Category Archives: onion

Cod and Chorizo Risotto

We eat a lot of fish at our house, Mr ND is a vegetarian and I mainly eat chicken and fish and the little one usually joins in with one or the other. When buying fish I like to take out a small piece and make another separate meal for her, a little plainer as we do like to spice our food up sometimes!  So with less fish available our Cod and Chorizo Risotto is an ideal way to stretch it out. I’ve added peas and mushrooms but you can beef it up with more vegetables too.

Serves 3 adults

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: around 30 minutes

Ingredients – 1 onion, chopped, Chorizo, sliced, mushrooms, sliced, Cod, cubed, 1 teaspoon each of Turmeric and Paprika (more to your own taste), 1 vegetable stock cube, Peas, 1 cup Arborio Rice.  Ingredient quantities are flexible depending on what is left in the fridge, so please adjust to your own quantities, the rice quantity will easily feed 3 adults.

risottoingredients

Method

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, I add a splash of water half way through to steam fry, which softens the onions without them catching.  

Add the Chorizo, Mushrooms and Cod to the pan and gently fry for another 5 minutes until softened.  

Add the Arborio rice, Turmeric, Paprika and stock made up with around 600-700 ml of boiling water (use more or less as necessary).  Cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the liquid has nearly all been absorbed, leave the lid off for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

codchorizoCollageND

 

Serve with a fresh, green salad and a chilled glass of white wine!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Cod – Protein, Omega-3, B3, B6, B12
Turmeric – see here for details
Paprika – Vitamins A, C & E, Calcium and Iron, good source of B1, B2, B3, B6, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese, and Potassium.
Peas – Protein, Vitamins A,  C,  K,  B1, B3, Folic acid, Iron & Manganese, very good source of Fibre.
Mushrooms – Protein, Vitamin C,  B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Selenium. Very good source of Vitamin D & fibre, 

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Roasted Vine-ripened Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

I still have fond memories of a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup and a buttered roll after a long walk or run in the freezing cold.  These days the amount of soup choices are many and varied but sometimes I just have to go back to Tomato soup. 

 

I like to use a mix of cherry tomatoes and larger vine-ripened tomatoes but will go with whatever is in the fridge and needs to be used.  Also because I am not a huge fan of red peppers my recipe is more tomato based, but you can, of course, double or triple the amount of red peppers to your own taste.  The soup can be made a couple of days in advance and can be frozen.

Both Tomatoes and Red Peppers provide a healthy serving of immunity boosting nutrients.  They are a fantastic source of anti-oxidants especially beta-carotene and vitamin C, both are especially high in lycopene, which gives them their vivid red colour.

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  40 minutes
Serves: 2 and a tiddler 

Pre-heat your oven to 220°C, 200° fan, gas 7

Ingredients

600g Tomatoes
1 large red pepper, halved and de-seeded
1 red or white onion, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons of tomato purée*
1 litre of homemade vegetable stock
Seasoning

*I use Sainsburys Tomato and Vegetable purée

Arrange the red peppers and tomatoes in an oiled roasting tin and give a good swirl in the oil coating them all.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Roast for around 20-25 minutes until soft.

Gently fry the onion until soft then stir in the tomato purée and combine well.  Add the roasted peppers and tomatoes, then add the stock.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.  Leave to cool before blending until smooth, season as necessary.

Lovely served with Seeded Thins spread thinly with coconut oil, my favourite oil!

Nutritional Info:

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

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

 

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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.

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Flavour Packed Vegetable Stock

I’ve been making my own vegetable stock forever especially in the colder months and this year being colder for longer I’ve made a small batch this weekend. It’s so simple to do and it’s a great way to use up excess vegetables.  Carrots, celery and onion make up the base of my stock and from there I add different vegetables depending on what’s usually in the fridge, parsnips, leeks and sometimes cabbage, swede and mushrooms have made their way into the pot.

I use parsley, bay and black peppercorns but also have used thyme, garlic and other herbs, there really is no set menu for making your own recipe vegetable stock.  The stock I’m making here is perfect for tiny tastebuds too, mine doesn’t like garlic very much yet so will leave it out of this batch.

Today’s pot of goodness includes:

2 organic carrots, chopped – I don’t peel, just give a good scrub
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 parsnip, peel and cut lengthways
1 small swede, chopped
1 leek including the green part, trim the end off and cut lengthways
3 cabbage leaves, the very outer greener ones
small handful of parsley including stalks
a few black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Put all the vegetables into a pan, I’m using my trusty old (and it is very old but still so good) Le Creuset pan and add 2 litres of water.   Depending on the size of your pan you can add more or less water, more will, of course, produce a more lighter flavoured stock and with less the stock will have a more concentrated infusion.  2 litres fills my pot nicely and produces a delicious, well-flavoured stock.


Simmer for 1-2 hours, I know this seems a bit vague but an hour is fine but if I have the time I do like to give it a bit more simmering time.  Stir occasionally to further blend the flavours.

For extra depth of flavour you can also fry the vegetables gently first in a little oil before adding the water.  For soups though I prefer a simple, fresh and light stock.

