Tomato and Red Lentil Soup

20140612_122332Soup is normally a winter thing in our house, but I decided to try make a summery soup this week. It has a lovely Mediterranean flavour, it’s a nice healthy lunch and is dead easy to make. It could also be frozen and kept for when you need a lunch quick!

You will need: 4 fresh tomatoes, 1 onion, 600ml vegetable stock, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 200g red lentils, a teaspoon basil, pinch of salt, a little olive oil.

Dice your onion and cook until brown in a large saucepan with a little olive oil. Pop the lentils in the pan, then pour 3/4 stock over them. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Chop your fresh tomatoes into lovely big chunks.2014-06-18 11.21.10 Add the tin of tomatoes to your saucepan and  give everything a good stir. Simmer for another 10 minutes and add the fresh tomato, basil and salt. Stir, leave for 5 minutes and you’re done.tomato lentil soup

This soup tastes lovely and fresh, even though the core ingredients will be in your cupboards. It’s a good one to make when you’ve ran out of food as well! If you want to add some more spice, I would recommend a little paprika and cayenne pepper for a nice smoky taste. It is quite a simple recipe so add as much or little as you like.

Love, Mrs Gardom

Spicy Carrot and Coriander Soup

carrot and coriander soupI just love soup but I’ve found myself sticking to old favourites – broccoli and cashew, mushroom, lentil (see the links at the bottom of the page), so I’ve tried a new one! I like soup with a nice hit of spice so this carrot and coriander also has a big spoon of curry paste. It’s really simple, you just need to cook it for a while, it’s also a fab orange colour so would look great if you were entertaining.

You will need: 2 onions, 4 large potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 tablespoon hot curry paste (I used Madras), 2 teaspoons coriander, a teaspoon butter, 600ml vegetable stock, salt and pepper.

Dice the onions and pop them in a large saucepan with the butter. After 3 minutes add your curry paste and stir so the onions are coated. Dice the carrots and add to the pan with half the veg stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Dice the potatoes and add to the pan. Simmer for half an hour then add the coriander. carrot and coriander soupStir everything together and simmer for another 5 minutes. Blend everything together until it is a nice smooth consistency, add the rest of the stock and stir. Higher the heat and cook for another 5 minutes then serve.

This is a gorgeous soup, really spicy, really tasty and a healthy lunch. It’s also vegan, but if you wanted to add some double cream you could. It will also freeze, if you put the leftover soup into tupperware.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad

Vegan Pesto Pasta SaladI’ve recently started a new job and Sam has been working loads so cooking excellent food and blogging about it has kind of been on the backburner this week! As lunch times are either just before or just after work I wanted to make something quick and healthy that could stay in the fridge. So I made my pesto pasta salad. I always make this for buffets or family parties because it is just so simple yet the taste and texture are awesome. These quantities are for a massive batch that you can shove in a bowl, leave in the fridge, and grab yourself a plate in a rush but if you want to make smaller portions, go ahead!

You will need: 200g Fusili, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 5 tablespoons of green pesto (I love pesto!), 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, a good handful of walnuts, 100g pitted queen olives and 25g chopped nuts.

Pop your pasta in a pan and cook (I cook mine for 12 minutes). When it is done to your liking, drain in a colander and leave to cool. Take a large salad bowl and pour the cool pasta in. First of all add your pesto and give it a really good stir with a wooden spoon. Slice your olives and add them along with the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking (I used aromat, black pepper, and some basil) and make sure everything is mixed together.Vegan Pesto Pata Salad

And that’s it. A really gorgeous healthy meal that takes no time to cook and is a bit different from an egg mayo sarnie. It’s also vegan (hurrah!) but if you fancy you could put some chunks of mozzarella or feta in. In fact, I am tucking into a plate myself now.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Crunchy Cauliflower Crumble

DSCF1615Oooh, use of alliteration there, folks! This is a dead quick and simple recipe – super healthy, really tasty and a good sunday roast alternative. I love apple crumble and cauliflower cheese and this is a strange fusion of the two – it tastes good though, promise! Crunchy broccoli and cauliflower and baked mushrooms covered with crunchy cheesy breadcrumbs – simple! Also if you’re vegan, leave out the cheese and add a bit of olive oil to the breadcrumb mix instead.

You will need: 1 small cauliflower, 1/2 broccoli, 2 slices of breads worth of breadcrumbs, 35g cheddar cheese, 150g mushrooms, salt, pepper, Aromat, teaspoon sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Chop your broccoli and cauliflower into chunks, and pop in a pan of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes (make sure they aren’t too squishy) and drain in a colander. Grate the cheese and then mix the cheese, breadcumbs, a pinch salt, pinch of pepper, seeds and a pinch of Aromat in a bowl. Chop your mushrooms in half and wash them.

