Garden fresh – cauliflower soup

Our garden patch of cauliflowers was under attack from worms and caterpillars so we decided to salvage the edible ones to make a hot batch of cauliflower soup tonight.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 2 celery sticks chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion (optional)
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 50 ml almond milk
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 50 gms butter
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a pan, add butter and olive oil.  Saute the garlic and bay leaves first for a minute before adding the chopped onion, celery and carrot.  Stir for a couple of minute before adding a bit of salt, pepper and garam masala.  Stir for 30 seconds and then add cauliflower florets, stock cubes and about 3 cups of water.   Bring to boil and simmer till the vegetables are cooked.  Remove the bay leaves before putting blending the soup in a liquidizer to a fine puree.  Return to heat and add the almond milk and yogurt – adjust the seasoning and turn off the heat.  Enjoy.

 

Garden fresh – celery soup

Our vegetable patch bounty of celery is more than we can consume in a month and we used some to make a fresh batch of soup for dinner a couple of nights back.  I decided to experiment a bit with the finishing off the dish and added a couple of teaspoons of flavoured cream cheese which works really well instead of cream (not sure if it is healthier but different definitely).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 3-4 bunches of celery washed, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 gluten free vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50 gms butter
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • 2 tsp cream cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat oil and butter in pan and add garlic and bay leaves to it.  Saute for a minute before adding the onions and sweating them down a bit.  Then add the celery and carrot and give the pan a good mix.   Add 500 ml of water and the stock cubes and bring to a boil.  Simmer the soup on low heat for 30-40 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.  Remove the bay leaves before blending the soup in a food processor till you get a fine puree.  Return to heat and adjust the seasoning.  Add couple of teaspoons of cream cheese, mix and switch off heat.  Serve hot.

Soup de jour – leek and potato

Thanks to the intermittent summer weather we have in the UK tonight was an opportunity to make a hearty bowl of leek and potato soup.  We saw some fresh leeks on offer at Sainsbury’s and decided to pick some up to make the soup.  Making it is not exactly rocket science but the soup tasted great and so we’ve decided to share it with you.

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Leek and potato soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 leeks roughly sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot cut in pieces
  • 2 sticks of celery cut
  • 1 bunch of spring onion chopped
  • 50 ml sour cream
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 30 gms of butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

4 hearty bowls

How do I make it?

Heat pan with butter and olive oil.  Add the carrots, celery and spring onion first and allow the vegetables to sweat for five minutes before adding the leeks and potatoes.  Stir the vegetables for ten minutes before adding the stock cubes and about 1 litre of water.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook on low heat till done.  Blitz the ingredients to a puree and return to heat – add sour cream and switch off the heat.  Serve hot.

 

 

 

Italian lunch – minestrone soup with three bean salad

On a dreary day like today nothing better than to warm up to a hot bowl of soup.  I think I spoke too soon regarding the onset of the English summer as we are back to wet grey skies and moderate temperatures.  Lunch today comprised of a hearty bowl of minestrone soup preceded by a delicious plate of three bean salad (has to be one of the simplest Italian inspired salads).

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Minestrone soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 green pepper cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 courgette (zucchini) peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot
  • Handful green beans
  • 6-8 baby corn
  • 5-6 closed cup mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 400 ml canned chopped tomato
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful chopped fresh basil, parsley and oregano to garnish (plucked fresh from our garden)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash all the vegetables and cut into bite size pieces.  Heat a pot and add olive oil and butter.  Then add bay leaves and saute for a few seconds followed by the minced garlic  Saute garlic for a minute to infuse the oil mixture and then add onion, celery and green pepper.  Saute for five minutes before adding the remaining vegetables.  Cook for another five minutes before adding black pepper, crushed red chili, Italian seasoning, stock cubes, chopped canned tomato and salt to taste.  Pour in 2 cups of water and cook over  low to medium heat for 30-35 minutes till vegetables are cooked (firm to the bite).  Garnish with chopped basil, oregano and parsley and serve hot.

