Freekeh and Greens Soup

freekeh-and-cabbage-soupI hope you don’t mind this simple little soup popping into your inbox or feed. I realise that other food bloggers are posting elaborate year-end round ups of their best recipes, and laying out plans for improving blog and blogger. I wish I had got around to the former, to be honest. I will however be making some changes here on food to glow (and probably on myself too). But like most things with me – to paraphrase Loyd Grossman – they have to be deliberated, cogitated and finally digested before coming to fruition. Watch this space. But not too closely: you may be waiting awhile. Continue reading

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So-Easy Beetroot Soup with Wasabi and Lime + Spicy, Fruity Pickled Beetroot

beetroot-soup-imageAfter the excesses of last week’s ingredient-fest that is gado-gado, we are down to earth. Quite literally. You can’t more down to earth than beetroot, can you?  Continue reading

“Creamy” Zucchini, Walnut and Thyme Soup

zucchini and walnut thyme soupLet’s face it: size does matter. Okay. I should clarify: size matters if you are a zucchini.

Those summer squashes (zucchini/courgettes) that throughout the lazy summer months  were tender and thin-skinned enough for anointing with cream in delicate gratins, and ribboning raw into salads? Well, they are now lumpen beasts; their mass, weight and tough facade seemingly only useful as weapons. Perhaps light-sabres, perhaps clubs, perhaps bricks – variety depending.

And it seems to happen overnight. As any gardener will tell you, nearly all varieties in the Curcubita pepo family will bulk from 99 gram weakling into the Incredible Hulk with very little encouragement. But late summer squashes – big and lumbering though they are – come to make soup, not war.zucchini and walnut thyme soup
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‘Creamy’ Broccoli-Basil Soup with Crisp Wonton Twists

broccoli basil soupJanuary 2014 Update: If you are here by way of Morrison’s magazine, thanks so much for stopping by Food to Glow, and you are very welcome. This is an older post so please feel free to look around or click on the Home button (above) and find out what’s new around here. PS the recipe is further down. Please do scroll past the preamble if you are in a hurry. I’ll never know…

By all rights we should be getting well and truly tired of sups. In fact, I have a good friend who swears off the stuff after St Patrick’s Day, opting for salads and wraps even if the mercury is mired in single digits and sleety rain. But I’m not quite ready to abandon my comfort blanket of warmed and blended vegetables, pulses and herbs just yet. How about you?

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Love Your Greens Soup – fat-free and vegan

love your greens soupSome folk are just too cool for words. Although not seeming to actively pursue perfection – that would be incredibly UNcool, their every move thrums with beta-test brilliance. Pile of pre-Man Booker/Pulitzer prize short-listers: check . Tickets to the next big thing in live music: check. The predicted must-paint colour: check (emerald green, apparently). All of this effortless, osmosified, probably genetic.

I was never that girl. And truthfully it doesn’t bother me. I’ve always, unfathomably, been comfortable in my own skin. Still am. I blame my parents :D But I secretly hate to be left sitting on the curb when it comes to food and food trends. Just not for the reasons you may think. Continue reading

(Leftover Roast) Potato and Ham Soup with Dijon

roast potato & ham soup
You may be reading this while tucking into a sumptuous feast of cold leftover turkey, ham, goose or turducken sandwiches, and sides of cold roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts, etc. We love Boxing Day leftovers in our house – my favourite is leftover cornbread dressing, which this year I spiked with black pudding for a Scottish twist on a Southern US staple.

But this year I saved back some roast potatoes and ham to make this unbelievably easy soup. It’s no looker, at least the way I present it, which is just as I have made it, ready for serving to my family who of course don’t want to wait while I faff with styling and garnishes. The secret, I think, is the Dijon mustard, a healthy dollop of which balances the flavour of the sweet leeks and ham, and adds an extra piquancy that is often lacking in leftovers. I won’t natter on about it as I want to get back to watching rubbish telly and planning my attack on the after-Christmas sales. I am sharpening my already-pointy elbows in anticipation of the latter. Edinburgh shoppers, you have been warned.roast potatoesroast potato & ham soup

(Leftover Roast) Potato and Ham Soup with Dijon

A quick and dirty soup using Christmas leftovers, and a little bit of store cupboard nous. A little less quick and dirty version would be to boil up freshly peeled potatoes and fry off some pancetta, but there is something satisfying – and let’s face it, smug – about transforming leftovers into something so quick and different. You could also add in some chopped cooked Brussels sprouts for another flavour dimension. Any vegetarians who have not been deterred by the title, this is just as good without ham.
3 fat leeks, trimmed and most of the green removed, white chopped
2 tsp rapeseed oil
125g (or more) leftover roast ham (or turkey or pancetta), cut up
400g leftover roast potatoes, chopped a bit (or peeled and sliced raw potatoes)
700 ml hot vegetable stock
200 ml milk (optional, but increase the stock a bit if leaving out)
2 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the rapeseed oil in a soup pot over a low-medium flame and add the chopped leeks. Let these gently sauté before adding the chopped ham, turkey or pancetta. If using the pancetta, let this cook all the way. Add in the potatoes (roasted or raw) and stock, bringing to the boil before turning down to a fast simmer. Let this cook with the lid on for 15 minutes then pour in the milk and add the Dijon. Let this heat through before taking off the heat and blitzing with a hand blenderstick, leaving a few chunky bits for texture. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.
Makes four good-sized bowls. Easily doubled.

