Butternut squash soup with smoked paprika.

My friends keep telling me to blog more…so here goes it. Delicious, easy, scrumptious soup.

Ingredients 

  • 1 small red onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 2-3 stems of celery – chopped
  • 1 parsnip – chopped
  • 3 -4 sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash

Chop the vegetables into small pieces. In a large saucepan on a medium setting heat a good flu of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. When the oil is warm add the vegetables and sauté for about five or six minutes, lower the temp setting and add the lentils. Saute for another five minutes and then add the roasted butternut squash. Season to taste, add a tablespoon of sugar. Then cover with water – about six cups and add the finely shredded sage leaves. Continue to cook on a low setting for about forty five minutes. Keep tasting and when it’s cooked and the lentils are all fluffy – take off the heat and blend with an immersion blender. Add more water if needed and season. I used a delicious flavour mill from Marks and Spencer with sea salt, smoked paprika and chipotle chilli but you can add anything. This is sooo yummy.

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Bruschetta which is then recycled into Panzanella

I have a confession to make, I spend far too much money on food. It’s a problem I think. Partly fuelled by the desire to have the most stocked cupboards in all of St Andrews and partly because it comforts me. I enjoy knowing that I can feasibly whip up any meal I choose. This however, comes at a price and like most students I don’t have an abundant supply of pennies to spend on exotic produce. I’ve seen other student blogs that have beautiful photos and inspiring messages and for the best part good recipes BUT they don’t take into account that using three cups of cashew nuts is pretty out of the question for most people. I like spending my money on food, it’s a hobby, it makes me happy. I’m fortunate enough to be able to do so but because I’m not going to inherit and empire and because I’m guessing neither are you, today I’m making something cheap and delicious. Tesco have 650g of cherry tomatoes for £1.00 and four bake at home baguettes for £1.00. This is excellent.

 

I finely, finely chopped three garlic cloves and put them into a bowl. Cut 650g cherry tomatoes into halves and added them. Then I sprinkled salt to taste, sugar to ease – about 1/2 tbsp each. Extra virgin olive oil – a good glug, balsamic – another good glug and fresh basil. I mixed it altogether with my hands and piled it high onto two baguettes. I shoved the remained into a bowl and popped it in the fridge. Today it will be recycled into Panzanella. I’ll keep you posted.

Saf London – Review and Inspiration

I’m the kind of person that plans their trip around their plate. If I know somewhere has terrible food, I won’t go. (Need I remind those who know me about the infamous 18lbs weight gain a few summers ago when the food in upstate NY went from freezer to fryer and onto my ass…) Anyway…I love food and I love finding new restaurants. Saf however will always, always, always be a favourite of mine. Before my darling Alise moved to Berlin we’d enjoy yummy lunches there.

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Now I usually go alone with a magazine. The original restaurant was in Shoreditch London but it closed down so now my go to is Saf in Wholefoods Kensington. Don’t get me started on Wholefoods, we have a love hate relationship. I last went in the summer and ate Cashew Cheese with crackers to start, Sea vegetable salad with ginger-sesame dressing and then a white chocolate jasmine cheesecake. It was out of this world sublime. I can’t wait to return.

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The dessert was really delicate but still perfectly creamy (If a little heavy for me.)

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My amazingly lovely friend Katie and the best minted pea soup..

I was super hungry yesterday evening but nothing in the fridge seemed to grab me. Then I saw some sad, sorry cauliflower that had started to brown around the edges and either needed to be cooked or binned or composted (but I’m not that organised!)

So soup came to mind. Minted pea soup. Creamy minted pea soup – what could be better? This coincided with a text my beautifully wonderful friend Katie sent me. She asked for recipe tips because she has decided to give up meat! Hurrah! This pleased me intensely. This soup is as wholesome, yummy, lovely and kind but not as awesome as Katie.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1/4 cups soya butter
  • 1 big pinch sea salt
  • pepper
  • 4 cups hot water

Directions

  1. Put a large saucepan on the stove, add 1/4 cup of soya butter or if you prefer a few drizzles of olive oil. Heat on a low temp.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for about four minutes. Add the salt.
  3. Add the cup of cauliflower and the peas.
  4. Saute for approx seven minutes. Then add the mint (either fresh, dried or frozen.)
  5. Pour 4 cups of water and turn up the heat to a medium setting.
  6. Cook for about ten minutes – see if the cauliflower is properly cooked.
  7. Now turn off the heat and with an immersion blender puree.
  8. Season to taste and eat!

 

 

I’m back…

Heylo All. I haven’t posted in exactly three months – craziness is what it is! I had a pretty hectic semester and I’ve been trying to figure some things out. You know the drill, but everything tends to fall into place. You eventually catch up with yourself, well I do anyway. I realise that things are not that bad, that everything can be fixed, that a deep fat dryer really is an integral part of every kitchen.

