This is a sweet and flavoursome root vegetable soup, perfectly fortifying for those colder days.
Ingredients, for a large pot to serve four people:
half a cup of red split lentils
5 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
5 medium carrots, scraped and chopped
2 small potatoes, diced but with skins left on
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 large sticks of celery, chopped
several sprigs of fresh rosemary (dried can be substituted), finely chopped or scissored into the pan
water to cover
salt and pepper to taste
Place the lentils in a large pan and cover well with water. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer while you prepare the other vegetables. Add the chopped veg and rosemary and cover well with more water (cooking time is reduced if you boil the water in a kettle first). Once the vegetables are tender, mash thoroughly and add salt and pepper. Nice garnished with fresh parsley or finely chopped spring onions as in the picture above.
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Wild garlic grows on the edges of woodlands from March onwards and can be used for wonderful garlic flavour in many dishes. Also see wild garlic pesto
Ingredients to serve four people:
six large carrots, scraped and chopped
four sticks of celery, chopped
a good bunch of wild garlic leaves
a handful or two of cashew nuts depending how creamy you want it
salt to taste
Place carrots and celery in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer for a few minutes. Add the wild garlic and cook for a few minutes more, until everything is tender. Pour into blender jug with nuts and salt. Blend and enjoy.
Tips: If your blender is not very strong, try soaking the cashews in water overnight to soften them. You can use 3 or 4 cloves of normal garlic in place of the wild garlic. Add a bunch of coriander for a popular classic!
Other wild food recipes on site: dandelion pancakes and nettle soup
Radishes are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden, a pack of seeds are full grown in a few weeks making lovely crimson additions to salads. We were delighted when Julia Barr sent us this lovely recipe using their tops (leaves), the part which is usually thrown away. No exact quantities are given so adjust to how many tops you have!
vegetable oil or soya margarine
chopped radish tops
vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion in oil or margarine until soft, add the potato and radish tops, stir until coated in oil/margarine. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer until the potato is soft, whiz in a blender until creamy, add soya milk to loosen, add salt and pepper to taste.
A real treat, creamy and yummy and an extra revelation: fresh tarragon is an excellent inclusion!
Lentil Soup – a nice broth with bread or a filling chunky variety. This soup is simple to make, nutritious and cheap, cheap, cheap Quantities below makes a pan to feed four people.
red lentils – half a cup to one cup depending how thick you want it
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, diced
water to cover well
stock of choice (we like a spoon of Vecon Stock with extra vits for winter!)
salt if needed, depending on stock used
Place lentils and water in pan and bring to the boil while preparing the other vegetables. Add them and stock, cook until tender. Mash or partially blend if you wish. Ta-da!
Add other veg such as diced potatoes and celery or chopped greens near the end of cooking.
Add a tin of tomatoes and/or tomato puree with a handful of pasta to cook along with the lentils for a much thicker hearty soup.
Although a hot dish it is nice for summer days as the mint is refreshing. This does make a large pot – it worked out well for a family of four to have over two lunches, storing it in the fridge overnight.
250g/6oz (half a standard pack) of spaghetti (value spag – 19p approx)
approx 9 or 10 cups of water/about 4 pints
4 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 sticks of celery, diced quite small
a good handful of fresh mint (or 3 teaspoons of dried – most frugal if from your own garden obviously – seeds here)
seasalt to taste
Break the spaghetti up into small pieces (about 6 cm./2 inches long) into a large saucepan. Cover with the water and turn up the heat to full. Bring to the boil while you prepare and add the other ingredients with the exception of the mint. Once boiling turn down to simmer for about 15 minutes until everything is cooked. Add the mint and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes and serve sprinkled with generous amounts of chopped fresh parsley (optional but it was really good!)
A tasty way to use up leftover rice. Particularly cheap if you have your own herbs on hand in the garden or a pot. We used rosemary which is very easy to grow – most cuttings grow just from being stuck in the ground without any additives, so ask your green fingered friends or snip some bits in parks/public gardens Of course you could just buy some. It’s a very hardy perrenial too, so good for the British winters staying green and edible throughout (see snow in pic).
a little olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin of tomatoes
water (fill tin and rinse out tomato juice with it)
cooked rice (we used about 2 cups of brown rice here but the quantity is variable – add more/less water if needed)
a good handful of fresh herbs (or a teaspoon of dried)
a squirt of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes then add tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Add your rice and herbs (fresh herbs are easiest cut in with a scissors) then the tomato puree. Cook for 10 minutes or so longer, stirring occasionally taste to check that the veg and herbs are cooked, season and enjoy!
Soup and some bread has long been a staple, cheap meal… and you know what? It’s delicious and good for you
A wonderful, very cheap but nutritious recipe, using what veggies you have in the fridge/bits from the garden/whats on offer in the shops/local from the farm shop or market. Beware the supermarkets latest credit crunch cashing in “frugal” scam: selling apparently very cheap packs of things, which are actually just much smaller than usual amounts and not any different in price per kilo. Look to grow some of your own, even herbs on a windowsill, find out if there is a farm shop or farmers market near you – produce from these is usually cheaper and fresher.
2 teaspoons of vegetable margarine or oil
1 onion or leek, chopped
couple of cloves of garlic, chopped (optional)
1 large potato or two smaller ones, peeled and chopped – don’t use too many here. One or two gives thickness to the soup, more makes it gloopy and reminiscent of wallpaper paste… not what you want!
a mixture of veg of your choice. The pictured blender jug and very green soup had (leek, potato, garlic), 3 carrots, several broccoli florets form the garden, quite a few perpetual spinach leaves (leaf beet) from garden, dark green cabbage leaves also garden sourced It also included small bunches of sage and parsley. Obviously this led to a very green soup. A focus on say parsnips and red peppers would give a nice pinky red one – a tin of tomatoes could be added too. Don’t forget wild foods – nettles make a nice inclusion to soup.
salt to taste
water to cover
Fry the onion/leek and garlic in the oil or marg. for a few minutes then add the potato and any other non-green leafy veg such as carrots/parsnips/peppers/cougettes etc. Cover with water and cook gently until the potato is soft. Then add any greens that are going in and cook for a few minutes. Alternatively at this juncture you can add the greens and turn off the heat, make sure the lid is properly on and leave it for a little while to slow cook without power (10 minutes onwards). Blend it all up and enjoy, maybe with some herb bread?