Soul Glow Soup

This is by far the orangest soup I’ve ever made. It’s almost luminous. Well, it’s hardly surprising, with almost every ingredient being a sunny orange colour and then there’s a dash of turmeric to really make this glooooow.

This actually started out as a simple lentil soup, but when I opened the veg drawer to grab a leek I was completely side tracked by all the orange veg in there. That poor old leek is still in the fridge patiently waiting his turn 2 days later. Don’t worry Leeky I haven’t forgotten about you.

Anyway, this is utterly delicious, crazily good for you and ridiculously easy. You just throw all of those wholesome delights into a pan, simmer for a bit and blend.

Sure this soup looks tantalising and vibrant but when you taste it you’ll really feel your soul glow.

Soul Glow Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 120g red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 litre of stock (you may need more if you prefer a thinner soup)

Method

  • Put all of your ingredients into a large pan, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, pop a lid on and let everything bubble away gently for about 20 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on it and add more liquid if you think it needs it.
  • Once the veg and lentils are nice and tender just blend until silky smooth and vibrantly orange.

Quick & Easy Ramen

My eldest had suggested we make ramen at home a couple of times. Usually I’ll jump all over a good food suggestion but for various reasons that just hadn’t happened with this noodley dish: Not enough eggs or no noodles – pretty fundamental stuff in the realm of ramen making.

Jump to Sunday lunchtime. His brothers were at football and rugby training. Eldest decides he’s making ramen for us all. Joy!

In our usual house style this ramen contained just what we happened to have nestling in the fridge so if I made it again I might well use different veg, or add chicken etc etc.

One thing I absolute would have added is dried seaweed. I was sure we had some sushi nori sheets but alas that cupboard was bare, so for this dish we had to do without.

Despite the sad absence of seaweed this is a bowl of delicious ramen on no small scale, packing a punch of savoury flavour. If you’re an umami addict, this will dance a jolly jig on your tastebuds. Its slurping sensational.

The eggs are dreamily soft in texture and oh so delicate in flavour floating in their full flavoured broth.

Regretfully these photos of mine really do not do my son’s fantastic ramen justice. Just as he was arranging the eggs I had the bright idea to include this in my blog. By this point his brothers were back from training, my husband was freezing from spectating hours of junior sports. Everyone was frankly getting hangry! So this was the best I could manage before the bowls were snatched away with tuts and evil glares.

Ramen

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 250g noodles
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped (if you’re not a fan of chilli heat just leave this out)
  • A bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 1 litre of hot chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of miso paste
  • A couple of large handfuls of edamame beans
  • A couple of handfuls of chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • A packet of ready to eat quorn chicken slices, chopped or use cooked chicken
  • A couple of sheets of seaweed, torn or chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 teaspoons of sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce

Method

  • Cook your noodles according to the packet directions. Once cooked drain and keep warm in the pan.
  • Meanwhile put all of the ingredients up to and including the seaweed into a large pot and simmer for about 10 minutes. You just want a nice gentle bubble.
  • To serve divide the noodles between your bowls and pour over the broth. Artfully arrange your boiled eggs and scatter over the sesame seeds.
  • I just plonked the soy sauce on the table for everyone to serve themselves. You might also opt to serve with lime wedges and / or extra chilli.

Heart Warming Lentil Soup with Filini Pasta

As my lovely mom would say with a smirk “the nights are fair drawing in”. Well this is the perfect bowl of warming, wholesome soul filling food we could all do with at this time of year.

This soup wins gold medals in so many categories: wholesome, nutritious, warming, moreish, satisfying, simple to make and blooming delicious.

When I was in the supermarket I came across pasta called Filini from a brand called Lubella and this became the inspiration for this soup. I discovered that ‘filini’ means little threads. To my mind it resembles short pieces if vermicelli.

I’ve no idea if this is a readily available pasta, which is why I’ve suggested broken up vermicelli as an alternative for this recipe. By the same token, I have noticed over recent months that smaller local shops rarely stock vermicelli and if that’s the case for you just use noodles. The key thing here is to have some soulful, tender carbs in among this soupy beaut.

A small aside to anyone feeding younger children, huddle in now this is our little secret: if I add noodles or pasta to any soup it’s an instant hit with kids. That means they eat their veg without complaint. Sneaky.

Slice up plenty of fresh crusty bread and you’re onto a winner of a dinner.

Heart Warming Lentil Soup with Filini

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 200g mung dal lentils or red lentils
  • 2 litres of hot stock (veg, chicken or beef would all work)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100g Cavolo Nero or kale, tough middle rib removed and chopped into fairly small bits
  • 100g filini (or vermicelli, broken into smaller pieces about 4cm long)
  • A small bunch of fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • In a large pan melt the butter over a medium heat. Fry the onions for about 8 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden.
  • Stir in the garlic and turmeric and cook for a further minute or so.
  • Now tip in the lentils and pour over the stock.
  • Once the stock is simmering away nicely pop a lid on your pan and just let everything bubble gently for 10 minutes.
  • At this point you can tip in the chickpeas, cavolo nero and broken up vermicelli, stir and then simmer for another 10 minutes or until the lentils and vermicelli are tender.
  • Turn out the heat and just before serving add the chopped coriander. Check the seasoning and add a little salt if you think it needs it. I’d recommend a lovely big grinding of black pepper.
  • Serve generously in your favourite bowls and feel your heart, tummy and soul light up with gratitude.

