Cheesy broccoli & cauliflower soup

We’re experiencing an extraordinarily early spring in Joburg, and with the change of season comes… the common cold! The children are feeling sickly at the moment and what better than a comforting and healthy bowl of soup to help them feel better?

I found this delicious cheesy low-carb broccoli & cauliflower soup recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, and as a bonus it is low carb. I am trying to get back into eating healthily, with less carbs and grains, especially after our recent vacation!

Of course, I had to make the recipe my own by making a few adaptations! I recently bought a box of Woolworths mushroom liquid stock concentrate on special and thought the mushroom flavour would add a lovely meatiness to the soup. To  make the recipe a little higher in fats I used cream instead of milk or “half and half”, which we don’t get in South Africa. I also doubled the recipe, but used about 2 1/2 cups of cheese, which still gave the soup a delicious cheesiness but did not make it overly stringy.

If you don’t have a stick blender, do not fear! I use a food processor to puree my soups and find that it works well if I first strain off the liquid before adding the solids to the jug. I then add the liquid until the jug is fairly full and the soup purees easily, adding more liquid as required. If there is still liquid left over I empty the pureed soup back into the pot and give the remaining liquid a quick blitz in the jug before adding it back in the pot. Voila!

Adding the steamed broccoli at the end is highly recommended! I love to use our bamboo steamer for steaming broccoli to al dente, I wish we had more broccoli for this, it definitely is the cherry on the top of this yummy soup.

As mentioned previously, I doubled Kalyn’s recipe. If you prefer you can halve the recipe, I just prefer to freeze leftover soup for a quick meal when I don’t have the time or don’t feel like cooking!

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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.

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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.




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 or chicken stock
  • 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!




Beetroot gazpacho – a summer treat

.Beetroot gazpacho

South African’s will know that summer can become incredibly hot. While it’s only spring time, the temperature is already soaring in the mid 30 degrees C.

Of course this poses some challenges for dinners and meals. I hardly feel like having something heavy during summer. So light, vegetarian meals come in to play. Also, since we try to get as much veggies into the children, we’re always looking for ways to incorporate these into our meals.

I recently got some beetroot, with the idea of making beetroot chips, but completely forgot about it. So when Victoire asked about our dinner plans earlier this week, I immediately thought about soup. Then she mentioned the beetroot. It was 35 degrees outside and I felt like something cool and refreshing. I remembered seeing beetroot gazpacho on the Food Network once. The perfect dinner. A combination of sweet and sour, slightly chilled and packed full of veggies. This is one such cold tasty treat which even clinics like Delaney Park Dental do recommend people to eat, as according to them the coolness of the dish helps in combating the heat and the veggies are extremely helpful in maintaining good overall health.

The recipe is incredibly easy and a real purse pleaser, considering we had all the ingredients in our cupboards.

Ingredients
6 small to medium sized beets
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 small onion, quartered
1 garlic clove,
4 teaspoons olive oil
5 sprigs of coriander
1.5 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of vinegar
Few tablespoons of low-fat greek yoghurt

Method

  1. Cook the beetroot in the oven at 220 C until and tender. It took around 45 minutes. Set aside to cool down. Then peel and quarter.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except yoghurt, into a blender and blend until smooth. It shouldn’t be too thick like oats, just smooth enough so you don’t have to chew.
  3. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you make a balsamic caramelised onion and blue cheese tart. More on that in the next post.
  4. Taste again and adjust seasoning as required. Pour into bowls and top with 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt and a sprig of coriander (I forgot to put that on in the above photo).

Enjoy!




Butternut soup

The cold fronts are starting to bring in chilly wintry weather, and with the icy winds comes a yearning for warm comforting nourishment. What better than to start off the cold season with a lovely soup?

butternut soup

Ingredients:

700g Woolworths butternut soup mix (72% butternut, sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes, celery)
1 orange’s rind grated
30g butter
20ml powdered stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
1l water
125ml cream (may be substituted with milk)

To garnish:

Double thick plain yogurt
Chopped parsley

Method:

I made use of the method described on the back of the soup mix packet and adapted it, however this is similar to what has been described to me by my mother previously. This was my first soup and it came out fabulously.

Melt 30g butter in a pot at moderate heat.
Add soup mix and grated orange rind and sweat for 5min on low heat.
Pre-boil the water in a kettle.
Dissolve the stock (I used Woolworths powdered chicken stock) with some of the boiling water.
Add the stock and the rest of the boiling water to the pot.
Boil for 40min with the lid on.
Once the vegetables are soft, puree with a blender until smooth.
Add the cream (milk in my case).
Season to taste (I found that the stock was salty enough and didn’t require any additional seasoning)
Return to the stove to heat through.
Dish up and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkling of parsley. Keep the yogurt at hand for adding to your bowl as you run out!

Tip:

Grate the orange whole and keep the juicy insides for another recipe such as a salad, salad dressing, dessert or simply eating just like that.