Tag Archives: potato

Watercress soup – healthy, sexy, green

11 Jan

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This soup is a bit of a treat, as it takes one whole bag of watercress to make just one bowl. It tastes fresh and peppery and is full of vitamins and minerals, so it will make you feel incredible. I’m not exaggerating, it’s been over an hour since I ate the bowl of soup in the photo above and I’m still on a bit of a high. Either make it as an indulgent lunch for one, or serve it in little teacups as a starter for someone you’re trying to woo.

Notes:

  • The same quantities and method work for other green soups. Just replace the watercress with spinach or kale for a more everyday soup.
  • A small onion/potato/carrot is one you can fit in the palm of your hand and close your fist around.
  • Don’t bother peeling the potato and carrot unless they’re really muddy or have been nibbled by bugs. Just give them a good scrub.

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Recipe (serves one as a meal, or two as a starter):

  • One teaspoon oil
  • One small onion, diced into roughly 1cm cubes
  • One small potato, diced into roughly 1cm cubes
  • One small carrot, diced into roughly 1cm cubes
  • One clove of garlic, smashed, peeled, then roughly chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 75g fresh watercress
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you shouldn’t need very much of either)

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the onion, potato, carrot, and garlic. Cover and leave to sweat for 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. A little bit of colour is fine, but you don’t really want the veggies to brown.

Add the stock and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes. Add the watercress a handful at a time until it has all wilted into the broth – this should only take a minute or two. Blend, check for seasoning, and serve.

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Vegan breakfast burritos

9 Feb

Burritos are one of my favourite weekend breakfasts. Whether you’re hungover or just feeling like you need a bit of an indulgent treat, some protein and veg wrapped in a tortilla is bound to make you feel much better without being too heavy or greasy. I like to combine something vaguely mexican with anything breakfasty, and encase them together in a corn or whole wheat tortilla (or to be honest, two or three). Here are a couple of recent combinations:

Spicy canned refried beans, scrambled tofu with onion and sweetcorn, avocado.

Half a potato waffle, a vegetarian sausage, diced tomato, avocado, borlotti beans, hot sauce.

Here are a few more ideas for fillings:

  • guacamole
  • hummus
  • vegetarian bacon or tempeh bacon
  • grated carrot
  • salsa
  • grilled courgettes
  • roasted peppers
  • hash browns
  • fishless fingers (it might sound a bit odd but they go really well with avocado)
  • fried or grilled mushrooms
  • beans in spicy sauce
  • savoury french toast

What would you have?

In my veg box this week – leek, cabbage, potato, apple

22 Jan

This week we have:

Leek, cabbage, and potato
A few days after I wrote my first veg box post two weeks ago I realised I had the ingredients to one of my favourite side dishes, so I’m really happy I’ve got them again this week so I can write about colcannon mash. I’m not normally a fan of mashed potato, but if it has other stuff in it to jazz it up then I love it. Colcannon is a more upmarket version of bubble and squeak, it’s mashed potato mixed with cabbage and leeks. To make a generous portion for two, boil about 500g of peeled potatoes until tender and mashable, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, simmer half a sliced cabbage and a sliced leek in vegetable stock until quite soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the cabbage and leek and reserve some of the stock. Drain the potatoes and mash with a splash of the reserved stock, along with a good grinding of black pepper. Mix the vegetables into the mash and serve with sausages and gravy. Yum.

Apples
I stopped eating apples for a long time because they tend to make me hungrier than I was before, but then I read that if you eat an apple an hour or so before eating a meal it won’t happen, and it works for me. I can now enjoy sweet, local, fragrant apples again! My favourite way to enjoy an apple is to slice it and eat it with peanut butter, it sounds a bit unusual but it’s a really tasty and satisfying combination.

We share a lot of our fruit and vegetables with our pets. Here are the bearded dragons enjoying an apple core and completely ignoring some cabbage.

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Also received this week: oranges, bananas, grapes, a squash, lots of little beetroot, potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms.

Growing vegetables without a garden

1 Jul

Home-grown vegetables taste infinitely better than those bought from a shop. Here’s my top three reasons why:

  • Freshness. The flavour of many vegetables degrades with every second that passes. Produce from a shop is at least a couple of days old, potentially weeks or months old. If you grow your own you can eat them within minutes.
  • Breeding. Commercially-grown vegetables are generally bred to be uniform in shape, size and colour, because sadly that’s what consumers and supermarkets want. If you grow your own, you can choose seeds and plants that are bred for flavour.
  • Ownership. If you put time and effort into creating something, it increases your appreciation of the end result.

As a big vegetable fan, it makes sense that I would have a go at growing my own, and getting the best, freshest veggies I can get my muddy little hands on. I’m not going to let a minor detail like not having a garden stop me. We did have an allotment for a couple of years, but it is too time-consuming if you work full time – I’ll leave that sort of thing to my Mum, who is retired and has two amazingly well-kept and productive plots.

There’s plenty of different things you can grow in containers, even in a small space. We have pots and tubs outside our door and outside our kitchen window. Here’s a selection of what I’m growing at the moment.

Broad beans and courgettes (zucchini). I’ve got these growing in two old recycling containers, with drainage holes drilled in the bottom. Courgettes are very greedy plants, so there’s a generous amount of chicken manure in there to help them along.

 


Potatoes. We’ve been growing spuds in a patio potato bag for a couple of years now, with great success. It’s really easy, you quarter-fill the bag with compost and nestle the chitted seed potatoes about halfway down. When green shoots start to show through, cover over with compost, repeat until it reaches the top of the bag (this takes a few weeks). As with spuds grown under the ground, as soon as either the fruit sets or the foliage starts to die back, the potatoes are ready. If in doubt, stick your hand in the compost like a lucky dip and grope around to see if you can find any potatoes. I’m growing pink fir apples this year, which are my favourite potatoes ever – they’re knobbly, waxy, earthy, nutty… heaven!

 
Strawberries. I’ve already mentioned that home-grown tastes better, but wow… strawberries are proof of this. If you’ve never tried a real home-grown strawberry you need to find some and do it. You will never go back to the bland, watery supermarket offerings again.

 

 

 

Herbs. It’s great to get home from work, think “oh, I need a bit of rosemary for my roast potatoes,” and to be able to snap off a sprig before I even get in the front door. Here we’ve got lavender on the left, and rosemary on the right. We’ve also grown thyme in the past. Any woody herbs should work well in a pot.

 

 
Garlic. If you want to grow something easy, garlic is a great way to start. You get a whole bulb of garlic (from a garden supplier, not a supermarket), break it into cloves and stick them in a bit of compost in a container. Six months or so later, each clove will have turned into a whole new bulb of garlic. Let the skins dry out and they’ll keep for months. Here you can see the scapes (flower stalks) are starting to grow. If you cut the scapes down, the resulting bulb will be much bigger, and you can cook with the scapes too, they’re a bit like spring onions or chunky garlic chives.

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