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Winter wonders – 3 of our best soups and something yummy for tea

Hearty Lamb and Barley BrothLamb and Barley Broth

Perfect for a miserable winters day, this is an easy no fuss alternative to our delicious Chicken Barley Soup. A bigger hit with menfolk too!

3 lamb necks
3 tsps. Olive Oil
1 large onion cut into large squares
3 carrots peeled
2 leeks tops cut off
3 sticks celery
½ tsp. ground pepper
I bay leaf
I sprig rosemary
1.5 L chicken or beef stock
100g Pearl barley
Handful mint
Handful parsley
Zest of 1 lemon

Heat oil in large deep saucepan and add lamb necks. Lightly brown the meat all over and then add vegetables all roughly chopped, pepper and stock with a little salt for seasoning. Bring to the boil then add bay leaf and rosemary. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook slowly for 2 hours. You can do this in the bottom oven of the Aga or on 120 degrees in a regular oven or on the stovetop.

Add barley and cook for another 30mins. Check liquid levels. The broth should almost be syrupy.

Serve with chopped mint, parsley and lemon zest

Chicken Barley Soup – with quick Asian alternative

I love to keep this soup in my refrigerator – it makes a terrific instant supper or yummy impromptu lunch for drop in visitors

1 free-range chicken
3 carrots peeled
5 sticks celery
1 large sweet potato
½ tsp. ground pepper
I bay leaf
1.5 L chicken or beef stock
100g Pearl barley
Handful parsley

Place the chicken in a large deep saucepan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the bay leaf and cook slowly for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until chicken is cooked. Lift chicken from stock and leave to cool. Drain stock and return to saucepan. Pull chicken meat roughly from bones and set aside to add to the soup later.

Chop carrot, celery and sweet potato into similar sized small squares and add to stock with barley. Cook for 30minutes then add chicken meat to soup. Season to taste and to serve add a generous handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Asian alternative;

Replace uncooked chicken with bought BBQ chicken
Delete sweet potato, carrot and celery
5 medium chestnut mushrooms sliced
2 handfuls of interesting mushrooms
a bunch of bok choy chopped into four pieces each
1L chicken stock

Put chicken stock on stove to boil and add barley, cook for 30mins
Remove meat from chicken and chop roughly, set aside
Pan fry chestnut mushrooms and add to barley and stock mix, then add chicken, bok choy and finally interesting mushrooms. Do not overcook bok choy.

Serve arranging soup in base of bowl with bok choy and pretty mushrooms on the top.

Green Soup

This is my standard feel good soup. Like the chicken barley I keep it in Green Soupthe fridge and just have a cup whenever I am peckish. An excellent winter warming snack.

3 brown onions
40g butter and a tsp. olive oil
pinch each salt and pepper
1 head broccoli
5 courgettes (zucchini to us Aussies)
1- 2 cups frozen peas
1 bunch chopped spinach
1.5L chicken stock

Sauté onions in butter and oil for 5-10 mins or until they are clear. Add stock to saucepan and bring to the boil. Add roughly chopped courgette and broccoli and cook until greens are bright and slightly soft. Do not overcook at this stage. Immediately remove from heat and add peas and spinach.
Blend with a stick blender until the soup is smooth. You may need to remove a little liquid before you do this step so soup does not become too thin. I remove almost a cup of stock and then add it back to get the right consistency.
Finished soup should be thick. Serve with a slice of goats cheese and fresh bread.


Luxury no bake chocolate slice that keeps well in the fridge;Hedgehog

6oz butter
6oz sugar
2 small eggs
3 Tablespoons cocoa
¾ packet Rich Tea or 1 packet Arrowroot biscuits (crumbed)
1 ½ cups sultanas and chopped apricots
½ tsp. vanilla
1 packet (120gms) dark chocolate bits

Melt butter and sugar over low heat then stir in beaten egg, fruit and vanilla. Once this is mixed add chocolate bits and finally biscuit crumbs. Press into a slice tin 20x25cm or similar and refrigerate

Leave for several hours or overnight and then cut into 2cm squares.
Hedgehog will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

Michelle +44 7929 281345
Diana +44 7810 200148
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