Tag Archives: soup

Pink Soup

12 Jun

After my cake fest of the last couple of weeks, this week I have tried to reign in the cravings, and up the fruit and vegetable intake. I don’t ‘do’ diets. There is nothing like the lure of the forbidden to make me want something even more. I must be related to Eve!! Instead, I try to make choices that don’t feel like a sacrifice, and that sustain me without leading to hunger pangs.

One of the snippets of wisdom that i have found useful over the years, is that thirst is often mistaken for hunger.  However, I do not seem able to glug the ’2 litres of water a day’ that seems to be the mantra of every health tipster.(Maybe if it was wine I would give it a try)  Instead, I look for alternative ways of upping the fluid intake to keep the hunger pangs and the cravings at bay.

One of my fast fix solutions to drop a few pounds quickly is to have soup for lunch. It’s quick to make. filling, and full of water.  This week I re-visted an old favourite, which is my twist on Borscht.  The preparation time for this dish is about 2 minutes, hardly a chore, even for the most committed sofa sloth.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packet organic cooked beetroot (250g) roughly chopped
  • 250g approx plain yoghurt
  • Dessertspoon shallots (i use the pre-chopped frozen ones from the freezer)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • dollop of yoghurt and chives to serve

Mix ingredients then blitz in liquidizer or with a stick blender.

Spicy Beetroot Soup

The resulting soup has an almost smooth as velvet texture, and the spices gently compliment the earthy sweetness of the beets. The bonus is that it is virtually fat-free, without even giving the slightest impression of dietary restraint. I have successfully served this ‘pink soup’ to my little ones, (minus the cumin and cayenne). I don’t know if it is the colour or the sweetness of the beetroot, but they love it.

Garnish with a dollop of yoghurt and chives

The flavours of the spices intensify if you leave this in the fridge overnight and it can be served hot or cold. Take your pick…

Supper for a Song (Day 4 of The spendthrifts challenge)

21 May

   

Carrot and Coriander Soup with Creme Fraiche

 

Day 4 dawned, and I am starting to get slightly concerned at the dwindling cereal stocks, especially the children’s cereals which are almost empty.  By some miracle, they have just started taking to eating bran flakes. They think they are ‘Daddys Shreddies’ and I have yet to put them straight. I think I can just about stretch it out for another few days.   

Lunch was no effort at all as I managed to retrieve some Carrot and Coriander Soup from the freezer that I had made in February in a Martha Stewart moment , along with a couple of ready to bake rolls. 
 
I was more concerned about what I should make for dinner.  My daughter was having a friend over for a playdate and my usual freezer supply of meatballs and sauce had run dry. A quick stocktake last night led me to the answer. I have about 10 types of flour in the cupboards. I also have a few cans of tomatoes and passata. There is spinach and garlic in the freezer, butter, dolcelatte and feta in the fridge. The answer was obvious. Pizza. I just needed some mozzarella and maybe a topping or 2 for the grown ups.  Additional expenditure, £1.49. £1 for a large packet of Galbani Mozzarella (on offer at Sainsburys) and 49p for a large Aubergine in Lidl.  No wonder the pizza chains have done so well in the recession.  They are so cheap to make, they should blush when they present the bill.
 

Home made Pizza

 

We have for some time now been having a ‘Pizza Night’ at least once a month at home.  It’s not the fastest meal to prepare, as you have to allow time for the dough to rise, and to do a little prep for the toppings, but if you have a dough hook for your mixer, and a dishwasher to clear up, its easy, very cheap, and quite a lot of fun. With the money you save on the cost of eating out, you can have a bottle of wine (or discount fizz), buy in some dessert, rent a movie, and still have a stack of change compared to the usual bill you would face in a pizza restaurant.  In fact, if you are feeding a crowd, and don’t mind spending a bit of time in the kitchen while they are there, this has to be one of the cheapest meals you can make. And once you have tried the home-made variety, the ready to heat or takeaway version can never be considered as anything other than the poor relation.   

There is of course the faster method of making pizza that I have referred to in Pizza Pronto.  But if you want dough balls too, you are going to have to make the dough.  If you have a mixer with a dough hook, this is nothing much more than weighing and adding some ingredients together and allowing the mixer to do the work. You have to leave it for about an hour to rise then knock it back and you are ready to go.  In fact, I have quite often made the dough first thing, then covered it in oiled cling film and left it in the fridge all day to do a slow rise, then it is ready to go just when you need it. At the moment, I tend to employ the recipe and method  provided by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall  (HFW) in his book River Cottage Everyday. Most of the ‘celebrity’ chefs offer a version of pizza dough. I have followed a few recipes, and I have found that there is not a lot between them taste wise, so try one out and see how you like it.   

    

Dough Balls, and other shapes too!

 

 Dough Balls are a must in this house, although they should perhaps more accurately be described as dough shapes when the children have a hand in the preparation.  These are a great way to get the children involved, as the worst that can happen is you have a few odd shapes.  

