Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tortellini Soup

Thank you everyone for your messages and e-mails of condolence, I really appreciate your kind thoughts and comments.

Beth at was asking if I got caught in all the snow during my recent trip to England. Well yes, I did, but other than a very scary drive to Manchester airport, and then the worry that my brother might not be able to get home, I didn’t experience too many problems. I did have to spend my last night in an airport hotel, as the snow was so bad I feared I wouldn’t get to the airport if I left the trip until morning.

Amazingly, despite the airport having been closed for most of the previous day, my flight left after only an hour’s delay. I did, however, have a 5-hour delay in snowy Cincinnati for a 1½-hour flight to Tulsa, where incidentally, it was a balmy 55°F (13°C) at 9:30 at night.

Snow on Christmas Day-Note the Union Jack (British flag)

That didn’t last long though, it snowed here on Christmas Eve, which was all very lovely except that it stuck around until the middle of January, and then the next lot moved in. This has been the coldest winter I have experienced since moving to Oklahoma. In early January we were getting daytime highs of 13°F (-10°C) and nighttime lows of -16°F (-26C), brrrrrr, but perfect for a drop of this hearty pasta soup.

The good news is though, my tulips and daffodils are beginning to sprout, so spring is just around the corner, then I’ll be moaning about the heat. Ho hum! Anyway, enough of my weather witterings, on with the recipe, this is so easy to make and cooks in no time at all, perfect for a mid-week meal. Also, I guess if you use vegetable stock, this dish would be suitable for vegetarians.

Tortellini Soup

Note: I used my tomato gloop mix in this recipe as it already contains tomatoes, peppers, and onions and makes a great base for all sorts of dishes. See recipe here:


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ green pepper, cut into small chunks
2 carrots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock.
1 14½ -ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
A couple of teaspoons dried basil
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup green beans, cut into bite size bits
½ cup frozen peas
1 15½ -ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 9-ounce pack of refrigerated three cheese tortellini
Shredded Parmesan to serve


  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over a medium heat. Sauté onion, green pepper, and carrots for 3 minutes, add garlic and sauté for a further minute.
  • Stir in stock, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, black pepper, and basil, bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add green beans, peas, cannellini beans, and pasta, return to a gentle boil then reduce heat and simmer for another 7 minutes.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of freshly shredded Parmesan and crusty bread.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sad to say...

I know it’s been a long time since I put in an appearance around here, but my dad died on December 8, and I was back in England until just before Christmas. Dad had not been in the best of health for some time, but the last six months of his life were extremely worrisome.

And the sad news doesn’t end there, I’m afraid. The day after I arrived back in England, Mick phoned to say his mum was seriously ill in hospital, and three days later she died. So we both lost our one remaining parent within a week of each other. Needless to say, Christmas and New Year were a very subdued affair around here. In many ways 2009 was not a good year for us, and it ended in the worst possible way.

Since then, I just haven’t felt like blogging, to tell the truth, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. But, that’s going to change, and I will be catching up with y’all real soon, in the meantime here’s a recipe.

Chicken and Bacon with a Mushroom and Tomato Sauce

There is some chicken under there somewhere - trust me!


4 slices thick bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Black pepper to taste
1 beefsteak tomato, seeds removed and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Chopped parsley to garnish

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over a medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside to drain on paper towel. Drain all fat from pan but do not wipe clean.
  • In same skillet, heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add chicken and a generous grind of black pepper and brown for about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a greased 11x7-inch baking dish and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms to the same skillet and sauté over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, basil and another dash of black pepper and sauté for a further minute. Stir in the bacon.
  • Remove chicken from oven, spoon tomato/mushroom mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return dish to oven to bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Serve with egg noodles, pasta, or rice.