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Creamy Red Curry Soup

This soup couldn’t possibly be any silkier. The beautiful texture is down to the quantity of coconut milk in the recipe, and the flavours are lively and bright. This serves six.

Ingredients

1 onion, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cauliflower, in florets
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

1. In a large soup pot over a medium-low heat, sauté the onion until aromatic and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic cloves, and stir for 30 seconds.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Blend.
3. Season, taste, and serve.

Creamy Butternut, Cauliflower, and Lentil Soup

This is an easy budget soup, making four main-meal-sized portions. Don’t let the inclusion of the notoriously difficult to peel squash put you off; there are two options below to make your job much, much easier. As always, use this recipe as a roadmap: try it with the addition of coconut milk and either Thai or Indian spices; add a can of tomato sauce and some Italian herbs. A good base soup can be varied in so many different ways.

Ingredients:

1 red onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash
200g split red lentils
1 small cauliflower, in florets (approx. 500g)
1.5 litres vegetable stock
Pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced (or 1 tsp, dried, rubbed between fingers)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped tbsp yellow miso

Directions:
1. Carefully make several slits in skin of the squash with a small sharp knife, and microwave for about 3-5 minutes to loosen the peel from the flesh slightly. Alternatively, slit and then boil the squash whole in a large stock pot for about 5 minutes, until softened. Wait until it’s cool enough to handle, and then peel, deseed, and chop into bite-sized dice.
2. In a stock pot over a very low heat, sweat the onion and garlic, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Don’t allow them to take on any colour; if they start to stick, the heat is too high. Lower it, and add a little broth to loosen.
3. Add the cauliflower, stock, butternut squash, chilli flakes, and sage leaves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4. While the soup is cooking, rinse and drain the lentils, picking them over to ensure there are no small stones or pieces of grit among them. Add them to a saucepan with about 400g water, bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until softened. Drain and rinse.
5. Add the lentils back to the pot with the butternut squash (cooking them separately ensures that the lentils don’t add any foam to your soup), and mix well to combine. Spoon between a third and half of the soup into a blender jug with the miso paste and blend until creamy. Alternatively, remove the same quantity of soup and use an immersion blender to blend it to smooth.
6. Stir the blended soup back to the pot, warm, and serve in warmed bowls with some parsley, additional chilli flakes, and nutritional yeast if desired.

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

With only a few ingredients, this budget recipe is relatively fuss-free, and produces batch of flavoursome and healthy soup that will serve 6.

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped
1.5 litres vegetable broth
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Dry sauté the onions over a medium-low heat until caramelised, adding a splash of water if they start to stick.
2. Add about 1/4 cup vegetable broth to deglaze the pot.
3. Once the bottom of the pot looks clean, add the butternut squash, carrots, and the rest of the broth.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
5. If you have a blender, you might like to try the soup smooth. If not, it will be just as delicious with the vegetables in chunks. Season to taste.

Butternut squash gnocchi with mushrooms, parsley, a simple red sauce and a sesame miso white sauce

The squash makes the gnocchi soft and pillowy while the sauteed herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and nutritional yeast, as well as the red and white sauces add a range of flavours and colours to the plate.

Ingredients

For the gnocchi
2 cups cooked butternut squash
2 cups hard wheat flour
1 liter water
1 1/4t coarse sea salt, divided
2T ground flax seeds
1T olive oil
1T nutritional yeast

For the mushrooms and parsley
2T olive oil
1/4t sea salt
3 scallions, minced (3″ of green reserved for garnish)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1T capers, minced
1t dried basil, rubbed
1t dried oregano, rubbed
1/2t dried thyme, rubbed
200g cremini mushrooms, in 1/2″ slices
2T apple cider vinegar
1 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (a few sprigs
set aside for garnish)
2T nutritional yeast
2T sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the red sauce
2T gnocchi water
1 cup passata (or tomato puree)
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper (or other seasonings) to taste

For the white sauce
1/4 cup sesame seed butter
2t white miso
1T lemon juice
3-5T cold water
Sea salt to taste

Directions

Make the gnocchi first, then the vegetables, then the sauces.
Combine the squash, flour, flax and 1/4t sea salt and mix well to form a dough.
Bring the water and 1t of sea salt to a boil in a large pot.
Pinch the dough in 2t sizes and roll into balls. You can decorate by pressing with a fork if you want to be
traditional (this also helps the sauce to cling).
When the balls are ready, drop half into the boiling water and swirl gently.
Boil until the balls start to float (perhaps 3-5 minutes –but they’ll float when done).
Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Boil the remaining gnocchi until done and set aside.
Toss with 1T olive oil and 2T nutritional yeast.
Reserve 2T of the pasta water for the red sauce.
In a large frying pan, bring the cooking oil and sea salt to heat on medium high.
Add the scallion and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and the rest of the herbs and saute for 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes until the pan starts to brown.
Add the apple cider vinegar and deglaze.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
While the mushrooms simmer, make the red and white sauces.
In a small sauce pan, bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high.
Add the passata and gnocchi water and simmer on medium low for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small cup or bowl, mix the sesame, lemon, miso and sea salt.
Add 3T of cold water to start.
Add more if necessary to achieve a white sauce consistency.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and nutritional yeast to the mushrooms and stir to combine.
Add the parsley and saute for 3 minutes.
Add the gnocchi and saute for another 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside 1 minute to cool.
Plate gnocchi and add 1/4 of the red sauce in a wider circle and then 1/4 of the white sauce in dollops.
Drip a little red sauce around the plate for added presentation value.
Garnish with thinly sliced scallion greens and parsley around the plate.