Bramley Apple and Parsnip Soup

Well, there are many things I miss, but we got in just in time for Bramley Apple Week which ended yesterday. I know, there’s so many weeks, days, months for everything, someone somewhere has a ridiculously full calendar which is ready to explode. Lucky for us it was our local Farmer’s Market in Wallington, and the people behind it, Eco Local had a recipe to hand.

The recipe in question is a Hairy Bikers one. I’ve never watched the programme, but am seeing a lot of people talking about them at the moment. As we’re following Weight Watchers parts of the recipe had to be omitted (and partly too because we started cooking at 6pm and that bit takes about fifteen minutes in their version and we don’t have the time), and of course it was in the trusty soup maker anyway.

The original recipe serves six, there’s only three of us and one is a mere quarter of me so we halved the total amount and left out some bits (like gently frying at the start)

2 medium red onions (these are best in the soup maker for flavour)
300g parsnips
2 garlic cloves (we did the full amount there)
300g Bramley Apples
Stock
Milk

The onions need chopping, the parsnips cubing, as do the bramley apples. Everything was put into the soup maker with the water added, and bouillon on top (to make the stock while it’s in there). Shaun added the milk then as well (though the recipe says to do that at the very end).

The soup maker was set to blend, and when it was finished it was really sweet – we were advised to cut back on the apples a bit, and I think slightly more parsnip and less apples would work better. Shaun felt like it was a bit like a thick apple juice whereas I liked it and it was our first time trying a soup with fruit in it.

I spotted this recipe for spiced carrot, cardamom and orange soup earlier this year so may well try it out next weekend…

Bramley Apple and Parsnip Soup

Easy Vegetable Stew – A Sickly Child Edition

H isn’t well at the moment – a high temperature that Calpol and Nurofen are barely containing – so I’ve been making sure she has plenty of good food to eat which is nice and tasty too. Tonight I asked her what she fancied for tea, she opted for a vegetable stew.

I get my weekly food delivery on a Tuesday, so by Wednesday anything that’s left from last week needs to be used – and this is a good recipe for doing just that; plus my trusty Morphy Richards Soup Maker means I can leave it to cook with minimal preparation beforehand.

an easy vegetable stew - ingredients

So, I used… (Weight Watchers PPV in brackets)

3 sweet potatoes – diced (356g – 9 points)
one red onion (for flavour) (0 points)
frozen peas (1 point’s worth – I weighed until it went to 2, then took back each pea until it was at 1)
frozen sweetcorn (1 point’s worth – same as before)
one red pepper (0 points)
one teaspoon of Marmite Gold (I’d have used Aussiemite but we’ve almost run out – I think this would work too with the onion) (0.5 point)
one vegetable stock cube (we’ve run out of bouillon) (0 points)

Serves two adults – generous portions – plus one three-year old.

stew

I chopped everything up into cubes and added to the soup maker. After that, water was added to the minimum line (I wanted to get plenty of onion in the juice as I knew H would pick those bits out) and I set it to the chunky setting, which takes a bit longer – 28 minutes.

While the soup is cooking I measured a good-sized portion of whole grain rice (250g – 7 points) and had that cooking (as it takes about 25 minutes). I hadn’t eaten a lot today being at home and H losing her appetite, so I needed filling up!

Once the rice was cooked I drained it and put it at the bottom of our bowls. When the stew was ready I added that on top, making sure the liquid came out first, then evenly putting the vegetables on top of each serving.

an easy vegetable stew

Weight Watchers points for an adult serving come in at 14 points which sounds a lot, and I have gone over my daily allowance (but I had activity points stored up). Yesterday I had 8 points left, so while I can’t get them back, I figure going into my activity allowance isn’t the end of the world. A lower point version would be to switch sweet potato for butternut squash which I think would work really well too.

The taste verdict? It worked pretty well – the onion helped give it a bit of a kick without being too overpowering (and H picked them all out)! It feels quite wintery, some ginger would have worked as well although might be better in a smooth soup. Give it a try – let me know how you get on!

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash curry

Shaun made this last night, and oh boy it tasted good – it was spicy but not too much. It was adapted from one of our WeightWatchers cookbooks.

