Community, Food

Minestrone Soup Recipe

vegetables

Before the southern summer heat vents its spleen and the northerners tuck themselves in for winter,  a nutritious meal that might ward off cold and flu viruses that accompany seasonal changes, could be just what we need.

Such as Minestrone served with some crusty rolls/baguette slices.

Minestrone

Minestrone

There are a multitude of recipes for Minestrone out there, from basic to gourmet, but I tend to think the best for me, is a mixture of both. Something easy to prepare, easy to cook and simple to remember, especially when I am out shopping for ingredients. 

Saute, simmer and sip…..that is my mantra when making soups. You don’t want to be fussing too much, nor for too long.

Minestrone Soup can be a complete meal in a bowl, providing plenty of protein, carbohydrate, minimal fat, green vegetables, lots of fibre plus vitamin C, A , B, beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc and more.

It is also a great way to use up those leftover vegetables that are heading towards their use-by date.

vegetables

The recipe can be adapted to feed a hungry horde or a small two person family. Another advantage is that you can cook this in one large saucepan, if you wish (read: less washing up), or you may prefer to saute the ingredients separately. This is totally your choice.

Recipe – My Minestrone

  • 1 tbspn Olive Oil (cold pressed virgin olive oil is best)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Onions, sliced and diced
  • 2 rashers Bacon ( this is optional, if you want to keep it vegetarian)
  • 500 ml (2 U.S. cups) Beef/Chicken/Vege Stock, plus 1/2 cup extra stock in reserve.
  • An assortment of vegetables which might include:
    • 2 – 3 Carrots, sliced & diced
    • 1/2 cup sliced cabbage
    • 2 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 3 celery stalks, diced but keep leaves and top of stalk whole
    • 1/2 cup Frozen/fresh sliced beans
    • 2 zucchinis, diced into large chunks
    • 1/2 cup Spinach, chopped roughly (frozen or fresh)
    • 1-2  Handfuls of torn fresh basil leaves
  • 440 g (15oz) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 120g (5oz) tin Beans of your choice (cannellini, kidney or even a can of four bean mix)
  • 1/2 cup dried Pasta* , preferably small shells/spirals but any pasta will do nicely

* Time-saving tip: Use leftover cooked pasta, instead of dried/fresh.

  • splash of red wine (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Herbs such as Oregano, parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (fresh) for garnish
soup

What you can do whilst watching TV or listening to some good music, otherwise known as the:

Method

  1. Begin to heat the stock in a large saucepan.
  2. In a separate pan, saute bacon, onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, and add the stock.
  3. Add prepared vegetables and basil leaves to the pan and saute for about 3-5  minutes depending on the quantities used.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables to the stock mix along with the whole celery leaves, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and red wine) and bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes – quite enough time to take a power nap, relax, change the playlist, check email, (although I don’t encourage the latter). You could even try some of the wine, if you decided to add some to the soup! Not too much, though, or you might forget to include the last few steps of the recipe!  
  6. I like to remove the Bay and celery leaves at this point, otherwise it is difficult to retrieve them later on.  
  7. Add the dried pasta, herbs and seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cook for about 8 -10 minutes. It should be starting to smell oh-so-good!!!    
  9. Drag yourself away from the computer, or the wine, to check on the stove! At this stage, it should look a bit like a thick casserole as opposed to a soup. You can leave it this way, if you prefer, or
  10. Add around extra 1/2 – 3/4 cup stock or water, to thin it down a little.
  11. Heat through, taste test to adjust seasonings, and serve, garnished with a little fresh shaved Parmesan.

Voila – A complete meal in a bowl and little washing up!

soup
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Community, Food, Gardening

Do you ‘Kiwi?’

Boost your ImmunityKiwi fruit

With the change of season, it is always prudent to increase your immunity levels with a Vitamin C boost. But before you reach for the vitamin bottle, there ARE ways to increase your Vitamin C intake naturally, and one way is to eat plenty of Kiwi fruit.

And why not? Not only are they considered to be the most nutrient dense of over 20 commonly enjoyed fruits, but they are so delicious, it is almost as if you are eating a sweet dessert, without the fat, and for only 100 Calories per serve. The perfect snack.

Once known as the Chinese gooseberry, its name was changed during the 1950’s presumably because it grew prolifically in the “shaky isles” and resembled the Kiwi, is prolific a small flightless bird that inhabits New Zealand’s shores. ( both are small brown and furry!)

 Nutritional Benefits

Two kiwi fruits have TWICE the Vitamin C content of an orange, as much POTASSIUM as a banana, (30 % of the recommended daily intake of potassium  which is essential for lower blood pressure and if you are taking prescribed diuretic medication) and, the FIBRE of a bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal!

Availability

Harvesting kiwifruit in Australia begins in April and continues to the end of May. And that is the best time for eating, which generally coincides with a lot of coughs and colds doing the rounds of the community.

Shelf life will increase if Kiwi fruit are kept refrigerated.

 

Recipe – Kiwi Salsa

If you don’t have a sweet tooth: Kiwis can be used in savoury dishes like this one   from Allrecipes.com

 

Something to munch on today!

 

 

 

Community, Food

Reducing salt intake: what can we do?

Do you get affected by salt? After trying to reduce my salt intake for several years, I now suffer a bad headache the day after a meal that is heavily salted, such as pizza with olives, or anchovies, or fish n chips!

jennovafoodblog

Not a whole lot is new with me… just continuing to write a lot for the new magazine I’ve been working for while climbing as much as possible in Kentucky. Feeling quite a bit stronger lately- happy to see some performance improvements :). I was also featured as a ‘weekend warrior’ on the Glacier National Park website! Pretty cool I think :)! Here’s the link! http://www.glacier-national-park-travel-guide.com/weekend-warriors-july-24th-2013.html

Here’s a picture of me climbing at Torrent Falls in the Red :).
rrg 152

This article can also be found on the Sunwarrior website 🙂 http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/reducing-salt-intake-what-can-we-do/

Sodium chloride, aka salt, is the most commonly consumed mineral by humans. It is required daily for survival (approximately 500mg), with an exquisite system to ensure its consumption: cravings. Since virtually everyone has about one to two times more salt than what’s needed, the above cravings are unlikely to be driving the current consumption levels, which can be largely…

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