Category Archives: ginger

Butternut Squash Ginger Soup & the 5:2 diet

Soups deliver such concentrated nutrition, even the little girl is amenable to soup even if it is a few mouthfuls, I can be assured that my homemade soup is full of natural goodness.

Butternut Squash is one of my (many) favourite vegetables, with its dense, orange flesh, it is delicious and sweet with a nutty flavour.  I have wrestled with many a Butternut Squash and have now found the perfect peeler for the tough outer skin thanks to a visit to Lakeland, so now its less challenging and faster to prepare too!

Carrots can be used instead of the Butternut Squash or a mix of both is good too, soup has so many variations and each has their own place within each season.  Although this year the seasons have gone a little awry with snow in April here!

Butternut Squash Ginger Soup is satisfying and filling on my 5:2 fast diet days.  And just in case you haven’t heard about this yet, the 5:2 Fast Diet was brought to us by Dr Michael Moseley when he was researching the health and longevity claims for the BBC2 Horizon programme Eat Fast and Live Longer – for 2 days a week you aim for 500 calories for women and 600 for men.  I have got this down to a fine art now & can easily get around the 500 calorie mark with soups on the menu, I’ve gone a little soup loopy but they are just so easy and delicious, plus you can use up any lingering vegetables from the fridge so less waste!

I make up a pot which will last for the couple of days fasting and is extremely low in fat and calories.  The addition of Ginger gives the soup an interesting zing and warmth.  On non-5:2 days I add crème fraîche, chilli flakes and black pepper which lifts the flavours even more!

For my pot of soup, some of which can be frozen too, popped in ice cube trays for easy access to soup for kiddie meals, I used around 600g of butternut squash, I did weigh it for the benefit of this blog post but usually I just use a medium Butternut Squash.

 

Prep time:  15 mins

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Ingredients

half a tsp butter – I use unsalted
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
about an inch of root Ginger
600g Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
1 litre of homemade vegetable stock
black pepper, optional

Method

Gently fry the Onion, Garlic and Ginger for a couple of minutes in the butter then add a few tablespoons of water to steam fry for another 2-3 minutes. 

Add the Butternut Squash and steam fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the Vegetable Stock, I make my own which increases the nutritional value of the soup too, see my blog post on Stock.

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the Butternut Squash is soft and tender.

Cool, then blend in a liquidiser. 

Nutritious and delicious.

Quick Nutritional Info

Butternut Squash – Vitamin A, C, E, B-complex – folic acid, vitamins, B1, B2, B3 and B6. Iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Ginger – anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, carminative, anti-microbial properties.  Potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Lebkuchen – We Should Cocoa

Lebkuchen, a traditional soft German biscuit, has been a part of my Christmas from long before I can even remember.  My Oma would send over packets of Chocolate Lebkuchen and Pffernussen for our Christmas treats.

I have been buying Bahlsen Lebkuchen for years but for the last couple of years I have found it increasingly difficult to find them so have decided to try my hand at making my own.  The recipe from Woman and Home looks the most authentic one looking at the list of ingredients, except I am leaving out the mixed peel & crystallised ginger.  I am most looking forward to dipping them in chocolate!

I’m entering this blog post into the we should cocoa monthly challenge hosted by The Chocolate Teapot  and Chocolate Log Blog – this month it’s to make something with chocolate and cinnamon.

Lebkuchen – adapted from and inspired by Woman and Home Recipe.

Ingredients

250g plain flour
75g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g honey
75g butter
150g plain chocolate

Method

1.  Combine the flour, almonds, spices, cocoa powder, baking powder and
     bicarbonate of soda into a medium sized bowl.


2.  Melt the butter and honey in a pan over a low heat, stirring until the
     butter melts.

3.  Pour the honey butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well to
     make a stiff dough.  Chill if the mixture is a touch sticky to work with.

Heat your oven now to 180 C/160 C fan/gas 4.


4.  Shape the dough into small golf ball sized balls.  Place on a lined
     baking tray, well spaced apart, I used my macaron pans, I love my 
     macaron pans.  Flatten each one to make a round biscuit.


5.  Bake for about 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.


6.  Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl over simmering
     water, heat gently.  When melted dip the biscuits into the chocolate then
     leave to cool again on a wire rack.

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Sassy Water

I drink a lot of water, about 1.5 – 2 litres a day.  It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, just plain water.  I really like it, simple as that!  Most of my friends think water is boring to drink on its own and like to go for the flavoured varieties and some don’t drink any at all.   Getting Miss ND to drink water is not that easy, but she is getting the hang of it and now refuses all spouted cups in favour of plain open cups, so water is good, she just gets wet sometimes!  We’re all “supposed” to be drinking 8 glasses a day but I never know how big the glass is supposed to be, so I’ll just stick with my intake.

So Sassy water.  I came across it several months ago but its been around for a while now.  I keep meaning to try it, I always have the ingredients in the fridge apart from the fresh mint leaves which are optional.
Sassy water is so named after Cynthia Sass, the co-author of The Flat Belly Diet.  It is said to help maintain a flat belly, helping to flush impurities out of your system and helping to shed the extra pounds around the tummy area (hallelujah to that!)

To make, take:

1 large glass jug
2 litres of water – we have a filter plumbed into our kitchen supply but I’m using mineral water.
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 medium sized cucumber – sliced thinly
1 medium sized lemon – sliced thinly
a few fresh mint leaves, if you have them

Ginger is to boost metabolism and helps calm your tummy (who can forget morning sickness, bleuch, I drank ginger tea then).

Cucumber is a natural diuretic and is said to help the body release excess stored water.

Lemon is a digestive aid and liver cleanser.

Put all the ingredients into the glass jug, refrigerate overnight to let the flavours infuse.  In the morning, strain the contents through a sieve and drink throughout the day.  

This was so very refreshing in the warmer summer days but I shall make up a jug 2-3 times a week and hopefully keep whittling down the tum.  Cheers!

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