carrots and then top and tail them. You can either slice them and put them into a blender or manually chop them into small pieces with a knife. The choice is yours. I opt for the blender myself a its a long job chopping up 1.5 kilos of the buggers by hand.
Either way, you want them small because you will need to blend them again later on and its easier to do then if they're small.
4. Once all the Carrots are chopped small add them to the pot and place onto the hot plate of the cooker on a high setting. If there isnt enough stock to cover the vegetables, add some more water, but be careful not to add too much.
5. While thats heating up chop up the head of Broccoli. Discard the large stem and add the chopped heads into the pan & stir.
6. Bring the whole lot to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.
7. After this period remove the pan from the heat and hand blend the vegetables. You are after a thick finish to the soup, but the density of it is really up to you.

If you have to, add more water. If there is too much liquid, then either break up a couple of slices of bread into small cubes and blend it in with the soup, or add a couple of large peeled potatoes. They will eventually absorb some of the liquid and then remove and discard them. I usually use the bread solution as its cheap and easy if I have to.

8. Next heat a frying pan, add 1 tsp of oil and add the chopped bacon pieces. Sprinkle over 2 tsp of the curry powder, then stir them around and sprinkle over the remaining 2 tsp of powder. Fry the bacon until its golden brown.
9. Place the cooked bacon equally into 4 soup bowls and ladle the soup over the top.
10 Serve with slices of crusty, buttered bread.

1 comment:

  1. Really this soup is a vegetable soup. In that sense, you can add whatever veg you like to it. Mine changes weekly by adding butternut squash or potatoes or cabbage or tinned tomatoes...etc. Whatever is laying around, chuck it in! It will taste exceptionally good and moreso because you made it with fresh vegetables & no additives. The bacon isnt a requirement, more of an "enhancement".