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Simon Holst's recipes - Fish chowder, Moroccan soup - 5 May

Fish Chowder

Fish chowder makes an excellent meal at any time of the year. This version is light enough to serve during summer, but is also warm and comforting on a cold winter's evening. Another great thing about chowder is that you can use almost any type of fish - you can even use a 400g can of salmon (which is really good value) instead of fresh fish.

For 3-4 servings
1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 medium onion, diced
100g bacon, diced
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium all-purpose or floury potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
1 medium carrot, finely diced
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp garlic salt
500g fish fillets, cubed, or 400g can salmon, drained
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (optional)
1 tbsp cornflour
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh dill or parsley to garnish

Heat the oil and butter together in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until the it softens. Add the bacon, celery, potato and carrot to the pot and cook, stirring frequently to prevent browning, for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of the milk and the garlic salt and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potato is just tender, then add the fish - and dill if using. Mix the remaining milk with the cornflour to form a paste and add to the pot. Bring the chowder to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Season to taste, then ladle into large bowls, garnish with chopped herbs and serve accompanied with crusty garlic bread.

Moroccan-style Chickpea & Chicken Soup

This Moroccan-themed soup makes an interesting and substantial meal that stretches a couple of chicken breasts a long way in the process.

For 6 servings
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
About 400g (2 large) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or powder
1 cinnamon stick
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups hot water
4 tsp instant chicken stock powder
2 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp ground paprika
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2-1 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley

Heat the oil in a large pot or casserole dish. Add the chicken and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned, then remove and set aside.

While the chicken cooks peel, then quarter and slice the onion and dice the carrot. Add to the pan once the chicken has been removed and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until the onion has softened and is beginning to brown. Stir in the spices and herbs including the cinnamon stick and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute further.

Add the tomatoes and juice, the water, stock powder and chickpeas. Return the chicken to the pot, then stir in the paprika, lemon zest and juice and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool the chicken breasts, then shred them using two forks or clean hands.

Stir the shredded meat and most of the coriander, reserving a little for garnishing, into the soup. A crusty loaf or warmed flat breads make ideal accompaniments and a teaspoon or so of low-fat yoghurt plus the reserved chopped coriander make a tasty and attractive finishing touch.