I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and your sticking to any resolutions you may have set yourself. I dont really make them myself but I definitely have some aspirations, hopes and plans for the coming year and hopefully if I manage to make those happen I’ll share them here. One thing definitely happening include a trip to Paris in April which I am so looking forward to, Paris being one of my absolute favourite places, and hopefully i’ll make it to Barcelona as well in October. So Christmas and New Year are over as are the overeating and the overindulgence (thats the plan anyway) but with the weather being so cold at the moment salads are not exactly going to cut it. This season calls more for filling, warming soups and stews. But keeping in mind this is also the season of resolutions and weight loss I wanted to at least make an attempt at balancing these two concerns. Therefore I have two recipes today, an Apple and Parsnip Soup and my Hot Chocolate recipe. Both can be made relatively healthily but I urge you, in regards to the hot chocolate at least, to indulge and enjoy it as it meant to be, because really what’s life without some indulgences now and then.
Apple and Parsnip Soup
Adapted from Ella Heeks of Abel & Cole – Serves 6
3 Tblsp Butter
2 Glugs of Olive Oil
1 Onion, Peeled and Chopped
4 Parsnips, Peeled and Chopped
3 English Apples, Cored and Chopped (skin on or off)
3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 Tblsp Thyme Leaves
900ml Vegetable Stock (for the less healthy version use 750ml stock + 125ml Double Cream)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1. Melt the Butter and Oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in the Onions, Parsnips, and Apples and fry gently for about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add the Garlic and Thyme and fry for a couple more minutes. Add in the stock, but not the cream if using, bring the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and blend in a food processor or use a hand blender. Stir in the cream if using, season and serve. I made the healthy version but added just a dash of cream to give just a little creaminess.
There is nothing better for a cold winters evening than a warming cup of hot chocolate, especially when its real chocolate and full fat milk making it smooth, thick and creamy. This is a result of one evenings experimentation and therefore its probably not fully there yet, I might reduce the milk or increase the chocolate in the future, but for now this is still a great warming cup of chocolate. If you really want to make this healthier then you can replace the whole milk with skimmed but the texture wont be as silky or smooth.
150g Bittersweet Chocolate (I used a bitter 70% bitter chocolate)
500ml Whole Milk
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1. In a medium size saucepan heat the Milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and begins to steam.
2. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and pour over about half of the milk very gently stirring with a whisk. Add the Vanilla to the rest of the milk and incorporate this to the chocolate mixture.