Goodness me, it has been a long, hot Summer hasn’t it? There has been so much that we have absolutely loved about it – the refreshing and freeing swims in the ocean, the sunset salads and bbq’s, the early morning walks listening to the deafening choir of cicadas and the longer, more active days outside. But (and I know I am most definitely not alone in this thought) to be completely honest, I have found the constant heat to be oppressive and exhausting. At one point there it felt like every single day we were living in a sauna…the kids became sticky, slimy, grumpy and agitated and I felt as though I just couldn’t muster up any of my usual energy. I felt the strain of being a busy Mum far more than usual and (as silly as it may sound), because it was too hot to have the oven and stove on, I really began to miss baking and cooking.
Because as days become shorter and cooler there is nothing lovelier than hurling a heap of wholesome ingredients into a cast iron pot, popping it in the oven and knowing that dinner for the day is sorted. There is also something so comforting about making hearty soups that are quite literally brimming with healthy, nourishing ingredients. Soup is such an easy meal to make and I do love knowing that the kids are consuming lots of vegetables in the one bowl. It does seem to be one of the meals that we all love as a family and better still, if you make an extra large pot, it will last well for a couple of nights.
Yesterday, I used up vegetables and ingredients I had in the fridge and pantry (because some Mondays I just cannot face heading to the shops again!) and the soup was delicious. The carrots provide a beautiful sweetness when cooked well and the spinach made it fresh and added extra green goodness. Last night a Harris Farm delivery arrived and the zucchinis were so incredibly large that today I decided to make a cream of zucchini soup with potatoes, onion, garlic and fresh rosemary and bay leaves from the garden. Yesterday I also made one of my favourite gluten free Teresa Cutter breads (the chia seeds and quinoa base ensure it is packed with yummy nutrients) which goes beautifully with soup. The kids tried it…didn’t fall in love with it, but I’m always happy if they just give things a go.
These three recipes are below – I hope you enjoy.x
Carrot, Turmeric, Coconut and Spinach Soup:
1 bag carrots, chopped roughly
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 regular potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
Vegetable or chicken stock (approx 4 cups)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 can coconut milk or cream (or use regular cream if you’d rather)
Baby spinach and fresh dill (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrots, potatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes then add the stock and turmeric (the stock should cover the vegetables well). Bring the stock to a simmer and cook until all of the vegetables have softened well. Turn the heat off and once cooler, add the coconut milk/cream. Blend well with a hand-held blender or use a blender. To serve, throw a heap of baby spinach leaves in the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle the soup over the leaves. Season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with some fresh dill.
Cream of Zucchini Soup:
4-5 large zucchini (7-8 medium), washed and chopped
6 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1-2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
Fresh rosemary and bay leaves
1 can coconut cream or normal cream if you’d rather (use some Greek yoghurt for a lighter option)
Heat a good lug of oil in a saucepan and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped zucchinis, potatoes and herbs. Pour the stock over the veggies and cook on medium until they have softened completely – allow to cool. Remove the herbs (they will have infused your broth with a beautiful fragrance and extra flavour) and add the cream/yoghurt. Blend well and serve with some bread of your choice.
Teresa Cutter’s gluten-free quinoa and chia bread:
300 grams (1 and 3/4 cups) whole uncooked quinoa seeds
60 grams (1/4 cup) whole chia seeds
250 ml (1 cup) water (use half to soak chia seeds and the other half to combine in food processor)
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
juice from 1/2 lemon
1.Soak quinoa in plenty of cold water overnight in the fridge.
2. Soak chia seeds in 1/2 cup water until gel like – this can be done overnight as well but stir well in the beginning.
3. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
4. Drain the quinoa and rinse really well through a sieve. Make sure the water is fully drained from your sieve.
5. Place the quinoa into a food processor.
6. Add the chia gel, 1/2 cup water, olive oil, baking soda, sea salt and lemon juice.
7. Mix in a food processor for 3 minutes.
8. Spoon the mix into a loaf tine lined with baking paper.
9. Bake for 1.5 hours or until the firm to touch…make sure you have allowed enough baking time for the quinoa to cook.
10. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes in the tin then remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack. The bread should be slightly moist in the middle and crisp on the outside.