Vegan brocolli and “blue cheese” soup

Being vegan does not mean having to miss out on your favourites; this is my take on the old classic, brocolli and blue cheese soup.

There are many good tasting vegan cheeses out there. I used the blue style cheese by Mouses Favourite – “CamBlue” which is cashew based.

There are many vegan blue cheeses out there. Mozzarisella, Nutcrafter, Vegusto, are my favourite that do blue cheese varieties, but theres many out there and some available from most mainstream supermarkets these days

(Always check the ingredients as many are made from nuts, coconut or soya or other allergens)

Ingredients:

  • 7/8 large brocolli florets, chopped into small pieces – keep the little green bits that fall off; they are tasty and add colour
  • 150g potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks, approx 1cm across
  • 1pint veg stock
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp savoury yeast flakes (I use Engevita with added B12)
  • 30g blue cheese alternative, chopped or grated

Method:

  • Add the onion and garlic to a oan with a small amount of oil and fry for a couple of minutes, just to soften slightly
  • Add the brocolli and potato
  • Fry again for 2minutes or so
  • Add the stock, yeast flakes and herbs and season with pepper to your own taste

  • Simmer for approximately 30mins until the soup has thickened and the potato and brocolli have broken down to smaller pieces and softened
  • Add extra water if it is needed while it cooks – the amount you will need will vary depending how fast you simmer as this will have an effect on how much evaporates
  • Add the cheese, stir until its melted
  • Serve with some nice crusty bread 😋

Easy tomato soup

Tomato soup is such a satisfying and simple dish, especially in the cold winter months… here’s how I make mine

Its not too rich, and the flavours are fresh and subtle

This recipe will make 3-5 bowls, depending how hungry you are 😉

Ingredients

  • 1000g vine tomatoes/ approx 10-12 tomatoes
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 onion, chopped into quarters
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinammon stick
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes or equivalent
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 3 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 150ml tomato passata
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 large/heaped tsp chopped rosemary

You will need:

  • A blender

Method:

  • Wash the tomatoes and put them in a large saucepan- no need to chop them as the soup will be blended
  • In a separate frying pan, dry fry the cinammon stick and star anise for 30secs to 1 min to release the aromas
  • Add these to the pan with the tomatoes and add the garlic clove, onion, ginger, mustard seeds and herbs

  • Add water, freshly boiled, to a level which almost covers the tomatoes
  • Add the stock cubes, orange juice and simmer for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, remove (but save) the star anise and cinnamon stick and blend the soup to a smooth consistency
  • Return to the pan
  • Add back the star anise and cinnamon stick
  • Add the 3tsp Apple cider vinegar, 150ml passata, 2tbsp tomato puree, 1tsp rosemary and some black pepper.
  • Simmer again for about 30 minutes
  • Take out the cinammon stick and star anise
  • Its now ready to serve!
  • I like my tomato soup a bit runny. If you like it thicker, gradually add cornflour mixed with cold water until its the consistency you like

Fresh fruit sweet and sour sauce

My secret recipe for sweet and sour sauce. Its not bright pink or really sweet, but its much healthier and the flavour is much fresher than from a jar or takeaway.

Its made from fresh fruit and chinese spices, and has much less sugar and salt than a takeaway version. It has a fresh orange fruity flavour, with lovely aniseed undertones. Plus its really simple to make!

I’ve just given the recipe for the sauce here, so you can add it to whatever stirfry that you like. I sometimes add it to crispy roasted cauliflower, which is sooo good! (I am obsessed with roast cauliflower dishes)

In a pan mix together:

  • juice of 2 large oranges
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 2 small or one large sliced or chopped garlic clove
  • 1 large tsp chopped or mashed ginger
  • 2 star anises
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 tbsp white sherry
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 large tsp / 1 crumbled cube of stock

(If you like spice, add half a chopped chilli)

  1. Heat til it comes to the boil, then turn down and simmer. Stir occasionally.
  2. Simmer until reduced by about a third
  3. Fish out the star anise and cloves.
  4. If its not as thick as you would like, slowly add cornflour mixed into cold water, mixing all the time.
  5. Add a tbsp of the mixture, mix until it stops thickening.
  6. If not thick enough, add a tbsp more….And so on until its the consistency you like.
  7. Add to your favourite stirfry, and enjoy