Heaven only knows what my husband fed those courgette plants this year, but the monsters keep on coming…
To this end, I have needed to come up with a LOT of courgette recipes. I don’t really fancy them spiralised (which is the trendy treatment de jour), so this week I made soup instead.
It’s a very summery soup – courgettes, feta and mint – and you could always make it more substantial with some shredded chicken, or a poached egg on top. Another idea is bacon ‘croutons’. Cut a rasher of bacon into small pieces, fry in a little butter until crispy and use to top the soup.
Soup, you say, that’s winter fodder, isn’t it? I could eat (drink?) soup any time of the year, so spring doesn’t put me off a big, warm bowl of comfort.
But during the warmer months, you might want to lighten up a little. This delicately-flavoured soup is perfect for spring and it full of goodies. I spotted these tempting-looking dirty carrots at our local farmers’ market on Sunday and pounced. They were always destined for the soup pot.
When I first went low-carb, I avoided carrots as there were some hardliners at the time who insisted carrots were too sweet. Then, I gave myself a good shake. “Nonsense! The carrot is delightfully delicious.” Carrots as a carb to be concerned about is very much sweating the small stuff. Avoid the cakes, sweets, pastries and overloads of pasta, rice and potatoes instead.
[It’s a bit of a cheek to call this a recipe, as it’s so easy it’s not true…]
Put the carrots, onions, garlic and stock in a large saucepan/stock pot, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until the carrots are soft. It should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on how small you have chopped your carrots.
Take the pan off the heat. Add the ground almonds and lemon juice, and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I like to top this with a poached egg for extra protein/satiety*.
Allow about 11g net carbs for serving for four or about 14g for three.
If you love soup as much as I do, I have a treat for you. Celeriac soup – perfect low-carb fodder and just the thing for cold winter days.
In theory, you can buy just about any fruit or vegetable year-round, thanks to the supermarkets. There’s no such concept of seasonality any more.
For some reason though, there are some ingredients that supermarkets in the UK do decide are seasonal and they only stock them at certain times of the year. I’m not complaining about seasonality, but it does bug me that it is inconsistently applied.
Take the humble celeriac, for example. I love celeriac – it’s really delicious and it’s great braised or roasted. You can use it as a potato substitute and it fits in well with low-carb eating. But it can be hard to find and I suspect the supermarkets have a prejudice against it on account of its looks. This ain’t the prettiest vegetable.
Anyway, do try this soup. It’s delicious and brimful of goodness thanks to the home-made stock and tonnes of vegetables.
1 whole celeriac, peeled and cut into even-sized cubes
1 leek, washed and chopped
1.5 litres fresh chicken stock
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Melt the butter in a large sauce/stock pan and add the onions and leeks. Cook for five minutes, stirring from time to time until they have softened. Add the celeriac and garlic and allow the celeriac to brown lightly.
Add the stock, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or so until the celeriac is fully softened. Blend using a stick blender and season to taste.
Carbs per serving – 22g (for five serving) with 4g of fibre.
Make this a main course soup by adding in some protein – a poached egg, for example or some shredded roast chicken would be nice.
It hasn’t been the coldest of winters here in Scotland, but soup is always a welcome winter warmer. This mushroom soup is full of flavour and low-carbohydrate.
You can make it a main meal by adding in some protein – top with a poached egg, for example, or add in some chopped chicken breast, poaching it in the soup for 10 minutes. Crispy fried bacon crumbled up into ‘croutons’ is another idea.
Melt the butter or heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions and celery. Fry for five minutes until softened and then add the mushrooms. Mix well to combine and fry for another 10 minutes. Add the garlic and white wine, cook off the wine and add the chicken stock and water.
Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes and then puree with a hand blender. Season to taste. It’s nice topped with chopped parsley and a swirl of double cream.
You can also make this in the slow cooker – throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker (no need to bother browning the veg), turn the setting to high and leave for three hours before liquidising.
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.
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.