Oct 2012

GUEST BLOG BY ALEX: Hot Sun Soup

Looks like I have tendinitis in my right hand. With my husband away the kids decided to cook dinner and my son wanted to blog about it:

Hello my name is Alex
My mum hurt her hand so I decided to cook. Along with my sister we made a red lentil soup (Hot Sun Soup) from the Viva website. First I had to chop the onion.I had some bad experience in the past from chopping an onion. When I did it at school it made me cry. But this time I was fine
. Just as we got to the garlic part of the recipe we found out we didn’t have any so I asked my mum what shall we use instead of garlic she suggested to use garlic powder.

The soup turned out really well my family loved it. Afterwards me and my sister enjoyed half an avocado each. What a lovely dinner!

Here is the website link to get the recipe http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/snappy-veggie-guide.pdf

Viva-lentil-soup
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COCONUT TURMERIC STEW WITH SWISS CHARD

COCONUT TURMERIC STEW WITH SWISS CHARD

What is your vice? One of my friends thinks that a day without a cake is not worth living, another one can’t relax without a glass of wine in the evening. My daughter cannot pass a cheese stall at a food fair without tasting it and my husband enjoys his weekend beer.

This weekend I made a lovely turmeric vegetable stew with coconut milk. According to one of Dr Greger’s videos ( www.nutritionfacts.org) , coconut milk has the same effect on our arteries as a hamburger. Pretty scary! Does this mean that coconut milk is my vice?

When I think about coconut milk Thai food springs to mind. We all associate Thailand with green or red Thai curry, Thom Ka soup, or coconut milk desserts. Therefore I did some digging to find out about heart disease in Thailand. I came upon a brilliant overview which you can check out in full via the link at the end of this blog.

Thailand had become more industrialised and Westernised in the last 30 or so years, this has impacted on the way the Thais eat. From 1960 to 1995 the consumption of rice,cereals and tubers has gone down by about 1/3, fish and seafood stayed unchanged, however meat and poultry consumption has gone up by 4 fold, dairy was not used at all in 1960 by 1995 has become more prevalent. Veg and fruit was up (good news), but so were fats and oils from animals sources, whereas fats and oils from plant sources were down (coconut?). Consumption of sugar, as everywhere in the word, is on the way up too.

Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in Thailand since 1989, indeed non communicable diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity) have overtaken communicable diseases (transmittable). In Thailand, people are getting “Western” diseases due their diet and lifestyle change. To quote the report: "
Eating patterns have shifted from a traditional Asian diet – cereal- based and low-fat – to a more Westernised diet characterised by increased consumption of animal products, fats and sugars and decreasing consumption of complex carbohydrate foods.” Traditional diet high in carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and low in animal foods, and moderate in fish/seafood served the Thai’s well for centuries even with coconut milk being a major part.

I am not advocating using coconut milk daily, I use it in moderation (always with lots of veggies) perhaps once or twice a month, less than it is traditionally used in South East Asia and Pacific. I treat it as a vice and indulge rarely. As my lecturer once said, if you are going to eat the occasional piece of cake, make sure you enjoy it. I try to adhere to 90/10 and I make sure I don’t feel guilty about the 10%.

Note: If you are trying to loose weight or have a cardiovascular disease, it is best to stay away from coconut milk all together:)

http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/nutrans/research/bellagio/papers/PHNThailand-Vongsulvat.pdf

COCONUT TURMERIC STEW WITH SWISS CHARD
Make sure to use black pepper when cooking with turmeric, it seems to awaken its anticancer power!

