Roasted Parsnip Soup

I know, the title Roasted Parsnip Soup doesn’t sound all that interesting or appetising!  Parsnips have to be my least favourite vegetable, no matter how they are cooked, I’m just not all that keen.  But in a soup, there’s a different proposition.

parsnip

Once roasted with some onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices, drizzled in olive oil, then blended with vegetable stock (I make my own but use what you have available), the parsnips are transformed into a delicious, fragrant, creamy (but without using cream) soup.  Garnish with nuts, seeds, black pepper, cayenne (my favourite!) or “condiment” of your choice.

roasted parsnip soup 1

Roasted Parsnip Soup

Prep: 15 mins
Roasting Time: 35 mins
Serves:  4

Pre-heat your oven to 200C fan/gas 7

Ingredients

3-4 large Parsnips, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, quartered
2 large Plum Tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 litres vegetable stock*

Method

In a large bowl, mix together some Olive oil (use as much as needed to completely coat your vegetable/spice mix, use a spoon, the Turmeric will turn your hands yellow) and all the ingredients except the vegetable stock.

Once combined, place the mixture into a roasting tin and roast for around 35 minutes or until everything is softened and tender.

Cool slightly, then spoon into a food processor with half the vegetable stock and process until smooth.  Add the other half of the stock and carefully blend until combined.  I use a Vitamix which can accommodate this amount but you can process in 2 smaller amounts for the same effect.

I popped mine in the fridge and used the next day, but if eating on the day just heat up to the desired temperature and serve with a crusty loaf.  Garnish as above.

*Add more stock if you prefer a more liquid soup, soup make thicken up if left in the fridge, adding more liquid does not alter the flavour.

roasted parsnip soup

This was simply delicious and now I can enjoy Parsnips instead of avoiding them, making them into a soup really does make them very palatable.

Nutritional Info:

Parsnips – They have high levels of potassium, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and iron, in addition to being a good source of vitamins B, C, E, and K.

 

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Quick Courgetti Chilli Pomodoro

Things change when you have little ones in the house, I find myself eating a kiddy portion of food at 5.30 pm to encourage her to eat at the table and of course to make sure she eats well.
Most evenings I will eat later in the evening with Mr ND, but last night I didn’t feel like it but by 9.00 pm I was ravenous!

courgetti 1

I made this very quick and rich Tomato sauce with Courgetti from ingredients to hand in around 25 minutes. it was surprisingly light but also filling.  I used 2 garlic cloves because I love garlic, it always enhances a tomato based sauce and has amazing medicinal qualities, anti-viral and antibiotic.  I like to use red onions which are more nutrient dense than the white version.

spiraliser

Courgetti is simply a Courgette (Zucchini) made into spaghetti to replace the pasta element in a dish using a Spiraliser.  I found mine here and have used it constantly since I bought it a few months ago, it’s great fun for children too to spiralise a carrot and such like to eat raw.

Quick Chilli Pomodoro Sauce

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Serves 1 generously for a main meal or 2 entrees

Can be frozen.

Ingredients

1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
or 3 large plum tomatoes more finely chopped
around 125ml Passata
1 tablespoon tomato puree
pinch or 2 of Chilli Flakes
dash of red wine (optional)
sprinkling of Oregano and Basil
Black Pepper

1 medium Courgette (Zucchini) spiralised or grated

Method

Fry the red onion for a 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic for another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, Passata and tomato purée and cook on a fairly high heat (without letting it catch).  Splosh in a dash of red wine if using and Oregano, Basil and Black Pepper to your taste and continue to cook, simmering for around 10 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down (around 10 minutes).

No blending of the sauce required, I always leave the skins on the tomatoes and seeds in.  I found an interesting article here that said “Each part – skin, fruit wall, pith and that jelly-like stuff around the seeds – plays a different part in producing that tomato flavour.  By removing the skin and seed pulp you get a drier, more refined tomato sauce and you alter the sweet/acid balance of the flavour. Personally, I don’t mind a bit of skin in a sauce” I agree!

