Mushroom & Chestnut Martini Soup

Every time I make this soup, I ask myself ‘why don’t I make this more often?’ Chestnuts contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium and fat. They are also rich in mineral salts and an excellent source for vitamins C, B1, B2 and folates.  Guests always love how it plates up as a savoury martini. I love it more, because it screams SCREW YOU winter!

Mushroom and Chestnut Martini Soup

What you’ll need: serves 6
400g peeled chestnuts (I buy mine frozen from either the markets or good health food stores)
400g mushrooms finely sliced (I like to use organic portobellos)
1 tablespoon of EV olive oil
1 medium organic potato, peeled and diced
1 medium brown onion, peeled and diced
1 glove of garlic, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon of organic dried thyme
1 litre of vegetable stock (I use 2-3 tablespoons of my Thermomix veggie stock, diluted in a litre of filtered water)
Freshly ground pepper top taste
Sea salt to taste and fresh herbs to garnish (basil and parsley are my favs, but you could use thyme or chives too)
Tub of Butter Me Up; the first Australian-made real butter alternative. If you haven’t tried this yet, you must

How to prepare:
In a pan bring vegetable stock to a gentle simmer
In a separate deep, heavy based saucepan sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
Add chestnuts, potato and mushrooms to sautéed onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes until the ingredients begin to stick to the base of your pot, then add thyme and stir through well, followed by 3/4 of your hot stock
Simmer for 25-30 minutes
Remove from heat, transfer to blender and blitz until smooth, using the remaining stock to adjust the consistency if need be, blitz again
Taste and adjust seasoning if required
Ladle into your martini glasses, top with fresh herbs, salt and or pepper and serve with fresh bread and generous lashings of vegan butter

Sweet Mung Bean Soup

This versatile dish is the prefect antidote to all the over-indulgences of the silly season. Tried and tested, this recipe was given to me by my gorgeous father-in-law who has been making this hydrating and nutritious sweet dessert-soup (known in Cantonese as lucdousa) for more than 30 years.

Traditionally the Chinese enjoy this soup after a meal, or between courses but you’ll find my in-laws, myself and our toddler sons tucking into a big bowl for breakfast or for a late lunch. Full of fibre, folate, protein, calcium, iron and vitamin C (which as we know improves iron absorption). It makes plenty, which is just as well, because you’ll be going back for more, especially after a big workout, or day at the beach.

Lucdousa_ingredients
Lucdousa1

What you’ll need: (you’ll find eveything you need at any good Asian grocer)
2 cups of whole dried mung beans (Hepai)
1 cup of black-eyed beans
3-4 ltrs of water
1/4 cup which equates to roughly 10 tapioca sticks or flakes broken into one-inch pieces also known as (Bot Khoai Dai)

Tapioca_2

1/4 cup of tapioca pearls
1 and a half to two cups of organic raw sugar (start with less, you can always add more)
1/4 cup of shredded seaweed (Hoitai) 

Utensils:
Large pot
Small and large colander
Measuring cups
1 litre measuring jug
Wooden spoon

How to prepare:
Put mung bean and black-eyed beans into a large pot, cover with water and soak for 1 hour

Break up tapioca sticks into one-inch pieces and soak for 1 hour

Drain pot of beans and refill with 3 litres (you may use the 4th litre later) of fresh water.  Bring beans to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer cooking them for 30-mins or until soft

Meanwhile thoroughly wash and untangle seaweed in a small pot, to remove any possible sand (don’t soak the seaweed as you will loose the nutritional content) then drain in a small colander and set aside

When beans are al-dente add pre-soaked tapioca sticks

When beans are soft quickly rinse and drain tapioca pearls using your small colander

Then add them, your prewashed seaweed and the sugar stirring all three into the beans. Turn off the heat, then cover for 10 mins then eat

You’ll know you got this dish spot on if the tapioca pearls are transparent, if the soup is sweet and if there is ample liquid.  If this is not the case, just add another litre of water, a little more sugar and allow dish to sit for another 10 minutes

Once you have mastered this dish, you can adjust the amount of beans, tapioca or sugar content to your preferred taste.  You may also like to cut your shredded seaweed down a bit (into smaller pieces), that’s the way I like it

This dish can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days

Cauliflower and Butter Bean Soup

I’ve called this dish cauliflower and butter bean soup, but really you could use chickpeas, or cannelloni beans. For those of my readers who are Nutritionists I’d love to know exactly what’s in cauliflower, because it is the only food I ever crave.

This dish works well no matter what the season, and I alternative between two very different garnishes to keep things interesting; coriander, roasted macadamia nuts and fresh chilli. Or activated hazelnuts, freshly grated nutmeg, and a generous lashing of cold-pressed olive oil.

