This is a magic wee easy soup to make, and it’s really great if you’ve got a few veggies you want to use up. You know that way when you’ve got 4 mushrooms and 3 carrots and aren’t quite sure what to make with them? Make this soup!
- Oil for frying (I use mild olive oil), about 2 tablespoons
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 -3 medium sized carrots, chopped
- 4 medium sized potatoes, chopped (I don’t even bother peeling them)
- 4 – 6 medium sized mushrooms (I usually use chestnut mushrooms just because I prefer the flavour, but any will do)
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, chopped
- freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
- Gently heat the oil and add the onion, cooking gently until softened.
- Add the carrots and potatoes, cover and sweat them for a few minutes, stirring now and then.
- Add the stock, mushrooms, celery, garlic and thyme.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until the veggies are soft.
- Allow it to cool, then liquidise in your blender until it’s nice and smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
As with most of my recipes, it’s variable. If you fancy something that tastes more like mushroom soup, add more mushrooms and fewer carrots! The potato makes it sort of creamy when it’s all blended, so if you don’t eat dairy, but miss a nice cream of mushroom soup, then this might hit the spot for you. Equally, if you prefer carrot soup, then add more carrots – easy!
Ooh! A new raw chocolate bar to the UK! I was delighted to be given a couple of bars of this to sample from The Oracle – the man at my favourite health food shop in Glasgow, Natural Balance. This guy really knows his stuff, and he knows good chocolate. So when he tasted this at a health food fair last week he snapped it right up.
Lovechock is a really high quality bar. It’s tempered, so you get that lovely snap from it, but unlike some of the other hard raw chocolate bars you get, this one actually tastes of chocolate. The texture is smooth and it melts nicely in your mouth, with plenty of rich darkness, but no trace of bitterness at all – the flavours are superbly blended. It’s organic, and doesn’t contain agave, which seems to have fallen out of favour, but has coconut sugar instead.
The packaging is eco friendly, and there’s a cute little fortune cookie message inside.
All in all, I’d say it’s divine.
Today I tried the Goji/Orange. The surprise to this one is that it has buckwheat in it – which gives it a lovely crunch, with bursts of intense orange – I think the way they’ve got the orange in is by flavouring the buckwheat with orange oil. Works for me!
I also tried the Almond/Fig variety. I can’t even describe how good this tasted! Wow – it’s amazingly rich and delicious.
It will be pricey – most of the raw chocolate bars are and The Oracle told me it will retail at around £2.95. Normally I don’t usually buy raw chocolate bars much – partly because they are so expensive, but also because I can make my own so feel that I really should do that. But I think I will be shelling out for this one – for a treat now and then it is totally worth it. Particularly the fig one. I never know what to do with a fig really, so it’s a good excuse to buy something that I would never try to recreate at home.
Try it! You will thank yourself for ever more.
I got this recipe from the wonderful Tinned Tomatoes Blog here which has some really fantastic recipes.
The Tinned Tomatoes blog is written by Jacqueline Meldrum, who credits Alex Mackay with this recipe, from his book ‘Everybody Everyday’. It’s so good I wanted to share it with you all too. The end result is deeply rich and flavoursome and will satisfy even those who are familiar with this type of dish containing beef. There’s no need! I’ve shared this recipe with a few people now, and everyone agrees it’s a total winner.
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used mild olive oil which is better for cooking)
- 700ml plus 2 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 375ml gutsy red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- 250g puy or French lentils
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- a good grinding of salt and pepper
- a generous pinch of sugar
- Preheat your oven to 170c/150c fan/325f/gas mark 3.
- Gently heat the oil in a large oven-proof casserole dish, then add the onions and garlic. Cover the pan and sweat for 7-10 minutes until the onions and garlic are soft, adding an extra 2 tbsp of water if they start to dry out.
- Add the tomato puree and turn the heat to high. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the tomato puree is lightly browned.
- Add the red wine and lentils. Bring to the boil and boil until the wine has reduced by half.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, bay leaves, the 700ml water and boil for 5 minutes.
- Cover the pan and put into the oven. Braise the lentils for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and braise for a further 30 minutes, stirring twice, or until the lentils are tender but still holding their shape.
- When the lentils are cooked, the liquid should be thick and just at the level of the lentils. If there is too much liquid, put onto the hob and simmer for a few minutes longer.
- Season to taste with salt, sugar and pepper. (I didn’t use the sugar though.)