 

Three bean salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 tin of flageolet beans (400 ml with brine)
  • 1 tin borlotti beans (400 mil with brine)
  • 1 tin cannellini beans (400 ml with brine)
  • 1 ripe tomato de-seeded and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Handful chives chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 lettuce leaves
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 6

How do I make it?

Rinse the beans and keep aside.  Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil followed by the minced garlic.  Saute for 30 seconds before adding the beans.  Warm the beans through and switch off heat.  In a large salad bowl add chopped tomatoes, chives, zest of lemon and lemon juice, parsley and warmed beans.  Adjust the seasoning and add black pepper, remaining olive oil and walnut oil.   Give it a good mix and serve on a lettuce leaf.

 

Mushroom soup

Fall in love with mushrooms again after you make this fresh batch of soup using an assorted range of mushrooms.  Normally I make soup with closed cup mushrooms but this time I went a bit bizerk in the supermarket aisle and picked up five different varieties.   The net result when combined with other soup staples produced a real flavourful bowl of soup.  It really doesn’t matter what type you use but key is to experiment with different varieties.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms closed cup mushrooms
  • 250 gms  forestiere mushrooms
  • 100 gms chestnut mushrooms
  • 100 gms wild mushrooms
  • 100 gms Anis mushrooms
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 sprigs of spring onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 pods of garlic
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 150 ml soured cream
  • Handful chopped tarragon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Prepare all the vegetables by washing them and chopping them into equal size pieces.    Heat oil and butter in pan and saute garlic for a minute (just want to infuse the flavour into the oil).   Add onion, celery, spring onion, green pepper and chili next and stir for 5-8 minutes.   Then add chopped up mushrooms and reduce heat to medium.   Cook this for another 5-8 minutes and then add 2 stock cubes dissolved in 1 cup of warm water.   Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.   Blitz the soup in a blender and bring it back to boil – adjust the seasoning.   Add the soured cream and garnish with fresh chopped tarragon.

The perfect Sunday

What a great way to spend my Sunday – warm 20 degree sunshine and the family around me.  It started off with taking Ansh and Lola for their weekly swimming lessons followed by a trip to the local park where both enjoyed riding their bikes and generally running around.  Both behaved for a change and ate their lunch without a fuss.  Anna and I then proceeded to clean the barbecue which has not seen much action in over a year and prepped for the evening meal.  Out of the blue,  Ansh said he felt like having some tomato soup for dinner.  I thoroughly enjoyed making him a batch of fresh tomato soup and grilling some portabello mushrooms and trout for our dinner.   For all my vegetarian friends and family the mushrooms are a great addition to your barbecue repertoire and you can have fun tinkering with the various topping combinations.

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Tomato soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large tomato cut in pieces
  • 10 cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 sprig of spring onion chopped
  • 1 celery stick chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 pearl of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (use normal or cream if not bothered by lactose)
  • Handful fresh basil chopped
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 tbsp oilve oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2 comfortably

How do I make it?

Heat a pan and add olive oil to it.  First add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds before adding the onion, celery and sprig onion.  Saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes before adding the carrots.   Continue sauteing for another couple of minutes before adding chopped tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and then add stock cube and about 1 cup of water.   Allow to cook for 10 minutes before adding the fresh basil.  Blitz the liquid in a blender and bring it back to the boil before adding almond milk and a knob of butter.  Adjust the seasoning  and serve hot.

Barbecued portabello mushrooms

I don’t have exact measures for this recipe but can share with you how I make it.  Skin the portabello mushroom before adding the seasonings.  Sprinkle a pinch of mixed herbs, crushed red chilies and some garlic salt.  Drizzle some balsamic vinegar and good olive oil and grill on the barbecue for 15-20 minutes.  Alternatively you can repeat the first step with the dry ingredients and  add some lemon juice and butter instead of the vinegar and oil.

