Sugar Snap Pea and Mint Soup

Well…helloooo green soup and helloooo lunch !!! Come on, let’s be honest here, we are friends, and I am sure you expected nothing less from me than …something….healthy and green.

Oh, before I start rambling….. Sugar Snap Peas are also known as Snap Peas. These guys are identical !!! Why the word ‘sugar’ is included, I have no clue. Also, did you know that the Snap Pea or Sugar Snap Pea is a combination of the Snow Pea and the Garden Pea hmmmmmm???  Well, I didn’t know this. I have never seen them on this side of the world, but clearly they are around. Okay, well apart from that, these guys are super high in nutritional benefits…so Sugar Snap Peas are the way to go !

I have mentioned this tons of times about how things get created just from the contents of my fridge, blah blah blah….yeah, I know, you are probably thinking….blah blah blah, there she goes again….Anyway, often I do not plan my meals, I know it is something I am working on, and often I go shopping and just load up the trolley with every fruit and vegetable that looks amazing, in moderation of course….  Then, the usual scenario takes place, I cook, veggies get used up and then often there is always a little something left just begging to be used (this time, sugar snap peas!) Then I have to rattle my brain and think again.  Well, with the mint starting to flourish in the garden thanks to the rains we have been experiencing, it was a no brainer, and what better way than to blend it all into a nice healthy thick soup.

I think I’m a little obsessed with the blender, anyway, obsessed or not, this soup was perfect and light, and absolutely great for lunch.

Sugar Snap Pea and Mint Soup

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Total time:  25 minutes

Serves 1

Ingredients:

125 grams sugar snap peas

a little oil for saute’ing

1/2 cup diced onion

125 grams diced potato

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves

For serving:  1 teaspoon fresh  lemon juice

Instructions:

Blanch the sugar snap peas in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Remove them from the boiling water and immediately put them in a bowl of iced water, to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

In a small pot, add the oil and saute’ the onions until translucent.  Add the potato and stock and reduce the heat.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  Add a little water to the pot if necessary to prevent burning or sticking to the pot. Remove from the heat and place in the blender.

Remove the sugar snap peas from the iced water and roughly chop them up and place them into the blender with the onion and potato. Add the mint. Blend, pulse, blend until it reaches the consistency you are wanting. Add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and serve.

This soup is great at room temperature or heated up.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

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Sweet Chilli Coriander Butternut with Almond Spaghetti

So, although I am not big on pasta….I know….crazy hey…..this is one amazing dish.  I can’t take all the credit though, as I first came across a recipe at the back of an Udon Noodles packet and from there I was sold ! It was a matter of I just had to try it, no questions asked.  I have slightly adapted the recipe with a bit of my spin on things and also increased quantities where I found necessary.  This is pretty much a one pan meal if you are using Udon Noodles  but if not, a pot is required for the cooking of the spaghetti…..

Just a heads up with the butternut, if you are chopping it up in cubes, try not make the cubes too small, as when they are cooking they may fall apart. Rather chop them a bit too big, as then they can always be halved if necessary. (You can see I learned by my mistakes here LOL)

I have also used Gluten-Free Spaghetti due to the intolerance thing, but seriously Udon Noodles will be great and are great.  They are so cushiony and soft and kind of just soak up the juices :-).

Sweet Chilli Coriander Butternut with Almond Spaghetti

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Total time:  40 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

A little coconut oil for frying

2 large garlic cloves, chopped *

2 Tablespoons ginger, chopped finely *

900 grams – 1 Kilogram butternut cubes

1/2 cup water (to be used to prevent the butternut from sticking)

400 grams Udon Noodles or Gluten Free Spaghetti

6 heaped Tablespoons of Sweet Chilli Sauce (plus more for later! )

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus extra if necessary

2 – 3 large handful of fresh coriander, chopped (stalks included)

400 grams almonds, dry toasted (plus extra if you want)

Instructions:

Stir fry in a little oil the garlic, ginger and butternut cubes. add a little water to prevent sticking. Add the balance of the water.  Cover the pan and let simmer for about 5 – 8 minutes.  Periodically check that the butternut is not cooking too much and also check the water content.  Again, if it is sticking add a little more water. The butternut needs to be a little tender at this point and not falling apart.

Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, and then add to the butternut in the pan with the sweet chilli sauce.  Stir gently through. Add the lemon juice, coriander and almonds.

You may need to add a little more water to loosen it up, or you may prefer to add a little more sweet chilli sauce (I added more chilli sauce….no surprise there 🙂 )  

Stir through and serve hot with  extra toasted almonds.

Enjoy:-)

NB*

  • With regards to the garlic, I used the biggest garlic cloves I can find.
  • With regards to the ginger, don’t be afraid to heap up that ginger on the tablespoon.

To Dry Toast Almonds:  Place in a saucepan, on the stove on medium heat.  Do not add any oil, as nuts have their own natural oils.  Stir and toss around constantly until the nuts are a nice golden brown.  Remove from the heat, and allow to cool.

Cauliflower Pizza Base with Brinjal Tomato Pesto and Double Cheese Topping

Oh yes, this is happening !!! …. The Cauliflower Pizza Base from decades ago is now being relived. Okay, maybe not ‘decades’ but at least a decade….  Shock and horror !  I am bringing back the Cauliflower Pizza Base in all its form and glory. Seriously, there isn’t anything wrong with going into the archives and digging out an old antiquated recipe is there?  Especially if it was all great and successful ‘in its day’…..come on guys, work with me here….this is awesome !!! and it is healthy !!!, and it is low carb !!! (if you are into that kind of thing). Back in the day, when I first made this Cauliflower Pizza Base, of course I was dubious, I mean, who wouldn’t be…Cauliflower isn’t the most tastiest veg unless smothered in cheese…right? well, at the time, that was the only way I would eat Cauliflower…you know the fave veggie dish then, was cauliflower cheese sauce (what is not to love). Anyway, so I remember finding a recipe on Pinterest, but of course didn’t have the exact ingredients, so subbed here and there, and the end result was amazing!  I actually surprised myself, and of course to sweeten matters, I then loaded it with cheese, bacon, more cheese, peppers and just for good measure…even more cheese.  Need I say the pizza was awesome.

Now, years later…this pizza may not be drowning in cheese but it was just so good, I just had to share….

Cauliflower Pizza Base with Brinjal Tomato Pesto and Double Cheese Topping

Preparation time:  20  minutes

Cooking time:  30 – 40 minutes

Total time:  50 – 60 minutes

Serves 1 or 2

Ingredients:

2 cups (250 milliliters) Cauliflower Rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1/3 cup (80 milliliters) grated mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup (80 milliliters) grated white cheddar cheese

1 egg

1 teaspoon dried oregano/origanum

1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil

For the topping:  

Tomato pesto

Grilled brinjal/Eggplant

Grated mozzarella cheese

Feta

Chopped fresh basil

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 390 degrees Fahrenheit (I used a fan oven).

Microwave cauliflower rice for 3 minutes 50 seconds.  Place in the middle of a dish cloth, bring up the sides of the cloth, twist and ring out as much water as possible from the cooked cauliflower.  The cauliflower will be scorching hot, so be careful not to burn your hands.  Do this squishing and twisting of the cloth with the cauliflower in several times.  Let it rest for a few minutes and do it again.  Remember the more water left in the cauliflower, the more soggy your pizza base will be!

Once all the water is out, spoon the dried cauliflower into a large bowl. At this stage it will be all mashed together and will look minute in size.  Add all of the other base ingredients and mix together with a spoon. The mixture may feel a bit wet, but form a ball with it as best you can and then flatten it on a greased baking tray with greased baking paper or better still if you have a silicone mat (this works so well).  Flatten it to the thickness you want.  I personally like mine to be really quite thin.  Then place in the oven for about 30 minutes.  By this time it should be a nice golden brown.  Take it out of the oven and carefully turn it over.  Let it cook on the opposite side for an extra 5 – 10 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and then put the topping on (excluding the fresh basil) and return it to the oven for another 5 minutes.  Just before serving add a little more feta if you want and the fresh chopped basil.

Enjoy 🙂

To make your own Cauliflower Rice:  Cut a head of cauliflower in half.  This will make it easier.  Then with a sharp knife slice and chop the florets until it resembles ‘rice’.  This can be a bit messy and a bit time consuming, but it is worth it.  Alternatively, if you have a food processor, process the florets by pulsing until it resembles ‘rice’.

