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So my dad sent me a text request for a veg based soup with spinach. Most of the time I just throw soups together with whatever is left in the fridge. I have a few soups that I don’t mess with and funnily enough spinach soup is one of them. So I finished work and popped into the shops to buy spinach. Everything else I had at home as it is a simple soup that is quick and easy. Hmmm no bread to dunk into the soup, well then I will simply have to make some. This is turning out to be a daddy themed dinner. While I usually make my dad tomato bread as it is his favourite, when I don’t have time to make it for him, I make a really good nutty yogurt loaf. Actually this goes really well with the soup as the nuts and seeds lend a good textural contrast to the meal as a whole. This bread takes five minutes to assemble so is perfect for a no time to properly cook dinner.

My list of things to do tonight was nearing endless… Cleaning up the mess of a three month old pup is mind boggling. How can such a little sweet dog make so much mess? And what is her infatuation with socks and blankets about? So a lot of cleaning and other mundane household chores needed to be done. Cheques to write and a week to plan. Eventually everything is done. And every so often I would pop into the kitchen for the various stages of dinner. D is in London on business and I hate being alone in the house so busy I keep.

So dad, here it is, spinach soup and your second favourite bread:

DSCF5930SPINACH SOUP WITH NUTTY YOGURT BREAD

Really tasty bread that is soft, moist and has texture. The soup is clean and fresh and together these make for a feel good healthy and inexpensive dinner. This bread is not my own invention. I have one bread book that I use all the time. ‘Bread’ by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. I wouldn’t be able to make bread if it weren’t for this book, so all credits go out to them.

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Had these                                       Needed these

For the soup:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 600 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400 ml milk
  • 450g fresh spinach, washed if necessary and roughly chopped
  • finely grated zest of a lemon
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 3 tbsp double cream, to serve

For the bread:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus a little extra to grease the tin
  • 2 tbsp of sunflower seeds for sprinkling
  • 375 g plain flour
  • 125g wholemeal flour
  • 300 ml milk
  • 200 ml natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 g sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp of liquid honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g chopped mixed nuts

THE HOW

Make the bread first. Preheat the oven to 170°c  (fan oven).

Grease a 1 kg loaf tin with oil. Sift the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl. Stir in the nuts and sunflower seeds. Mix the honey, yogurt, milk and oil together. Stir into the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth to level the top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake for 1 hour until golden and risen. The bread will be ready when its edges shrink from the sides of the tin.

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For the soup:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes until softening. Stir in the potato and continue to cook gently for 1 minute or 2. Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes until the potato starts to cook. Pour in the milk and bring up to a simmer, then stir in half the spinach and the lemon zest. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the spinach has completely wilted down. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Pour the soup into a blender, add the remaining spinach (this will keep the soup bright green and fresh tasting) and process until silky smooth. Return to the saucepan and reheat. Taste and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Ladle the soup into bowls and swirl in the cream. Serve with nutty yogurt bread.

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