- Cover the pan and leave to sit for 10 minutes to allow the lentils to soak up the seasonings.
Mashed potatoes are a great accompaniment to this dish – I make mine with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, and plenty of ground sea salt. And of course, this is so delicious I always eat far too much!
Well, although spring is trying to break through, it’s still pretty baltic out there, so perfect weather for a lovely bowl of thick and warming lentil soup. It’s so easy to make too.
- 1 litre stock
- 1 cup lentils (rinsed well)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- Bring stock to simmering point and add the lentils.
- Bring to boiling point and boil for 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about an hour.
- That’s it! It’s nice garnished with some parsley, and pepper.
You can add other ingredients too if you like. Maybe try 1/3 cup rice or some chopped turnip (add this in at the same time as the carrots and onion). Or some even some chopped red pepper adds a little something different to it.
Ooh dear, I feel really bad for saying this, but I just didn’t like this at all. I took one wee bite, and that was enough.
The reason I feel bad is because it sounds like the people at Tunch Foods are really trying to do a good thing. These products are made purely from fruit, nuts and cereals, with no funny stuff – no additives, preservatives, or artificial colourings or flavourings. They are also vegan, gluten-free, and 95% raw.
By rights, these should be delicious.
I can’t even describe why I didn’t like it, which is pretty useless in terms of a review. I just didn’t like it. My boyfriend did though – he ate it all up and said he would like to try the other varieties – they also come in ‘apple and cinnamon’ and ‘lemon and lime’. Maybe I just picked the wrong one…
OK, so that’s a rubbish name for it, but if you’re looking for a healthy equivalent of your good old favourite spag bolg, then this is it.
- Olive oil for cooking
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 4 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 pack of mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, or use the equivalent in fresh tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- fresh oregano, about 3 tablespoons
- fresh basil
- freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
- Well, you may have picked this up by now, but for this recipe to really work, you must chop all the vegetables very finely. Finer than I’ve done in the picture – I was still a bit scared of my new knife set at that point It’s so that the bolognaise sauce sticks to the pasta the way a normal meat sauce would.
- Gently heat the olive oil, add the onions, and fry gently until starting to soften. Add the garlic for about a minute.
- Add the celery and carrot and cook gently for about another 10 minutes until they are soft.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until the juices run.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and oregano. I’m not normally a herb snob, but really, for this to taste amazing, you need to use fresh oregano, the dried stuff just doesn’t cut it. I don’t even bother making this dish unless I have fresh oregano. It makes all the difference.
- Bring to simmering point, and cook until the vegetables are soft and you have a wonderful textured sauce. Probably about 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and dollop a large spoonful onto some spaghetti, topped with basil.
I used spelt spaghetti for this, which is great stuff. If you really desire a more meaty texture, you can add soya mince to this – it works well.
I do love a spinach and potato curry. I’ve been trying to replicate the ones I get in restaurants, and I think I’ve finally cracked it with this version. No photo as yet – I ate it before I remembered!
- 2 bags of spinach (about 400g)
- as many potatoes as you like – probably about 500g. I used baby potatoes.
- oil for cooking. I used a very light vegetable oil.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green chilli, sliced open and de-seeded, but not chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- about a 3cm chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (mild)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt (ground salt, not table salt)
- Put the potatoes on to boil – about 20 minutes. Don’t over boil them or they will totally disintegrate in the curry.
- Heat the oil and gently fry the cumin seeds until they are fragrant. Then put them aside.
- Gently fry the onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli and cook until the onion is soft.
- Add the spinach (you may need add it in batches unless you have a gigantic pot), and gently cook it until it has wilted.
- Put this all in a blender and blend until smooth. I used a hand blender which I think is easier for something that isn’t totally liquid, and just blended it in the pot. Be warned though – it’s a wee bit splattery! Best wear an apron
- Once the potatoes are boiled, drain and chop into bite sized chunks. Sprinkle over the turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix.
- Return the spinach mix to the pot and bring to simmering point.
- Add the potatoes, along with the rest of the dried spices and the remaining salt.
- Add water if you need it – if it looks like it’s drying out a bit. Spinach is quite wet though, so you probably won’t.
- Cook for about 20 minutes until the potato has absorbed all of the flavour.
This one’s really tasty! And amazingly good for you – all that spinach is choc full of iron and calcium, and ridiculously high in Vitamins A and C. Healthy curry – love it!
I just eat this on its own, or maybe scoop it up with some sort of flat bread. I’m experimenting how to make chapatis with sourdough, so I’ll let you know once I’ve mastered it.
