Roasted cauliflower and carrot soup


This is a hearty and creamy vegan soup using seasonal cauliflowers. This will make 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • a medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • an onion
  • 4 / 5 cloves of garlic
  • a tsp. cumin seeds
  • a tsp. coriander seeds
  • a tsp. turmeric
  • a tsp. salt
  • 2 / 3 dried chillies
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 700ml – 1 liter of vegetable stock
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander

So what do you do?

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F. Peel and chop the carrots into chunks and put them in a baking tray, add the cauliflower broken into florets and chop the onion into quarters and add it along with the garlic cloves, still in their skins. Grind the coriander seeds and add them along with the other spices, the oil, and half the salt. Mix everything together and then roast in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, turn them a couple of times, until the veggies are cooked and start to brown. Then allow to cool a bit and squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins and remove the chillies (you can keep some of them in if you want it spicy).

Then either put all the veggies along with about 700ml of stock, the coconut milk and a small handful of fresh coriander in a liquidizer and blend until smooth, or put everything in a saucepan and use a hand-held blender. The soup should be nice and thick, you can add more stock to get the consistency you prefer. taste and add more salt if necessary. Heat through and serve garnished with coriander leaves and the chillies.



Brunch, Soups, Thai Food

Veggie Khao Tom


Kao tom

This makes a good brunch, or a meal if you are feeling under the weather and want something quite plain and comforting to eat. It’s normally made with pork or seafood but here I’ve made a veggie version the flavor will depend on the stock you use so I would recommend using a good / homemade stock. This will make 4 bowls of Khao Tom.

So what do you need?

  • 1 cup of jasmine rice / brown rice (I used a white jasmine rice which had some other rices mixed through it)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • a small bunch Chines celery
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup of other veggies (I used diced carrot and some chopped broccoli)



  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. oil (I used sesame)
  • 1 inch of ginger peeled and very finely sliced
  • a couple of chopped spring onions and a handful of coriander leaves
  • a sliced red chilli
  • Chilli powder
  • Soy sauce
  • Pepper

So what do you do?

Start by putting the rice in a saucepan with the stock and soy sauce and bring it to the boil. Meanwhile chop the mushroom and the Chinese celery and add them to the saucepan and boil for about 10 minutes then add the other vegetables and boil for 15 – 20 more minutes until the rice is soft. The cooking time will depend on the rice you use but it should be well cooked and soft. The rice will absorb most of the stock and swell up, if necessary add more stock and stir occasionally as the Khao Tom thickens up to stop it sticking to the saucepan. Taste and if necessary add some more soy sauce.

While the rice is cooking prepare your condiments. Finely chop the garlic and fry it in the oil until golden brown and put in a small bowl. Serve the Khao Tom in bowls and allow people to flavour it themselves adding the condiments they like.



Soups, Uncategorized

Veggie stew with pulses


This is a stew / soup similar to a minestrone, but a little heartier, made with what veg. and pluses you have to hand. It’s good if you have time to make it early and let it stand so the flavours develop and then reheat it to serve.

I fried an onion then added some chopped garlic, large chillis, celery and about 150g of mushrooms and fried until beginning to brown the added a chopped carrot, and some sliced radishes and 4 chopped tomatoes, about half a cup of dried lentils, a couple of bay leaves, a couple of pinches of salt, and a few crushed pepper corns which I covered well with vegetable stock and cooked for about 10 mins. Then I added some quicker cooking veg. cauliflower and Thai kale (pak kana) and fresh herbs, coriander and dill and about 1/2 tsp dried chill powder (optional) and cooked for another 15 mins or so until the lentils were cooked. Finally, I added some cooked beans I had (you could just use more lentils). You can make it as thick as you want if you you prefer it to be a stew or add more stock for a hearty soup. If you want a really hearty stew then add a handful of pearl barley with the lentils or add dumplings to the stew. If you don’t add dumplings, then it’s good served with warm fresh bread.


French onion soup

I haven’t made this for a long time but I woke up this morning to rain that looked like it wasn’t going to stop and really fancied making and eating French onion soup. It’s a delicious warming soup with deep flavours. Perfect comfort food on a cold day and well worth the effort.