High Protein Vegetable Soup with Crunchy Golden Roasted Chickpeas

I absolutely love soup.  There is just something about homemade soup …. My mom was the soup maker of all time.  In fact, she was the Queen at making her famous soup.  She had this big old black pot, which was her soup pot, and she would throw in a cup of this and a cup of that, grate veggies and stir everything with a big wooden spoon.  Then bread was buttered and cut in half in a triangle effect and soon we were enjoying this amazing miracle of mom’s soup. Fast-forward ….a few years…okay many years….I still can’t get my mom’s soup to taste as great as when my mom made it….. It must be that pot…and I don’t have the pot.

So, after many years of trying, failing and crying I decided to do my own version of an awesome hearty soup.  Pure veggies with loads of nutrition, no big surprise there.   I am not too pedantic about the actual quantities of the vegetables, but the combination of the vegetables and the chickpeas work really well together. I like this soup thick-ish, and smooth, so using the blender really helps getting it to perfection. This recipe came about from just vegetables I had in the fridge.  This happens often around here…..I am seeing a pattern…

High Protein Vegetable Soup with Crunchy Golden Roasted Chickpeas

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  25 minutes

Total time:  45 minutes

Makes 9 cups

Ingredients:

a little oil for saute’ing

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

6 long celery stalks and tops, chopped

approximately 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) chopped carrots

2 large zucchini’s, chopped (approximately 350 grams)

2 cups cooked chickpeas

salt and pepper to taste

dried origanum

2 cups vegetable stock

For the topping:  Dry roasted chickpeas – optional

Instructions:

In a large pot, and on medium heat, saute the onions until just translucent. Add the green pepper, celery and  celery tops.  Stir around for about a minute and then add the carrots, zucchini’s, chickpeas, origanum and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally and then reduce the temperature to simmer with the lid on the pot.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.  Taste.  Season with salt and pepper. Add more origanum if you feel it is needed. Taste. Then, add the vegetables to the blender.  Blend until the vegetables reach the consistency you want.

Serve hot and with some crunchy roasted chickpeas.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*

This soup freezes well in a sealed container.

To Dry Roast Chickpeas:  Chickpeas must be cooked.  Drizzle over olive oil, salt and pepper. Then place on a baking tray in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Remember as the roasted chickpeas cool, they will get a bit more crisp.

 

Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Cottage Cheese Phyllo Tart

Ummmm yes please !

I have finally come to the realization that I REALLY enjoy zucchini’s !, courgettes, or marrows or whatever you guys call them. (Sorry I did not mean to shout, I really just wanted to emphasize how much I really do enjoy them) It’s not a bad thing though as they are healthy, low carbs… but seriously, look at all my posts and 90% of them have zucchini’s in them !!!! (Okay, I still am getting used to the idea of calling what I know as ‘marrow’s’, zucchini’s or courgettes….I know I am carrying on about it, but this is a major for me.

So, this little savoury tart I have done like a billion times, over the years.  I decided that it clearly is good, and it is clearly time to share.  The combination of the marrows zucchini’s and cottage cheese is just delicious.  I have made it with both phyllo and puff.  Both are good, so basically when I am in this tart mood I use whatever pastry I have on hand, so clearly anything goes! (did you notice how many times I said ‘clearly’ in this paragraph?….yip! I am losing it !!!)

Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Cottage Cheese Phyllo Tart

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  30 – 45 minutes

Total time:  40 – 55 minutes

Ingredients:

6 – 8 sheets of phyllo pastry

1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter, plus more if necessary

250 gram plain chunky cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons basil pesto (be generous)

8 small zucchini’s, sliced with a potato peeler

a handful of baby spinach, sliced finely

4 Jumbo-sized free-range eggs

1 cup (250 ml) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry toasted pumpkin seeds

To Serve:  Rocket and Sour Cream

Instructions:

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease an oven proof dish approximately 23 x 28 x 5 centimeters / 9 x 11 x 2 inches in size.

Layer one sheet of your phyllo pastry into the dish and brush the pastry with some melted butter.  Continue to layer and brush with butter until all the sheets of phyllo are finished.

Then blanch the sliced zucchini’s in boiling water for a few seconds, drain and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl add the cottage cheese and pesto.  Taste and if needed season with salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture onto the phyllo pastry.

