Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Health giving vegetable soup

May 10, 2010

Vegetable soup

Sometimes you feel that you just need a wee bit of a boost. When you have been working your ass off, partying your ass off or just feel a little run down, this soup is a great “pick me up”.

I suppose it is my version of a minestrone and you can pretty much add whatever veg is in season – this is my usual selection.

Serves about 6 – 8 people


1 medium brown onion
1 leek
4 large cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 smallish butternut pumpkin (about 500 grams when peeled and diced)
2 super sweet cobs of corn
1 medium courgette
6 medium ripe fresh tomatoes
1 bunch fresh asparagus
150 grams baby spinach
1/2 large bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 bunch of basil
1/4 finely sliced savoy cabbage
2 good quality veg or chicken stock cubes
1 tin borlotti beans
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Take a large heavy based pan add a good glug of olive oil, finely diced onion and garlic, finely sliced leek and a large pinch of salt. Saute on a low – medium heat until soft and sweet.

Sauteed onion, garlic and leek

Dice carrots, celery (1 cm cubes) and pumpkin (2 cm cubes) and add to the pot, saute for 5 mins. Add finely chopped tomatoes, approx 1 1/2 litres of boiling water and stock cubes. If you have a bay tree feel free to add in a couple of fresh bay leaves.

Carrot and celery being added to the pop

Tomatoes added to the pot

Simmer until carrots are soft – while the soup is simmering prepare the rest of the veg.

Cut the kernels off the cobs of corn, dice the courgette into 1 cm cubes, wash the baby spinach and finely slice the savoy cabbage (making sure you remove the tough inner core). Remove woody ends from Asparagus and slice on and angle into 1/2 cm pieces.

Corn kernels, diced courgettes, finely sliced savoy cabbage

****Note: to remove the woody ends of the asparagus hold near the base and bend the until it snaps – it will naturally break at the point that the woody bit ends – how convenient!

Once carrots are soft add in the corn, cabbage, courgettes and drained and rinsed borlotti beans, keep simmering until corn and courgette are tender.

Then finally add in the asparagus, baby spinach and finely chopped herbs.

Asparagus added to soup

Soup with spinach and herbs added

Taste the soup and add seasoning if needed. It should be thick and very tasty!!

I usually serve it with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of top quality peppery extra virgin olive oil.


Now if you want to make this into a more hearty meal you can add about 200 grams of pasta (farfalle or fusilli) at the same time as you add the corn.

One of my friends calls this a Stoup (a stew/soup).

It is quite nice to grate some Parmesan over the top just before you serve too.


Roasted veg, Mexican beans and tahini sauce (a fridge scrape)

April 26, 2010

Can I just say how ridiculously good roasted veg is!!!!

Tonight was a fridge scraper dinner – not much in the fridge. So you end up cooking up a totally random selection of things.

I am a little bit of a saddo as I actually really enjoy the challenge.

My random selection consisted of:

1 bunch of baby beetroot
1 bulb of celeriac
2 small carrots
4 red potatoes
2 courgettes
1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes
Red onion

I also had whatever the store cupboard had to offer which was tinned tomatoes and a selection of tinned beans (chick peas, pinto, etc etc).

The most sensible thing to do in a situation like this is bung it all into the oven to roast!!!!

I chopped up the potatoes (skins on), celeriac and carrots into approx 1″ pieces and put them in a large ceramic dish, tossed in some chopped up fresh thyme and rosemary and good pinch of sea salt and a good whack of course ground black pepper. Then good glug of olive oil and tossed it to cover all the veg in the tasty herby oil.

I popped it in the oven at about 200 – 210 degrees centigrade.

In another ceramic dish I put the beetroot which had been scrubbed and cut into wedges. I put a little oil in, some salt and pepper and a splash of water. Then covered with aluminium foil. Into the oven too.

Every 20 mins of so I stirred the veg to stop it burning and so that it would cook evenly, After about 45 mins I added thick rings of courgette and the whole cherry tomatoes (and stirred them through so that they would coat in tasty oil).

The beetroot was also checked, tossed about a wee bit more water here and there then a wee splash of red wine vinegar to balance the sweetness.

In total I baked both veg and beetroot for 1 – 1 1/2 hrs until the beetroot was cooked but still firm and the veg was golden and cooked through The carrots still had a wee bit of a bite to them though.

I also cooked up some spicy Mexican beans.

1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
dried wild oregano
sweet paprika
Kecap Manis
Tinned mixed beans (pinto, kidney, black)

Sauteed the chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft, added in the cummin and cooked for another minute. Added in the tomatoes, a large teaspoon of oregano and a level teaspoon of paprika. I also added a large dash of Kecap Manis which is a sweet soy. This is EXCELLENT for giving spicy sauces a little bit of depth and sweetness. Sometimes tinned toms can be a little acidic.

Cooked the sauce for about 15 mins then added the beans. Cooked beans on a low simmer for about 1 hour then added seasoning to taste. (Throughout cooking I kept adding little splashes of water to keep the beans moist).

I served the spicy mexican beans on top of a pile of the roasted veg and beetroot – gave it a good squeeze of lemon and topped it off with some freshly picked and chopped Italian parsley and tahini and yogurt sauce (1 table-spoon or tahini mixed into about 2/3 cup of natural yogurt).


*Sorry this is not in proper recipe format but I think it is a “bung it in” affair and not really a follow the recipe kind of thing.