Quick And Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Brought up on my mothers home cooked traditional meals, I am no stranger to soup… honestly, I can ramble a good 20 odd straight off the top of my head at any given time. However, it seems to me there are a lot of people around me these days who don’t know how to make soup, or hold of a lot of misconceptions about soup. Despite what people may think soup doesn’t have to be labourious or take hours to make, instead, soups can be one of the simplest, easiest, heartiest things you can make.

Vegetable Soup

Bonuses

  • Great for bulk cooking
  • Freezes well
  • One-pot cooking
  • Versatile
  • Healthy
  • Quick and easy *ready in approx 15 minutes

Ingredients (per serve)

  • 200 grams of cauliflower
  • 50 grams (about ½ a medium) carrot
  • 50 grams of frozen peas
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper
  • ½ medium tomato
  • ¼ medium onion
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock – or water with a stock cube added
  • Drizzle of oil – for cooking

Herbs and Spices *Please adapt the spices to your taste preferences. You can simply double the quantity of spices/herbs if you like them.

  • ¼ teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder - you can use fresh garlic if you prefer
  • ½ teaspoon of italian herbs – I used oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram
    *You can also use herbs like dill, rosemary or fennel to suit your taste preferences
  • ¼ pepper
  • Pinch of salt - if your stock is salty you might not need this

Equipment

  • 1 small pot with a lid - if you’re only making a single serve. If you don’t have a lid, you may need to use more stock/water
  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board
  • Blender – I used a handheld blender
  • Spoon
  • Knife or fork

Nutrition

  • 200g or cauliflower is approx 50 calories
    A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
  • 50g of carrot is approximately 20 calories
    A great source of vitamin A
  • 50 grams of peas approx 30 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, B1, K, Manganese and fibre.
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper approx 30 calories
    A great source of vitamin C as well as B6 and A
  • ½ medium tomato approx 10 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, and vitamin K
  • ¼ medium onion approx 10 calories
    A good source in vitamin C, was well as dietary fiber, and folic acid
  • The nutritional content and health benefits of the remaining ingredients including stock, herbs and spices will depend on the type you use.
    However, according to my research, 500mls of the average supermarket stock will set you back approx 40 calories.

Process

  1. Chop cauliflower, capsicuim, onion and caorrot roughtly. The size of your cutting will determine the cooking time, the smaller the quicker it will cook so I recommend small florets for the cauliflower, 1.5cm cubes for the carrot and ½ cm strips for the capsicum and onion.
    Note: To speed up the process, I cut my onions, and whilst sauteing them I cut the rest of my vegetables.

  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, herbs and spices and sauté until onions are transparent, approx 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add stock. When the liquid boils, add the carrot and cauliflower. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the capsicum and tomato. Cook until the carrot and cauliflower is tender. This should take approx another 3-5 minutes depending on how small you cut your vegetables.
    Note: To test of vegetables are tender, simply taste a vegetable or place a sharp knife on a vegetable, and applying very minimal pressure, the knife should enter the vegetable with little give. If the knife meets resistance in the middle of the vegetable, more so than the outer portion of the vegetable it is not quite ready.
  4. Once tender. Turn off heat, and add peas.
  5. Vegetable SoupBlend soup to desired consistency. I use a handheld blender and simply give it a quick 5-10 second buzz.
    Note: Be careful of any splash back if you are blending the soup whilst it is still hot.

  6. Serve immediate, or let cool and pack away in the fridge for tomorrows lunch, or freeze for an evening you can’t be bothered cooking.

Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Cauliflower rice has become the core to of many of the dishes I have recently been making. My new found obsession with Instagram really opened my eyes to just how much of a staple this simple idea has become. And I’m not surprised, because if I can get my traditional Polish family enjoying it to the point it gets requested I’m sure you and your family or friends will enjoy it too.

10306478_10152522355171871_2023850728592781835_nWhy It’s Great

  • Great for bulk cooking
  • Freezes well
  • Can be made the day before
  • Versatile
  • Healthy – It’s a vegetable!

