Tag Archive | soup

♥ Souper easy, instant miso soup

I’m fed up of my soup container leaking.

It seemed like a good idea when I bought it, but fact is, everyday by the time I have walked or cycled to work, the carrier bag I have carefully wrapped the tub in is always full of liquid.

I tried looking into packet soups, but the choice for vegans is pretty rubbish, most contain milk in one form or another. And the problem with tinned soup? I can’t eat a whole tin but half a tin isn’t enough!

To overcome my terrible, souper-sized dilemma, I had to invent my “instant” miso soup. Leak-proof, mega-easy and mega-tasty!

Souper easy, instant miso soup


  • 1.5 x tbsp. white miso
  • 2 x heaped tablespoons chopped nori sheets
  • 1 x heaped tablespoon of cubed firm silken tofu (roughly equals 15 x 1cm3 cubes)
  • 1 x tsp finely sliced spring onion
  • Optional – 1 x tbsp. chopped mushroom.
  • 350 ml boiling water.


  1. Into your container, add the miso, nori, tofu and spring onion. If adding mushroom, make sure it is chopped into small chunks as they will float!
  2. Next, gently stir the mixture whilst pouring the water on top (the easiest way is to use the kettle). You need to make sure the miso dissolves and mixes in without pulverizing the tofu into pulp.
  3. Leave for 5 minutes and tuck in.

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Low calorie, low fat and low in leakages, perfecto!


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♥ Spicy orange soup in a sweet potato bowl

So, I bought the world’s BIGGEST sweet potato…

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… I didn’t even want to buy sweet potatoes this shopping trip, but how could I resist?!

But what to do with it? Wedges? Chips? Mash? Maybe, but surely such a giant spud is worthy of better things?

Like an edible soup bowl! Filled with a lovely spicy orange soup, made with butternut squash, carrots, orange peppers and of course sweet potato flesh. And some black beans and pearl barley to give the soup some bite.

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The trickiest part of this recipe was hollowing out the potato. It reminded me of pumpkin carving at Halloween. In fact, this recipe would probably make quite a festive spooky dish since its orange.

If you don’t like spicy food, hold back the chilli. I thought it had a kick that hit the spot but the hubby struggled to eat his!

Recipe (easily serves two):

  • 1 x giant sweet potato*
  • 1 x cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3 x spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 x tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ x tsp chopped fresh chilli
  • ¾ x tsp white pepper
  • 1 x tsp ground cumin
  • 1 x tsp paprika
  • 1 x tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 x tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 x medium onion (cut into quarters)
  • 2 x cups coarsely chopped squash
  • 1 x orange pepper x medium onion
  • ¼ x cup pearl barley1
  • ¾ x cup dried black beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 x veggie stock cube
  • 1.5 L x  water Veggie oil

* (or a couple of mini pumpkins would work as well)


  1. Put the squash, pepper and onion pieces onto a lightly greased baking tray and roast at 180oC for 20 minutes or until soft but golden round the edges.
  2. In a pan, boil the black beans and pearl barley until tender.
  3. In a large pan, sauté the carrots, spring onions, thyme and sweet potato in a pan and cook on a medium heat until everything begins to turn brown.
  4. Add the water, stock cube and spices and stir before bringing to the boil.
  5. Drop to a simmer and cook until all the veg is soft.
  6. Add the roast veg and simmer for 5 minutes longer.
  7. Take off the heat and using a hand blender, whiz until smooth.
  8. Add the cooked beans and pearly barley. Set to one side and re-heat when ready to serve.
  9. Slice the sweet potato in half and scoop out the middles to create a bowl shape. This requires a bit of muscle!ps6 20140802_160355_zpsiheyr6su ps5 20140802_162342_zpsnlpr7tuv
  10. The potato will take around 45 minutes to cook at 180oC depending on size. For the first 25 mins I left a scrunched up piece of foil in the centres to make sure the middle stayed soft. (If you’re feeling confident you could make the soup whilst the bowls cook).ps4 20140802_183402_zpsbaxkxwga
  11. Serve by ladling soup into each sweet potato bowl and garnish with soya cream and rocket if you want to be fancy.

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♥ Hot and Sour soup

So, regular visitors may have noticed that my blog has completely changed! GoDaddy decided not to support their blogging software anymore so our computer genius of a best man sorted me out on Word Press.

