You can’t beat a good bowl of hearty homemade vegetable soup, especially when the weather is cold. Great to bring to work – it’s filling , sustaining and good for weight loss (so long as you are not hitting the biscuit tin afterwards!).
And it’s the best way I know of getting vegetables into fussy little eaters. You should whizz to whatever consistency suits your needs best - from very lumpy to very smooth. For many years, we did a canteen at a local school and made vegetable soup every day. Many’s the young adult asked about lump level, and we almost never deviated from smooth soups.
Feel free to play with the vegetable ingredients as varying them up will alter the sweetness and colour. As a grown up , we may appreciate the benefits of cabbage soup. Little people less so. Pretty coloured vegetables make for pretty soup.
In this recipe, the potato is the thickener. But if you are allergic or want to avoid them for whatever reason – add in a tin of rinsed chick peas or haricot beans at the end. When you whizz the soup up, these will also give a very nice consistency.
I Love houmous, and never tire of it. And while ideally – if I was a perfect wife, mother and cook; I would soak the chickpeas overnight , and boil in the morning; unfortunately I fall into ‘the always in a hurry’ caterer, and like things to be as simple and quick as possible.
So, having a couple of tins of chick peas in the cupboard can be a godsend when the nibbles hit. If you don’t use a full tin for a recipe, don’t waste them. Throw them over a salad, drop into a soup or stew
Chickpeas are a good sources of fibre, including soluble fibre which can help to lower cholesterol and are also very good for you, not least because two to three tablespoons equate to one portion of the daily recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables. Yeah !
Chickpeas also contain phytoestrogens which may lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and minimise hot flushes in post-menopausal women. Bigger yeah than before !!
And what better ‘scoop’ for your newly made houmous than our delicious gluten free Almond & Rosemary Toasts
- If using fresh beetroot – see below roasting instructions.
- Place beetroot in processor, blend until smooth.
- Add chickpeas, walnuts, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and oil.
- Blend all together.
- Season to taste.
- Serve with Multiseed toasts.
How to roast beetroot
- Wash beetroot.
- Place the unpeeled beetroot, wrapped in tinfoil in a hot roasting tray.
- Bake for 45 minutes @200c.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool a little.
- When cool enough to handle, peel beetroot & chop
Cheese is a great staple in the fridge, and provides a quick and delicious lunch, regardless of whether you throw it between two slices of bread, deep fry it, melt it , slice dice or grate it.
Halloumi is a Cypriot, firm, slightly springy white cheese, traditionally made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, although these days cow's milk is also used. Its texture is similar to that of mozzarella or thick feta, except that it has a strong, salty flavour from the brine preserve. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled.
If you find the flavor too salty, soak for a few hours in water to remove some of the saltiness, although in this recipe – the combination of the salty cheese against the sweetness of the strawberries or watermelon is spot on.
Once you have bought your halloumi and are wondering what else to do with it, it makes amazing burgers. Fry your slice of halloumi in the same way as you would a meat patty –and then build your burger according to your own taste ( burger bun, salad leaves, sliced tomatoes, chillis , relish etc )
The Foods of Athenry Gluten Free Toasts are great for nibbling, dipping, scooping, crouton-ing or draping elegantly across a well dressed cheese board. But, because they are twice baked and fully dried out – they are also great for crumbing. I keep a small airtight jar with some ready whizzed toasts for recipes such as the one below. They will stay fresh for months and can add wonderful texture and flavor to simply prepared meals. Our different flavours suit different recipes, but this is down to your own experimentation and taste preferences. I sprinkle them over cauliflower cheese, potato gratin and sometimes into stuffings.