Archive for category Vegetarian
Hello! I feel somewhat a stranger here, on my very neglected blog. My move and complete life changing last year has been pretty much wonderful but has left little time for cooking and blogging new things. I am so grateful for the people that have still visited here over the last year.
So what do we eat here in New Hampshire? Well soup is an obvious choice especially in the sub zero winter conditions we now have! Working from home is new to me and having to think of 3 meals a day for the two us and our varied tastes is sometimes a chore. Soup is something we do both enjoy, as long as it is substantial enough for my husband. So bean soup works perfectly for us, its filling enough for my husband and I love making a pot of soup that will feed us lunch for up to 4 days, one less meal to think of!
I love the variety of beans I can buy here and have pretty much bought a pack of every variety I see. Cranberry, Great Northern, Navy, light red and dark red kidney, Black, Yellow eyed the list goes on. All these beans are heart healthy, low fat, and protein rich and when mixed with a few other ingredients makes a filling, healthy meal.
As the title suggests any bean will do for this soup. Depending on the color of the bean its not always a pretty soup but it makes up in taste what it lacks in looks! I do use dry beans which will need an over night soak so as long as you do not forget that step the rest is fairly quick.
Any Bean’ll Do Soup
- 250 grams (8 oz) beans of your choice, for the soup pictured I used Great Northern Beans
- 2 litres (2 quarts) stock
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 organic carrots, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Soak your beans overnight, completely covered in cold water.
- When you are ready to make your soup, drain and rinse the beans and place into a large stock pot along with the stock.
- Bring the beans up to a boil then add the carrot and onion reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the beans are tender, this could take up to 45 minutes depending on the beans you are using but I find 30 minutes usually does it.
- Partially blend the soup using an immersion blender. Blend to your taste, go as smooth or chunk as you like.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
I prefer a chunky soup while my husband prefers a smoother soup so I find this partial blending suits us.
Depending on the stock you use you may not need extra salt.
This soup will keep in a Tupperware for a couple of days in the fridge, it also freezes well.
Its been a long time since I was here! I took an unplanned summer break which carried on into autumn! I have been busy, posting here was beginning to feel a chore and I was fast running out of ideas. Truth is even though I have a food blog when life gets busy I tend to stick to the same handful of recipes. I am out of the house for 12, sometimes more, hours on a work day so I don’t always have time to think of new meals. What I do end up cooking is usually not the kind of thing that would make an interesting post! And actually this last few months has been anything but typical!
There has been a reason for my distraction. I am moving, in just under a week, to America! New Hampshire is where we are heading, to the White Mountains. I can hardly believe I’m saying that, even though suitcases are packed and so much has been donated, sold and rescued by kind friends! I’m excited, scared, sad to say goodbye but looking forward to our new start.
Throughout the summer we had a bountiful supply of green beans from the allotment which resulted in me making this green bean dish many times. It was hard to keep up with our bean supply this year and often when we went to pick them they were huge, luckily this recipe is not fussy as to the type of bean, the beans end up meltingly soft. We have it served with chicken but Id be happy eating a bowl of these beans with a chunk of bread.
So often the dishes that stay with me are the simplest ones and this is the case with this bean recipe, just a few ingredients cooked together in one pan makes for a delicious vegetable dish that even my husband will eat, in fact he loves this!
It will be a while before I post again as we leave in just a few days, I cant wait to share our new adventure here so watch this space!
ingredients (4 portions)
- 350 grams green/French beans, topped and tailed and cut into pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- water to cover the beans
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions until softened.
- Add the garlic and fry for a minute while stirring.
- Add everything else, stir then add water, enough to just cover the beans.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for around 40 minutes. The beans will be very soft and the sauce reduced.
- Season with more salt and pepper if needed and serve.
Today I wanted to share my green bean recipe. It’s not really a recipe, more an idea, just four ingredients that go very well together.
I made these lemony beans one Christmas a few years ago. We had my Mother in law for dinner and although she appreciates the effort made she is the least foodie person you could imagine and she doesn’t eat vegetables! However it was Christmas and I wanted everything to be different, special, so that day I tossed the French beans in some butter and lemon zest, even if I would be the only one to eat them. Well I loved them but I had the shock of my life when not only did my non-vegetable eating husband try one but he liked them and had more!
To this day this is the only way my husband will eat French beans! I think we were both surprised that simply tossing some beans in lemon and butter would be what made him start to eat French beans! I have since swapped the butter for olive oil as it feels a little healthier but tastes just as good.