Start by making a good vegetable stock mine was mainly made of leek and mushroom trimmings and a carrot. While your stock is simmering peel and slice about 900g – 1kg of onions. I caramelise the onions in a wide frying pan rather than in the soup saucepan as it’s got a much larger surface area. I melted about 75g butter in the pan and then as the onions softened and started to turn golden brown I added 2 cloves of crushed garlic and fried for a while longer. As the onions started to brown I added a tsp. of brown sugar and a tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and fried some more as they browned and caramelised. I then added a tbsp. of plain flour and stirred that in. I then transferred the onions into a thick bottomed saucepan and put a couple of ladles of stock in the frying pan and poured this into the saucepan too. I poured on more stock in total about 900ml and added a 330ml bottle of cider (you can also use white wine which is more traditional but I like the flavour the cider gives the soup), a tsp. of marmite, a couple of bay leaves, a pinch or two of dried thyme (you can use fresh if you have it) and a good grinding of black pepper. I then brought the soup to a boil and then simmered it covered for about 15 mins. Taste and check the seasoning. Meanwhile I lightly toasted 8 slices of French bread and grated about 120g of Gruyère cheese (Emmental is also good) and heated up by grill to hot. Then put 4 bowls on a baking tray and ladled the soup into them (removing the bay leaves) and put two slices of toasted bread on each and liberally covered each with cheese and them ground a little pepper on the top and pout them under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese melted and started to brown. Serve immediately.




Mushroom soup


This is based on a recipe by Bill Granger in his book Bill’s Food but I’ve used Asian mushrooms and a veggie stock and also added truffle salt to deepen the flavours and some cream to make it a little richer. This makes 4 main or 6 starter servings and makes a great meal with some fresh bread.

So what do you need?

  • 500g mixed mushrooms (I used fresh shitake, eryngii and shimemeji)
  • 1 large onion (about 200g)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 potato (about 250 g)
  • a glass (150ml) of dry white wine
  • 1/2tsp salt (or 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp truffle salt)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh herbs (oregano or thyme or a mix)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 125ml cream

So what do you do?

Heat the oil and the butter in a thick bottomed saucepan. In a food processor (or by hand) chop the garlic and onion and start to them in the oil. Finely chop the mushrooms in the same way and add them to the saucepan with the salt and pepper and fry for about 10 minutes. The peel and finely chop the potato in the food processor and add this. Then add the wine, stock , herbs and bay leaves and simmer with a lid on, stirring occasionally,  for about 20 mins. Remove the bay leaves and add the cream and then wither put about half the soup back in the food processer and blend it until it’s smooth and then add it back into the soup, or blend the soup with a stick blender briefly, keeping some of the mushroom texture. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. (The amount of salt you need will depend a bit on the stock you use.) If it’s too thick add a little water or milk and then heat it through and serve with a  drizzle of truffle oil or cream on top.


Black bean soup

Another recipe to celebrate the UN Year of Pulses, it’s king of a lighter version of a veggie chilli, but still makes a good hearty meal. This will serve 4.

So what do you need?

  • 250g dried black beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2- 3 large chillies
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 40g / 3 or 4 chunks of plain chocolate (optional)
  • coriander leaves
  • plain yoghurt / sour cream / olive oil

So what do you do?

Start by soaking the beans overnight and then rinse them and put them in a medium-sized thick-bottomed saucepan and cover with fresh water and bring to the boil, you can add a couple of bay leaves to the water and simmer covered for about an hour until the beans begin to soften. (You could use a couple of cans of ready cooked beans if you prefer).

While the beans are cooking but the vegetables up into small pieces, reserve a bit of the onion and pepper / chillies to use to garnish the soup. Dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan and grind them with the peppercorns. Take out the bay leaves and add the vegetables, spices and salt and simmer for about 30 mins until everything is well cooked. The with a potato masher mask the beans up a bit, you want some to break down and thicken the soup and some to remain whole. Add the chocolate (optional) which gives the soup a richer flavor and  simmer for another 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of yoghurt / sour cream or a swirl of olive oil and sprinkle on the remaining onion and pepper / chilli and a few coriander leaves. I served it with warm pitta bread.

If you have any leftover then you can reduce it and use it like refried beans.


Spiced split pea & pumpkin soup


This is an Indian spiced split pea soup with pumpkin to give it some sweetness and body. It’s very hearty and warming for winter.

I chopped a couple of medium-sized red onions and fried them in about 4 – 5 tbsp of coconut oil in a thick bottomed saucepan. Meanwhile in my mortar and pestle I crushed 4 cloves of garlic with a smiler quantity of fresh ginger (peeled) and a tsp of sea salt. To this I added a tsp of the following, corriander seeds, cumin seeds and black pepper corns and crushed them together to make a paste. Once the onion started to soften I added the garlic / spice paste, a couple of curry leaves (optional), a tsp of turmeric and half a tsp of spicy chilli powder. I fried these together until the onions we’re golden and the spices has released their flavours into the oil. I then drained off most of the spice oil to drizzle on the finished soup. I added about 300g of rinsed yellow split peas and 1.5 liters of vegetable stock to the pan and brought it to the boil. To this I added 300g of coconut flesh and then covered the soup and simmered it for almost an hour until the peas were soft. You may need to add some more stock or water at this point you can also check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Then I blended the soup with a hand blender and served it garnished with some plain youghurt (optional you could use coconut cream instead) a drizzle of the spice oil, and some chopped spring onions and corriander leaves. It’s perfect served with naan bread.