Leek and Asparagus Soup

I don’t know about you but when the weather starts to turn colder I always think of soup for lunch. It’s so comforting with a slice of fresh bread and butter to dip in. To be honest I couldn’t contemplate it without it.

This delicious leek and asparagus soup is healthy and low fat and it’s a great soup to make on repeat. Feel free to add a bit of cream to make it a bit more luxurious but that’s your call.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 leeks – chopped

4 large asparagus spears

500ml vegetable stock

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 knob of butter

100ml cream optional

Method

Chop your leeks into discs and your asparagus spears into inch long pieces.

Transfer to a large saucepan and pour over your vegetable stock.

Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the veg is tender.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper and stir through your knob of butter until it has melted.

Blend to a smooth consistency.

Up to you if you want to add a little dash of cream at this point.

Serve piping hot with a chunk of fresh sour dough and butter for dipping.


Filo Vegetable Samosas

I’ve added a recipe for all my friends doing Veganuary. These little samosas make the best lunch. They’re made using filo pastry so delightfully delicate and light. Just add a crisp salad with them full of red onion, tomato and a side of mango chutney for dipping. Fabulous when you have lots of left over veg you need to use up. Even better for lunch boxes the next day.

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 carrots

1 large potato

1 cup frozen peas

1 large clove garlic – minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 sheets filo pastry

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 table spoon poppy seeds

Method

Pre heat oven to 220c / 200c fan and take your filo out the fridge at least 15 mins before you intend to use it.

Start by boiling your potato and carrot in a pan of salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté your diced onions in a frying pan until they start to soften along with the minced garlic.

Add your spices and the frozen peas.

Stir around the pan until the peas are cooked. This should only take 2-3 minutes.

Once your onions are cooked and your veg is tender, drain and chop it into pieces, then add it to your onion and spice mix stirring to combine.

Place your 3 sheets of filo flat on the work surface. You need to work quickly as it can dry out quick.

Cut each sheet into 4 rectangles. You may have a marginal amount left from each sheet in order to do this but you can just discard this.

Fold each rectangle into a triangle shape. Open and fill with approx 1 tablespoon of the filling. Fold over back into the triangle shape and brush with oil all over and to seal the edges. Feel free to trim any edges to get the perfect triangle shape.

Place each samosa on a lined baking tray and sprinkle over the poppy seeds. Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and compulsory mango chutney.


Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I was delighted when my cousin gave me this recipe. For years I’ve been borderline severing a digit hacking up the butternut squash, little did I know you can halve it and roast it in the oven. It turns out even better and you still have fingers left. Bonus!

The butternut is infused with the delicious chilli and garlic and has all the winter feels. Best eaten on a lazy day watching films on the sofa all snug and warm.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash

4 garlic cloves

Glug of olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 whole red chilli – sliced

500ml vegetable stock

Teaspoon chilli flakes

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180C

Cut your squash in half and deseed. Place cut side up on a foil lined baking tray, score and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Add your garlic cloves kept whole on top of the squash along with your chopped fresh chilli.

Roast in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and scoop out the flesh and blend adding as much or little chilli flakes as you desire. I found 1 teaspoon just right.


Passion Fruit and Honey Yoghurt Bowl

Such a delicious alternative to bread for breakfast when you want to keep things a little on the lighter side. Tropical passion fruit, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of crunchy granola. It feels like a holiday in a bowl. Hope you haven’t used all your passion fruits in your porn star martini’s!

Ingredients

Cup of fat free Greek yoghurt

Drizzle of honey

2 tablespoons granola of choice

1 passion fruit

Method

Pour your yoghurt into a bowl

Drizzle over your honey, sprinkle on your granola and finally cut your passion fruit in half and spoon over the seeds.


Cream of Leek and Sweetcorn Soup

This is such an amazing combination. Quick and simple to make and you’ve got lunch for a few days. This leek and sweetcorn soup tastes a lot more luxurious than it is. It’s surprisingly low in calories as it’s as it’s all veg and stock. The addition of a dash of cream would obviously up the calories but it does make it more silky and indulgent.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large leek sliced into rounds

500g frozen sweetcorn

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

500ml vegetable stock

100ml cream (optional)

Tablespoon butter

x2 garlic cloves (minced)

Method

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the chopped leek, minced garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or so to soften the leek.

Now add the sweetcorn and cook for another couple of minutes, moving it round the pan with a wooden spoon.

Add your stock and stir to combine.

Simmer for 10 minutes over a lowish heat.

Allow to cool and blend until smooth.

Finally season to your liking with salt and cracked black pepper and add a swirl of cream if you fancy it.


Tiddly Oggies

My Nan used to make these and call them tiddly oggies. Apparently, it’s the cornish word for pasty. Traditionally they are made with minced beef and potato but my Nan used to make them with cheese and onion.

