Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

It is definitely soup season, nights are getting darker, air is getting colder and a bowl of warm soup is the perfect recipe after a long days work. If you are looking for a really tasty soup that is simple to make with simple store cupboard ingredients then this is for you. The things I love about soup is that you can make a huge pot and freezer it for later. Tasty cooking can not get any simpler than this.

I harvested some of my Carrots and Parsnips at the weekend, so this was what I had decided upon. With some good quality crusty bread on the side this is perfect for lunch or dinner. The bright orange colour also brightens up your dinner table.

Full of nutrition too, with Carrots & Parsnips both being full of good Vitamin C this can help boost your immune system at this time of year and very low in calories too. Lets not forget the spices, with cumin being a great aid for the digestive system and also full or iron. Garlic, with its active compounds which can help reduce blood pressure and also combat sickness including the common cold. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant, was classed as a Superfood too. It’s a win, win soup for me this season.

Vegetable Harvest, Carrots & Parsnips

Serves 4

8 Medium Size Carrots, Chopped (I keep the skin on but you can peel if you prefer)

6 Medium Size Parsnips, Peeled & Chopped

3 Celery Stalks, Chopped

1 White Onion, Chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Ginger Granules or 1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger

1 tsp Garlic Powder or 2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Turmeric

1.5 litres good Vegetable Stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

A Little Swirl of Cream to serve and a sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (Optional)

Crusty Bread to serve (Optional)

  1. Pre heat the oil in a large pot on medium to high heat, add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the spices (cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger) and mix through until coated.
  3. Add in the parsnips, carrots and vegetable stock, season & bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and using a hand blender, blend the vegetables to make a smooth thick consistancey.
  5. Serve into bowl and finish with a swirl of cream and sprinkle of seeds.

You can keep soup in a fridge for about 3 days and freezer for up to 3 months.


Lentil & Squash Dhansak

Lentil & Squash Dhansak

This quick and easy vegetarian meal is perfect for those Autumn and Wintry Days, a warming bowl of goodness in your tummy. Full or nutrition and good vitamins, with only around 300 calories per bowl is a great healthy option to a takeaway Curry. This is also a good recipe to batch cook with. You can serve with a toasted naan on the side for a more filling meal.

Serves 4

300g Sweet Potato – chopped and diced into 2cm cubes

300g Butternut Squash – chopped and diced into 2cm cubes

2 White Onions, diced

2 tbsps Mild Curry Powder

2 tbsps Garam Masala Powder

1 x 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes

1 x 400g Tin Coconut Milk

1 x 400g Tin Green Lentils

200g Spinach – chopped

Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds to garnish (yoghurt optional)

  1. Steam cook the Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash, place in a microwaveable bowl with 2 tbsps water and cover, cook on medium level for 10 minutes. (you could always roast in oven for about 35 mins too)
  2. While cooking add a little oil to a pan and cook the onions until softened, add the curry powder, garam masala powder and mix through. Add the tin tomatoes and coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to allow sauce to thicken slightly.
  3. To the sauce add the sweet potato and butternut squash along with the lentils and spinach, season and mix through, allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Serve into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of seeds.

Asparagus, Pea, Bean & Rice Bowl

Asparagus Rice Bowl

I am always looking for new ideas to be healthier in my Dinner choices, I used to think healthy meant you’d always be hungry after….lol. In this dish it is the complete opposite, with the addition of the rice & beans it was very filling and kept me satisfied all night, and with only 400 calories & 29g protein per serving, it was super healthy too.

You can always add some flaked Salmon for that extra nutrition.

Serves 2-3

Handful of Asparagus, trimmed & chopped

Handful of Green Beans, timmed & chopped

Handful of Peas

150g Wholegrain Rice (or for quickness, you could use prepacked rice)

100g Baby Spinach, chopped

1 x 400g Tin of Mixed Salad Beans (or any beans that you prefer, just not Baked!)

Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch Sugar

Handful freshly Chopped Coriander

Rainbow Pepper or Black Pepper

  1. Cook the asparagus, green beans and peas in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 mins until tender. Drain.
  2. Cook the Rice as per packet instructions and drain.
  3. Heat the mixed salad beans in a pan for 4-5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, put the rice, asparagus, green beans, peas, mixed salad beans & spinach, mix through until combined.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together, olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice & zest and pinch sugar, pour over the rice bowl and mix through. Sprinkle over some fresh coriander and pepper then serve.
Bowl of Asparagus, Bean & Rice

Cheesy Potato Stacks

Cheesy Potato Stacks

These little Cheesy Potato Stacks are so tasty and so easy to make, a great little lunchtime snack or side dish for the whole family. You can also make it to suit your tastes, I used paprika spice and herbs but you could try Rosemary, Thyme or even Chilli. Great thing with these is you can freeze them and used them later in the week. Great snack box bites too.

