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.

Tasty classic minestrone

Minestrone

Nothing screams winter and new-year-healthy-culinary-resolution more than minestrone.  This is my all time favourite, easy to make in bulk and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days – these measures makes loads:

Cook the following gently for 8-10 minutes or until soft:

  • 30g butter (optional)
  • 5 tbl olive oil
  • 4 chopped carrots
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 chopped cloves garlic
  • 125g chopped thick bacon

I cheat with the above and buy a 500g bag of mixed chopped onions and carrots – makes this recipe super fast.

Add the following, bring to the boil and cook gently for 20 mins:

  • 2 tinned 400g can chopped tomatoes – or use the fresh equivalent
  • 2+ litres of chicken stock

Add and the following and continue cooking gently  for another 15 mins:

  • 400g of shredded cabbage – I use the Chinese cabbage version, easier to chop and tastier!
  • 100g of cut spaghetti or any other leftover uncooked pasta you might have
  • salt to taste

At the end add the following and heat/cook for another 5 mins.

  • approx 250g cooked broad or French beans – from a tin or jar, should you wish
  • approx 200g cooked petits pois beans

Serve sprinkled with lots of fresh ground black pepper and grated cheese of your choice.

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.

 

Delicious and quick onion soup

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I am not a big fan of onion soup, but his recipe did it for me.  The only work involved is peeling and slicing the onions in rough slices.

You will need:

  • 1 kg onions, peeled and slices
  • some olive oil and 30g butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 10g of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 litre boiling water and 2 vegetable cubes
  • 200g tortellini (not fresh)
  • ground pepper and salt

Fry until caramelised the onions, sugar and thyme in the oil and butter over medium heat.  After around 10-15 minutes the onions will start to caramelise and then add the water and cubes and cook for around half an hour.  Finally add the tortellini and cook for the amount of time indicated on packet.  Season with salt and pepper.

Makes around four servings, but will probably be enough for two if taken as a main.