soups

tomato soup by Yasmin

8th November 2019

After being away from the garden for one month, I wasn’t sure what I would find on my return. Everything green was munched down by caterpillars, however, to my surprise, there were lots of cherry tomatoes hanging off dried skeleton branches and small but healthy bell peppers. I collected them all and made this comforting, nostalgic soup. Their flavour was enhanced by a month of neglect.

My daughter has been making her own version of this soup, it’s so simple and creamy, served with a big spoon of barley.  The added coconut cream takes the edge off the acidity and softens the soup.

tomato soup by Yasmin

Preparation – 35 mins

Serves 2

ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil

½ large fennel/2 sticks celery(70g), roughly chopped

½ bell pepper, roughly chopped

few sprigs thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

400g cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ cup water

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ – ½ cup coconut cream

to serve

barley

ghee/olive oil

preparation

1.   In a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil, fennel, bell pepper, thyme and bay leaf – fry for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.   Add in the whole cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, stir to combine, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

3.   Add in the water, salt, jaggery and coconut cream, stir to combine.

4.  Remove the sprigs of thyme and bay leaf, then puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.  Garnish each with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves, a few rounds of pepper, and drizzle with coconut cream.

Donna’s simple mid-week soup

28th October 2019

Whenever my sister comes to visit or we meet up in Australia, I always request one of her soups. She is the queen of soup making! This was a soup she made recently when staying with us here in Portugal. A very simple, quick, no-fuss soup.

~Autumn~

Donna’s simple mid-week soup

Preparation 40 minutes

Serves 3 

ingredients

1 Tbsp ghee

2 fresh bay leaves

1 x 10cm rosemary sprig, leaves stripped

2 pinches asafoetida powder

2 stalks/300g celery, roughly chopped

1 tsp fine Himalayan rock salt

1 medium/150g potato, diced

1 medium/250g sweet potato, diced

¼ cup/50g brown basmati rice, rinsed

6 cups water

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

to serve

ghee

grated parmesan or pine nut parmesan

preparation

1.  In a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, heat ghee, add rosemary leaves, bay leaves and asafoetida and fry till fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.

2.  Add celery and salt, fry for 2 minutes, occasionally stirring.

3.  Reduce heat to medium and add potatoes. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking. Add rice and fry for a further minute.

4.  Add water, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

5.  Remove bay leaves. Using a hand blender, puree to desired consistency.

6.  Add pepper and extra salt to taste. Serve with a spoonful of ghee and grated parmesan.

variation 

To save time, saute all vegetables together.

easy vegetable soup

30th October 2017

This is a quick, simple, useful soup which doesn’t tie you to specific ingredients, allowing to substitute what is available in your fridge or garden. Being the start of Autumn, I am enjoying digging up crisp potatoes, picking the last of the beans and podding those over-matured borlotti beans, which I somehow missed harvesting.

Late afternoon walk ~ Sintra mountains

easy vegetable soup

Serves 4

The whole ground peppercorns give the soup a soft kick; the cumin & coriander seeds add earthiness, and the lemon brings all the flavours together. The vegetables listed are those that work best for me. It can be made with any seasonal vegetables – sweet peas or green beans, sweet potato instead of potato, fennel instead of celery.  I like to serve it with guacamole and freshly baked challah bread.

It is important to toast and grind your own spices to bring out their flavour, enhancing this soup.

ingredients

3 Tbsp ghee/oil

2 stalks/150g celery

¼ cup/45g pearl barley/red rice

1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped

1 fresh bay leaf

8 cups water

1 large/130g potato

2 medium/140g carrots

1 cup/70g chopped cabbage

½ cup/60g freshly shelled borlotti beans/green beans

1 cup/120g spaghetti squash/pumpkin

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp coriander seeds

¼ heaped tsp whole peppercorns

1½ heaped tsp rock salt

 heaped tsp sugar/jaggery

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ cup fresh coriander or kale

preparation

1.  Finely slice celery stalks and set aside. Peel and finely chop the potato and carrots into small cubes, along with the remaining vegetables.

2.  In a medium pot over high heat, drizzle in the oil/ghee and sauté the celery until tender. Add barley, ginger and bay leaf – sauté until coated in oil, then add water and remaining vegetables.  Rapidly simmer, uncovered for 45min – 1 hour.

3.  Place the whole peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds into a small pan and dry-roast over medium heat until fragrant. Allow to cool, then roughly grind in a mortar and pestle, add to the soup along with the salt and sugar.

4.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, or longer for the flavours to develop. Taste, adding more sweetness or salt.  Sprinkle in a generous handful of finely chopped coriander or kale. Serve with a drizzling of ghee and more fresh coriander.  If trying to avoid bread, it is lovely served with a spoonful of rice.