Serves 4
rainbowchard


ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1 cup vegetable stock
black pepper
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 large bunch of rainbow (or regular) Swiss chard
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 tin of coconut milk (whole or reduced fat) or 1 1/3 cups of cashew nut milk
3 spring onions, finely chopped
lime

turmeric-stew

method
  1. In a large lidded saute pan heat some water (1/3cup - 80ml) and add your onion, garlic and chilli. Cook gently till softened.
  2. While these are cooking wash the Swiss chard. If you have large leaves, cut them away from the stalks. Cut the stalks into bite size pieces and shred the leaves. Keep them separate.
  3. Add your turmeric and black pepper to the onions. Stir around for a few seconds.
  4. Next add the stock, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard stalks and chickpeas.
  5. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Gently boil covered for about 10 min.
  6. After the 10 minutes add your Swiss chard greens and cook further 5 min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  7. Just before serving stir in the spring onions and lime juice to taste. (you can also add some fresh coriander - cilantro)
  8. Serve with flat breads, brown rice or rice noodles.


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MEXICAN-STYLE BEAN AND VEGETABLE SOUP

MEXICAN-STYLE BEAN AND VEGETABLE SOUP

It would be near impossible not to get touched by the story of Stamatis Moratis that was published in the New York Times. This man’s incredible recovery from terminal lung cancer is just amazing. It is not an unexplainable miracle, this is the power of healthy food, absence of stress and being a part of community (and a bit of luck). Moving to the island of Ikaria is not practical for everyone however learning from the “Ikarian” life style would make a huge difference to anybody’s life.

The Ikarians stop and relax, socialize, don’t stress over not having much. They play dominos and drink wine. They centre their diet around plant based foods most of which they grow themselves. They live to a ripe old age without being plagued by the diseases most Westerners seem to suffer from.

Believe me I am inspired! Food? I have that covered, I do rather well in adhering to the whole foods plant based diet. Unlike the Ikarians I do not drink wine much at all. I don’t think it is wine that makes them live as long as they do. Having friends to share a glass of wine with is more important that the wine itself. A shared pot of green tea will surely do the same. Being around good friends is good for the soul and body.

And so is soup. This one has more Mexican influences than Ikarian but it does use their favourite staples, beans, potatoes and vegetables. My friend K shared it with me which made it taste even better. Make it today and share with a friend or a loved one.

Link to the original article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1&

Mexican-bean-soup


MEXICAN-STYLE BEAN AND VEGETABLE SOUP
I have grated the carrot, it thickens the soup and I like grated carrot in soups. You can just dice it if you wish.

Serves 4

ingredients
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated (or finely chopped)
1 red pepper, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 larger potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tin of red kidney beans no salt added, drained
1 cup tomato passata
3 cups vegetable stock
2 large tortilla wraps
fresh coriander or spring onions for garnish
Optional : cashew cream made of 250ml (1 cup) of cashews and 180ml (3/4 cup) water

  1. In a large soup pan heat about 60ml (1/4 cup) of water and saute till softened. Add more water if the onion starts to stick.
  2. Next add the chilli, garlic, celery, grated carrot and red pepper to the onion and saute for about 5 min, adding more water if needed.
  3. When the vegetables have softened add the potato and spices. Cook about 1 min.
  4. Add the beans, passata and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20-30min until.
  5. While the soup is cooking preheat the oven to 200C. Cut each tortilla in 10 wedges, place on a baking tray and bake till crisped up, turn them over half way through. About 5-10 min. The tortilla wedges will start to brown at the edges.
  6. Serve the soup with the wedges on the side garnished with fresh coriander/spring onions and cashew cream if you wish. It is delicious without the cream too.
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MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

My son spent 5 days on his school camp last week. In preparations, while packing, I was trying to give him lots of well meaning advice. The usual: listen to your teachers and instructors, don’t do anything silly, make sure you shower (at least twice please!), change your underwear daily, brush your teeth.... and of course :”Please try to eat at least a little bit healthy.”

I was hoping for the best, but I knew there would be temptations on every corner. He did come home with a huge bag of sweets, but also a present for his sister (aaahhhh). He had a pudding every day and quite a bit of cheese. On the other hand, he said, he made sure he ate salad and a bowl vegetable soups every day. Pizza was on offer as a part the salad buffet, but apparently he only had it once because he didn’t want to eat too much unhealthy food. “And mum, I always asked for extra vegetables!” This left me wanting to dance a jig! I restrained myself. First and foremost I don’t know how to dance a jig and I really needed to keep my cool. Pretend this is not a big deal... But I did tell him how proud I was.

