Broccoli, Pea and Mint Soup

Regular readers will know I do love a soup recipe or two… This week I made and adapted one from the Sainsbury’s magazine.

The Broccoli, Pea and Mint instructions appealed to me as the broccoli stalk AND the florets are used, so it’s less wasteful. In the magazine, the writers recommended adding fried smoked streaky bacon and crumbled goat’s cheese to the top, but I used boiled eggs instead as that turns your soup into a main course that’s really filling.

You could also add a sprinkling of grated cheddar or parmesan. And be heavy-handed with the black pepper, as the soup benefits from the warmth.

Most soup recipes you find specify stock, usually chicken or vegetable. I don’t bother unless I have some home-made chicken stock on hand. I find stock cubes or bouillon pointless. It’s just flavoured salt, right?

Anyway, I’ve also halved the quantities here. I live in a one-broccoli household, i.e. only one of us likes it and the other thinks it’s the food of the Devil. Much as this soup appeals, two portions of it this week will be fine for me.

Broccoli, Pea and Mint Soup

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Half a medium-to large sized head of broccoli
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 125g frozen pea
  • 1tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 1tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 500ml water
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Chop the broccoli stalk finely. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the broccoli stalk and spring onions. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.

Add the water, bring to the goil, turn down to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.

Add the frozen peas and broccoli florets, bring back to a simmer and cook for another five minutes.

Take off the heat, add the mint and parsley, and a decent amount of salt and puree using a hand blender.

You can top with smoked streaky bacon, fried and chopped, a good handful of grated cheese, or (as I have done in the picture), boiled eggs, some more mint and a hefty grating of black pepper.

Each serving contains 11g carbs and 8g fibre.


What To Do With Excess Tomatoes

diabetes diet recipesPuree them, roast them, sauce them, turn them into soup – honestly, there’s plenty you can do with a tomato glut. I’ve decided to turn mine into oven-dried tomatoes, with the aid of some homegrown herbs too.

What about the higher carbohydrate content of tomatoes, I hear you ask. A medium-sized tomato – roughly 100g, say – contains 4g of carbohydrates, 1.2g of fibre. If you’re going to use them for sauces, chances are you’ll be using quite a few of them. Eat your tomatoes with protein, as part of a salad with chicken or ham, for instance, or as a sauce in a curry.

It is easy to eat a lot of sun or oven-dried tomatoes. They concentrated flavour makes them very tasty, for one. Because they have lost a lot of water, they are smaller and denser than normal tomatoes and you could end up eating a lot of them – and a lot of carbohydrates as a result. Eat them sparingly, two or three added to salads or with some sliced meat.

I’ve used rapeseed oil here to keep my product as Scottish and local as possible, but you can also use extra virgin olive oil.

Oven-dried tomatoes

  • Servings: 1-2 jam jars
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 250g tomatoes
  • Fresh oregano – about 8tbsp chopped
  • Fresh basil – about 3tbsp chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5-6 black peppercorns
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rapeseed oil
  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. It’s easiest if you use your fingers, or you can use a teaspoon.
  2. Place the tomatoes, cut side down on a grill rack over a tray and leave for half an hour to drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees C.
  4. Mix together the crushed garlic, oregano, basil and salt and pepper. Using a teaspoon insert tiny amounts of the mixture into the tomato halves.
  5. Sprinkle a tray with a little of the rapeseed oil and place the tomatoes cut-side up on it. Cook in the low oven, turning the tray a few times, for three hours.
  6. Place in sterilised jars* and top with rapeseed oil.

Sun-dried/oven-dried tomatoes have roughly 23g of carbs (6g fibre) per 100g.

 *To sterilise jars, heat the oven to 140 degrees C. Wash the jars and their lids in hot, soapy water and place in the oven to dry out completely – about 7-10 minutes. Fill and seal.

Spicy Fish Soup – A Low-Carb Super Healthy Recipe

Dem bones, dem bones, demo bones make damn fine stock.
Dem bones, dem bones, demo bones make damn fine stock.

Ever since abandoning vegetarianism (it was fun while it lasted, but not the best option for my health), I have been obsessed with home-made stock…

When I first added it to recipes, I couldn’t believe how much flavour it adds to a dish. And it’s so good for you because you get the vitamins and minerals from the bones and vegetables if you have cooked your stock for long enough.

Home-made stock is what makes home-made soup really special – and the reason why you can never buy a factory-made soup that tastes anywhere near as good. Nope, even those expensive cartons can’t measure up to good, home-made soup.

A new recipe I tried recently was a spin on another dish I make for myself frequently – spicy prawn curry. If I add this, instead of this and I up the quantity of this, I’ll get… You know the kind of thing keen cooks like to do. The result is this lovely soup, which is perfect for this time of year.

The obvious point to make is that I have used chicken and not fish stock for this recipe. I think of chicken stock as a universal stock – you can use it for any dish and you are more likely to have the basis of chicken rather than fish stock. Allow roughly 5g of carbs per serving.

Spicy Fish Soup

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 300g white fish fillets (I used haddock)Whitefish_Fillet
  • 50g creamed coconut
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml home-made chicken stock
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 1rtsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper

Chop the creamed coconut into small pieces.

Melt the coconut oil in large saucepan and add the celery. Cook gently for five minutes until softened.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, dried chillies, turmeric, ginger and chopped creamed coconut and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes. The mixture should reduce somewhat and you’ll be left with a spicy, fragrant and thickened liquid.

Chop the fish fillets into big, even-sized chunks (about 2ins chunks) and add to the soup. Leave the heat on for a minute or so and then turn off the heat and cover the saucepan for a lid. Leave for five minutes – this should be enough to cook the fish through.


Fish pic thanks to My Friend in Food.