Courgetti – I prefer not to eat my mine completely raw, I boiled some water and laid the Courgetti in the boiled water for a couple of minutes or so whilst the Tomato sauce was cooking.  Drain the Courgetti and serve the tomato sauce on top, finish with a dusting of grated parmesan if you like.

This simple, easy to put together, chunky, rich tomato sauce has a high antioxidant content, including a rich concentration of lycopene found in tomatoes.  When tomatoes are eaten with healthier fats, like olive oil, it increases the absorption of phyto-nutrients.

courgetti Collage

No bells or whistles, just nutritious and delicious!

Health Info:

Courgettes – Good source of vitamin A, B1, B3, Phosphorus and Copper.  Very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamins B2, B6, C, K, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

 

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A.Vogel Echinaforce

So, it’s the eve of Christmas Eve and I am ready for a rest, it’s been a busy run up to Christmas and I feel like I’ve been running on adrenaline since September when Miss ND started school (a whole other blog post!) and I may just have overdone the late nights and goings out a touch. I feel a cold coming on and this is the exact time I would jump on it right away before it takes hold.

Echinaforce

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I’ve been dabbling with alternatives to the usual bread pizza base, mainly because I have been cutting down on the amount of bread type products I eat and although I am not gluten intolerant, food allergy tests flagged up yeast as a potential allergen for me.

The Cauliflower Crust has been around for a while, I’m not a huge fan of Cauliflower and in my list of favourite vegetables it comes way down, but we do try to include it in curries or with broccoli when making a Cauliflower cheese type side dish.

I have been using the most popular recipe, this one is from Eat Drink Smile, but just google Cauliflower Crust and pages of similar recipes will come up.  But I have seen other recipes out there and wanted to try a couple more for comparison.

They all start with ricing raw Cauliflower in a blender.

cauliflower riced

This one is our usual Cauliflower Crust for a pizza base.

cooked cauli pizza

The second is from a  recipe here from Anna Jones whose book A Modern Way to Eat is crammed full of deliciously healthy vegetarian recipes.

cauli crust 2

The third one is from Hemsley and Hemsley, the recipe can be found here.

cauliflower 3

First one:  As this has cheese in the base and is usually smothered with cheese on top, it’s not the low calorie choice, but it was firm enough to pick up a slice, very tasty and eaten by the 4 year old!

pizza side

The second:  this Cauliflower Crust recipe is a little different to the first, this one doesn’t require pre-cooking the Cauliflower (I checked the recipe at least 3 times!) or add any cheeses and has oats and ground almonds included too which I found appealing.  It was less firm and more difficult to pick up but no less tasty.

The third: again with this recipe the Cauliflower doesn’t require pre-cooking, it has the addition of buckwheat flour which gave a lovely nutty flavour along with addition of ground almonds.  This one was firm enough to flip over in the oven to cook the underside and also to pick up by hand when eating.

Which do we prefer??  We actually enjoyed all 3, I think I will meld the recipes a little to make my own version.  I prefer to pre-steam the Cauliflower but I loved the addition of oats, buckwheat flour and almonds and we do like the cheese in the first which did firm the base up and for the girl the attraction of Pizza is eating it with her fingers!

Slosh on some homemade tomato sauce, a generous topping of grated Mozzarella, Mushrooms marinated in olive oil and whatever else takes your fancy and pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.  Rustic and delicious too!

cauli pizza

cauli pizza 3

I will definitely be making a Cauliflower crust when making other dishes too, anything I would use as a bread base, even something simple like Mushrooms on “toast”, I can see this would work well.

Making these non-bread pizza crusts/bases has given me the impetus to try using other vegetables in place of cauliflower, I’m thinking sweet potato for one.  If you’ve tried any alternatives. do let me know!

Buon Appetito!

