Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Sweet potato, carrot and barley soup (two ways)

I've come to realise that I'm a bit of a routine girl, one who has recently become very fond of the mighty sweet potato. As this root vegetable regularly finds its way into my shopping trolley, here are two recipes, both equally delicious in their own right and perfect for this time of the year. After a blustery walk or even just a long day, you have two to choose from...a backup if you ever get bored of the first one I suppose.

Sweet potato, carrot and oregano soup with a subtle kick

serves 5-6

2 large sweet potatoes (no need to be too precise with the size of chunks as we're blitzing here!)
3 carrots
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
600 ml of vegetable stock
1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
150g of pearl barley

Begin by bringing the barley to a boil and then letting it simmer for an hour to an hour and a half (depending on the cooking instructions). 

Finely chop up the onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, and carrots. 

Begin by gently frying the onion in either a little olive oil or even water (#studentproblems) in a large soup pot. Allow this to soften on a medium- high heat for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic.

After two more minutes add in the sweet potatoes and carrots. Let these fry for about 5 minutes before adding in the chopped tomatoes, stock, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and a pinch of pepper. 

Give this all a good stir, pop on a lid and let it bubble away for about 30 mintues on a low heat. 

Taste and see if it needs a pinch of salt (I tend to add this at the end as the chopped tomatoes I buy here in Paris seem to always contain salt, as well as the stock cube). 

Blend this altogether until smooth and add in the pearl barley once cooked. 

Take 2 (featuring cumin and ginger)

serves 5

2 large sweet potatoes (no need to be too precise with the size of chunks as we're blitzing here!)
3 carrots
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
600 ml of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 inch of freshly grated ginger

Follow the same instructions above and enjoy! 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Lilana Apple Pudding (adapted by Lily)

Whenever the day comes that you don't feel like making an apple crumble, and you want to attempt something a little more exciting, a tiny bit more challenging, try this. This is the sort of baking that I find truly thrilling and joyful.

The first time I tried out this recipe, there was a very high chance that it could have gone completely wrong. Burnt on the top, undercooked in the middle, not sweet enough, gritty texture. But once I'd whisked one last time, I was left with a twinkling feeling in the back of my mind, that it might just work! Anyhow, I can't take complete credit for this...yes I made this up on the spot, with all new ingredients. However, I did base the quantities and basic ingredients from a recipe my Grannie adapted to suit her granddaughter's allergies. (ad lib: I am still impressed that I could remember all the quantities and measurements, off pat, as I had left my recipe book à Paris!) Anyhow,  Grannie discovered in recipe books from the Second World War, all kinds of substitutes for rationed foods such as eggs. For example, the fizz that occurs when vinegar and bicarbonate of soda come together is just as good as the rise that an egg or two would give in a cake, or indeed an apple pudding like this.

I have substituted white sugar for a mixture of the wickedly dark and powerful blackstrap molasses and maple syrup. The molasses gives a wonderful richness and dark colour, contrasting with the sweetness of the maple syrup and vanilla. I have also swapped regular plain flour with the more nutritionally dense spelt flour, and dairy-free spread for coconut oil. There's just one more thing regarding the etymology of the recipe's you tend to share almost everything with siblings when you're growing up, when my little sister Alana was born, Grannie had to change the original name from Lily Pudding and as the noble sister that I am (even at the grand old age of 1 and a half years old), I allowed it to be evolved into Lilana Pud, obviously!

For the apples:
4 cooking apples (about 1/2 a pound)
4 teablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

the pudding:
2 ounces of coconut oil
1.5 ounces ounce of maple syrup
1/2 an ounce of blackstrap molasses

6 ounces of spelt flour (I've only ever used wholegrain, but I'm sure white would work perfectly too!)
a pinch of salt
1/4 of a pint of dairy- free milk (rice milk works well)
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees farenheit. 

Begin by peeling, and slicing the apples into thick slices. In a large frying pan, add the apples with the maple syrup, vanilla extract and a little water (to prevent sticking). Stew these for about 15 minutes, until soft, but not mushy like a puree. 

Cream together the coconut oil with the maple syrup, blackstrap molasses and honey with a fork, until well combined. Add the flour and salt until it forms a crumble- like mixture. 

In a jug, add the vinegar to the milk and then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. 

Slowly pour the fizzing milk into the crumble mixture. You very well might not need all of the milk. You want to be left with a thick consistency that coats the apples, but do go slowly as you don't want it to be too sloppy! 

Pour the stewed apples into a baking dish (I like using a round ceramic dish where the apples can spread out evenly). Pour over the sponge mixture, covering all the apples if you like. It is sometimes quite nice to have a couple poking out the top!

Bake for 25 minutes and check with a fork to see if it's cooked the whole way through. If the fork comes out clean, then you're good to go! If not, bake for another 5 minutes. 

Serve with dairy-free icecream, or simply as it is.