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower (or however much you want to make)

Nutrition

  • 600g or 1 medium head = approx 150 calories
  • 4 serves of 150g = approx 37.5 calories per serve
  • A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
  • Also contains choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin (B7).
  • When compared with cooked white rice, 600g will set you back 780 calories, or 130 calories per 150g serving.
  • Nutritionally is doesn’t even come close. Whilst white rice is a good source of folate, thiamine (B1), niacin (B3) as well as containing some magnesium, manganese, and iron, its 90% carbohydrate content really fails to provide fiber.

Process

1) Cut your cauliflower into several pieces. This will help you get it into your food processor and process more evenly.

Blending Cauliflower Rice

2) Process fresh cauliflower until it is the size of rice. If your food processor has a pulse setting I recommend you use this. Otherwise, blend for 2 seconds, pause, check the texture and keep doing this until it’s the right texture.
Note: If you don’t have a food processor you can use a hand grater or cut the cauliflower using the knife, however this can get quite messy.

3) You can serve it raw, however I don’t enjoy the taste of raw cauliflower, and I find it doesn’t quite act like rice as well as it does when cooked. You can cook your cauliflower rice in a couple ways. My personal preference (for textural, bulk cooking and nutritional reasons) is to steam it over the stove, using a pot with a lid, water and a colander.

Cauliflower Rice BowlNote: If you don’t want to steam your cauliflower rice over the stove you can microwave it in a bowl with a cover. The moisture from the cauliflower will steam in the bowl and cook the cauliflower accordingly.

Note: With both options I do recommend stirring the cauliflower rice half way through the cooking process to ensure even cooking. I find it usually takes about 5 minutes to steam, however it may take longer depending on your equipment etc. It’s definitely worth giving it a try at 2.5 minutes when you stir it, and then again at 5 minutes and leaving it to cook further if required.

Cauliflower Stirfry

4) If you are looking to cook a dish such as a stirfry with cauliflower rice it is worth letting it sit and dry a little before using it… As you would with regular rice. Day old is best, but even 5-10 minutes to cool will do if you’re in a rush. This simply ensures the integrity of the texture is kept in tact.

5) Freeze it. Store it in the fridge. Serve it straight up. But most importantly, no matter how you choose to serve it, enjoy!

The Naked Fig, Swanbourne

Every time I talk food with my friends there seems to be this major divide between those with somewhat more alternative diets such as vegetarians, vegans, gluten free fans and paleo lovers versus those with more traditional tastes such as carnivores and meat-carb only devouties. But no matter your eating style the one thing we all share in common is that we all deserve and enjoy being spoiled when we go out. So why can’t we all just get along? And why can’t restaurants appeal to all of us equally? Well I’ve found a place everyone can get equally spoiled no matter what their foodie preference.

This year I’ve been to the Naked Fig on three separate occasions – a degustation, a cooking class and a blogger dinner – and I can honestly say I’ve felt beyond spoiled on every occasion… and so have the people I’ve brought along to these events.

potato gnocchi, roast beets, swiss chard, candied walnuts

potato gnocchi, roast beets, swiss chard, candied walnuts

Located on the stunning Swanbourne beach, The Naked Fig makes the most of it’s surroundings. A large outdoor dining area and open indoor dining area looking out of the wall of glass windows/doors means you are always in for a spectacular view no matter where you choose to sit. Gorgeous sparkling sunlit water and glowing beaches give way to romantic sunsets and a lovely interior design that truly comes alive in the evening. And the staff continue to bring out the best of The Naked Figs wonderful atmosphere with their consistently polite, friendly and attentive service.

baked leek nicoise, black olives, rosemary, poached egg, confit tomatoes

baked leek nicoise, black olives, rosemary, poached egg, confit tomatoes

The Naked Figs menu is seasonal, and provides plenty of vegetarian items and vegan options. You won’t need to beg, plead, miss out or be judged here, because the dishes you’ll be choosing from are guaranteed to make even the most devout carnivore question their meaty loyalty. But don’t worry meat eaters, I guarantee you have not been overlooked. From tender lamb to melt in the mouth beef, pork and juicy poultry and seafood, there is going to be something on the menu that makes your heart skip a beat or two, and makes any of your veggie guests question their moral compass. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or a carnivore, a health freak or the indulgent type, there is going to be something spectacular for you… so much so you’re likely to find yourself wondering whether the dish was somehow created just for you and your taste-buds.