You need :

an onion (0 points)
half a butternut squash (0 points)
sweet potato (allow 70-80g per person) (2 points)
peas (35g) (2 points)
three carrots (0 points)
green beans (as many as you fancy) (0 points)

Quorn pieces – 40g (1 point)

passata (as much as you need)
Curry powder (as much as you need)
200ml bouillon stock (0 points)
teaspoon of cumin
garlic granules

oil for frying (ideally in spray)

basmati rice (allow 40g per person (4 points)

simple Vegetable Curry

 

Chop the onion and put in a pan with the stock (so it’s softened rather than fried) Lightly spray your large pan/frying pan add the quorn. Add the curry powder, cumin and garlic and cook gently until heated through.
Boil the butternut squash and sweet potato for five minutes until it’s soft but not too crumbly. Add to curry mixture and make sure it’s covered in curry powder
Cook the rest of your veg as you would, and add to the mixture.

Cook rice – one way with basmati is to put boiling water in the pan with rice (washed and drained), bring to the boil then turn off the flame. Put a lid on the pan and leave for ten minutes – your rice should then be perfect.

Add passata and the rest of the stock to the curry mixture and serve quickly.

It tastes pretty good too. We also added some Gourmet Garden Ginger to the curry which gave it a good taste alongside the herbs too – the preparation time was no more than five minutes, and overall cooking time was around ten.

Points-wise, I logged this and it came in at seven points, the bulk of it being the basmati rice. If you wanted to lower your points more, swap your rice for brown which may save you a few points!

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

It must be around a month since I last declared love for my Morphy Richards Soup Maker, so I’d better redress the balance right now. IT IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER BOUGHT! (okay, that may be a bit OTT)

Tonight we had a really simple soup which tasted delicious. Last night (and I’ll post that one too) we had a butternut squash and sweet potato curry, so Shaun peeled and chopped the entire squash for me for tonight – which is where another part of WeightWatchers works – planning ahead, knowing what your meals will be from night to-night (I’m still tired out after the Christmas break, so thinking about organising is a real use of my energy right now, though I do try) and prep your vegetables the night before. If you’re anything like we are, you’ll have drawers of Ikea and Tupperware containers, and very little time when you get in from work – so having everything ready in the fridge is a good thing – we always cook from fresh every evening, and rarely have takeaways.

So, the soup:

soup1-2

As much butternut squash as you fancy, though remember the Soup Maker only holds so much. This will be 0 points.

A cube of ginger – and by a cube I mean a dice size of cube – this will also be 0 points
2-3 teaspoons of low-salt bouillon. Oh, and yeah, that’s 0 points too.
One spoon of Aussiemite, the new Australian yeast spread – with its fruity taste I thought it was worth putting in, and it made a difference! Marmite would also work. 1 point.

Add water, press the buttons, have a nap, 21 minutes later you’ll have a nice runny soup which tastes pretty damn fine – the ginger is subtle and the Aussiemite gives it a slightly fruity taste – the bouillon isn’t too overpowering either. It was nice and filling – and if you divide one point by five, then multiply it by two (as I’d say H has a fifth, we have two fifths) then you may well end up with 0 points again, making a (possible) 0 points soup. Cool!

Spicy Butternut Squash soup with a dollop of Aussiemite

We had it with WeightWatchers Naan breads which are lovely and soft and three points per Naan – I had one and a third, so let’s call it four points.

I’d say that was pretty good going there, easy to make, easy to clean up afterwards, and filling too. If you’re really starving you could add some pasta shapes to pad it out a bit, maybe?

Too Easy Cheese and Vegetable Lunchtime Wraps

Wednesday is my day off work in the week, my day with H. Pre-WeightWatchers we’d have pitta bread with falafel and tzaziki plus some vegetables to dip into the tzaziki, which I thought was fairly healthy. THEN I did WeightWatchers and found that meal came in around 15 points (over half of my daily allowance). We like a sandwich and will often do cheese toasties, but after swimming we’re usually quite tired and need some good energy food. This seemed to work, and was part-inspired by Sally’s comment on the quesadilla post.

