Category Archives: vegetable stock

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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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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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.