Autumn is definitely here, I love autumn with all the beautiful colours and the chill in the air. There is something very comforting about snuggling up indoors with the heating on and enjoying a lovely warming, nourishing bowl of home made soup!
This one fits the bill perfectly!
The shops are full of pumpkins and squashes of all shapes and sizes, some of them delicious, some not so much! The large orange variety are really for carving and are rather watery and fibrous and not so good to eat.
Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are available all year round and always taste deliciously sweet and can easily be used interchangeably so this soup can be made with either butternut squash, sweet potato or any other type of squash.
The orange flesh of all these vegetables is really high in beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body and supports skin health, digestive health and vision. Sweet potato also contains prebiotic fibre which feeds our gut bacteria so its well worth including some of these orange fleshed veggies in your diet, if you haven't already!
I have been spiralising sweet potatoes all summer and ended up with a lot of wee end bits which I collected in a freezer bag, just perfect for making soup, so that's what I used for this!
I hate waste so I'm always looking for ways to use up odd bits of veggies.
I noticed pre-peeled cubes of butternut squash in the freezer section at Waitrose the other day which is a great idea if you don't have time to peel a whole one! It's obviously more expensive to buy pre prepared veggies but a great standby to have your freezer stocked with some essentials. I buy frozen peas and sweetcorn, which I use a lot!
So back to this lovely warming, nourishing soup with lots of flavour from garlic, ginger, red onion, coconut, turmeric and chilli flakes.
There are some real inflammation fighters and immune boosters among this lot so you will be doing yourself a big favour if you make this!
I also added peanut butter for an extra protein boost and splash of tamari for extra flavour.
I have to say it is delicious and very moreish. I think I'll be having a huge bowl of this tonight for dinner with a few slices of my rather delicious home made sourdough!
This is a great soup for autumn and winter due to all the immune boosting, cold and flu busting ingredients and it tastes delicious.
Like every other soup, it can be frozen to enjoy at a later date or kept for when your immune system needs a wee boost and you don't feel like cooking!
So here is the recipe.....
Thai Squash Soup
3 cups of butternut squash or 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tablespoon coconut or rapeseed oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 level teaspoon turmeric
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon tamari
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
750 mls vegetable stock
100g coconut cream or 1 can of coconut milk
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the red onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, turmeric, ginger, diced sweet potato or squash and a good seasoning of salt and black pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the coconut cream and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the sweet potato or squash is soft, around 15 minutes. If you are using coconut milk then reduce the stock to 500mls.
3. Add the peanut butter and tamari, stir to dissolve then blend with a hand blender.
....your health in your hands....
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've decided to share this lovely summer soup recipe with you all. I'm a massive fan of seasonal eating and courgettes are in season right now, along with lots of other wonderful summer produce!
I love soup and always tend to have a pot on the go, even in summer, although I do tend to keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh. One of my pet hates is waste and having to throw soup away because its gone off!
A wee tip, its actually onions that are to blame, since they absorb bacteria which makes them very good for us but once cut, they absorb bacteria from the environment. Never leave a half cut onion in your fridge. Just buy smaller onions and use the whole thing!
Onions were used during the plague to prevent spread of disease and households used to leave cut onions in every room. Apparently it worked
Remember you can also freeze any soup so that avoids the going off problem!
Anyway back to this rather lovely summer soup. I got the original recipe from an old Marks & Spencer cookbook about 20 years ago and it's one I still use.
If you grow your own courgettes, which I do, then this is a great way to use them up! However I'm buying them at the moment since mine aren't ready yet!
I've been spiralising lots of courgettes recently too, courgetti is just a genious replacement for carb heavy, white pasta and its delicious and so healthy!
Try and select darkest green, firmest courgettes and the smaller ones tend to be sweeter. I sometimes find that the bigger courgettes can be quite watery and bitter, not what you want for your lovely soup!
So among the healthy ingredients of this soup is turmeric which is beating drugs for just about everything in numerous trials! It has so many health benefits and is well worth including in your diet. Point to note that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is absorbed way better in the presence of piperidine, found in black pepper and further enhanced by oil so any recipe using turmeric should include black pepper and oil for maximum benefit!
So without further rambling, here is the recipe!
COURGETTE & TOMATO SOUP
2 or 3 small to medium courgettes, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 tin of tomatoes or 400g of fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
1 tablespoon organic white flour
1 level teaspoon turmeric powder
750 ml good quality vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the finely sliced onion and courgettes. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on and sweat the vegetables for around 5 to 10 minutes with a pinch of sea salt.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, turmeric and the tablespoon of flour and give it a good mix with a wooden spoon to disperse the flour evenly and get rid of any lumps.
3. Add the hot stock, give it all a good stir then
put the lid on and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. Puree with a hand blender until smooth
5. Add a good grinding of black pepper and some sea salt to taste.
Some grated parmesan is also lovely!
.....your health in your hands....
Now it seems a bit out of season to be posting an immune boosting soup when its supposed to be spring but hey its been really cold in Glasgow and poor Laura has swollen glands and a stinker of a cold. Sometimes the change in temperature, returning from sunny holidays to the cold of Glasgow can take a bit of adjusting to!
Laura also has exams all week so she's a bit stressed too, which doesn't help. So I've been making her apple kuzu drinks ( a macrobiotic drink which is very strengthening and soothing), giving her ginger compresses, to speed the healing process and I specially made a big pot of the most healing soup on the planet, and its also rather delicious.
The best kind of medicine!!
This soup is crammed full of all sorts of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamins, it will literally stop any infection in its tracks. It’s absolutely brilliant for relieving the symptoms of colds and flu, will put your immune system into super-drive and send all those “nasties” into oblivion; it also tastes great and is really easy to make.
Both shitake mushrooms and goji berries contain a similar polysaccharide which stimulate the immune system by causing an increase in the production of white blood cells.
Garlic is the mother of all natural antivirals; it is also antibacterial and antifungal.
Ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory and also stimulates circulation which increases the rate at which white blood cells move around the body fighting infection and removing waste products from infected tissues.
Chilli has painkilling properties and can thin out mucous making it easier to remove from the body.
Sweet potatoes contain various anti-inflammatory compounds including beta carotene/flavanoids.
Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory agent due to a group of chemicals called curcuminoids - as good as many powerful drugs, including hydrocortisone, but with none of the nasty side effects.
Coconut milk is full of good fats which are antifungal, antibacterial & antiviral.
So you really can't fail to feel better if you fill yourself up with this most soothing, healing, nutritious soup. Your immune system will thank you!
· 1 red onion, chopped
· 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
· 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small dice
· 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
· 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
· 1 punnet shitake mushrooms or 2-3 dried shitakes soaked in hot water for 30minutes
· 1 handful of goji berries
· 500ml vegetable stock
· 1 can coconut milk
· 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
· 1 level teaspoon turmeric
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
1. Add the finely chopped onion, ginger and chilli to a pan with a tablespoon of oil and sauté for a few minutes until the onion softens.
2. Slice the shitake mushrooms. If using dried, discard the stalks which are tough and bitter.
3. Add the mushrooms, diced sweet potato, goji berries, garlic, turmeric, coconut milk and stock.
4. Bring to the boil, and then gently simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft.
5. Puree with a hand blender, season with sea salt and enjoy!
I'm happy to report that Laura is feeling much better now!
.......your health in your hands.....
🍃 Health educator🍃