Cauliflower and butter bean soup

What you’ll need:
Large cauliflower head, leaves removed and cut into florets
1 can of organic butter beans or the like
Vegetable stock – I use 1-2 tablespoons of home-made vegetable stock. Massel vegetable stock is an alternative
800g Water
2 tablespoons of organic plain flour
2 tablespoons of good olive oil
Garnishes: coriander, roasted macadamia nuts, fresh chilli, freshly grated nutmeg, activated hazelnuts
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

How to prepare in your Thermomix:
Place water and vegetable stock into Thermomix
Add cauliflower
Cook for 15 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1
Add flour, oil and butter beans
Cook for a further 5 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1
Allow to sit for a few minutes, then blend for 1 minute going from speed 1 to 9
Plate up, garnish and serve

How to prepare on the stove:
Place water and vegetable stock into a large heavy based pot and bring to the boil
Add cauliflower
Cook on medium-high heat for 25 minutes, with lid on
If cauliflower is soft, add butter beans and cook for 3 minutes
Transfer to blender, blitz until smooth
Return soup to pot, add flour and oil
Cook for a further 5 minutes stirring continuously
Transfer back to blender, blitz again
Plate up, garnish and serve

Tuscan cabbage, silver beet and cannellini bean soup

Feeling inspired by the contents of our organic farmers’ veggie box, I came up with this flu-fighting, protein-rich soup just in time for winter. It takes no time to prepare and the colour and flavour is absolutely out of this world. This dish would make an impressive entree, a perfect mid-week meal or a lazy sunday lunch.

Kale and potato

What you’ll need Serves 4-6

This recipe requires a Thermomix, but can easily be adapted using Massel vegetable stock, a large pot and a food processor.  

2 organic potatoes peeled and cubed
700 mls of water
2 tablespoons of (Thermomix) vegetable stock
250g of organic tuscan cabbage (or kale) washed, leaves removed from stems and chopped
250g of organic silver beet washed and chopped
400g can of organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Cold pressed organic olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Kale soup

How to prepare
Add potatoes, water and stock to Thermomix
Cook for 15 minutes at 100 degrees, speed 1
Add tuscan cabbage and silver beet (you may need to push it down to fit)
Cook for 10 minutes at 100 degrees, reverse + speed 1
Turn off reverse function, then using a tea towel hold your hand over MC lid
Blend for 30-45 seconds by slowly going from speed 1 to speed 9

Pour into serving bowls
Add a handful of cannellini beans, a generous grind of pepper and sea salt to taste
Finish with a drizzle of olive oil
Serve immediately and consume any left-overs within 24 hours

Have you tried my autumn lentil soup?

lentil soup

Soup that is a cinch

With winter fast approaching lentil soup is a must-have in any cooks repertoire and this one is a cinch to make.  Lentils are high in protein, available in all mainstream grocery stores and cheap. It will leave you wanting, so you may want to double the quantities the next time you make it.

For those of you with a Thermomix, I’ve included an adapted recipe for you below.  So ‘cinch’ is an understatement… this can be ready and on the table in 25 minutes.

Lentil_soup

What you’ll need: Makes 4 servings

1 cup dry red lentils
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 cups vegetable stock
(I use either 2 teaspoons of Massel vegetable stock, dissolved in 4 cups of water or 1 tablespoon of my homemade vegetable stock diluted in 4-5 cups of water)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Pinch of quality sea salt
Fresh lemon (juice to taste)

Massel_pack_shot

How to prepare:

In large saucepan, saute onion and carrot in the vegetable oil for roughly 3 to 5 minutes

Add broth, lentils, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and salt

Once broth comes to the boil, reduce heat to a slow simmer then cover. You want to cook until the lentils are soft (allow 45 mins)

Once ready, remove bay leaves, plate up and garnish with a good squeeze of lemon juice accompanied with some tasty bread lathered in Nuttelex.  Olive bread is my current favourite!

Thermomix recipe – what you’ll need: Makes 8 servings

2 cups dry red lentils
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 carrots, washed, topped, tailed and cut into pieces
40g vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of homemade vegetable stock
8 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3-4 bay leaves
Pinch of quality sea salt
Fresh lemon (juice to taste)

Thermomix – how to prepare:

Place onion and carrots into TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7
Scrape down sides, add oil and saute for 2 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1

Add herbs, pepper, salt, lentils, stock and water (do not fill past max. marker)
Cook for 18 minutes at 100 degrees on reverse + speed 1
(you may need to take MC off at the 12 minute mark)

When done, remove bay leaves, plate up and garnish with a good squeeze of lemon juice
This soup can be made the day before and is often even better the next day