So, adventures in home-cooking…I rarely work exactly to a recipe except the first time I try to make something new from a book or magazine…so I encourage you to see these recipes as inspiration, loose guidelines for something that will undoubtedly taste good but perhaps destined never to be the same from one occasion to the next!
For those on restricted diets, through choice or necessity, be imaginative – butter can be exchanged for a variety of oils, onion & garlic left out, other veg added to give more flavour in that case according to what your diet allows…switch out seasonings, spices etc for those you enjoy…experiment & create…
Just prepare the food in the spirit of love, wanting to nourish & nurture yourself andeveryone sharing your meal, and it will taste wonderful & be deeply satisfying…
Butternut Squash & Chickpea Soup
Medium sized Butternut Squash – peeled, de-seeded, chopped into cubes or slices
2 medium sized Sweet Potatoes – peeled & chopped into cubes or slices
Chickpeas – one tin or soak & drain approx half cup dry chickpeas according to instructions
Red onion – chopped
Garlic – crushed
Garam Masala ~ to taste
Tomato Puree (or tinned tomatoes or passata)
Milk or more water (*soya milk works as well as dairy and is often creamier in my experience)
Seasoning ~ to taste
Cream or Sour Cream ~ optional & to taste
Fry the onion in a little butter (or oil of your choice) until soft, adding the crushed garlic & Garam Masala for a few minutes before sweating the chopped veg in the oil & onions for a few minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Cover with water, put a lid on and bring to a boil, then add chick peas (tinned just need a few minutes, you will need to boil them separately for home-soaked pulses) after a minute or two allow it to simmer until the veg has softened.
Now, you should let the contents of the pan cool before you transfer to a jug blender or use a handheld soup blender…If I am in a rush I often add cool water & any milk at this point and blend until smooth – the amount of liquid you add really is up to you, I like really thick soup so I add a little at a time, I would advocate starting with less & gradually adding until you have a desired consistency as thickening the soup involves chopping more veg…
I usually serve this version to my children, with no additional seasoning & the will happily dunk bread, veg sticks & cheese chunks into the thick soup…It can also be frozen & then used as a base for chilli or curry, or kept fordays when you need a hearty, fast meal…
For myself & my husband, I season the served soup with dried chilli flakes or freshly chopped chilli, paprika, and more black pepper…
If you want a richer tasting soup, stirring in a spoonful of cream or soured cream adds extra depth
Mango & Avocado Salsa or Salad
1 Fresh Mango
1 Fresh Avocado
Fresh Red Chilli
Juice (& zest) of 1 Lime
The ingredients above just need peeling, chopping & tossing together in a large bowl – ideally just before you are ready to eat but the salsa will keep in the fridge & be edible the next day. How much onion, chilli (& how hot) and coriander you use is up to you. Great as a side dish for pretty much everything.
As more of a main meal, add in salad leaves of your choice, chopped fresh peppers and an extra avocado. You can serve it with fresh bread and your favourite cheese, or eat it on its own as a light, raw lunch too.
Avocado & Rocket Salad
One of my favourite raw lunches is an avocado chopped up with wild rocket (I grow my own whenever possible), cherry plum tomatoes & crunchy red, orange or yellow pepper. I tend to pack it with the avocado whole so it doesn’t discolour & chop it into the other ingredients when I am ready to eat. I love it just as it comes, but you could add seasoning & lemon or lime juice to taste as well. If you didn’t want to keep it raw, you could add in some quinoa for protein, or for raw protein try sprouted quinoa or other sprouted beans & pulses, hemp seeds will also bump the protein content.
Lime & Ginger Tea
Slice fresh ginger, as much as you like, and squeeze half a lime into the mug, add a slice or two of lime for prettiness & fill with freshly boiled water left to cool for a minute or two…if you need it, sweeten with honey or agave syrup