Hearty clean minestrone soup

When the weather turns cold, sometimes there’s simply nothing better than a hearty soup to see you through the day. But rather than fill up with one containing pasta which may leave you feeling bloated, a couple of tweaks provides you with an equally delicious, clean version of it which you can turn to whenever you fancy a warm comforting meal!

Ingredients:

Dessert spoon coconut oil
1 medium red onion
1 clove garlic
1 medium carrot, diced in half cm-ish squares
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
4 skinned, chopped tomatoes (to skin, cover in boiling water until skin ‘cracks’ & feels loose, then peel) 1/2 tin cannelini beans
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 mug quinoa, rinsed
1.2L vegetable stock / bouillon

Salt & pepper to taste

Generous handful of spinach, finely chopped
1 level tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

Method: Soften the onions, garlic, carrot, pepper and celery, thyme and bay leaf. When the veg are tender, add the tomatoes, beans, rinsed quinoa and 1L stock and cook on a medium heat for around 15-20 mins (until the quinoa is tender, but not overdone). Add more stock if required.

When cooked, remove from the heat, and remove the bay leaf. To serve: Season with salt & pepper and stir in the spinach & fresh basil.

Add a few parmesan shavings if you fancy.

Tasty chicken stock

An absolute kitchen essential in my book. Once you know how to make a great chicken stock, you have a delicious base for all your soups and sauces. When you want to save the pennies too, it makes your chicken stretch out to another meal. Once you’ve made it once you’ll never want to chuck a chicken carcass away again.

My kids love it too – with cubed leftover chicken, and some angel hair noodles crushed into it, it turns into a super-nutritious and filling soup!

You will need:

1 leftover chicken carcass – include all the bones from legs, wings, thighs, body, the works.
2 large, or 3 medium-sized organic carrots, chopped roughly
2 sticks celery, chopped into 1/2″ slices
1 medium sized onion, peeled and quartered
2 small or 1 large bay leaf
The juice from the chicken, saved from cooking, fat drained off
1.5 litres cold water (or enough to cover the carcass)
Salt & pepper

A large strainer

Take a medium sized pan (10″ish diameter). Place all ingredients in the pan.

Bring to the boil, and boil on a medium-high heat for 20 mins, before turning down to a low simmer – just enough to see bubbles on the surface of the stock for 2-3 hours. It’s ready when you taste it and you can’t stop tasting it (and its slightly thicker than water in consistency)!

Strain, cool, and store in the fridge. Eat within a couple of days (if it lasts that long!).