Tag Archives: Fruit and Vegetable

Velvety Cauliflower Soup

Velvety Cauliflower Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No cooking Christmas dinner for me this year as I am spending it with my friend Meher and her family.

As I am not going to be in the kitchen over the next couple of days, I wanted to use up a cauliflower head, some tomatoes, peas and sweetcorn kernels lying around.

Making a soup of them seemed like a good idea given my alternate-day-soup-diet and the imminent indulgences.

So ideally, this soup should be called whatever’s- in-my-refrigerator soup!

English: cauliflower
English: cauliflower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using cauliflower as the base, I think this recipe would work just as well with addition of some chopped carrots, french beans or mushrooms or even cooked chicken, bacon or fish. In other words, anything that needs to be used up can be thrown into the pot.

another creamy soup sans any cream

Paired with some crusty bread, this is a complete meal.

Ingredients

1 Head of cauliflower

2 Onions

1 Head of garlic

2 Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons peas

2 Tablespoons sweetcorn kernel

1 Beef stock cube*

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, we need to prepare the cauliflower base. Roughly chop and wash the cauliflower. Include the stalk, leafy stems and the white woody bits at the base (if tender and fresh).
  2. Now, place the cauliflower in a pot along with 2 cups of water, stock cube and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to boil, cover, lower the heat and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  4. When it is cooked, drain the cauliflower and reserve the liquid.
  5. Once cool, puree the cauliflower in a blender or food processor and add it to the reserved liquid.
  6. Wash and chop the onions.
  7. Peel and chop the garlic.
  8. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  9. Wash the peas and sweetcorn kernels.
  10. Heat oil in a soup pot (or equivalent).
  11. Add the chopped onions and garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
  12. Next, add the tomatoes, peas and sweetcorn kernels, cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.
  13. Add the pureed cauliflower and reserved liquid, stir well, cover and cook for further 10 minutes.
  14. Serve hot.

Note:

  1. I used beef stock which gave this soup a really nice depth. Beef and cauliflower seem compatible. You can use chicken or vegetable stock cube instead, if you prefer.

 

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Fat Free Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato Soup

Fat Free Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of today’s soup recipe is that it is creamy and filling without the addition of any cream or butter.

A soul satisfying, ruby red soup to keep you warm on a cold winter’s day.

sometimes, simple is more than ample, no?!

I had it with sweet potato croutons. A match made in heaven!

Ingredients

2 Carrots

2 Tomatoes

2 Beetroot

One cup of water plus more if required

Freshly pounded black peppercorn

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and chop the beetroot, carrot and tomato.
  2. Boil them in one cup of water. I boiled my vegetables in a pressure cooker; you can cook them in a pan if you prefer.
  3. Once cooked and completely cooled, put them in a blender to get a smooth puree.
  4. Transfer to a soup pot (or equivalent) along with the cooking liquid. Add more water if necessary. Add black pepper powdered and salt to taste.
  5. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with some croutons.

Note:

  1. To preserve as many nutrients as possible, I don’t peel carrots or beetroot. In terms of taste, there is no difference. You can peel your vegetables if you like.

You will find my recipe for sweet potato crouton here.

Vegetables waiting to be cooked.

Vegetables for Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A puree of beetroot, carrot and tomato for the soup.

Pureed Beetroot, Carrot and Tomato for Soup

Sweet Potato Croutons

Sweet Potato Croutons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing I love about the internet is the way in which it has made information so accessible. Whatever you want to know is just a few key strokes away.

For instance, till now, I had always assumed that croutons were supposed to be small cubes. But not so, according to wikipedia which provides a fascinating insight into them. “The word crouton is derived from the French croûton, itself derived from croûte, meaning “crust”. Most people consider croutons to come invariably in the shape of small cubes, but they can actually be of any size and shape, up to a very large slice. A croûton (crouton) is a diminutive form of a croûte (croute), much like a cigarette is a diminutive form of a cigar. Many people now use crouton for croute, so the usage has changed. Historically, however, a croute was a slice of a baguette lightly brushed with oil or clarified butter and baked. In French cooking ‘croûte’ is not only a noun but also has a verb form which describes the cooking process that transforms the bread into the crust.”

