Archive for category Vegetables

Watercress soup

Watercress Soup madebyjayne.com

I’m dragging myself kicking and screaming onto the healthy train this new year! I’m finding it hard to get out of bad habits left over from the holiday season, possibly the very cold weather we have had recently is making it harder. However I’m trying to get back into healthier habits. One thing we will be having for dinner this week is watercress soup. I first tried this soup in France, in a supermarket of all places! We were given a sample while shopping, if I had made that soup for my husband he wouldn’t have even tried it but in a French supermarket it was somehow appealing to him and not only did he try but he liked it! Always delighted to find a healthier meal for that my husband will have too,  I recreated it when we got back. It’s very simple and quick to make. Watercress is high in antioxidants and it’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, helping to boost the immune system which is good for this time of the year. It’s also very low in calories which is always good news.

This is a very mild tasting soup, the watercress adds some peppery tones but it is overall a simple clean tasting soup, I will be having it accompanied with a salad but some crusty bread would be fabulous served with this soup. Be careful not to blend for too long or the potatoes go gloopy.

Watercress Soup

  • 400 grams potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 250 mls vegetable stock (homemade if you have it otherwise try to find a stock that is lower sodium and doesn’t contain msg)
  • 2 x 75 gram bags of watercress
  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan, when heated add the onions and potatoes. Stir to coat in the oil then turn the heat down, cover and leave to sweat for about 5 minutes, this will soften the onion and potato without browning.
  2. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, the potatoes should be almost ready.
  3. Add all the watercress, leave it resting on top and put the lid back on so the watercress can steam. Cook for 5 minutes, check to see that the potatoes are soft and the watercress wilted.
  4. Blend to your preferred smoothness. My husband likes no lumps at all so I use a blender but a more chunky finish with a stick blender is also nice.
  5. Serve immediately. This soup freezes well.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot soup

At this time of the year we are awash with recipes for soup. I have countless soup recipes on my “to make” list, yet still I seek more! Trying to get my husband to eat some/any vegetables is a constant trial. Vegetables blended in soup are my husband’s preferred way of eating vegetables, surprisingly even carrots. So when I saw this recipe I thought I was onto a winner. My version of that soup is a little more simple, I omitted the peanut butter to save a few calories. I find carrot soup verges on the over sweet for my taste so also left out the maple syrup. I prefer to use half coconut milk and half stock as I found all coconut milk added a little too much sweetness. I also like my soup a lot thinner so added more liquid.

This soup is so flavorful, extra sweet from roasting the peppers and carrots, the coconut milk adds another dimension to the flavour and for me the addition of chilli adds a punch of heat at the end. This soup is full of vitamin C and A and high in beta carotene all of which aid in boosting the immune system and are though to aid in the fight against cancer. At this time of the year, common for seasonal over indulgence its nice to have a quick, healthy meal up your sleeve.

Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup (adapted from this recipe)

  • 200 gram (7 oz) red peppers
  • 450 gram (I lb) carrots (preferably organic)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 can (200 ml) light coconut milk
  • 200 ml vegetable stock plus more for thinning, I use about an extra 2oo mls
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes ( or less to your taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 c, 400 f, Gas mark 6.
  2. Peel and chop the carrots into chunks of around 1.5 inches and place onto a baking sheet.
  3. Remove the seeds from the peppers and slice into 4-6 largish slices. (I used the longer red peppers) and place onto the baking sheet with the carrots.
  4. Sprinkle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for around 40 minutes until the carrots are soft enough to pierce easily with a knife and the peppers have started to shrink and darken at the edges.
  6. If you have a blender tip the roasted vegetables into it and add the coconut milk, stock and chilli flakes. Blend until all the ingredients are well mixed and the resulting soup is thick and creamy. If you don’t have a blender use  a stick/hand blender to blend all the ingredients in a saucepan the texture just wont be as smooth.
  7. Thin the soup with some more stock until you have the consistency you like.

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Balsamic Roasted Beetroot

Its breast cancer awareness month this month and I wanted to do a “pink” recipe post to highlight that. Cake was my first pink thought but as I’m staying unprocessed this month I thought I ought to do a healthier recipe! So staying pink(ish) I have a simple recipe today for roasted beetroot, roasting is something people often forget to do with beetroot. It really doesn’t take that long and you don’t even have to peel the beets!

Beetroot season has all but come to an end in my Mother in laws allotment, the weather being what it was this summer we didn’t have the glut of beetroot repeated from last summer so apart from some jars of pickled beets I’ve mostly roasted mine this summer. Roasted beets are amazing, so simple yet so flavoursome. Roasting them brings out their sweetness and loses some of the earthiness that a lot of people find off-putting. I love them so much I can eat them like candy!

Roasted beets couldn’t be simpler to make. Just wash, tumble in some olive oil, season and roast.  I also like to add some balsamic vinegar to add to the sweetness.  In an hour or so you will have the most wonderful accompaniment to whatever dish takes your fancy, or you could just stand and eat most of them like I often do!

Balsamic Roasted Beetroot (serves 2)

  • 450 grams beetroot
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • I tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper (in keeping with the pink theme I used pink salt and pink peppercorns but regular will do.)

Preheat oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6

  1. Wash the beetroot and trim off both ends and any hairy bits, don’t bother to peel.
  2. I advise wearing rubber gloves to avoid pink stained hands, cut the beets into chunks a little larger than bite size. With small beets halves or quarters are fine but some of the huge beets I get from the allotment means cutting much more!
  3. Put the beets into a roasting pan and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them. With your rubber gloves on, rub the olive oil and vinegar into the beets, ensuring each beetroot gets coated.
  4. Holding one end of a thyme sprig strip the stem of its leaves, letting them scatter over the beets.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 1 hour or until the beets are soft when poked with a knife and have darkened in colour.

Its so important yet so easy to forget, don’t forget to check your breasts regularly.

 

 

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