Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Pieday Friday – Creamy corn soup recipe

I have to admit – this week’s Pieday Friday recipe isn’t my own. My friend Sophie, who has her own blog La Vie Sophie, shared this recipe back in 2015. It seemed almost too simple, but when I tried making it for myself I was amazed at just how easy it was to make a creamy corn soup that tasted great and contained no dairy at all. I’ve been making it ever since and now I just can’t keep it to myself anymore. So how did Sophie get the creaminess into the soup without adding dairy? It’s all down the three (yes, just three) ingredients in this recipe… Sweetcorn, stock and spaghetti. It’s the pasta that gives it the creaminess, that’s all there is to it. It’s healthy and tasty, and can be made with just a few ingredients that you probably already have at home. And if you pick up a pack of 25p spaghetti and a 40p tin of sweetcorn from the supermarket, this is a pretty low-cost lunch too! Of course, you could use fresh sweetcorn too – and you can experiment with veggie or chicken stock to vary the recipe a little – just give it a try and see what you prefer. If you’d like to make this meal for yourself here’s the link to the creamy corn soup recipe on Sophie’s blog, which gives you all the measurements, method and timings. And here are my pics of the process when I made this soup for lunch on Wednesday this week.

Sophie’s recipe calls for half of the soup to be blended and half to be left as it is. This gives you little noodles in the soup and less thick texture. But I’ve tried blending the whole pan of soup in the past and I really liked how creamy it turned out – plus, it soaked into the bread I was dipping into my bowl perfectly! I’m using the MX-ZX1800 Panasonic blender to whizz up my soup and it takes only seconds to blitz the whole batch of soup.

I used the pulse setting to start with, so that the sweetcorn and pasta would start to break down easily. When it started to look creamy, I turned up the blending function to whizz it into a really super-smooth texture. The thing is that I’m not actually much of a fan of tinned sweetcorn (love it fresh on the cob though!) so I like to make sure that all the sweetcorn kernels are completely blended before eating.

This blender can take hot or cold foods but some others can’t have hot liquids in them, so be sure to check and you might need to cook this in advance and let it cool down before you can blend it. Thankfully, the Panasonic blender is fine with hot liquids so I could cook, blend and dish up my lunch in a matter of minutes. When you’re as hungry as I am, speed is a bonus! Just a touch of salt and pepper is all that’s needed to finished off this dish – although I’ve found that a sprinkling of my favourite smoked paprika is a delicious addition too!

What do you think of Sophie’s recipe? Have you made any soups with pasta before? I hope you’ll have a look around Sophies blog and have a read of her fantastic posts and recipes. And I hope you enjoy your healthy yet creamy corn soup lunch!


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Pieday Friday – 12 days of Christmas recipe round-up

I thought I’d share round-up of my favourite festive recipes this Pieday Friday. The idea was to get you in the mood for all the Christmas baking to come but, in fact, I’ve actually started craving most of these recipes now, so I’m sure I’ll be whipping up some tasty this weekend! Below you’ll find links to my top twelve “12 days of Christmas” recipe blog posts, starting with these snowy dark chocolate cookies and cream-filled snowball meringues – enjoy!pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-13 Recipe for snowball meringues Christmas pudding dessert-18It wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. Last year I made a gingerbread sleigh but the recipe can be used to make traditional gingerbread men or decorations to hang on your tree. You can find the classic gingerbread recipe in this blog post plus there’s a festive spiced banana muffin recipe in the gingerbread blog post too, bonus!baking-a-gingerbread-sleigh-using-cookie-cutters-1diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7Even though I first made this chocolate gingerbread recipe for halloween, it’s definitely going to be baked again in December. The chocolate makes a nice change to the traditional gingerbread biscuit recipe, and you could make a batch of both types for Christmas, mmm.