Few weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my friends about my kids and foods. I did tell her how I do bore them out of their skin telling them about the nutrients in the food they eat. She did say to be careful so they don’t rebel few years down the road. And yes, this is a possibility, but what teenager doesn’t rebel? I do believe that some of this information will stick in their head and they will come to see healthy food as the norm. At the moment my 10 year old seems to be doing quite well.

As a parent you can hope for the best. There are far too many kids who see junk food as the norm and these habits are hart to break. Even if my kids deviate from “our norm” from time to time, going back to whole natural foods won’t ever be alien to them.

Whilst helping me cook pasta for dinner, my son said “I hate brown pasta, we had normal pasta at camp”. Still he managed to eat 2 plates of the horrible hated brown pasta, saying it was rather nice.... Nice try! Next thing is weaning him of the sweet stuff... spelt mini banana loaves without added sugar are a good start.

mini spelt banana loaf with a glass of almond milk
bananaloaf-with-milk

MINI SPELT BANANA LOAVES

These loaves are more dense than a regular cake, they remind me of bread pudding. One easily serves 2 people.

Makes 4 mini loaves or one standard loaf

ingredients:
2 Tbs ground chia seeds
125ml (1/2 cup) water
250ml (1 cup) of almond (or other non dairy) milk
3 Medjol dates
2 medium overripe (or very ripe) bananas
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarb soda
260g (2 cups) wholegrain spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 medium apple
Walnuts about 2 Tbs per loaf

ready for the oven
bananaloaf-unbaked

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. First mix the ground chia seeds and 125ml (1/2cup) water. Let sit for 10min, the mixture will sort of jellify....
  3. In the meant time put almond milk, dates and bananas into your blender and blend till smooth.
  4. Add the vinegar and bicarb soda to the almond milk mixture.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt.
  6. Grate the apple and add to the flour together with the almond milk mix and soaked chia seeds.
  7. Mix together well.
  8. You can mix in the walnuts now or leave them for the topping (you can double the amount of walnuts and use them both in the cake mix and on the top if you wish)
  9. Divide the mix between 4 non stick mini loaf pans.
  10. Top with the walnuts and bake 25-30min or until the cake springs back when you press it with your finger. You can also use a skewer - the loaf is cooked when it comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in the tins and invert carefully (any runaway nuts are an extra treat for the cook)

mini spelt banana loaves straight from the oven (one without nuts for my daughter)
bananaloaf-baked
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PINK WHEAT BERRY RISOTTO

PINK WHEAT BERRY RISOTTO

Every October I get slightly uneasy about the sea of pink ribbons everywhere. You simply can’t escape Pink October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Seems a worthy cause, and in many ways it is, but I still feel uneasy. I worked in a breast cancer screening clinic and saw the enthusiasm and believe in the cause in everybody who worked there. On the other hand I also saw a close relative being called back (twice!) for further tests after her mammogram was "abnormal". All turned out fine, however the stress, fear and agony caused by this was immense. The scientist at Cochrane institute have reviewed countless screening programs and based on the results the prestigious Lancet came to this conclusion: "there is no reliable evidence from large randomised trials to support screening mammography at any age."

I am all for making women aware of breast cancer symptoms. With breast cancer accounting for 1/3 of female cancers in the UK this is very important. On the other hand I don’t like the fact that this might be just a case of having excellent PR. While breast cancer takes the spotlight are we forgetting about all the other cancers and chronic diseases? Are they somehow less important or less dangerous?

The talk is about finding the cure, and indeed most of the money raised will find its way to pharmaceutical companies (not that they are strapped for cash). Why isn’t money going to cancer prevention, educating women about making the right choices? Making them aware not only of signs and symptoms but also lifestyle changes that may prevent this dreadful disease. This surely would be a huge step forward. Most women seem to believe it is all in their genes, however this is the case of only 5-10% of breast cancer cases, the rest is lifestyle induced. But even our genes are not infallible, Dr Ornish’s research has shown that plant based diet can alter the expression of some 400 genes.

