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24 January 2015

Chestnut & Mushroom Soup with Baked Potato Slices

Serves: 2
Time: 20-25 mins

Chestnut & Mushroom Soup with baked potato slices
So, my exams are finished and I made it through the first semester of uni, I now have a week off before the next semester begins to relax a bit, however I am really looking forward to the topics we'll be covering and I just received my grade for my A&P lab reports and I managed to get a first!! The lab reports are 50& of this unit, which puts me in a really good place for the exam I completed on Wednesday, so fingers crossed!
I also found out this morning the reason for my lack of funds this term; the university originally gave the wrong dates to student finance, meaning that everyone on my course actually gets £1000 less than expected, causing quite a few budgeting problems, especially as houses for next year are being sorted out and deposits certainly aren't cheap! I went shopping earlier and managed a full weeks shop for under £23, which I'm very impressed with, it was mostly fruit & veg, with tofu, soy milk, chickpeas, cashew nuts, pasta, potatoes & noodles too. My second tip I will share with you for saving money is to look in the reduced section, always check the prices for food already prepared, chopped up carrots for example may be cheaper than before but it may still be cheaper to actually buy a carrot, but always look anyway to see if there's anything you would actually eat. I bought some white mushrooms for a reduced price because of new stock and shittake mushrooms for half price because the bb date was today, as well as a half price stir fry veg pack which is perfect for one portion and cheaper than buying all the elements separately. Saying this, you should only buy food you will eat before the expiration date to reduce waste and you can also plan which meals you make around the dates on food or its appearance to ensure it doesn't go off.
Chestnut & Mushroom Soup with baked potato slices

This next meal is a chestnut and mushroom soup with crispy baked potato slices, a hearty, warming dish perfect for cold winter days like today. I woke up this morning and it was -2 outside, which is cold to someone from the south of England! Nevertheless the frost was absolutely stunning and it certainly brought a smile to my face. The soup uses rich shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts blended as a base, with slices of mushroom in the body of the soup, to give a delicious creamy flavour, served up with crispy potato slices. My friend Shona made the potato slices for me after a night out and I've been craving them since, potato lightly coated in herbs and baked, served up with a warming bowl of chestnut and mushroom soup; isn't just the thought of it just making your mouth water?
Chestnut & Mushroom Soup with baked potato slices

The rich, earthy flavour of chestnuts perfectly complement the rich shiitake mushrooms in this dish, I used vaccuum packed nuts from tesco that I had left over from Christmas, however you could substitute chestnuts for cashew nuts if you already have these available. 
Chestnut & Mushroom Soup with baked potato slices
These potato slices are coated in herbs and super crisp, perfect for dunking in your soup!
You'll need:

  • Blender
  • Baking Tray
  • Knife
  • Chopping Board
  • Large saucepan
  • Wooden Spoon

Ingredients:

  • 100g white/chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms
  • 100g cooked chestnuts (Vacuum packed)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • Dried thyme
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 6 small potatoes
  • olive oil oil
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Blend together the shiitake mushrooms with the onion, garlic, stock, water & chestnuts until smooth and transfer to a saucepan, along with the mushroom pieces, 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp basil, a sprinkle of black pepper & 2 tsp lemon juice and simmer on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut the potatoes into slices roughly 1/2 cm thick and place on a baking tray, drizzle over olive oil, basil, oregano, sage, salt & pepper and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through and crisp, turning the slices over after 10 minutes.
  4. Serve up the soup and potatoes & enjoy! Cassidy xx
Chestnut & Mushroom Soup with baked potato slices