Goodness shared by Stacey

spring miso with lemon

31st May 2016

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I am out in the garden every day now, finding any excuse to be there.  The fresh air, to experience the spring in its full glory.  It can still be cold and unpredictable but we are now blessed with warm weather days that lift us up and put a spring in our step.

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precious evening twilight & a walk in the garden

I had written this at the start of spring last year but it got put to the side by other inspiring dishes. A lovely light cleansing soup. You can vary this recipe using whatever vegetables you like. In summer, I add a whole cob of corn, cut into fours, with thinly shaved garden zucchinis. For a more substantial meal, add a small amount of cooked noodles when adding the blanched vegetables. It is important not to boil the miso, the rich enzymes and nutrients due to the fermentation, will be lost.

spring miso with lemon

I have been slowly working my way through Amy Chaplin’s – At Home in the Wholefood Kitchen. This recipe is another from her book – ever so slightly adapted.

If you want to make this soup ahead of time, leave out the miso and keep the blanched vegetables and dashi separate.  Reheat together; then add miso, lemon zest and juice.

Serves 4

dashi

6 cups water

4-inch piece kombu

2 large slices fresh ginger

soup

8 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut diagonally

1 cup tiny broccoli florets/sugar snap peas, strings removed and chopped in half lengthwise

1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds

2 small radishes, thinly sliced

6 – 8 Tbsp sweet white miso

zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

handful of baby kale/spinach leaves

make the dashi

1.  In a medium pot place the kombu, ginger, and filtered water bring up to boil over high heat.  Cover pot, reduce heat to a low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove kombu and ginger using a slotted spoon.

make the soup

2.  Bring the dashi up to a simmer over high heat, add the asparagus, broccoli/sugar snap peas, carrots, and cook for 30 seconds.

3.  Add the radish rounds and cook for another 30 seconds, reduce heat to low, then remove all the vegetables using a slotted spoon.  Set aside to cool.

4.  In a small bowl mix the miso to a paste using a little of the soup and pour through a small strainer into the soup.  Taste, add more miso or a small spoon of salt if necessary.

5.  Add the blanched vegetables and small kale/spinach leaves, warm over a gentle heat for a minute or until the leaves are wilted.

6.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice. (Adding a pungent flavour such as ginger or lemon to miso soup just before serving will activate the enzyme, making them more beneficial).

Serve immediately.

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a simple spring asparagus soup

10th April 2016

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This spring asparagus soup was created for the Holmes Place magazine for an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ throughout the year.

Asparagus spears make a deeply fresh, light, vibrant green, cleansing soup that tastes like Spring. It has a sweet bitter and mildly pungent flavour. The lemon supports a gentle cleanse, the dill stimulates the digestive juices helping in the bowel’s movement, while the asparagus promotes circulation to the kidneys and providing a good dose of vitamins, especially vitamin K.  The addition of avocado gives this soup a creamy, rich texture, and a healthy serving of good fats, aiding in the absorption of nutrients.  A drizzling of ghee when serving provides a grounding sattvic quality.

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Asparagus has a short season, and it is worth buying the thinner spears rather than the ‘jumbo’ spears whose flavour tends to be disappointingly bland.  When buying asparagus, take a careful look at the cut ends to make sure they are not dried out.  Avoid cooking in aluminium pans as they can taint the flavour. Once harvested, this vegetable loses it sweetness quickly.  So buy locally, as the produce shipped from overseas is disappointing.

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simple spring asparagus soup

Once the weather warms up, this soup can be served chilled.  Season to taste after it’s completely cool.

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients

500 grams/2 bunches asparagus spears

1 medium fennel bulb

2 Tbsp olive oil/ghee

1 avocado

½ cup fresh dill, chopped 

1 Tbsp lemon juice

zest from half a lemon, plus more for garnishing

2 cups boiling water

1 tsp rock salt, more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

preparation

1.  Wash the asparagus, break off and discard the woody ends from the base of the stalks – chop into 1-inch pieces. Remove the tougher outer layer of the fennel, then chop into small pieces.

2.  In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil or ghee, add the chopped fennel and sauté for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in the asparagus and sauté until the asparagus is tender.

4.  Turn off the heat, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender with the avocado, dill, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and boiling water – puree until completely smooth, creamy and velvety.

5.  Taste and season with more salt, pepper or lemon, as needed.

Serve immediately, garnished with thin slices of avocado, lemon zest, extra dill, a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and drizzle with melted ghee.

If not serving immediately, reheat when needed over a low flame.

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carrot moong dal soup – a winter warming soup

6th December 2015

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I thought I would re-visit this soup, as it is one I make most often in the colder months and a particular favourite of Donna’s.  It is also very quick and easy to prepare and has such simple flavours and warmth due to the pepper and ginger, keeping us nourished and grounded in these colder months.  Dry roasting and roughly grinding your own spices make all the difference to bring out the flavours, don’t be tempted to skip this process.

