Leek and Potato Soup

Previously one to turn my nose up at this variety of soup until I made it that is. It is super quick and easy to make and so full of flavour. It’s a favourite served on a cold, rainy day with lots of fresh bread and butter, salt and cracked black pepper.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion – diced

225g potatoes diced

2 leeks – sliced

1.2 litres vegetable stock

150ml double cream or crème fraîche

Salt and cracked black pepper to season.

Method

Heat oil in a large pan, add your diced onions, leeks and potato cubes and pan fry to soften for about 4 minutes or so.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Season and simmer the veg until tender.

Whizz in a blender and finally stir through your cream to serve.


Mushroom Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry Bowl

I’ve been asked by my vegan friends to share a vegan recipe. It was perfect timing when Fullgreen sent me this cauliflower rice to try. It comes in a variety of flavours and the portobello mushroom flavour pairs so well with a veggie stir fry.

Packed full of mange tout, mini corn, edamame beans and chilli this stir fry bowl is full of asian flavour. The addition of the mushroom cauliflower rice compliments it perfectly and you can whip it up in minutes. What’s more it’s low carb and gluten free, made of 100% veggies and no preservatives.

Serves 1 as a meal or 2 as a snack

Ingredients

Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 a carrot – cut into matchsticks

Handful of mange tout – cut into halves

1/2 cup broad beans, edamame beans and peas (mixed)

3 mini sweetcorn – cut into half

1 tenderstem broccoli floret – chopped small

1 spring onion – chopped

1/2 a red chilli plus extra to serve if desired

2cm piece of fresh ginger – grated

2 large cloves garlic – minced

1 tablespoon ketjap manis

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Pack of Fullgreen portobello mushroom cauliflower rice

Method

Once you’ve chopped your veg heat a pan with your olive oil.

Firstly add your carrot matchsticks to the pan as they take a little longer. Pan fry them for a couple of minutes and then add in the rest of your veg along with your garlic and ginger.

Stir for 5 minutes or so until the veg is softened but still has a crisp bite to it.

Add your ketjap manis, the juice of half a lime and season with salt and cracked black pepper.

While your veg is cooking put on a separate small pan for your cauliflower rice. Heat on a medium heat for 2 minutes stirring all the time. Simply add to your stir fry bowl and enjoy! I like it served with extra chilli and a lime wedge to squeeze over.


Bruschetta

Everyone loves the sound of a cork popping and a canapé. This one is an effortless delight. With us at home at the moment it’s a great way to make the weekend special by making an effort with some nice little light bites and a drink or two, and this one couldn’t be simpler. I hope you give it a try.

I use sourdough or cranberry and walnut bread if I can get hold of any and some good extra virgin olive oil.

Fill your glass and enjoy!

Ingredients

4 slices of sourdough bread

1 ripe avocado

4 medium tomatoes on the vine

1 small onion

Pinch or 2 of dried basil / I like to use fresh chopped up if I have it.

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Couple of garlic cloves

Pinch or 2 of crunchy salt and cracked black pepper

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Method

Chop your avocado, tomatoes and onions and mix with your dried basil, salt and pepper.

Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, mix and set aside.

Cut 4 slices of your sourdough or other delicious thick sliced bread from the deli, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toast under the grill slightly so the bread is very lightly golden and crisp, we’re not going for overdone here!

Cut a clove of garlic in half for each slice and rub the toasted bread all over with it.

Now spoon on the topping and serve with an ice cold flute of champagne or Prosecco or cocktail of your choice!

Tip: I like to top with fresh basil for extra flavour or a handful of peppery rocket dressed with a little balsamic vinegar if you are not a basil fan.


Cauliflower and Courgette Cheese

I devised this recipe when a cauliflower the size of a fifty pence piece turned up in the online shopping delivery! I decided to bulk it out with a courgette and hey it was delicious, I’m going to make it all the time.

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower

1 courgette – sliced into 1cm rounds

60g mature cheddar

2 tablespoons plain flour

250ml milk

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

30g butter

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Method

Chop your cauliflower into smallish florets – not miniature and boil in a pan of lightly salted water for approximately 15 minutes. Don’t add the courgette yet.

