[Recipe review] Tomato, courgette, white bean and basil soup (The perfect pantry)

This is a picture of Lablascovegmenu's Flickr that shows a bowl of Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup

Baked beans had shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to wikipedia, so I’ve been looking for new ways to cook white beans with vegetables, other than common meat-based spanish fabada (or soyrizo for based vegan fabada).

I followed this perfect pantry’s recipe. Well, more or less, as always. I didn’t use cheese, nor replaced it with anything. I didn’t use heavy stock, just added extra celery, and did not use enough tomatoes, just two cherry ones. But I did use dried beans instead of canned, that gives it more vitamins, is cheaper, has better taste and I bet is more filling. Just bear in mind dried beans do grow a lot from dry to soaked, and to keep an eye not to run out of water.

Ingredients:
– white beans
– olive oil
– courgette, chopped
– tomatoes, chopped
– dried thyme
– fresh basil leaves

Directions:
Start turning on the alarm the night before you want to do this. Soak beans in water when it rings.
The day after, I started with the sauté onion and garlic then boiled soaked beans with water, tyme and celery for more than one hour. Is calles slow cooking for a reason, I guess.
Then I added the chopped courgette and tomatoes and boiled for some ten to fifteen minutes more.
Serve.

Overall rating… meh. Don’t get me wrong, beans were delicious, but they always are. I guess it’s really good if you’re used to baked beans with tomato, because this recipe them an italian twist. But for me, it still lacks something, and I’m not the kind of girl to rely on heavy vegetable stock or cheese for that. Will keep on searching!

Cavolo nero gratin in wholemeal spelt and oats milk béchamel sauce

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This dish was not planned this week, but I had a pair of beers yesterday, and today it felt just right to have some healthy cleanse. Gratin is just perfect for when your body feels cheesy but deep down needs greens. So I played with cavolo nero, and won. Yum!

Ingredients:
– Cavolo nero
– Onion
– Garlic
– Oats milk
– Spelt flour
– Breadcrumbs

Procedure:
Boil cavolo nero until soft. Sauté with onions and garlic. Place in oven dish and cover with béchamel. I did béchamel sauce with oats milk and spelt flour this time, but soy milk would have been better because of its stronger flavor and whiter color.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs, olive oil and bake in oven.
Serve.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 20th to 26th Jan & Butter panic

This weekend my mum came to visit and brought some oranges from Valencia. It’s so uncommon to find oranges that have not been covered with wax, I decided I HAD to do something with the zest. That’s how me made a Shirin Polow (Iranian Rice Pilaf) with cashews, carrots, saffron and brown basmati rice. I panicked they would not like it and used real butter, and for this reason I have not uploaded a pic here. I keep telling myself butter was healthier than margarine, and answering myself that it’s a lame excuse for not using olive oil. Finally, me make peace. Me and myself agree to relax and enjoy the journey, and maybe use a healthy substitute next time.

New dishes for this week are jacket potatoes, vegan pasta bolognese and the forever delayed seitan and eggplant stew and pan pizza recipes. We’ll see if this is your week!

Sunday

  • Lunch: Catalan-style spinach (with sultanas and pine nuts)
  • Dinner: Barley salad and grilled portobello mushrooms

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Menu planning saves me time, money and makes my life simpler. It just needs some practice and discipline, but sharing it with the community around I’m and organizing junkie does help a lot. Personally, I tend to combine old favorites and new recipes, all simple, healthy and with modest seasonal ingredients. Every week I do at least a salad, a soup, one dish of legumes, one dish of wholemeal organic cereal (such as brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta, bulgur, etc), something my omnivore would cook and a meal from the freezer I can skip in case we eat out.

Healthwise, in addition to that, I take every morning a B12 and vitamin D pill (when I remember), add grounded flax seeds to dishes (when I remember), have simple oatmeal breakfasts (or toasted bread with olive oil), snack nuts and dried or fresh fruits (also I can’t help chips and nachos from time to time), try to drink two liters of water every day (usually only one), try to sleep at least 8 hours (usually it’s 7), do a very soft gym class once or twice a week (starting now!) and have and occasional glass of wine or beer (or two, hehe).