Out of all the pulses, moong dal (green gram) is one I use most often; as it has a calming, cooling and balancing effect on all dosha’s.  It is also very cleansing and medicinal.  The tomatoes can easily be omitted if desired; as the lemon juice adds the acidity that this soup requires.

A few memorable images from our recent retreat in India.

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– Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram

– Banyan Tree, Firefly Resort

– Illuminating cloudscape

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carrot moong dal soup

The original recipe is from Yamuna Devi’s, The Vegetable Table.  It is a little worn and splotched on most pages from over-enthusiastic use.  A great book to start with when wanting to cook good, wholesome Indian meals without the addition of onion or garlic.  There is also a sense of devotional cooking in all the recipes which I really like.

This is my version of her soup with a few changes.  The original recipe uses split moong dal (yellow) which results in a lighter soup. I particularly prefer using the whole moong for a heartier Winter soup.

Serves 4

ingredients 

1 cup whole moong dal

8 cups water

4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

3 whole cardamom pods (peeled and seeds crushed)

1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

1 small plum tomato, finely chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

voggarane

1 – 2 Tbsp ghee

 tsp asafoetida powder

1 dried chilli, torn in half

6 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

preparation

1.  In a medium pot, wash the dal until it runs clear, drain, refill with water, add the carrots, ginger, and cardamom pods and bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer, partly cover and cook until the dal is soft – 30 – 40 minutes.

2.  In a small pan over moderate heat, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until golden and deeply fragrant, allow to cool, then place in a mortar and pestle, and grind into a rough powder.

3.  Add to the dal with the tomatoes, coriander, lemon juice, salt and pepper – turn off the heat.

prepare the voggarane

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee, asafoetida powder and chilli – fry for a few seconds, then add the curry leaves and turmeric powder, fry for a few more seconds, remove from heat and pour into the soup.  

5. Taste, adding more salt or lemon if needed.  I find the lemon juice and freshly ground pepper bring this soup together, so you may want to add more.  Drizzle with a spoon of melted ghee when serving.

This soup is great served with your favourite bread toasted and a bowl of guacamole or if trying to avoid bread make a pot of red rice or quinoa and serve a spoon in each bowl of soup.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

green gram tovve (split moong dal)

9th July 2015

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precious evening twilight

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“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, bears your signature.”

~Thich Nhat Hahn~
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soothing split moong dal

Serves 4 

Inspired by our teacher, Ganapati Aarya

I have been making this a lot lately, sometimes as a soup or other times with rice and a simple palya. Drizzled with ghee, it is a complete soothing, easy to digest and cleansing meal. Brings strength, balance along with calmness and quietness to the body and mind. Helpful to the elderly and due to its lightness can be used during a period of sickness. Supports the yogic practice.

I like to add thinly sliced cabbage or chuchu and grated carrot just towards the end of cooking. If using whole moong dal instead of the split decrease the amount of dal to ½ cup and proceed with the recipe.

ingredients 

½ cup/100g moong dal split (split yellow lentils)

4 cups/1-litre water

1 tsp rock salt 

1½ tsp jaggery/brown sugar

¼ cup/20g dried shredded coconut

1 heaped tsp finely chopped ginger

voggarane 

1 Tbsp  ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

1 medium red chilli

10 fresh/dried curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

to serve

vegetable palya

rice

preparation 

1.  In a medium saucepan, wash dal until the water runs clear, pour in water and bring to boil, then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer until creamy and the dal has broken down – approximately 30 minutes. 

If using a pressure cooker, allow for three whistles before turning off the heat, then set aside for 20 minutes or until the pressure has subsided.

2.  While waiting for the dal to cook, chop the chilli into three pieces and tear the curry leaves in half (this way everyone is guaranteed to consume a curry leaf and benefit from their medicinal properties).

3.  Once the dal has softened, add salt, jaggery, coconut and ginger – simmer for 5 minutes more, then turn off heat, cover and set aside.

prepare the voggarane

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, heat ghee, add mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, turn down the heat and add cumin seeds, asafoetida powder, and chilli – fry until sizzling and fragrant. 

5.  Add the curry leaves and turmeric powder – fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly, then pour the voggarane into the dal.

6. Stir in the lemon juice , add coriander – stir to combine.  Check for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if needed.

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healing vegetable broth & a morning nature walk

18th January 2015

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My walks these last few mornings have been under a slow, fuzzy, fizzling, drizzle of rain, cocooned warm and safe inside my jacket and hood. Yesterday, it was particularly magical as I walked the familiar windy, cobbled stone road, in a thick blanket of fog which imparted a feeling of magic, mystery and wonder. Today my walk was different again, it cleared, less windy, still cloudy except for a small patch of blue sky above. The colours were so clean and vibrant and below my feet walked on wet leaves.