Need some lifestyle tips? Check out these strategies from Dr Fuhrman (
http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/prevent_breast_cancer.aspx )

I will be staying away from the pink ribbon products as many of them do not quite promote the lifestyle choices for cancer prevention. Anyone for jaffa cakes, mayonnaise or Lucozade in the name of breast cancer? Profits and marketing? These do not address the real issue. However to honour the women (and men) who have died, survived or are battling breast cancer I have created a delicious pink recipe. It is loaded with cancer fighting beetroot, onions and garlic. I served it with my kale and mango salad, so rich in powerful phytochemicals. (
http://www.plantstrongliving.co.uk/blog/files/505c1c9a50e75f3ec9aa905b4d268494-99.html ).

pinkwheatberry2

PINK WHEAT BERRY RISOTTO
Serve 4

ingredients

200g (1 cup) wheatberries
750ml (3 cups) vegetable stock (or water)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 medium beetroot (beets), cooked and diced
125ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
125ml measure (1/2 cup) cashews soaked and drained
250ml (1 cup) water
juice of half a lime
3 Tbs parsley, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper

pinkwheatberry

method
  1. First cook the wheatberries in the stock for 25min or according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan heat up 60ml (1/4cup) water. Add the onion and garlic and saute till softened.
  3. Add the diced beetroot, wheat berries and the 125ml (1/2cup) vegetable stock and gently heat mixing the ingredients well.
  4. In your food processor make the cashew cream by blending the 1/2cup of cashews and 1 cup of water.
  5. Pour the cashew cream into the wheat berry mixture and simmer till the dish is thick and creamy. This will take about 5 min. Stir constantly.
  6. Stir in the lime juice, parsley and black pepper.
  7. Serve with a green salad on the side. (See my kale salad recommendation above)


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FENNEL, RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP

FENNEL, RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP

You might have noticed that I absolutely love fruit and vegetables. It makes me happy when I come from a shop and construct a rather unstable pyramid in my fruit bowl. It makes me happy when I open my fridge and find an array of veggies to make a delicious salad or soup. I get excited when my veg and fruit box is delivered on Tuesdays. I can jump for joy over a gorgeous kohlrabi, plump aubergines, kale or super sweet butternut squash. I love the taste, colours, the culinary possibilities but I also appreciate their health giving properties.

Now there may be a new reason why to get excited about fruit and veggies. Scientists at the University of Warwick seem to have found a correlation between happiness (and mental well being) and consumption of F and V. More research will have to be done but I sure like the idea. According to the findings the ideal number of portions, to see the happiness benefit, is seven a day.

The British are struggling to get there 5 portions of F+V into their daily diet and would find the extra 2 portions near impossible. UK does have one of the lowest F and V recommendations. Let's look at Japan; their recommendations are 13 portions of vegetables and 4 portions of fruit daily. Need motivation? Here are some numbers:

UK Japan

breast cancer 26/100 000 8.6/100 00
heart disease 122/100 000 30/100 000
obesity 23% 3.2%

I know fruit and vegetable consumption is not the only reason for the above numbers but it surely has an impact. Get eating more veggies and fruit, for happiness and health, or simply because they are delicious.

The numbers:
http://www.nationmaster.com/index.php
The article on the happy research:
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/study-if-youre-keen-to-stay-cheery-7-fruits-and-vegetables-a-day/263467/

Now get some veggies in with this fab soup. It is very kid friendly, looks like a tomato soup and they sure don’t notice the other sneaky vegetables.


fennel-tomato-soup

FENNEL, RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP
This soup looks like a tomato soup but has a lovely taste of fennel. Don’t worry about chopping the veggies to precisely as it will be blitzed anyway.

