Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup

Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup


I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week with absolutely no energy and getting out of breath just walking up a few stairs. With Juneathon approaching, this just won’t do, so today I made a batch of spicy soup – if this doesn’t sort me out, nothing will. The original recipe called for a pinch of cayenne but who wants just a pinch of spice? Not me, that’s for sure, so I also added some chilli flakes as I am a firm believer that chilli cures everything.

I feel better already.

Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Soup (serves 4)
(recipe adapted from No Meat, No Dairy, No Gluten – Just flavour and Goodness)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of mixed spice
Big pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
1 large tin chickpeas, drained
850ml vegetable stock
500g passata
50g basmati rice
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

  1. Put the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas, stock and passata and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and cook until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Add the sugar and vinegar and season with the salt and pepper.
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Giveaway: Win a Hamper of Amy’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Food!


I’ve got an amazing prize to give away to one lucky reader – a hamper bursting with all the Amy’s Kitchen gluten-free goodies you can see in the photo above, namely:

  • cheese pizza
  • Thai red curry
  • cheddar, rice and bean burrito
  • vegetable lasagne
  • chunky tomato soup
  • lentil and vegetable soup
  • Spanish rice and red bean soup
  • dairy-free rice mac and cheeze

The soups I’ve tried and can vouch for their tastiness and if the dairy-free rice mac & cheeze is anything like the Amy’s Kitchen gluten-free dairy version I reviewed here, it will be delicious and just like the ‘real thing’.

I’ve got to admit I’m jealous of whoever wins this as they’ll be getting a pizza and I’ve never seen the pizza in the shops and we all know how much I love pizza.

Win the Amy’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Hamper

If you’d like to win the hamper, simply leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner at random after the closing date of midnight, Saturday 31 May 2014.

UK entries only.

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Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup (vegan)


I thought this soup might be a bit adventurous for lunchtime – my lunches are usually plain and simple (if you don’t take into account the pizza flavoured tofu in pitta bread I had yesterday), but I needn’t have worried; this soup was lovely. It’s silky smooth, with a subtle taste and didn’t leave me feeling heavy and bloated.

Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup (serves 6)
(adapted from Vegan 100 Everyday Recipes)

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp vegan Thai red curry paste
1 tsp salt
600g sweet potatoes, diced
400ml coconut milk
1 litre vegan stock

  1. Heat the oil. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the curry paste and salt and cook for a further minute or so. Add the sweet potatoes, coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Blend in a food process or use a hand-held blender.
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Red Lentil, Chickpea and Chilli Soup (vegan)

This is the nicest soup I’ve made for ages and more than makes up for the disastrous soup I made last week. Of course, it could be because it’s got chilli in it; chilli improves everything (except avocado. Nothing could improve that. Bleurgh).

The recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website but I didn’t use any coriander or yoghurt and I didn’t leave it as a rough puree – I blitzed it until it was smooth.

There are chickpeas in it, honest.


Red lentil, chickpea and chilli soup (serves 4)

2 tsp cumin seeds
large pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
140g red split lentils
850ml vegetable stock
400g chopped tomatoes
1/2 can chickpeas

  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin and chilli flakes for 1 minute, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Add the oil and onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender, then add the chickpeas and heat through.
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Lentil and mushroom soup


Since recently discovering cheese-topped baps in Tesco, they’d become my lunch, filled with Violife vegan cheese slices, vegan mayo and salad (yes, I know there’s not really much point putting vegan cheese and vegan mayo into dairy cheese-topped baps but I’ve still got loads of Violife cheese slices to use up and I prefer vegan mayo to the eggy stuff).

But after eating homemade muffins and sultana loaf and having pizza and galic bread over the weekend, I was a bit breaded out. So, today I went back to making soup (I should have been meeting uni friends for pancakes but the screenwriting tutorial timetable scuppered that plan).

Today’s soup was lentil and mushroom, taken from Rose Elliot’s The Bean Book.

I’m going to post the recipe as it appears in the book (well, sort of) but it was way too thick to blend at the end, so I added about 300ml more stock. This soup is thick, tasty, salty and earthy.

Lentil and mushroom soup (serves 4 not very hungry people)
(from The Bean Book, by Rose Elliot)

125g green lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
25g butter
125g mushrooms, chopped
900ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, then add the lentils and stock.
  3. Simmer gently, covered, for about 1 hour until the lentils are tender.
  4. Blend in a food processor or blender and season with salt and pepper.
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Vegan creamy spinach and potato soup


I’ve got a confession to make. None of the soup I’ve had on the two days I’ve had soup for lunch for Vegan Monday over the last four weeks has been vegan. This means I have only successfully completed one out of four Vegan Mondays (and that was only because I’d got up too late to have lunch).

Please forgive me though, as I had no idea. I’d been using Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon and it never occurred to me that anyone would put dairy in stock. But after Ocado sent me some Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon with ‘vegan’ written on it in nice big letters, I thought to myself ‘if they’ve gone to the trouble to label that vegan, does that mean the other one isn’t?’ and bah, yes it does mean it isn’t. It has lactose in it, which comes from milk [insert swear word of choice here; mine was ‘bollocks’, in case you’re interested].