Cheesy Christmas Stars

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Pieday Friday – ‘Broth’ & ‘Simply Ramen’ cookbook review

Two very similar, yet very different cookbooks. One eager food blogger. A whole weekend of reading, Post-Iting and note-taking. Equals today’s Pieday Friday blog post. Yes, I’m reviewing a couple of freshly published cookbooks, both focusing on the wetter side of cooking – Broth and Simply Ramen.broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-7I don’t know why, but it seems like the right time of year to be cooking up this kind of meal. The dishes in these cookbooks are much lighter than the stews and casseroles I’ve been slow-cooking all winter, yet they’re still warming meals that help you feel cosy on rainy April days as you cup your hands around a steaming bowl of soup. I’ve definitely been inspired to whip up a few bowls of something hot and wet over the past couple of weeks so I thought that the time is right to share these books with you all.broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-14 broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-10broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-17First up is BrothIt’s a very reassuring – almost old-fashioned – publication that shares the very basics of broth-making, and how to turn these stocks into delicious and filling soups, stews and main meals. Using simple methods and easily accessible fresh ingredients the authors Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas whip batches of base broths, and share lots of ideas for different meals that can be created from one stock. Take, for example, the basic chicken broth; this can be turned into a classic chicken noodle soup, an Italian Stracciatella, a simmering risotto, Asian hot and sour soups, or even a chilled gazpacho. It makes all that boiling seem worthwhile when you can make so many dishes from that one base stock.broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-12 broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-8 broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-13 broth and ramen cook book review pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-9I’ve picked out some of my favourite recipes from this cookbook to share with you today so please feel free to download the PDFs for each recipe (kindly supplied by the publisher Jacqui Small) and try out the cookbook for yourself. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Broth is just a soup cookbook. There’s a whole chapter on stews, sautés and casseroles including pot roasts, side dishes, risottos, pasta meals and braised meats. Is was here that I found my favourite tagine recipe that I plan to slow-cook this weekend, so it’s a great source of inspiration for all types of meals.

PDF Recipe – Broth – Game Broth_

PDF Recipe – Broth – Aegean Fish Soup

gamebroth_26 gamebroth_39 gamebroth_89AgenianFiSp_08 Continue reading “Pieday Friday – ‘Broth’ & ‘Simply Ramen’ cookbook review” »


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Pieday Friday – Warming oxtail soup recipe for autumn

This week the weather started to feel decidedly autumnal. We’ve had a couple of very cold mornings – I can’t quite say frosty… yet! – and the leaves have been dropping in the garden. I’ve been craving more hot meals and, in particular, soups at lunchtime. We cooked up a tasty chicken soup last week using the roast-dinner leftovers and this week I picked up a marked-down oxtail portion at the supermarket and set my mind to making something I’ve never tried before; a beefy oxtail soup.Pieday Friday Autumn Oxtail Soup Recipe-9Without any prior knowledge of how to cook oxtail at all I turned to Jamie Oliver for help. I found an oxtail stew recipe on his website and, even though it wasn’t the soup recipe I needed, I guessed that all the ingredients he used would create the best flavour combination with the oxtail. I therefore gathered together most of the ingredients, including thyme and rosemary from the herb garden, tomatoes picked from the greenhouse, carrots freshly dug up from the veggie patch and the onions we’d harvested a few weeks previously and dried out in the sun. I set to work turning the ingredients into a soup recipe, with a few additions of my own, and here’s what I came up with:Pieday Friday Autumn vegetables from the herb garden and veggie patch-2Pieday Friday Autumn Oxtail Soup RecipePieday Friday Autumn vegetables from the herb garden and veggie patchIngredients (serves 4): 750g oxtail, olive oil, 1 white onion, 1 red onion, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, a bouquet garnis made from thyme, rosemary and sage, 1 tablespoon of plain flour, 300g chopped tomatoes, 200ml IPA beer, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

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Pieday Friday ~ Warming root veg & squash soup

As you may have already spotted from my photos on Instagram, I grew a few squashes in my new veggie patch this year and that meant that I had plenty to play around with for Halloween. Now that the spooky season is over, I want to put my squashes to good use, so I’ve come up with a recipe for a warming winter soup, packed full of root vegetables and of course my delicious home-grown squash.

