My top recipes of 2016

So, 2016 has been a good year for About The Taste. Thanks to everyone who has looked at my blog posts over the last year. Here are my most popular recipes from 2016. Enjoy!

Gnocchi, halloumi, rocket and roasted red pepper salad

Gnocchi and halloumi salad (2)

This is a colourful and tasty dish that cooks in one pan. Plus it only has five ingredients. What’s not to love?! Get the recipe here.

Easy tomato soup

Tomato soup (3)

This recipe is popular because people have been searching for ways to use up over-ripe tomatoes. That’s really encouraging! I love that these beautiful tomatoes aren’t being wasted, but are being put to good use in this easy soup recipe. Great news! Get the recipe here.

Chorizo carbonara

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (1)

Carbonara is such a favourite of mine. I have plenty of recipes for different variations, but this seems to be very popular. You can use the usual pasta in this, or you can use your Spiralizer to substitute in zucchini noodles to make it lighter. I prefer a combination. Get the recipe here.

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The best roasted garlic and the best ways to use it!

The best roasted garlic and the best ways to use it!

It is really easy to roast garlic and really worth it, because you yield amazing results with very little effort. I roasted mine this time because I had a lot of bulbs in the cupboard that needed to be used, but it is worth buying extra and roasting it just so you can have some roasted garlic always on hand!

I’d recommend roasting a large batch and then freezing it. Then you can just take out a few cloves whenever you need it.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Cut the top off your garlic bulbs and peel away any excess paper. Place them on a sheet of tin foil.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil over each bulb and a tiny sprinkle of salt.
4. Wrap the tinfoil around the buld and bake in the oven for at least 45 minutes until completely soft.
5. Take out of the oven. Once cool, remove each clove from the skin.
6. You can use the roasted garlic right away or freeze it. To do this, wait until the cloves are cool, gently squeeze them from their skins then place in a single layer in a freezer bag. You can then freeze this and just take out cloves when you need them. They defrost very quickly!

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Uses for mashed roasted cloves

Spread the paste on toast as it is. You get a garlic hit but it isn’t as strong as raw garlic. This paste is also great for making garlic bread and as a base on bruschetta.

Mix with butter to make garlic butter. Smother on a bread roll to bring dunking in your tomato soup to a whole new level.

Up your nachos game by mixing roasted garlic with soured cream. This is an amazing accompaniment for any of your Mexican favourites, or with my smoky chocolate chilli.

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Mix it with mayonnaise to make awesome sandwiches.

Spread it over chicken breasts before baking.

Add a layer when you’re making lasagne. It would be delicious added to these individual lasagnes underneath the cheese layer.

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Make a delicious roasted garlic and tomato sauce. Stir in the paste with roasted tinned tomatoes for a pasta sauce that is really cheap to make but tastes so luxurious!

Inside out burgers are one of my all-time favourites. You put a piece of cheese like Brie or Camembert INSIDE the burger patty so that when it cooks you get a gooey cheesy centre. What if you put a small clove of roasted garlic inside the cheese inside the burger? Mind. Blown.

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If you have any more ideas, tweet me or comment below! What are your favourite uses for roasted garlic?

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Simple carrot and cabbage soup with omelette rolls

Simple carrot and cabbage soup with omelette rolls
Carrot and cabbage soup with omelette rolls (Twitter)

I really like the addition of the thin omelette rings added at the end of this recipe. It adds some protein and makes the soup more filling. It is one egg per person –  if you are scaling up the recipe for more than one person, do each omelette separately, one egg at a time. More than one egg will make a thicker omelette, and for this you need it to be very thin.

Whilst we are on the subject of thin, a mandolin or vegetable slicer will make your life much easier if you are making this recipe, because it will help you to make very thin slices of carrot. If you don’t have a mandolin, make sure you slice the carrot really thinly so it cooks quickly!

Omelette carrot cabbage soup, 20 01 58.jpg

Ingredients (per person)

– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
– quarter head of white cabbage, shredded finely
– 1 bowl of vegetable/chicken stock

Method
1. Place the sliced carrot and shredded cabbage in a pan with the stock.
2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes.
Carrot cabbage omelette soup (2)3. Heat a little oil or butter in a medium-large frying pan. Pour the beaten egg in and swirl it over the pan to create a thin layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the egg is cooked and starting to colour. Take the omelette out of the pan and roll up.
4. Slice the omelette thinly. Test the soup and season to taste – the vegetables should be cooked but still with a little bite. Pour the soup into a bowl then place the omelette slices on top.

Omelette carrot cabbage soup, 19 59 59.jpg

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Use up overripe tomatoes – easy tomato soup!

Easy tomato soup

Tomato soup (3)

I hate to waste food. I always plan my shopping list based on what I’m going to cook and I try to make sure I throw as little away as possible. We had been away for a few days and I came back to some tomatoes that were too ripe for salad. I wasn’t going to be cooking for two evening (birthday fun!), so tomato sauce was out. I decided to make some soup for lunch. It’s sort a combination between minestrone and tomato.

With this recipe, you can choose the texture of your soup. I wanted mine to be quite chunky, so I only blended half of it. If you would like a smoother soup, keep on blending! I’d recommend leaving some chunks though! You can tip it into a big blender like this one, or just use a handheld one.

You can make this soup vegetarian by using veg stock instead of chicken, and using a substitute hard cheese.
Tomato soup (2)Ingredients (serves 2)
– 6-7 overripe tomatoes, chopped
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 3 cloves garlic
– 500ml chicken stock
– 1 tablespoon tomato puree
– 80g short pasta strands (you can always use spaghetti and just snap it into small pieces before cooking
– handful grated Parmesan
Tomato soup (1)Method
1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan. Tip the chopped onions in and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and carrots. Stir, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes (peel, seeds and all!) and cover again. Cook for ten minutes on a medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.
3. Use a stick blender to blend the soup to your preferred consistency. I recommend leaving some chunks for texture.
4. Add the tomato puree. Pour in the stock, a little at a time. Stir it in and stop when the soup is the thickness you require.
5. Mix the pasta pieces to the soup and simmer until they are cooked through. In soup, I prefer not to have my pasta al dente, but check them until they are cooked to your liking.
6. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and plenty of freshly milled black pepper.

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Tomato soup (4)