lamb cutlets, cumin pumpkin, roast chickpeas

lamb cutlets, cumin pumpkin, roast chickpeas

And for all those veggie, vegan and gluten free lovers out there surrounded by die-hard steak fans, or all of you carnivores who have found themselves partnered with a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free eater, I’ve found a great way to satisfy and impress both parties. On Tuesdays the Naked Fig does “Vego Tuesday”, where half the menu is devoted to vegetarians, vegans and gluten free-ers, whilst the other half is dedicated to carnivores, so much so it actually says ‘herbivores’ and ‘carnivores’ on the menu.

cheese board

cheese board

The dessert portion of the menu never fails to deliver either with a selection of sweet treats and savoury cheeses to satisfy anyone, and give you the perfect excuse to stay a while longer. And don’t worry beverage buffs, you’re covered too, with the drinks menu offering everything from perfectly matching wines to beers, cocktails and creamy (grass fed) butter coffee which really packs a rich punch. On a side note, after giving the butter coffee a try, I can really see it becoming a bit of a next big thing around town, so keep an eye out for it.

creamy (grass fed) butter coffee

creamy (grass fed) butter coffee

Simply put, as far as restaurants go in Perth the Naked Fig is definitely in my select top handful. Whether you’re trying to treat your partner, spoil your mum, or give your bride a wedding to remember, I recommend giving the Naked Fig a try. Just be aware the chances are you’ll end up being devotedly hooked like me and smiling widely every time the place is mentioned… but there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Naked Fig Cafe on Urbanspoon

Time For A Healthier Grizzly Bear

Eva and AppleRecently many of you will have noticed some changes in the types of foods I’ve been blogging about, and those of you who follow my Facebook page, profile or Instagram account will have noticed a significant shift in the types of food I have been enjoying… particularly towards vegan, vegetarian and paleo foods. And though I am none of these things, I have in-fact recently started to rediscover my passion for the healthier things in life. And whilst my passion of food and cooking remains, the types of things I am looking to share with you are now inspired by my goal to find a healthy balance in my life… something that seems to elude so many of us.

As many of you know, I was born into a love filled Polish family where I was brought up on my mother’s freshly made traditional Polish food. To this day I can remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen watching my mum cook schnitzels and pumpkin soups. This kick started my love of food and cooking, which then led me to spend my childhood dreaming of becoming a chef and opening up my own cafe or restaurant. Though my passion for food developed early on, I was actually known to be one of the fussiest eaters around until I hit my twenties.

Porridge With Kiwi Fruit, Banana, Strawberries, Blueberries, Cinnamon, Chiaseeds and Ground FlaxseedsIn my early twenties I spend just over a year living in a vegan/vegetarian orientated household. This was initially a shock to my system, as I was coming from a home were meat, carbohydrates and butter were at the core of most meals. After a short period of time my body adjusted, and I found myself thriving on a whole new world of flavours and healthy dishes. I was exercising regularly and smiling every day. What I didn’t foresee happening was just how badly my body would react to all foods I use to enjoy so much when I moved back to my family home. But once again my body adjusted, my food habits shifted and I never did quite get back to that lively place I once stood.

Spicy Chicken, Green Bean, Carrot, Capsicum, Onion And Cauliflower Rice StirfryNow in my mid-twenties, I find myself looking back over the years and discovering that I’ve never truly had a healthy relationship with food. Over the years my relationship with food has seen me go through many things from thriving and smiling to being sick and depressed, from having great times and meet new people to exploring new passions and learning a lot. And alongside all that I’ve been critisised through it all. I’ve been told throughout the years that I’m too thin to be healthy, too heavy to model, too obsessed with health and fitness, and not caring enough in regards to finding myself malnourished. Every opinion under the sun, no matter how polarising, believe me when I say that I’ve been on the brutal and soul destroying receiving end of it.

I Love South Trigg BeachTaking those experiences and discussing them with the people currently in my life I’ve come to the realisation that unhealthy relationships with food, health and fitness are a very common trend. Over eating, under eating, undernourishment, unhealthy food choices, restricted eating, losing too much weight, gaining too much weight, poor body image, self loathing, eating disorders and so much more. If you can name it, I can probably find someone in my life that has or still struggles with it to this day… and I find that to be a sad and scary thing.