 

Recipe review: Vegan Cream of Cauliflower (Gluten Free Vegan Girl)

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“De som vill sjunga hittar alltid en sång” – Swedish proverb

Dill was never something I was much into, because my west-mediterranean family has never used it for cooking. Then I tried IKEA’s sauce for salmon and however unhealthy, I felt immediately in love with that lovely new taste behind the sugar. Now I only had to find a healthy dish it could go with, and came upon a recipe from the Gluten Free Vegan Girl. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present you: Vegan Cream of Cauliflower with Dill.

This adaptation of her vegan recipe uses dill and a bay leaf as herbs, oats milk as a non dairy milk (sorry it’s not gluten-free anymore), and plain water and celery instead of vegetable broth. If you are going to use celery, please choose organic at least for this once, conventionally grown celery has high pesticide residue. What I do is buying it at the farmer’s market, cutting it into pieces and freezing it, then I always have some in hand for when I need it.

For two servings I used:
– Half an onion
– Half a garlic clove
– A small potato (organic)
– Half a cauliflower (organic)
– Half carrot (organic)
– A quarter a glass of oats milk (just the one I had around)
– A little piece of celery (organic)

Directions:
– As she suggests: sauté onion and garlic in a pot until onion is transparent. Then added chopped potato and carrot and cooked a little longer. I always use olive oil, but try to keep it as low as possible, few drops, so never more than a tea spoon.
– The following thing was adding water, the cauliflower, a piece of celery, a pinch of dill, salt and half a bay leaf. Left boiling for some fifteen minutes. Blended. Added the milk. She suggests heating it up all again after the milk. I did not, was too hungry. In any case the soup was warm enough to keep warm even with the milk. So that was it.
– Serve.

My conclusion: an overall outstanding recipe. Comforting. Healthy. And if it can be this good after my wrongdoings, it’s so easy anybody can do it. Give it a try, sing-along and… Smaklig måltid!

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Menu Plan Monday ~13th to 19th Jan & Notting Hill shopping

Menu Plan Monday 13th to 19th Jan

Menu planning saves me time, money and makes my life simpler. It just needs some practice and discipline, but sharing it with the community around I’m and organizing junkie does help a lot. I eat a whole foods, plant based diet and tend to combine old favorites and new recipes, all simple, healthy and with modest seasonal ingredients.

This week we went to check the Notting Hill Gate Farmers Market with a friend. Since we arrived late, there was not much left, but we still managed to get some great veggies and fruits, plus this cute organic shop attached opens longer: Chegworth Farm Shop. Then we went for a walk around the Portobello Market and found the fruit and veg section from Elgin Crescent to Talbot Road, not organic but excellent produce. Ask for the price first, it’s not particularly cheap, we had to stretch our budget this time 😦  

Saturday haul at Notting Hill Farmers' Market and Portobello

The new exciting dish I’m trying this week is Braised Black Cabbage and Noodles in Black Bean Sauce from Shu Han, and we still have lots of pumpkin and cauliflower from last week. I totally loved the cauliflower soup from Solveig Berg Vollan, so I’m doing it one again!

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Superfast healthy vegan ice cream

Raw vegan banana ice cream with frozen berries

Contrary to most recipes you’ve seen online for ice cream, this one does not contain dairy, sugar nor sweetener neither you need expensive ice cream machines. Tastes delicious and it’s done in a flapping of a butterfly!

It’s amazing how sweet a banana can be. And it absolutely does NOT make you fat. No matter what you read in superficial magazines about the sugar content. I might disagree with Debra Waterhouse on women needing chocolate, but her book was right on this and many other things. Banana sweetness it’s packed in really good fiber and vitamins, plus (I quote wikipedia) “Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, soluble fiber, and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma”.

So: Go bananas and treat yourself with a healthy ice cream for a change!

You’ll need:
* A sprinkle od oats milk. My favorite, but any other non dairy milk of your choice will do.
* Frozen banana. Most people freeze their bananas unpeeled. I don’t. I peel, slice it and freeze it in a plastic bag. Then you only use what you need, or thicken if you overdid the oats milk, you got me!
* Chopper attachment blender. My chopper is strong enough, but alway check if yours can handle ice.
* (Optional) Berries either fresh or frozen and mint leaf

Procedure:
Drop in blender the equivalent of a frozen banana per person and a sprinkle of oats milk. Chop. Serve.
Decor with tiny mint leaf and berries. If you use frozen berries like I do, get them out of the freezer some minutes before, so they will be softer when you serve.

