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Green, green, green soup

This is another soup from my winter 5:2 fasting days. With the peas, it’s a bit more filling than the zucchini soup.

Pop Aye’s favourite soup?

Ingredients

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 sticks celery, sliced
  • 200gm frozen peas
  • 250gm frozen spinach
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1.7L water
  • 1-2 tsp vegeta stock powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onions and celery, cook until onions are translucent. Add in the zucchini and cook until it softens a bit. Add the water and stock powder and simmer for about 20-30 minutes (celery should be softened). Add in the peas and frozen spinach and cook for about 5 minutes.

Take pot off heat and cool, then blend to combine (it’s easiest if you use a stick mixer).

Makes about 5 servings, and each serving is around 60-70 calories.

Souper

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Vegetable goodness for winter fast days.

This is another recipe for my 5:2 diet days: it’s warming and filling while also being very low calorie and easy to make.

Ingredients

  • Eggplant (diced into 1.5cm cubes)
  • Zucchini, medium sized (slice into 1cm thick slices, then quarter those)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jar tomato passata or two tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Dried thyme  (I use sprigs I’ve harvested from my garden)
  • Dried rosemary (two large pinches)
  • Olive Oil
  • t tsp Vegeta stock powder
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the oil in a large casserole pot, add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and the eggplant and continue frying until the eggplant is slightly softened. Add the zucchini and stir to mix well and coat it with the oil. Add 2 cups of hot water and the vegeta stock powder and simmer with the lid on for about 5 minutes. Add your tomato paste and your tomatoes (either the passata or the tinned tomatoes), replace the lid and bring to a simmer, then turn down low and cook for about 30 minutes.

This makes about 6 serves, and is about 80-100 calories per serve tops.

Cup a stew

Gnocching it out of the park

You could make this recipe completely from scratch, but there are a couple of good brands of pre-packed potato gnocchi out there which make good pantry staples. So why not keep this as a cupboard love dish, using things you hvae in your pantry? If you have gnocchi, frozen spinach, cream, parmesan and bacon in the house then you have the makings of a simple, but very tasty meal. The only fiddly bit is drying the gnocchi, but we’ll get to that.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack pre-made gnocchi
  • 1 cubes of frozen spinach, defrosted in warm water (I use the individual portion size spinach, one cube is the size of a large ice cube)
  • 2 rashers of short cut bacon (diced)
  • 2 spring onions (cut finely)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 150mL thin cream
  • Parmesan (grated)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

First up, cook the gnocchi according to packet instructions (normally in a pot of boiling salted water). Drain the gnocchi, reserving a little of the liquid. Working quickly (before the gnocchi has too much of a chance to stick together), lay out each individual piece of gnocchi on some baking paper (I put mine in a cookie sheet to make it easy to move things around). Leave the gnocchi to dry for about 5 minutes.

You’ll need two frypans for this next bit…

Heat one and add some butter. When the butter is melted, add in the gnocchi and brown each side. Don’t stir the gnocchi: shake the pan to keep it moving, and use tongs to turn it. Once the gnocchi is browned, set aside.

Heat the other frypan and add the bacon (you don’t need a lot of fat with bacon as it brings its own to the party). Cook it so that it is browning but still tender, add in the spring onions and garlic (at this point you may need to add some olive oil). When the garlic and onions are fragrant, turn the heat down low and add the cream and andd the gnocchi and stir gently, then add some of the parmesan (reserving some for serving) and the spinach. If the sauce gets too thick, add more cream. Season with salt and pepper. Once the gnocchi is warmed again, you are ready to serve.

Plate of potato-y goodness

…with bonus “spot the difference” puzzles.

With the a.n.t. problem in Dianella, I’ve decided having my bed up against the window sill sans headboard is a no go because I really don’t like finding the occasional stray ant on my pillows. This may seem unreasonable to you, but that is just how it is in my house. (Plus it’s SUPER cold in winter.)

This bit didn’t change much.

So the first night of my 2017 Xmas leave was spent rearranging my bedroom from this, to this:

Puzzle 1…

Can you spot the difference between ^ that pic, and this one:

Puzzle #2: it’s very subtle, I know.

Obviously, the perspective is slightly difference…but there might be something else:

Distance can sometimes help…

Do you need a hint?

#hint

Now that I have the bed against the wall, I’ve started thinking about my perfect headboard again #sigh.

A headboard is #commitment

I ❤ these placemats. They were my 2017 birthday treat to myself, and they only come out on very special occasions.

…even if they are unscented.

Yes that is an ikea watering can being used to hold a floral arrangement.

The shot glasses holding the smaller tulips were my Nana and Poppa’s (Australian grandparents). They have history.

Simple, yet sexy.

Words fail me, because this ice-cream is the bomb. I’m calling it mango “lassi” ice-cream because although it contains mango puree and yoghurt, it also contains cream so it’s not a proper Lassi. Liberties have been taken. Apologies to all the Lassi connoisseurs #sorrynotsorry.