In another bowl, add the zucchini, baby spinach, eggs and feta. Mix well. Then stir in half of the dry toasted pumpkin seeds.

Spoon the zucchini mixture over the cottage cheese mixture, and top with the remainder of the pumpkin seeds.

Place in oven and bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until egg has set and phyllo is golden brown.

Serve with rocket and sour cream.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  If you find that your phyllo is browning too quickly, cover the exposed phyllo with tin foil, so that it does not burn.

 

Refreshing Cucumber Chia Drink with a ‘kick’

It is so … Greeeeeen…… A-gain !!! Can you handle it?  I am wondering if I can handle it. Well, at least I did put a bit of yellow with it, even if it is the flower to make it a little bit more pretty…apologies to all out there that are not into green. Talking of green, have you read about purple being the new green?  I am talking about food…you know that green veggies are always classed as healthy….well now it apparently is purple.  Well, I have yet to see purple veggies here on this side of the world, so I guess, I will still be eating green!

This is really such a great little creation, thanks to the contents of my fridge. The ‘kick’ is the perfect ‘kick’ and this little creation would not be as great as it is without it.  If you do try this, feel free to bump the quantity up of the ‘kick’…the worst it could do is put hairs on your chest!

Refreshing Cucumber Chia Drink with a ‘kick’

Total time:  6 minutes

Makes just over 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cucumber

1 cup tightly packed baby spinach leaves

1/2 – 1 cup mint leaves

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 – 5 Tablespoons water (optional, and depends on consistency you like)

1/2 – 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (‘The Kick’), or more

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth.

Have immediately or put in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Spiralized Zucchini with Snap Pea Mint Pesto and Crispy Black-Eyed Peas

I have been dying to post this….well not literally dying, but you know what I mean. I like my spiralized zucchini  raw, so this is the perfect summertime meal.  It is cool and refreshing, and light. Did you notice, I said, ‘zucchini’ instead of ‘marrow’…aren’t you proud of me?  Now this way, no one will get confused !!!

Mint is one of those amazing herbs.  I totally love it.  Mint leaves end up in salads, green tea, you name it, if I can find a place for it to be appreciated, I will.

Now for the Black-Eyed Peas….or is it a bean…I think it is both….whatever, I know for sure it is a legume !   Anyway, I am calling it a pea for now, and I have to admit, I honestly have never given this poor pea much credit ! (because I have this thing about ‘peas’ but lets not go there as this will end up being a post of absolute crazed contradiction, that even I do not understand) But, they are amazing roasted, and all crisped up ….it is like a chickpea.  So now I am totally on the Black-Eyed Pea train ….

Spiralized Zucchini with Snap Pea Mint Pesto and Crispy Black-Eyed Peas

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Total time:  40 minutes

Ingredients:

Zucchini/Courgette/Marrow, spiralized

Black-Eyed Peas, cooked and roasted.

For the Pesto: 

1/2 cup packed chopped snap peas

1/2 cup packed chopped celery

1/2 cup packed chopped baby spinach

1/4 cup packed chopped mint

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

This makes 1 cup of Pesto

Instructions:

Place all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend till smooth or the consistency you want.  With regards to the olive oil, only put 2 tablespoons in at first and if you feel you want a slightly thinner consistency then add in the extra.

To roast the black-eyed peas:  Place the cooked peas onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit and let roast until crisp. Remember they will crisp up further whilst cooling once out of the oven.

To assemble:  Place the spiralized zucchini in a bowl and toss through the pesto. Don’t mix the peas through the pesto in the bowl before serving as they will go soft. When serving, top with the crispy black-eyed peas on the individual plates.

Enjoy 🙂

Berry and Chia Smoothie

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I could not resist this !!! What is better than a quick throw together morning smoothie.  I feel like I have just discovered my blender again, and can’t resist playing with it !!! I literally have been making smoothies and juices all week….I know….quite sad hey, but I like playing in my kitchen, and I like just sprucing the breakfast ideas up, otherwise it gets a tad boring. Not only that, I scrapped together the last of the strawberries here, so I had to take full advantage.

