It's definitely soup weather so I thought I'd try a new recipe! I had some lovely organic potatoes to use up and I've been meaning to make a sweetcorn type soup for a while so I came up with this one!
As always I try to add extra ingredients with health benefits, in this case red onion, turmeric and coconut.
Red onion provides the gut with fibre and helps us fight infection, which at this time of year, can be rife and who has time to be ill? Certainly not me, which is why I support my immune system with the best quality food and look after my gut bacteria with lots of plant based fibre.
So back to the soup, I used frozen sweetcorn, which I buy from Lidl, its deliciously sweet and grown in France so it's not GM, which a lot of the corn grown in the US is, so we want to avoid that for sure!
I actually prefer using frozen sweetcorn, it's less wasteful and you just cook what you need.
Wee Gracie, my chicken loves sweetcorn, she has some every morning in her porridge and is very partial to a whole fresh corn on the cob, which she can demolish in no time!
Nutritionally sweetcorn like all veggies, has benefits for health. It's a good source of fibre and complex carbs and contains a fair amount of insoluble fibre which is great news for our gut bacteria! It also contains antioxidants, some B vitamins, Vitamin C, magnesium and potassium so plenty of reasons to eat and enjoy it!
It's also naturally sweet so most kids will eat it! Interestingly a whole corn on the cob contains less than a quarter of the sugar in an apple!
This soup has a lovely flavour with a wee bit of heat from the chilli flakes. Sweet paprika has a lovely warming flavour and the coconut adds a creamy sweetness which works rather well.
The turmeric which I try to add to as many dishes as I can has a mild earthy flavour so I generally only use a half or a teaspoon. Adding black pepper and oil enhances the absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric so its always worth adding both.
Turmeric really deserves the title, superfood, or superspice! It beats drugs hands down for just about everything, from pain relief to reducing inflammation to killing cancer cells.
It's so easy to start adding some of these immune boosting, disease fighting foods and spices to our diet to build a great immunity and strong vibrant health.
I added turmeric to my porridge this morning with a pinch of black pepper and a spoonful of coconut oil! It was a lovely yellow colour and I added sliced banana, goji berries, coconut flakes, bee pollen and coconut kefir for a breakfast fit for a king!!
So I've had a double dose of turmeric today since I just had a bowl of this lovely soup!
I had to try it before I share the recipe but it was really delicious. I think I would make it a bit thicker next time by adding more potato or less stock. I blended half the soup which made it nice and creamy and there were still some texture from the unblended veggies!
So all in all a good recipe and a great use of my organic potatoes!
Here is my recipe!
· 2 or 3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced (around 500g)
· 2 cups of fresh or frozen sweetcorn (300g)
· 50g of creamed coconut, roughly chopped
· 1 tablespoon coconut oil or rapeseed oil
· Small red or green pepper, chopped
· 1 medium red onion, diced small
· 2 teaspoons paprika
· ½ teaspoon turmeric
· ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
· Freshly ground black pepper
· 1litre vegetable stock
1. Heat the oil and add the red onion and pepper. Cook on a moderate heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the turmeric, paprika and black pepper.
3. Add the diced potato, vegetable stock and coconut cream, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the sweetcorn and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. Blend half with a hand blender to keep a bit of texture or just blend it all for a creamier smoother texture.
The creamed coconut comes in a block, most supermarkets stock it. If you are using coconut milk then you will need a bit less stock, around 500ml should do!
....your health in your hands....
I have started a block of healthy cooking workshops with a lovely group of ladies from Clydebank and we are using herbs and veggies from the community gardens, which is just great! You don't get any fresher than just picked from the garden, no pesticide residues to contend with and loads of nutrition to boot!
So this week we had rainbow chard, cavolo nero, beetroot, spring onions, tomatoes and loads of flat leaf parsley!
It was soup, snacks and smoothies week so we ended up with a few bunches of rainbow chard leftover which I gladly brought home since no one else knew what to do with it! That's part of the point of the workshops, to introduce new ways of cooking and introduce new ingredients!
We are doing meat free mains next week and I'll be demonstrating how easy it is to add greens to your diet. Finely shredded and steamed or lightly stir fried is a great way to use greens, they retain most of their incredible nutrients cooked this way and the addition of some good quality oil helps with the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins! I always add a delicious garlicky, turmeric, balsamic vinegar dressing too to add heaps more health benefits and incredible flavour!