Reading this, I am thinking that the toasted slice of baguette placed on French onion soup must be a croûte, non?

Sweet Potato Croutons Paired with a Simple SoupI am trying to be inventive with my current alternate-day-soup regime. This is where the idea of sweet potato crouton came into my mind. Bread doesn’t feature much in my regular diet (love it, far too addictive so best not to buy it is my logic!). At the same time, sweet potato form nice crust and so I thought why not transfer the idea of crouton to sweet potato?

Keeping in mind what I have in my cupboard, I came up with my own recipe. I thought I was being smarty pants but when I did a bit of research on the internet, got to know that there are a few people out there who are already making sweet potato crouton. So I am not so smart after all!

Sweet potato crouton are simply divine paired with a simple soup. But be warned!

these are some of the most addictive little cubes you will ever meet!

The following quantity is sufficient for 2 persons.

Ingredients

250 Grams sweet potato

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Teaspoons smoked paprika*

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Cut the sweet potato into even sized cubes.
  2. Marinate them with oil, paprika and salt.
  3. Leave them covered for a couple for hours.
  4. Heat a wide based, non-stick, frying pan.
  5. Once it become hot (on high heat), thrown in the sweet potato cubes along with all the marinade.
  6. Stir around till they start browning (pictorial reference below).
  7. Once they become brown, lower the heat and keep turning them till they are cooked. Should be ready in 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Remove them to a plate or a bowl and leave them uncovered till you are ready to serve.

Note:

  1. Try to cut the sweet potato the same size so that they cook evenly (pictorial reference below).
  2. Smoked paprika was beckoning me from my cupboard so this is what I used. You can substitute with plain paprika, chilli powder or coarsely pounded peppercorns if you like.

try resisting these little beauties once they are cooked

Sweet potato cut into even size (as far as possible!), marinated and sauteed till nice and crusty.

Even Sized Sweet Potato for Croutons     Marinate Sweet Potato for CroutonsBrowned Sweet Potato for Croutons

Soup with Sweet Potato Crouton

Speeding up the Soaking Process for Dried Beans

Dried Beans

If you are anything like me, at times, you will forget the whole “soak the beans overnight” part of a recipe.

In such situations, I find the following helpful.

  1. Wash the beans in a saucepan.
  2. Add water (ratio of 1 part beans, 3 parts water) and put on a burner.
  3. Bring the water to boil rapidly and turn off the burner.
  4. Cover and keep in a dark place for four hours.
  5. By now, the beans should be nicely plump and swollen.
  6. Cook according to your recipe’s instructions.

You are invited to share your tips and tricks on how to speed up the pre-soak process for dried beans.

Hope this helps!

Courgette/Zucchini Steak with Bean Salad & Avocado dressing on a bed of spinach

Courgette Steak

For dinner last night, I fancied only vegetables. At the same time, I wanted to make something warm since the weather’s getting cold.

A ripe avocado (given by the same friend who had given me the hass one) was urging me

use me

There is no recipe as such but the following is how I put together a healthy, cosy but what looks like a sumptuous meal.

Courgette Steaks

Courgette jaune
Courgette jaune (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washed and cut in half (along its length) a yellow courgette. Then, I marinated it in some umami paste along with lemon juice and olive oil. Just before cooking, I put everything in a hot pan. Cooked courgette for 10 minutes each on both sides. The end result was a lovely steak like vegetable. The reason I used yellow courgette was because they tend to have thicker skin which works well for such cooking method.

Bean Salad

Washed, soaked and boiled a cup of kidney beans with a pinch of salt. Rinsed them in cold water and doused them with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and salt. Added two very finely chopped onions and let the salad sit for some 8 hours for the flavours to blend. Before eating, added some steamed sweetcorn kernels.

Avocado Dressing

Whipped 3 tablespoons plain, mild yoghurt with Coleman’s mustard and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Added diced avocados. Left this outside for a couple of hours so that I could have it at room temperature.

Spinach

Washed a bunch of spinach and put it in a saucepan with a lid. Cooked it with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes.

Bringing it all together

The spinach was sat on a plate on which came the courgette steaks along with the bean salad and avocado dressing.

A delicious, healthy, low-fat dinner.