Zucchini (Courgette) Soup

I am waiting for the second wave.

No, not that one.

The second wave of zucchini!

Yes, it is that time of year where many gardeners find themselves inundated with zucchini. My first wave hit at the end of June. And continued until early July.

Since then a steady stream of smaller ones have made it more pleasurable and less stressful! I made large quantities of soup. Twice. With some in the freezer too. And stuffed zucchini is also a regular at the moment.

 

My soup has been a big hit. I think the key to adding flavour is plenty of garlic. I will have to try growing my own garlic one day as we consume an awful lot of it. 😉 A good vegetable stock, a potato and some (surprising?) seasoning make it delicious. Here is the recipe. I wrote it down the first time I made it and liked it so much that I have been using it since:

Zucchini soup

  • 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs) zucchini, roughly chopped into cubes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 250 ml almond milk

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sautée the onion until soft. Add the garlic, zucchini, potato, all the herbs and spices and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the zucchini and potato are soft. It will only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Add the almond milk and then blend until smooth and creamy. 😃

(And if you like garlic as much as we do, this tastes great with garlic bread. 😉)

Zucchini Soup

 

Oh dear, now I am hungry!

Are you enjoying vegetables from your own garden this summer?

xxx

Store cupboard recipe 1: Vegan (garlic) mayonnaise

One of the first things we did when we became vegan a few years ago was to invest in a powerful mixer. We chose a German one – ‘bianco di puro’ – developed with a vegan lifestyle in mind. In fact the company promotes veganism with their product at fairs and exhibitions nationwide.

It was a fabulous investment, and we use it several times a week. I make my cashew sauce with it, but the best thing I use it for is our mayonnaise. Finding a tasty egg-free mayo is not easy in Germany, so a few years ago I started experimenting. It took several attempts to get it right and it has been fine-tuned over time as well. I would like to share this ‘recipe’ with you today as all the ingredients are probably in your pantry. But do bear in mind that differing ingredients and mixers may produce different results and patience is required until it turns out perfectly!

You will need:

  • 100ml soya milk
  • 1 1/2 tsps white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • 150 ml vegetable oil (I use about 100 ml rapeseed oil and 50 ml sunflower oil, but you can experiment to find what you like best)

Mix all of the ingredients except the oil in your mixer at high speed for about 20 seconds.

Set the speed to low and now gradually add the oil with the motor running. When all the oil is added, switch to high speed for about ten seconds. Your mixture should now be creamy and have a thick mayonnaise consistency. Refrigerate until using and eat within 24 hours. (It may start to separate if kept longer.)

I do hope you will try this if you have a high-speed mixer. It does work in a normal mixer too, but my experience was that it did not thicken up as much. It tastes fantastic just with bread and salad, and is ideal (without the garlic) for homemade coleslaw too. 😃

Seasonal Tip: adding a leaf or two of wild garlic instead of using normal garlic gives it a delicate garlic flavour and a beautiful green tinge. 😃

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Homemade Potato Soup and Life in January

It tends to go a bit quiet here in January at Words and Herbs, with frosty days and chill winds keeping the gardener indoors. But inside it is warm and my kitchen is welcoming.

And with January also becoming known as Veganuary in the UK (and anywhere else?) I simply can‘t let the month pass without posting a recipe or two.

😃

If you haven‘t heard of Veganuary, it is basically a month of vegan eating to get the new year off to a healthy start – and to promote a vegan lifestyle. Magazines are full of ideas for new vegans or for people who simply want to try out a plant-based diet. For old vegans like me I find the magazines rather repetitive and full of time-consuming recipes using trendy ingredients that are either unavailable in our part of the world or out of season or horribly expensive!

So here is a simple and delicious recipe using ingredients you probably have in your pantry already, created at the request of my Man of Many Talents who grew potatoes for the first time last year. (They were a big success – here is one of our harvests!)

I hoped to make the soup like his Mum used to, but I believe she must have used celeriac, which I have never tried – I substitute with a parsnip. 😉 If you see soup recipes in German they usually say ‚Suppengrün‘ which is typically pieces of vegetables like this, sold in our supermarkets in bunches:

My version comes pretty close to the original though. Please let me know what you think if you try it. It has become a favourite in our house!