Serves 4 generously (6-8 as a starter)

ingredients
1 large onion
2 fennel bulbs
1 large clove garlic
2 red peppers
1 Tbs tomato puree
700 (nearly 3 cups) tomato passata
2 cups of vegetable stock
handful of basil
fennel fronds or basil leaves for garnish

method
  1. First chop the onion and saute in 60ml (1/4 cup) of water in a large sauce pan.
  2. Cut out the hard core off the fennel bulb and chop into small chunks.
  3. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
  4. Chop the peppers.
  5. Add all the veggies to the onion. Add a bit more water and saute for about 5 min.
  6. Add tomato puree and cook for further minute.
  7. Add the passata and vegetable stock.
  8. Simmer for 30 minutes or till the veggies are tender (check the fennel, it must be tender).
  9. Transfer your soup into your blender together with basil and process till smooth (take care with hot soup in a blender).
  10. Serve garnished with basil leaves or fennel fronds.

peppers-and-fennel
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BLACK BEAN STEW WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

BLACK BEAN STEW WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

Sometimes I stand in front of my fridge or pantry and can’t think of anything to cook. My daughter was standing beside me and said: “Mum, there is pasta, there are lentils; if you have rice you can make that rice and lentil thing we all like. Or I can have giant couscous and you guys have something with chilli...” Simple.

My vegetable box is arriving tomorrow and that is why my fridge veg drawers are looking rather pathetic. One pepper, 2 bunches of celery (what do I do with those???), half a bag of spinach, some fresh turmeric, piece of ginger, chilli peppers and a quarter of hispi cabbage. I have to mention the lovely kale my friend gave me (a much appreciated present indeed), it did already find its way into the dehydrator to be turned into kale chips - I think I have developed a case of kale chips addiction. In my pantry I found 2 tins of shiny South American black beans asking to be transformed into a yummy dish. The wheels in my brain started to turn (squeak squeak) and a lovely spicy black bean stew started to take shape.

Did you know that in Brazil black beans hold its own spot on the country’s food pyramid? The people of Brazil are recommended to eat black beans each day. One rather brilliant idea! Dr Fuhrman also includes beans (legumes) in his G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, seeds and berries) the magic foods that everyone should be eating daily for optimum health. We know that beans are rich in protein, fibre, minerals such as iron but did you know that also contain antioxidants? Apparently they are as rich in antioxidants as cranberries! And yummy too!

blackbenastew

BLACK BEAN STEW WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

ingredients
the stew
1 large celery stick, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 red chilli peppers, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut up into pieces about the size of beans
11/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp thyme dried or 1tbs fresh
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs tomato paste (puree)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of black beans, drained
375ml (1 and 1/2 vegetable stock)
100g (3.5 oz) fresh baby spinach
the lime cream
1 cup cashews soaked for at least 30min
1/2 and 1Tbs water
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp dried onion
salt to taste

blackbeanstewtortilla

method
  1. In a large deep saute pan heat 60ml (1/4) water. Add the celery, onion, garlic, chilli pepper and saute till softened. Add more water if the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add in the red pepper, spices, herbs and tomato puree. Cook for a minute.
  3. Next add the drained black beans and vegetable stock.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour.
  5. While the stew is simmering prepare the cream. Drain the cashew nuts. Place them in a blender together with 1/2 cup and 1 Tbs water, lime juice and dried onion.
  6. Process till smooth, test for seasoning. Chill until needed.
  7. Stir the spinach into the bean stew until it just wilts and serve the stew straight away.
  8. Serve the bean stew topped with 2 Tbs of lime cream per person. Brown rice or quinoa make a great side dish, kids will love some organic tortilla chips too.

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VERY VEGGIE RAW CRACKERS

VERY VEGGIE RAW CRACKERS

Why do I love my dehydrator? Of course it makes fantastic treats that can keep us snacking healthily. There are times my lovely Excalibur gets a bit neglected but lately I have been going through a big of a dehydrating frenzy.

Our favourites so far have been kale chips (especially Brendan Brazier's “sour cream” recipe) or just simply salted ones. Other things we like to turn into chips are bananas and apples (sometimes with cinnamon which makes the kitchen smell divine). Root veggies make great chips especially beetroot and sweet potatoes with their striking colours. I am excited that first parsnips are coming into season and I can’t wait to see if they get on with the dehydrator too. Dehydrated "sun dried" tomatoes are simply amazing, they are so much fresher tasting and keep an incredibly vibrant colour. Perfect for any dish.

