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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with bay leaves

16Jun 12

Tomato and Cabbage Soup

Tomato and Cabbage SoupI had an awful cold the other week, and it dawned on me that one of the worst things about being a vegetarian is not being able to eat chicken noodle soup.  It may not really be a cure for the common cold, but it certainly has proven to make you feel a bit better, at least while you’re eating it.  In any case, this tomato and cabbage soup recipe is my first attempt to make a vegetarian-friendly, feel-good soup for those pesky winter colds.

The young garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilli help to clear your sinuses, and the fennel seeds and honey help to sooth a sore throat.  To be honest, it tastes nothing like standard chicken noodle, but it definitely did make me feel a bit better, and the effect lasted for a few hours after I ate it too!

What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded or chopped
  • 400ml cabbage, cut into 1cm x 3cm strips
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 young garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 250ml rice
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tsp honey
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 3 litres water
  • 3tbsp olive oil

What you have to do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the leek and young garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage, carrot and tomato and continue sautéing for 3 more minutes with the heat on full.  Stir continuously to avoid burning.
  5. Add the honey, stock cube, chilli powder, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves and fennel seeds.  Sauté for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma of the spices.
  6. Add the water and the rice to the pot and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a fast simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If you like your soups a bit cheesy, try this Cauliflower and Emmental Soup recipe.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Easy

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31May 12

Cream of Courgette Soup

Cream of Courgette SoupI really like eating soup, and this Cream of Courgette Soup recipe has got to be one of my all time top-five!  It has a lot more than just courgettes in it, so I guess it’s not technically a simple cream of courgette, but I find that the celery provides a nice tangy contrast while the carrots and potato give it a bit more depth.  And the nutmeg, well, that’s probably the whole secret to this incredibly tasty soup!

I strongly suggest leaving the skin on the courgettes, mostly because that’s where a lot of the nutrients are, but also because it gives a nice green colour.  I’ve also used cornflour rather than cheese or cream to thicken the mix in order to make it vegan-friendly, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use those as you would in any other creamy broth (such as this roasted fennel and somerset cider soup).

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium size courgettes, washed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish

What you have to do:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized chunks (the size isn’t very important since they’re going to be puréed anyway).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  3. Sauté the onion for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the courgettes, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir often so it doesn’t burn or stick.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, parsley, nutmeg, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
  7. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
  9. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  10. Mix the cornflour with the water to a make a thick paste.
  11. Add the cornflour paste to the soup and mix it in well.
  12. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and a dash of nutmeg and serve.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium


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14Feb 12

Hearty Seitan Stew

Hearty Seitan StewOne of my favourite meals when I was growing up was a beef and potato stew my mother used to make for us, especially in the winter.  It was just the perfect thing for warming your belly and bones after a long day of playing outside in the cold.  Naturally, when I became a vegetarian this was one of the first recipes I just had to emulate in a meatless version.  Hearty Seitan Stew is the result of a few months of trial and error to get the mix just right.  The thick broth, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and deliciously chewy wheat gluten (seitan) make for a wonderfully filling and satisfying dish that even my unrepentant meat-eating brother can’t help but admit to loving.  In fact, even my mother has said she prefers it over her original beef version, although to be honest even I’m not sure I’d go that far!

What you’re going to need

  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g ball of seitan (wheat gluten)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, washed but not peeled
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 litres of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is nice and hot, add the diced onion and fry until it turns translucent.
  3. Chop the potatoes and carrots into medium sized chunks and add to the onions.
  4. Keep frying for a minute or two, stirring continuously.
  5. Cut the seitan into 2cm chunks and add to the mix along with the frozen peas, the vegetable stock cube and the herbs and spices and keep stirring for 1 more minute.
  6. Add the water, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl or cup, mix the corn-starch with just enough water to form a dense but runny paste.
  9. Bring the stew up to a boil and add the corn-starch paste, stirring continuously, in order to thicken the broth.  Add more as necessary until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

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