Fresh Herb Soup with Turmeric Rice and Soft Maltese Gbejna [gluten free, diabetic friendly]

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‘Fresh herbs are abundant this month.  And with the exception of fresh mint, basil and parsley many of us worry about what to do with big bundles of fresh oregano, tarragon, marjoram and thyme.  Antida gave me a large basket of mixed herbs from her garden this week which also  included ‘English’ curly parsley and purple basil.  I wanted to make the most of them while they were fresh and use fresh herbs as a main ingredient, rather than as a garnish, nearly an afterthought.  I also used organic seasonal vegetables that are delivered to my door every Thursday from Barbuto in Sicily, 60 miles away from us.

The fertile volcanic soil of Sicily make it an agricultural dream and it is comforting to know that the produce is pesticide-free with no artificial additives to enhance it.

The soup is a puree of lightly cooked fresh herbs and organic vegetables topped with a quick rice stir fry of the same finely diced vegetables that are in the puree and to give a nutritional boost as well as enhance the color and flavors I add fresh turmeric root.  If this is not available, use turmeric powder.  The contrast in the texture of the same ingredients in the puree and stir fry bring out different flavors it makes a great meal in itself, with no second courses required.   To make it more local I finished off the soup with  soft Maltese Gbejna Cheese and a garnish of fresh herbs.  I could not eat enough of it !’

fresh herbs goodfoodeveryday

Herbs from Antida’s garden.  All my photos are taken during a live tv show

For the pureed organic vegetable soup will need:
[Serves 4]

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 natural garlic and herb stock cube and 1 litre of water
2 courgettes
2 light green marrows
1 potato
2 carrots
1 pak choi
100g mixed fresh herbs of your choice
a pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and Pepper

Barbuto veg 2

Fruit and vegetables in Barbuto’s organic box this week.  For the soup, choose vegetables of your choice or use seasonal vegetables

For the Turmeric Rice Stir Fry you will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
150g cooked basmati rice
1/2 onion
1 courgette, diced
1 marrow, diced
1 carrot, diced
6 fresh broad beans, peeled
1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric root or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

To finish: 1/2 fresh gbejna per portion, cut horizontally, fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil [if gbejna is not available use feta or ricotta]

For the Soup
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the roughly chopped onion and vegetables. Stir and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Then add the stock cube, the roughly chopped fresh mixed herbs and the pinch of dried herbs and cook for another 5 minutes on low heat, then add the water. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for around 10 -15 minutes until the vegetables soften. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper then use a hand blender to puree to a smooth consistency.

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For the Turmeric Rice
Heat the oil in wok over medium heat. Add the diced onion and vegetables and cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly until they cook through. Do not overcook. Add the cooked basmati rice and mix everything together very well. Cook until it is heated through for around another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Top with the fresh broad beans.

To serve the soup:
Slice the gbejna cheese horizontally into 2 and allow one slice per portion.
Gently reheat the pureed soup if necessary. Use a ladel to fill individual soup bowls. Spoon some of the turmeric rice on top, then arrange the slice of gbejna cheese and garnish with fresh herbs. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil and serve immediately.
fresh herb soup with turmeric vegetable rice

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV every day and you can also follow the facebook page

Trade Enquiries:
Basmati Rice by Grandi at J Calleja Ltd
Kallo Stock Cubes at Good Earth
Fresh Herbs by Big Fresh Mosta
Fresh Organic Vegetables by Barbuto in Sicily

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Oat Soup

broad bean and pea soup with poached egg

Fresh pea and broadbean minty yoghurt soup with poached egg [Tableware by C&H Bartoli, photo Yan Schembri]

‘I use fresh seasonal ingredients for my soup today and in its simplicity this makes a wonderful meal.  The freshness of the peas and broad beans laced with mint leaves reflects the genuine and honest produce of this island blessed with so much.
For the creamy consistency I use oats, not too much, just enough that when cooked and pureed  result in a creamy consistency without the richness. And to finish off a crimson fruit salad of pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries and more, vibrant and so refreshing’

You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil and extra for drizzling
1 onion, roughly chopped and sauteed in the olive oil
2 handfuls of  very fresh mint leaves
2 handfuls of very fresh flat leaf parsley
some other fresh herbs if desired and I used a sprig of fresh basil too
1 bay leaf
500ml water with one all natural vegetable stock cube
300g fresh broadbeans, peeled
200g fresh peas, peeled
50g oats
125ml yoghurt or if lactose free use unsweetened almond milk
1 lime, juice and zest
1 poached egg per person poached in water and 1 tablespoon of apple organic vinegar
salt and pepper
Place the water in a large pot with the stock cube and bring to boil.  Add the sauteed onion (do not allow it to brown when you are cooking it in the olive oil, cooked slowly on low heat to soften it up and bring out the sweetness).

Cook for 5 minutes on a low boil, then add the oats.  Lower the temperature.  Stir constantly and cook for 10 minutes.  Add half the broad beans, half the peas, and a quarter of the fresh mint leaves, parsley and other fresh herbs if you are using.
Cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and white pepper, add the dried mint and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to slightly cool down.  Add the remaining herbs keeping some back to garnish and blend to a smooth puree using a hand blender.  Add half of the remaining broad beans and peas and reheat.
Place a poached egg in each soup bowl.  Pour over the hot soup and scatter some more broad beans and peas on top.  Garnish with fresh mint leaves.