DSCF1604Place the broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower chunks into a casserole dish and pour the cheesy mixture over the top, make sure everything is covered. Then put in the oven for 15 minutes and you’re done!

DSCF1609You don’t have to just use broccoli and cauliflower – I’ve used potatoes and carrots for this recipe. As I said, it’s a really simple meal, but nice and hearty. Serve with crispy roast potatoes and yorkshire puddings for a great sunday roast or have it with a nice salad for tea, like we did.

Love, Mrs Gardom

It’s Scouse Day!!! Blind Scouse Recipe

 

DSCF1485So today is International Scouse Day – if you are unaware of the delights of Liverpudlian cuisine, Scouse is a thick chunky stew served with crusty bread and it dates back to 1706, and is traditionally a dish eaten by sailors (according to Wikipedia, anyway). My Grandad makes the best Scouse in the world. That’s just a fact. I remember eating it as a little kid in my Grandparent’s dining room – awesome. Blind Scouse is the term for Scouse without meat (don’t worry though this one doesn’t involve boiled animal bones) – it is Scouse day and we shall eat Scouse! Here’s how…

You will need: 1 large onion, 3 large carrots, 4 large potatoes, 200g lentils/ pearl barley broth mix, 700ml water, 1 vegetable stock cube, salt.

Soak your pearl barley mix in hot wtaer for as long as possible (most people say overnight but I’m never that organised, an hour or two will be fine). Chop up your carrots, onion and potato and pop in a large pan. Add your water and then put your stock cube in the pan and crush it with a spoon. Then add you barley mix. Have a good stir, pop a lid on the pan and leave for an hour. DSCF1472Give another good stir, add a bit of salt and pepper, and a splash more water and leave for half an hour. Season to taste (I think it should be really salty) and serve with crusty bread and loads of butter.  2014-02-28 18.38.49This is the ultimate homely, wholesome, tasty tea. A proper English classic. I love my city, and the fact it has it’s own dish is awesome. If you’re a Liverpool local or have never heard of the stuff, give it a try!

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Crunchy Sunflower Crackers

DSCF1445I haven’t made crackers before – but we eat cheese and crackers for lunch all the time. On Bake Off this year they made crackers and it didn’t look too tricky so I thought I’d have a bash myself. I didn’t have any semolina in (which normally dries out crackers) so I used plain flour instead. I think they turned out quite well – crumbly and crunchy, with a nice olive oil flavour. Have a go yourself!

You will need: 200g plain flour, 70ml olive oil, 150ml water, 20g sunflower seeds, pinch mixed herbs and salt.

First of all put the plain flour and olive oil in a mixer, use a dough hook attachment and mix everything. Slowly add the water by tablespoon and keep mixing. Add the salt, mixed herbs and half the sunflower seeds.  Squeeze the dough together into a ball and knead for 5 minutes. The dough is quite tough so you have to really work those biceps! DSCF1416Leave for five minutes, and turn your oven onto the highest heat. Cut the dough into thirds, roll each third out as thinly as possible. Some people use pasta makers – which seems a good idea (they’re a bit pricey so I used a rolling pin). Sprinkle the leftover sunflower seeds onto the rolled out dough, flip it and roll again. Use a small cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. DSCF1439Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and place the crackers on the sheet then brush them with a little olive oil. Place the crackers into the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Flip them over and put them in for another 3 minutes. Take the crackers out and place them on a wire rack to cool down. DSCF1448Eat with some lovely cheese and a chunk of butter or if you are vegan, try them with some tasty houmous. Or just have them as a nice healthy snack.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Grandma’s Lentil Soup

2014-02-20 17.17.56My Grandad is a butcher, so vegetarian cooking isn’t the most established tradition at my grandparents house but my Grandma makes the best veggie lentil soup whenever I’m there. It’s completely vegan, it’s full of goodness and has barely any fat. The slow cooking on a low heat really brings out the flavours and this is a lovely lunch.

You will need: 2 pints vegetable stock (my Grandma swears by organic stock cubes but it’s up to you), 1 cup of lentils, 1 large carrots, 1 large onion, 1 large potato, salt, pepper and mixed herbs.

2014-02-20 17.19.07Pour the stock into a large saucepan on a low heat. Peel your veggies, dice the onion and potato and slice your carrots. Add the carrots, lentils and onion to the pan. Cook on a low heat for an hour. Add the diced potato after an hour and leave to cook for another half hour. Season with slat, pepper and a big pinch of mixed herbs and serve.

2014-02-20 17.19.38This is a dead simple recipe, you just need a bit of time to let it cook. I’ve made this for my friends, my in laws, and obviously Sam and they all love it. It is a proper old fashioned soup, almost like a broth – absolutely full of flavour and so healthy.