Overall I’m happy, my posts look a lot better and it gave me the kick up the arse that I needed to getting round to creating a logo. However I’m sad that I’ve lost all my previous comments and rankings on Google (I was the 3rd hit on Google when searching for a “vegan pork pie”!). Never mind, we can rebuild it, WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!

It was quite funny re-visiting all my old posts though, back before I made the jump towards veganism and when I thought I was going to make regular posts about my crochet projects…!

Also humbling to think my blog hadn’t long been on the go when my Dad had a stroke. I’m happy to report that he is doing fantastically! He has gone back to work 3 days a week and has been given the all-clear to drive again. Also since his stroke was caused by a bleed and not a clot, he has had brain scans which have shown that his risk of a repeat attack are negligible 🙂 Hoorah!

So, to celebrate, here’s my veganized recipe for Hot and Sour soup!

I think it tastes quite authentic to the restaurant version. Also the hubby managed to find some prawn-less crackers in a Chinese supermarket we visited in York, so I fried up a batch and served on the side. Yum!

Hot and Sour soup recipe:


  • 1 x heaped cup oyster mushrooms
  • ¾ x tsp white pepper
  • 5 x tbsps. rice vinegar
  • ¼ x tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 x tbsps. soy sauce
  • ¼ x fresh red chilli
  • ¼ x cup corn starch
  • ¼ x leek (sliced)
  • 1 x tbsp. white miso paste
  • 1 x tbsp. tomato ketchup
  • 1 x vegetable stock cube
  • 1 x clove garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1 x small onion (diced)
  • 1 x tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ x tsp black pepper
  • 1 x tbsp. sugar   water


  1. Put the mushrooms into a bowl and add 2 x cups of boiling water.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, corn starch and miso.
  3. In a large pan, add ¼ x pint of water and a stock cube. Bring to the boil. Add the onions, dried chilli, fresh chilli, leek, garlic and the water from the mushrooms.
  4. Boil until the onions become translucent and tender.
  5. Whisk in the soy sauce mixture and heat until the soup has thickened to the right consistency. If the soup becomes too thick, add more water.
  6. Stir in the mushrooms and heat for just a couple of minutes longer.
  7. Serve and enjoy 🙂

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Smokey bean, potato and cabbage soup with homemade seedy wholemeal bread

Boring sounding title, since it’s essentially “soup and bread”, but bear with me!

Served 2

 (Please excuse the chip in my plate!)

I had quarter of a white cabbage left that I had bought for salads. Unfortunately I get bored of salad as much as I hate wasting food so I decided to make soup. Can’t have soup without bread so since I accidentally bought far too much bread flour the last time I attempted internet grocery shopping….well, the rest is food history!

This soup is creamy, flavoursome, warming and amazingly still vegan. The bread was light and tasty with the type of chewy crust you just have to tear using your gritted front teeth! Delicious with a smearing of vegan spread or a bit of vegan mayo.

 Smokey bean, potato and cabbage soup:


 2 x tablespoons olive oil

2 x large white potatoes

¼ x shredded white cabbage

1 x tin pinto beans

½ large white onion (chopped)

4 x cloves garlic (de-germed and

800 x ml vegetable stock

2 x teaspoons smoked paprika

1 x teaspoon soup

Black pepper to taste.



Heat up the oil in a large, heavy pan. Chop up the potato into chunks (skins included – that’s where the healthy good sh*t is!) and add to the oil. Pop a lid over the pan and cook the potatoes until they get to that stage where they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden-spoon and cook for a further 5 mins.

Add the onions and garlic and keep stirring / scraping until the onions go soft and translucent.

Add the beans, paprika, salt and black pepper and give it all a good stir before adding the cabbage. Stir some more and add the stock.

Simmer for 15mins (or until the potatoes are soft), stirring every now and then to make sure that the bottom doesn’t catch.

Allow to cool a bit before using a hand held whizzer to half-whizz the soup (I like to leave chunky bits so that I don’t get booored whist eating it).

Reheat before serving in a bowl with a hearty side serving of…..

wholemeal bread:


500 x g wholemeal strong bread flour

2 x teaspoons of dried active yeast

1 x teaspoon sugar

300 x ml warm, but not hot water (I mix kettle-boiled water with cold from the tap).

1 x teaspoon salt

1.5 x tablespoons vegan spread

Seeds to top (I used pumpkin, sunflower, flax and sesame)

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave for 15mins until a frothy foam starts to form.