This dish does melt fast, so be fast taking your instagram picture 😀

Menu Plan Monday ~ 6th to 12th Jan

Menu Plan Monday ~ 6th to 12th Jan

Menu planning saves me time, money and makes my life simpler. It just needs some practice and discipline, but sharing it with the community around I’m and organizing junkie does help a lot. Personally, I tend to combine old favorites and new recipes, all simple, healthy and with modest seasonal ingredients.

We were hosting on Sunday, so we went shopping on Saturday. Also since we were too late for Notting Hill, we went to Parson’s Green Farmer’s Market. It’s a smaller one, but produce is high quality. Then we went to the Whole Foods Market nearby and got red split lentils, oats cream and meat for my carnivore.

Groceries from South Kensington Farmers' Market + Whole Foods Market

This week my dishes work with less variety of veggies and more creativity. Lots of yummy pumpkin and cauliflower. I’m including a cauliflower soup from Solveig Berg Vollan, the Gluten Free Vegan Girl, it will be the first time I’m trying one of her grown up recipes, you’d never thought she was seventeen!

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

  • Lunch: Beans with garlic and salad
  • Dinner: Vegan ramen

Barley with veggies

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This is the story of a barley who wanted to be a soup. If fact, it wanted to be the Mushroom-Barley Soup from @cyberpenguin. As much as I’m excited to find a fellow cooking flightless bird, I messed it all up. So the water ended up evaporating. No soup, just boiled barley with veggies.

Tasted great though. I guess that’s the beauty of cooking, mistakes become discoveries, and I’ve discovered a different dish to enjoy.

Barley with mushrooms, carrots, courgette, split peas and chickpeas
Ingredients
– A teaspoon of olive oil
– Leek
– Mushrooms (don’t need to be organic)
– Carrots
– Courgettes
– Organic wholemeal barley
– Dried split peas
– Chickpeas (I boil them in bulk then freeze them. So they are ready when I need some)

Instructions
Cut, sauté and boil. As always I’m a mess with proportions.

Healthy snacks & board games

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A minute to prepare, has 5 times less kcal than chips and bakes while you play. Not only my gests loved yesterday my healthy geekness, but I also did really well at The Settlers of Catan 😀

Potatoes are great nutritious food, unfairly misreputed as fattening because of oily chips and sauces. Baked at home keep low-fat and filling while conforting (more on McDougall’s Starch Solution).

Only drawback of potatoes is their lack of fiber, so I try to compensate keeping their skins on (better organic) and adding gounded flax seeds. This also fortifies with extra vitamins, let me hear a *YAY*. Add pepper or paprika for great spicy taste.

Baked low-fat potato chips

Ingredients for 4:
– 1Kg of organic potatoes 750kcal
– Teaspoon of olive oil
– Teaspoon of gounded flax seeds
– Pepper or paprika
– Salt

Procedure:
Heat up the oven. Cut potatoes. Add seasoning and oil. Mix with your hands. Place in oven. Play! Snack! Play!

Catan

Red cabbage, apple & cranberries

Red cabbage, apple, cranberries

Stuck with a basket of cranberries, got this idea zapping. Contrary to what I remember, the recipe from the food network has no apple. Whatever, recipe mutation is part of the fun.

Mediterranian as I am, didn’t know any cranberries other than the irish band until I faced them in the local supermarket. We love fresh berries, or we did, before we experienced some could be so sour. Yeah, cultureshock. The result of cooking them without sugar is… just ok. Better than expected though. And Hey! The colours!

Ingredients:

  • Half a red cabbage
  • An organic apple
  • Handful of cranberries
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Preparation:

Stir red cabbade and apple Add cranberries

Cut cabbage and apple. Throw into pot with less than a teaspoon of oil and salt. Stir. Cover. Low heat. Wait ten minutes. Throw cranberries. Cover. Stir. Wait for five minutes. Serve.