Easiest gazpacho

This one can be made in volume, and never disappoints.  And did I mention how healthy it is?

fullsizeoutput_ed51Mix together in a good blender the following until pureed:

  • around 600g large tomatoes
  • 2 large teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 red or orange pepper (paprika)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large clove garlic or two if you want it garlicky
  • juice of 1 lime
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • around 400 ml water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Optional: you can add a small bunch of fresh mint to the blender and Worcestershire sauce to taste when serving.

A great variation for ginger lovers:  reduce garlic and add two inches of fresh ginger, to taste.

Tastiest and easiest asparagus soup ever

I love this one as it is so easy to make with only a couple of steps, and the visual result is a deep tasty green.

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First fry one chopped onion and 2 cloves garlic in one big tablespoon of butter.  One transparent add the following and cook for 5 mins:

  • 3 small potatoes, roughly chopped in 2 cm cubes
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • good pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • one tablespoon of dried Italian herbs

Afterwards add the following and cook for 10 mins:

  • around 350g of green asparagus, chopped in 3 cms pieces
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 tbls (wholemeal) flour

Then add the following and cook for a couple of mins, making sure the potatoes and asparagus are done:

  • big bunch of spinach
  • lots of fresh ground pepper

Blend with a hand-blender.  Serve with some wholemeal bread.

Thai pumpkin and lentil soup

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I love this one because it is so easy to make, with just two cooking steps, but rich in taste.  Here goes:

Fry one chopped onion in 3 tbs sunflower oil until soft, then add:

  • one pumpkin, washed, not peeled and chopped in approx 2 or 3 cm cubes (after seeds are scooped out)
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • one orange or tangerine, cut in 4 pieces
  • 2 or 3 carrots, sliced
  • 40g of your favourite curry paste, preferably yellow
  • one 400g coconut milk

Let cook gently for 25 mins until pumpkin and carrot are soft, then add one small tin of lentils and cook further for another 5 mins.

Once ready add a little cream (optional) and cream with a hand blender.  Add some water if required.

Add 20 g of chopped coriander.

 

Delicious lettuce soup (as unlikely as that sounds)

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Fry the following until soft in 2 tbs olive oil:

  • 1 chopped red/onion
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 red paprika (optional)

Then add:

  • 1 iceberg lettuce, sliced
  • 2 tsp mixed dried (italian) herbs
  • 500 ml chicken stock (from one cube)
  • salt and pepper to taste

and cook for around 10 mins until done.  Add:

  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • some milk/cream to taste

and liquidise with a mini-blender.  Yes it is that easy – but tastes great.

Serve with fresh brown bread.

 

Sandwich alle Melanzane

On a recent trip to Italy I had a sandwich that was so delicious and looked so easy to make that I made a mental note to replicate once back home.  Here goes:

For two:

  • 4/6 slices of lightly toasted brown bread
  • one aubergine cut in thin slices and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • some frying/grilling oil
  • brie cheese, cut in thin slices
  • pancetta or ham
  • rucola

Fry the thin slices of aubergine until golden brown on each side.

On a bed of rucola spread two buttered toasted slices of bread and cover with pancetta/ham, brie and the freshly grilled or fried aubergine slices.  The latter will nicely soften the cheese.

Spicy quick chicken a’ l’arrabiata.

 

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Mix together:

  • 5 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs dried origano
  • 1 tsp hot paprika powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp chicken spice (optional)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 150 ml white wine (optional)

pour the above over 4 chicken breasts or thighs and bake in a 230 oC oven for 45/50 mins.  Nothing could be easier or tastier!

Tip: serve with roasted pumpkin as in above.

 

Trouble free spelt lasagne

Lasagne

Lasagne does not need to mean unhealthy and lots of work.  Try this easy version:

Fry  2 red roughly chopped onions until soft in 2 tbs of olive/sunflower oil, then add the following and cook for around 6 mins, stirring often:

  • 400g lean mince meat – you can substitute with soya mince – follow the pack directions accordingly
  • one aubergines cut into small cubes
  • one courgette sliced in half and then 5 mm slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • some chilli to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seed  and 1 heaped tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbs dried mixed italian herbs
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed (optional)

After the 6 mins, add:

  • 2 tinned tomato cubes
  • 500 ml beef stock (made from organic cubes)

and simmer for 35/40 mins.

Prepare and cook lasagne by following the instructions on the spelt lasagne packet (250g) – it usually does not require any pre-cooking and needs 35 mins at 200oC.  Top with a layer of grated cheese to taste before baking.

3-minute walnut pesto

This pesto is so tasty but easy to make you will wonder why you ever bought a ready made version.

Mix in a blender to a nice pesto paste:

  • 100g walnuts
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 60g rucola

Serve with your favourite pasta on a bed of rucola.  Here I have combined with wholemeal ravioli, alfalfa sprouts and sautéed mushrooms.

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Quick and tasty broccoli muffins

Broccoli muffin

Mix the following in a blender, pour into paper cupcake cups and bake at 200oC for 40 mins or until beautifully golden brown.  I thought this would make a great healthy and fun variation on the broccoli patties by baking rather than frying them.

  • 2 boiled (or shh… microwaved) potatoes
  • 300g steamed broccoli
  • 100 g grated cheese of your choice
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 6 tbs ground flaxseed – for a great healthy twist

Serve with fresh green salad and a side mix of half ketchup, half mayo – although I found the muffins tasty enough not to require the latter.

Probably the easiest but tastiest salad dressing you could make

Put in a blender, or just cut into small pieces and mix thoroughly, the following:

8 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1.5 tsp sea salt

1 bunch fresh mint

1 bunch fresh coriander (you can also use parsley if coriander is not your thing)

some flaxseed (optional)

3 or 4 spring onions

juice of one lemon

You can spread the above on a normal green salad, or delicious on a bed of grilled aubergines or courgettes.

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