I was really on the fence about the banana thing…I am weird, I have this thing about bananas.  I like them, and then sometimes I don’t.  I love them in a fruit salad, banana bread and even in muffins, but then sometimes the thought of putting a banana into say a smoothie…….it doesn’t gross me out, it is just like…do I have to? should I?  Then, I do, and I love the smoothie….  Yes, just bare with me, I have my moments.

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Berry and Chia Smoothie

Preparation time:  5 minutes

Total time:  8 minutes

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

100 grams fresh strawberries, chopped

100 grams fresh blueberries

100 grams milk of your choice

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 banana (fresh or frozen)

Instructions:

Bomb all of the above ingredients into a blender and blend for about 2-3 minutes until nice and smooth. Pour or scoop into a glass.

Enjoy 🙂

Crustless Swiss Chard and Zucchini (Courgette/Marrow) Quiche

Now this is the easiest Quiche ever !!! You could probably throw it all together with your eyes closed, I am not kidding !

Three key ingredients only and then whatever filling your heart desires. 🙂

This time my filling consisted of Swiss chard, cheese (obvs) and zucchini’s.(seems weird me calling them this, as I have known them my whole life as ‘marrows’ but I know this has confused some people, so I am trying, to continue to call them zucchini’s here on my blog). Anyway…the beauty with this recipe is, literally anything goes.  I generally like to bump it up and put enough filling together so it is quite thick and I can barely mix it up with a spoon, that way I know the filling with be thick and not soggy. There really is no hard and fast rules with this one when it comes to quantity, just go with your gut. Oh, and by the way, this quiche does not have to be gluten-free, just use a normal flour if you are not gluten intolerant.

Crustless Swiss Chard and Zucchini (Courgette/Marrow) Quiche

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  20 – 30 minutes

Total time:  30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients:

350 millilitres milk of your choice

2 – 3  heaped Tablespoons of gluten-free flour * (oh, and don’t be shy, heap that spoon up!) 

4 free-range extra-large/jumbo eggs

Filling:

1 large onion, diced

1 – 2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely

3 cups packed chopped and shredded Swiss chard

3 large zucchini (courgette/marrow)* (approx 150 gram each)

2 cups grated matured cheddar cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:                                 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small pan on medium heat, saute’ the onion and garlic together.  Set aside.

With you potato peeler, peel the zucchini/courgette length-ways, all around.  I leave the middle watery area alone, as that could make the Quiche a bit mushy. Don’t throw these away, they can be chopped and used for another meal..just saying 🙂 

Now this is the easy part.  In a large bowl, bomb all the ingredients in together, (milk, flour, eggs, onion, garlic, Swiss chard, zucchini/courgette, cheese, salt and pepper) Mix well.

Then, place all the mixed ingredients into a greased dish.  (The dish I used is a 6.5 x 11 inch /16.5 x 28 centimeter oven proof dish.)

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Once done, remove from the oven.

Enjoy 🙂

  •  I used Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour.

 

 

Meatless Chilli Quinoa Patties

I have created a Meatless Chilli Quinoa Pattie hubby monster…and I mean this in the most loving way ever !  If the hubby could, he would eat this all day and everyday. This Chilli Quinoa Pattie meal has become one of the hubby’s absolute faves!

Seriously, I am not complaining.  All it is, is one large bowl, and it is a matter of chop, chop, chop and bomb…it doesn’t get easier than that. Oh, then there is the messy hand bit, to make the patties, but hey, what’s a little mess between friends…

These Chilli Quinoa Patties are divine no matter how you choose to eat them. Personally I love mine with a bunch of roasted vegetables or salad….but you knew that already, so that was a bit of useless information…ummm sorry. The patties themselves are beautifully moist inside, so don’t really have the need to be doused in sauce, if any, to be honest.

Meatless Chilli Quinoa Patties 

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  45 minutes

Total time:  1 hour

Makes between 9 and 12 (depending on size)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup diced white onion

2  1/2 cups diced peppers (I used a red, yellow and green pepper)

3 cups grated matured cheddar cheese

2-3 discs of feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto

4 Tablespoon sun-dried tomato, chopped (I buy the one in oil, but do not use the oil)

1 jumbo-sized egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs)

1 heaped teaspoon of chilli powder

2 heaped teaspoons each of dried oregano and dried parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients.  Mix very well and make into patties.

Place on a lightly greased non stick baking tray.

Bake in the oven until golden brown.

Enjoy 🙂