Home made garlic butter

 

 I generally make a double portion of HFW’s dough, as we are quite greedy, and any leftovers can go in the freezer. We probably use about half a portion of the dough for the dough balls.  While they are cooking in the oven we make the garlic butter. If your butter isnt soft, try it for a minute on defrost in the microwave, keeping a close eye on it. Mash in some pre chopped garlic from the freezer (to taste, but as a guide I use about 3 tsps for 1/2 packet of butter)  

For the sauce, heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a pan, gently fry a dessertspoon of the garlic, a tsp of salt flakes and sugar, and add a 500ml carton of passata. Simmer for 5 mins. Sauce is ready  

 A few tips   

  • Pre-heat the oven and get it as hot as you can
  • Roll out the dough as thin as possible.
  • Place dough on pizza stone or baking tray before adding toppings. Or you have no hope at all of transferring the topped pizza without it collapsing or turning into a Calzone
  • Go easy on the sauce. Less is more. More is a soggy, not so nice pizza.
  • Scatter your toppings. Dont crowd the pizza. Too much and the base wont cook.
  • Drizzle with a little  oil before you bake. It does make a difference.

I just love making these, as it’s the perfect opportunity to clear out the fridge of all those odds and ends that look like they will never find a home. A couple of slices of salami, some cheese drying out around the edges. The end of a jar of chutney. Today we had the following combos   

A Pizz a Heaven!

 

   

Margherita Pizza for the kids

  • Tomato sauce and mozzarella
  • Spinach with Dolcelatte and Walnuts
  • Red onion chutney with feta and aubergine
  • Tomato sauce, feta and aubergine

Thanks to the unexpected warm end to the day, and the equally unexpected appearance of Mr Mummyinahurry at the children’s tea time, we were able to eat these in the garden. I am convinced that everything tastes better when you eat it in the sunshine.   

Day 4 Summary    

As a result of my week of thrift, we have completely run out of rice cakes and breadsticks, the after-school snack of choice in this house. The completely unexpected upside of this has been a sudden interest in carrots from the children. Yes carrots. Which they ate reluctantly yesterday because nothing else was on offer.  Today when I offered carrots after school I was greeted with shrieks of delight, only previously heard in conjunction with the words ‘crisps’ or ‘chocolate’. These are the same carrots that I have served up several times a week for the past few months that have always been rejected. Well I never!   

   

   

 

Poached Salmon and Soba Noodles with a Ginger Broth (Day 2 of The spendthrift’s challenge)

19 May

Pea and Mint Soup

LUNCH

Pea and Mint Soup

My plans for soup from the freezer had to be shelved when I discovered a bag of peas defrosted in the fridge. I have no idea if I put them there in a tired moment (which isn’t inconceivable given that I have found shower gel in the freezer and deodorant in the fridge in the past month!), or if my children helpfully made the transfer for me.

I have been using frozen peas to make a quick soup for many years. The preparation is minimal and the result is a fresh and light soup with a light green colour (as long as you do not overcook it – in which case you will be faced with a tasty but unattractive, muddy looking, olive-green coloured soup). Even though the result is bright green, my vegetable averse children love it.

INGREDIENTS LIST

Peas and shallots in the pan

  • 1 Dessert spoon Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots (from freezer)
  • 340g peas
  • 500ml Vegetable stock (I use Vegetable bouillon powder to make this . If you have yet to try it, do so now. You will never again have your head swayed by a stock cube)
  • 2 large serving spoons full of home-made mash (I had some left over from last night) or 2 large baking potatoes cooked (zap them in the microwave if you have none cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mint
METHOD
  1. Put pan on a low heat.

    Add some mash. Really!

  2. Add oil and shallots for a minute or two.
  3. Boil kettle and make stock
  4. Add peas to pan
  5. Add stock
  6. Add potatoes
  7. Cook for 5 minutes
  8. Add dried mint
  9. Blend in liquidiser
  10. TA DA! Lunch is ready!

DINNER

Poached Salmon and Soba Noodles with a Ginger Broth

Dinner is served

Today I sought inspiration from the queen of fast and fabulous, Donna Hay. I have had a packet of Soba Noodles lingering in the back of my cupboard for about a year. I think I bought them when we returned from our foodie heaven holiday to Australia and in a fit of cooking optimism, I bought a wide selection of food that I don’t usually cook with. There is still quite a bit of it in the cupboard.

I tapped in ‘Soba Noodles’ in to the search facility on Donnas site and Poached Salmon and Soba Noodles with a Ginger Broth was the result. Perfect, as I had some Salmon fillets in the freezer. I was lacking the fresh and pickled ginger. So I spent a princely 52p on a large chunk of ginger and decided we could do without the pickled variety. As this is Donnas recipe, not mine, I have recited the ingredients below, and have included a link back to her site for full recipe and instructions.

