Food Fables Friday: A Good Harvest



Fortunately, there are still some blackberries left to eat. These went very well with yogurt.

A Good Harvest

A Good Harvest

My tomatoes are finally ripening and I found a zucchini and eggplant so I made a ratatouille last night. I picked an onion and carrot and lettuce to have with it. A complete garden meal – except for the grated cheese. Nom, nom, nom. It was the super fresh vegetables that forced me to cook dinner last night, despite jet lag, they looked so yummy. The alternative would have been to eat some processed food like substances from my freezer.

Garden Fresh Ratatouille


Fresh from the garden:

1 onion sliced

3 cloves garlic minced and pressed

1 carrot sliced and chopped

1 aubergine/eggplant sliced and diced

1 courgette/zucchini sliced

3 roma paste tomatoes quartered

basil chopped

lettuce and cherry tomatoes for salad (optional)

Not garden:

2 tbs Oil for frying

Black pepper

1 cup Water

1 tbs Soy sauce

Grated cheddar cheese (optional)


1) Fry on low onion for about 3 min and add garlic and basil.

2) After another couple of minutes add the carrot and aubergine.

3) Once the aubergine is softish add the tomatoes and courgettes.

4) Fry for about 5 – 10 minutes (depending how soft you like your veggies).

5) Add water and soy sauce. Flavor with black pepper to taste.

6) Once the water boils, simmer for ~1 minute.

7) Serve with grated cheese, bread and green salad.



Tasty Tuesday: Broccoli Soup with Lemon Grass and Garlic Chives

Tasty Tuesday posts will not always be recipes. Sometimes they might be about interesting food science research on taste or flavor or related topic.

Broccoli Soup

I probably eat more broccoli than any other vegetable (mushrooms are fungi and garlic is a herb) and I am very much in a soup mood at the moment. So I made broccoli soup. Last night I ate it warm with cheddar and tonight I had it cold with yogurt. It was tastier tonight, but that might be due to the fact that the flavors developed over night.

In my older recipe books, from the 1980s, broccoli rarely features. I don’t know if this is a US vs. UK difference or food fashion.

I have been finding it frustrating to find recipes listed by their herbs. For some reason my garden is being prolific with herbs – I am overwhelmed with oregano, chives, thyme, rosemary and lemon grass. I almost have too much parsley and soon basil will be prolific as will coriander seeds as the cilantro earlier in the year has, with permission, bolted. So to help other people in the same situation, I named with recipe after the herbs I added.

Broccoli Soup


Broccoili – 1.5 heads including stems. Chopped up small

Oil/butter/marg for frying

1 onion chopped

A handful of chopped garlic chives*

two stalks of lemon grass

2 medium – large potatoes peeled and chopped

water or stock (I used water and then added a tps of yeast extract after cooking)


parsley, yogurt or cheese (optional toppings).


Fry the chopped onion in oil and fry for a few minutes. Don’t let the onion brown.

Add lemon grass stalks (don’t chop them you are going to remove them later).

Add garlic chives followed in rapid succession the potatoes, broccoli and water/stock.

Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until potato and broccoli, especially the broccoli stems, are mashable.

Remove lemon grass.

Blend; I use a stick blender (AKA immersion blender) and I blend until most of the bits are gone. About 10-20% might remain lumpy. It is really up to you depending how smooth you want your soup to be.

Heat again and add cheese.

Or if you want to eat it cold, chill in fridge until cold and add yogurt.

Decorate with chopped parsley.

Serve and enjoy.

*You could use a clove of garlic instead, but then you would have to change the name.

Garlic Chive Soup

Chive Soup

I’m into green food at the moment. Last month was coriander hummus and this month is chive soup. It just happens that coriander was in abundance last month and chives are in abundance this and the coriander has bolted.

I had a recipe from the Guardian from 1994 by Richard Ehrlich* but appears that it is too old to be on line. I found a couple of similar recipes by searching for “Chive Soup”; you could try these instead: Potato, Cheddar and Chive Soup and Creamy Potato and Chive Soup. As I have more chives, I might try the former one later this week.

For the soup above, I decided adding milk and cream was totally unnecessary, so I took the vegetable stock soup I had made earlier (I am always doing this; I make veggie stock out of all the vegetable ends and remains I have and end up eating it as soup.) and added about 100 g garlic chives, blended soup and chives, and reheated it. I added Greek yoghurt before serving. I ate the first portion hot.

At first the soup tasted a little grassy, then the spicy part of the chives kicked in. I never considered chives to be hot spicy, but this soup was a little overpowering.

The second portion of soup was eaten cold with equal amounts for soup and yoghurt mixed together. This was the way to go.

My Version of Chive Soup:


1 onion chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 potato chopped

1/2 head broccili a little sad, chopped

stems from rest of broccoli chopped

Other sad veg from the veg drawer of your fridge (chopped)


bay leaf


100 g freshly picked garlic chives

black pepper


Greek yoghurt


Vegetable Stock Soup

  1. Fry onion in the oil until slightly brown.
  2. Add the bay leaf, carrot, potato and other veggies
  3. Fry for about 3 mins add water
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cook until carrot and potato are mushable
  5. Remove bay leaf.
  6. Blend (I used my stick blender)
  7. Season with black pepper. Use salt too if you must.
  8. Eat as veggie soup with cheese

Pause for a few days.

Chive Soup

Pick your chives and wash them.

  1. Save a few stalks of chives for garnish. Chop the rest to 1″
  2. Blend with vegetable stock soup (I used a food processor and just left it on for a couple of minutes)
  3. Reheat soup for a few minutes
  4. If serving cold, chill in refrigerator for at least three hours.
  5. Serve with Greek yoghurt and chive slithers as garnish

Richard Ehrlich gave the advice that chives lose their flavor if cooked too long, so add them at the end.

