Spring Soup Courtesy Jamie Oliver Recipe Yearbook 2010/2011

Recently we have been getting back into cooking, thanks to Masterchef Australia, Nigella and of course Jamie Oliver.  I had a friend over for dinner the other night and the Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto that I shared with you recently, was a big hit.

Well today for lunch we decided to make Spring Soup which is just one of the tasty recipes from Jamie’s Recipe Yearbook 2010/11 .  This recipe is easy to prepare and absolutely yummy. I sure hope Jamie doesn’t mind me sharing this recipe with you. As there were just 2 of us for lunch we halved the ingredients, but if you make the full amount you can have the leftovers for lunch again, because this will taste just as nice the next day.

Spring  Soup (serves 4 – 6)


  • a large knob of butter (I also added a splash of olive oil)
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 400g baby leeks, sliced, (I used 1 large leek as there weren’t any baby leeks at the market)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (the baby processor did an admirable job)
  • 1/2 bunch Thyme (fresh from my herb garden)
  • 400g baby carrots, halved lenghtways (I like my carrots cut smaller so chopped them up to my liking)
  • 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks, skin removed and discarded. (Chicken thighs have more flavor by I used a chicken breast that was in the freezer)
  • 2 liters of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200g small soup pasta (didn’t have any so just used the pasta in the cupboard)
  • juice of 1 lemon.

Method – Jamie’s:

  1.  Melt the butter in a large pan on a low heat and saute the shallots, leeks and garlic with the thyme sprigs until soft but not colored – about 15 mins Stir in the carrots, then the chiken, Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Season, then simmer gently for 90 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the soup and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat off the bone, then return to the pan with the pasta. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Add lemon juice to taste.

Tip: You can use leftover poached or roast chicken insted of the thighs or cooked, shredded drumsticks, just add the chicken at the end with the pasta.

Our Method:
We were pushed for time (needed to go shopping) so we took a few shortcuts.

  1. The same -Melt the butter, add oil over a low heat and saute the shallots, leeks and garlic with the thyme sprigs until soft but not colored. Stir in the finely cut carrots and chicken which we had diced.
  2. Add the stock and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Omit the lemon juice
  5. Fry up some prosciutto and crumble into the soup before  serving.

Okay, here’s what we found – the soup has a very intense flavor so next time I will use half stock and half water.  I used lemon Thyme so I didn’t add the lemon juice and just as well because the lemony flavor was just right.  We didn’t need the prosciutto to add flavor as the soup has plenty. We like proscuitto anyway so it didn’t matter.

The soup was served with a slice of Quinoa and Flax-seed Wholegrain bread.

There are a load of really tasty and easy to make recipes in the Jamie’s Recipe Yearbook 2010/11 , and we will be making many more in the coming weeks.

Spring Soup

Saute Onion, Leeks, Garlic and Thyme

Cut Carrots to you liking

Add Carrots and Chicken to pot

Add Stock and simmer

Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham (Prosciutto) Courtesy of Jamie Oliver

Earlier this year Paula and I each brought ourselves an Apple iPad and we just love them. There are so many applications available and one of the best recipe manager apps we have found  is ‘Paprika’.

This app allows you to create your own recipes, save  recipes from any along with the photo, and then you can organize your recipes to suit yourself.

Now when you ready to cook, you simply bring up your recipe and read it right from your iPad and the best part is that the Paprika app doesn’t close. This is an excellent feature when you have stuff all over your hands, it means you won’t get your iPad mucky. It’s Brilliant.

Another excellent feature about the iPad is that you can download podcasts.  And being an avid collector of recipes I downloaded both Jamie Oliver and Nigella podcasts.

One of Jamie Oliver’s podcasts if a recipe for Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham (Prosciutto). Talk about tasty. And it is so quick and easy that it has quickly become a firm favorite. And Jamie has a wide range of cookbooks with fantastic recipes for all tastes.

So here is the recipe:


  • 30 g Parmesan cheese
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon ( I use lime simply because I prefer the flavor)
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • Olive Oil


  • Put the chicken breasts between some sheets of plastic wrap and beat until they are about 1cm thick.
  • Carefully score the underside of the chicken breasts in a criss cross pattern with a small knife
  • Season with a little pepper ( you won’t need any salt as the prosciutto adds enough salty flavor)
  • Lay the chicken breasts next to each other  and sprinkle over most of the thyme leaves
  • Grate a little lime or lemon zest over them and then sprinkle with the Parmesan
  • Lay 3 prosciutto slices on each chicken breast overlapping them slightly.  ( I have had to vary the number of slices depending on the size of the chicken breast), you want the prosciutto to hold in the cheese.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining Thyme leaves.

To Cook the Chicken

  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat
  • Carefully transfer the chicken, breasts, proscuitto side down, into the pan. This can be tricky so I leave the chicken on the clingfilm to make it easier.
  • Cook for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, turning halfway through, giving the ham side an extra 30 seconds to crisp up.

You can serve the chicken whole or cut into thick slices  and piled on a plate. I like to serve the Parmesan Chicken with steamed vegetables but you can serve with a nice crunchy salad or whatever you have on hand as an accompaniment.

This dish is delicious. Thank you Jamie Oliver.

Parmesan Chicken Breasts USA Version (Imperial)
Parmesan Chicken Breasts UK Version (metric)

Here are the steps by photo:

Ingredients for Parmesan Chicken Breasts

Flatten the Chicken Breasts


Flattened Chicken Breast

Score the Underside of the Chicken Breast
Grate the parmesan cheese

Grate the parmesan cheese

Remove the Thyme Leaves from the Stalk

Sprinkle the Thyme Leaves on the Chicken

Cover with Parmesan Cheese

Cover with Prosciutto

Chicken Breast Covered with Prosciutto

Rub with Oil and add more Thyme Leaves

Add to pan Prosciutto side down - medium heat

Turn and finish cooking

What is Kosher Salt

Kosher SaltSalt comes from the ocean. Even the salt that is mined from inland deposits originally came from the sea. The salt that is mined from the ocean itself is called ‘sea salt’. All other salts will have been mined from inland deposits.