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I’ve still been cooking a lot, some vegan and some not so vegan. I’ve been eating out and indulging in Starbucks holiday drinks. I’ve been hanging out with people that make me feel truly blessed to have friends and I’ve been trying to buy more organic food. The thing is no one is perfect, we all screw up. My dad’s friend said that to me on a journey from LA to Newport Beach, at night when he wasn’t looking at road and we were on a flyover. (He is a notoriously bad driver.) Yet he said something of wisdom along the lines of ‘it was my job to get my kids to graduate college and from there on I can’t take responsibility for their screw ups and believe me you will all screw up and anyone that says they won’t or haven’t is lying.’ I guess that’s true to an extent. Find solace in the fact that tomorrow is a new day whilst being thankful that, for the best part, today can be made better.

I took the photo three years ago in the Caribbean. If I could wish one thing it’s that I had enjoyed the actual sunset more than I have the photo!

Revitalising Smoothie!!

I am in the middle of exams and occasionally need an un-caffeinated boost (though I have one coffee per day so it’s not bad to be honest!) I figured since it’s very warm in London I’ll start eating a little bit more raw. (This is actually only possible today because I’m blending a smoothie and later getting a delicious lunch at Saf.) I’m not entirely comfortable with raw cooking, to be honest it scares me and the thought of using a dehydrator seems a bit daunting. Either way this is easy and packed full of vitamins. The vitamin C content in 1 kiwi provides 120% of your vitamin C allowance! This is therefore an awesome way to boost your immune system and start glowing. The avocado adds creaminess, Vitamin K and fibre. I also add a bit of apple juice and have toyed with adding parsley..but decided against it. One thing – it’s pretty tart so be warned you may need some agave in it.

3 Kiwi

1/4 – 1/2 an avocado

Fresh apple juice – 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups

Blennnd!

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The Best Avocado In The World.

Yesterday I bought two large avocado from the fruit and veg man for £1.00. They’re usually £1.00 for five but because they were quite large and beautifully fresh I didn’t complain. Plus the same ones in whole foods cost £2.80 each! When I got home and tasted it, it was the best I’ve ever tried…firm but buttery, soft and delicate. It reminded me of the avocados I’ve tasted in California and instantly made me smile. I then realised how simple things in life can bring such unadulterated pleasure. Happiness doesn’t need to be fancy, expensive or complicated sometimes it’s just there staring you in the face, next to a punnet of over ripe nectarines. Image

TO DIE FOR (but no one did thankfully) beautiful hand bags.

Lately my conscience has been getting the better of me. I work for lush, I have an 80% vegan diet, I take my macbook pro to Yumchaa and order tea picked but monks. Yet I wonder if this is all made redundant by the fact that sometimes I also shop at Primark. I don’t like to admit this. It’s embarrassing and wrong because I do not NEED to shop there. I don’t need the things I buy from there. A few weeks ago I went on to the American Apparel website, they have an epic sale at the moment. I like that everything is made in the US by people paid a fair wage, I like that they offer organic cotton, I like that the quality is good and you can wear the clothes without them falling apart. I feel in buying such products I’m making a better choice. This also goes hand in hand with my need for a new hand bag. I don’t want to buy leather and really have no desire for anything designer. By the same token I don’t want to look like a German nun on a walking tour. So I got to researching and so far my favourite has to be handbags by Matt&Nat. They’ve just designed a line that is being sold in the UK apple stores and online. I have my eye on a few pieces….Below are my favourites.

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Sugar Free, Dairy Free Banana Loaf of Happiness

I don’t often make anything sugar free so this was a new and epic achievement. The banana loaf of happiness was born from some store cupboard ingredient and four very ripe, very old and very miserable bananas. I also wanted loaf and a cup of tea. This hit the spot. Plus my dad can eat it because he tries to avoid sugar.

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Banana Loaf 

4 small VERY ripe, bananas

1/2 cup oil – I use sunflower 

1/4 cup light agave 

1/2 cup apple juice (I like Copella)

1tsp pure vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I also added a pinch of ground clove)

2 cups flour

3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a loaf tin with grease proof paper – I always put a drop of oil and grease my parchment paper, this also stops it moving around.  Mix all the wet ingredients super well and then sift in the dry. Don’t use a hand mixer or it’ll become gummy. Pop in the oven, check after 35 mins and leave a little longer if a knife doesn’t come out clean. 

 

Pasta Fun!

For dinner I made a quicky pasta. I boiled up the pasta and then let it drain in a colander in the sink. In the same pot I gently sautéed onions and garlic. Then added a whole bag of spinach, two vine tomatoes cut into quarters, 1/3 cup white wine, 1tbs soya butter, olive oil, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of balsamic glaze to taste and a bit of sugar if you need to balance out the flavours. Also add a bit of water if you find the sauce is sticking and adjust your hob heat. Now add the drained pasta and serve with ‘almesan,’ a parmesan like topping made with almonds, sesame seeds, sea salt and lemon zest. the recipe is from the awesome cookbook veganomicon and it tastes great on this pasta. 

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