Tasty SaladSo as a result of my new found awareness I’ve decided to make some changes in my personal life, in an attempt to find a healthy balance in my life for the very first time. I’ve been training a lot more, making better food choices, and most importantly, I’ve learning about so many new and exciting things along the way. I hope you’ll stay with me on my journey as share with you some of the new foods, tasty restaurants and general health and fitness things I discover as I develop a truly healthy perspective on my life here in Perth.

All my love and wellness wishes. xx

PS. I recently managed to get my mum and dads taste buds enjoying my cauliflower rice, and that says a lot. Keep an eye out for my upcoming paleo stirfry recipe, because I think I might just be onto something here.

Hylin, West Leederville

For anyone who doesn’t follow my blog, my office moved from Leederville to West Leederville at the beginning of 2014. Since then, two new cafes have opened up within 250m of my office, with yet another due to open in the coming weeks. The most recent addition (to what’s now become consumers choice) Hylin, opened on the 1st October, and very quickly became my cafe of choice.

hylin art

The first thing you notice when you come into the cafe is it’s wonderful atmosphere. A combination of happy customers, lively staff and smart architecture really brings the place alive, and makes it feel like you’ve escaped from the city -if only for a while. With a lot of natural sunlight, and an unpretentious unique twist in it’s design, it’ isn’t a surprise to discover the owner Josh started off as an architect before bringing Hylin to us lucky folk of West Leederville. In my experience, you’ll often find him behind the register, which is a wonderful thing. He takes pride in his cafe, smiling and happily chatting with each customer. The staff reflect this genuinely friendly attitude, high quality customer service.

Hylin Coffee

Being a long black drinker, there’s no where to hide when it comes to my coffee. Hylins coffee beans come from Micrology Coffee Roasters in Fremantle, with 250g bags available for purchase as the counter. The barista’s tailor their bean of choice to your coffee of choice, delivering the perfect flavour profile every time. Best of all, the pricing is very kind too, starting at $3.00 for a single espresso.

Hylin Micrology

The food is currently an assortment of glass box eats, with nutella and banana slice bagels a favourite of mine to see every morning, as well as a couple tasty breakfast options. Some of these tasty treats are supplied by The Holy Bagel Company, whilst the chefs dish out the rest. In addition to this, it’s been said a breakfast menu should be made available shortly.

Hylins Holy Bagel

Hylin is to me exactly what the area needed… an unpretentious, modern cafe, with great coffee at a good price, a nice atmosphere, wonderful hospitality and some enjoyable eats. I think I’m in love.

Hylin Menu 2

Hylin on Urbanspoon

Six Senses Thai Restaurant, Subiaco

I know I’ve been extremely quiet lately due to my final couple months of university (finally it’s less than a month away), however this restaurant experience(s) stirred something inside me so much so I just had to stay up late to review it.

To celebrate my last day as a Public Relations intern in Subiaco, I was treated to lunch at a place of my choice. With my old go-to restaurant now closed I wanted to pick somewhere that would have a nice atmosphere, a wide variety of good food and still remain well priced. After being named dropped by one of the girls, I decided to take a chance on Six Senses Thai Restaurant. It seemed to have something for everyone, from satay and pad thai to curry and stir frys, this BYO restaurant sounded like the perfect place. Little did I know what I was about to experience.

