Roasted Carrot & Fennel Soup with Cheese Toasties

Soup weather is officially back and I’m not complaining! Soups are a fantastic way to get a whole lot of goodness into one simple meal. Probably at least once a week we have a soup and cheese toastie night. The simplest way to make a soup… whilst juggling the housework, homework, giving the dog a walk, firing off a few last emails etc… is to grab a tray, roughly chop up a good combination of veg, oil and season it well, and whack it in the oven. Then your surfaces are clear, all you have to do when it’s done is tip it into a big pot and blend it with some stock.

The carrots and fennel coming out of the farm at the moment are just stunning! So fresh and so full of flavour. And so often, what grows together, goes together! So here’s one of our seasonal favourites right now, a simple but super-tasty, carrot and fennel soup! Enjoy!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 bulbs of fennel
  • 6 carrots
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 leek (or 1 onion)
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 litre of water (in the kettle, ready to boil)
  • cheese sandwiches to serve (I like to butter the outside and grill them when the soup is ready)

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and find a deep roasting dish.
  2. Wash the vegetables, roughly chop them and place them in the roasting dish.
  3. Peel the garlic cloves and pop them into the dish whole.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a good couple of pinches of salt and a grind of black pepper. Mix well and then get the dish into the oven to roast. It should take about 30 minutes but keep an eye on it as ovens vary.
  5. Meanwhile make cheese sandwiches to grill (we have a lovely range of organic cheeses including a new Irish organic Mossfield cheese and vegan cheeses) and get a big pot and your stick blender ready.
  6. Crumble two veg stock cubes into a large jug and then add a litre of freshly boiled water. Stir to combine. Test the roasted veg for ‘done-ness’ with a knife. They should be soft and starting to take on some colour.
  7. Scrape the roasted veg to a large pot, pour over the veg stock and blend until smooth with your stick blender. You may wish to add a splash more water to thin the soup out to your liking. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary with more salt or pepper.
  8. Then grill the cheese sandwiches and reheat the soup on the hob. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Fennel & Tomato Pasta Sauce

One of my go-to weekday dinner solutions, for those hectic days when the juggle between work-life and family-life has left you reeling, is to roast a big tray of vegetables and then while that’s cooking decide what to do with it. I usually turn it into pasta sauce or soup with the help of my handy stick blender and add some extra protein with a drained tin of beans or lentils. There is always the option to stir the roasted veggies through rice or add them to tacos or a make a warm salad by tossing them through a drained tin of cooked pulses (our organic range from Bunalun is so handy). Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and more delicious and our farm grown fennel and tomatoes are just *made* for pasta.

Like most of my recipes, this is a flexible affair. Make it smooth or chunky, don’t worry too much about the ratios of the different vegetables. Make do with what you have and if in doubt, add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

  • 2 fennel bulbs (roughly chopped, fronds kept to one side to use fresh as a herb)
  • 250g tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 a bulb of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • optional extra vegetables like courgette, peppers, carrots…(roughly chopped)
  • olive oil for roasting – about 4 tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • optional drained tin of green lentils
  • pasta to serve
  • optional chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil to serve

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and find your largest oven tray.
  2. Roughly chop all the vegetables and scatter them onto the tray.
  3. Drizzle generously with good olive oil and season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.
  4. Use your hands to mix the vegetables, oil and seasoning well, then pop the tray into the oven to roast the vegetables while you cook some pasta (we stock a range of brilliant organic pastas, including gluten free varieties, which you can add to your veg order).
  5. After 20 minutes, the vegetables should be soft and starting to caramelise. If you used a smaller tray then it will take longer and you should stir them occasionally to ensure they all catch some direct heat.
  6. Carefully tip and scrape the roasted vegetables into a deep container. I like to use a sauce pot so that I can easily re-heat the sauce if needed. Then using a stick blender, blend the vegetables into a sauce. You can make it perfectly smooth or leave some texture and chunks, however you prefer it is fine! Or add some vegetable stock to loosen the sauce into a soup?
  7. Add the chopped reserved fennel fronds if you like that fresh, aniseed flavour. For extra protein and fibre, add a drained tin of lentils or white beans to the sauce.
  8. Stir through freshly cooked pasta and serve. I always put extra virgin olive oil, flakey salt and chilli flakes on the table too with this dish. Enjoy!