In a large bowl (preferably not a metal one) add the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt.

Add the vegan spread and rub into the flour to create fine breadcrumbs. Try to leave a little distance between the bowl and your hands whilst rubbing so try and make the crumbs airy.

Create a well in the centre of the floury-crumb mix and add the yeasty water mix. Stir in slowly until a soft sticky dough forms. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add a little more flour.

Knead either by hand or using a food mixture with a kneading attachment for 10 mins. Leave to prove for 30 mins. Then knead again for another 10 mins or until the dough is smooth and springy and elasticky.

Different recipes will tell you different proving times, but next I whacked my dough into a greased, non-stick bread loaf tin, sprinkled with seeds (I pressed them in slightly to make them stick) and left in a warm place for 20 hours (i.e. tea time the next day!). The mixture had more than doubled by the time I got round to baking it, lovely!

When ready to cook, stick a baking tray on the bottom of the oven and heat up to 200oC. Pop the bread into the oven and quickly (but carefully!) pour some water into the baking tray and shut the door pronto. The steam helps to produce that beautiful chewy crust, whilst the bread stays soft and light.

Bake for 30mins (cover with a bit of tinfoil if the top starts to brown too quickly – I had to after around 20mins). Allow to cool slightly before turning the loaf out of the tin onto a wire cooling rack.

Bread on rack

I waited until the bread was just about cool enough to touch, before hacking into thick delicious slices. Top tip – it was much easier to cut when the loaf was first turned upside down.

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Warm, freshly baked bread dipped into steamy-hot thick and satisfying soup. Perfect comfort food now that the weather is starting to get cooler.






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Heart healthy soup and crochet stress ball…

I’ve not written a blog for a good few days. The reason? My poor old Dad had a stroke last Sunday 🙁 Well, I say old, he’s only 55. I think that too much stress has finally caught up with him – so let that be a lesson to those of you who put their work before their own health!!!

Anyway, he lost the use of his right-hand side but fortunately he is beginning to regain control of it. He’s very weak though. I wanted to make him a little stress ball so he could use it to build up the strength in his hand. Unfortunately the result of my hard and love-led labour was even more special than my owl phone cover! Haha, aw well, can’t blame a Daddy’s girl for trying……

I basically followed this pattern:http://www.craftdesigns4you.com/freecrochetball.htm although I made a few simple changes to the way the colours worked. The pattern instructs you to make two halves of a ball which you sew together, then you add stuffing before you finish the last few stitches. I figured that stuffing alone wasn’t going to be squidgy enough for a stress ball, so I also added a balloon which I filled with flour via the use of a funnel.

stress ball

Unfortunately I think my bad sewing let me down. I’ve never been any good at sewing! Hopefully Dad will see the funny side and appreciate my good intentions!

I’ve also made him some soup because as you can imagine, the hospital food isn’t exactly the tastiest cuisine on the planet. I made up the recipe as I went a long and stupidly didn’t write the quantities down, which was a shame as its rather good, even if I do say so myself!

It contains:

  • Carrot (for their vitamins, anti-oxidants and blood pressure controlling properties);
  • Onion (for taste, anti-viral and cholesterol lowering properties);
  • Potatoes (scrubbed but not peeled for vitamins, anti-oxidants, and dietary fibre);
  • Chickpeas (for their iron and essential amino-acids)
  • Brown rice (Good for the heart, lowering cholesterol, for fibre, essential amino acids, magnesium and selenium)
  • Vegetable stock cubes.
  • Black pepper and smoked paprika for taste.
  • Soya milk (to thin down).

I basically grated the carrot and plonked it in a pan with just enough stock to cover, then simmered for a bit. Then I added finely diced onion and simmered until the onion started to go translucent. Then I added the chickpeas and rice along with a jug-full of water. Once the soup started to simmer again, I added diced spuds and simmered away until everything was soft.

Then I added black pepper and smoked paprika, allowed the soup to cool then whizzed the f*ck out of it! (Didn’t want any lumpy bits for my Daddy to choke on!).

Whizzing made the soup a little thick, so I mixed in some soya milk until it was a nice consistency, then warmed it up again to boiling point.

The best thing about this soup was it tastes quite nice once cooled down to a luke-warm temperature. Which means if I take a flask into the hospital, it won’t matter if I can’t blag access to a microwave 🙂

Please everyone send healing thoughts to my Dad!






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