Tag Archives: soup

Pumkin Soup or My Autumnal Comfort Food

pumpkin soup

In my journey to a healthier me, I have learnt to find alternatives to transform old habits into better ones.

I thought about comfort food last week as I was walking to uni in the rain and wind. When I arrived there I bought a hot chocolate. And I actually found it too sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it went down quite well, but had I made it myself, I wouldn’t have put that much sugar. It’s funny how you can get used to eating certain types of food and how your palate adjusts with changes. Some changes that we force ourselves to make, like swapping white bread for wholegrain, or giving up sugar in tea, for example, can seem hard at first but our taste buds really do readjust. Especially to sweetness I find. I’m sure it’s true for salt too.

Anyway, today I’m making a pumpkin soup, all because of that walk in the rain that made me want comfort food. Something with a nice colour, thick texture and good taste.

pumpkin soup ingredients

I thought about what veggies would go well together and decided for: pumpkin, parsnip, carrot, leek and onion. Very seasonal, and for a bit of a kick, I will add turmeric and chili pepper. And of course a bit of black pepper and salt. I will serve it either on its own, or with a bit of creme fraiche and grated cheddar / gruyère, or chorizo slices. For the exact recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the page :-)

Now for those interested, here is the nutritional content of each ingredient (per 100g):

(source: wikipedia, sorry haven’t got time for deeper research today)

Pumpkin: 26 kcal, pretty much 0g fat, 0g protein, carbohydrate 6g (2.8g sugar), sodium 1mg, potassium 340mg and 170% of your daily needs in vitamin A (remember to eat your vitamin A with fat as it is a fat soluble vitamin).

Parsnip: 75 kcal, pretty much 0g fat, 1.2g protein, potassium 375mg, sodium 10mg, carbohydrate 18g (4.8g sugar), calcium 3% of your daily needs, vitamin C 28%, however that will be lost in cooking because vitamin C is very sensitive to heat.

Carrot: 42 kcal, 0g fat, 0g protein, potassium 320mg, sodium 69mg, carbohydrate 10g (4.7g sugar), vitamin A 334% of your daily needs (great news!) and no need to mention vit C now we know it’s going to be lost in cooking.

Leek: 61 kcal, 0g fat, protein 1.5g,  potassium 180mg, sodium 20mg, carbohydrate 14g (3.9g sugar), vitamin A 33% of your daily needs, vitamin B6 10% of your daily needs, iron 11% of your daily needs, magnesium 7% of your daily needs.

Onion: Antioxidant (so is vit A by the way), 40 kcal, 0g fat, 1.1g protein, potassium 146mg, sodium 4mg, carbohydrate 9g (4,2g sugar)

Turmeric: said to have anti cancer properties and improve the mood :-)

Chili pepper: well, you’ll find over the internet all sorts of health related reasons to eat chili peppers but I haven’t got time to do all the research so I’ll let you do it yourself if you’re dying to know.

Note that potassium contributes to lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure. And this recipe is full of it! Yey! Chemically speaking, it’s very similar to sodium (the salt we most commonly use) so this soup might not need much added salt, especially if you add cheese to it too, taste before adding any! (source: World Health Organisation)

pumpkin soup ingredients chopped

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium size pumpkins
  • 3 large parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (or more)
  • 1 tsp chil powder (or more)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

You know me, I don’t like to complicate things. Just peel and de seed the pumpkin (that’s hard work but worth it). Peel the onions. Wash and chop all vegetables and throw in large pan with a pint of water or 2. Cook until soft. If you would like a thick texture, remove some of the cooking water (you can drink it, it’s yummy!). Finally, blend all, taste and then add the spices and salt and pepper.

Bon appetit!

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Spicy Tomato Soup

Hiding under the blanket with my cold, I found myself thinking about getting some chocolate, until I realised what I really wanted was to be warm and able to breathe through my nose again.

Enter Spicy Tomato Soup.

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Needless to say I am feeling energy-less and lazy, but the thought of feeling better gave me the motivation to get up from the sofa and cook! It doesn’t take long and is easy to make. Plus, if like me you always have some carrots in the fridge and tomato passata in the cupboard, then you don’t even have to go shopping. It’s all in the house already!

Ingredients:

  • 500ml of tomato passata
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • about a thumb wide of fresh red chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli powder
  • half a teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • half a teaspoon of thyme and half a teaspoon of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • half a glass of water (to make the soup more liquid if you prefer it that way)

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  1. Slice the shallots and carrots and fry in a saucepan in olive oil until shallots are soft.
  2. Add in the tomato passata, garlic, turmeric and finely chopped chilli.
  3. Give it a good stir and add in the thyme and rosemary.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add water if needed.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes for the flavours to develop.

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The chilli helped me breathe, it worked! Now, off to bed for some deep sleep. Hoping to feel better tomorrow.