Makes 12

3-4 Large Potatoes – I used King Edwards but Russet works well too.

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (choose a quality melting cheese)

Butter for Muffin Tin

Rainbow Peppercorns & Salt to season

1 tsp Smoked Paprika (or any other spice)

2 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs (or any other herbs)

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 deg C fan (400 F)
  2. In a bowl mix the grated cheese with salt, pepper & mixed herbs
  3. Grease your muffin tin with a little butter
  4. Wash & dry your potatoes thoroughly, keeping the skin on, thinly slice the potatoes, using a mandoline or slicer attachment is best. Pat dry the slices of potatoes, you don’t want them too moist or they won’t crisp up in oven.
  5. Take about 2 slices and lay in bottom of muffin tin, next sprinkle over some of the cheese mix, then another layer of 2 slices of potato and so on, until the stack is just above the muffin tin, (I had about 6 layers), finishing with a sprinkle of cheese mix. (the potatoes will shrink when cooked)
  6. Sprinkle on top a little pinch of paprika spice and cover loosely with kitchen tin foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and continue to bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and crisp.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin, this will make it easier to remove and hold their shape. Serve. Yum!


Chickpea Chapati

Chickpea Chapati

I am always looking for healthier options but without compromise on flavour so I decided to try Chickpea flour to make my Chapati’s. This recipe was so much better than my traditional one, so much more flavour and healthier too. These Chapati’s are much lighter on the tummy too. Chickpea Flour or known as Gram Flour or Besan is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber & Magnesium.

Makes 4-6

100g Gram Flour

100g Plain Flour

1 tsp salt

100ml Milk

1 tsp olive oil

  1. Mix the flours & salt together, then slowly add in the milk then the olive oil and bring together to a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. To bake, heat a little olive oil in a hot pan. Cut the dough into six equal sections and roll out with a rolling pin. Place into the pan a cook until you see the bubbles appear then flip over to the other side and cook for a further minute. If you are like my other half and like it a bit well done, keep your pan on a very high heat. (Beware the smokey room…lol!)
  3. Remove and pat any excess oil. Serve.


Roasted Beetroot Salad

Roasted Beetroot Salad

As you may know I started my very first Raised Vegetable Beds this year, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but as the story goes, we work & we work and never seem to find time to start anything. This was the year that I was finally going to put a plan of action together, ordered my raised beds, got them all painted and treated, filled them up, planted the seeds and waited. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see my first little green shoot pop up.

I love Beetroot, so that was the first seed planted and I am now starting to harvest them. Oh my, freshness, freshness, freshness…..there is nothing better that eating straight from your garden, I harvested some yesterday and decided on a lovely refreshing salad today for my lunch.

Fresh Beetroot from my garden

How to Roast Beetroot

First wash all the mud etc off of the beets and trim of the stalks & leaves, but keep the leaves aside for later. If not using straight away, store in a perforated plastic bag in the salad bins in your fridge, these will keep for about 2 weeks.

Beetroot & Beetroot Leaves Storage in Fridge

Using Tin foil, place the Beets (with the skin on) on and sprinkle a little olive oil & salt, wrap up into a parcel, not too tightly as you want the steam to help cook the beets, then bake on a tray in centre of your oven at 200 deg for about 45 minutes.

Remove and allow steam to escape from parcel then allow to cool slightly. At this stage, I advise to wear gloves, you WILL get Beetroot stained if you don’t…lol! With gloves on gently rub the skin and you’ll notice it comes away very easily, remove all the skin and slice into wedges or bite sized pieces. Yum!

Using the saved leaves, these can be cooked just like Kale. Bring a pan of water to the boil add a little salt and blanch for a few minutes, remove and drain excess water through a colander/sieve. I love the colour of the water here too.

Place leaves in a bowl with beetroot, squeeze some lemon juice and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar over and mix. Sprinkle over some Goats cheese or Feta cheese and chopped walnuts to serve.

You could also cook some couscous or bulgur wheat to add to make it a more filling bowl.

A Bowl of Roasted Beetroot, Beetroot Leaves, Goats Cheese, Walnuts


Lemon Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Lemon Glaze Sweet Potatoes

I recently harvested my first sweet potatoes, so decided to have a little quick potato lunch today. If you love sweetness, you will love this. I served with some crushed goats cheese for that extra creamy texture.

