Category Archives: Autumn

Hearty Hearthy Earthy Potage

The weather in Glasgow at the moment is horrendous.   Strong winds, cold rain… and grey skies that make it seem dark by two in the afternoon.   Last week we even had hurricane force winds.

Given that weather, all I really want to do is curl up in front of the fire with a warm, hearty bowl of soup.   When I was a kid, mom always started supper with a soup in the winter (and sometimes in summer).  The game for us kids was to guess the ingredients.

If you are trying to lose weight, or ensure you get your 5 a day, then soup is an excellent way to achieve those goals.  You can easily make a soup using just vegetables and with very little fat or carbs, while increasing fibre intake.

This week, I made a very nice soup that I wanted to share:

  • 1 butternut (or other) squash, halved and seeded.
  • 1 onion, quartered.
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
  • seasoning to taste – I used cayenne pepper, paprika, celery salt, and nutmeg.
  1. Arrange the vegetables on a baking tray.
  2. Bake vegetables in a medium oven until the edges become dark.
  3. Remove from oven and remove the peel from from the pepper and the squash.
  4. Put all the vegetables and seasonings in a blender with the tomato juice.
  5. Liquidize. (you may need to add a bit more tomato juice to get the desired consistency)
  6. In a pot, heat the soup once more to the desired temperature.
  7. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a piece of rustic bread (if desired).

Roasting the vegetables gives them an earthier flavour and allows you to soften the onion and the squash without adding water for a richer flavour.

 

 

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Cottage Pie

What North Americans call Shepherd’s Pie is what Brits call Cottage Pie.    Shepherd’s pie here is made with minced lamb.   Nothing wrong with that, but if I have mince lamb, it’s going into moussaka.

My mom’s been sending emails about how it’s 32C with high humidity in Montreal.   Here in Glasgow, it’s much cooler – and wetter.    It’s been pouring this morning.   There are even rumours of snow in the Highlands!   I love that about Scotland – one day I’m making light summer fare and eating in the garden, then next the mood turns to wintery meals.

So… tonight I’m making cottage pie.   Cottage pie is kid favourite – and a great excuse to sneak in some extra veg if you have kids, or a man, who aren’t keen on plant-based foods.  If you are in this situation you’ll like the Sneaky Veg Mince recipe I posted earlier.

If you are trying to cut back on calories or carbs, you can substitute half (or all) of the mash potatoes for mashed cauliflower.

Cottage pie is simply a three layer construction: mince, kernel corn, and mash.

For each person:

  • 75g lean minced beef per person (or double if you aren’t using the veg mince)
  • 75 g Sneaky Veg mince
  • 1/2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • garlic
  • a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • a generous grind of pepper
  • a bell pepper (if you like them)
  • herbs and spices to taste (I’ll likely add cumin which I love, cayenne pepper, thyme, and some bay leaves).
  • 1 tsp of flour
In a pan, cook the mince and onion together until the meat has browned and the onion is translucent.  
Add everything else and take off the heat.   Pour in the bottom of an oven proof dish.   Cover with the corn (if you got frozen, thaw it in the microwave; if you got canned, rinse thoroughly).
Prepare  your mash.   I like to plan 1 good sized potato per person or 1 small potato+ 2* the volume of cauliflower.
Spread over the corn.    Sprinkle with a good paprika.
Bake at 180C for 35 minutes.   Serve immediately.