Cream of Broccoli Soup

There’s no waste with this soup. Use the whole broccoli head, including the stalks, to really make the most of those valuable antioxidants.

Recipe provided by:

Readers Digest | Amazing meals


  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 600g broccoli, cut into florets and stalks chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp long-grain rice
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

preparation method

  1. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Set aside a few florets of broccoli for the garnish, then add the rest to the saucepan with the onion and garlic.
  2. Bring back to the boil and tip the rice into the saucepan. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the broccoli and rice are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the reserved broccoli florets in a little lightly salted, boiling water for 5 minutes until just tender. Refresh in cold water and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Blend the soup in a blender or food processor, then return the soup to the pan. Add the crème fraîche and season to taste.
  5. Serve garnished with the separately cooked broccoli florets and the toasted almonds.


Copyright by The Readers Digest Association, Inc. 2005


*If preferred, you can substitute milk or single cream for the crème fraîche. *Add a few ice cubes to the water in which you refresh the broccoli florets in step 2: the cold will set their deep green colour.

Boxty potato pancakes

Pancake day is coming soon, so here’s a traditional Irish savoury idea to try.

Boxty Potato pancakes
From The Irish Heritage Cookbook


500g potatoes, peeled and chopped
50-75g plain flour
About 150ml milk
Salt to taste
Knob of butter

1.    Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor and process until the potato is thoroughly liquidized.

2.    Add the flour and enough milk to the processed potato to give a dropping consistency, and add salt to taste.The milk and flour can be adjusted, depending on how thin you like   your pancake. Heat a little butter on a griddle or heavy based frying pan.
3.    Pour about a quarter of the mixture into the pan – if the consistency is right it will spread evenly over the base. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cake. Serve rolled with the hot filling of your choice.

Suggested fillings:
Chopped bacon and cabbage, bound in a light mustard sauce.
Sauteed leek and mushroom in a light cream cheese sauce.

Beetroot & Celeriac remoulade

Recipe idea
Celeriac & Beetroot Remoulade
From ‘100 great recipes – Farmers Markets’ by Jacqeline Bellefontaine

A tasty winter salad – great with cheese, homemade bread or as a side dish.

350g celeriac
2tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
175g raw beetroot

1 tsp mustard powder/ English mustard
1 egg yolk (pasteurized)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.    Clean and peel the celeriac and coarsely grate or shred. Use the coarse grater attachment of a food processor for speed.
2.     Place in a bowl with the lemon juice and salt and toss well. Allow to stand for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain, squeezing out any excess water.
3.    Peel and coarsely grate or shred the beetroot and add to the celeriac.
4.    Whisk together the mustard, egg yolk and vinegar, then very slowly whisk in the olive oil until a thick sauce is formed. This can also be done in a food processor. Season with a little salt and pepper.
5.    Add enough dressing to moisten the vegetables and toss to combine. Serve cold. Chill any remaining dressing and use within 3 days.

Broccoli & Chicken Lasagne

Recipe idea
Broccoli and Chicken Lasagne
From ‘5 a day fruit and vegetable cookbook’

500g broccoli, broken into florets
500g chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1tbsp sunflower oil
25g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
500ml passata/creamed sieved tomatoes
½ tsp thyme
½  tsp oregano
about 12 sheets lasagna (precooked)
275g fromage frais
75g parmesan cheese, grated
225g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
salt/black pepper – fresh ground

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and then butter a large shallow ovenproof dish. Steam the broccoli until nearly tender. Strain and set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into thin strips. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and fry the chicken for a few minutes until lightly browned. Then transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onion has softened and is lightly golden brown. Stir in the passata, thyme, oregano and seasoning, and cook for about 3-4 minutes over a moderate heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring regularly.
  4. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the prepared dish. Add a layer of lasagne and then half the chicken and half the broccoli, Dot with half the fromage frais and sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese. Put another layer of lasagne on top and spoon over the remaining tomato sauce, chicken, broccoli and fromage frais. End with a layer of lasagne.
  5. Arrange the mozzarella cheese slices on top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden.

UL Farmers Market

UL Farmer’s Market got back to business on Tuesday 27th January. It was lovely to be back trading and to see the regular faces that have been buying from us week in, week out, since last September. Also great to see new students in the University who were interested in the market and the selection of food available.

We will be at UL market every Tuesday throughout the year – midday to 5.30pm. At the moment we have – homemade soda bread, organic eggs, organic orange seville marmalade (also a whiskey option), a range of winter veg, some rocket, and a selection of culinary perennial herb plants in pots. Also the earliest of our potted rhubarb crowns.

We have started sowing the Spring crops and are looking forward to bringing our own selection of salads, fresh herbs, spinach and all manner of spring veggies before long! A big thank you to all our regulars who buy from us weekly – it is a great confidence booster to have happy customers who come back regularly and make us a part of their weekly shop. It is our aim at the market – to provide an affordable, good quality range of fresh produce that our customers will return for. Our pricing reflects this, and is comparable and on occasion less than similar products from the supermarket.

Growing supplies/courses in organic growing

We would like to give a big mention to our supplier – both of organic compost and of knowledge… Jim Cronin, Bridgetown, Co Clare teaches courses in organic growing and working with horses for The Organic Centre and for National Organic Training Skillnet. He is a leading expert in organic horticulture and is a mine of information and advice on all aspects of growing organically, with a lifetime of experience and a deep love of working in cooperation with nature. He and Rebecca Hussey run courses that are attended by interested people from the length and breadth of the country and their popularity has increased with every year that they have been teaching.
Jim also sells for Fruit Hill Farm, who are suppliers of organic compost, modular seed trays, seaweed meal, garden tools and all manner of equipment that you could need for growing in your garden or polytunnel. Jim sells his produce at Killaloe Farmers Market every Sunday 11am – 3pm (Between the waters) or can be contacted for gardening supplies on 061 372685

The year ahead…

potatoesIt is with excitement that we start 2009, as we have great hopes for our garden and smallholding. We have a new tunnel that we have sowed potatoes in (only today!). Over the autumn we planted a large number of fruit bushes and trees; blackcurrant, raspberry, pear, apple, rhubarb, asparagus. Each day that passes we see more of the spring bulbs peeping through, and bringing the promise of Spring closer.

In February we will have our henhouse ready for it’s new occupants, and hope to settle the ducks into the tunnel to keep them warm through early spring. All going well, we are looking forward to getting 2 pigs by midsummer, mostly for their manure (which is rocket fuel by all accounts!), but also, I must admit, because we do like bacon… don’t want to think that far ahead yet though. Along with all the sowing, hoeing and growing – it will be a busy year, and not without it’s hiccups I’m sure, but we are all looking forward to it!

Our new polytunnel arrives

In November 08 our new tunnel arrived.  This gives us great growing space to increase our indoor crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and corn, aswell as year round salads and herbs. It is now erected and ready to sow. We are hoping to get potatoes into the ground by mid January which will be ready by early Summer…

Preparing the ground

Oct 08: We were very lucky to have the help of  Jim Cronin and his two beautiful Percheron workhorses, Qualite and Quaroba  in preparing the new outdoor area for the winter.  Having ploughed the area, we sowed green manure and then the horses, with Jim harrowed the beds, ready for Winter. The green manure (rye grass and vetch) helps to improve the soil quality and will be dug back into the beds in Spring when we are ready to sow crops.