*I cannot find anything about Richard Ehrlich and he seemed to stop writing for the Guardian in the 2004. There is a book of his recipes from the Guardian. Perhaps his Chive Soup recipe can be found in there.

Recipe: Fruit Smoothie

fruit smoothie

My favorite breakfast drink, when I have time to make it. It contains all the fruit you need in a day and then some. Add any fruit you like, below is my favorite mixture.


1 mango chopped

1 banana chopped

1/2 cup blueberries

10 fl oz orange juice

1/3 cup yogurt

1 tbs flaxseed meal


Blend the fruit with the orange juice.

Mix in the yogurt and flaxseed meal.

Add more orange juice to obtain the right consistency.


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Recipe: Miso, Barley and Vegetable Stew

Barley Miso Vegetable Stew

As part of my menu this week, I wanted to make a stew with barley as I have a lot of barley in my pantry and need to use it up. I had originally purchased the barley for a mushroom barley and miso soup, which was delicious but as much as I love mushrooms, I ate a lot of them last week and this week I made mushroom pate, so I wanted to try something different this time. There had to be another use for barley, right?

I found it difficult to find a recipe in all my recipe books for barley that was not pearled barley. On the internets, I found this site about barley which included an easy Barley Veggie Soup. So I sort of took that recipe and ran with it.

Miso, Barley and Vegetable Stew


1/2 – 1 cup uncooked barley

2 tbs oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 onion (chopped)

4 celery stalks (chopped)*

2 carrots (peeled and chopped)

2 turnips (peeled and chopped)

½ teaspoon dried and crushed rosemary (I use a pestle and mortar)

4 cups or more water or vegetable broth

1-2 tps miso

Grated cheddar cheese to top


Stew cooking


Fry the onion, rosemary, and garlic in the oil for a few minutes and add the celery, followed in turn by the carrot and the turnip*. Mix in the barley.

Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat so that the stew is simmering.

Cook for about 45 mins, adding water as needed.

Once the barley is soft (it will swell to about 3x its original size) mix in the miso. If you are unfamiliar with the taste of mise use one teaspoon. Otherwise add to taste.

Add the frozen sweet corn.

Cook for about 3 more minutes.

Serve hot, topped with grated cheese.

* I don’t waste any time preparing my vegetables beforehand. Once the onion and garlic are ready, they go in the oil which is heated once they are added. Then I start washing and chopping the celery, once ready it goes in the pan and the carrot are prepared. The turnip is prepared after the carrots. The time taken for each prep is about the cooking time needed between each vegetable.



Good Friday = Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Bun

It is just an English tradition. I made these adapting this BBC recipe, which seemed more realistically British with this vegan recipe.

I was interested to read in the introduction to this recipe that the cross on the bun is a fertility symbol not a religious one. Another case of the Christian church adopting a symbol already in use. If you click on the top photo it will take you to wikipedia where you can read more about this ancient English tradition.

Here is another photo of mine:

Hot Cross Bun

There were many different ways of emphasizing the cross, they all cut the cross before baking but one recipe added a lemon glace afterwards. Two used a flour- water mix with one rolling out the arms as a pastry and sticking them in the gaps and the other piped in a flour-water mixture before cooking. I just cut the buns with a knife and left them plain. They were glazed with maple syrup after baking.

I do not honestly remember if hot cross buns were that significant with my family. We were too excited about chocolate Easter Eggs. I made them this time after my boss [at the bookstore] talked about them – his grandmother was from England and he has lots of memories of the different foods she prepared. I was going to go up to Trader Joe’s and see if they had them, but it was too far to go and baking them was fun, if not a little nerve wracking as the dough was less elastic and didn’t rise a much as I expected. I’ll get a chance to make them more successfully next year!

Hot Cross Bun Recipe


1 cup soy milk (warmed)

1 tbs or packet dried bakers yeast

1 tsp sugar

31/2 cups white flour

1/2 cup wholewheat flour

2 tps allspice

1/3 cup butter (about 2/3 of a stick?)

1/2 cups sugar

Zest of one lemon (I peeled mine with a peeler and cut up the strips with scissors – it was actually easier than grating)

3/4 cups currants (use raisins if you cannot find currants) (currants are NOT the same as black currants or red currants)

Hot maple syrup or honey


Mix the soy milk, tsp of sugar and yeast together and set aside to ferment.

Mix the flours, spices, sugar, lemon zest together in a large bowl.

Cut the butter into the flour mix – keep cutting with a table or pastry knife until it is really mixed in flour. Mix the finally bits with your hands as if making pastry.

Stir the yeast-soy milk into the flour and mix to make a dough.

Knead your dough. If it is too dry or too tough add more soy milk or water.

Add the currants – I rolled out the dough and sprinkled about 1/3 of the currants into the middle and rolled up the dough and kneaded it a few times. I did this three times in total.

Roll the dough into a ball and leave covered until doubled (1 h or more).

Punch down and leave again (40 mins or more).

Divide the dough into 16 pieces [this is easier than 12!] and roll into balls. Place balls into parchment paper and flatten slightly. With a sharp knife cut two thirds of the way through to make the cross. Place in a clean plastic bag for 40 mins [not sure why].

Bake in a preheated oven at 475 oF for 10 -15 mins. They should be golden brown on the top.

Remove from oven and glaze with hot maple syrup or honey.

Serve warm (you can heat them in microwave or toast them) on Good Friday with butter.

Sliced open hot cross bun

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