Asparagus Soup

So… we had a couple of days of pure heat, proper warm weather and then BAM we’re back to freezing our butts off! Standard British weather if you ask me. Thinking that the little snippet of more spring-like weather would take us nicely into those lighter meals completely turned tables when it started snowing on Monday. Taking advantage of the produce of this time of the month I decided to make a good, hearty soup; something to keep you nice and warm for the wintery weather we are having. I hope you all enjoy it πŸ™‚

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 125g asparagus tips, roughly chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. In a pan, fry the garlic, shallot and sage in the oil for 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper (medium heat).
  2. Add the potato and asparagus and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock, mix well and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  4. In a food processor or using a hand blender blitz the soup until smooth, add more water if the consistency is too thick for your liking. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil when serving (optional).

Enjoy!

Better Than Expected Bulgur

Sometimes some of the best things you create in the kitchen are the dishes you least expect to become something; hence the name ‘Better Than Expected’. This is basically what happened with this recipe; I basically got all experimental and whacked a few ingredients together and here we are…a really fast-paced recipe for you to enjoy. I’ve kept it real simple and with a few try-outs you can mix up your spice quantities, adding a little more cayenne if you fancy a stronger chilli kick. Something a little lighter that works fantastically with both fish and meat but holds its own by itself too. It’s a go to recipe when I want to take lunch to work that’s not too heavy and is just so tasty.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 125g fine bulgur wheat
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tbsp frying oil
  • Ground allspice
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start by frying the onion in a pan with the oil on medium-high heat.
  2. When the onion starts to become translucent, add the tomato puree; mix and fry for a minute.
  3. Pour in 4 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the stock, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of the allspice and cayenne pepper before dropping the temperature to low.
  5. Add parsley and the bulgur and give it another good mix.
  6. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. After, fluff with a fork and serve.

Re-energising Soup

This week hasn’t been too great if I am quite honest. I haven’t been feeling all that well, my appetite completely disappeared and all I wanted to do was sleep. Drawing closer to the weekend I have managed to gain more energy and strength and so I thought I’d share the perfect recipe to give you that nutritional healthy boost you need after your body has had a rough few days. Personally for this soup I prefer my vegetables to have a bit of bite to them, do cook the soup for longer if you prefer them softer. Additionally, feel free to whiz this up in a food processor or hand blender if you fancy a smoother texture.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 courgette, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 2 dried bayleaves
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  1. On medium heat, fry the celery, carrot, courgette garlic and bayleaves in oil together for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Season with pepper, add the spinach and the stock and mix well. Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes.

Best served hot.

Fava Bean Dip

Fava beans or “Foul Mudames” have been a staple in my family household for as long as I can remember. They are so delicious and can be used in a multitude of ways. This time is an easy, vegan dip. A fantastic accompaniment to a scrumptious kebab, tabouli or just some bread to dip it into.

Ingredients:

  • 400g tin fava beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 oregano
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. In the dish of your choice drizzle a little extra oil on top along with a gentle sprinkling of paprika.

Mushroomy Bulgur Wheat

Mushrooms are one of my absolute favourite vegetables. I won’t go a week without having it in at least 3 of my meals. They are so juicy and so versatile which I love and can be used in so many things. I know, perhaps, the picture doesn’t do it justice but, boy, this recipe not only is deliciously creamy in flavour but its 100% vegan and makes the perfect side dish or main meal. What I find brilliant with grains like bulgur wheat too, is that you can prepare a bulk amount and just divide it up for yourself and your partner or family members for the week, knowing that there’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 200g baby button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 130g fine bulgur wheat
  • 3 dried bayleaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • Black pepper

Method:

  1. Fry the garlic in the olive oil with the thyme and bayleaves on a medium heat for a 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Season with the black pepper and pour in the wine; cook until it evaporates.
  4. Pour in the stock and coconut milk and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Drop the heat to medium- low and add the bulger, mix well, cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes or until the wheat is fully cooked.
  6. Pour over the extra virgin olive oil and fluff with a fork.

Green Goodness

A combination of spinach, artichoke and leeks makes this simple, vegan main meal or side dish. Artichokes are one of my absolute favourite vegetables, there are so many things that you can do with it. Given the colder weather the hot food option consistently gets my vote. This also goes brilliantly with the Honey & Rum Glazed Gammon from last weeks recipe. An easy, one pan dish that takes a little amount of time to make, not too many ingredients and tastes delicious!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 250g baby spinach, thoroughly washed
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1tbsp white
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. On medium heat, fry the leeks and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Then season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the artichokes and fry together for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour in the white wine and cook until it evaporates. 
  5. Add the spinach and cook down. Once wilted, season again with salt and pepper and serve. 

Best served hot.