Healthy New Year?

The wind is fair howling round the chimneys outside and my dragon is getting all hot under its Aga collar. Since Dad moved the kitchen furniture around, my safe eating zones have become harder for me to access on my delicate limbs (never say old to a lady). My food has had to be put up on the stove top to keep those wretched kittens from pinching it. On a day like this Aga and food can get too warm very quickly. I hope they have a new kitchen design soon.

Before Mum pulls the flue door out to cool Dragon’s ardour she usually uses the high stove heat to make her and Dad some comfort foods. Here are her recipes for today.

Better-than-Minestrone soup

Minestrone hs 2 design drawbacks: firstly it contains pasta (gluten), secondly meat.

While there are substitutes, its nice to have a healthier version with a clean flavour.


Into a large pan/ pressure cooker place 2 litres water and heat. Add:

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1/2 courgette, chopped

2 carrots, washed and roughly chopped. (Veg should be fresh organic if possible to max out flavours)

2 leeks, sliced

1 apple roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, skinned, left whole

scant handful dried seaweed (nori/kelp) Buy in whole food or oriental stores

6 sun-dried salted tomatoes

leafy centre of celery head or 2 stalks

1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 heaped teaspoon bouillon powder

Bring all this to the boil then pressure cook for 45 minutes. When soft enough, blend till smooth. Add 3 oz green beans cut in 1cm lengths , add 1/6 red pepper, diced small and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve with black pepper and

Seeded soda bread

Into a bowl measure 4 oz oatmeal, 8 oz oat flakes (could be gluten-free oats), 1 rounded teaspoon bicarb soda, salt, 1 egg, 500 ml yoghurt, handfuls mixed seeds, handful mixed dry fruit, dessertspoon zirisk/ barberry (asian stores) or use lemon juice soaked currants, 2 teaspoons mixed spice. Stir till blended, put in lined bread tins and bake in medium hot oven 40 minutes.

Sweet chickpeas

Soak 5 handfuls chickpeas in good covering of water overnight

Add 3 shiitake mushrooms and 1 Tablespoon ceps, dried

1 teaspoon fennel, 1 small stick cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon saffron.

Boil till chickpeas are tender.

Add one small apple, chopped spinach to taste. Cook through, serve hot or cold.




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