Chop the courgette into 1cm thick round slices and then in half. Add to the pan of boiling cauliflower for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Drain and spread out in a baking dish.

In a medium sauce pan, add your milk, flour and butter on a low heat and whisk all the time.

The sauce will start to thicken and once it does add your grated mature cheddar, mustard, salt and pepper and keep whisking until you have a lovely cheese sauce.

Now pour all over your veg and bake in the oven on 190C / 170C fan for around 20 minutes or so until the cheese turns nice and crispy on top.


Spicy Chilli and Sweetcorn Noodles

I devised a hot and spicy chilli and sweetcorn recipe to go with these lovely Taiwanese noodles. It’s quick, simple and full of flavour. If you like noodles you are going to love it. The lovely people @kung_fumama sent me some delicious noodles to try and this is the recipe I devised to go with them.

Add fresh sliced chilli and a squeeze of lime for an extra kick.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 individual pack of Taiwanese noodles

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil ( plus 1 teaspoon for when noodles are drained).

1 cup of frozen sweetcorn

2 cloves of garlic – minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 spring onions – finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

50ml hot water

1 teaspoon honey

Half a lime and fresh red chilli to serve (optional)

Method

Start by heating a pan of water and add your noodles once it starts to boil. Set your timer for 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add your sesame oil to your wok on a low heat, then add your chopped spring onion, minced garlic, soy sauce, sweetcorn, chilli flakes and honey.

Now add 50ml of hot water. Stir to combine and season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Drain your noodles, stir in a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and add to your pan of delicious ingredients ensuring all the noodles are fully coated.

Serve with your fresh red chilli if you love spice and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!


Breakfast Bowl

This is such a healthy breakfast to start the week off. Packed full of vitamins and minerals. I literally spoon the yoghurt into the bowl, add the chopped kiwi, scatter on some berries for a superfood boost and shake on a bit of granola and desiccated coconut. It feels like a treat but it’s so good for you. Love this for a post work out brunch too.


Parsnip and Honey Soup

When the weather starts to turn there’s nothing more warming than a bowl of soup. For me , the introduction of soup at lunchtime always signals Autumn which is my favourite season.

Full of honey and parsnip sweetness this soup really warms the soul. It’s also good for the waistline as it’s literally full of veggie goodness. You can of course add a swirl of double cream to make it a bit more luxurious but I’ll leave that thought with you.

Serves 4

Ingredients

800ml water

2 vegetable stock cubes

6 parsnips – peeled and chopped

1 medium onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 tablespoon honey

Method

Put your parsnips into the stock and bring to the boil. Continue to simmer gently until softened.

Meanwhile, pan fry your diced onions in the olive oil.

Add your onions and your honey to the parsnips and stock.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, blend fully to ensure a silky, smooth consistency. Have a little taste to see if you want to add any more seasoning or a dash more honey. Enjoy with bread and butter or just as it is.

Tip: Honey has long been used for medicinal purposes. It has similar antioxidant levels to apples, spinach, oranges and strawberries.


Hot and Spicy Vegetable Curry – Mum Style

My mum has made this delicious vegetable curry for as long as I can remember, so I had to share it with you. It’s hot, spicy and packed full of flavour and the best thing about it is it’s of a healthier, low calorie nature as the sauce is tomato based.

What one person determines as spicy another might disagree but I’m going with the majority here and the smaller kids who have been brought up eating curry all their lives couldn’t eat it! I’d say this is equivalent to a madras spice if you use a hot curry powder. A great, cost effective recipe with not too many spices to buy that also freezes well.

Serve it with a pint of iced water.

Ingredients

Serves 4

x2 500ml cartons / jars of passata

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

150g of red split lentils

thumb sized piece of ginger – grated

2 sweet potatoes – chopped

1 large onion – diced

Florets of 1/2 a cauliflower

Handful of green beans

Cup of mini sweetcorn

2 teaspoons of chilli flakes

30g curry powder

1 tablespoon light soft brown sugar

Mango chutney – optional

Method

Dice and pan fry your onion in a little olive oil until softened along with your curry powder, ginger, and chilli flakes.

