I love beetroot! I love the sweet, earthy taste of roasted beetroot and the fantastic rich carmine pink colour that it brings to every dish in which it is included. The flavour is autumn on a plate and the colour cheers me up as days are getting cooler and I know winter is on its way.
My vegan Beetroot Soup includes the gentle heat and lemony flavour of fresh ginger and the creamy richness of coconut to enhance the earthy, root-vegetable deliciousness. Although the ingredients are simple, and it is a really easy soup to make, it does taste quite subtle and sophisticated. It is great for a simple autumn lunch or supper but is not out of place as a starter at a dinner party.
This soup freezes very well so you can make a batch and keep it for when you need a quick beetroot fix!
This autumnal vegan soup combines the earthy sweetness of beetroot with the gentle heat of fresh ginger and the the creaminess of creamed coconut.
6 small beetroot (around 350 g in total)
25 g butter and 1 teaspoon oil (or 2 tsp if vegan)
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 cm of fresh ginger
500 ml water
Half teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
50 g of creamed coconut
Set your oven to 200 C/Gas Mark 6. Wash your beetroot and loosely wrap each one in kitchen foil. Place the wrapped beetroot on an oven tray. Roast the beetroot in the oven for around 40 minutes until soft. Remove the beetroot from the oven and allow to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins using a sharp knife. Roughly chop the peeled beetroot.
Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan
Peel and chop the onion, add it to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
Cook very gently for around 30 minutes until the onion is soft and sweet. Slow cooking caramelises the natural sugars in the onion and greatly improves the flavour of the soup.
When the onion is cooked, add the chopped beetroot together with the peeled and crushed garlic cloves. Peel the fresh ginger and finely grate it into the pan.
Add the water and vegetable bouillon power to the pan. Gently cook the soup for 5 minutes.
Add the coconut cream to the soup.
Blend the soup until it is smooth using a food processor or hand-held blender.
This vegan Butternut Squash Soup recipe makes a fantastic autumn lunch or simple supper. The squash is cooked slowly to bring out its natural sweetness. This is then balanced by the addition of warming chilli flakes and creamy peanut butter. This soup is based on the River Cottage Butternut and Nut Butter soup but I leave out the ginger and lime in my version as I often don’t have these to hand and I think the soup tastes fine without them!
Whether you are vegan or not, it is a great soup when days are getting colder and you want something sustaining, warming and nutritious. If you are looking to introduce non-vegans to vegan food, serve them this soup and see if they appreciate just how tasty plant-based food can be!
My vegan Butternut Squash Soup also freezes very well so you can make a batch and keep it in the freezer for when you need a quick lunch or supper. It is is also good as an addition to autumn and winter packed lunches. My children have insulated thermos flasks which mean that I can include soup in their lunch boxes and this Butternut Squash Soup is always a popular choice at this time of year.
This Summer Pudding recipe is an English classic. Like many old-fashioned English recipes, it was developed to make use of stale bread in times when there was an imperative not to waste food and products had a shorter shelf-life due to lack of preservatives. In the winter, Bread and Butter Pudding, was a popular way to use up bread that was past its best and in July and August, when berries were in season, Summer Pudding was the answer!
Slices of bread, dipped in berry-flavoured syrup, are used to encase a mixture of summer berries. One of the great things about this Summer Pudding recipe is that it can be adapted to the ingredients that you have available. You can use any berries that are in season but make sure that you include some currants – either redcurrants or blackcurrants – as they are needed to produce the flavourful syrup.
An easy to make, no-cook, traditional English bread pudding recipe using fresh seasonal berries.
1 kilo mixed fresh berries (NB: the mix should include some currants but otherwise use whatever you have available from: redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, loganberries, tayberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries etc)
2 tablespoons water
170 g caster sugar
6 slices of white bread (crusts removed)
Place the currants in a saucepan together with the water and sugar. Heat until the currants have softened. This will take about 5 minutes.
Add the other berries to the saucepan with the currants and stir to combine.
Use a sieve to separate the berries from the juice.
Take a sheet of cling film and use it to line the inside of a small pudding basin. This will make it easier to get the pudding out of the basin!
Dip the slices of bread in the juice and use it to line the bottom and sides of the small pudding basin. You can fill in any gaps with small pieces of juice-dipped bread.
Pour the berries into the bread-lined pudding basin.
Cover the top of the basin with juice-dipped bread to enclose the berry mixture.
Put a piece of cling film loosely over the top of the pudding basin. Put a small saucer on top of it and use something heavy (a can of beans is perfect!) to weigh it down.
Leave the pudding basin in the fridge overnight.
When you are ready to serve, remove the cling film from the top of the pudding basin. Invert the basin onto a plate. Give it a sharp shake and remove the basin leaving the pudding on the plate. Take off the cling film that you used to line the basin.
Serve chilled. Whipped cream is a good accompaniment.
Use whatever berries are available but make sure you include some redcurrants or blackcurrants as you need these to make the flavoured syrup.
You need to make this recipe a day in advance of when you wish to eat it as it needs to be kept in the fridge overnight to ensure that it stays in shape when turned out.
This Fennel Soup can be made in either vegetarian or vegan variations. The aniseed flavour of the fennel is mellowed by slow cooking and this gives the finished soup a sophisticated taste which belies the simplicity of the ingredients. This means that, although it is really easy to make, this soup would not be out of place as a starter at a dinner party, particularly if you include the additions of cream, Pernod and decorate it with chopped dill or herb fennel.
When I first started cooking for myself, around twenty years ago, I loved to experiment with complicated recipes that included lots of different ingredients. However, over the years, my recipes have generally become simpler. Now I like to focus on one main ingredient and cook it in a way that brings out its particular unique flavour. This Fennel Soup recipe is a really good example of this approach. It is all about the taste of the fennel and how it can be transformed by slow cooking into something really special.
Not everyone likes aniseed. Actually, I am not that keen on aniseed! I do not eat aniseed flavoured sweets and actively dislike Pernod as a drink option. However, I love fennel, particularly when it has been slow cooked, as the aniseed taste is transformed into something special. And the addition of Pernod to the soup gives a aniseed boost without being overpowering.
This is a really easy recipe that showcases the fantastic flavour of fennel. Slow cooking the fennel mellows its aniseed flavour and produces a sophisticated soup that is at home as a dinner party starter as well as an informal lunch.
25 g butter or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 fennel bulbs
Salt and pepper
1 large potato
500 ml water
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder or a vegetable stockcube
Milk or water as required to thin the soup
1 tablespoon Pernod (optional)
1 tablespoon double cream (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh dill or herb fennel (optional)
Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan
Roughly chop the fennel bulbs and the onion and add to the saucepan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and fry them very gently for around 15 minutes until they are soft and sweet.
Peel and chop the potato and add to the pan with the fennel and onion.
Add 500 ml of water and a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the soup until smoothe in a food processor or with a hand-held blender.
Add milk or water – or a combination – to thin the soup to the desired consistency. You will need around 500 ml depending on how thick you want your soup.
If you wish, you can add Pernod and cream to the soup before serving and decorate the surface of each bowl with chopped dill or herb fennel.
This recipe can be either vegetarian or vegan. If you wish to make a vegan version, use oil to cook the vegetables, water to thin the soup and omit the double cream (or use a non-dairy alternative).