Late autumn weekend soup

It has taken me many years to get used to chunky vegetables in water! I used to prefer finely diced, whizzed up, cooked to a pulp. I can now eat carrots that have been cut in the round and enjoy them. Here’s a simple, hearty vegetable soup for a day like to day – icy, touch of snow, rather cold outside. Serve with a delicious herby homemade focaccia, warm out of the oven.

After a quick dash to the local market in the northerly wind – we have two veg stalls on a Friday and one on a Saturday – I came back with the following ingredients:

Turnip, leek, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower.

How much soup you want to make and what amount of veg you add, is up to you.

I add to the veg, some frozen spinach, dark green lentils.

Then a touch of olive oil, half a stock cube, herbs de provence, 1 bay leaf, pepper. I don’t put in salt – it’s a forbidden ingredient now. Water, of course.

Put it all in a large pan at the same time, bring to the boil then simmer. Stir occasionally  The lentils will take the longest to cook through, but they are worth the wait. In the meantime the focaccia is baking in the oven.

I think I’ll put together a sweet apple and walnut pita too. The rest of the day is for chores, geometric design, assignment writing and reading.

Matisse.

A Veggie Bolognese Recipe – (also vegan and gluten free)

This one works the best for me – it’s my own invention.

You will need the holy trinity of soup and savoury-ness:

One leek

One large stick of celery

One large carrot

All finely chopped and lightly sauted in a pan with a tblsp of olive oil

Then add

One chopped and deseeded red pepper

Four small blocks of spinach (I Iike the Taj frozen ones – they come in a box)

 Three fresh tomatoes, chopped (not tinned)

One cup of red lentils

Half a cup of minced Quorn (this isn’t vital btw)

A good pinch of  dried oregano and basil

One heaped tsp of veggie stock – i.e. Vegeta

A tblsp of tomato puree

Seasoning

Stir all the ingredients then add enough water to cover them. Simmer and watch for half an hour, adding water when necessary  – the lentils will expand, but the veg will give water too.

Cook for a further 15 minutes whilst you boil  a pan of water for the spaghetti – I use Sainsbury’s Free From – it’s free of everything *and* made in Italy from rice, maize and quinoa flours!

This amount of bolognese can make 4 servings (depends on how much you like  – ratio of bolognese to spaghetti is important and a personal preference).

Or it’s possible to later add a small can of kidney beans, some cumin, chilli flakes and a piece of dark chocolate. Then you have chilli for the next evening. Served in tacos or with brown rice – very nice.

photo from food blog Italian Feelings

A Vegan Experiment

I feel the need to try something out and see if my body likes it. For a while I’ve been veggie on and off and I think my bod has reacted in interesting ways to the changes.

For the next six weeks I’m going vegan and wheat/gluten free – all is ready – things are being made right now. It’s not that difficult – so much is available and unless you are nut-intolerant, there are many possibilities and one or two international cuisines that can enable. But mostly, vegetables and fruit are the main ingredients. It’s difficult to get vegan and wheat-free ready-made things like sausages – so they are a treat. DSCF0340

I make my own bread, mostly, and will be doing entirely for this period of time. There are pittas in the freezer, Japanese crackers and  oatcakes for immediate take-out and lunch breaks -and yes, they are all without wheat and gluten.

My cottage bread today is  spelt/no gluten/oatmeal and smells wonderful, even as I knead it. There’s an aubergine and black-eyed bean casserole (topped up with onion, garlic, celery, carrot, courgette, green beans, tomato puree, marjoram, bay leaf, chilli flakes, seasoning), to be served with a dollop of soy yoghurt. DSCF0337

An experimental fruit n root loaf of sorts is in the oven made of grated apple, carrot, parsnip, dried apricots, pomegranate seeds, orange pith, walnuts and  binding ingredients including flax seeds gluten-free flour, almond milk, rolled oats. Will see how that turns out – it has risen, which is a good sign! DSCF0339