Book Blogger Hop

bookbloggerhop

This is my first time taking part in the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question: Do you give books as gifts?

My Answer: Yes! Although not as often as I probably could.

I have quite a few friends and family who love to read, yet thinking about it now I don’t give them books as gifts very often.  I should change that! (This Christmas sounds like an expensive one for heavy book shipping now hehe.)

I’m part of a street team for an author, and every year we do a Secret Santa book swap between ourselves – to each send a copy of our favourite book to the random name we draw. It’s a lot of fun and I know the people I’ve sent books to have been excited to try new authors. Likewise for me when I receive my gift!  Last year I sent The Girl With All The Gifts (Amazon), and this year I’m still undecided on what to send – but there is a lot of year left before Christmas (thankfully!).

As it’s my first time taking part in this hop I’m not sure what else I should write… So i’m going to check out the other hoppers before I start babbling, and hopefully I’ll be more prepared next time hehe!

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Soup Season: Garden Pea Soup

I love peas. In the age old question of “what luxury item would you take to a desert island with you?” it would be peas without a doubt! Fresh garden peas (or frozen ones) though, not the canned variety because that’s just blasphemy.

When my husband and I first started dating he bought me a surprise gift and gave me the hint that it was green, my immediate (and jokey) reply was “is it peas?!” and joking aside, I would have still been a happy girl if it was hehe.

So I decide to put my pea obsession to good use and make a garden pea soup 🙂 I didn’t follow a recipe, I made it up as I went along! But it’s quick and simple to do, very few ingredients and you can add more or less of each of them – or throw some more in there like adding a carrot or two, some leeks maybe, even some fresh mint or bacon at the very end. That’s why I love soups, they’re so versatile!

Makes 8-10 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 kg frozen garden peas (fresh from pods are just as good!)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pints vegetable stock
1 pint boiling water
100 ml double or single cream (optional)
butter

Add some butter to a large saucepan and cook the chopped onions until soft, add the crushed garlic and stir through, leave to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the peas – they don’t need to be defrosted, just add them right from the freezer bag, or shell them from the pods if you’re using fresh peas.

Stir and add the stock and extra water. You can add more or less stock and water depending on how thin/thick you would like your soup to be.

Stir through and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Blend in a blender or food processor then stir in the cream if using it (we decided not to). This is also the point where you could add chopped up cooked bacon and/or mint.

Even though we decided not to use the cream in the soup itself, we drizzled a little bit on top of each portion before serving. You could also add a few crispy bacon bits on top, or some grated parmesan cheese. …Or even all three!

We had a bowlful each, with some Warburton’s Seeded Batch, and it was delicious! I’m definitely going to make it again but with some parmesan shavings and bacon bits to top it off. This was so quick and easy to make and I’m all for ease when it comes to cooking!

The rest of the soup went into Pour And Store bags, as usual, to be stored in the freezer 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth And Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and to follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Chinese Inspired Chicken

I love Chinese food. Growing up we used to go to Chinese restaurants almost every week, sometimes more than once a week! ..the authentic ones, not the fast-food take-out places.

So I’ve grown up with dim sum being a huge part of my diet and even now get cravings and have to run into town to satisfy them lol! One of my favourites is ha gow (prawn dumplings) and 2 days ago when shopping I found some pre-packed in a local supermarket! Now they may not be as good as the freshly made ones in the restaurant I grew up visiting (and still go to now) but they looked tasty so I bought 2 packets and some vegetable dumplings too.

With them in mind I decided to cook a Chinese inspired meal last night, from the top of my head, and dust off my wok that I don’t use nearly as much as I should. Here’s the recipe, there’s a couple of alterations I’ll make next time (a bit more honey and soy sauce) but overall it was really delicious 🙂

Serves 2.

2 carrots, chopped into strips
2 leeks, chopped into strips
1 onion, sliced and separated into pieces
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp honey
soy sauce

I started by chopping all of the vegetables while the wok heated up with a little bit of oil in.

I cooked the garlic in the oil for a little while, to flavour it, then added the onions and cooked until they started to soften.

Next I added the carrots and cooked for a few minutes before adding the chicken. When the chicken was cooked (after a few minutes) I added the leeks along with the honey and several generous dashes of soy sauce, stirring to coat everything.

I cooked it like this for a few minutes, stirring to mix everything well, then served in a dish with the dumplings (which I steamed) on the side 🙂

It was so simple to do and tasted great – when I do it again I’ll add a little more garlic I think and play around with the quantity of soy sauce and honey, because it could have taken more of each of those quite easily.

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth And Soul Blog Hop 🙂 I had so much fun last week I just had to take part again!