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White Bean and Vegetable Soup....

It’s easy to get stuck in the cooking comfort zone. It has happened to me many times. I suddenly realize I have a weekly rotation of the same (or very similar) dishes and it’s been ages since I tried anything new. While it’s great to enjoy your favourite meals it’s also important to branch out and try new ingredients, a variety of cuisines and different cooking techniques.

You really don’t know what you’ve been missing until you’ve tried it and for me cook books are a wonderful source of inspiration. I could look at them all day! For Christmas a friend bought my husband and I Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen. It is a great book full of recipes from around the world.

What caught our eye right away was a recipe for White Bean and Vegetable Soup (see Gordon in action here). This was such an easy dish to make and it was packed full of flavour. The sprinkling of feta on top is a nice touch, adding saltiness and a lovely creamy texture to the soup.

We have already selected more recipes to try and are determined to make our way through the whole book. Cook books are a great way to increase your cooking repertoire and bring a bit more inspiration into your kitchen!

White Bean and Turkey Chilli....

This is the perfect lunch for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The recipe comes from one of my favourite chefs, Giada De Laurentiis and is a real winter warmer.

Although I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand for her white bean and chicken chilli, I compromised and the results were just as good.

I halved the recipe as I was making this for two, but I still used one whole onion and 4 cloves of garlic.

Instead of chicken I used turkey and substituted savoy cabbage for the swiss chard.

This also gave me an opportunity to use cannellini beans which I have never used before. For my version of the recipe I only used 1 can.

I also made a few changes to the spices as I was missing both fennel seeds and chilli powder. Instead I used;

  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon of dried Oregano
  • 3 teaspoons of Garam Masala

I added salt and pepper to taste and actually forgot to add the red pepper flakes towards the end of cooking, so it wasn’t as hot and spicy as it could have been.

Everything was in the pot and cooked within 20 minutes – then it just simmered away for another 45 minutes before I served it up with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I will definitely make this again!