There are no boring boiled plain veggies at Nourished by Nature!
We did add a lot of greens to our various soups but rainbow chard has quite an earthy taste, its from the beetroot family and so it can be a bit of an acquired taste!
I didn't think the green smoothies would go down so well packed with chard so we made do with spinach, avocado and frozen peas! We did however add kiwi, orange,pineapple and banana and some coconut soya yoghurt and everyone loved them! There is always a way to sneak more veggies into your diet!
So I made this rather easy, nutritious and delicious curry recipe to use up the lovely rainbow chard
I can't abide waste and its shocking the amount of perfectly good food that is thrown away, I can feel a rant coming on!!
I'll save it for another post and get on with the recipe.
I've demonstrated this recipe at various healthy eating workshops and it's always a favourite.
Part of the appeal of this recipe is that it uses few ingredients, just Thai Green or Red (if you like spicy!) Curry paste, some peanut butter and coconut milk. A lot of curries need lots of different spices which most of us don't have, unless we are curry fanatics, which I am not.
Red onions, garlic and ginger make up the other flavour components, adding a fair amount of anti inflammatory action to this dish!
So you can literally have this cooked in 30 to 40 minutes. You can cheat by using the jars of ready chopped ginger and garlic but I always prefer the fresh option!
Spinach is a good alternative to the rainbow chard and you can add a whole bag since it wilts down so much and is packed with all sorts of nutritional goodies!
On that note, I'm off to prepare a vegan lunch for tomorrow for the volunteers at the most successful Lets Eat Glasgow event last weekend, which I was a part of!
It's great to see so much quality Scottish food being promoted and even better to be a part of it all!
It's Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight so please support local producers!!
Here is the recipe, it's perfect for the weekend....
Chickpea, Squash & Rainbow Chard Curry
Ingredients - Serves 4
It's been a busy old week here at Nourished by Nature! It's Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight and also Organic September so I've been promoting both of them big-time!
I'm taking part in a My Healthy Breakfast Challenge for schools in conjunction with Food for Thought and Hamlyn's Oats and my brief was to come up with a few ideas for kids breakfasts with no nuts or expensive ingredients!
So I came up with this rather delicious crunchy oaty granola which is flavoured with maple syrup and cinnamon and packed with lots of healthy seeds which kids should definitely be eating more of! I used my organic maple syrup from Lidl which was a total bargain at £2.99!
Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are now widely available everywhere from Home Bargains to Lidl, Aldi and all the major supermarkets and are very reasonably priced.
I used a mild flavoured organic Sunflower Oil but you could easily substitute olive oil or good old Scottish Rapeseed Oil.
Oats are a great energy food, packed with complex carbohydrates, soluble fibre, protein and B vitamins supporting digestive and heart health and providing a filling and nutritious base for breakfast for kids and adults alike!!
Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds add lots of minerals including calcium & magnesium for building strong bones and teeth and good fats as well as fibre and protein.
Dried fruit gives a wee burst of natural sweetness and cinnamon helps the body to deal with the sugar, which along with all the fibre, good fats and protein in this recipe will help to stabilise blood sugar levels for sustained energy and good mood!
Coconut is also high in soluble fibre and is naturally sweet which beats refined sugar any day of the week!
Served with yoghurt and fresh fruit or simply eaten as a snack, this oaty seedy crunch is sure to be a hit with kids!
I've been enjoying it on my smoothie bowls, porridge and just as a wee snack! It's a bit more crumbly than normal granola which I usually make with jumbo oats and buckwheat but it still tastes delicious!
I also added a handful of goji berries and some toasted coconut flakes to mine to add some colour and a bit of extra crunch. The brief was nut free but I love nuts so would add a good handful of almonds, chopped brazil nuts or walnuts to mine!
Here is the recipe...
MAPLE CINNAMON OAT CRUNCH
2 cups Hamlyns rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons milled flaxseeds (optional )
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Large pinch sea salt
¼ cup organic sunflower oil (4 tablespoons)
¼ cup maple syrup (4 tablespoons)
1 cup of mixed dried fruit, raisins, apricots or dates
So I've had a lovely summer in Scotland this year! I'm just back from a lovely trip to Tiree, beautiful beaches to rival the best! Turquoise sea and clear as glass, my kind of beach and hardly any seaweed! I love seaweed to eat but not to wade through or swim through!