Ingredients: Mango “Lassi” Ice-cream

You’ll need an ice-cream machine for this and ideally a hand mixer,

On ice-cream makers: I thoroughly recommend the self-chilling ones (Breville make a good ‘un). Yes: they are more expensive, and they are bulky but they are a lot less laborious and there’s a lot less fiddle-faddling around plus for Western Australian summers: they are really the only sensible option.

  • 800-850gm tin of Mango Puree
  • 1L of Greek Yoghurt
  • 300-500mL whipping cream (thin cream)

Pop your mango puree and yoghurt into a large bowl, plonk in your hand mixer and mix until well combined. Add in your thin cream to taste, then mix again with your hand mixer until the cream is well aerated (it should be starting to increase in size, but not be actually whipped).

Pour into your ice-cream maker and churn. I had enough to do two batches in mind. Once churned and at soft-serve consistency, decant into your preferred ice-cream storage vessels (two #reused plastic takeaway containers did the trick for me) and pop in your freezer until needed.

Ideally consume within 3 months.

Deluxe Dessert Idea: Lime soaked berries with mango “lassi” icecream topped with pistachio and white chocolate crumble

For those days when you want to amp up your mango “lassi” ice-cream and impress somebody. Ideal post-Indian feast dessert.

How YOU doin’?

Ingredients

  • Mango “lassi” ice-cream: 2 scoops per person
  • Strawberries, hulled and quartered. 3 per person
  • Raspberries: 4 per person
  • 1 quarter of a lime
  • Pistachio and white chocolate crumble (recipe follows)
  • Gold shimmer powder (edible)

Pop your raspberries and strawberries in a bowl and keep them in the fridge until immediately before serving. When you are ready to serve, squeeze the lime over them and mix then spoon into your dessert receptacles. Top with 2 scoops of the ice-cream, then 1 dessert spoon of the pistachio and white chocolate crumble (recipe to follow), and then a dusting of gold shimmer powder. Prepare to receive compliments.

Pistachio and white chocolate crumble

You’ll need a mini food processor (like the ones you attach to your stick mixer).

  • 2-3 tbsp pistachios
  • 1-2 tbsp white chocolate (I used the melting chocolate)
  • Gold shimmer powder (edible)
  • 1 meringue (white) crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp matcha powder
  • A couple of drops of green food colouring (optional)

Pop all the ingredients (except the food colouring) in to the food processor, process in bursts until really fine crumb. Consider the colouring for your aesthetic appeal, if you think it should be a little greener then pop in your food colouring drops and process a little bit more to mix through. Store in a jar, in the fridge. Use within a month (I pulled that number out of the air, but it seems eminently sensible).

Why have egg and cress sandwiches, when you can be totally extra and have egg and two cress sandwiches?

Is it egg and two cress, or egg and two cresses?

It’s all very Famous Five, but these are absolutely delish sandwiches to serve at a high tea (or to take on a picnic where you solve mysteries accompanied by potted meat sandwiches, seed cake and lashings of ginger beer).

Substantial high tea, artfully photographed.

Embarrassingly: the reason why I purchased the lebanese cress is because I saw Shane Delia’s cooking show and decided I simply must grow lebanese cress… Now that I have grown it successfully: I’ve been struggling to find recipes to include it in. Luckily a shortage of home grown watercress, a surplus of lebanese cress and an impending high tea led to this recipe-spiration 😉

Note to self: find time to search for Shane Delia and locate his recipes using lebanese cress.

Sandwiches hiding behind neverfail chocolate cake

I cut my sandwiches into 4 triangles, and people will generally eat 2-3 triangles per person. I’ve written this recipe so you can easily make as much as you need for your high teas, picnics and assorted mystery-solving adventures.

Aerial perspective.

Ingredients

  • 1 hard boiled egg per sandwich (peeled, obvs)
  • 1 spring onion, green part only chopped finely (0.5 of an end per sandwich is a good ratio but it does depend on how long your spring onion is)
  • 4-5 sprigs of lebanese cress per sandwich, leaves only (cut the leaves off the stalk)
  • 2-3 tbsp of watercress leaves (or land cress leaves) per sandwich, leaves only (cut the leaves off the stalk)
  • 1 dessert spoon of egg mayonnaise per sandwich
  • 2 slices of white sandwich bread, buttered (or nuttelexed, or margarined: whatever your preference)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Mash your boiled egg(s) in a bowl: I like to use a potato masher to break them up finely, and then a fork to stir. Add in the spring onion, lebanese cress leaves, water/land cress leaves and egg mayonnaise. Stir well with the fork to ensure the egg and other ingredients are completely and evenly mixed through.

Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.

You use about 1-2 dessert spoons of this mixture per sandwich, so pop your spoonfuls of egg-and-two-cress-mixture on one of the slices of bread and smooth out evenly to cover the whole slice of bread, then cover with the other slice of bread and THEN cut into 4 triangles.

#Chefsrecommendation

These sandwiches are so much more satisfying as triangles.

Triangles by supreme edict.