Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Easy Minestrone Soup with Homemade Spinach and Basil Pesto

This soup is great because most of the ingredients come from a tin, and the pasta makes it a filling meal.

Ingredients for the Homemade Pesto - fills one ramekin

21g basil leaves
40g almonds
15 g spinach leaves (one handful)
1 cloves of garlic
40g good quality olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
50g cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper

1. Start by grinding the almonds with a hand blender (or in a food processor) and then add the basil, spinach, garlic, oil and lemon juice. 

2. Finally mix in the grated cheese and season well. 

Ingredients for the Soup - serves 8

- 3 tins of chopped tomatoes (1200g) and 2 tins filled with boiling water
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1 onion, chopped 
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 2 mini peppers, chopped (or half a pepper, chopped)
- 3 handfuls of spinach pasta or plain pasta, broken into small pieces
- 30g spaghetti, broken into small bits
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp homemade pesto (or jarred pesto)
- 6 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 pinch of chilli flakes (or more to taste) 
- 165g tinned sweetcorn (or frozen sweetcorn), drained 
- 2 large handfuls of frozen peas
- 400g tin of drained and washed cannellini beans (or mixed beans)

1. Start by frying the onion and garlic in a large saucepan with a little vegetable oil. After a few minutes add the tinned tomatoes, water and stock cubes. 

2. Bring the tomatoes to the boil and then put in the pasta, celery, peppers, sugar, pesto, basil and chilli flakes. Cook this for 6 minutes on a medium heat.

3. Finally pour in the sweetcorn, peas and beans. Simmer the soup on a low heat with a lid on for a further 5 minutes. All done!

Spoon some pesto on top of the soup to serve.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Healthy Aubergine and Basil Houmous with Homemade Fat Chips

Fat chips were a good shout! 

Ingredients (serves 4)

for the houmous - 

- 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 8 slices of jarred aubergine, or roasted aubergine
- 4 basil leaves
- 4 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 tbsp oil from the aubergine jar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp paprika and some for decoration
- a pinch of chilli flakes
- salt and pepper

for the fat chips - 

- 6 medium potatoes, roughly chopped into segments
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- pepper

1. Set the oven to 250°c.

2. Start by boiling the potato chunks for 3 minutes, before transferring them to a baking tray and coating them with groundnut oil and salt. Grind some pepper on top and place them in the oven for 30 minutes.

3. The houmous is extremely easy to make. Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor or using a hand blender, until is resembles a smooth paste. Have a taste, as you may want to add more chilli flakes, lemon juice or olive oil.

Accompany the chips and houmous with a selection of condiments (like ketchup, mayonnaise, pesto or sweet chilli) and salad.

Homemade Granola - Vegan and Dairy Free

 Ingredients (roughly makes 6 helpings)

- 300g plain oats
- 75g almonds (or flaked almonds), roughly chopped
- 45g sunflower seeds
- 45g pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp linseeds
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 120ml maple syrup

1. Set the oven to 165°C and cover a large flat oven dish with greaseproof paper.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the rapeseed oil. Stir thoroughly, and pour in the maple syrup.

3. Once the ingredients are evenly coated in the syrup and oil, transfer the mix onto the oven dish and spread equally.

4. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring the contents every 10 minutes so that it doesn't burn. The browner the granola gets, the crunchier it will be. 

Layer up the granola with yoghurt and fruit for a delicious breakfast or dessert.