Nutribullet gazpacho

I think I am fairly late to the Nutribullet party. I bought one this summer, long after people started telling me how good they are. I’ve been happy with my juicer and blender, so I wasn’t sure I needed one.

Fool me. This thing is awesome. It’s both nifty and neat. Nifty, with patented powerful blades that make light work of hard vegetables and nuts. Neat, due to its ergonomic design. Thankfully you don’t need to consider a kitchen extension to accommodate all the gear that comes with it.

I can’t step away. I’ve been trying out new recipes every day, including fruit and yoghurt based breakfasts to leafy green lunch drinks.

This golden gazpacho is a complete doddle and absolutely perfect if you’re after a light and healthy summer lunch.

Gazpacho_3

For 2/3 servings you will need:

  • 500g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1/2 a white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 small sweet peppers, chopped (I used a mixture of colours
  • 1/3 of a large chunk cucumber, sliced
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  • 100 ml water

Simply:

  1. Place all the ingredients (excluding water) in a baking tin and roast for 30 mins on a moderate heat. This just ensures you to get the best flavours, especially from the tomatoes.
  2. Once cool, add the ingredients to the Nutribullet along with the water. Whizz up for a few seconds until the soup is smooth.
  3. Allow to settle in the fridge overnight, or at least for a few hours. This is important to ensure the flavours develop.
  4. Serve by adding whatever toppings you prefer. It’s traditional to add cucumber, peppers or tomato. But the toppings vary in different parts of Spain.

Make the soup your own, by tweaking the ingredients to your own tastebuds. Just make sure that the vegetables are in good condition and taste good before you begin. With so few additional ingredients, this one really does need robust flavours from fresh vegetables.

Delicious and very virtuous.

Enjoy x

Courgette pickle pots

Wow. Seriously, check out the beauty of these vegetables. I’ve been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of two fantastic batches of produce from a finca in Spain. It excites me to cook with such honest fresh veg. I feel privileged to know the person that picked them and slightly embarrassed about some of the other packaged produce sat in my fridge from the supermarket.

Courgette pickle_1

So the season brings us green beans, courgettes and peppers. In abundance! I’ve been flicking through some of my old recipes as well as reading about other peoples take on courgette cake, stuffed peppers, roasted vegetables, fritters and stews.

First up this week, a wonderful warming pickle. This lively sharp pickle carries a subtle heat and makes a perfect partner for summer plates. Try with cheese and salads, or put a pot on the table when you serve up your next BBQ.

Courgette pickle_2

This recipe makes two 500ml pickle pots as shown here. If you have lots of vegetables, then double or quadruple the recipe to make more. If you use vacuum sealed kilner jars it will keep for around 4 months.

It’s really easy to make. Although I guess its fair to say that the better the vegetables, the better the taste.

To make two pickle pots you need:

  • Around 500g courgette (ribboned with a peeler or you can slice thinly with a knife)
  • 4 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp english or dijon mustard
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (about 250ml) maple syrup
  • Salt

To make:

  1. Cover the courgettes with water and sprinkle with salt, leaving for an hour.
  2. Heat the maple syrup and cider vinegar on a low heat to melt the syrup in to the vinegar.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the liquid, stir well, remove from the heat.
  4. Drain the courgettes and dry gently with kitchen roll.
  5. Mix everything together and divide into 2 jars. Pour the liquid in as equally as you can.
  6. Tighten the jars and leave the pickle to develop its flavours in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Fresh from the field:

Courgette pickle_4

Enjoy x

Very versatile veggies

This is more of an idea than a recipe. It’s a great idea though. If it becomes routine, it will change the way you clear out all your leftover veggies, as well as help you fill those occasional creative spaces for mid week mealtimes.

Versatile Veggies_1

The idea is to use up all your vegetables in a simple rustic sauce, which can be used as the basis or accompaniment to lots of weekday meals. There are two tricks to this:

  1. Halve the end product – keep one half as a brilliant ratatouille and pulse the other to make a smooth ragu. Children LOVE this. It is jam packed with vegetables but with no evidence of ‘bits’. I have fooled my children with this one for some time now.
  2. Make more, way more than you need for one sitting. Portion up into freezer bags and label clearly. You can pull out as and when you need.

Versatile Veggies_2

Here are some of the ways you can use the sauces:

  • For the kids I use the ragu on its own as a sauce for gluten free pasta. You can finish it with crumbled soft cheese or grated parmesan.
  • Most commonly for the kids I use the smooth sauce to accompany meatballs or minced beef. Simply brown meatballs or mince and then add the ragu, simmering the sauce until the meat is tender. My children prefer both the texture and taste of this over any other sauce I make.
  • Liven up leftovers by pouring the sauce over shredded roast chicken. Serve with rice and corn on the cob.
  • The chunkier ratatouille is superb served really hot with a simple bowl of brown rice, yoghurt and a generous handful of chopped fresh herbs.
  • The ratatouille is also fantastic with fish. Place two piece of white fish in foil, sprinkle some halved olives and a squeeze of lemon, then cover in a generous helping of the ratatouille. Oven roast for 20 minutes and enjoy a fab meal for two.
  • Try a few spoonfuls on top of steamed asparagus. Sprinkle the dish with parmesan, grill for 2 minutes and serve with rocket leaves.

Versatile Veggies_4

To make this batch I used:

  • A tablespoon of coconut (or olive oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • A large white onion
  • 3 red peppers
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 large courgette
  • A handful of small tomatoes
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality balsamic vinegar
  • a teaspoon of oregano
  • 400ml of passata or chopped tomatoes
  • Low salt vegetable stock cube
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make:

  1. Chop the vegetables neatly into cubes.
  2. Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until soft before adding all the remaining vegetables.
  3. Add the herbs, puree, balsamic, passata and stock cube.
  4. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat right down, pop on a lid and leave to simmer for a good 45 minutes or so. The dish is ready when the vegetables are soft and tender. Add more water if needed, gauge the liquid based on how thick you want the ratatouille.
  5. Blitz up half, then store what you need in airtight jars and freeze the rest in bags.

Versatile and very scrummy veggies.

Enjoy x