I’ve added tomato, mango chutney and oregano. They’re wonderful and everyone will snap them up in a flash so make double the amount you need!

Makes 5

Ingredients

500g ready roll shortcrust pastry

A little flour to roll out pastry

180g mature cheese – diced

6 cherry tomatoes – cut into quarters

2 teaspoons oregano

Half a diced onion

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

2 tablespoons mango chutney

Beaten egg or milk to glaze.

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c

Firstly roll out your pastry on a floured work surface.

Now get a teacup and place it upside down to cut out your shapes for your tiddly oggies. You need 2 per tiddly oggie as one is going to be the base and one is going to be the lid.

I found that 500g of pastry makes 5 as you get 10 circles.

When you’ve cut them out place 5 of them on a foil lined baking tray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add all your ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly.

Spoon on the filling across the 5 pastry bases and press on the lids pressing around the sides to crimp the edges and make sure they are fully sealed.

Brush with beaten egg and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approx 15-20 minutes. When they look golden take them out and watch them disappear before you even get a look in!


Fruit Smoothie

Getting the day off to a great start, this fruity smoothie is bursting with vitamins. Strawberry, pineapple, melon and orange.

Great for breakfast on the go when you’re short on time or a post work out energy boost.

Serves 2

Ingredients

5 strawberries

2 slices of pineapple (round)

1/4 small honeydew melon

Juice of an orange

A few cubes of ice

Method

Simply chop all your fruit except your orange and blitz with a few cubes of ice in your blender. Squeeze in your orange, stir and enjoy.


Grazing Board

The Perfect fuss free way of feeding people so you can join in the fun yourself. Lovely on a buffet table, after a light meal or in the garden with drinks.

This gorgeous grazing board is such a lovely idea as everyone can help themselves while the only job for you to do is pop the cork and pour the fizz.

By no means is the list below a strict instruction simply a suggestion. Feel free to add your own favourites.

Ingredients

Cheddar – I like Cornish Cruncher

Wensleydale with cranberries

Smoked cheese

Red grapes

Green grapes

Olives

Figs

Physalis

Pretzels

Mini Vine tomatoes

x3 varieties of crackers

Chutney

Rocket to decorate


Vegetable Dhansak

A delicious curry for meat free Monday, it’s also vegan. Vegetable Dhansak, bursting with delicious spices, vegetables and lentils. A healthy low calorie curry as a tomato based sauce.

This reminds me of my childhood as this is what my Mum and Dad always ordered from the take away. I’ve eaten Indian food for as long as I can remember, as hard as it is to choose it’s my favourite cuisine.

The flavour is really authentic and the addition of curry leaves really lifts the recipe. A sweet and rich curry sauce that has just the right amount of heat. I really hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves

4 curry leaves

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

2 tablespoons ground nut oil

200ml water

1 onion – diced

Tin of chopped tomatoes

3 garlic cloves – minced

75g red lentils

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Cup of sweetcorn

Cup of frozen peas

1 small broccoli – chopped into small florets

Rice, naan bread, mango chutney and fresh coriander to serve

Method

In a large pan add your lentils, chilli, garam masala, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, ginger paste and curry leaves and pour over your water, tomatoes and broccoli. Start to simmer gently giving a little stir every now and then.

Meanwhile in a separate large pan add your ground nut oil and slowly pan fry your diced onions until soft and translucent, stirring all the time. After a minute add your mixed garlic. Keep stirring.

Now add your onions to the lentil mix and the sweetcorn and peas.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked through, season, swirl through your fenugreek and brown sugar.

Serve with fluffy white rice, naan bread and fresh coriander for extra delight.

Tip: Add a few cardamom pods to your rice while it’s cooking to add a fragrant flavour.


Mushroom and Thyme Soup

One for my vegetarian friends, this is such a gorgeous soup. It’s not easy trying to make a mushroom soup look pretty let me tell you, but don’t let that put you off. It’s so creamy and full of rich mushroom flavour with just the right hint of thyme.

As always with my recipes, quick and easy too. Hope you give it a go.

Ingredients

1 onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – minced

300g mushrooms – chopped

100ml Greek yoghurt

6 thyme stalks

1 litre vegetable stock ( you can use fresh or 3 veg oxo cubes)

Salt and cracked blacked pepper to season

Method

Pan fry your onions and after a minute of stirring add your garlic and sprigs of thyme. Keep stirring until your onions are soft and translucent. It will smell wonderfully fragrant.

Now add your chopped mushrooms so they can infuse in all the loveliness.

Pour in your stock and simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Now use a stick blender to blend to a smooth liquid or pop in your blender and blitz.

Swirl through your Greek yoghurt and season with salt and pepper.

Fact: Mushrooms are a rich, low calorie source of fibre, protein, antioxidants and selenium. Selenium supports the immune system and helps prevent damage to cells and tissues.