As the light begins to darken all I can think of are piping hot heart-warming soups. My kids do quite like soups as well, luckily. And soups are simple. Naturally, the secret of good tasty food is using the best, the freshest and if possible organically grown products. As many a chef will tell you – it’s 75 % ingredients and the rest is reading a recipe. Our family favourites are simple tomato soup with slow roasted tomatoes (and a swirl of sour cream) and a mexican soup with red lentils served with a heated tortilla, coriander, finely chopped spring onions and a smattering of cummin cheese.
Most kids can handle a small easy to open camping thermos when they are about 8 years old. So, soups can be a really useful thing to send to school. Do make sure your child can open the container and that they know it’s soup today. Also to prevent accidental leaks place in a waterproof container and add a paper serviette. Throw in some things to dip in the soup – whole-wheat sesame bread-sticks, rice crackers – we love the black rice crackers from the Eko centre.
I might use the grill pan to toast whole wheat toasts brushed with olive oil and rubbed with a fresh garlic clove or a tomato. My favourite soup at present is Laska, a wonderfully fragrant malaysian soup enriched with tofu or fish, noodles, loads of herbs and chillies. Laska apparently means 1001 ways which gives one a little leeway in preparing it.
The photo above is from the Saf restaurant in London and that particular version was more than delicious. I do a very popular indian curry paste version which most kids like. Give it a go – it will perfume your house while it cooks and it tempts most all tastebuds. It may also get them eating their orange vegetables. Otherwise try Vardit Kohn’s (of http://www.forgoodness-sake.com) very simple non dairy Broccoli and Cashew Nut soup from her book Koken in Kleur- see link after recipe below.
Rainbow Chickpea Soup – a sort of a yummy laska loved by both my nephews Finn and Cian
one large onion chopped very fine
a mixture of any of the following – peeled and chopped into even sized cubes: carrots, pumpkins of any variety, aubergine, potatoes, turnips, parsley root, swede, parnsips, and sweet potatoes – make about 2 cups of chopped veggies for 4 people, more for 6!
1 – 2 tablespoons of pataks mild curry paste (from marktof, Kelly’s or Amazing Oriental shops)
half a cup of either dairy cream or lite coconut milk
large can of chickpeas, drained
1 inch of grated ginger, and or crushed garlic clove plus chopped fresh coriander,or holy basil, mint or parsley (or a combination of all of those herbs.
2 cups of a good veggie stock ( made up with OXO organic cubes or marigold or Steenbergs organic boullion)
Olive oil or Rice Bran for frying
In a large heavy bottomed pot fry the onion until translucent. Add veggies and 1- 2 tbsps of pataks mild curry paste depending on how spicy you want it. Fry gently for approx 5 minutes, stirring constantly so veggies don’t catch. Add in grated peeled ginger and garlic. Or you can also squeeze out the ginger juice into the mixture, discarding the grated fibres. Add in the liquid stock, the cream or coconut milk and simmer for about 7 minutes more, until veggies are al dente. Then add in drained chickpeas, taste for seasoning adding in more stock if need be, salt etc.
Serve with fresh herbs, toasted whole-wheat of lavash bread!
Broccoli and Cashew-nut soup as shown to us by Vardit Kohn
This was made for my daughter who frankly is not fond of green things! She hasn’t been at all keen on broccoli but was converted by this soup and now makes it herself. By the way when your kids say “What’s in it?” my comeback is to say “You tell me!” Make it a taste competition and see who can guess what is in what! We have a rule in our house – you have to try it before you deny it! Of course everyone has their particular tastes but if you don’t give it a chance, you will never know!
Large head of organically grown broccoli, the greener and fresher the better, broken into pieces
small white onion and or garlic clove
Good veggie stock – 1 oxo cube
80 grams of raw organic cashews
Break the broccoli head into small florets. Boil in a medium saucepan with onion and garlic until tender. Cool and pour water and all into blender. Add in cashew, stock cube, maybe a small teaspoon of curry paste if desired.
Blend and add more water if desired. Taste and season with black pepper and sea-salt.
By the way Vardit Kohn is an excellent public speaker so do invite her to your school to talk about natural nutrition and great food – see http://www.forgoodness-sake.com