Monthly Archives: October 2012

Clear Mushroom Soup

My soup this week was a mushroom soup, not a cream of mushroom soup, think french onion style but with mushrooms! This dish according to nutracheck, a portion was only 75Kcal. My large flat mushroom was missed off my breakfast on Sunday morning, so it inspired me to use it for my weekly lunches. If I’m honest this soup surprised me with it’s full flavour on Monday, so it’s certainly worth a try.

Ingredients
20g of dried porchini mushrooms
1 large flat mushroom
1 Onion
3 or 4 garlic cloves
500ml vegetable stock
cooking oil

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water leave these to soak for 20mins. 
Dice the onion and garlic cloves, once this is done add some oil to a large pan and heat.

Now add your onions and garlic into the pan, lower the heat and allow the onions to soften, 5 mins.
Dice your large flat mushroom and add this into the pan, stir, 1 min. Drain the rehidrated mushroom, but save the water for the next part. Add these mushrooms into the pan, stir, 1 min.

Pour in your stock and the ‘mushroomy water’ and leave to simmer for half an hour. Once your soup has simmered, leave it to cool and portion this up for your lunch, alternatively serve this warm straight away to friends and family.

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Spicy mango salsa

Tonight with my dinner I made myself a speedy spicy salsa to go with my fish. It just goes to show that simple additions can liven up a meal.

You just need the following items:
1 mango
1 orange pepper
1 onion (red or white)
1tsp Tomato purée
1 red chilli
Large pinch of salt
A good grounding of pepper

Peel the skin from the mango, take the fruit from the stone and dice it up, careful that the mango doesn’t go too mushy.
Chop the pepper and onion and fry in a pan until the onions soften. Add the tomato purée and stir well. Take the pan off the heat. And add the onions and peppers to a bowl along with the mango.
Dice one red chilli and add this to your mango mix, you can include the seeds if you like it hot.
The salsa should be left to cool, before serving, season and mix well.

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Spicy butternut squash and chickpea stew

I purchased a butternut squash with the intention to make a curry for mid-week or weekend dinner, but  to my disappointment the book I was convinced would have the recipe, did not. So I reached out for this years favourite book: Good Things to Eat, Lucas Hollweg, and found a suitable replacement. The option was not a curry, still it satisfied my wish to cook the squash in a spicy warming dish. This new meal was to be for my lunch, which also gave me a change from winter soups.

The stew was a step up from soup and perhaps a little more effort to make, but it was worth it, and I looked forward to having it at 12.30 every day. I had this dish with no accompaniments as it was lunch, but if you wanted to make this for dinner you could add rice or a baked potato to go with this dish.

Ingredients
1 ping-pong ball-sized preserved lemon
2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
12 saffron threads
a good pinch of crushed chilli flakes
600g (1lb 5oz) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm (¾in) cubes
2 x 400g (14oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped plum tomatoes
juice of 1 orange
500ml (18fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
5 bulging handfuls of baby spinach leaves
2 handfuls of coriander leaves
Greek yoghurt, to serve

Cut the preserved lemon into quarters. Scoop out and discard the pulp and finely chop the peel.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and let it cook gently for 6–7 minutes, or until soft and pale gold, then add the garlic, spices and lemon peel and stir for a minute or so more. Tip in the squash and chickpeas and stir everything together so it’s thoroughly mixed.

Add the tomatoes, orange juice and stock. Season, and bring to a simmer, then cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 40–45 minutes, or until the squash is soft, pushing the bits under the surface from time to time. Throw in the spinach and stir through until it is wilted and soft.

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Season well, tasting as you go – you’ll need at least another ¼ teaspoon salt, probably more – then mix in most of the coriander. Pile into bowls, scattering each one with more coriander and adding a blob of Greek yoghurt.

Serves 6 approximately 150kcals per serving.

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Mighty Meaty Bolognese

I regularly cook and eat dishes suitable for pescetarians or vegetarians. My other half does eat meat and every now and again I’ll cook him some dinner involving meat, firstly because I’m nice like that and secondly so that I can try cooking some dishes that I wouldn’t usually try. This week I made Bolognese sauce, something for my other half to have on a winters night with rice, pasta or a Jacket Potato, so this is versatile.

I had thought I’d purchased all the ingredients, all it seemed apart from the mince. However I worked out a solution, not the cheapest, however if you have run out of mince.. use a couple of meaty burger!

Ingredients
2 rashers of bacon
100g of liver
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 celery
350g of lean mince beef
1 wine glass of red wine
2 tblsp tomato puree
300ml chicken stock
1tsp Parsley
1tsp Thyme

Finely chop the bacon and liver. For me the liver was pretty squeamish to cut through, from speaking to other meat eaters this seems to be quite normal. Once the meat is roughly chopped I added it to a blender to combine.


Next  chop the garlic, onion, celery and carrot and heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Make sure it’s large enough to hold all of your Bolognese, otherwise you’ll come unstuck in the next 5mins.
Add all of the veg to the pan and cook until it starts to soften. Then add the liver, bacon and mince, or burgers in my case.
Cook for a further 2 mins, now add in a generous glass of red wine and add in the puree, stir well.


Finally before you head off to have a glass of red for yourself add the chicken stock and herbs and set your hob to simmer the sauce  gently 1 hour.

This makes 4 portions, I have frozen 3, so if you want more, simply double the quantity.