Green Beans with a Lemon Dressing
ingredients (serves 2)
- 150 grams French beans, (you may call them dwarf beans), topped and tailed
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- zest of half a small lemon
- sea salt to taste
- Steam or boil your beans until just tender, 3-4 minutes if boiling, 5-6 if steaming.
- Drain the beans and pour the olive oil in the pan you used to cook the beans (saves on washing up).
- Turn the heat on low, add the lemon zest, salt and beans. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
Easy, peasy, that’s what these are! If you have over-ripe bananas, in under 30 minutes you can have a rack of delicious banana muffins!
I began freezing over-ripe bananas a while ago. It was a revelation to me that you could just throw whole bananas in the freezer! The bananas do defrost to a gross mush but that just makes mashing them easier. I was looking in the freezer recently and found frozen bananas all over the place! Turns out I had 19 frozen bananas! I defrosted 3 bananas out to make my usual banana bread only to discover I had no butter! I’m a fan of baking with oil rather than butter as it adds a great texture so I thought Id try replacing the butter with olive oil. As I was changing things I thought Id try muffins rather than a loaf.
These banana olive oil muffins are a great alternative to banana bread. Using oil rather than butter worked so well I will stick to that! They are quicker to cook than a loaf and are easily portable in their own cases, making a great lunch box addition. They are also really versatile, I think I will add raisins next time. What do you like in your banana muffin?
Banana Olive Oil Muffins
- 150 grams plain flour
- 100 grams caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 bananas, mashed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 80 ml olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 190 C, 375 F, Gas 5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. A fairy cake pan works too!
- In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, ( flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon).
- Combine the beaten egg, mashed bananas and olive oil, fold into the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Fill each paper liner about half full and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack, store in an airtight tin.
Spring is here! Actually it’s been here for a while, the earliest blossom has finished and almost all of the trees have their leaves. We have even had some lovely sunny days. However, to me, a sure sign of spring is when British asparagus arrive. I got my first bunch last week, exciting times!
Wherever your asparagus comes from this soup is a quick way to enjoy them. I had seen an asparagus soup recipe with a Thai theme and I still may try that one but for the first asparagus of the season I wanted the asparagus to be the star of the show. So this soup has just a few ingredients, asparagus with a little onion, a waft of garlic and a hint of lemon grass. Its light and fresh, clean eating at its best.
Asparagus soup with a hint of Lemongrass
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 stalk of lemongrass
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- Prepare the asparagus by washing, snapping the woody ends off and chopping. Dice the onion and peel the garlic, leaving it whole.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and whole garlic clove and sauté until softened.
- Remove the garlic clove and add the asparagus. Stir to coat in the oil and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Peel off the outer layer of lemongrass and bash the stalk firmly with a wooden spoon to bruise it and slightly split it to release its flavour. Add to the asparagus and onion,
- Add the vegetable stock to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, until the thickest asparagus are softened.
- Remove the lemongrass and purée the soup, I use a blender but an immersion blender would be fine. Purée until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
I can be very forgetful, its something I worry about occasionally but then I remember that I’ve been the same way for many years so I hope its more the sign of a busy brain rather than a declining one. Occasionally my forgetfulness can be a good thing, like when I made this soup. I wanted to make a butternut squash soup that was not as sweet as they often are so I decided to include chipotle powder to mine to add a hot smokiness. I went on to get the ingredients together and chopped my vegetables, including a red chili pepper. When preparing the soup as soon as I stirred the chipotle powder in, it occurred to me that I already had a chili pepper in the pan! When chopping that red chilli I had forgotten I was adding the chipotle despite the chipotle been the main reason I was making the soup! I stood staring at the pan but it was too late to do anything other than cross my fingers and hope my tongue would survive!
This is a hot soup, but I loved it! The smoky chipotle compliments the sweet butternut really well. If you don’t like food so hot, I wouldn’t add that extra chili pepper, just stick with the chipotle. However if you don’t mind some heat go for both! I found the soup somehow less hot the next day.
Butternut and Chili soup
- 1 medium butternut squash, de seeded and cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 red chili
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 500 ml stock, vegetable or chicken
- Put the chunks of butternut into a roasting tray and pour over 1 tbsp of the olive oil, stir so all the butternut gets coated in the oil. sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a preheated oven 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6 for around 40 minutes until the butternut is soft and the edged starting to brown.
