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Potato and Carrot Soup

carrot and potato soup
A perfect dish for the winter as it is very warming, but its also fantastic in the summer with fresh summer squash

carrot and potato soup

carrot and potato soup

If you fancy a bit of warmth in the winter, try this potato and carrot soup with fresh ginger. Using fresh ginger is a must as the powder form doesn’t give the same punch. There’s certainly a lot of heat stored in this aromatic pungent root vegetable. Some cultures use ginger wrap and ginger compress to treat arthritis and all sorts of ailments including muscle injuries. Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and it aids blood circulation. So, adding fresh ginger to your cooking once in a while is beneficial for health. For this recipe, you can vary the quantities according to your taste.

 

Ingredients
2 pounds carrots peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes peeled and cut into small chunks
2 tsp Fresh ginger, grated – if you like it more spicy add more by all means!
1 Chicken stock cube to 3 cups water
Salt
2 cups milk
Cream – optional
Method

1. Put the carrots, potatoes, onions, salt, ginger and couple of chicken stock cube in a pot of water and bring to boil.

2. Simmer until all the ingredients are soft and let the pot cool down.

3. Blend the whole thing with a hand held blender.

4. If the soup is very watery you can carry on simmering until it is thicker.

5. For our case, we found that the consistency of the soup after blending was too thick so we added two cups of milk to reach the right consistency we wanted.

6. Gently reheat the soup and serve immediately.

7. We added a swirl of fresh cream, it looked fantastic and tasted wonderful with warm bread rolls spread with butter.

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Iced Mint Tea

iced mint tea
When life gives you lemons…

When life throws you a lemon quote

We have a little mint and herb garden in our back yard. Sometimes walking past the area I’m greeted with a waft of minty smell in the air. Mint has a gorgeous and distinctive scent that connects your brain with a sense of freshness and wellness. Recently, I discovered the use of  fresh sprigs of mint to make refreshing iced tea. Having lived in England for well over twenty years, I have acquired a love for English tea that is drunk hot with some milk. And because the weather is generally cold in England, everybody loves a cup of hot tea and thus I became a devoted tea drinker. Now all that’s changed because I’ve moved to America. You won’t find the usual PG Tips, Twinnings, Earl Greys, Yorkshire & Typhoo teas stacked up on the supermarket shelves waiting for you. So whenever our friends come over to visit from England they know by hook or by crook they have to smuggle a good amount of teabags over. I have about 4,000 tea bags in my pantry at the moment. The summer can be so scorching and humid too that drinking hot tea would be like adding coal to the fire. I have developed a small liking for ice tea, and it’s worth taking the time to make it from fresh ingredients than getting the powered form with artificial flavourings.

 

Recipe
1 tea bag
2 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 lemon
Method

1. Put 1 tea bag and 2 springs of mint leaves in to a mug

2. Pour hot water into the mug

3. Allow tea bag and leaves to sit for a minute and discard

4. Dissolve 2 teaspoonful of sugar into the mug

5. Squeeze some lemon juice and add ice cubes

6. Serve with a slice of lemon for decoration and ice!

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Pineapple, peach and mint smoothie

Mix and match

pineapple-peach-mint-smoothie-logo

fresh-mintPineapple, peach and mintpeach-pineapple-smoothie-glass

There are two types of peaches – “Freestone” and “Clingstone”. Freestone peaches have flesh that slips easily away from the pit. Clingstones are just the opposite of freestone and are quite a pain because the fruit tenaciously clings to the stone or pit. To tell when a peach is ready to be picked is a skill of sight, smell and touch. A good tip that you can count on is to carefully study the cleft of the fruit where the branch ends, if it doesn’t have any shade of green left on the skin then it’s an indication it’s ready for picking. And we picked quite a lot of peaches I had to make smoothies. They ripen very quickly.

 

Recipe
100 grams Fresh pineapple
75 ml Pear or apple juice/concentrate – no added sugar
2 to 3 Mint leaves
1 Peach
3 to 4 dates
Method

1. Prepare the pineapple and cut into small chunks.

2. Wash the mint leaves.

3. Put all the ingredients together to fill half the mixer.

4. Pour apple or pear juice all the way up to the maximum line of the mixer.

5. Blend everything until smooth.

6. Serve immediately with some ice cubes.

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Pineapple & Kale Smoothie

Refreshing!

glass-pineapple-kale-smoothie-combo2

This recipe basically incorporates a combination of three world’s healthiest food – pineapple, ginger and kale. Pineapples are packed with the enzyme bromelian, a natural potent anti-inflammatory which plays a major role in the body’s healing process. Ginger has anti-inflammatory compounds as well as anti-bacterial for the immune system. Kale is filled with powerful anti-oxidants and is very good for your bone formation helping to prevent osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. The dates are natural sweeteners and the coconut water is a good hydrating base as it contains electrolytes . If you cannot find coconut water, you can substitute with natural pear or papaya juice without any added sugar.

 

pineapple-kale-smoothie

pineapple-kale-smoothie

I learnt this recipe originally from Whole Foods during a live demonstration. What I love so much about this smoothie is the hint of fresh ginger which imparts a little warmth in the mouth. I was so surprised to learn that coconut is now the health food, and soy has been demoted! That’s all because of large scale agriculture of genetically modified food. At one time, coconut was deemed as unhealthy because of the saturated fat content, which ounce for ounce surpasses butter. And now, there are so many health secrets discovered in coconut! But I guess as with all things excessive amount isn’t good for you.

 

Recipe
1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped into chunks
2 cups Baby kale leaves
7 Organic dates
Coconut water (and if you cannot find coconut water you may substitute it with papaya, pear or apple juice).
1 inch slice fresh root ginger
1 cup Ice cubes

 

Method

1. Make sure the baby kale leaves are washed and drained.

2. You can use a bit of the core of the pineapple.

3. Layer your smoothie blender with the pineapple, kale, dates and a small section of root ginger and pour in the coconut water or papaya juice.

4. Blend  everything.

5. You can decide what proportions of ingredients you want in your smoothie. Generally I would use lots of pineapple because of its sweetness and less of the kale and perhaps only a couple of dates.

Serve with ice cubes.