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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Allen Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Toast’

Some see Lent as an opportunity to give something up. Others see Lent as an opportunity to take something on: something that is “good”. I see Lent as an opportunity to do both. Which is why, in our Irish home, each of us is giving something up for Lent and, Saturday to Thursday, I am taking on the task of finding delicious meat-free meals for my family {and for you and yours) to enjoy each Friday during this holy season.

Last week, the first Friday in Lent 2014, we had Irish Black Bean, Kale and Quinoa Salad: a very tasty meal indeed. This week, we’re trying a recipe from Rachel Allen, an Irish chef whose bubbly personality and common sense approach to cooking have made her a household name in these parts.

Rachel Allen Photo Credit: Kerrygold USA

Rachel Allen
Photo Credit: Kerrygold USA

If you do a Google search on Rachel Allen, you will discover that she was originally from Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland. You will also learn that Rachel is now a busy TV chef, author, journalist and mother of three, who still teaches at Ballymaloe. She is the author of six bestselling cookbooks, and has sold in excess of one million books worldwide. Her popular television series for RTE (Ireland’s national television station) and the BBC have been broadcast internationally in 33 different countries and she frequently appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. Attracting two million viewers on the BBC, her TV series is also the highest ever rated show on The Good Food Channel in the UK. Rachel is also a main presenter of the BBC’s Good Food Channel flagship program, Market Kitchen.

That’s some C.V. (resume)!

While I’ve never had the opportunity to meet Rachel, I do remember her from a time when she was a trainee at Ballymaloe Cookery School and I was a student. I was in a hands-on cooking class, being taught by Darina Allen (now Rachel’s mother-in-law), when a young Rachel scurried past the back of the demo table and out the patio door. Someone in the class inquired about the very pretty blonde that had just slipped by and Darina replied, “Oh, her…she’s my son’s girlfriend”. I remember the looks passing between the student chefs…ones that said, “Lucky him!”. Fast forward some fourteen years later and the “girlfriend” is now the “wife” and a part of the Allen “magic” that began with Myrtle Allen, grew with Darina, and has now been passed to Rachel.

Rachel, Myrtle and Darina Allen: Photo Credit: Ballymaloe Cookery School

Rachel, Myrtle and Darina Allen
Photo Credit: Ballymaloe Cookery School

By all accounts Rachel is a lovely woman, which makes it all the nicer to follow her recipes. Tomorrow {Friday}, I’ll be making her Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Toast. It’s one of those thick and hearty Irish soups, that’s easy to make and looks positively delicious.

If you prefer a fish dish, you may want to try Rachel’s Roast Haddock with Lemon Basil Potato Salad…which looks really fresh and spring-like.

If, however, you want something a wee bit heavier but oh so “more-ish”, you may want to have a go at making Rachel’s Kale and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Bake. Click on the link to the left to watch the video.

Photo Credit: rachelallen.com

Photo Credit: rachelallen.com

Oh, goodness, with so many fabulous Rachel Allen recipes to choose from, we’re spoilt rotten! I’d love to know which recipe you try tomorrow or any day during Lent. I’ll be sure to let you know whether my little family enjoyed the soup. All the best to you in the kitchen…cheers!

Related Articles:

Discovering the Fresh Face of New Irish Cooking at http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-calcook-discovering-the-fresh-face-of-new-irish-cooking-20140306,0,1148730.story#axzz2vnuCnHj2

March 10, 2014 article in the Irish Examiner about Myrtle Allen turning 90 at http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/matriarch-of-ballymaloe-celebrates-her-90th-birthday-261396.html

Refreshing look at Rachel Allen’s Kitchen at thekitchn.com

Rachel Allen website here

Darina Allen website here

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