homemade carrot and squash soup recipe homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-2 homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-3I also wanted to try out my new Russell Hobbs hand blender and I thought that soup would be the perfect way to test it out. My blender is from the new Aura range and I particularly like the fact that it can be used to blend in the pan that the soup has been cooked in rather than me needing to transfer hot soup into an upright blender. It comes with an accompanying blending beaker for making milkshakes, smoothies or soups etc but I’m going to use it straight in the pan and save on washing up!

homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-4 homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-6 homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-5

Ingredients: Squash (any variety, mine was ‘Queen of Squash’ and tastes like sweet potato when baked in the oven), carrots, potatoes, swede, onions, vegetable stock cubes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Choose any quantity you like to serve any number of people – I made double the amount I thought I would need so that I could jar up the excess and enjoy it for lunch next week.

homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-7homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-10

Firstly, roast the squash in the oven. I cut my squash in half, scooped out the seeds in the centre and then cut into wedges to roast. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before roasting for about half an hour or until softened. Scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon and discard the skins.

homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-8 homemade carrot and squash soup recipe-9

Peel and dice the carrots, potatoes and swede so that they are roughly the same size chunks. Chop up the onion and sauté with the veggies in a little olive oil for about 3 minutes before adding enough boiling water to cover the vegetables. When the water has come back to the boil and the veg is starting to soften, add one vegetable stock cube (or more, depending on quantities, to taste) and allow the veg to continue to simmer until it can softened enough to be squashed with the back of a spoon.

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Add the soft roasted squash flesh into the pan with the vegetables and blitz with your hand blender until smooth and thick. I particularly like the fact that the Aura hand blender has a variable speed dial on the top so I could use it on a slower setting when I was beginning to blend and breaking up the diced veg, and then I could increase the speed to really pulverize the soup until smooth. The only thing is that it works SO well, that the speed of the blade meant that the blender head sometimes suctioned onto the bottom of the pan, but it wasn’t a problem because the blade never comes into contact with the pan (no damage done!) so I just turned down the speed a little and carried on blitzing!

Winter root veg soup recipe-3 Winter root veg soup recipe-2

My family and I enjoyed this soup with a crusty baguette for lunch yesterday I still have some left over which I have stored in a Kilner jar in the fridge. Let me know if you try out this recipe and check more of the soup recipes on my blog – I’m definitely going to be making them all again this winter now that I’ve got a super-speedy way to blitz them up with my new Russell Hobbs hand blender!

Winter root veg soup recipe

 

 


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Ideas for a grown-up bonfire night dinner party

Remember, remember the 5th of November… Tonight is bonfire night and it’s as the celebration is occurring mid-week this year, it seems like the fireworks have been going off all week long! There were displays last weekend and there are definitely more happening this weekend too, with the occasional home celebration in between. Although I love fireworks, it’s been more of a pain than a delight for me to have fireworks going off all week long, as my cats get stressed out and the prolonged celebration means that they have been less-than happy this week. Even so I will be celebrating tonight with a grown-up dinner party and I’d like to share some ideas with you in case you were thinking of doing the same, either tonight or at the weekend!

Firstly, make your dinner table look extra-special: simply adding napkins and wine glasses (even if you’re only serving soft drinks!) can make all the difference to your table. Pick out your best crockery or if you’re thinking of investing in new dishes for Christmas, do it now and get double-use out of them – try John Lewis for a great selection of festive and classic crockery. Just adding a few candles in jars will add to the festive atmosphere of bonfire night and will keep the table well-lit on a dark evening.

autumnal table setting with candles

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Next, decide on a suitably bonfire-themed menu. This doesn’t have to be sausages in buns because tonight we won’t be standing in a field but will be seated in the comfort of our own home, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t go all-out with a fireworks feast! There’s nothing better than holding a steaming cup of soup with gloved hands when you’re cold on bonfire night so I would recommend bringing this tradition indoors and serving a warming spiced butternut squash soup with chunky bread and crumbled blue stilton – check out my recipe on the blog.butternut-squash-and-stilton-soup-recipe-on-cassiefairys-pieday-friday-cookery-blogFor the main course, go for a traditional bonfire night meal such as spicy chilli or pulled pork with jacket potatoes and rice. I’ve already prepared my chilli in advance and will definitely be eating this autumnal meal this evening. Here’s my favourite recipe for a 5 bean chilli – just change the quorn for mince if you’re a meat-eater!chilli cooking 1I’ve decided that a few sparklers at home are enough fireworks for me so I’ll be ending the evening with a swish of sparkle outside in the garden – here are the shapes we made last year, and we even got out the torches to create some long-exposure movement photos.

