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FOOD

This isn't raspberry fool... but you're no fool either if you try this recipe. It's a great, simple way to make something ordinary a bit special.

Raspberry treat

Ingredients

Raspberries

Low fat yoghurt

Half a digestive biscuit per serving.

Modus Operandi

Wash the respberries if you are fussy, obnviously you can choose any fresh fruit that works as small bite-sized pieces, from mandarin segments to blueberries or even chopped apple. Put in a bowl and slop yoghurt over the top.

Crumble half a digestive biscuit over the top for a little bit of crunch.

This is vegetarian, for a vegan version choose a vegan biscuit and something like almond-based 'yoghurt'.

How to Eat

Great as a dessert or a healthy breakfast.

By the Way

Choose the shop's own budget brand of yoghurt in a big tub, it will be live, low fat, no added sugar and full of good bacteria and pro-biotics. Just as tasty and as good for you as the ridiculously priced 'health fad' brands. It's healthier than cream and tastes just as good.

This is a really quick, filling soup with simple ingredients, most of which you can leave out or substitute if you get stuck.

Think of it as a rather different and milder alternative to Dragon's Milk Soup.

Parsnip Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 medium parsnips
  • 1 tidgy sweet potato
  • 1 onion
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Ground black pepper
  • Some oregano
  • Blob of crushed ginger (or real ginger if you can be bothered!)

Modus Operandi

Wash and top and tail the pasrnips. Peel the onion, garlic and sweet potato (great use for that small one left over in the back of the fridge).

Chop up everything bigger than a small thing, including the coriander. Don't chop up the small bits.

Arrange everything on a chopping board and take a posey photo for Instagram/Twitter/Whatevs.

Stuff it all in the soup  maker and top up with hot water.

Cook on the smooth soup setting but don't be surprised if it has quite a 'texture'.

Parsnip soup ingredients

How to Eat

Put in a nice bowl on top of a posh plate. Serve with quality seedy wholemeal bread, healthy olive spread and a spoon. Serves two.

When I say two, that's two hungry adults. You could eat less. But if you eat it all don't feel bad it's not very calorificacious.

Vegetarian, vegan if you don't use bread. Gluten free if you don't use bread and your soy sauce is wheat free.

By the Way

Scots people call parsnips 'neeps'. If you think that's weird, Americans call coriander 'cilantro'. The world is a big and scary place if you're a food item.

And why do you need feeding instructions? I suppose pot plants need feeding instructions, so why not humans?

If you want to eat something really unusual and potentially fiery try Dragon's Milk Soup, I can guarantee you won't find this soup in any restaurant but it's so good it deserves a Michelin Star of its own! The secret is the combination of milk and parsnip.

This most excellent soup is both vegan and gluten free (depending on what bread and spread you decide to eat with it).

Dragon's Milk Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 Parsnips, wonky ones are fine
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 orange, yellow or red pepper
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet chilli for real fury or use less potent chillis to suit your taste and to enjoy the flavours.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Milk or Almond milk
  • Generous dash of soy sauce (gluten free soy sauce tastes richer, even if you aren't a coeliac)
  • Black pepper

Modus Operandi

Wash everything that isn't peeled or from a jar and cut any nasty bits off.

Top and tail the parsnip and chop into slices. Don't peel, that's where much of the flavour lurks, put it in the soup maker.

De-seed the pepper and chop it, dice a potato. Peel the onion and garlic, chop them too and put them all in the soup maker.

Chop your choice of chillies taking precautions, especially against getting it in your eyes. If you want super heat, leave the seeds in, if you want it milder use whatever chilli you prefer and remove the seeds (or just add a dash of chilli sauce).

Make the soup up to the fill line with milk or almond milk to make it vegan.

Add a dash or two of soy sauce, as a healthier way to bring out the flavours than salt.

Cook on the 'smooth soup' setting.

How to Eat

Serve in a bowl with a spoon and top with ground black pepper. Serve with chunky wholemeal bread and olive spread or gluten-free alternative.

There's a whole spectrum from super hot to subtle warmth depending on your choice and quantity fo chilli, but whatever you choose it is a really great, filling soup.

If you are eating alone you can freeze in a suitable container or keep the soup in the fridge for a few days.

By The Way

The soup can be made vegan and gluten free, whether or not the bread and spread is depends on what you choose.

