Food

Sunshine Soup - A Hearty Bowl of Goodness

When winter settles in, we're naturally drawn to foods that are warming, nourishing and bring a cosy feel to our meals - Comfort food. Soup offers infinite possibilities - from the most rustic and hearty, to the ultimate in refined sophistication. They all have their place.

This is a healthy, hearty and nourishing soup that uses orange vegetables for a dose of sunshine coloured goodness. It's delicious, simple to make, easy to reheat, can be frozen and reheated (valuable for an easy meal when time is short).

The proportions can be adjusted to suit - Both for quantity, and for the mix of vegetables selected.

Shades of orange - Simple, healthy ingredients

Shades of orange - Simple, healthy ingredients

INGREDIENTS

1 leek

3 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of ras al hanout (Moroccan spice mix)

50 grams of butter

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

500 grams of pumpkin, peeled and diced

500 grams of orange sweet potato, peeled and diced

250 grams of carrots, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 an orange

1 1/2 - 2 litres of water, chicken, meat or vegetable stock

ACCOMPANIMENTS

4 tablespoons of caramelised onion

Coriander leaves to sprinkle

Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

Wash the leek thoroughly and slice finely. Peel and chop the garlic. Melt the butter gently in a large, heavy pan, add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt. Put the leeks and garlic into the pan, cook until soft but not browned. Add the ras al-hanout and stir through. Add the vegetables and bay leaf, stir. Pour over the stock or water, squeeze in the juice of the orange.

Simmer until the vegetables have cooked down to a nice, soft consistency. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly, remove bay leaf before blending to a velvet-smooth puree - Season to taste. Bring back up to heat before serving.

TO SERVE

Ladle hot soup into warmed bowls. Spoon over some warm, caramelised onion, scatter some fresh coriander leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.

This is just one serving suggestion - the options are endless. You could try:

- Crumbled blue cheese and fresh thyme

- Toasted nuts and seeds, scattered with some chopped parsley

- Crisp fried bacon and sage leaves

- Spoonful of yoghurt and sprinkle of dukkah

It's a good time of year to enjoy a bit of hibernation and some soul food - And to get out and embrace the chilly weather, knowing you have a warm soup to come home to - or to enjoy at work for an easy, healthy lunch.


Nicola is passionate about good, clean cooking and sharing great food ideas for doctors. Click below to read more from Nicola's series of seasonal food articles:

Eating Well When Away From Home

Alternatives To Always Eating Out

When we’re away from home for a period of time for work or holiday; having every meal at a restaurant, nice as it can be, sometimes wears a bit thin. Especially when you want to eat well, stay healthy and still enjoy making a few things yourself, rather than eating out all the time. If there are limited kitchen facilities and equipment, this can be a little challenging.

Here are some ideas for easy meals to have whilst ‘on the road’. They’re aimed at keeping healthy; providing the opportunity to taste local produce and specialties; enjoy good meals outside or on the run – at work for example; and even entertain where there is the opportunity.

Culinary Tool Kit

Depending on where you are and what your accommodation and resources are like, a culinary ‘tool kit’ to travel with can be a lifesaver.

A few of these essentials – and any others that are to your own personal taste, can help you make the most of local food that you can make at your home away from home:

  • Salt and pepper – there are some good quality disposable grinders full of the likes of Himalayan salt and organic black pepper available.
  • A small bottle of extra virgin olive oil – perfect for dressing a salad or for dipping with local bakers’ bread.
  • A small, sharp cutting knife and/or a small serrated knife
  • Small wooden chopping board – can be used for presenting cheeses and other snacks you’ve bought too.
  • A reasonable sized plastic container that can be used for mixing up a salad – and for transporting food you’ve made to work with you if you’re away from home, or for taking out for picnics if you’re on holiday.

Staying Local

A visit to a local farmers’ market is always the best place to experience the best of local produce and artisan foods and drinks. There are normally good websites to let you know times and days of the markets in every region. Of course if you like a glass of wine and you’re in an area with vineyards, a visit to the cellar door is always a good experience.

Even the most basic supermarkets offer choices of simple, whole foods – avoid heavily processed or high sugar items ideally - rather, go for any fresh produce available. Fresh, raw vegetables and avocado cut up with some good quality hummus, pesto or other dips from the refrigerated section make a pretty good snack.

Quick, Easy, Healthy and Delicious

For an impromptu meal – an option could be some freshly baked bread, good quality local cheese, olives, fresh tomatoes and salad greens and perhaps some fruit. With these humble ingredients, a very satisfying picnic or simple meal at your accommodation can be produced – no cooking required.

Here’s a simple board of a couple of cheeses, sliced pear and some good, local bread. Some olives or other simple antipasti items would be perfect to add to this. This could be a simple meal for one, or very acceptable offering to friends if they join you for a drink and catch up.

Do you have your own ideas to share?  Please leave a comment below or click on the button to request a call.

Buon appetito!