So, chop your veg – we went for a red pepper, a courgette and two carrots. I chopped up the pepper then grated the courgette and carrots. After that I added some ginger Gourmet Garden to add some extra flavour, let it lightly warm in my pan (with one oil squirt) until it felt warm, but not too warm. It looked something like this :

Pepper, Carrot and Courgette

So then it was just a case of lying the wrap down, keep it unbuttered (as the veg is quite moist anyway), and putting a good mixture of the veg on top.

veginthewrap

Then just wrap them up and leave for a couple of minutes to let the vegetables melt with the cheese. Voila, one cheesy vegetable wrap – and low saturated fat too (if you use WeightWatchers cheese – I can’t compare to other brands, so check beforehand).

Points-wise, I calculated them to be 7 points total for the Vegetable wraps, as long as you use Weight Watchers wraps – each wrap comes in at 3 points, but if you have two it lowers to five. I used WeightWatchers Mature Cheddar slices (1 point each) and all the vegetables were free. The oil was such a small amount it doesn’t register on my tracker. That’s more food than I’d eat at work for lunch and I felt good and full afterwards!

Even better, H loved them – she wanted more and wasn’t fussy about any of the vegetables. We’ll be doing these again… I guess the next challenge is doing some for my lunch at work…!

cheesevegwraps

Disclaimer – this isn’t sponsored by Weight Watchers – I need to lower my cholesterol and lose weight,
so am sharing recipes I’ve found work and are quick.
I am a Weight Watchers Blogger Ambassador, but this hasn’t affected my opinion.

Easy Quesadillas

This recipe is a so-obvious-I-can’t-believe-we-haven’t-done-this-before one.

You need :

Tortillas (we used the Weight Watchers ones, 3 points each, though 5 points for two which was good)
cheese (I had a WW cheese slice – 1 point)

Whichever vegetables you want (we did a red and yellow pepper)

splash of oil

Spray the oil in your pan and cook the vegetables a tiny bit – add spice here if you want some.

Get your tortilla – put the cheese on it, then when the pepper is cooked add that.

Put a second tortilla on top

Weight Watchers Friendly Quesadillas

Place into oven, which should be on a low heat – enough to melt cheese and warm the tortilla, and leave in there for five minutes

Take out, and slice into four or six pieces. Eat straight away. If you want to add some cream to it, Quark is a good substitute and is low points too.

Yum! They’re a slightly more interesting variation on toasties too.

Easy Nachos

I’m doing Weight Watchers in case you’d forgotten (there’s a little badge half way down to remind you) – and I’m pleased over Christmas I’ve only gained 2lb – although we’ve not really had much chocolate so there hasn’t been too much temptation.

Anyway, it was a rainy Boxing Day and we were bored, we didn’t want to go out, but we wanted something simple and savoury. After looking around, it’s pretty easy to make Nachos, so I adapted it a bit to be Weight Watchers friendly. I have no idea points-wise how much they’ll be, as a lot depends on how many you eat, but certainly not as much as regular crisps!

1. get some Weight Watchers tortilla wraps (4 points each). I always seem to have them and they’re often close to their use-by date – Poundland also stock them which makes these quite cheap.

2. cut them in half, and in half again, and then cut those in half again, so you’ve got a rough tortilla chip sized piece, 8 per round tortilla.

3. lightly spray them using your Weight Watchers Oil Spray – it doesn’t need very much at all, two or three mists.

4. sprinkle them with some paprika.

5. stick them in the oven – we have a fan assisted oven and had it on at 180c – I used one of those pizza trays with the holes in the bottom which helps make the underneath crisp.

After ten minutes check how hard they are (you might like them crispy, you might like them soft) and remove from the heat to let them cool down. I added a tiny bit of salt and some spices, then left them to stand and harden up a bit.

We had a sachet for some home made salsa which only needed some tomato adding (we used Passata – 0 points), and leave for an hour or so in the fridge until it’s properly spicy (we also added some coriander from our Gourmet Garden selection of fresh spices). I also bought some guacamole the other day so we added that.

