Roasted Rosemary Carrots

I hate carrots. Let me rephrase that: I used to hate carrots. We’re slowly learning to become friends. Especially when we make a party with sea salt, rosemary and a drop of olive oil. 

If you’re having a roast dinner this Sunday, these carrots would make a scrumptious addition to your table. If you pick small carrots and slice them in half, right down the length, they look oh-so-pretty. Just an easy way to wow your guests with this humble but unmissable vegetable. 

I like serving mine in a salad 🙂 

Serves 3-4 as a side
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
Carrots
A good pinch of coarse sea salt
1 tsp dried rosemary
Olive oil spray (or other kind of neutral oil)
Pepper, to taste

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/390ºF. Line a tray with baking parchment.
Wash and cut the carrots down the length. (I don’t usually peel my vegetables because 1) I’m lazy like that and 2) all the good stuff’s in the peel. Don’t peel your pretty vegetables, they feel so naked without their skin.)
Spray the sliced carrots with some olive oil, sprinkle over the rosemary and salt (and pepper, if desired), then toss it all together with your hands (get in there!) Spread over the tray and bake for 40-45 minutes until magically tender yet crispy on the edges. 
Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving. 


Cold Peas, Mint and Avocado Soup.

I am quite jealous of raw vegans. Eating all that vibrant, colourful, living food. Cheerfully munching on carrot sticks and sipping on their alien green wheatgrass shot. I’m going to tell you a little secret: I don’t like most raw vegetables. I. Just. Don’t. 

I’m always drooling all over Emily’s photos at This Rawsome Vegan Life and have even tried a few of her recipes; they’re all delicious! Most of them anyway. Once I tried one of her raw soups, which looked so gorgeous. I thought ‘I’ll finally be one of those people, drinking a blend of raw vegetables, check out my glow, y’all!’ but I hated it. My tastebuds just wouldn’t have it. 


I refused to throw in the towel. Just because one recipe didn’t work for me didn’t mean raw foods were off the menu. I’ve learnt to simply trust my palate and eat whatever feels and tastes best for me. 


Last week I had a little bit of fresh mint left lying round in my kitchen and my mind suddenly jumped back to that raw soup. What if I gave it another shot? This time I would choose my favourite ingredients to see if I liked them raw just as much as I liked them hot. 

Granted, frozen peas are not raw. (I believe that the usual process is to blanch them before freezing them, but if you could get your hands on a few cups of raw peas, go you!) But avocados are, and the mint is raw, too. So it’s a kinda raw soup. For me, the raw food fiend, I find that good enough.


Little bit of advice: do not eat your soup without a plate underneath the bowl, on the pice of fabric you use a backdrop for your photoshoot. Bad idea. Food will inevitably be spilled. 


On the other hand, it is a most delicious idea to slater some hummus and fresh avocado slices on your toast and then dip in the soup. Double avocado goodness. 



Serves two
Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 big handful of spinach
200g frozen peas (3 cups)
500ml hot or warm water (2 cups)
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp fresh mint, stalks removed (a very small handful, add more if you want a very minty taste)

Instructions:
Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve with rye toast or a big beautiful chunk of sourdough and a dollop of hummus.



Spicy Tomato Brown Rice Soup – Warming, Comforting, and Fuel for the Brain


If you follow the blog regularly, you’ll know I’m on the verge of graduating from university. That undergrad degree is only just outside of my grasp. But until then, I still have a few essays and that dear old friend *AHEM* Mr Dissertation to hand in. And my poor wee brain needs a bit of a boost to make it to the finish line.

Oh and let’s not even mention working part-time again. I’ve gone back to being casual waiting staff, yayyyy. #sarcasm Eight and a half hour shifts without a break for food or other basic needs like relieving my bladder? Not so fun. (I do sneak off to the toilet, don’t you worry. And I did pinch a few rolls of bread because I was, well, starving. But don’t tell my boss.)


Why this soup is good for you:

* The brown rice makes a substantial meal of this soup, providing you with slow-releasing carbohydrates so you have the energy to churn out 3000 words per day. It also happens to be gluten-free.
* Tomatoes are a superfood! They’re not often mentioned as such, but this beautiful fruit (nope, it’s not a vegetable!) is so good for you: they contain heaps of vitamin C, folic acid, beta-carotene (important for your eyes!), calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and the all-important lycopene, which is a powerful and protective antioxidant.*
* This soup is just really, really comforting. If you don’t have a loved one at the ready to hold you and repeat silly words like “shhh, it’ll be ok”, even though it won’t be, every time you have a nervous breakdown, and your cat won’t stop screeching every time you come home when you just wanted some peace and quiet, and there’s this strange buzzing noise coming from the lift shaft opposite your flat and it’s keeping you up at night and — well, this soup will see you through. 

Serves two
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 can tinned tomatoes
200g cooked rice (see tip below)
1 cube vegetable stock
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
1 small red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
water

Instructions:
Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Fill the empty can of tinned tomatoes with water and pour into the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, set aside to cool and blend until smooth. Re-heat and serve with a chunk of sourdough, if you have some on hand; if not, the soup alone will fill you.

TIP: cook a big batch of brown rice in advance. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge so you can rustle up any meal, like this one, in the blink of an eye when you have little time to cook during the week.