Still, a lesson learnt and today’s soup (and therefore tomorrow’s for Vegan Monday) is 100% vegan.

Spinach and potato soup (serves 3-4)
(Adapted from a recipe at BBC Good Food)

1 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots (I only used shallots as I didn’t have an onion), chopped
1 medium potato, diced
150g spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400ml vegan stock
300ml soya milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the potato and fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the milk and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the spinach and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg.
  7. Whizz in a blender.
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Red cabbage and cannellini bean soup


Just look at the colour of this soup – a gorgeous aubergine colour. It pleases my inner goth, that’s for sure.

It doesn’t actually have any aubergine in it though – it’s primary ingredient is red cabbage, along with a tin of cannellini beans.

Seasonal, quick, easy and gothic – what more do you want?

Red cabbage and cannellini bean soup (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Half a red cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
700ml vegetable stock
salt and black pepper

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the cabbage and stock and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the cabbage is cooked.
  3. Add the beans and salt and pepper and heat through for another 5 minutes.
  4. Blend it or leave chunky (if you blend it and it’s too thick for your taste, add more water or stock).
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Staying healthy in the workplace


Before I moved to Kent and still worked full-time in Central London, despite having a sedentary job, I made sure I still had a healthy daily dose of exercise.

I walked from Liverpool Street station to Chancery Lane (about 1.5 miles) and back again and either went to the gym at lunchtime or for a walk along the Embankment.

But what about food? There’s not exactly a shortage of food places in London; not all of them healthy. In fact, most of them are distinctly unhealthy. Have you ever properly read the label of a supermarket salad? They’re absolutely loaded with oil and have a list of ingredients you’ve never heard of as long as your arm.


So, it’s best to stay away from those tempting takeaway places and take in your own lunch. Soup, for example, is healthy and so easy to make. If your workplace doesn’t have a microwave, heat it up in the morning before you leave and take it with you in a flask, as I used to do. There are dozens of recipes here on my blog. Make a big batch on Sunday and you’ll have enough for lunch all week.


If you think salads are boring – think again. You don’t have to restrict yourself to iceberg lettuce and tomato. Olives, cucumber, radish, peppers, capers, feta, beetroot, courgette, pesto and many more ingredients are delicious in a salad and can be mixed with pasta, rice, couscous or quinoa.


Stuff pitta bread with falafel and hummous or roasted vegetables for a change from cheese and pickle sandwiches.


If you’re a snacker, lay off the crisps and chocolate and eat healthy homemade muesli bars and oatmeal cookies instead. You’ll find some I’ve made here.


Don’t forget your fruit though. Fruitdrop will deliver boxes of delicious fresh fruit to your workplace, so you’ve always got a healthy snack within reach. When it comes to that 3pm slump, fruit will keep you alert far better than a sugary snack that will give you a quick burst of energy but quickly leaves you feeling more sluggish than you were in the first place.

To find out more about the Fruitdrop boxes, including pricing, click here.

What do you do for lunch? Pig out at Pret a Manger or take your own healthy homemade lunch in?

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Butter bean and tomato soup

rose-elliot-the-bean-bookJust because it’s 27C outside, that doesn’t mean I can’t have soup for lunch does it? Nope, thought not. I’d recently bought The Bean Book by Rose Elliot (it’s been in my wishlist for ages after reading all the great reviews on amazon) and made myself some butter bean and tomato soup.

And very nice it was too. Although I did have a dilemma at the end – to blend or not to blend? I decided to blend as I do like a one-handed soup, leaving my other hand free to mouse around the internet with.

All the recipes in the book use dried beans but you can substitute 100g of dried beans for a 400g tin. In the recipe below, I’ve used tinned beans and left out the soaking, draining, rinsing and boiling malarkey.

For a vegan version, fry the onions in oil instead of butter.


Butter bean and tomato soup (serves 4)
(Taken from The Bean Book by Rose Elliot)

2 tins butter beans, drained
900ml/1.5 pints vegetable stock
1 bayleaf
2 large onions, sliced
25g/1oz/2tbsp butter
1 can chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fry the onions in the butter until soft – about 10 minutes – then add the beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

If you’re going to blend it, remember to remove the bayleaf.

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Spicy courgette & rice soup

vegan-100-everyday-recipesI picked up a bargain three vegan and vegetarian cookbooks from The Works in the Designer Outlet last week for under a tenner. One of them was Vegan – 100 Everyday Recipes which has 100 vegan recipes, each accompanied by a colour photo – and all for only £1.99. Today I made the spicy courgette & rice soup for lunch and I’m planning to make the smoky bean chimichangas for dinner from the same book if not tonight, then one day this week, as I want to eat less dairy and eat more vegan food but, sshh, don’t tell The Meat Eater.


Spicy courgette & rice soup (serves 4)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1.5 litres vegan stock
2 courgettes, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 tbsp rice
salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the chilli powder and cumin and cook over a medium-low heat for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the stock, courgettes and rice, then cook over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until the courgettes are just tender and the rice is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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