Sit yourselves down, stick a film on and munch away for a good half hour or so.

Fab! Points-wise I’d say you’re looking at 4-5 per tortilla, extra for dips so adapt where necessary (the salsa may well have been 0 points)

Weight Watchers Friendly Nachos

Souptastically Souper Soup with some Gourmet Garden for added Zing

We love soup, and I love my Soup Maker, and tonight I wanted to try something special for the Gourmet Garden challenge via Mumsnet.

The best thing about a soup maker is the random things you can throw in to make a very tasty soup – tonight was no different – so I hastily cobbled together lovingly prepared the following….

Gourmet Garden SoupOne sweet potato, peeled and chopped
Half a butternut squash
one red onion
One stray potato chopped and peeled
some old broccoli
some old green beans
three heaped teaspoons of bouillon

to that concoction I then got my Gourmet Garden tubes, a bit of chilli for some tongue tingliness, a bit of garlic as I figured that would work well with the bouillon and onion, some ginger as it’s a cold day and you can’t beat ginger – plus it works well with chilli and a splash of basil as why the heck not. Twenty two minutes later and the soup was ready – and oooh, it was good. I added some fromage frais to it, and a couple more tiny dollops of basil, stirred it around and it was divine!

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it was a proper winter warmer – everything tasted just right, not too overbearing and you could still taste each bit (especially the chilli!).

Yum!

Mum Friendly Gourmet Garden Challenge Soup
Look at this soup – it’s smiling at YOU as it knows it tastes THAT good.

We were provided with tubes from the Gourmet Garden range for the purpose of this challenge. All opinions are our own and all our food is tasty!

Souptastically Souper – a Minestrone Kind of Day

We hadn’t thought ahead as far as our evening meal goes – I’ve been coughing all afternoon and the last liquorice teabag had been used – we were all just lying low, a lazy day, resting. So it was with joy I spotted this recipe over at Thinly Spread and adapted it with what we’ve got in the cupboard – and it was so easy to do.

You need….

a tin of chick peas
small bits of broccoli
half an onion
a sweet potato chopped
six small baby potatoes, peeled and chopped
frozen sweetcorn (50g)
frozen peas (60g)
baby pasta (60g)
three heaped teaspoons of low salt bouillon

passata and some italian herbs and spice for the end

Stick them all in the Soup Maker pan, top up to the maximum level with water, set to the chunky setting and 28 minutes later is your almost-minestrone. I added some passata to cool it down (which was a good thing as H decided to stick her arm in Shaun’s bowl, so it wasn’t as hot as it could have been and she’s fine – phew) and make it more tomato-y which worked quite well, though overall there wasn’t much taste to it, though the veg was good – so if you wanted more, maybe add garlic or some chili.

It was nice and filling, anyway – and the first time we’ve tried soup with pasta all cooked in the pan. H ate all hers too which to me is a very good sign! I’ve not worked out WeightWatchers points yet, but I reckon no more than 2 or 3.

Minestrone Soup

Smooth-tastically Scrumptious Stuff

Sorry, appalling title there. So, its Wednesday, my day off work and H and I have already decided we’re doing nothing all day apart from our swimming lesson – it’s officially a lazy day. Or at least, a lazy day for a three-year old who can’t cook (yet).

A pile of fruitSo, you have a pile of fruit. A Morphy Richards Soup Maker. Milk. Although no ice cream (despite being promised some vouchers to get some… sob!), but we’ll get by.

Peeled bananas and satsumasSo the bananas were peeled and put into the maker. I asked H what she’d like with her bananas, and she said ‘oranges’. We have satsumas so I thought they’d do.

Milk addedAdd milk – we only had skimmed open.

BlendingReplace the lid and hit the blend option, and two minutes later you have this.

The end resultActually, it didn’t taste great. Orange and banana don’t work as well as I’d hoped. H left hers too… I think it needs a spot of work. Also, some banana didn’t blend, and needed to be done by hand instead.

Does anyone have any good suggestions for future smoothies out there? Or even suggestions for good cupboard ingredients that might help them taste a bit more interesting? Let me know!