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Saturday, January 28, 2012

"I'm not eating enough vegetables" soup

Life has been a bit crazy this week, and with one thing and another my diet has ended up heavily weighted towards meat, eggs and cream with a distinct paucity of veggies. Which is fine, for a while, but today my body just said GREEN so I went with the instinct. This was the result.

1 whole broccoli, coarsely chopped (if you're like me and enjoy eating the stem, chop & include that as well)
1 whole cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 whole brown onion, sliced
1 courgette, sliced into rounds
250g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
250g mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
1 chicken stock cube
A dash of allspice
A large dash of sage
A large dash of rosemary
A dash of salt

To serve:
Grated cheddar
Sour cream
Double cream

In a large stock pot/soup pot, dissolve the two stock cubes in some hot water. Add all of the veggies, sprinkle the allspice, salt and herbs, then top up with more water until the veggies are almost covered.

Bring to the boil, then allow to simmer slowly until veggies are soft - I think it took about an hour and a half for mine, but maybe not even that.

Spoon into a bowl and add a pile of grated cheese (I used cheddar but parmesan would have been amazing) and a glug each of double cream and sour cream. Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

This makes a LOT of servings so be prepared to stock your fridge or freezer with the leftovers!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Turkey Mince with Paprika and Allspice

This dish came about because I had turkey mince, a few bits and pieces of veg and the spice cupboard, and not much else that was useful to go with it. So I just went with my instincts and came up with something unexpectedly amazing. It’s a rich, creamy dish, somewhat reminiscent of Moroccan cuisine, sweet and spicy and warming.

It’s low-carb and therefore correspondingly protein and fat-rich – not great if you’re on a low calorie diet, but perfect if you’re not dieting or on a low-carb regime (as I am).

This recipe will make 2 big serves if you’re eating it by itself, or it could easily be stretched to 4 with sides of rice or couscous and some extra veggies. I had it by itself and it was fabulous, but I'll relish it with rice when I'm allowed some again.


500g turkey mince (ground meat)
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper (capsicum), diced
1 courgette (zucchini), grated
Double handful thin fresh green beans, ends cut off and beans cut in half
Splenda (or sugar)
½ a chicken stock cube
2 tsp freshly grated ginger, or ginger granules to taste
Paprika, allspice, turmeric, garlic granules to taste
1-2 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
A good glug of fresh double cream

1. Melt some butter to coat the bottom of a large frying pan. Cook the onions in the butter with some Splenda (or sugar) on high heat until soft and translucent. Add the capsicum and beans and cook until the capsicum starts to soften. Add more butter when necessary to keep the mixture moist.

2. Add the ginger (if using grated) and the turkey mince. Fry stirring frequently until the mince is browned. Add more butter when necessary to keep the mixture moist but don’t make it too greasy.

3. When the mince is browned, add the courgette and fry until it starts to go translucent.

4. Add the lemon juice – just go with your instincts – and the crumbled stock cube. Mix well to incorporate. Then add plenty of paprika, a good scattering of allspice and turmeric, and a few dashes of garlic (plus a good scattering of ginger if using granulated), a shake of splenda or sugar and a small shake of salt. All this is to taste – add, check, adjust if necessary. You can’t go too far wrong. Make sure you use plenty to give the dish loads of flavour.

5. When the meat and veggies are coated with spices and everything tastes great, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. When the sizzling calms down add a good glug of cream to the frypan, enough so that when you stir it in all the meat is coated. Cook until the cream is heated, stirring constantly. When the cream is hot, serve immediately.