fireworks night - sparklersfireworks night - sparklers heart

Let me know what you think of my plans and whether you’re planning something similar too? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment below 🙂


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Warming Soup Recipe: Roast Tomato Soup

Over the weekend I managed to get a big bag of tomatoes that had been reduced at the supermarket so I made a lovely roast tomato soup that couldn’t be easier! Ingredients: 1kg halved tomatoes, one chopped white onion, 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil or Fry Light, salt and black pepper, 1 pint vegetable stock.

Method: Put all ingredients except for the stock into a roasting dish and roast in the oven until everything is soft and easy to mash. Blend with the vegetable stock until smooth. I liked the taste but it was a little tart from the vinegar, so if you prefer a sweeter tomato soup, add a little sugar or a squirt of tomato ketchup to make the soup more mild. I hope you try this recipe out, which is great for lunch on a chilly day!


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Pieday Friday Recipe – Butternut Squash & Stilton Soup

After my trip to the Maple Farm produce shop last weekend saw me bringing home a locally-grown butternut squash, I decided that the best way for me to cook the squash was to roast it and turn it into a tasty smooth soup. So I followed the farmer’s instructions to scrub the skin of the butternut squash, cut into 4 and scoop out the seeds before roasting for around 30 minutes until the flesh was soft – kind of like roasting a sweet potato. I sprayed the squash with Fry-light before roasting but you could drizzle with a little olive oil if you prefer.

I then scooped the flesh out of the skin (I tried the skin and it was a little too tough, and would have left stringy bits in my soup!) and blended it with a pint of vegetable stock, 3 tablespoons of cream cheese and around 30g of stilton (any blue cheese would be lovely). The butternut squash soup ended up being super-smooth and creamy, and was delicious with a little seasoning and a crumbling of blue cheese on top, lush!

butternut-squash-and-stilton-soup-recipe-on-cassiefairys-pieday-friday-cookery-blog

Let me know if you give this recipe a go yourself, and keep an eye out for more soup recipes on the blog soon (it must be that time of year again!)


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Simple Soup Recipe – Leek & Potato

I look forward to every autumn when I begin to have a lovely warming soup for lunch each day and this is one of my favourite. It’s great to make whenever I spot a bunch of leeks reduced in the supermarket and its so simple to make. Plus I use fry-light rather than oil or butter in order to make it a super-healthy dinner option.

Slice a bunch of approx 5-6 leeks and lightly brown in a frying pan using fry-light. Meanwhile, boil about 1kg of potatoes until soft and then add a vegetable stock cube to the boiling water and add the softened leeks. Blend the soup to the consistency that you prefer – I like it smooth – and add salt and pepper to taste.

Let me know if you have a go at making this super-simple dinner and I’ll be sharing more of my favourite easy soup recipes over the coming weeks so please come back soon! :)

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Simple Soup Recipe – Carrot and Coriander

This is a lovely simple soup recipe that I made earlier this week. I’d bought 3 big bags of carrots that were reduced to a bargain price at the supermarket with the idea that I could make a massive batch of this soup and jar it up for the coming week and freeze some more portions in plastic containers for later on this month. It would be much cheaper than buying tinned soup, and surely it’s got to be much more healthy with only veg and herbs in it!

I boiled 1kg carrots with 4-5 potatoes and when they were super-soft I added coriander leaves to the boiling water – you can use a big bunch of fresh coriander or use approx 2 tablespoons of dried coriander leaf. I blended everything together until it was smooth and added salt and pepper to taste before popping into sterilised jars and plastic freezer tubs.

Let me know if you have a go at making this super-simple dinner and I’ll be sharing more of my favourite easy soup recipes over the coming weeks so please come back soon! 🙂

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