 

Sublime supper

Regular readers of our blog would have noticed that I have not been writing very much these days and the husband’s offerings have been far more frequent. Well, I have not been cooking anything exciting with Shiv not around and have been making do with quick and easy meals as the kids have been rather demanding and I find myself too exhausted to pen my musings down at the end of the day.

Today I decided to cook myself and my mother a good supper.  You could call it a Mother’s day offering.  I baked a gluten free corn bread loaf, made a lovely cauliflower soup and a spicy chipotle dip for the bread.  The meal went down very well and my mother enjoyed it, just as I did.

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Gluten free corn bread

What do I need to make it?

  • 150 gms fine corn meal
  • 150 gms fine rice flour
  • 50 gms cold unsalted butter or dairy free margarine
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 300 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

How much will I make?

A medium sized loaf

How do I make it?

Preheat oven to 200.C.   Sieve together rice flour and fine corn meal into a large mixing bowl.  Add the baking powder, salt and Xanthan gum to this.  Chop cold butter into small cubes and add to the bowl.  Use finger tips to rub the flour and butter into a crumb like consistency.  Beat the eggs and almond milk together lightly.  Make a well in the mixing bowl and pour the egg and milk mixture into it.  Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the flour is blended well and you get a smooth batter.  Pour the batter into a prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is a golden brown.  Pierce with a skewer to check if the bread is cooked through.  If the skewer comes out with wet mixture stuck to it, keep the loaf in the oven till the bread is cooked thoroughly.

Leave to cool on a  wire rack .

Spicy Chipotle dip

What do I need to make it?

  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic grated
  • 2 to 3 pickled chipotle peppers (available in the World food aisles of most super markets or in Mexican delis)
  • 1 tsp of the chipotle pepper pickling liquid

How do I make it?

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender.  Adjust seasoning.  The pickled chipotle peppers do have salt so extra salt is usually not needed.

Cauliflower soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms cauliflower florets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 gluten free vegetable stock cube (Kallo stock cubes)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Two sprigs of parsley to garnish.
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper powder to taste

How much will I make?

2 large main meal portion

How do I make it?

Heat a pan and add butter and olive oil to it.  Add the bay leaf, onion and garlic and sauté till they are translucent.  Make sure not to brown them.  Add the cauliflower florets and sauté for a minute or two.  Season with salt and white pepper powder.  Add the almond milk and bring to a boil.  Turn the flame down and let it simmer till the cauliflower is cooked. Remove the bay leaf before blending to a smooth consistency.  Add about 250 ml of boiling water and the stock cube, return to heat and let the soup come to a boil.  Sprinkle the ground nutmeg and remove from the heat.  Garnish with parsley sprigs before serving.

Sunday Soup

Sunday is the day I try to clear out our refrigerator.  I usually find some   tired and limp veggies lurking  in the fridge and absolutely hate wasting them. Sometimes we buy packets of herbs for dishes we make during the week and often find that there is a bit leftover. A ll my leftover herbs go into my wholesome Sunday soup.  Shiv and I try to make our soups interesting.  He is a lot better than I am.  I admit defeat when it comes to finesse.  I am the pedestrian home cook and he is more  the chef.  My soup last Sunday had Moroccan flavours and a lot of vegetables which were saved and used before they rotted and had to be thrown away.

I am not going to write a specific recipe for the soup because one can use any vegetable lying around in their refrigerator.  I used carrots, parsnips, broccoli, radish  green peppers, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, mint, fresh coriander a few curry leaves and garlic.  I sautéed onion and garlic in a bit of butter.  Just as they softened,  I added a bit of salt and two teaspoons of Moroccan Rose Harrissa paste, a teaspoon of cumin powder and then all my vegetables and herbs.  I  then added about a liter of water and two vegetable stock cubes and cooked the vegetables till they were soft enough to be blended.  Once blended I poured enough water to get it to my desired consistency and brought to a boil.  For the garnish,Image I sautéed fresh Rosemary  in butter. I served the soup with a dollop of soured cream with the Rosemary butter drizzled on top.  A delicious and healthy way to use up all my veggies.

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