Bring a separate large pan of water to the boil and add your chopped sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, cauliflower, lentils and green beans. You want just enough water to cover these. Let boil for about 20 minutes and then add your onions.

Now add your passata, tinned tomatoes and light soft brown sugar.

I taste and add as I go along so depending on how you like your curry you may want to add a little more curry powder etc. I like to add a dessert spoonful of mango chutney to mine.

Simmer until the veg is fully cooked but still has a nice crisp bite to it. Nothing worse than it being too mushy. Once you’re happy your veg is cooked through you can eat right away or it will taste even better if you allow to cool and place in the fridge over night as all the lovely spices marinate the veg more and the sauce thickens too.

Just add fluffy rice and some soft naan breads or flat breads.

Tip: Serve with mango chutney as the sweetness of the mango against the heat of the curry works perfectly. I always go out in the garden and snatch up loads of fresh coriander to add to mine when I serve but check if everyone likes it as people are either in or out with this. I’d add it to cornflakes if I could.


Mushroom And Cream Cheese Omelette

It’s such a worry for Mum’s, thinking about what our teens are going to eat when they’re at Uni. That’s why I’ve added a section on the blog for ‘Uni Cooking’. This section is especially for students who need to cook something quick, easy, nutritious but also cost effective.

I’ll be adding to this section over time so don’t forget to check back for new recipes.

The simple omelette. Perfect as a brunch, post work-out fuel or a light evening meal accompanied with a fresh salad or that Uni favourite baked beans. You can vary it up in endless ways, mature cheddar and onion, ham and tomato, peppers onion and potato for a Spanish twist.

I like mushroom, cream cheese, a few ripe mini tomatoes on the vine with some basil and lots of salt and cracked black pepper.

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 large free range eggs

Knob of butter

2 tablespoons cream cheese

4 mushrooms of choice – sliced

Salt and cracked black pepper

Optional – herbs of choice and a few tomatoes

Method

Crack your eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them up. Add a grind of salt and cracked black pepper.

Now heat your butter in a small frying pan and swirl about so the butter coats the surface of the pan fully.

Add your sliced mushrooms and pan fry for a minute or two.

Add your whisked egg mixture and allow to bubble in the pan until almost firm. Once the mix is no longer runny quickly add your cream cheese and flip in half with a pan slice.

Once it looks lightly golden you’re done! Quick as anything with at least one of your five a day to keep Mum happy.

Serve with whatever takes your fancy.


Spice Lovers Chilli and Sweetcorn Soup

I make this for my sister and brother in law because they love spice. I mean they snack on scotch bonnets all nonchelant like they’re bread sticks! If you’re a spice lover you’ve got to make this. It’s healthy and so simple to make. I add the chilli seeds to make it even hotter but you can adjust it to your desire.

I wouldn’t recommend going on any first dates after consuming this or your breath might take their eyelashes off, or yours for that matter! It’s delicious nonetheless and would be worth it.

Serves approx 6

Ingredients

1/4 large onion

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon hot chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

500g sweetcorn kernels

2 green chillis

1 litre veg stock ( I use 3 stock cubes for this)

2 large cloves of garlic

glug of chilli oil

Method

Dice the onions and green chillis and mince the garlic, then pan fry along with the chilli flakes and chilli powder in a glug of chilli oil to soften.

Transfer the sweetcorn into a cooking pot and add all your ingredients you just pan fried and stir to combine. Add your black pepper.

Add 1 litre of hot vegetable stock and mix well.

Let simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Blend with a hand blender or blender of your choice. I find a hand blender easier for soups so I’m not pouring hot liquids to and fro. I like to keep a bit of the sweetcorn back so it doesn’t get blended and throw it in at the end as this adds a nice texture.

Chop up a bit more chilli to garnish if you need a bit more spice! Surely not!

Fact: Green chillis are full of vitamin c and beta-carotene and are great for healthy eyes, skin and immune system. They’re also said to speed up the metabolism for up to three hours after eating and contain virtually no calories. Remember to eat in moderation!