Kids love the classic, very simple linseed crackers that I found in my Excalibur cook book so I though I would try a raw crackers that would be also packed with veggies without kids (hopefully) noticing. It went rather well and my little crackers or even flat breads were a hit.

One trouble with dehydrators is that you can never follow recipes to the letter. It is a bit frustrating that the instructions (times) in dehydrator recipes can be rather vague but believe me there is a reason for it. Getting to know your dehydrator takes a while. It is trial and error. Humidity in the air makes a difference. When making crackers it depends how thinly you spread them and how crispy or chewy you like them. Indeed the thickness of your veg or fruit slices will make a difference too. Take the dehydrating times in recipes as a guide, just keep checking, testing and trying, you will get there in the end. It is well worth it.

ready for the dehydrator
veggierawcrackers

VERY VEGGIE RAW CRACKERS

These crackers taste great, you can eat them as a snack on their own or they are fabulous accompaniment to any dip.

You can score the crackers in step 7 ( after you flip them over), this makes them easier to break into more even shapes. I always forget to do that but I quite enjoy the more rustic look to my crackers.

Makes enough for 2 Excalibur dehydrator trays

ingredients
1 medium courgette, finely grated
2 medium carrots, finely grated
2 medium onions (1 large), sliced as thin as you can
1/2 tsp salt
juice of half a lemon
1 cup ground chia seeds
1 cup linseeds
80ml (1/3 cup) water
2 Tbs tamari or shoyu

method
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the courgette, carrot, onion, salt and lemon juice. Let sit for half an hour in a refrigerator. The courgette will let out some water.
  2. After half an hour mix in the ground chia seeds and linseeds together with water and tamari (or shoyu).
  3. Mix well together. Let the mixture sit for further 10 minutes before spreading it on your Teflex sheets.
  4. Line 2 dehydrator trays with Teflex sheets, divide the mixture equally between the two.
  5. Spread the mixture over the teflex sheet (about 3mm thick). I use a palette knife for this job.
  6. Dehydrate at 125F for an hour. Turn down to 115F and dehydrate for 5 hours.
  7. After 5 hours flip the cracker onto another, unlined mesh dehydrator tray. Peel of the Teflex sheet and dehydrate until desired consistency. About 3 hrs (or longer).

veggierawcrackers2
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SPICY BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PEAR SOUP

SPICY BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PEAR SOUP

Suddenly I realized that it was getting dark much earlier than just a few weeks ago. There is a chill in the air when I let the dogs out in the evenings. I am not quite ready to let the summer go, especially since we had a very poor one here in the UK. I long for a few more evening meals in the garden but the nature of things cannot be changed.

Instead I am getting excited about the autumnal bounty of fruits, veggies and nuts. I am looking forward to warming and comforting meals, movie nights whilst cuddled up on the sofa and cups of tea warming my hands after a dog walk.

A delicious soup is the ultimate comfort food, and the abundant autumnal produce is full of gorgeous deep flavors to warm up person’s belly and soul. This week I found myself with a butternut squash, some overripe pears and punchy chilli peppers. Perfect for a hug in bowl, err I mean soup.

IMG_4552

SPICY BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PEAR SOUP

Serves 4

ingredients
1 large onion
2 ribs of celery
2 stalks of lemon grass
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 chilli pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 butternut squash
4 small pears (2 large ones)
1litre (4 cups) of vegetable stock


IMG_4524

method
  1. First chop the onion and celery. Make sure you peel the celery to remove the tough strings.
  2. In a large soup pot heat 1/4 cup of water, add the onion and celery and cook till softened.
  3. Next finely chop the lemon grass, chilli pepper (deseeded if you wish) and garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes or till softened.
  4. Peel your butternut squash and chop into bite size chunks. Core and peal the pears and cut into quarters.
  5. Add pears and butternut squash to the soup pot.
  6. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the hear and simmer for 30min or till the squash is tender.
  7. Blend in a food processor till smooth.

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