Sweetly Savoury Borscht (vegan beetroot soup)

Recipes, like birds, know no borders. 

Beetroot. Beta vulgaris. Hmm. And borscht. Are you picturing what I am picturing? A weathered babushka – with a babushka – ladling steaming red soup into a tin bowl?

I have that image from actual memory. Not a Grimm’s fairy tale story read to me by my mother on a howling night, but a real live babushka: brown walnut face shyly smiling as she proudly served her national soup to me, a dangerous visitor from the land of Ronald Reagan and Mickey Mouse.  Continue reading

Courgette, Pea and Pesto Soup

After promising from the little box on the right-hand side that I would post this recipe, at last it is here. Just in the nick of time, before the British seasonal courgettes are finished. I know you haven’t been waiting with bated breath, but I can’t believe I have waited so long to post this fabby soup.

I love soup (as any right-minded person would) and this one is one of my most favourite, and easiest to make. Because it is so quick and simple it often features at my summer Maggie’s Centre nutrition workshops, where everyone seems to really enjoy it and want to make it at home. Energy and tastebuds certainly take a hit during cancer treatment so it’s great to have a bung it all together kind of recipe that tastes great, is nutritious and freezes well for another day. I am always immensely pleased when anyone says that they enjoyed their lunch at Maggie’s, but especially so by those whose appetite and taste are affected by treatment. I will be putting more of my easy, Maggie’s Centre-tried and tested recipes up for you and your family to try. In the meantime I really hope you go for this one. If you like Italian tastes but want something ultra-light, creamy-tasting but still filling, this might just do. Continue reading

Late-Summer Salad and Triple Tomato Soup

This morning I realised we are experiencing an inexorable slide to ‘porridge weather’. All summer I have been vacillating between starting the day with berries and yogurt, poached egg with asparagus, and a breakfast bruschetta of chopped cherry tomatoes, olive oil & basil on sourdough. All very delicious and light. But this morning – without any thought behind it – I reached into the cupboard and pulled out a forlorn packet of Scottish porridge oats. Using a half and half mixture of soya milk and water, I simmered this companionable pairing before adding dried goji berries and a grating of apple. And it was heavenly. If that doesn’t say ‘autumn’ I’m not sure what does.

But it wasn’t just the instinctively pre-hibernation breakfast that signaled summer’s end. Although it doesn’t yet feel too chilly, the other omens are abundantly clear: more than the odd brown leaf on the lawn, mystery mushrooms colonising under the oak tree, a lower, moodier sky. But my most accurate harbinger is the two extra bodies on the bed. Today Mr A and I awoke to find our cats nestled and immovable among the folds of the the duvet.

Over the years we have realised that as soon as Max and Mimi pad up from the cool and serene downstairs to warm and cosy upstairs, summer is well and truly behind us. So, barring a freak heat wave (highly unlikely) it won’t be long until we fire up the central heating and start moaning about the cost of it.  Until then it is an extra layer and the comfort of cat-warmed feet. Continue reading

A Non-Purist’s Gazpacho

Pittenweem, the picture-postcard fishing village where we are staying the weekend, is gearing up for its week in the British cultural spotlight hosting the Pittenweem Arts Festival (6-14 August). This dinky village, so tiny that it doesn’t have a cash machine, or even the ubiquitous Tesco Metro, hosts one of the best, most accessible art shows to be found anywhere. By accessible I mean that the art displayed is wide-ranging enough to please the culture-vultures (my in-laws) and Philistines (that will be me) alike. Gorgeous, colour-soaked abstract canvases jostle with simple pen and ink studies, blowsy floral whimsies and beautiful sea-inspired tapestries in this most egalitarian of art festivals.

The Westshore, Pittenweem

Although Pittenweem boosts an unusually high number of galleries for such a bijou place, the ever-increasing number of artists who exhibit over the week means that the ground floors and gardens of many houses are co-opted and hung with paintings, dotted with sculptures and draped with textiles and decorative baubles. The village is always eye-achingly gorgeous, especially the Shore area, with its pastel tied fishermen’s cottages, tumbling gardens and step-gabled roofs, but it really comes alive in August. If you are anywhere near the east coast of Scotland come and have a browse around this uniquely homey art festival.

Even if nothing catches your eye art-wise there are always the home-baking stalls spilling out onto the pavement to tempt you. And the Cocoa Tree, where I use coffee-purchased wi-fi for the occasional blog post, has dangerously addictive chilli cocoa to sup while enjoying homemade crepes and other goodies. Great chocolate shop too. The fish and chip shop a few doors down is also a good find. Anstruther, the next village up, has a famous fish and chip shop (it boasts photos of celebs noshing with the plebes from cardboard trays). But Pittenweem Fish Bar is just as good at two-thirds of the price, with efficient staff to keep everyone in their place as they queue down the street for their portions of crisp-golden fish.  And no cardboard tray-plates, just good old paper to unwrap while sitting on the harbour wall watching the fishing boats go out for the night.

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