I have pushed myself beyond my comfort zone this summer by trying sea kayaking and paddle boarding both of which I have really enjoyed! I have a fear of the sea and cold water. I am a total wimp but have discovered that a wet suit is a wonderful thing, once you actually manage to get it on! Getting it off is another challenge, that sounded a bit rude!! Wasn't meant to!
Anyway I guess the summer, is leaving us, and autumn is coming. I rather like the changing seasons, I love the seasonality of the foods available to us.
I have had a helluva problem with slugs this year, I absolutely detest them and in a way I'm almost glad that the gardening season is coming to an end! I've planted some spinach, more kale and some purple sprouting broccoli which I am keeping a close eye on.
I now have coke traps, coffee grounds, eggshells, half oranges and I go out every evening to catch and dispose of the slimy pests! I am now known as crazy slug lady! I used to be Crazy Coconut Lady, which I have to say I preferred! If anyone had spotted me in Lidl this week I had 2 big bottles of coke and 2 boxes of cheap table salt which I have to say was to drown or deter the slugs from eating my plants! I have discovered that slugs are very fond of coke which is much cheaper to buy than beer! So they can drown happily in a sugary grave!
Oh and just to make it worse wee Gracie my chicken won 't even eat slugs, she prefers my plants! And she has now retired from egg laying and is enjoying herself immensely. She is very fond of a corn on the cob and grapes and watermelon! She is one fussy chicken!!
Anyway enough of my ramblings, I thought I'd share a very simple but delicious dinner or lunch idea with you.
It's really so simple I don't think I can justify calling it a recipe! It's also very versatile and can be customised according to your preferences!
Since I am a huge fan of seasonal eating, this option is using peppers, courgette, red onions, aubergine and tomatoes, all simply oven roasted with some garden herbs then piled on some shop bought puff pastry, which is surprisingly vegan! I always thought that puff pastry was made with butter but apparently not so its perfect if you are vegan or you are feeding vegan guests!
The other option you have here is the pesto to spread on the base. Most shop bought pestos are made with cheese so not suitable for vegans. I tend to make my own walnut and red pepper pesto which is delicious and dairy free! Here is the link to the recipe.
I tend to cut my puff pastry into 6 squares before I add the toppings which makes it easier to customise them!
Jenna is vegan, Alastair is meat free but eats fish and occasional dairy, Laura is dairy and meat free but eats occasional fish, Kathryn is vegetarian and loves cheese and I eat mostly vegan but occasionally have goats cheese, feta or halloumi!
Most of our meals are vegan and Alastair tends to cook fish for himself and Laura when the mood takes him! My brother brought him a fish this week, his friend had caught so he cooked it in our wood fired oven and that fed him and Laura for 2 days!
Kathryn would happily live on quorn, pasta and cheese but she mostly eats the vegan options then adds cheese!!
So we are a complicated family to feed!!
So alternative toppings or additions are feta cheese, goats cheese, anchovies, flaked tuna, olives, flaked salmon, sweetcorn, mushrooms but feel free to make up your own combinations!
I guess most families struggle with likes and dislikes and trying to please everyone can be a real struggle but I always tend to go for the healthiest option which for us is vegan.
So back to the recipe, just cut your pastry into 6 squares or keep it whole if all the toppings are the same. Spread a spoonful of your choice of pesto in the middle of each square leaving a wee border. Then top with your oven roast veggies. To simplify this even further, Lidl do a fab range of antipasti in jars. You can choose from marinated courgettes, sun dried tomatoes, aubergine, peppers and mushrooms. They are all delicious but packed in oil so drain the oil off before you use them. Then simply pop your pastries in a hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes until they are nicely puffed up and browned!
I do find these are much nicer using pre roasted veggies. You could just pile a selection of raw veggies on top and drizzle with some oil but most veggies release quite a lot of water so your pastry can become soggy which is not what you want!
So after all my rambling here is my basic recipe....
OVEN ROAST VEGGIE PUFF PASTRIES
Ingredients Serves 6
I pack of puff pastry
2 or 3 tablespoons pesto
2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges each
2 red peppers, cut into long strips
1 courgette, sliced
1 small aubergine, cut into small dice
2 tomatoes, sliced for topping
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano, basil or mixed herbs or a wee handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley and thyme are all good.
.....your health in your hands....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.