How cold was it this weekend?!
When it’s cold and gloomy outside, what better way to lighten up the day with a warm and comforting delicious bowl of soup!
Mixed Bean and vegetable soup
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1½ pounds of mixed vegetables
- 1½ pounds of mixed root vegetables
- 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoon of curry powder
- ¼ cup of freshly chopped parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups or chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 small chopped zucchini
- 1 can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- Heat oil in a heavy stock pot
- Add all the vegetables, except the zucchini, parsley and beans
- Cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly
- Add the garlic, curry powder and the bay leaves, and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the beans and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf
- Puree about ½ the soup in a blender, once pureed return to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Add the zucchini and parsley and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
Fennel soup with winter greens and bacon recipe
- 150g butter
- 2 large leeks, sliced and washed
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 3 fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped
- 900g potatoes, roughly chopped
- 1.2 litres chicken stock, hot
- 10ml whipping cream
- 1 small savoy cabbage or other winter greens
- 175g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, dried
- Handful of roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Add the fennel seeds and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the chopped fennel and the potatoes.
- Cover the vegetables with a sheet of wet baking paper and put a lid on the pan. Cook gently for 10-12 minutes, until the leeks are soft. Remove and discard the paper. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.
- Leave the soup to cool slightly, then pour half into a food processor or blender and whizz until smooth. Press through a sieve into the remaining soup in the pan. Stir in the cream and season to taste. Gently reheat the soup but make sure it doesn’t boil.
- Meanwhile, make the winter greens and bacon. Discard the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Roughly tear the remaining leaves, discarding any hard stalks, and blanch them in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes. Refresh under cold running water and drain.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pancetta or bacon, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Add the cabbage and thyme, and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Season well.
- Ladle the soup into deep bowls and spoon the winter greens and bacon into each bowl to serve.
In addition to the hearty soups above, you should take a probiotic and/or prebiotic as it may help to perk up your gloomy days. Taking a daily probiotic will increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut. This will reduce the chances of the “bad” bacteria from affecting your gut. Why not also have foods containing prebiotics in your diet? Prebiotics are foods that will stimulate the growth of your own beneficial bacteria in the gut; foods include bananas, onions and leeks.
So why not try one of the above recipes this winter, along with a probiotic and/or prebiotic as part of a healthy balanced diet?