Tag Archives: Celery

Roast cauliflower soup recipe

Roasted cauliflower soup

Roasted cauliflower soup is currently our favourite go-to meal when we don’t particularly feel like cooking. Since it’s also winter here, few meals can beat the warm comforting taste of roasted cauliflower, mixed in with a healthy dose of roasted garlic and coconut cream.

Roast cauliflower soup recipe

For those on the Banting (LCHF) meal plan, this is a winner.

This recipe calls for roasting cauliflower and garlic in the oven for about half an hour until the cauliflower is tender and just starting to brown. This gives the cauliflower a deeper and richer flavour.

roasted cauliflower soup

While the cauliflower is roasting, soften the veggies and herbs in a pot. Add the cauliflower to the veggies with the stock and cook till soft.
Roast cauliflower soup - aromatics

Blend/puree the soup mix together with a can of coconut cream.
Roast cauliflower soup blending with coconut cream

And there you have it. Roast cauliflower soup with garlic and coconut cream.

Serves: 4 adults

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, ground (we use Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (may use dried)
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (or use olive oil)
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 can coconut cream (optional but highly recommended)

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C. Break the cauliflower into small florets, removing the core and excess stems. Toss the cauliflower and garlic cloves with 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil and season with salt and pepper and place in a roasting try.
  2. Roast for 30 minutes until the florets are soft and just starting to colour at the edges. Don’t burn or over-roast the florets as this will leave a bitter crunchy taste in the soup.
  3. Cook the chopped leek, carrot, celery and thyme in a large pot with a tablespoon of coconut oil for about 10 minutes until tender.
  4. Once the cauliflower is ready, add it to the vegetables. Add the 3 cups of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until all the veggies are soft and the liquid has reduced.
  5. Pour the soup mixture into a food processor or use a stick blender to puree until smooth. For a totally decadent finish, blend in a can of coconut cream (the thick stuff, unless you want to use coconut milk which makes the final product a bit more liquid)
  6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste




    A couple of notes. We’ve made this soup a couple of times and we all love it – even the kids ask for seconds. At first I used dried thyme, which left a few stalks in the final soup. This is probably unavoidable unless you want to go through the process of straining your soup for an even silkier finish, but I think this might be slightly overkill for a hearty soup. I prefer to use fresh thyme if available.

    A blender or stick blender seems to get better results than the food processor. If you want a smoother finish go for the blender, if you like it a little more chunky, the food processor will work perfectly.

    You can add as little or as much garlic to the roasting process as you want. We once put in a whole bulb and it was fantastic. Using about 6 whole cloves is the minimum we would use to get that nice rich flavour profile.

    Experiment to your taste and enjoy.

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Quick and delicious chicken soup

Chicken soup Paleo

Nico is travelling – Paris! – and the children and I are developing colds / coughs back at home. Added to that the fact that Winter is fast approaching, with a definite chill in the air, we needed something warm and healthy for dinner. Instead of heading to Woolies for a packet of pre-prepared soup I decided to up the anti and try my hand at a homemade broth. It was fun to make, Arnan was keen to help out quite a bit and it turned out to be delicious. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender when it came out of the pot. My two helpers just about gorged themselves on juicy pieces of chicken before I could even get it back into the broth! A winner all round.

Notes:

  • I used our electric pressure cooker for this recipe, if you want to use a stove top pressure cooker you can get directions from the original recipe here.
  • The original recipe called for egg noodles. Since we are following a Banting (LCHF) diet I simply omitted them.
  • This recipe is adapted from Democrat & Chronicle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp unflavoured coconut oil or any other vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2 of those giant cloves Pick n Pay sell)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 carrots, grated on thick grate
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly cut
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 whole chicken, 1.4 kg – 2.3 kg, giblets discarded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Method:

  1. Set the pressure cooker to the “Sauté” setting and heat the oil until shimmering
  2. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
  4. Stir in the water, carrots, celery and soy sauce
  5. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and place, breast side up, in the pot
  6. Put the lid on and lock into place, making sure the valve is set to “Pressure”
  7. Set the pressure cooker to the “High Pressure” setting for 20 minutes. If your chicken is larger than 1.8 kg then you will need to add about 10 minutes to the cooking time
  8. When the timer signals the end of the cooking time switch the pressure cooker off, ensuring it doesn’t switch to the “Warm” setting or your chicken may overcook, and use the quick release valve to relase the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones – two forks work well for separating the meat, it came out so tender the meat literally just fell off the bones.
  10. Stir in the shredded chicken and parsley
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like you could add a little soy sauce and some fresh chopped chillies

The children requested chicken soup for breakfast this morning. If that’s not a testimony to how good it is then I don’t know what is!

