Welcome to Eat Well Every Day

Welcome to Eat Well Every Day!

I've spent years researching nutritional information, food ideas and recipes, because cooking and eating - especially with family & friends - are some of life's great pleasures. And guess what- healthy food doesn't have to be boring! It can be exciting and delicious!


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Friday, May 27, 2011

Winter Warmers

Winter has come to Sydney a week early, according to the Weather Bureau. In Australia, we don’t worry about seasons changing with the solstices, summer begins on December 1, and winter on June 1. This year, the cold, grey and very windy weather (including snow mountain ranges in southern NSW and Victoria), prompted the Bureau to shift the season back a week. Time for thick woolly jumpers (sweaters), heaters and hot water bottles. And warming winter dishes.

Super Soups

Apologies for the alliteration, I seem to have been infected with the alliterative bug! But I do think soups are super! A good home-made soup makes a filling and nourishing meal with the addition of a slice or two of toast, warm muffins or crusty bread. So, two recipes today are warming soups bungful of flavour and nutrition. But first, a note about making stock.

All soups taste better and have more minerals and other vital nutrients, if made with home-made stock. Making stock is one of those chores that fills the kitchen (and your whole place if you have a small flat like mine) with savoury steam and the sense of job worth doing. Stock keeps well in the freezer, so you have it on hand to whip up a soup or add depth of flavour to a casserole. (I’ll give a recipe for making chicken stock in my next post.)

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

Lentils are ideal for quick winter dishes like soups and dhals, as they need no soaking before cooking. Although relatively bland themselves, they soak up spices and aromatic flavours. They are high in easily digested fibre, have good amounts of protein and folate, and a surprisingly amount of antioxidants. As one of the first foods cultivated by humans, you’d have to say lentils have proved their worth!

The lentils used in this recipe are red, but the soup turns a beautiful yellow from the turmeric. It is not hot; the spices add subtle flavour, not heat. If you want it hot, add 1-2 teasp red chili powder to the spice mix.

1 cup red lentils
2 onions, chopped
1-2 sticks of celery, chopped,
garlic, chopped fine, at least 2 teasp
2 carrots chopped into cubes
large slurp of oil, preferably olive oil
1½ teasp turmeric powder
1 teasp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
5 cups of stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)

Heat the oil gently in a heavy bottomed saucepan and sauté all the vegetables except the garlic for 7-10 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the spices and garlic, stirring to release the flavours. Add the lentils and mix together to coat the lentils completely with the spices.

Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Simmer gently another 5-10 minutes before serving. Superb with a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream, quite delicious without.
Serves 4

Aigo Buido (Provençal garlic soup)

This quick and aromatic soup is great for fighting off winter colds, or just for making you feel full of vigour. It’s from an old recipe I cut out of a magazine 30-odd years ago, so I don’t know who to credit for it – apart from the Provençal people themselves. Only make it if you like lots of garlic! Garlic can truly be considered a wonder food. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, it acts as a natural antibiotic and it stimulates to the immune system.

At least 6 large garlic cloves minced or chopped very fine
6 cups of stock
1 teasp salt
½ teasp dried thyme or oregano
1 bay leaf
4 fresh sage leaves chopped
1 egg
2 tablesp chopped parsley

Bring the stock to the boil, add the garlic, herbs (except parsley) and salt and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Beat the egg in a small bowl with a tablesp of cold water. Add a ladleful of hot stock and stir together, then pour back into the hot stock. Serve at once, topped with the chopped parsley, and eat with crusty bread or dry toast croutons.
Serves 4

Buon Appetito!