Roasted Sweetcorn Chowder

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Soup is perfect January fare – after all the Christmas indulgence, we turn to healthy food which suits the fresh start of the New Year and soup feels like protection from the cold, dark days. This chowder is even better because the sunshine yellow of the corn, spiked with jewel like red and green adds a bit of colour and light to these dreary days.

This is a slightly unusual chowder in that the soup is blitzed to a smooth velvety liquid and then pan roasted sweetcorn, pepper and if you like, chilli, is stirred in at the end. This was primarily because my children still don’t like ‘bitty’ soups much but it turned out to be a great plan, the best of both worlds in one bowl!

Roasted Sweetcorn Chowder (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 4

  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cobs of corn, kernels shaved off (you will need 4 in total for the recipe)
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 100ml oat milk, or dairy-free milk of choice
  • Salt and pepper

To top:

  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cob of corn, shaved off
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)”
  • Handful of parsley

– Sweat the onion in the oil until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
– Stir in the fresh corn and thyme and continue to sizzle until it starts to look a little toasty and golden
– Add the potato
– Splash in the wine and scrape any residue off the bottom of the pan, reduce to almost nothing
– Pour in the stock and oat milk and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potato is well cooked.
– Blitz to a smooth soup
– Meanwhile, gently fry the pepper, extra corn and chilli (if using) in a splash of oil until sweet and slightly caramelised.
– Stir some through the soup, then use the rest as a topping with some parsley

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Sweet corn and sundried tomato savoury muffins

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I saw some wonderful looking savoury muffins in Ottolenghi’s deli/restaurant the other day and was inspired to make a free-from version. And they are quite a success! Light and fluffy but packed with sweet corn kernels, bundles of herbs and sticky sun dried tomato pieces.

These muffins would go nicely with a picnic, salad or bowl of soup. I’m even thinking they’d work rather well alongside a steaming hot bowl of chilli! A good dose of red chilli is also a good addition, especially as it works so well alongside the sweetcorn. The nutritional yeast is entirely optional, but does add an extra savoury dimension if you have some to hand (feel free to sub some mature cheese if you eat dairy as it would have a similar end result).

Savoury Muffins (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups oat milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1/4-1/2 red chilli (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4
– Line a muffin tin with paper liners
– Sift together the flour, bicarbonate, salt and mustard powder.
– Stir in the sweetcorn, chilli, sundries tomatoes, thyme and nutritional yeast

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– In a separate bowl combine the oil, vinegar and dairy-free milk
– Pour into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix to a lumpy batter
– Ladle into the muffin cases
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and a knife comes out clean
– Cool on a wire rack

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Sweetcorn Salsa

You may have noticed my fondness for Mexican cuisine – there is something so fresh and vibrant about the flavours and that kick of chilli that I find irresistible. A salsa ticks the fresh and colourful boxes and it’s a really healthy dip – no need for calorific creams or mayonnaises when you top your tortilla chips with this.

This sweetcorn salsa makes a bit of a change from a tomato-based one, and gives a great crunch to your dip. Enjoy as a dip, on a tostada, or even just as a side dish.

Sweetcorn Salsa (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 1 bowlful

  • 1/2 red onion, very finely chopped
  • 6 small or 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 red chillis, seeded and very finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup corn kernels (tinned or frozen is just fine)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

– Combine all the ingredients.

– Let sit for half an hour and then taste.

– Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

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Sweetcorn and Leek Soup

Brrr, it’s been freezing for weeks, so soups have been a regular feature for lunch. The idea for this variation on vichyssoise came from a book by the legendary Alice Walters – I’d never really thought of messing around with the classic leek and potato combination before, but the addition of sweetcorn does add a new dimension. And say the word ‘sweetcorn’ and my children are there!

Sweetcorn and Leek Soup (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 2-4

  • 4 leeks, whites only, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tin or 2 ears of corn, shaved off the ear
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • salt and ground white pepper, to taste

– Gently sweat the leeks in the sunflower oil until they’re unctuous and soft but not browned

– Add the potatoes and sweetcorn. Stir.

– Pour over the hot stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

– Simmer (covered) for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are well cooked.

– Liquidize.

– Taste and add seasoning as required.

– Serve garnished with croutons and parsley.

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