Friday, 4 February 2011

Winter fooood

Well, writing a simple "sorry I've not been round" post has promtped me to write more. Weird huh?

I've been trawling around loads of foodie blogs lately to try and find some nice (and healthy) recipe ideas. No, I'm not going to try and go vegan again because I know how popular that move was last time I tried but I do want to try and cut doen the amount of animal products I eat. I don't know to be honest, I just want to be more healthy and so much I've read has pointed to the vegan (or at least vegetarian) diet but making the transition wouldn't be easy, especially with a husband at home who likes his meat (he is a fan of "rabbit food" too I might add, just not all the time).

Anyway, I've found two winter warmer recipes that I am dying to try...

Yotam Ottolenghi's herb soup recipe


Serves six.

5 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tbsp dried mint
500g baby spinach
25g parsley (whole, leaves and stalks)
25g coriander (whole, leaves and stalks)
1200ml vegetable stock
200g Greek yoghurt
10g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
10g fresh mint leaves, chopped
5g fresh parsley leaves, chopped
200g feta
Salt and black pepper

Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for around five minutes, or until translucent and soft. Stir in the turmeric and nutmeg, fry for a couple of minutes, then add the dried mint, spinach, the whole parsley and coriander leaves and stalks, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season, then blitz the soup with a liquidiser or stick blender until smooth.

When you're ready to serve, reheat the soup just to boiling point and pour the yoghurt into a bowl. Whisk a ladleful of hot soup into the yoghurt, stirring constantly, and repeat with a couple more ladles of hot soup, then tip the yoghurt mix into the soup and whisk in. Stir through the chopped herbs and crumble in the feta, reserving some leaves and cheese to garnish. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Pour into soup bowls, sprinkle over the herbs and feta, and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry


Serves four.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, 6-8 inches high, peeled and diced with seeds scooped out
200g spinach, washed and excess water squeezed out, chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped. More if you like it very hot!
thumb size amount of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
A handful of chopped fresh coriander
Half a lemon

Spices:

1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric
8 black peppercorns

Method:

Grind the spices in a pestle & mortar.
Fry the onion until translucent over a medium heat in some oil (sunflower or groundnut are my choices).
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute or so.
Add the spices for a minute or so, you’ll start to smell them as they temper.
Add the butternut squash and coat in the ingredients in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the squash is cooked and you can push a fork through it.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the sauce. Also add the spinach.
When the spinach is wilted and the chickpeas are warmed through, add the coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon juice lifts the flavour nicely, taste as you go.
Salt to taste and serve with rice and/or flatbreads

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