Nicola

ROAST ORGANIC CAULIFLOWER, CUMIN & CORIANDER SOUP

HEALTHY

DELICIOUS

FOOD

Cauliflower Soup

ENJOY THE COMING WINTER DAYS WITH OUR

ROAST ORGANIC CAULIFLOWER, CUMIN & CORIANDER SOUP

I’ve long said that soup is one of the major benefits of cold, winter weather. This one is a winner and so easy. It’s beautiful as an entree to a winter dinner. Served in a larger bowl, it becomes a hearty lunch, with crusty toast or warm flat bread,

The velvet-smooth roasted cauliflower soup, with the Middle Eastern spices of cumin and coriander is healthy too. Finish it with a sprinkling of za-artar,  a spoonful of fresh, organic yoghurt, fresh thyme and a drizzle of stunning organic Moroccan argan oil from Colour of Maroc, or organic extra virgin olive oil.


ROAST ORGANIC CAULIFLOWER, CUMIN & CORIANDER SOUP RECIPE

Ingredients - For 4 servings

1 large organic cauliflower

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of cumin powder

2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil

5 cups of filtered water, or good quality vegetable or chicken stock

50 grams of Parmesan rind (optional)

Sea salt and pepper

To finish the soup:

Organic plain yoghurt

Extra Parmesan to grate or shave over

Za-atar spice mix

Sprigs of fresh thyme

Organic argan oil – or extra virgin olive oil

Turn oven to 180 degrees Celsius.


Cut the cauliflower into even sized florets. Toss in olive oil to coat, season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes or until golden.

In a large, heavy based saucepan, gently cook the onion and garlic in butter or coconut oil until soft. Add the cumin and coriander and allow to toast slightly without burning. Add the water or stock, Parmesan rind and the cauliflower. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Take off the heat, remove the Parmesan rind and blend in batches until velvet smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reheat gently to serve. Ladle into bowls.

Top with a spoonful of yoghurt, a sprinkle of za-artar, some thyme leaves and a good drizzle of argan or extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle over the Parmesan if using for a more cheese-rich soup.

We hope you enjoy the warming recipe for this soup. Coming up over winter, we’ll share other recipes and would love to hear your favourites too.

Thank you,

Nicola

Soup
Thyme

Green Goodness Smoothie Recipe

WELLBEING

HEALTH

HAPPINESS

Green Smoothie... Mmmmm the Goodness!

Green Smoothie... Mmmmm the Goodness!

GREEN GOODNESS SMOOTHIE

The energising boost of a green smoothie is great for breakfast, a mid morning or afternoon snack. Beware however of some commercially produced smoothies or home recipes that are loaded so heavily with fruits and other forms of sugar that they become less than healthy after all!

Choices for healthy green smoothies are really unlimited. The easiest and best is to choose what is local, seasonal and fresh right now and chances are, it will cater for your needs since your body is naturally in tune with the seasons.

There are countless choices for additions to your smoothies as well. It’s good to mix it up, learn what benefits there are of different ingredients – and most importantly, find out what you really enjoy the taste of.

It’s easy to get a balance that tastes good without putting too much sweetness. Bananas and other fruit are very high in fructose so just be aware and load up on vegetables instead. "Superfoods" such as green algae – spirulina & chlorella are great. Avocado adds essential, healthy fats and a lovely creaminess. Energy boosters like macca give a great taste, and flavours from fresh herbs lift the drinks, as does a good dash of fresh lemon or lime juice.

Health benefits of a good green smoothie include an Alkalising effect on the body and cleansing.

It’s a good idea to give the body a break from coffee and alcohol or cut down at least and upping the greens supports you even more.

Here is one smoothie recipe to try:

GREEN GOODNESS SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • BIG HANDFUL OF ORGANIC KALE AND SILVERBEET, CHOPPED OR TORN INTO SMALLER BITS
  • PARSLEY, CORIANDER AND MINT – I USE LOTS – A BIG HANDFUL ROUGHLY TORN OR CHOPPED
  • 1 ORGANIC KIWIFRUIT, SKIN ON – REMOVE THE HARD BUTTON FROM THE STALK END
  • JUICE OF 1 LEMON FOR FRESHNESS
  • 1/2 AN AVOCADO – FOR CREAMINESS AND GOOD FATS
  • 1 1/2 CUPS OF FILTERED WATER OR COCONUT WATER
  • 1 TEASPOON OF SPIRULINA or CHLORELLA POWDER – (OPTIONAL)

Blend greens and herbs until fine, add rest of ingredients and blend until really smooth. A high speed blender is the best but others are fine as well – it just may not be quite as smooth.

Pour into a glass and enjoy the clean, green feeling!

Serves 1.

Fresh, seasonal ingredients are the key

Fresh, seasonal ingredients are the key

Fresh coriander, mint and parsley - Great taste, fantastic health benefits

Fresh coriander, mint and parsley - Great taste, fantastic health benefits