A-Z Challenge

B- Broccoli Soup

At the end of a weekday, time is short and so are ingredients. Let’s look at how to make a healthy version of Broccoli Soup on a weekday in fewer than 20 min, provided you have pre-made vegetable stock (You can use those stock cubes from the supermarket if you don’t have homemade stock)

Source: mirror(dot)co(dot)uk

Photo Source: mirror(dot)co(dot)uk

Things to grab from the fridge:

  • Small head of Broccoli cut into florets (1 cup)
  • Yoghurt – 2 tablespoons (Low fat if going for healthy option) OR
  • Fresh Cream – 1 or 2 tablespoons (for a creamy, I don’t have to care about the waistline now option)
  • Stock

Things you need from the pantry:

  • Garlic pods – 2
  • Onion – Small
  • Olive oil- 1 tablespoon (if using)
  • Salt and Pepper

Method using homemade stock:

  1. Heat two cups of stock in a stock pot.
  2. Once you switch the stove on, wash and cut the broccoli, just keeping the head.
  3. Once the stock starts to simmer, throw a handful of florets in (about a cup), season well and simmer further for 7 mins or until the florets turn a bright beautiful green.
  4. Take off the stove, add low fat yogurt (or milk) and blitz in a blender.

Check seasoning and enjoy with brown bread and no guilt.

Method using stock cubes:

  1. Warm the olive oil in a stock pot and sauté onions and garlic
  2. Once heated through and transparent, bring two cups of water to simmer and add half a veg or chicken stock cube for flavor. (The vegetable stock cubes taste good – but remember, there is a lot of sodium in it. So season at the very end after the soup is done)
  3. Once the cube dissolves, add the broccoli, wait until it turns a beautiful green color, 5-7 minutes depending on the size of florets
  4. Turn off stove and add cream. Give it a good stir.
  5. Season, take it off the stove and blitz when cool.

Serve with warm bread

Note: You can season this soup to your liking, sprinkle nutmeg or cumin, increase garlic or crumble cheese on top. This is a soup for all moods 🙂

Health Benefits of Broccoli:

  • Broccoli is a very low calorie vegetable- 34 calories per 100 g.
  •  It is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
  •  Prevents cancer, maintains a healthier nervous system (Diabetic Friendly), regulates blood pressure, Reduces cholesterol, dieting (rich in fiber which prevents digestive problems and constipation, curbs overeating and maintains a lower and healthier level of blood sugar), helps with arthiritis, helps fight against flu causing viruses,reduces allergic reaction and inflammation

Warning:

If you are currently taking blood thinning medication, it is recommended not to take excessive amounts of broccoli. Normal portions are still good for you. Drink copious amounts of water if you eat more that 2 cups of broccoli every day.

A – Appetizers

What would you do, if you prepared a nice dinner for guests and realised that you were sorely lacking in the appetizers section?

The guests are less than 30 minutes away and you hardly have anything ready… This is what I was faced with recently.

So here is what happened:

Open fridge in near panic – Spotted nothing but carrots, cucumber and Zucchini.

Took a deep breath and got started.

 Things to pull out of the fridge:IMG-20140401-WA0061

Carrots – 2

Zucchini – 5

Cream Cheese

Capers

Parsley or Coriander Leaves for garnish

 Things to source from the pantry:

Garlic – 5 pods

Onion – 2 medium

Balsamic Vinegar – 5 table spoons

Salt and Pepper

 Method:

Turn the oven on.

  1.  Slice the onions, smash the garlic pods with the blade of your knife and place them on a sheet of aluminium foil. Drizzile Olive oil, season with salt and pepper and wrap the foil around to make a parcel. Keep this in the oven, close the door and move on to other things.
  2.  Peel the Zucchini and using a mandolin (I used a peeler and am not happy) cut the zucchini lengthwise to form a wrapper. Brush with 2 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar, season lightly and place on baking tray.
  3.  Turn the broiler on in the oven and put the Zucchini under it for 5 – 10 mins to soften it up and give it some flavour (keep checking after five minutes to avoid burning)
  4.  Meanwhile peel the Carrots and continue peeling them into thin wrappers (I used the vegetable peeler to get thing malleable strips)
  5.  Start picking at your herbs to get nice leaves separated from the stalks
  6.  Ting! The Zucchini is done, pull it out and allow it to cool on one side. Turn the oven on and let the garlic and onions caramelise further.
  7.  Tip a few capers onto a bowl and bring out the cheese. I believe ricotta works best, but I had just regular cream cheese in the fridge, so I brought it out along with a melon baller.
  8.  In a few minutes the Zucchini will have cooled down. Place a small amount of cheese on the widest part of the Zucchini slice and roll. To prevent spillages I stuck capers on either side. (My Zucchini slices were too thin. If you have sliced them thick, then just mix the capers with cream cheese. If using ricotta, forget the capers and add choice herbs). Place them on your serving platter as you go.
  9.  Bring out your garlic and onions and place them in a bowl. Stir them around to get the flavours to mix. Place a small portion on the widest side of your carrot slice, place coriander or parsley leaves and roll. Secure with toothpick if needed. Place on the serving plate as you go.
  10.  Serve with the garlic onion mix and reserved balsamic vinegar as dipping sauces.

It was a hit and took under 30 mins to make with a bit of multitasking. But I didn’t break a sweat and licked the melon baller clean, so it’s all good!

This post is to start off the A-Z challenge 2014. Check it out here. There are a massive list of bloggers and I shall visit as many as I can and leave a kind word. Between exams, assignments, projects at work and entertaining visitors, this is going to be one heck of a challenge, I’m trying hard to keep myself motivated  to complete this challenge.

 

So until tomorrow.

Adieos!