Green Winter Veg Soup

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This is the soup I make every winter, several times. Soup is great because you can literally make as many versions as you want. Here’s a list of the ingredients in this one:

  • Shallots, 4
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Courgettes, 6
  • Broccoli, about 300g
  • Carrots, 3
  • Spinach, a bag of baby leaves
  • Leeks, 3
  • Pointed cabbage, 1

To cook, I put a little bit of water in a huge pot, throw in all the ingredients diced, and cook on medium heat until the carrots are almost soft. Depending on how much water there is after the vegetables are cooked, I may remove some (and put it in a glass for drinking, it’s full of vitamins!!) so that the soup is a bit thicker. Then I blend it all.

Now, you must think this is very bland. I do it on purpose. Because I’m going to make many portions to freeze, I keep it as bland as possible and will season it differently every time I eat a bowl.

Ideas for seasoning:

  • double cream, parsley, salt and pepper
  • coconut oil, turmeric and chilli pepper
  • olive oil and parmesan cheese
  • some fried ham or bacon
  • whatever you like really…
Seasoning the soup

Seasoning the soup

New Year’s resolutions: a month later

It’s now been a month since I decided to eat better quality food and a little less carbs. Thinking about it today, I realised I cut down on wheat a lot. I have been eating rye bread, rice and oats, chick peas, and lentils as forms of carbohydrates but very little wheat. I wonder if the fact that I’m eating less gluten now is the reason why I have lost weight and am feeling more energetic in the afternoon…

I have to be honest though, I had a bad day where I gave in and had a lot of milk chocolate digestive biscuits. But I found them too sweet and had a sore stomach after eating them (probably cos I ate too many). Yes, them being too sweet didn’t stop me. It was a cold afternoon, I was tired and had been craving them for a while. Well, it’s done now, I don’t think I will be craving them again.

So what have I been eating instead of pasta, bread and biscuits?

Think “nutritious food”

I feel I should stretch the importance of eating a varied diet. Too often we focus on eating less carbs or less fat. It seems all we read in the paper is about evil saturated fats and cheap refined carbs. But instead of constantly worrying about that, why don’t we turn this around and think of all the healthy, colourful, tasty and nutrient-rich foods that are around?

This past month I have been eating delicious soups that contain more than 5 types of veg in them, salads rich in lots of nutrients coming from nuts, avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, eggs, salmon, chicken, green beans, green leaves, berries, seeds etc. I didn’t find any of what I ate boring or tasteless. It’s up to me to season it and make it interesting using spices.

My version of Jamie’s Sweet Potato and Chorizo soup

Tip: If you take a look at the vegetable area in the supermarket, it’s got so many different kinds of veg! But if you’re like me, you tend to always buy the same 3 or 4. So now when I go grocery shopping, I try to buy some veg I haven’t tried before. The other day I bought an “onion squash”. Had never heard of it before. But it looked like it would go well in the Jamie Oliver soup. The one I mentioned before, calling it “Butternut squash, chorizo and curry soup”. It’s actually called “Sweet potato and chorizo soup” if anyone was looking it up. But I make it with butternut squash instead of sweet potato because the carb content of butternut squash is lower. And it’s delicious. The recipe comes from his book: Jamie’s Ministry of Food. I like this book because it has easy-to-follow recipes, nutritious, and tasty. (I will post the recipe in the recipe page)

Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato per 100g

Butternut squash, cooked

  •  9.05 g carbs
  • 40 calories
  • 36.2 calories from carbs

 

Sweet potato, cooked, without skin

  •  17,72 g carbs
  • 76 calories
  • 60.88 calories from carbs

Two weeks in – Craving carbs

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It’s funny how awful sweets look when you think of all the sugar, oil and chemicals they contain. But how suddenly they all look sooooo good and you have to have them when you’re craving carbs. Don’t you agree? (these or bread, or pasta or pizza, etc)

I would be lying if I said this adjustment has been easy so far. Some days, yes, I feel good for eating well, I have lost a few kilos, I sleep really well and feel lighter. I eat as much as I want because I do not want to be hungry! I’m not “on a diet”, I am just making healthier choices. But let me tell you…

The first 2 days, I felt like a drug addict! I got a carb-craving headache both evenings! I promise you this is true. If anyone has experienced the same withdrawal symptoms, please let me know! I’m curious to know if it happens to other people than me. It’s weird, I could tell it was from the craving. Not really “craving”, because my mind didn’t really crave carbs, but my body certainly did! I do get headaches sometimes, and I can tell this wasn’t like the ones I usually get.

Anyway, past the headache stage, I have been enjoying it. I noticed I don’t feel sleepy in the afternoon after lunch, which is already a huge improvement!

Tip: for each recipe that I have cooked, except the salad of course, I cooked a large amount of it and froze the rest in portion size freezer bags. I now have 4 different home made frozen dishes in my freezer. That is very good for when I haven’t got time or simply don’t want to cook.
(4 dishes and an average of three bags of each: ratatouille, chilli con carne, green vegetable soup, and butternut squash, curry and chorizo soup)