Archive of ‘Starters’ category

Creamy Cashew Butternut Soup

| Mains, Starters, Uncategorized

IMG_8578I used to love making butternut soup in winter (or summer) and make it extra creamy by adding 2 tins of ideal milk.  Now that I am vegan I had to look for an alternative and I must say – I think this version is even better;)
This particular combination of spices is just right for me.  I feel it brings out the natural sweetness of the roasted butternut without overpowering it.  After having said that, many people like spicy butternut soup with curry powder so taste this and adjust to your liking:)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium butternuts, sliced in half
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I used golden delicious)
  • extra water as needed
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Place butternut halves face down (cut side down) on a sheet of baking paper and pop into the oven.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the butternut is soft and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool down.  Peel off the skin and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.  Set aside.

Start by sauteing the onion in a little olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add crushed garlic and fry a bit more.  Add cashews and fry a little longer – stirring the cashews through the garlic and onions to absorb the flavour while getting toasted.  Add spices and stir through, then add stock and apples.  Bring it to boil, reduce heat and simmer until both the butternut and apples are soft.  Add more stock/boiling water if needed so that it doesn’t cook dry.

Pour the soup into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  I suggest leaving a vent open at the top of your blender/food processor and covering the vent with a dishcloth to prevent splashes.  This allows the steam to escape.  If you seal in the hot soup without allowing the steam to escape, the blender will shoot off its lid….You don’t want that….believe me….

Pour the soup back into the pot and taste.  Add more stock/water to thin it out if necessary and check the seasoning.

To serve, I drizzled a little extra cashew cream on – this is entirely optional.  To make cashew cream, soak some cashews in water for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse the cashews.  Throw the cashews into your blender with just enough water to cover them and blend.  Add only enough water to blend it into a smooth paste with a thick, yet pourable consistency.  You can always add more water but you can’t take excess water out – so go slow on adding the water.  The cashew cream really doesn’t do anything to enhance the flavour, but it does make it a little bit more creamy and looks pretty:)  I only bother with the cashew cream for guests – I’m super happy without it.

Let me know what you think!
Dr T

 

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Kale, Date and Nut Salad

| Mains, Side dishes and Salads, Starters, Uncategorized

IMG_8558IMG_8557I can’t believe how yummy this is….I saw a recipe on Ella’s app of a kale salad where she massages the raw kale leaves with the dressing until soft and then adds toppings to the salad.  It sounded weird…I have been juicing kale and making kale chips, but I have never thought of eating raw kale because the leaves are so thick and hard.  I then started searching the net for kale salad recipes and was inspired to try my own concoction – and it is fabulous!

IMG_8560I had this for dinner last night – I love the combination of the salty chickpeas with the sweet, chewy dates and the nuts just add some extra crunch for texture.  I suggest using lots of topping so that you get some topping in your mouth with every bite of kale.  It makes it amazing…

Ingredients (serves 2 as a side salad, double recipe for 1 hungry person for dinner)

  • 50g kale
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (Don’t use normal vinegar.  If you have to substitute, use apple cider vinegar.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (you can substitute with any sweet syrup, but I love maple)
  • tomato
  • fresh dates (dried dates will do in a pinch)
  • walnuts (or your preferred nut)
  • cooked chickpeas
  • avocado
  • your favourite spicy salt (I use Steers salt)

Instructions

Wash and dry kale.  Tear leaves into bite sized pieces and remove hard central stem.  place kale into a large bowl.  Mix all salad dressing ingredients together and taste.  If it suits your taste, drizzle it over the kale leaves and massage the dressing through the leaves.  Keep massaging like this for about 2-5 minutes – the leaves will become soft and the bunch will reduce in size.  Place leaves onto a serving plate.

Sprinkle the chickpeas with your favourite spicy salt until they are nice and salty.  Chop up your tomato and season it with some black pepper.  Chop the dates into small pieces.  Slice the avo into small chunks and season with pepper/salt.

Scatter the avo, dates, chickpeas, nuts and tomato pieces over the leaves and enjoy!

What is your favourite kale recipe?
Dr T

 

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Sprout Salad

| Side dishes and Salads, Starters

This is so simple one can hardly call it a recipe!  Nevertheless, it is filling and delicious so here we go…

IMG_3841Ingredients

  • Asain baby leaf salad pack or your favourite combination of leaves (make sure to include some baby spinach and rocket)
  • Baby Italian Tomatoes
  • Fresh Pineapple, peeled and cubed
  • Gherkin, drain from can and slice
  • Dried Cranberries
  • An assortment of sprouts!
  • your favourite balsamic reduction dressing

Instructions

Wash and dry leaves.  Add everything else on top.  Drizzle with balsamic reduction and enjoy!

Have fun!
Dr T

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Rainbow Spring Rolls

| Mains, Starters

RAINBOW SPRING ROLLSThese beautiful little spring rolls are too delicious for words and yet they are loaded with a range of fresh veggies and are completely fat free!  No frying, no oil….

I first had these at a Vietnamese restaurant and I immediately realised that I had to make my own…

Ingredients

You can use your imagination and use any combination of raw vegetables that you like, but this is what I like to use:

  • shredded purple cabbage
  • thinly sliced/spiralized zucchini/baby marrow
  • thinly sliced/spiralised carrot
  • thinly sliced red pepper and yellow pepper
  • a mixture of bean sprouts
  • vermicilli rice noodles, boiled and drained
  • Rice paper rolls

You can find the rice paper rolls in the asian section of many supermarkets and of course, at asian grocery stores.  This is not of course the rice paper that you find wrapped around nougat, this is a hard, transparent, circular disc that you buy in a stack.  It is different to spring roll pastry as it does not need to be cooked/fried.

Instructions

Firstly prepare and chop all of your filling ingredients so that they are ready for use.

IMG_3756Fill a flat pan with luke warm (not boiling) water.  Wet a clean dishcloth and wring it out so that it is moist but not dripping wet and lay this flat on a working surface.  Take one disc of rice paper and immerse it into the water for 20 seconds.  Remove it, gently shake off all the excess water and place it onto the dish cloth.  Leave it for another 30 seconds to a minute until the rice paper is flexible and pliable.  Put a small amount of all of your chosen ingredients on one side of the rice paper roll.  Roll the paper to cover the ingredients, fold both sides in, and continue to roll until a neat roll is formed.  It sounds complicated but it is really simple and by your third roll, you will have mastered the technique of making perfect little spring rolls.

http://www.vegangela.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/IMG_4175B.jpg

Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a few hours.  They can be eaten the next day but are not that great then as the rice paper becomes a bit tough.  Serve it with a dipping sauce of your choice.  I made a peanut dipping sauce with coconut milk, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar and soya sauce and another fresh tomato dipping sauce with tomato, orange and fresh coriander.  Plain soya sauce, however, is still my favourite so far:)

Make them this summer – you won’t be sorry!
Dr T

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