To cook the brown rice, simmer 75g dry brown rice for 25-30 mins.

* source: Healing Foods by Margaret Roberts. Briza Publications, South Africa, 2012.

Pick ‘N Mix Couscous

The other day at Odeon I noticed they had a different sort of pick ‘n mix on sale: yogurt-coated nuts. Finally a healthy option available at the cinema, even though I couldn’t have it. But it’s a start, I guess.


And it inspired this spur-of-the-moment recipe. I had all the ingredients necessary in my cupboard to living up some boring old couscous and I’m sure I could do the same with rice, barley or quinoa. It makes a lovely side dish at lunch, or if you half the recipe you could even have it as a snack. I might even bring some to the cinema to nibble on during a film…

Super easy to pack and goes beautifully with some roasted butternut squash sprinkled with cinnamon. 



Takes 10-12 minutes to make


Serves two as a side dish, four as a snack


Ingredients:
100g dry couscous
200-250ml boiling water
40g sultanas
40g dried cranberries
zest of an orange
1 tsp grater ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
25g pine nuts
25g cashews or almonds
grated nutmeg (optional)
ground cloves (optional)

Instructions:
Place the dry couscous in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Let it sit for ten minutes so the couscous can absorb the water. When this is done add in the rest of the ingredients, stirring with a fork, not a spoon, so as to keep the couscous fluffy.

The Cookie Fairy

Thai Carrot Soup


It’s still fairly chilly in London though the weather is supposed to warm up a bit at the weekend, which means the streets will be flooded with melted snow (and apparently rain coming our way – hurrah). And so I still feel like having soup most of the time. It seems to have become my Number One Comfort Food for now – not that I’m complaining. Soup is bliss.

I had this soup over Christmas: it was shop-bought and for the life of me, I cannot remember what the brand was. I just remember it was a big tub and I ate the whole thing because I liked it so much. 


Ingredients:

6-7 medium carrots
1 white onion, roughly chopped
1 veg cube stock
1 red chili, seeds and all, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 can light coconut milk
1/4 tsp cumin seeds,
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
very small handful of fresh coriander + extra to garnish
1/2 red bell pepper
water

Instructions:
Place all chopped vegetables in a large pot; they should reach almost to the rim. Cover with boiling water till about an inch from the rim. Cook with the lid on for ten minutes, then without the lid for fifteen mins. 
Add the spices. Blend till smooth then pour in the coconut milk. Stir and serve.




The Cookie Fairy

Minestrone Soup

Much soup was consumed when I was on holiday in Ireland. I blame–or maybe thank?–the weather for rekindling my love of soup: the seemingly constant drizzle and damp cold penetrate the very marrow of your bones, like it’s trying to turn you into the Snowman. Before you know it, you can hardly bend your little finger anymore and your nose begins to resemble a carrot. 

The antidote to this snowmanitis? Soup


A big bowl of luscious, steaming, fragrant soup, melting your snowy outer layers simply with its glow of health and wholesomeness. Can you tell I’m smitten? 

Minestrone has sneakily crept up in my diet more and more frequently in recent months and I now welcome it with open arms. Because of the pasta it counts as a full meal (although any soup counts as a full meal for me, since I always enjoy it with a big ol’ chunk of bread and double the amount of soup a regular person would have) that you can serve at home or at work if you bottle it in a thermos. What’s not to love?


Serves 4
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients:
200g any wholewheat pasta shape
1 red bell pepper
2 cans of plum tomatoes
1 courgette, sliced
750-800ml vegetable broth (or 800ml hot water mixed with 1 cube veg stock)
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 small chilis, deseeded and chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
200g carrots, sliced
200g mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Pepper, to serve
Basil, to serve

Instructions:
Boil some water in the kettle while you prep the vegetables. If you are using a long type of pasta shape, place the dry pasta in a plastic bag and smash it up with a rolling pin to create smaller shapes. 
Cook the pasta for 10-15 minutes (or according to package instructions). 
In a separate pot cook the carrots, celery and onion for 10 minutes in the vegetable stock before adding the mushrooms, garlic, courgette, pepper, chili and tomatoes and cook for an additional 10 minutes with the lid on. 
Stir the cooked pasta into the vegetable soup. Serve hot with some pepper and fresh basil. 

The Cookie Fairy

Five-Minute Cream of Tomato Soup



Few things are speedier than this soup, or will soothe your tired mind as effectively after a long hard day’s work. It’s healthy without giving the impression that it is, thanks to the dollop of soya cream, which, and that’s exactly what you need when your body and soul are exhausted.

Serve with a piece of chunky, rustic bread. Put your feet up on the coffee table (go on, it’s allowed this once) and forget all your cares as you dip a slice of bread into the creamy bowl of ochre comfort.


Serves 2-3 as a main meal, 4 with enough bread
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 can 400g tinned tomatoes (I prefer plum tomatoes)
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped (some reserved for garnishing)
a pinch of salt and pepper
50 ml soya cream (some reserved for garnishing)

Instructions:
Place all ingredients, except the basil and cream, in a saucepan on high heat and cook for five minutes.
Transfer to a blender or food processor, add the basil and cream, and blend till perfectly smooth.
Sprinkle some basil and drizzle a little more soya cream over the soup before serving.

The Cookie Fairy