German Potato Soup

You will need:

  • 1 kg potatoes (any sort will do!), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs (and 1tsp of marjoram if you have any)
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A good glug of olive oil

Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and sauté the onions and leek until nice and soft. Add all the other vegetables and put the lid on for a few minutes. Add the stock and herbs (save the parsley for just before serving) and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked through – about 20 or 25 minutes. Allow to cool a little. Now the important part!. We like whole pieces of vegetables in our soup, but with a creamy consistency too, so I take my hand blender and pulse very briefly to break down some of the larger chunks of potato.

Add the chopped parsley (and chives go well too) and stir through. Serve with crusty bread, pretzels, crisps or croûtons. 😜

Enjoy!

P.S. I usually make an extra large pot of this soup and freeze some for a rainy day. 😉

 

 

 

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Vegan)

I couldn’t let November pass by without posting a vegan recipe or two, could I… after all, it is World Vegan Month. What, you didn’t know?!

“World Vegan Month is celebrated around the world as a time to recognise how far the vegan movement has come, to highlight how accessible and beneficial a vegan lifestyle can be and to encourage the vegan-curious to adopt veganism by sharing advice, recipes and ideas.”

The Vegan Society website.

So today I am going to share a delicious lemon drizzle cake recipe which is based on my ultimate vegan victoria sponge. (You can find the victoria sponge recipe here).

It is a light and very lemony sponge cake with a lemon syrup poured over while still warm and then a tangy lemon icing drizzled over when it has cooled. So if you fancy something sweet, but fresh and zesty too, why not treat yourself! This cake has been served to non-vegans, vegetarians and vegans alike, with everyone agreeing it is extremely lemony and very tasty!

It is also incredibly easy to make.

🙂

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F) and grease and flour a round 24cm (9 to 10 inch) springform cake tin.

For the cake mixture you will need to sieve together the following ingredients into a large mixing bowl:

  • 350g (2 and 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Next, melt the following together in a saucepan and then allow to cool:

  • 170g sugar and 1tbsp vanilla sugar (3/4 cup altogether) (or add 1tsp vanilla essence)
  • 180g (1 and 1/2 sticks and 1 tbsp) vegan butter or margarine

You will also need:

  • 1 veg egg (either 1tbsp flaxmeal mixed to a paste with 3tbsps water, or another egg replacer equivalent to one egg, both available in health food shops)
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 330ml (1 and 1/3 cups) unsweetened soya yoghurt (available in most supermarkets these days)

Once the butter/sugar mixture has cooled down, add it and all the other ingredients to the flour mixture and gently fold in until all the flour is incorporated. Do not beat or overmix. You should see little bubbles in the mixture as the chemistry starts to work. 😃 Pour into the cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes as ovens do vary. Insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out clean the cake is done – it should be golden brown on top and starting to shrink away from the sides of the cake pan.

While the cake is baking you can prepare the syrup to drizzle over it immediately after it comes out of the oven.

Lemon syrup:

In a saucepan, melt

  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar

As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, prick little holes all over the surface with a toothpick and pour the syrup carefully and slowly over the cake so it can absorb it all. Wait until the cake has cooled a little before removing it from the tin and place it on a cake rack to cool completely.

The final stage is the icing.

Lemon icing:

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar

Mix the lemon juice into the icing sugar slowly, making sure you don’t have any lumps. You can stop adding juice as soon as it reaches the right ‘drizzling’ consistency. Drizzle this over the cold cake and allow to set a little before serving.

This recipe serves 12. Simply halve the recipe and use a 16cm round tin (or a small loaf tin) for a smaller cake like this one…

We got 8 slices out of this size.

Yum!

Happy World Vegan Month!

😃

 

 

 

 

I Love 💖 Black Bean Burgers!

Yes, they are my favourite veggie burgers ever, and I can’t believe it took me so long to try making them!

They are so full of flavour, so quick to make, and so good for you too.

Here is my recipe, which has been tried and tested several times. I have tuned it to our taste, but try adding other herbs and spices if you prefer.

Black Bean Burgers

For four burgers you will need:

  • 1 (400g/14oz) tin of black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsps oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (the sort that is like flour) or soya flour
  • 2 tsps mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried breadcrumbs for coating
  • oil for frying

Place all ingredients except the breadcrumbs and oil into a food mixer and process to a slightly chunky paste. Form into four patties, coat in the breadcrumbs and chill for at least thirty minutes. Then heat the oil in a frying pan and fry until golden brown. Serve in buns with fries and all the trimmings (e.g. gherkins, salad, ketchup and mustard or mayonnaise). 😀

Enjoy!