Scottish Lentil Soup

Cheap, nutritious and easily vegan. My camera isn’t working at the moment so no pictures this time. This should make about three portions but mess with the proportions all you like as I measured by eye.

  • One onion
  • Two carrots
  • One rib of celery or celery leaves
  • Red lentils
  • Veg stock or ham hock
  • Frozen peas (optional but added because more veg is good)
  • Mixed herbs or thyme and parsley to taste

If you want to make it more delicious then fry the aromatics after you’ve chopped them before boiling it all up. If you’re looking for healthier just dump them all in the pot, it’ll still taste good. Make sure you boil the lentils for ten minutes to denature the enzymes. It also freezes well and if you don’t have celery to hand it’s still good without it.

 

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Winter Prep

Before it gets really cold I like to stock pile a series of ginger based cold and flu cures.

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This is literally just chopped ginger put in honey. I let it soak in like this in the fridge and use a teaspoon full in hot water to make a really throat soothing, sinus clearing tea. The juice flows out of the ginger, thinning the honey and making a sort of syrup.

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This is my Ginger Soup, loosely based on Hot and Sour soup and something I’ve been inflicting on sick friends since undergrad. Of course as its my secret remedy there’s no one to make it for me when I’m the one whose sick so I like to keep two tubs of it in my freezer (that’s all I have room for).

You will need;

  • One large thumb of ginger
  • Four spring onions or one white onion
  • Six cloves of garlic
  • Two chilis (less if you like spice less)
  • Oil of your choice
  • Rice vinegar (I’m using Chianking)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stock of your choice

This is really easy to make and I like to use it as the base for a lot of soups. All you have to do is dice the vegetables and brown then in the oil, then add everything else and cook until the flavours are dispersed.

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Migraine Curry, the Real Adult version

As mentioned in yesterday’s post the Migraine Curry could easily be rounded out with various vegetables to produce something that is also healthy as well as delicious. So because today I do not have a migraine and I still want curry I’ve gone ahead and made it. (You could even nix the chicken and have a decent veg curry)

Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Methi Seed
  • Chili
  • Oil (I used sesame)
  • Two stock cubes of your choice
  • Rice

Additions:

  • Carrots (you can use frozen here but I find frozen carrots to be little sponges of evil so I use fresh)
  • Frozen Spinach
  • Frozen Peas
  • Dried red lentils

Dice the onions, garlic, ginger and carrots. Fry the dried spices with the onions, ginger and garlic until browned. Use as little oil as possible and pick a healthy oil like sesame or coconut.

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Add the chicken and brown it, then add the rest of the ingredients barring the rice. Cook on high for ten minutes to ensure that the enzymes in the lentils are denatured and then just allow to simmer until the sauce has reached a flavour and consistency you like and the chicken is cooked through. The rice can be cooked separately or in the sauce itself if you want to save time.

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Again, this is in no way authentic but it does taste pretty nice and is moderately healthy.

Migraine Curry Soup

Today I have a migraine and, because I am a mature and functional adult, all the pain killers in my house went out of date in 2013. I also, because I am a stubborn unmentionable as my grandmother might put it, spent the day working instead of laying in the dark, even though this involved staring at a brightly lit screen and trying to string words together.

So I need curry. I make no pretence that this is in any way authentic but its an excellent cure all when taken with your bloody migraine medication that you have discovered under the half folded laundry.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (frozen and pre diced because dicing raw chicken with a piston shoving through my skull? You’re having a laugh)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Methi Seed
  • Chili (red dried in this case, I put five of them in but for those who don’t have a chili problem I advise less)
  • Oil (I used sesame)
  • Two stock cubes of your choice
  • Rice

This should, if I was an actual Real Adult, also contain actual vegetables. The frozen peas, frozen spinach and dried lentils I have around and even some finely diced carrots would make a pretty good decision. But cooking when you have a migraine is like cooking drunk. You will only make what you crave. So dice the onions, garlic and ginger, fry it up with the spices and then add the chicken. Once browned or when your patience runs out cover with water and stock. Ten minutes before you’re ready to serve add rice and let it cook in the juice.

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Here’s the Real Adult Version

Disaster Pasta Salad

So in an attempt to plan ahead I made about three days worth of pasta, intended to coat it in pesto and have it for lunch at work. Then I discovered my pesto was off. And I had a pot with three days worth of cold pasta in it.

What I did have in my fridge was goats cheese, tomatoes and broccoli and so Disaster Pasta Salad was born.

Ingredients

  • Shell Pasta
  • Head of Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Plum Tomatoes
  • Goat Cheese
  • Sesame or Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Dice the broccoli and four or five garlic cloves (less if you like), coat in the oil and roast for twenty five minutes. Slice the plum tomatoes, crumble the goats cheese and mix everything together. I have the variety of goats cheese that can’t decide if it wants to be creamy or crumbly so it coats the pasta a little when stirred around.

Also I ate some already and its pretty good.

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Chocolate Ginger Cookies

I’m supposed to be working on my book but what this actually means is that I forgot to eat all day and ended up desperately craving sugar while shakey with low blood sugar, and clearly in no fit state to go to the shops.

Fortunately while my mum was here she bought me a frozen shepherds pie because she knows I do this, so actual food was sorted out. I really, really needed cake though. But that wasn’t happening. What was within my power to make however, were cookies.

It turns out that if you leave vanilla essence in the cupboard too long past its use by it will turn into alcohol. I do not think I should put this in my cookies so it went in the bin.

What I did have was a packet of dark chocolate chips Tesco’s gave me for free a while ago because of the great British bake off and a lot of ginger because I can’t actually take sinus medicine so drinking ginger tea is the only relief I have (curse you pollen). I actually think these cookies were better for not having vanilla essence but feel free to include it if you want (its your mouth).

Ingredients:

8 oz of plain flour

2 oz of sugar (I used white because its what I had but brown or a mix might be better)

4 oz of saltless butter

1 medium egg

Entire pack of dark chocolate chips (don’t judge me)

A large thumb of ginger

 

Mix together the flour and sugar and leave the butter out to warm while you whisk the egg and grate the ginger. Grate it as finely as you can, though getting it off the grater is a pain, and do it over the bowl so the juice flows in. Once you’ve mixed everything together bake it for 180 C for half an hour. These are actually amazing, and I’m not just saying that because I really really wanted them.

Black Bean and Spinach Soup

I made this today and its delicious, cheap and vegan. Should feed two to three people

Ingredients:

Olive oil
3 Spring onions
2 Onions
6 cloves of garlic
Can of black beans
Bag of spinach or equivalent frozen
Cumin
Cayenne Pepper
Thyme
Fresh Coriander
Two stock cubes (can be substituted with bacon but then obviously not vegan)

Dice the onions, garlic and spring onions (and bacon if you’re using it) and fry them in the olive oil until the onions start to go translucent. Then add the can of beans, the spices and the stock and let it cook until the beans have softened. Add the spinach and take the pan off the heat and let the spinach cook in the residual heat.