 

 

Curry Leaf Cafe Lunch

The Curry Leaf Cafe has been on the list for a foodie visit for a while and on Monday we finally treated ourselves to lunch there.  Recently named one of the top ten places to drink in the city by the Guardian Newspaper, and a silver award winner in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category of the 2014 Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards, the Curry Leaf Cafe serves up South Indian street food in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes.

curry leaf sign The first thing that comes across when you walk in the door, apart from the vibrant decor, is the friendly welcome and relaxed atmosphere.  We were seated towards the back where the light from glass greenhouse-like ceiling poured in, I was just imagining doing a photo shoot there, the light was amazing! We started with a Mixed Nibbles Platter, Masala roasted peanuts tossed in chopped onion, tomatoes, coriander and chilli with mini flavoured poppadoms to dip in Tamarind and Date, Mango with a touch of chilli and Beetroot and garlic chutney’s, all amazingly aromatic and tasty! curry leaf nibbles Then came the problem, there was so much I wanted to sample from the lunch menu! I chose the Open Naan Wrap served on a bed of Laccha salad, pickled red onions and Curry Leaf Cafe signature drizzles with deliciously tender Tandoori Chicken Tikka.

curry leaf food My dining companions aka the girls both chose the Dosai, crisp, folded rice-flour crêpes, served with bucket sambar – a spiced vegetable stew, accompanied by coconut and ginger chutney’s.   One of the Dosa was stuffed with Potatoes and green pea mash, tempered with mustard seeds, the other stuffed with sautéed onions tossed in cumin seeds.  I really must try these next time.

curry leaf dosa Taking a look at the dinner menu , we will definitely have to return to sample more dishes, just writing about them is making my mouth water! The Curry Leaf Cafe certainly delivers nutritious deliciousness. You can find the Curry Leaf Cafe at 60 Ship Street, Brighton. a stone’s throw from the seafront.

curry leaf front .

Rainbow Summery Lunch

The Summer may have gone but the weather still remains (on and off) warmer than usual for October and I don’t really feel like warming comfort foods just yet.

rainbow lunch

My fridge usually has all the components to hand needed for a fresh, light, summery lunch even in October.  Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Radishes, grated Carrot, Red & White Quinoa (love it as a protein source and had some leftover from another dish).  Add in some Avocado and a sprinkling of Pomegranate seeds laid on a bed of hidden Watercress (almost a prop for the rest of the ingredients, a superfood prop!).

One of many combinations of a light lunch on the go that can be put together in moments.

Nutritious and so Delicious!

 

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Watercress Green Smoothie

I make a green smoothie a couple of times a week, I basically just chuck in whatever is to hand, sometimes the main green element is Kale, other times it’s Watercress.  I love Watercress, it’s the peppery kick that has me munching on it or including it in salads or sandwiches, but in a smoothie it’s even better!

watercress green smoothie

Watercress has high levels of Calcium  Vitamin A, C, E, K beta-carotene and Iron.  Also contains vitamin B1, B2. folic acid, potassium and phosphorus.   It has more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach!

Today, my green smoothie contained:

1 bag of Watercress
1 medium carrot
around 5 inches of cucumber
3 small tomatoes
1 baby avocado
half a banana
small handful of blueberries
3 raspberries, yes 3, all I had left!
about 1 inch of Ginger
Flax seeds
Chia seeds
Water to the perfect consistency for you
Ice, optional.

plus my Green blend which today was Wheatgrass, Spirulina, and Green Barley,   I have a few others and change or add to the blend, I’m always coming across new things to try too!

Blend all and serve immediately.

All measurements are approximate, I usually just sprinkle in some Flax and Chia seeds, make it your own and enjoy the benefits.  This amount serves 2 generously!

 

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Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup

Following on from my previous post of the wonders of the superfood Beetroot, I’ve started with Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup.

Honestly, I’ve never taken to Beetroots, I don’t mind them cooked with a salad or raw grated in a sandwich or salad.  But they aren’t on top of my list of vegetables I really savour and enjoy.

So, in an effort to broaden my taste buds and nutrient levels I decided to attempt my first Beetroot based soup.  I’ve added Potato to thicken it and Butterbeans for protein, along with the Pistachio garnish.

beetroot soup

 

Butter beans are a very good low-fat source of protein  as well as a good source of iron, zinc and magnesium.

Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup

This recipe serves 3-4 depending on bowl size.

Preparation time is around 1½ hours.

Ingredients

400g raw beetroot
150g potato, cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
750 ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin Butterbeans
1 lemon, juiced
1 orange, juiced plus zest
Black Pepper (to taste)
4-6 tablespoons coconut milk (to taste)

To garnish:  Total Greek Yogurt and chopped Pistachios

Method

Place the beetroot and potato in separate oven trays and roast for around an hour at 180C, the potatoes were ready after about 40 minutes.