And to finish off a fruit salad.  We will be celebrating Strawberry Festival in the Northern village of Mgarr very soon and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this feast and from today you can follow my daily series of new strawberry recipes.

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Turtle black bean and sweet potato soup

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Black turtle bean soup as seen on TV

‘this is a vegetarian, gluten free recipe and I garnish with a mix of finely diced colorful vegetables, turtle beans that have not been pureed and yoghurt.  Turtle beans have become one of my favorite ingredients and they are full of antioxidants and give a great flavor and consistency to soups and stews’

You will need:

200g black turtle beans
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 bayleaf
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
a handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups stock
1/2 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
dried coriander
To Garnish:
Yoghurt
1 large tomato, blanched and peeled
1/4 yellow bell pepper (finely diced and lightly sauteed)
1/4 orange bell pepper (finely diced and lightly sauteed)
fresh chopped coriander and mint
1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Soak the turtle beans for a few hours.  Rinse and cook in enough water by bringing it to boil, then simmering until the beans are soft.  To quicken the process add 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

Drain the beans and keep aside 3 tablespoons for garnish.

Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic and chopped sweet potato. Add the spices, honey and lemon juice and stir. Add the stock, season, bring to boil and simmer until the vegetables soften up. Do not overcook. Turn off heat. Add the beans and use a hand blender to puree. Pulse the blender so that it is not completely smooth and there is some texture.

To serve reheat and garnish with dices fresh tomatoes, sauteed colored bell peppers, yoghurt, a hint of lemon zest and fresh coriander.

Ingredients are available for home delivery

Kale Soup with Burrata

kale soup with burrata

Kale Soup with Burrata as seen on TV

For the soup you will need:

8 cups boiling water
An organic stock cube
Quarter teaspoon salt (leave out if you prefer)
4 cloves garlic,peels and crushed
10 Kale leaves , remove the middle stalk
1 middle sized onion, finely chopped
1 can canellini beans, remove water, rinse amd drain

4 thick slices bread
4 spoons oliive oil
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Juice of one lemon
Grated rind of one lemon

1/2 burrata per person

Lots of fresh ground pepper

Saute the onion and crushed garlic in some olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped up kale and top up with the boiling water until the leaves are fully immersed. Lower the heat and leave on a gentle boil for half an hour. Add half the lemon juice and lemon rind. stir and turn off heat. Allow to cool and use a hand blender, pulse and whizz making sure that you do not over-blend as the soup is more delcious with the different consistencies. Add the canellini beans keeping some aside for garnish.

Brush some olive oil on to the bread slices. Rub the slices with some garlic. Bake the bread slices at 200C for around 10 minutes. Do not allow to burn or get too crusty.

Place a slice of bread in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour the heated soup onto the bread. Place half a fresh burrata cheese in each soup bowl. I also made some croutons from local sourdough and garnished with canellini beans and croutons.

This is delicious and a meal in itself, no need for a main course. Lots of garlic is needed and yet it does not taste too strong.

goodfoodeveryday felix

And my Collins Street style Christmas cake awaits to be shared very soon, you can watch us via live streaming every afternoon no  matter where you are in the world !

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup As seen on #TVM2

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
As seen on #TVM2

Jerusalem artichokes are at their peak right now and a visit to the farmers market ended up with soup making and some other new recipes to be aired over the next few weeks. For this nutty soup, do not overcook the Jerusalem artichokes.

You will need:

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
a pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
500g Jerusalem Artichokes (washed, sliced 1/4-inch thick)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons mascarpone, one to add to the soup and the other one to finish off before serving
Fresh Parsley, chopped

Place the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over low heat and add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes to remove the other layer, chop and sauté in the saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the stock and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for around 40 minutes until the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender. Add a tablespoon of mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper. Purée until smooth by using a hand blender. Keep warm. Sprinkle with the chive parsley and finish off with the rest of the mascarpone mixed with 4 tablespoons of water. My favorite winter warmer. Serve.

An island steeped in history

An island steeped in history

Parsnip Soup with Sesame Ricotta Crunch

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Winter calls for soups and parsnip makes a most delicious one. They are not the most popular vegetable here but I think that this will be enjoyed by most. You will need:

1 spoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger
4 , peeled and chopped into chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 litre water
1 organic all-natural stock cube
Salt and fresh ground pepper if required

Heat a splash of olive oil large pot. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir and add the chopped parsnip and potatoes. Stir and add the liquid and stock cube. Season well. Turn down the heat and simmer for 35 minutes with a lid on.

Check that the vegetables are cooked by testing with a knife. Remove from heat and use a hand blender to liquidize until the consistency is what you prefer. I left my soup here with a grainy consistency to give more texture. Taste the soup and season.

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For the Sesame Ricotta Crunch

Allow per person:
1 Sesame Seed ricecake
1 spoon crumbled ricotta
1/2 spoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Break up the rice cake, add the crumbled ricotta, then the sesame seeds. Mix but do not overdo it. Place on a heat proof dish covered with baking paper. Grill to crisp slightly. Allow to cool. Use as an alternative to croutons with soup.

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Fennel Soup with Spelt Couscous

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A very cold Mediterranean January calls for more soups on the menu and the delicate anise flavor of this one is delicious.

I use spelt couscous and although did not notice a difference in flavor or texture, it is lower in gluten content than regular couscous.

For the soup, you will need :

1 fennel bulb, chopped, keep aside the fennel leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
1 all natural stock cubes
100g spelt couscous
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 spoon olive oil

Place the vegetables in a large pot and immerse with cold water. Turn on the heat and bring to boil. Lower heat and add the dried fennel seeds and stock cube. As soon as the vegetables are cooked remove from heat. Mime took 35 minutes. Leave to cool. Remove the bay leave.

Use a hand blender to purée the soup. Pass it through a colander to get rid of the ‘strings’ . Chop half of the leaves and add to the soup, add the couscous. Reheat to serve and garnish with more chopped leaves.

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Curried Kohlrabi Soup with Puy Lentils

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Curried Kohl Rabi (Gidra) Soup 

There is nothing more welcoming than a good soup to return to at the end of the day. The addition of curry is wonderful with kohlrabi.

You will need:

3 kohlrabi, peeled
200g green puy lentils
3 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 onions, peel and thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 all natural stock cube
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2 teaspoons curry
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
A light grating of fresh nutmeg
A drizzle of good oil
Salt and pepper to season if desired

curried-kohl-rabi-soup-photo-2

Rinse the puy lentils well then leave them to soak overnight.
Cook according to instructions on the packet. Once cooked drain the water and keep aside.

Fry the onions in a drizzle of oil on low medium heat until they become transparent and lightly caramel use. Do not allow them to crisp.

Remove half the onions and keep aside,

Add the curry powder and ginger, stir until it is cooked through. Add 2 of the kohlrabi ( roughly chopped), the rest of the vegetables, the spices and tomato purée. Stir then immerse the vegetables in water. Turn up the heat and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 35 minutes or as long as the vegetables take to cook but do not overcook.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Use a hand blender to purée until the soup has a smooth consistency.

When you are ready to serve it, heat through, remove from heat and add half the puy lentils. Stir and serve in individual bowls.. Garnish with 2 spoons of puy lentils, some caramel used onions and roasted kohlrabi.

And for the roasted kohlrabi to garnish the top:
1 kohlrabi
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 220 C
Peel the kohlrabi, then cut into small squares. Toss kohlrabi with oil. Lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper. Place in a hot dish and roast for 25 minutes turning over after 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we have 🙂

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I use Kallo all natural stock cubes by Good Earth, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta, tomato puree by Victoria Brand, spices and curry by Schwartz

Carrot, Orange and fresh turmeric soup with gbejna

Featured

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‘Autumn is here early it seems and this soup gives a boost of vitamin C and is loaded with ingredients that are good for us.  It is gluten free and diabetic friendly.  For a vegan or lactose free recipe, leave out those delicious gbejnas.’

You will need :

4 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 large garlic clove
1 bayleaf
1 medium sweet potato
Juice of 1 orange
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest
50ml tomato polpa
1 Oxo Herbs and More Stock Pot
1/4 cm fresh turmeric root
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 hard or soft gbejna
Salt and pepper to season if desired

Place the olive oil in a large pot on low heat.  Chop the vegetables roughly and place in a large pot. Heat through and stir. Add the stock pot and then top the vegetables with water. Immerse the vegetables with water, add the bay leaf, fresh turmeric root and the tomato polpa.
Cook on medium heat and bring to boil, lower heat then add the orange juice and zest. Cook for around 35 minutes. Check that the vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat and cool. Take out the bay leaf. Use a hand held blender to purée until it is very smooth.
Reheat and serve topped with a fresh gbejna or use grated mature gbejna.

Carrot Orange Soup

Carrot Orange Soup with fresh turmeric root and fresh gbejna. Photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You can watch Lea’s Good Food Everyday on Smash TV and follow on facebook

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Trade Enquiries:

Filippo Berio Olive Oil and XTra Tomato Polpa by Rimus Group

Oxo Stock Cubes, Saxa Salt by Premier Foods at George Borg Ltd

Dried Herbs by Good Earth

Fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh Mosta, Oscars Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [organic]

 

 

Carrot orange and cinnamon soup

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Easy, delicious and a touch of Christmas to come, you will need:

1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ginger
4 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 potato
6 cups stock
Juice of 2 oranges
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil on medium heat
Add the ginger and cinnamon stick stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir as needed, so as not to burn the spices.
Add the chopped vegetables and stir.
Cook for a few minutes and then add the stock.
Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Continue to simmer until the carrots are tender and cooked.
Add the orange juice and cinnamon then turn off the heat.
Allow the soup to cool. Remove cinnamon stick blend it to make it smooth.
To serve the soup, heat it up and top it with finely chopped parsley.

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