Monthly Archives: September 2013

Courgette, walnuts and pumpkin seeds cake

Courgettes make for a very unusual but surprisingly delicious ingredient in our Friday cake… A great recipe to bake at the week-end whilst keeping to your 5-a day.
A lovely way to eat one of your 5-a day!

A lovely way to eat your veg

Ingredients list

  • 3 large eggs
  •  250ml sunflower oil
  •  250g soft light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  •  2 tsp cinnamon
  •  ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 300g courgettes, peeled and grated
  • 100g walnuts, chopped roughly
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare two 8” round cake tins.
Grate the courgettes, making sure to choose them fresh and small so they are not bitter! This could ruin your best efforts…
Beat the eggs and sugar and add the oil. Then add the flour followed by all the other ingredients.
Pour into two sandwich tins or one round tin. Bake for 35 min to 45 min, depending on your tin size. Check the top is springy and nicely raised before taking out.
I decorated the top with pumpkin seed to keep to the autumn theme.
I chose to sandwich it and spread a mix of light cream cheese and lemon curd (shop bought) in between. This is not always necessary and this cake is also nice on its own. I like the fact it is not overly sweet and the oil gives it a very springy, soft and aerated texture.
This recipe is apparently a take on the hummingbird bakery recipe, and it was found here at aureafemellabakes.
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Warm avocado soup

Decorate with chopped eggs and chopped sweet pepper

Decorate with chopped eggs and chopped sweet pepper

Ingredients list:

  • Avocados, 2
  • 1 stock cube
  • Boiling water, 250ml
  • Rice milk, 250ml
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice, 1 Tbsp
  • Chopped spring onion, 1
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

This soup is warm but requires no cooking. So it’s ideal for time-poor students or older persons who want a healthy meal without the hassle of cooking it.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth in a food processor and serve warm with boiled eggs (chopped) and red pepper cubes, for a nice colour contrast. Season generously and choose either sweet or hot paprika, or both, according to your inclination.

I also like this soup with a generous slice of bread covered in Sobressada from Mallorca. This paprika flavoured sausage can be spread easily and comes to reinforce the smoked paprika hint already in the soup.

 Nutrition notes:

This is very gentle on your digestive system as well as being very restorative due to the high potassium content of both avocado and paprika. The healthy oils in the avocado are excellent for the skin and the brain.

Asparagus and broad beans risotto with miso and Umeboshi flavours

An all singing, all dancing vegetarian dish to shake our bodies out of the summer slumber! This is as rejuvenating as an outdoor yoga class or a jog in a bluebells’ wood. The miso and Umeboshi (marinated prune paste) are very good and calming for the intestines and will help restore depleted energies. You can find the miso paste and the umeboshi paste in Japanese shops and most health shops in the UK. The Japanese use them to restore intestinal bacteria after an illness or a course of antibiotics. The umeboshi is quite tangy and salty in taste so you will not need to add any salt if you use it – Especially combined with Miso.

You can do without those weird and wonderful ingredients and replace them with a good chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer .  I just wanted to include a healing and strengthening aspect into my recipe . Both versions are delicious.

Ingredients list:

  • 1 shallot
  • olive oil
  • 10 asparagus
  • handful of frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 250g of arborio or other risotto rice
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 600ml of boiling water
  • soy cream to finish
  • 1 Tbsp of umeboshi plum paste
  • 2 Tbsp of white miso paste (or 1/2 cube stock)
  • Pepper to finish

This quantity serves 5/6 as starter portions or 3 as main. Halve all quantities to cook a plentiful meal for one! There should be just a bit left over for the dog.

This month is the perfect time to use up the latest asparagus and broad beans from the garden or allotment. They are still coming up on market stalls at a bargain. I have even seen them recently at a Pick-your-own farm!

Chop up the shallot and fry it in a little olive oil.

Then throw in the rice and fry that too until the grains look transparent.

Add the wine and simmer until it is almost gone. Then add half the stock and continue simmering and turning. The secret of a good risotto is to add the liquid in stages and to keep the mix soupy and wet until the end so it does not dry too much as it cools down in the plate. Keep simmering and adding stock until the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile (or previously), you have washed and trimmed the asparagus and steamed them. The broad beans need to be shelled but not pre-steamed.

You need to season with the umeboshi and the miso paste about 5/10 minutes before the end- not before because boiling would destroy a lot of the healthy bacteria.

Add the asparagus stalks but keep the tips aside. Add the broad beans as well towards the end of the cooking and cover. Rice usually takes 20 min in all.

Dress with a dash of cream, some pepper from the mill and serve warm but not hot.

Decorate with fresh mint!

Decorate with fresh mint!

Here I have used fresh peas and decorated with fresh mint from the potted garden.