One Pot Baked Orzo Pasta

One pot suppers are my favourite types of suppers. Not just for the lack of pots and pans to scrub, although let’s be honest, that is the main reason, but also because it’s just so satisfying, pulling a dish out of the oven and onto the centre of the table and watching everyone tuck in. This baked orzo recipe, like pretty much all of my recipes, is super-flexible. Use it as inspiration rather than instruction and tweak it with any vegetables you have in your box this week. Orzo is simply rice shaped pasta. I often pop a drained tin of beans or lentils into the mix too for some added fibre and protein. Let us know how your version went in the comments.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions – diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic – diced
  • roughly chopped vegetables of your choice (I went ‘Med-veg’ style and used – 1 aubergine, 1/2 a fennel bulb, 2 courgettes, 1 yellow pepper)
  • 500g orzo pasta
  • the juice of a lemon (or a tbsp of preserved lemon paste)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml water
  • salt, pepper and herbs to taste
  • added extras to taste – olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, a drained tin of beans/lentils/chickpeas…
  • grated cheese (or vegan cheese – we sell a range or make my tofu-feta recipe) to finish

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C and find a large oven and hob safe pan with a lid. If you don’t have one, you could use a roasting dish and some tin foil – roast rather than sauté the vegetables.
  2. Sauté the diced onion and garlic with the olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until starting to soften and colour.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables, season with salt and pepper and sauté for a further 10 minutes until not fully cooked through, but just starting to caramelise on the outsides.
  4. Pour the orzo into the pan along with the lemon and tin of chopped tomatoes. Swirl the juices out of the tin into a measuring jug until you have 500ml of water and add that to the pan too.
  5. At this point you may wish to add some extra ingredients like herbs, olives, capers, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, a drained tin of butterbeans etc…
  6. Stir well to combine the ingredients then place the lid on the dish and put it in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed all the liquid.
  7. Remove the lid and add a generous sprinkle of grated cheese. Return the dish to the oven with the lid off for 5 minutes or until bubbling and starting to take on some colour.
  8. Enjoy with a simple green salad.

Tomato & Greens Chickpea Curry

This simple curry is a brilliant way to pack in all those gorgeous seasonal greens we have been harvesting at the farm recently. It works equally well with spinach, chard, kale or even spring green cabbages. It’s a regular feature on our mid-week menu at home. Gotta love a simple meal that can be thrown together from a few affordable ingredients – which is also such a flavour bomb! Tweak the spices to suit your taste.

Serve it with wholesome brown rice to make it a meal. Our bulk bags of rice come in compostable bags, why not add some to your next fruit and veg order?

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

  • 1 tbsp vegetable/coconut oil
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 4 cloves of diced garlic
  • 3 tbsp curry powder (or use a mix of your favourite curry spices)
  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
  • red chillies to taste, chopped
  • 2 tins of chopped tomato
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200g or more of spinach/chard/spring greens
  • cooked rice, lime wedges and fresh coriander to serve.

Method

  1. In a large pan/pot, sauté the diced onion and garlic in the oil over a medium/high heat for about 10 minutes – or until they start to caramelise, soften and turn golden brown.
  2. Add the fresh ginger, curry spices and chilli and stir to quickly toast them before adding any liquid.
  3. Add the two tins of tomatoes and the drained chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and simmer together until rich and delicious.
  4. About 5-10 minutes before serving, rinse and chop the greens then fold them into the curry. Once they are sufficiently wilted, serve in bowls with rice and lime and coriander to lift and brighten the curry.