Take off the heat and strain through a sieve and leave to cool.  The stock liquid can now be used as the base for soups or to make rissoto, quinoa, etc. 

Once cooled the stock can be frozen, mine is used up pretty quickly as I make a lot of soups which are fabulous for the 5:2 diet which I am still doing every week, it has become a habit now, part of my week and having low-calorie, highly nutritious soups to keep my appetite satiated has been amazingly helpful. 

The cooked vegetables can also be blended down and included in many recipes.  The vegetables will still contain plenty of fibre and a huge shame to waste.  I use them in soups for the tiddler, blended down or added to casseroles.  We also make veggie burgers, mixing the mashed vegetables with breadcrumbs and egg, seasonings and sometimes cheese.  So many uses for extra veg!

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Bread Time – Soda Bread

Soda Bread, leavened with bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast, which makes it perfect for me as I am supposed to be avoiding yeast, it’s not easy as I love breads of every kind!  I made a plain version to start with and really enjoyed it.  Soda bread does not keep well and is best eaten within a day or so, no problem there then!  Apparently it freezes well, mine didn’t last long enough to freeze.

I expect all Soda Bread recipes are mostly alike but I’m using Paul Hollywood’s version from his How to Bake book but I did halve the recipe, I always like to do a test bake first! 

Prep: 15-20 mins

Makes: 1 small loaf

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6
Line a baking tray with parchment/baking paper


Ingredients

250g plain white flour plus a little extra for dusting your board and dough before baking

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

200ml buttermilk

Method

Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl, then add in the buttermilk and stir until a sticky dough is formed.

Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball, flatten slightly.

Then put the dough onto your prepared baking try, cut into quarters making sure you don’t cut all the way through and give a light dusting with flour.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

The great thing about some breads are the alternatives you can make. Combining wholemeal and white flour and by adding grated cheese and onion or sun-dried tomatoes, olives, etc to the dough mixture for an even more delicious Soda Bread.

For the Sundried Tomato and Cheese Soda bread I used 180g white plain flour (all I had left after baking 2 other Soda Breads!) and 70g wholemeal flour, as you can see even so little wholemeal flour has given it a lovely colour and texture.  I used 40g extra strong Cheddar cheese, will use more next time, love cheesy bread and a few sun-dried Tomatoes, again could have used more.  Can’t wait to try out more combinations!

Vegetables in Disguise

I really love tomato based sauces, I can find a use for a tomato sauce in so many dishes that we eat.  The one I make the most at the moment is the vegetables in disguise version for my toddler girl, she eats plenty of fresh vegetables but occasionally when she is fussy this sauce packs a lot in! 
My personal recipe goes something like this:

Take a good glug of olive oil and gently fry a medium onion with a small clove of crushed garlic, I see some slicing of garlic in recipes but I prefer the good, intense garlic taste that crushing gives a dish.  Toddler ND is well used to garlic and onions in her food thankfully as we eat a lot of them!

Next grate 2 medium carrots, ½ a large courgette or 1 small one and a 2″ chunk of sweet potato and saute with the onions and garlic for a few minutes without browning. 

Add chopped tomatoes, I really love Sainsbury’s Polpa Fine, they are just right in texture, the 500ml box is perfect for this recipe, but if I have a glut of tomatoes I will roast some the day before, whiz them up a little in the blender and use those.  Even if I don’t have a glut I will often use fresh tomatoes, just depends how fast I need to whip this up!

Then add around 200ml of vegetable stock (I make 300ml in case I need a little extra), I like the Kallo brand, its gluten free too, a teaspoon of tomato puree and ½ teaspoon each of basil and oregano completes the dish. 

Simmer for around half an hour, then freeze into small batches and either add to other dishes or add rice to make mini toddler “chilli” with kidney beans or pasta for a “bolognaise”-type meal.   This recipe is ideal for toddlers as it makes a lovely sweet sauce but is chock full of vegetables in disguise!

For us, I use the same recipe, rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water,  saute in olive oil and another clove of garlic (I love the aroma of freshly crushed garlic so much I could dab it behind my ears!), add to the sauce and whiz it up till smooth.  I like to freeze this so I have a quick rich sauce that can be defrosted fast and have other ingredients thrown in, prawns being a favourite of mine.  It is great on its own though run through olive oil coated pasta.  Simple, very tasty and full of goodness.  Season as you wish with black pepper or whatever you love!  Bon Appetit!

Nutritional Info:
Onion – B1, B6, Folic Acid, C, Chromium, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Pottasium, Iron, Selenium, Sulphur Compounds,  Flavonoids, Fibre –  rich in Quercetin
Garlic – Manganese, B1, B6, C, Phosphorus, anti-viral, anti-bacterial , selenium, calcium, copper
Olive oil
Tomato – Vitamin A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B6, Folic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron (little), Lycopene, Lutein, Phosphorus, Zinc
Courgette – Vitamin A, C, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin K, Folate
Sweet Potato – Beta carotene, B1, B3, B5,B6, C, E, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Zinc, Fibre

Carrots Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, B-complex, E, K, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.