Even if you’ve never tried a recipe box, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Boxes of ingredients delivered to your door containing everything you need for two or more dishes, along with step-by-step instructions simple enough for even the most novice cook to follow. On the face of it, these boxes can seem like an extravagance or an unnecessary luxury but, when you think about it, if you had to buy all the ingredients you needed for a meal, you wouldn’t use in that one dish everything you bought – one tsp of a spice out of a whole jar/a handful of spinach out of a whole bag, for example – and, as everything’s pre-weighed for you (if a dish needs one tsp of a spice, one tsp of spice will be in the box) as well as there being no waste, there’s also no messing about with scales and measuring spoons or cups. I’ve tried a few recipe boxes in the past and have been impressed each time (especially as the portion sizes have been generous and usually stretched to double the quantities they say they serve).
To help safeguard our nutritional intake and strength our immune system, we need to keep our hearts healthy, but what foods are actually good for our hearts?
This vegan cabbage soup with harissa and ginger had everyone stumped when I put it on Facebook for a game of ‘Guess the Soup’. The most popular guess was ‘Butterscotch Angel Delight’ but I have no idea why, do you?
Since discovering a few months ago when I made my courgette and broad bean soup with chilli and fennel, how wonderful chilli and fennel is as a combination, they’ve been added to most of my soups. Obviously (to me, anyway) chilli goes with everything and, although fennel isn’t to everyone’s taste, give it a go – just don’t add too much as it’s not a subtle flavour.
Carrots. Flipping carrots. I’m not a fan of carrots (except those ones in a tin – I know, I’m common as muck), so whenever I get carrots in my veg box delivery, they usually stay in the fridge until they go floppy, then they go in the compost bin. I did make some vegan carrot cupcakes a while back but, as I’m trying to cut down on junk food at the mo (not helped by being sent a hamper of Ten Acre crisps), I didn’t want to make them again just yet. Soup is always a great way to use up leftover vegetables but if I didn’t really like carrots much, would I like them in a soup? I decided to find out and I can now confirm that carrots make a perfectly acceptable soup. Especially when you add lentils and some spice. As always, I blitzed this soup to silky perfection with my Froothie blender. I know I’ve said it before but this blender really has transformed my soup into something special, and I’ve been making soup for years.
What do you do when you’ve got half a block of puff pastry and half a vegetarian haggis in the freezer, a leftover field mushroom in the fridge and a cabbage in your veg box delivery? Make vegetarian haggis, mushroom and cabbage pasties of course! I love finding leftover pastry in the freezer as I haven’t found anything that isn’t improved by being wrapped in pastry. Well, ice cream might be a bit rubbish, I suppose, but the combination of vegetables and pastry is always a winner.
Usually when it’s courgette season, I live off courgette soup and stuffed courgettes but now I’ve got my spiralizer, I can live off courgetti, yay. I’d made a gorgeous spinach pesto (I’ll blog about that another time) last week to go with a spiralized salad but today I fancied making a thinner, creamier type of dressing.
I’ve blitzed them in smoothies, dunked them in hummus, and mushroom pate, cooked them in stews and bologneses but most of the time, because they go limp quickly, a lot of them end up in the compost. Last week after yet again receiving a big bunch of carrots, I decided to do something more ‘carroty’ with them and use them as the basis for something, rather than just added to something to simply use them up.
I said to The Meat Eater, ‘I’ve got rhubarb coming in the veg box next week’. He said, ‘oh noooooooo, I forgot to tell you there’s rhubarb in the garden’. Having a load of rhubarb is all very well, but what the flipping flop was I supposed to do with it? I knew you weren’t supposed to eat it raw, so I couldn’t juice it or put it in a smoothie, and a rhubarb crumble seemed too obvious. But other than a smoothie and a crumble, I couldn’t think of anything. Then I remembered enjoying the berry compote I’d had when I tried out the Bodychef vegetarian diet plan last year and looked for some rhubarb compote recipes.
I took part in a big cycling event over the weekend (although I should probably confess the lure of the train station just half a mile away was too strong and I wimped out of the second day) and, as I was away from home, my diet consisted of carbs, carbs and more carbs in the form of pizza, pasta and flapjacks. I have absolutely no problem with any of these essential food items but after three days of it, man, was I craving some good old fruit and veg.