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healing vegetable broth

Inspired

A root and sea vegetable broth to boost your immune system, strengthen your kidneys and create an alkaline, mineral-rich drink to replenish your cells and to give a rest to your digestion.  I make it early morning to drink as a simple cleanse throughout the day.

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ingredients 

cup moong dal

4 sticks celery

1 medium fennel bulb and fronds

1 handful string beans

2 – 4 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 zucchini, coarsely chopped

1 small sweet potato, coarsely chopped

1 strip kombu (sea vegetable)

1-inch knob ginger, cut into slices

2-litres filter water

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch coriander

juice of half lemon

freshly ground pepper

preparation 

1.  All vegetables should be organic and as fresh as possible.  Thoroughly wash, but do not peel the vegetables.  Cut them into large chunks and place in a heavy-bottomed pot with the stick of kombu and ginger slices.

2.  Cover with filtered clean water and simmer for 2 – 4 hours.  The longer you cook the broth, the richer and more flavourful it will be.  10 minutes before turning off the heat, tie the bunches of parsley and coriander together and add to the broth.  This will impart added mineral ions.

3.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and reserve for other uses.

4.  Strain and season with salt and pepper.  Serve each bowl with a squeeze of lemon, freshly grated ginger and turmeric and enjoy the warm healing replenishment to your body.

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vegetable barley ginger soup with lemon thyme

7th December 2014

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A soup to warm your hands and to strengthen your courage…

We can do anything if we sit with intention, just holding it in our thoughts, our hearts and lifting it up with LOVE, LIGHT, JOY, PEACE and COURAGE.

There are no limits to what we can do…..try it!

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vegetable barley ginger soup with lemon thyme

Serves 4 – 6

Inspired by Noa.

If I am out of home-made vegetable stock, I add the rind end of a wedge of parmesan – it adds a savoury, salty flavour to the soup.  This recipe also called for 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced – I tend not to eat mushrooms, so I left them out. But if you like the deep earthy flavour of mushrooms, add them to the soup with the vegetables.

ingredients  

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 stalks/150g celery

3 Tbsp/30g fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 stick of kombu

1 fresh bay leaf

1 medium/300g sweet potato or pumpkin

2 medium/170g carrots

a large wedge cabbage (200g)

⅓ cup/70g whole barley

10 cups/2½ L vegetable stock or water

1 bunch/15g lemon thyme

1 bunch/30g each fresh parsley and dill

Extra parsley, dill and chard/kale

2 tsp rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

preparation 

1.  Finely chop the celery, wash and peel the remaining vegetables, then cut into generous chunks so that they do not break up in the cooking.

2.  In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the celery, ginger, turmeric, kombu and bay leaf – saute until all are coated.

3.  Add the remaining vegetables, barley and pour in the water so that the vegetables are covered.

4.  Tie up tightly the lemon thyme, parsley and dill and place on top, bring to the boil and turn down the heat  – simmer covered for 1 hour.

5.  Remove the bunch of lemon thyme, parsley and dill and discard.

6.  Add the salt and freshly ground pepper, roughly chop a handful of fresh parsley, dill and chard/kale and stir this into the soup.

7.  Using a potato masher, press down a few times to break up the vegetables – allow to sit for 5 minutes before tasting – adding extra seasoning where needed.

Serve with a drizzling of olive oil and extra cracked pepper.

Goodness shared from Stacey

golden cauliflower soup

9th November 2014

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on a windy day…..

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everything moves….

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golden cauliflower soup

Serves 4 – 6 

Inspired by ‘The Sivananda Yoga Cookbook.’

This has very minimal ingredients but is surprisingly delicately flavourful.  I served it with a loaf of freshly baked bread, this beetroot salad (all finely chopped instead of grated) and this guacamole.

ingredients 

1 large/750g cauliflower

1 Tbsp ghee

1 Tbsp cumin seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 potatoes/1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped -185g

4½ cups/1.5L boiling water

1 Tbsp dried coconut, soaked in enough hot water to cover

1 tsp fine rock salt

fresh ground pepper

preparation  

1.  Break the cauliflower into small florets and chop stalks – set aside.

2.  Melt the ghee in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and toast until golden – 1 minute, then lower heat, add the stalks, cauliflower pieces and turmeric – saute for 5 minutes, stirring well to make sure the florets are coated with turmeric.

3.  Remove half the florets with a slotted spoon and set aside to add to the soup at the end.

4.  Add the potatoes and boiling water – simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

5.  Cool slightly, then puree the soup in a food processor or using a hand immersion blender, until smooth.

6.  Stir in the coconut and its soaking water, add the reserved cauliflower florets and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes longer.

7.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve drizzled with ghee and a sprinkling of turmeric and freshly ground cumin.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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