I always think if you cook once, you should feed twice. If you’re going to make a big chicken and vegetable soup for lunch on Monday, you stick it in the refrigerator and it’s also for Wednesday’s dinner. (Curtis Stone)
This week I decided to spend as little as possible on my weekly shop. I made an effort to use up what I could from my food cupboard/ refrigerator and create recipes using these ingredients. These cost-effective concoctions can still taste great, as well as being good for your health and your purse!
One recipe I often use towards the end of a week, is what I like to call my “soup of the week”. It is rustled up using a medley of any leftover vegetables I have in the fridge or freezer. I fry the chopped vegetables in some butter, pour in boiling water as well as any herbs I feel may go with the soup, add a stock pot, blend….et voila! I have been very fortunate with this dish as I can’t remember a time it hasn’t worked, no matter what the ingredients. This week was no exception.
Soup of the Week (serves 2-4 or maybe more, depending on how much vegetables you have left!)
Soup of the Week
2 celery sticks
2 large leeks
1/2 bag of kale
1 clove of garlic
1 chicken Knorr stock pot (vegetable stock also would work)
coriander and parsley (if fresh add 1 tbsp. of each or if dried add 1tsp. of each)
1 tbsp. butter
chives for decoration
salt and pepper to taste
- Finely chop the onion, garlic and celery into small pieces Chop the leek into small pieces and wash in a colander with the kale.
- Peel and chop the apple into small pieces.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat.
- Once melted add all the vegetables (including the apple and garlic) and stir.
- Place the lid onto the saucepan and sweat down the vegetables for 10/15 minutes.
- Pour some boiling water over the vegetables so it just covers them.
- Add the stock pot and the herbs and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- You can eat the soup as it is or you can blend to make a smooth consistency. You may need to add more boiling water at this point.
- To decorate I snip a couple of chives and add to the top of the soup.
- Blending can sometimes change the taste of the soup and therefore you may choose to leave it just as it is.
- I often add a can of washed and drained chickpeas to the soup for protein.
- As yet, I haven’t found a vegetable or salad ingredient that doesn’t work in this soup, including lettuce and cucumber, which taste great and add a distinctive, fresh flavour. Plus, I always seem to have these leftover!
- Sometimes your soup may not need any stock, especially if it’s packed with veg (or if you use herbs)- so try it first before you add any in.
- I always have fresh herbs in my kitchen for my cooking- I keep them in the freezer and they are just as fresh and delicious when I come to use them.
- Lastly, if you end up making more than is needed, the soup can be frozen to use at a later date.
The best things in life are meant to be shared (Lucille and William, Brooklyn)
Gluten Free Mini Pizzas
Have you ever had to rustle up a last-minute buffet and wondered what to make? Then try my Gluten Free mini pizzas! They are ideal as a snack at work or for a quick lunch, if you are travelling in the car.
I like to make these pizzas for Christmas day and have them as a treat in the interim between Breakfast and Christmas Day lunch, which let’s face it, always takes much longer than we think to prepare….! The great thing about this dish is that you can make them in advance; you just need to re-heat in the oven and dish up to your hungry guests!
Gluten free mini pizzas ( makes 30)
For the pizza bases
225 grams gluten free brown bread flour (I use Dove’s Farm but there are alternatives)
1/4 tsp. salt
1tsp. Quick yeast (I use Dove’s Farm)
1 tbsp. sugar
175 ml warm milk
1/2 tsp. vinegar
3 tbsp. oil
For the tomato sauce
2 tins of plum tomatoes, blended
1/2 red onion chopped small
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying
For the toppings (ensure you check labelling for gluten free products)
250 grams of Mozzarella, grated.
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
Or any other topping of choice.
You will also need a round cookie cutter (8 cm diameter)
- Start by making the bases.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
- In a saucepan, on a low heat, warm up the milk and then add the vinegar and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
Add the milk mixture into the flour and mix well to form a sticky dough.
- Start adding the oil 1 tbsp. at a time and mix with each addition. After you have added all the oil, roll it into a ball.
- Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with Clingfilm or a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.
- Whilst the dough is rising you can prepare the tomato sauce
- Add some oil into a large frying pan
- on a medium heat, fry the chopped onion and garlic in a little oil.
- Using a hand blender, blend the tinned tomatoes and add to the onion and garlic. I blend my tomatoes one tin at a time in a measuring jug. If you don’t have a hand blender, you can use passata instead, which is basically the same thing.
- Add the basil, salt and pepper and stir.
- Turn the heat up on the pan until the mixture starts bubbling and then turn down to simmer and reduce until you have a thick mixture. Last time I made this mixture, it took about 30 minutes to reduce.
- Once reduced, leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/400F
- Once the dough has risen, take a large handful of dough and roll it out as thin as possible onto a floured work surface. Make sure you keep turning your dough as you roll so it doesn’t stick to the work surface.
If the mixture is too sticky, just add some more gluten free flour. This works for me.
- Take the cookie cutter and cut out 6 pizza bases. The large handful of dough should make at least 6. I can only fit 6 bases on my baking tray so this works out perfectly for me.
- Place the round bases on a baking tray.
- Spread a teaspoonful of tomato sauce on each base and the add the pepperoni and peppers to your pizza.
- Finally sprinkle some of the grated mozzarella on each pizza and place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Repeat the steps until you have made 30 pizzas. You may be able to cook more pizzas in your oven at one time but I can’t fit more than six in mine.
- Take out of the oven and enjoy.
- Try with any other toppings of choice.
- The pizzas taste good straight from the oven or as a cold snack during the day.
- If you are going gluten-free, ensure you check labels for the logo!
I hope you give this recipe a try and of course, if you do not need to go gluten-free you can also use normal bread flour. However, I would actually go as far to say that it is easier to make gluten-free bread as you do not need to knead your dough as with the flour based recipe and in my opinion, you can’t even tell the difference