Love, Mrs Gardom

 

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Broccoli and Cashew Soup

20140211_151220There is a tiny vegetarian cafe in my hometown and they made the best soup. I tried their broccoli and cashew (which seemed like an odd combination) and loved it so decided to make my own. This is one of those recipes that I make all the time for lunch – really healthy and full of flavour.

You will need: a whole broccoli, one large potato, one and a half pints of vegetable stock, one onion, three garlic cloves, oil and 100g roasted cashew nuts.

Dice the onion and the garlic and fry in some vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. Add the stock. Peel your potatoes and chop into small chunks and add to the pan. Chop your broccoli into chunks and add that as well. 20140211_135243Bring everything to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cashew nuts and cook for another 10 minutes. Blitz the soup in a blender until it is a thick consistency. I think the flavour from the stock is enough but if you want to add salt and pepper feel free (if you are using salted cashew nuts I wouldn’t recommend adding more salt). Let the soup cook for another 5 minutes and serve with some chunky bread.20140211_145909

This is a great soup, dead simple to make and very good for you. The cashew nuts add a really interesting flavour and it makes a nice filling lunch. It’s also completely vegan.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Lazy Sunday Casserole

20140119_160112Sundays when me and Sam both have the day off are some of the best times. Yesterday we had bagels for breakfast, Sam went out and bought the paper, we stuck our favourite records on while I painted and Sam read The Observer. Before embarking on my art marathon, I decided to make a nice big healthy tea, which I could pop in the oven and leave to cook. This dish is perfect for a Sunday tea, with the lovely smells of cooking casserole wafting out of the oven while you listen to Led Zeppelin and paint.

You will need: half a yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, half a cauliflower, olive oil, 100g chickpeas (soaked), 1 tin green lentils, 2 tin tomatoes, 2 large carrots, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, coriander, tumeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, 500ml vegetable stock.

Pop your oven onto 120 degrees. Half your garlic cloves, dice the onion and fry in a little olive oil until soft. Chop all your veggies into big chunks. 20140119_115119Put your tin of tomatoes and 400ml stock into the casserole dish and season with 2 teaspoons of cumin (I love cumin!), 2 teaspoons coriander, 1 teaspoon tumeric, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add your lentils, chickpeas and vegetables to the casserole and stir everything together. Then just put your dish in the oven and leave to cook for about 2 hours. 20140119_124130After two hours add another tin of tomatoes, 100ml stock and a bit more seasoning if you wish and give it a good stir. Pop back into the oven and cook for another two hours.20140119_155900Serve in big bowls with some nice crusty bread – bliss. Because it had been cooked for so long, the gorgeous spices will have infused and the vegetables are nice and soft without being mushy. This is such a nice dish, you could even serve it with roast potatoes as a main. It’s also vegan and so very healthy!

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom

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Vegan Spicy Bean Soup

20131228_183431So it’s 2014 soon and we sat down and did the budget… eek! Looking at some money saving tips, one was to make batches of food and freeze them. I realised the only reason we ever get takeaway is because I can’t be bothered to cook, so yesterday I made a massive batch of spicy bean soup and froze it in tupperware, as a standby for a quick, healthy, cheap meal to bung in the microwave. This is one of those dishes I made using whatever we had in the cupboards, and lots of lovely spices. It takes a couple of hours to cook for all the flavours to come out but you just add all your stuff to one pan and leave to simmer, so it’s rather easy. It’s a bit hot so use less spices if you wish, but I love a good hot soup on a cold day. And in Liverpool in December, it really is cold!

You will need a tin of chopped tomatoes, 400g chickpeas (if you are using dried ones make sure they have soaked for at least 4 hours), an onion, 1 tin of mixed beans (I used one with cannellini beans, adzuki beans and flagolet beans), 4 carrots, 1 onion, 3 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, 1 stock cube dissolved in 450ml boiling water, oil for frying.

20131228_162722Dice your onion, peel and chop the carrots and drain all of your beans and the chickpeas. In a large saucepan, fry the onion in a teaspoon of oil until it is soft. Add your tin of tomatoes, then add the chickpeas to the pan. Then add your stock and the spices. One really good tip for buying spices is to look in the indian section of supermarkets, rather than buying the expensive little jars, you can buy 400g packs from brands like East End and Indus for about two pounds! Add the mixed beans to your pan and the chopped carrots. Bring it to the boil and then cook on a low heat for 2 hours until everything is soft and well cooked.

20131228_162517 Serve with a big dollop of cream cheese and some lovely chunky bread. This soup is ridiculously healthy, it’s vegan, if you want a break from dairy, and is full of flavour.

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom