Friday, 5 October 2018

Food blog twelve - Two soups?

The nutritionists I’ve been following all agree on the value of vegetables for healthy eating.
Kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, watercress,
peas and beans add fiber and are low in fat. They are full of vital vitamins and minerals and are protein-rich.

Phytochemicals don’t just occur in berries: There are 

carotenoids in carrots
lycopene in tomatoes
lutein in spinach
genistein in beans & lentils

plus phytic acid in oats

Phytochems protect plants from disease and protect us from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. They prevent cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication and lower cholesterol.

Other enticing facts about vegetables include
  1. leeks are good heart ‘medicine’ ( whatever that is) and may help prevent cancer
  2. onions are good when you have a cold with catarrh - they help break up mucus
  3. carrots really do help you see in the dark
  4. spinach - not just good for Popeye - restores energy, increases vitality and improves the quality of the blood as it’s so rich in iron. Spinach also contains vitamins K, A, C and B2 and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, and iron. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health.

I’ve managed to keep a crop of spinach growing all summer, through the blistering heatwave, and although older leaves can taste bitter spinach is quick and easy to cook and wilted spinach has a good flavour. Young spinach leaves are perfect in salads and most winters spinach will just keep on growing. My leeks are as fat as two of my fingers. I can sow more broad beans in the soil vacated by the summer leeks and they’ll overwinter. We don’t do well with carrots and onions in our soil but as we crawl into autumn - the warmth in the sunshine at the moment is palpable - it might be time to leave lunchtime salads for this year and concentrate on making and eating vegetable soups.

Poor Jamie Oliver lost £90m from his business interests last year so perhaps I should follow him more closely and try one of his soup recipes. Just to encourage the wee lamb.

 Jamie Oliver’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

600 g mixed mushrooms
1 onion
2 sticks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
olive oil
1.5 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock
75 ml single cream
extra virgin olive oil - I use cold-pressed

1. Brush the mushrooms clean, then finely slice.
2. Peel and thinly slice the onion, celery and garlic, then pick the parsley, finely chopping the stalks. Select thyme leaves.
3. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion, celery, garlic, parsley stalks, thyme leaves and mushrooms. With the lid on cook gently until softened.
4. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then blend until smooth.I allow it to cool and pour the half-formed soup into the food processor before returning the blended mix to the pan.
 6. Pour in the cream, bring just back to the boil, then turn off the heat.
7. Spoon the soup into individual bowls and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy - and know it’s packed with goodness.

Next week I’ll be trying carrot and coriander soup. That will be two soups to add to my woeful repertoire as cook.

It's good to know that soups packed with the golden glow of summer produce increase your consumption of veg. And it’s one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity. There seems to be a positive correlation between eating vegetables and a reduced risk of cancer of the stomach, oesophagus and lungs. Raw vegetables like carrot sticks are especially powerful in this regard, as are onions, garlic, leeks and chives, green vegetables and cruciferous veg.

Needless to say vegetables are low GI. (ps Hope you like the soup! )

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