Uncooked Soba Noodles

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
  • 45g ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 270g soba noodles
  • 2 x 200g salmon fillets, skin removed, sliced
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and sliced
  • pickled ginger and coriander

This was simple to cook and used only one pan. The resulting dish was flavourful and light, and satisfying without feeling ‘heavy’.  I will be definite trying this out again especially once we have moved and are dishwasher-less. As I wasnt sure if the children would try the noodles, I gave them mash instead. A sure fire way to get them to try something is to make them think its special. Annabel flatly rejected her mash, and demanded some of mummy’s spaghetti!

DESSERT

Poached Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream

Poached Pear with Vanilla Ice Cream

I am down to my last bar of chocolate, which has me a bit concerned given the current budgetary constraints. I did however notice that I still had 12 VERY HARD pears in the fruit bowl. I am skilfully adept at missing the moment of perfect ripeness when the juice surges out from the fruit as you take your first bite. Instead I am gifted at selecting the type of pear that changes overnight from rock hard to slightly shrivelled, woolly and tasteless!

To keep the children happy with the promise of dessert I decided to poach some of the pears. In theory this should be a thrifty dish. Save for the fact that almost every recipe that you come across for poached pears suggests that you use a bottle of wine, or some vanilla pods or both. All very well, but it tends to increase the cost of the dish by at least £5. So, for a thrifty midweek dessert, I find a light syrup, flavoured with some lemon and vanilla extract will leave you feeling both satisfied, and solvent. The only truly laborious part of this exercise was the peeling of the pears. If you have a good grips peeler, it will take all of 5 minutes. And after leaving the mixture to quietly simmer on the stove top for 45 minutes, infusing the air with the homely scent of pears and vanilla, you will have dessert for today, and if you are not too greedy, some for tomorrow too.

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 dessert pears, peeled
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix water, sugar, lemon juice and peel and vanilla extract, in a medium-sized pan. Add pears. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes (if the pears are ripe, maybe 10 minutes less). If you are not sure if they are cooked try one with a knife. You are looking for texture that is firm, but will yield with a little pressure from a knife.

Serve warm, with a little of the juice, and some ice-cream. Or mascarpone. Or some dark chocolate, melted then drizzled over the pear….

Day 2 Summary

Total spend for the week so far £16.60. Remaining budget, £18.40. 5 days to go and counting.

Supermarket Sweep 4 May 2010

4 May

Where did the last week go?  Here it is then, my weekly round-up of  supermarket best buys.

Starting in alphabetical order with Asda. This week you can stock up on your breakfast basics at bargain basement prices.  Activia yoghurts, 4 for £1, Tropicana Smoothie – mango, passionfruit & pineapple £1 for 750ml, and 2 for £3 on weetabix cereals, and 2 packets for £1 on Warburtons crumpets. They are also offering lunchtime deli wraps for £1 a packet.

Lidl.  Love it or loathe it you can’t knock their prices. This week there are the usual unbelievably low prices on a range of vegetables, the best one being cauliflowers at only 49p each. Add some cut price cheddar and you are halfway there to a cauliflower cheese, 500g Pilgrims Choice extra mature cheddar is only £2.99. Childrens favourite spread, Nutella is down to £1.25 a jar, and if you fancy a warm weather treat for the freezer, they are offering Bounty, Mars and Snickers Ice Creams at an ice cool £2 for a packet of 8.

Morrisons, are offering every mums’ emergency staple, Birds Eye fishfingers, at £1 for a packet of 8 and the obligatory (in this house at least) Heinz Ketchup for £1 (570g squeezy size). They also have lunchbox fillers Petit Filous Frubes down to £1 for a packet of 9, and emergency child bribe of choice for many, cadburys chocolate fingers at 74p a packet (these have also been found to work well on grown-ups).

If you are shopping at Sainsburys this week, take advantage of this weeks deals and invite a friend for lunch. Serve one of a selection of Sainsburys own brand soups at only £1 for a 600g carton, complemented with the Taste the Difference Gruyere and Garlic Fougasse, half price at £1.09. While you finish up with a home made cappuccino, and a selection of Lindt Chocolate bars (only £1 for 100g) the dishwasher can clean up for you with Finish all in one lemon tablets  down to £4.49 for 45 (10p a wash…..come on, at that price who wouldnt use a dishwasher?).

Tescos are also offering half price Finish dishwasher tabs, and Jacquart Champagne for only £13.49 a bottle. They have also added their Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne at £25 for 2. I haven’t tried their bubbles recently, but it usually attracts favourable reviews in the press. They also have some fantastic offers on a wide range of fruit and veg, the best ones in my book being vine ripened tomatoes at 99p a pack or satsumas at 99p a pack.

Last but by no means least, is Waitrose. Aside from 1/3 off Sirloin and Rump Steak there is no change from last weeks best buys, so I have included a link back to that post here.

Happy Shopping!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers