OK, I confess, I had a three day weekend (thanks May for the endless Bank Holidays) and remembering to blog sort of fell by the wayside, to be replaced by catching up with my boyfriend, our extensive list of programmes and films, sleep and even a cheeky visit to the theatre.
(Incidentally if you’re in Glasgow with an evening to spare and a hankering for some culture, I can’t recommend The Libertine at the Citizens Theatre highly enough… but maybe don’t take your nan).
However, after Saturday, one side note is that I’ve noticed that my tolerance for alcohol has gone way down. Not saying I could hold it especially well before, but I feel like it’s taking me even less to hit harder. Which, coupled with my new found distaste for smoking, can only be a good thing. I suppose. Begrudgingly.
One thing I didn’t let slip was actual cooking. I’ve been looking up loads of recipes and bought a couple of beginner’s guides and cookery books to help me get started. I discovered that, with a few alterations, many of them weren’t too different to what I’d made before.
Picture source: amazon.com
My biggest problem with recipes is that I tend not to follow them. I’ll stick to them for the most part- particularly with baking which is so much easier to go wrong. When it comes to soups, stews, pasta dishes and giant pots of things, I tend to just chuck everything in and add enough spice that I can’t feel my own face.
I found this great wee article about vegan lunches, and decided to start with the most basic of basics: soup. I eat alot of soup. I’m fairly sure if I gave blood, I’d just be donating a pint of lentils. What’s not to love? As long as you choose wisely it’s an easy way to be super healthy and not feel too full. I used to make it all the time when I lived on my own and was short on cash. I’d bulk-buy veggies, make a pot and freeze it in individual batches. That was a while ago, and I decided it was time to try again. The boy and I made some pretty spectacular pumpkin soup last Halloween. In lieu of pumpkin, I went for the next best thing and adapted this recipe for butternut squash soup.
This is a slow cooker recipe, which is fine if you’re making it before you go out of a morning. I wasn’t: I was hungry and I was hungry NOW. However, I wasn’t hungry for celery (yuck) or nutmeg (which we didn’t have to hand). I’d also bought some sweet potato for a different recipe, that we didn’t have time to make. Waste not, want not: in place of celery I bunged in some sweet potato to balance out the spices too.
As well as posting the original recipe, here’s my adaptation… and remember, I like things spicy and I tend not to follow conventional cooking methods. Like measuring. Any spices listed below weren’t measured using a teaspoon, I just gave the pot a liberal shaking.
Spicy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Picture source: fitsugar.com
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
3-4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sweet peppers, chopped and deseeded
2 cups of red lentils
1.5 litres of vegetable stock or boullion
2 tsps Very Lazy Smoked Garlic
A healthy glug of oil (I used chili rapeseed oil)
Spices including turmeric, onion salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and coriander
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion, sautee until soft and stir in the garlic. Sautee for a couple extra minutes.
- Add the butternut squash, carrots and sweet potato, give them a good stir along with the onions and garlic and add a wee bit more oil if need be.
- Add the peppers, shake in your spices and add your stock.
- Pour in the lentils, give the whole thing a stir.
- Stick a lid on it and leave it to simmer until the vegetables are soft, checking and adding more stock or water if you need it.
I accidentally added a little too much water, but there are ways of compensating for this: I quickly microwaved some frozen diced turnip and stirred this in with the blended final product. I also added some crumbled up Ryvita crackers (I tried it to replace bread with soup a while ago and never looked back).
Initially I was a bit hesitant about posting a recipe, especially as I have such a lax attitude towards following. In the end I figured it was a good way of tracking my progress- in terms of how much more preparation and thought I put into cooking. I also thought it’d be a good way of showing how you can take a recipe, adapt it and still get tasty results. As long as you don’t include celery.
I’m also always on the lookout for more adaptations and recipes, so if there are any other suggestions I’d love to hear them!