- Heat the other tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, celery and chili pepper over a medium heat until the onion is translucent and beginning to soften.
- Add the chipotle powder to the onion mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the stock, mix well and simmer for 15 minutes until the celery is softened.
- Add the roasted butternut squash to the pan
- Pour the mix into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add salt to taste and more stock if you like the soup more runny.
I adore Yotam Ottolenghi, I loved his recent Mediterranean series and I could eat most anything from his book Plenty. One dish I’ve made from that book several times is the Winter Cous Cous. Although perfect as it is I most often have to change the original recipe to suit my fridge contents! In fact I don’t think I’ve ever had all the ingredients for the original recipe and gradually I’ve changed it to this one which although a little different to the original it is, in my opinion, still delicious. Its full of some of my favourite things.
This makes a lovely meal in a bowl, real comfort food, perfect for this time of year. There is enough for 2 people or it’s also delicious cold if you have any left over.
Ottolenghi Inspired Cous Cous (inspired by the Winter Cous Cous Recipe in Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)
- 1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
- 1 onion peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 small aubergine, cut into chunks
- 200 g pumpkin or squash, cut into chunks
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in 2
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can chickpeas
- 175 ml water
- 120 g cous cous
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150 ml vegetable stock – boiling
- 1 tbsp butter
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
- Pre heat the oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6.
- Add the carrot, onion, aubergine, pumpkin, cinnamon stick and star anise and spices (first 9 ingredients) to a large roasting tray. Sprinkle with 2 of the 3 tbsp of olive oil and mix all the ingredients together. Roast for 40 minutes, lessen this time if the vegetables are cooking too quickly in an oven hotter than mine.
- Add the chickpeas and water to the roasting ingredients and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the chickpeas have heated through.
- Now make the cous cous by putting the cous cous into a heat proof bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and the last tbsp of olive oil. Pour over the boiling stock and cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
- Dot the butter over the cous cous and fluff it all up with a fork.
- To serve place some cous cous into a bowl and spoon over the roasted vegetables, remove the cinnamon and star anise first. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice and scatter with coriander leaves.
This year I’m not cooking for Thanksgiving as we are dining at a pub called the Mayflower. Apparently the Mayflower is the pub from where the original pilgrims set off on their journey to America! I only found out about it this year, even though it’s not far from me! The pub celebrates Thanksgiving so I’m looking forward to having a traditional Thanksgiving meal there this year.
I also wont be cooking at Christmas this year as we will be in the snowy mountains of Vermont! It seemed a shame to let all these lovely recipes go by so I thought I would round-up some of my favourites to save for myself for future celebratory meals and also to share, maybe inspire with some ideas for your Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cooking.
A must for me, after many years of experimenting I’ve settled on dry brining my turkey. I think it really does produce the most tasty, succulent turkey meat. The method I use for the dry brine is called the “Judy Bird” and is so simple but does require you to be organised as the recommended brining time is 3 days. I admit I usually only brine for 2 days and it turns out fabulously.
Vegetarian main course option
When I came across this Butternut Asparagus Crespelle it sounded so good it had to be included in my dream Thanksgiving recipe round-up, it sounds fabulous!
The last gravy I made for Thanksgiving was this make ahead gravy and I would definitely recommend it. Making the gravy ahead of time is the perfect solution to that last-minute stress when everything is ready at the same time but you have to stir the gravy!
I love stuffing but so often I’m left stuffingless after discovering the stuffing contains sausage. As someone who doesn’t eat much meat it’s so disappointing to look forward to the stuffing only to discover meat hidden in it. I like to have 2 different stuffings if feeding a crowd and think its nice to offer a meat free stuffing. I love cornbread stuffing like this one from Love and Lemons.
I recently heard the term “stufffins” and just love with the idea! Its stuffing cooked in a muffin tin for individual portions, or stuffing muffins, what a fabulous idea! These will definitely be featuring on my next Thanksgiving table, although I don’t think I will be able to wait and will have to try them much sooner than that!
These are possibly my favourite dishes at Thanksgiving, I can get carried away and end up choosing too many! Some side dish recipes to catch my eye this year are as follows.
I love the look of these lovely Green Beans with Crisp Shallots from Mark Bittman they look delicious but also seem quick to make which is exactly what you want when it comes to the vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving.
I have spent many years tweaking my Cranberry Sauce recipe and its the one I always use, for Thanksgiving, Christmas and to give away.
Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite things about a Thanksgiving meal, these Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Sweet potatoes with kale sound amazing!
What about these Kale Stuffing Butternut Squash Stacks from Food to Glow?
Of course, my favourite part of a meal! The usual pumpkin pie doesn’t go down so well here but I like to keep the pumpkin theme and have had my eye on these Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles for some time! This Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie is a fabulous alternative for the pumpkin haters!
And there you have it, my dream Thanksgiving spread! Wherever you are and whatever you do I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!
Some time this month is/was national kale day and as I’m in my first week of doing my 4th October Unprocessed it seems only fitting to celebrate such a healthy day! This post was meant to be timed with that day but sometimes life gets in the way of such plans.
I have been trying to think of ways to use up kale as my crop keeps coming from the allotment! I’ve had lots of kale salads and one of my favourite quick dinners is stir fried kale with fried eggs. One of the pod casts I enjoy listening to is the Splendid Table and while perusing their website I came across a recipe for Kale and Sweet Potato soup. I happened to have both sweet potatoes and kale so set about making this soup for a healthy lunch. I wondered why there was no picture of the soup on their website, strange not to have a picture with a recipe especially on a food site. Well once I made the soup and took approximately 60 pictures trying to get the soup to look like anything other than bile I understood why they decided not to include a picture! The soup certainly does taste nicer than it looks, but don’t let its vivid green appearance put you off! Unfortunately that did happen to my husband, I couldn’t help but laugh hearing his worried shout up the stairs “this soup isn’t for me is it?” No, he could not be persuaded to share any!
I really like this soup, the sweet potatoes lend their typical sweet tones and the toasty cumin and heat from the chilli combine to make a very tasty, warming soup. It’s quick to make and good for you too with both kale and sweet potatoes been high in vitamins, fibre and iron. To avoid the bright green colour you could blend the soup a little less or adjust the sweet potato/kale ratio.
Kale and Sweet Potato Soup (inspired from this recipe)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sweet potato, approx 350 grams
- 225 grams kale, I used curly kale but any is fine. Remove tough stems and roughly chop leaves
- 750 ml vegetable stock plus a little more to thin soup at the end
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the oil to a large saucepan and sauté the onion and sweet potato over a medium heat until the onion is softened.
- Add the stock to the potatoes and onions and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the cumin and chilli , stir to combine then add the kale and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the kale cooked through. The kale will sit right on top of the soup, if you put a lid on the pan the kale on top will steam.
- Carefully pour the contents of the pan into a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. If necessary add a little more stock if a thinner soup is preferred.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Like it or not in these parts of the world summer seems to have given over to autumn. There is a distinct chill to that breeze and the sun is sitting a little lower, not to mention those darker mornings! I’m not too sad though as autumn brings its own treats, one of which is blackberries! There are lots of blackberries around at the moment, certainly you can buy them but the ones I find a real treat are the free ones found in so many hedgerows! It’s so lovely to pick your own blackberries if you can find them. This is something I did very recently, I ended up with quite a few blackberries and I cooked some with apples but the rest made it into these muffins.
I have been trying to focus more on salad than cake recently but these blackberries needed using so combining together a couple of recipes I tried to make these a little healthier, I used the most unrefined sugar I could, they only have 1 egg and use a small amount of olive oil rather than butter. I know, who am I kidding? Muffins are not a health food but I like to think this recipe is slightly healthier than some muffin recipes! I will update here as next time I’m making these I will try wholemeal flour and less sugar.
I like making muffins as they are so easy, not too much mixing is required so a good old bowl and wooden spoon will do here, just mix together the dry ingredients, then the wet and add together. It’s as easy as that! These muffins were lovely and light, nice and cinnamony with little bursts of delicious blackberries. In 30 minutes you have a lovely autumn treat!
Blackberry Oat Muffins
- 175 grams self-raising flour
- 50 grams porridge oats (I used old-fashioned, larger oats)
- 140 light muscodavo sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg
- 150 ml buttermilk
- 90 ml olive oil plus a little for greasing tin
- 150 grams blackberries, rinsed
- Preheat your oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6. Grease a muffin tin with a little olive oil and place a muffin case in each one.
- Put the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda into a bowl and mix together.
- In a separate bowl beat together the egg, buttermilk and oil.
- Lightly mix the wet mixture into the flour mixture.
- Gently fold in the blackberries.
- Divide between the prepared muffin cases and bake for 20 -25 minutes.