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Simon Holst Recipe - Alphabet Soup, Cheese Spread, Chocolate Cake - 27 May

Fifteen Minute Alphabet Soup

On chilly days, some children love the idea of taking a flask of hot food for lunch.

For 4-6 servings:
4 cups hot water
2 tsp instant chicken stock
1 tsp each sugar and butter
1/4 cup alphabets (or 1/2 cup larger pasta)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 small potato, grated
1 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)

Boil the water in a pot. Add the instant stock, sugar, butter and pasta. Prepare and add each vegetable in the order given. Add the grated potato when everything else is almost cooked, since it thickens the soup, then simmer for 5-10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley (if using) and serve.

Tangy Cheese Spread

This one-swipe (you don't need to use butter or other spreads as well) sandwich filling can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for up to one week.

For about 1 cup of spread:
50g butter
1-2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup milk
1 cup (100g) grated tasty cheese
1/2 tsp vinegar

Put the butter, flour and mustard together in a small pan. Heat over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted.

Add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens and boils. Stir in the cheese and vinegar, removing from the heat as soon as the mixture boils.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge, using as required, for up to 1 week.

Yummy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is delicious, moist chocolate cake is one of my favourites. No one - especially kids - would ever guess that the secret ingredient is zucchini!

For a 25cm square cake:
125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup yoghurt (any type)
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups (350g) grated zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 170degC. Line bottom and sides of a 25cm square pan or roasting pan with two crosswise strips of baking paper.

Beat softened butter with sugars until light and creamy, in a mixer or food processor. Mix in eggs, vanilla, yoghurt and 1/2 cup of the measured flour.

Mix in grated zucchini and remaining flour sifted with other dry ingredients. Pour into the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until centre feels firm and a skewer comes out clean. Refrigerate, or freeze wrapped pieces.