My first impression of Six Senses was that it was a sexier version of my favourite Thai restaurant in Victoria Park, and just like that restaurant it was very busy. We walked in and were greeted immediately. Even though they were full, the staff offered us to squeeze ourselves onto one of the two small tables outside. With the weather being so nice that afternoon it was exactly what I was hoping for, so we gladly accepted. After quickly propping up one of the legs of the table  which was a making the table wobble, we quickly skimmed through the menu already knowing what we were keen to order.
Stir-fried pumpkin
I picked the vegetarian Stir Fried Pumpkin [$17.50] (stir-fried pumpkin, snow peas, capsicum, mushroom, tofu, egg and coriander with Six Senses special sauce), whilst the girls picked their own Satay Stir Fry combinations [$17.50] (one with chicken and rice and the other with beef and rice).
Satay Chicken
As the dishes were ready they came out one at a time (though within a minute of each other), we tucked in immediately, and my golly-gosh it was better than I expected. To roughly quote our discussion whilst devouring out lunches, the satay was so good it was only second to one other satay the girls had enjoyed oversea, which to me says a lot. Each dish was cooked perfectly. The ingredients tasted fresh, packing lots of flavour and textures. Simply put, each of our meals were delicious!
Satay Beef
Having had such a good experience on the Thursday afternoon, when my friend and I were going to see a performance at the Subiaco Arts Centre I suggested we caught up over dinner first at Six Senses. Even though we had arrived quite early in the evening the restaurant was booked out. However, yet again, after being greeted immediately, we were offered to squeeze ourselves onto one of the little tables outside, and once again I happily accepted.
Assorted Stir Fried Vegetables
Just as I had a couple days earlier, I came in knowing what I was after, the Assorted Stir Fried Vegetables with Oyster Sauce [$17.50]. My friend looked through the menu, but it wasn’t long before she came across the Pad Thai King Prawns [$29.50] (stir-fried thin rice noodles in Six Senses special pad thai sauce served with char grilled king prawns). The food came out reasonably quickly, but as previously, each dish came out one at a time though still within a minute of each other. My friends eyes lite up when she saw her dish placed on the table, and I’m not surprised. It looked amazing. I told her to tuck in, and not long after my dish arrived in all its glory (which I think can be hard to accomplish with just vegetables) and I got to join in.
Pad Thai King Prawns
Just as my lunch a couple days earlier each of our dishes tasted fresh, packing lots of flavour and textures. Simply put, each of our meals once again were delicious! This made me beyond happy, as two of my favourite qualities – quality and consistence – seemed to truly thrive here.

With great food, a nice atmosphere, friendly service and good pricing I can’t help but love this (clearly not so hidden) gem in Subiaco. It’s definitely on my list of favourite go-to restaurants, and I’ve already highly recommended it to the few friends and family members I’ve seen and spoken to in the few hours since my second visit.

Thank you Melissa for recommending Six Senses to me on my last day.

Six Senses Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wagamama, Subiaco

Wagamama, Subiaco opened it’s doors on March 1, 2006. More than 8 years later it’s sad to see the place close down the weekend just gone (mid September 2014). Interning in Subiaco, I was lucky to grab one final meal at Wagamama when I was invited to a casual work lunch on a Friday afternoon.

otsunaaji portobello salad and duck gyozasWagamama - Carrot, Apple and Ginger JuiceIt was just after lunch when we arrived to the quiet restaurant. We were immediately greeted, seated and each given a menu. We were promptly served water, and the polite and friendly waitress and asked if we would like any additional beverages. I grabbed a new, fresh carrot, apple and ginger juice [$4.90/$6.50] whilst my colleagues enjoyed a glass of wine each.

The specials menu was very reasonably prices, offering a lot of bang-for-your-buck for anyone on a budget but still after some quality, filling food. Sticking with the new items on the menu I couldn’t help but order the  [$17.20], which the girls decided to stick to the tried and proven classics like duck gyozas (5) for starters,  [$20.60] and  [$20.40].otsunaaji portobello salad

The drinks came out promptly with the duck gyozas [$9.90]. We chatted away whilst enjoying our beverages and nibbling on the crispy, juicy and tasty gyozas until the food followed soon after. The moment the gorgeous plates were placed in front of us the conversation slowly faded as we tucked into our delicious meals. The flavours of the salad was fresh, lively, and a lot more filling than I expected. My colleagues dishes didn’t disappoint either. Packed full of flavour and leaving everyone in a mini food coma of delight.teriyaki raisu chicken

Wagamama has a large, open atmosphere, with plenty of various tables in different sections of the restaurant to choose from. With it being so quiet, it was interesting to think back to just how big and lively the place was when it first opened, and customers were spilling onto the streets.thai style stir-fried noodles

The closing of Wagamama really makes me feel like it’s the end of an era. Coming in for (what I didn’t realise at the time would be) my final meal here, I didn’t expect to have such a great experience. Looking back now makes me question the reason for this restaurant closing. With it being so quiet it may have simply been that the spark in the relationship between the restaurant and Perth simply faded over time, with the trendy folks of this town constantly chasing the latest, hottest tends. It really is a shame to see this place close, but final great experience of Wagamama will definitely leave me with fond memories.

Wagamama on Urbanspoon