Place onion and garlic into a pan and steam fry for around 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add the stock to the pan with the Butterbeans and cook for around 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Take the cooled Beetroots and peel the skin off, chop and place in a blender with the potatoes, Butterbean stock mix, lemon juice, orange juice plus zest, coconut milk, salt (I don’t use as the stock has salt in) and black pepper to taste.

Blend until smooth.

At this point you can either place in a saucepan and heat through again and serve immediately with a yogurt garnish sprinkled with roughly chopped Pistachio nuts for texture and bread of your choice, we enjoy toasted Sunflower Rye bread spread with coconut oil.

Or place in the fridge to consume within the next couple of days.  This recipe will also freeze well for up to 2 months.

beetroot soup 2

Nutritious and delicious!

For Beetroot nutritional info, see Superfood Beetroot

 

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Superfood Beetroot

Beetroot has always been around but in the past it was more usual to find it in a jar soaking in vinegar.   Now more and more people are using it raw, cooking or juicing it for extreme health benefits.

beetroot

Beetroot is a powerful detoxifier and blood purifier.  A great cleanser especially for the liver, kidneys, intestines and gall bladder.  Beetroot’s lush ruby red colour comes from beta-cyanin which has anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties which protect the cells against free radical damage.

Beetroot  is a rich source of natural sugars and contains a high amount of fibre that improves digestion, aiding the absorption of food but also slowing down the absorption of digestible carbohydrates into the blood, supplying a steady stream of energy.   It also stimulates the circulatory system, speeding up metabolism.

Beetroot is high in assimilable iron, contains manganese and silica which is vital for healthy skin, hair, nails and bones.  Other nutrients include vitamins B3, B5, C, Folic Acid, Beta-carotene, calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

It certainly deserves the title of Superfood!

So now to find more ways of including Beetroot in our diet apart from the usual pickled or raw grated into salads.  I’ll be starting with soup, Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean, but I really want to experiment with different ways to cook it, it does have an earthy taste which has not really appealed to me but with all the massive health benefits I want to include it more regularly on our menu.

Beetroots are in season here in the UK, now is the best time to give them a try!

Here are some fun facts from Love Beetroot.

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Gazpacho Soup

With the end of summer approaching, and the (mostly) warm summer days still gracing us with their presence, we enjoyed this antioxidant rich Gazpacho soup for lunch over the weekend.  Quick and easy to pull together and so refreshing.  No cooking required!

tomatoes pepper

There are a few variations of the Gazpacho recipe, I prefer mine with a little texture to it, but you can pass it through a sieve if you prefer a much smoother soup.

Gazpacho Soup

Ingredients

1 kg of ripe, large vine ripened tomatoes
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
½ large cucumber
small red onion
clove of garlic, crushed
1 tblspn cider vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
1 tblspn extra virgin olive oil
Seasoning to taste

Method:

Score the tomatoes at both ends and place in boiling water to remove skins, cut into quarters and then remove seeds and core.  Put all the juicy insides from the tomatoes into a sieve over a bowl to catch all the liquid and use the liquid in the soup.

Place the tomatoes and all the extra liquid, red pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, olive oil and vinegar into a food processor and process to the texture of your choice.

Put the blended soup into the fridge and chill for a couple of hours, once chilled add seasoning to your own taste.  Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and extra diced cucumber and tomato.

Serve with crusty French bread.

 

Gazpacho Soup

Nutritional Info:

Tomato – Vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Lycopene, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Fibre.

Red Pepper – Vitamins B3, B6, C, E, K, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Lycopene, Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Fibre.

Cucumber – Vitamins A, B3, B5, C, K, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Silica, Sulphur, Zinc, Fibre.

Onion – Vitamins B2, B6, C, Folic Acid, Chromium, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sulphur Compounds, Quercitin, Flavonoids, Fibre.

Garlic – Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Copper, Germanium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sulphur, Zinc, Amino acids, Fibre.

Olive oil – Vitamins E, K, iron, Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids.

 

Gazpacho Soup