This is just a quick blog to outline a different variety of kefir that is very simple and cheap to make. It makes a stunning ginger ale type drink, very highly flavoured, which you could drink on its own, or even as a mixer.
You make the water kefir following the usual method here.
- Pour about 2/3 litre of boiling water onto some ginger teabags. I used Pukka ones. Let them steep for a couple of hours and make sure it is totally cool.
- Remove the teabags and add 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar, then give it a swirl to dissolve the sugar.
- about 1/3 litre of water kefir to the ginger tea (not including the grains), then decant into your glass bottle.
- I always put the lid or stopper onto my kefir containers while the fermentation is taking place.
- Leave for 2 – 3 days.
I did the same with hibiscus teabags. Lovely!
The versions I have made are super fizzy – like a carbonated drink. Be careful when you open the bottle as the top will shoot off with the same power as a Champagne cork! If you don’t like it quite this sparkling, then use less sugar.
It might also be a good idea to let the air out after the first or second day so the bottle top doesn’t come shooting off and frighten your dog/child/partner
Before we go any further, I want to make it clear that this is not a recipe of my invention. These little beauties were created by the amazing Rebecca Kane from Shine on Raw. I’ve posted it here because it’s too good not to share, and, if you don’t already know about them, I’d like to introduce you to Rebecca’s amazing creations.
Rebecca’s website can be found here and I’d recommend having a look. I love her recipes because they are so simple and easy to follow, and produce outstanding results. These Bounty Bars are very close to the real thing, but I think actually even nicer. They have reached almost cult status with some people I know (you know who you are!)
- 1 cup of dates soaked for 20 minutes
- ½ cup of water
- 3 cup of desiccated coconut
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 3 Tbs ground cashews
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup of melted coconut oil
- ½ cup of cacao powder
- ¼ agave syrup
- Pinch salt
- Food processor
- Blend the dates and water to make a date paste
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined
- Shape the mixture into desired shape
- Place in the fridge for at least two hours
- Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk
- Place the firm coconut shape on a fork and place in the chocolate sauce
- Remove from the chocolate and place on a non-stick sheet or grease proof paper
- Place in the fridge until the chocolate has set
Rebecca also has a recipe for Raw Rolos – and oh my word, they are phenomenal. But I’ll let you explore her site for yourself and discover all the fantastic information she shares. Enjoy!
This is the best curry I’ve made to date.
My aim was to really simplify a curry. Quite often you see curry recipes with a whole stack of different spices in them, and I can sometimes find it a wee bit intimidating, plus also a bit of a faff. And also, if I don’t have one particular spice then it puts me off making the whole thing, which is really ridiculous, as a curry is going to taste pretty good anyway, whether it’s got 7 spices or 8. The curry purists out there may disagree, but I’d say this curry is testament that you can keep it simple and it still tastes amazing.
This curry has a wee bit of a kick to it, nicely tempered by the richness of the coconut cream.
- 2 onions, very finely sliced
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite sized chunks
- 1 carton or tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tin of coconut milk (about 200 mls approx – you can vary if you want it more or less coconutty)
- coconut oil for frying (you could use any oil though)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 5 cm of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of ground salt (I always use a mix of Himalayan pink salt and some sort of organic sea salt. Don’t use a teaspoon of table salt!)
- 1/2 teaspoon of mild chilli powder
- couple of pinches of ground clove (if you don’t have this, put some whole cloves in instead.)
- Chopped coriander for serving.
- Heat the coconut oil and gently caramelise the sliced onions – this will take about 15 minutes. Once they’re done, scoop them out the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- While the onions are cooking, put the garlic cloves and chopped ginger in a blender with a bit of water (about 4 tablespoons) and blitz until it’s fairly smooth.
- Once you’ve removed the onions, you can add more oil to the pan if you need to, but there should be a sufficient amount left in it.
- Add all the spices and gently cook until fragrant (about 2 – 3 minutes)
- Add the garlic and ginger mixture and heat for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring to blend with the warm spices.
- Add the butternut squash chunks and stir well to coat with the spices. Cook gently for about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and salt, and the caramelised onions, and bring to simmering point. Cook for approx 20 minutes, until the squash is starting to soften.
- Add the coconut cream and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, to let all the flavours infuse together.
- Serve and garnish with freshly torn coriander.
As with most of my curries, I just had this by itself, but it would be lovely with rice or naan bread.