Serves 2

2 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1″ thick slices

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 lemon juice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg and grease a baking tin.
  2. Mix the Lemon juice with melted butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon
  3. Places the sweet potato slices in baking tin and pour over the mixture, cover with tin foil and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  4. The last 5 minutes, remove the tin foil to allow glaze to thicken and brown in oven. Remove and sprinkle some goats cheese. Serve.


Sweet Potato & Peanut Butter Gratin

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Oh Yum, this dish I found on the Whole Earths website, I just love their Peanut Butter especially the crunchy one….yum!  My curiosity got the better of me because I wouldn’t have thought to put sweet potato and peanut butter together but wow, this was so tasty.

I also used my automatic setting on my Hotpoint Class 9 oven, the Potato Gratin setting. This was great as I didn’t need to worry about what temperature or oven function to set for a perfect bake the oven worked it all out for me.

This made 4 small servings (2 bakes in a 19cm x 30cm baking dish)

3 large Sweet Potatoes

2 tsp Crushed Chillies (or 2 chopped chillies)

100g Spinach – Chopped

300g Creme Friache

3 tbsp Peanut Butter, Crunchy

2 tsp dried coriander leaves

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

  1. If not using automatic programmes, preheat oven on fan to about 200 deg then finish off under the grill to crisp and brown.
  2. Peel & Slice the sweet potatoes to about 1/2 cm thick and place in a bowl, add the chopped spinach, coriander, chillies, salt & pepper.                                              20200210_122807
  3. Mix the creme friache and peanut butter together until smooth ad combined then pour into the sweet potatoes and mix until potatoes are coated.                              20200210_123350
  4. Spray a baking dish with spray oil and then layer the sweet potato in the dish making two rows.                                                                                          20200210_124357
  5. Cover with Tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes, remove the tin foil and continue to bake for the further 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are softened and slightly browned.
  6. Serve.

 

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Harissa Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry

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A bit of Meal prepping today while I have some time. I have been doing this for a few weeks now and have found it to be very beneficial to us. Sometimes I don’t get in till late from work and its always nice to have a healthy dinner ready for you.  Also it means the 1/2 hour I save on making dinner means I can get some exercise in…..no excuses now.

 

Makes 4 Servings 

1 tsp Ginger powder or 1″ piece fresh ginger minced

2 garlic gloves – minced

1 yellow onion – diced

2 tbsp Harissa Paste

Florets from 1 Caulifower

2 x 400g Chickpeas, drained

1 x 400g coconut milk

300ml vegetable stock

200g baby spinach

Salt & pepper to taste

 

  1. Heat a little oil in a large pan, add the garlic, ginger and onions and fry until softened.
  2. Add the Harissa Paste and coat the onions. Add in the Cauliflower and mix until coated.                                                                                                            20200208_143732
  3. Pour in chickpeas, vegetable stock & coconut milk with seasoning and mix through, bring to the boil then simmer and cook covered for about 25-30 minutes until cauliflower has softened.
  4. Add the spinach and mix through, cook for a further minute or until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and either serve or allow to cool before freezing.            20200208_151953
  5. Serve with some Bulgur wheat or rice for a filling meal.

 

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Mini Loaded Potato Jacket Bites

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I do love creating with leftovers, I always amaze myself what you can do with leftovers in your cupboards or fridge.  Today was a quick, tasty & filling lunch. With potatoes to be used up, I decided on mini loaded jackets. Using my Automatic Jacket Potato setting on my Hotpoint  Class 9 Combi Microwave too they were ready in under 16 minutes too!

 

I made 4 small Jackets

4 medium sized Scottish Maris Piper Potatoes

2 tbsp butter

handful spinach – chopped

20-30g Cheddar Cheese – grated

Cracker Black Pepper

Salt to taste

 

  1. First wash potatoes and prick with a fork
  2. Place onto the Crisperplate or Microwave dish.
  3. Set to Automatic, Recipes, Vegetarian Dishes, Baked Potatoes, Set weight and Extra Done. Start. Turn half way through.
  4. When ready remove and allow to cool slightly
  5. Cut potatoes in half lengthways and scoop out potato and put into a bowl then mash
  6. Place butter and spinach into potato bowl and mix through & season
  7. Spoon the potato mixture into the Jacket Potato skins and sprinkle with cheese then place under a high grill for a couple of minutes until cheese is melted. Season with some Cracked Black Pepper. Yum!
  8. You could also add in some chilli and paprika for extra flavour & spice. Really anything of your choosing.