Archive for the ‘Soups and Stews’ Category

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Pesto

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

sun-dried-tomato-basil-pesto

I only started using pesto after marriage and used to buy ready made jars. It was a convenient thing to do, as at the time I was on an interior design course on Tuesday evenings, so that was a pasta day 🙂 . It used to be a chore to find the vegetarian version of this classic Italian dish. Then about three or four years back I had bought a basil plant for the kitchen window sill and it had produces so many basil leaves, so I thought I should venture into making my own pesto. It was successful and so simple to make that I decided I would buy a basil plant each Spring and make my own pesto.

From looking at various TV chefs and other recipes, as well as a friend (who lives in Italy) telling me that I do not need to add cheese or pine nuts (as they are so expensive), just normal salted nuts are fine – I started making my own version as below. To make it more creamy I sometimes use almond, cashew, and pistachios nuts powder.

There are many uses for pesto, not only as a pasta sauce but also as a dressing for salads, for adding flavour to soups, a spread for sandwiches and roasted mushroom or eggplant. You can also create many different versions like I did by adding the sun-dried tomatoes. Other herbs and vegetables can also be added to give it an extra added flavour.

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Leek & Potato Soup

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

leeks

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Leeks! Why did I not try these before now? It is the question I asked  myself when I bought them and made this soup the first time last month. They are visually amazing with wonderful layers and colours, so fresh and vibrant, just like the colours of new life coming up in Spring. Then there is the taste, subtle yet very distinct. Coming from the onion family it has a very delicate onion taste. I decided to use leeks to make a soup just to try the basic taste, not to mention many recipes I have read include putting leeks in soups and stews.

leek-and-potato-soup

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Sweetcorn Soup

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

sweetcorn-soup

If you look at the complete menu for a Chinese meal in our house, then you see sweetcorn soup, spring rolls, and stir fry with either rice or noodles. This was also the standard order when ever we used to go out to eat in Malawi. That used to be the set menu we would get, probably because that was all the vegetarian option that was available.  I remember how we used to keep on adding more pepper to the soup because that is what  our father did, and then as we got older adding the garnish also just like he did. The chilli in the vinegar gives it an added flavour and depth to the taste especially if you like the slightly tangy and spicy flavours. Just simple tastes and natural flavours, this is what you get from this soup, not to mention the health benefits of the key ingredient itself. Sweet corn is rich in vitamin A & C and folate and magnesium. Cooked sweet corn is said to become rich in antioxidants and believed to help fight cancer and heart disease, however you loose the vitamin C.

I don’t know why I don’t make it with out having the other Chinese dishes, as it is such a quick simple recipe and can be eaten with bread or rice crackers. Oh well will have to try and remember next time I am looking for a healthy filling snack 🙂

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Vegetable & Multi grain Soup

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

multigrain-soup

I had a version of this soup at a friends house, when I was pregnant, it was so tasty and different to what I normally make, i.e. plain tomato or with pasta & vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash etc.) In the past I have tried cauliflower soup and found it to be very bland, however the way that this has other vegetables and multi grains gives it a good depth of textures and added flavours. So you guessed it, as always I recreated it at home. My friend used the shop bought multi grain mix, however I made my own mix at home from the individual grains. You can put what ever vegetables you have – it does not have to be what I have used.
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