Parsnips keep well in the fridge, especially in a paper bag. They tend to sweat and go nasty if you keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Rip a hole in the bag or better still, buy them loose and don't bother with a bag at all. Even better, grow your own!

Staffordshire Oatcakes are a popular local flatbread, like a pancake in sixe and thickness but in texture and appearance with much in common with a crumpet.

If you want a really filling calorie-stoked vegetarian breakfast, try this recipe. The oats will partly offset the impact of all that cholesterol!

You can cook it in a panini maker, but if you prefer you can make it in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat with just very little vegetable oil. At a push you can use soft tortillas, chapatis or even slices of wholemeal bread.

oatcake finished

Ingredients

  • 2 Staffordshire Oatcakes
  • Handful grated cheese, mature cheddar or similar
  • Free range egg
  • Black pepper

oatcake ingredients

Modus Operandi

Put one oatcake on the panini maker. Make a ring around the outside with the grated cheese. Break the egg into the middle, top with black pepper and another oatcake.

Gently close the panini maker and switch it on. Cook until it's obvious the egg is cooked as you like it.

Was that too complicated, should I repeat the instructions?

oatcake ready to cook

How to Eat

Posh folks will cut it into polite slices, but you can eat it with your fingers if you are in a hurry. Consider topping it with brown sauce. Nice with a big mug of tea while you read the news on your phone. You can also roll it up and eat it cold for lunch.

Other Ideas

You can add herbs, a dash of soy sauce or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce if you like. For a total Midlands foodgasm, use mature Stilton cheese.

Forget expensive carton soups, they usually have too much salt (or charge you extra for leaving it out) and skimp the ingredients that really matter.

Here's a version of classic Carrot and Coriander Soup that will locate inferior ready made versions and nuke them from orbit with extreme prejudice. Note the green colour, use a generous handful of coriander, don't mess about with tiny quantities, its a proper ingredient in this soup not an optional herb.

I'm assuming you have a soup maker, if not just boil everything up and at the end whiz it up with a blender (wait until it's cooled a bit or you may need to redecorate afterwards) or even mash it up by hand and call it chunky soup.

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 big carrots (they usually taste stronger than small ones)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 medium potato
  • A big handful of coriander
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Generous dash of soy sauce
  • Ginger powder, say about a heaped teaspoon (optional)
  • Dried Parsley (optional)
  • Black pepper
  • Chilli sauce (optional)

Modus Operandi

Wash everything that isn't peeled or from a jar and cut any nasty bits off. I won't keep repeating this.

Wash the carrots, top and tail and chop into chunks. Don't peel, that's where most of the flavour is. Chuck in the soup maker.

Chunk the spud with its peel on. Peel the onion and garlic, chop them up and all into the machine.

Chop the coriander into short bits. Don't leave long stems, they will wind round the chopper in the soup maker and burn out your motor (don't ask...) You can use all the coriander that hasn't gone yellow or slimy, even the stems.

Your aiming to fill the soup maker up to the top line, but if it goes a bit higher,squash everything down.

Add a dash or two of soy sauce, it adds the same savoury as pure salt with much less total salt and more taste.

Add the ginger powder, if you've got any, and some dried parsley. Ditto with chilli sauce, only you can judge how much, I like my soup to be hot so happily put in a tablespoon of Encona or Ghost Chilli Sauce, but if you don't just use a few drops of Tabasco.

Add some ground black pepper, unless you are a professional chef when you'll add it at the end.

Top up to the line with boiling water and set it off on the 'smooth soup' setting.

How to Eat

Seriously? You don't know how to eat soup?

Serve in a bowl with a spoon. Nice with real bread or wholemeal bread with lots of olive spread. More calories in the breads and spread than the soup, so great for dieting but very filling.

Put a sprig (love that word!) of coriander on top if you want to impress someone or you plan to share a pic on Insta or Tik Tok. Food is for eating not watching but you might as well do something with it while it cools.

If there's two of you you get a bowl each, for one of you half of it should fill one of those clip-top soup mugs and freeze or keep in the fridge for a few days.

By The Way

The soup is vegan and gluten free, whether or not the bread and spread is depends on what you choose.

Carrots, coriander and parsley are all umbelliferous plants, related to parsnips. The strong smelling oily compounds that make them taste so distinctive are meant to put off (or even harm) insect pests, but obviously carrot flies haven't leaned how to access Wikipedia yet.