Once the salt is mined it is then refined to make different types of salts. For instance, the common table salt that most people use has added iodine. Salt can also be ground into very small grains.

Kosher salt is a much larger grained salt than regular table salt and has an almost flaky appearance. In general, it contains no additives but this isn’t the reason that it is called kosher. In actual fact, the salt itself isn’t kosher or at least in most cases it isn’t.

A food that is kosher is made following Jewish dietary laws and just because a salt is called kosher doesn’t necessarily means it meets these guidelines. The reason that kosher salt gets its name is because of the way it is used in the curing process to create kosher meat. As part of Jewish dietary law, blood cannot be eaten so the role of kosher salt is to draw out the blood.

In terms of every day cooking, Kosher salt is used where a coarser salt is required. It is also often used for pickling. Table salt can cause the pickling liquid to go cloudy because of the iodine. As Kosher salt doesn’t have iodine it prevents this from happening.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Chili Ketchup Recipe

Red Bell PeppersIn our household, we are moving more and more towards cooking foods from scratch rather than purchasing processed pre-prepared foods. With that in mind we are starting to make our own homemade sauces, jams, preserves, relishes and mustards.

It is definitely simpler to buy it all of course but I really like knowing exactly what I am eating. These days it is getting harder and harder to determine what all those chemicals in those processed foods actually are and what they are doing to our bodies.

One recipe that the cook in the house tried recently was for Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Chili Ketchup from the Best-Ever Book of Preserves by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew. This turned out really delicious and with a bit of a mild kick due to the addition of the chili.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Chilli Ketchup


  • 2lbs red bell peppers
  • 8oz shallots or if you can’t get them then choose a mild onion
  • 1 green cooking apple
  • 4 red chilies
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sprig of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 arrowroot


  1. Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Chili Ketchup IngredientsCore the apples and chop roughly.
  2. Remove the seeds from the chilis and chop.
  3. Place the red peppers under a broiler and grill for 10 minutes or so or until the skins turn black.
  4. Place the peppers in a plastic bag and leave for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Chop roughly.
  6. Put the shallots into a bowl of water and leave for 5 minutes.
  7. Drain the shallots, then peel them and chop them.
  8. In a pan, combine the shallots, apple pieces, chilis and red peppers.
  9. Create a little bag of herbs using a square of cheesecloth and add the thyme, parsley, bay leaf and coriander seeds. Add the bag to the pan.
  10. Add the water to the pan and bring to the boil.
  11. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and cool for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Remove the herb bag and then puree the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.
  14. Press the mixture through a strainer and place the puree into a clean pan.
  15. Keep 1 tbsp of the vinegar and then add the rest to the puree.
  16. Add the salt and sugar to the pan.
  17. Stir and bring to the boil.
  18. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  19. Mix the 1 tbsp of vinegar with the arrowroot and then stir into the puree. This should help to thicken the sauce so place back on the heat and stir for a few minutes until it does thicken slightly.
  20. Remove from the heat and pour into sterilized bottles.
  21. Seal and store in a cool dark place. We store ours in the fridge.

Place the bell peppers under the broiler for about 15 minutes Soak the shallots in a bowl of water Combine the shallots, apple, chilis and red pepper pieces in a saucepan Combine the herbs to make a herb bag

Limoncello Recipe

LimoncelloMy mother was Italian so I have a bit of an affinity with all things Italian and this includes drinking Limoncello.

For those that don’t know, Limoncello is a liqueur with the main ingredient being lemons. It has a sweet lemon taste but with a typical alcoholic aftertaste since this is after all an alcoholic drink.

In the past, we had always bought it ready made from our local bottle shop but eventually found a recipe for it so we now make it at home on a regular basis. There is always a bottle of Limoncello in the house ready for drinking.

The actual recipe itself is quite simple but it does take a couple of months for it to brew so you won’t be able to drink it straight away….well you can if you like, but it really won’t be anywhere near as good as it doesn’t allow for the lemons to release their wonderful flavor.

Once ready, you then store it in the freezer but you don’t have to worry about it freezing. It stays completely liquid but comes out nice and icy cold ready for drinking.

We originally got this recipe at Italyum so you can head over there if you need clarification of the recipe below.



  • 1 litre of Vodka
  • 10 unwaxed lemons
  • 350g sugar
  • 150ml water


  1. Wash the lemons well in water.  Then dry well with paper towels.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, stir the sugar and the water to make a syrup.
  3. When the syrup becomes a little clearer and it looks like the sugar has been dissolved, remove from the stove top to cool.
  4. Slice or peel the skin from the lemons. You want to end up with small pieces. Ensure you take the yellow rind only.
  5. Place the rind in a large glass jar.
  6. Pour in the vodka.
  7. Add the sugar syrup. Ensure the syrup has cooled before adding.
  8. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark spot for at least 30 days.
  9. You will need to mix the ingredients on a regular basis by turning the jar back and forward to stir the ingredients. We do it maybe once a week…if we remember.
  10. After the 30 days transfer the liquid to a bottle. You will need a funnel and some sort of strainer to ensure you don’t transfer any of the lemon rind into the bottle.
  11. Store in your freezer and when cold you are ready to drink.


Make the sugar syrup Peel the lemons Add the lemon rind to the bowl Add the vodka to the lemon rind in the jar Add the sugar syrup to the bowl Seal the jar and store in a cool dry place