Light & Lemony Beetroot Soup

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather this week. So for lunch yesterday my body was calling out for a big bowl of nourishing soup. A little rummage in the fridge and a couple of moments later I was armed with a beautiful bunch of beetroot and a few other select ingredients to chuck in the soup pan.

By absolute coincidence pretty much everything in this nourishing soup is helpful if you are in need of a health boost: beetroot is packed with antioxidants and great for nurturing our immunity; garlic is well known for its antibiotic properties, which are invaluable in fighting colds and coughs; and of course lemons are bursting with Vitamin C. I could go on by mentioning the antibacterial properties of onions etc but you get the picture, this soup is really good for you. Really really good for you.

But the crucial thing here is that this lemony beetroot soup is also seriously delicious. Everyone scraped their bowls clean.

Beetroot soup is so velvety smooth, like a soft cosy blanket, that I’d usually categorise it as Winter comfort food. But adding the lemon brings a subtle citrus zing to the party, which makes this soup ideal during these warmer months.

Whether you are feeling a tad low or on top of the world one thing’s for sure, you will feel all the better for eating a bowl of this alluring deep purple soup.

Lemony Beetroot Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g raw beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 potato, roughly chopped
  • 1 litre beef stock (use veg or chicken if you prefer)
  • Juice of half a lemon

Method

  • Put all of the ingredients, except the lemon, into a large pan and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the veg is nice and tender.
  • Blend the soup until it is velvety smooth. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Serve with your favourite bread or crackers, we had brioche rolls with Dijon mustard and cheddar cheese.

Kind of Ramen Noodles

Soul food, that’s what this is. This is for those days when your body craves a healthy veg filled bowl of goodness but you still want a smack of flavour and a full tummy.

The important thing for me about comfort food or soul food is that I usually want to eat it when I’m a little lower on energy and I’m definitely not in the mood to stand for ages at the stove.

This soul bowl ticks all the boxes.  There’s no need for over exuberant chopping, no frying, just huge flavours ready to spoon up in about 20 minutes.

As I say with most of my recipes you can use any veg you like (try mushrooms, grated carrot or beansprouts), whatever noodles are in your cupboard and you can definitely get creative with the flavours you add.  Go wild, your soul will thank you.

Kind of Ramen

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • A piece of ginger about 4cm, finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • A small bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 1.5 litres of stock
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
  • 200g of peas or edamame beans
  • A couple of handfuls of green leafy veg such as spinach or kale, chopped
  • 4 nests of dried noodles
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • A packet of sushi seaweed (or any other seaweed you fancy), torn into spoonable sized pieces
  • A small packet of coriander, chopped (I use the stalks and the leaves)
  • A couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds

Method

  • Pop your ginger, garlic, onions, soy sauce, lime and stock into a large bowl. Bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling add the noodles and cook according to the packet instructions.
  • A couple of minutes before the noodles are ready, add the peas and seaweed. Simmer.
  • Once everything is perfectly cooked, use a slotted spoon to serve the noodles into 4 waiting bowls. Now ladle the broth over the top.
  • Finally, sprinkle over the chilli, coriander and sesame seeds.
  • You can add a splash more soy sauce or lime juice if you like.

One Pot Mini Pasta Marvel

This quick and easy pot of pasta is packed with flavour to really deliver full on satisfaction.

I made this for lunch today. The kids are off school, we ate all the bread at breakfast, I didn’t have much time. Enter one pot mini pasta marvel. And this, my friends, really is a one pot deal. I hate it when you start cooking a ‘one pot’ meal only to discover half way through that you have add a pre-cooked ingredient, like rice or potatoes or roasted veg.

As with most of my recipes you can chop and change these ingredients at your pleasure. So you might heat up a veggie or a beef stock. Bored of carrots? Try sweet potatoes. Out of fresh veg? Use frozen spinach, peas or sweetcorn. Don’t have mini pasta in your store cupboard? Just break up spaghetti into small pieces.

I’d say this pot of loveliness is a cross between soup and a hearty (albeit mini) pasta dish. If you are in the mood for a bowl of soup just add more liquid. If a soft and tender bowl of pasta is more your thing then simmer without a lid on your pan for the last couple of minutes.

One Pot Mini Pasta Marvel

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 litre of stock (use 1.5 litres if you’re going for a soupy texture)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, fairly finely diced
  • 1 medium potato, fairly finely diced
  • 300g small pasta shapes such as stellini, ditalini or those tiny alphabet shapes
  • A couple of pinches of oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • A couple of mushrooms, diced
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • A tablespoon or so of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan and extra for serving
  • Black pepper

Method

  • Heat your stock in a large pan. While you wait for it come up to a simmer add the onions.
  • Once the stock is simmering chuck in the chopped potato and carrots. Simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
  • Now pour in the pasta shapes, oregano, tomato puree and mushrooms. Continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until the pasta and veg are tender. Stir quite frequently as I find these rascal pasta shapes have a tendency to stick to the pan.
  • Turn off the heat, stir in the herbs and parmesan. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes while you gather your bowls / spoons / fellow diners.
  • Serve with a grinding of black pepper and an extra sprinkle of grated parmesan.