Spinach lasagna al forno

spinach lasagna al forno

Nothing quite beats the winter chill like a good lasagna or lasagne if you feel like saying it in Italian.

Growing up my mom always made “green” lasagna, leaves of spinach lasagna with a rich bolognese and béchamel (white) sauce. It was only years later that we found out lasagna also came in a non-green version. Hmm…I think my parents wanted to make sure we got some extra vegetables in. That said, when there wasn’t a lot of meat in the house, I remember my mom adding more grated carrot and other veggies into the dish to “bulk” up the dish.

Either way it was super yum.

Fast forward to today, a cold and blustery winters day in Johannesburg. The only thing that could satisfy a hungry family – a hot and hearty meal. Lasagna fit the bill perfectly. I also like to make lasagna, mac-and-cheese, bobotie etc. in bulk so I doubled up the recipe below. Except for the mince, for which I bulked up with extra veggies. This yielded about 3 freezer tins of lasagna, each tin enough to feed a family of four.

Ingredients for the bolognese sauce

  • 350g minced beef
  • approx 10 sheets of spinach lasagna
  • 80g tomato paste
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese / or parmigiano if you prefer
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

  • 1lt milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 50grams flour
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • nutmeg (to taste)

Method for bolognese sauce
Melt the butter in a pan and add the finely chopped celery, carrot and onion. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add the mince and cook till browned. Add the cup of wine and cook till evaporated. Add the tomato paste and stock. Cook uncovered on a medium heat for 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Method for béchamel sauce
About 20 minutes into the cooking time of your bolognese sauce, start making your béchamel sauce. There are few steps, but you have to take this part easy to make sure you don’t burn the milk.

Heat up the milk in a pan – the hot milk combines better with the flour and minimises lumps forming.

In another pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and make sure all of it combines with the butter. Now add about 2-3 ladles of hot milk at a time to the flour mixture. Whisk rapidly. Keep on adding ladles of milk and whisking. The sauce should be nice and thick. Take off the heat before it boils and add salt and pepper to taste.

Building your lasagna
Spread a ladle of béchamel on the bottom of the foil tin or a buttered ovenproof dish. Add leaves of spinach lasagna to cover the tin, taking care not to overlap too much. Cover the sheets with a layer of bolognese, followed by béchamel and some grated cheese. Continue to build up your dish alternating the layers of lasagna, filling and cheese. You should end up with a top layer of cheese.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Your dish should be golden brown on top and the pasta cooked through. Serve with a side salad and a glass of wine in front of a fire.

Tuna casserole bake

I had some leftover canned tuna the other day and decided to make a nice warm tuna bake to ward off the wintery chill in the air. A quick Google search later, and I had a basic recipe and some ideas to start with. The recipe is mainly adapted from About.com’s Tuna Casserole Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 packet pasta screws, cooked al dente
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 packet soup (I used garden vegetable soup), prepared according to instructions on packet
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables or peas, precooked
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 1 or 2 cans tuna, lightly drained

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Saute the onion and celery in a medium pot until softened
  3. Add the soup, milk, precooked frozen veggies, 1 cup cheese and black pepper to the pot
  4. Simmer, stirring, until all the ingredients are combined and the cheese has melted
  5. When it begins to boil turn off the heat and gently fold in the tuna
  6. Add the precooked pasta and toss to coat
  7. Pour into a casserole dish
  8. Top with remaining cup of grated cheese
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 min
  10. Grill the top for a few minutes until the cheese is lightly browned

The About.com recipe suggests using buttered breadcrumbs or potato chips as a topping instead of the cheese. This sounds yummy, I’ll definitely give it a try sometime! You can also check out the many interesting variations on this dish listed after their recipe.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the dish before we tucked in! Everyone enjoyed it, including my one year old who usually avoids tuna. A winner in my books.