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 (approx. 1/3 of a large cauliflower or packed 2 cups)
  • 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
  • Other recommended ingredients that can be included include – green beans and/or corn; replacing a portion of stock with canned/pureed tomato for a richer soup; and/or adding shredded chicken, beans or red lentils (which will require additional liquid) for a protein boost.

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
  • Other recommended spices/herbs that can be included include – cumin, turmeric, chili and/or cayenne or bay leaf, dill, rosemary and/or fennel.

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, capsicum, onion and carrot roughly. 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 sautéing 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.
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Chatterbox, Mount Lawley

20140804_132530Graduating from Edith Cowan University at the end of 2010, it was strange stepping back onto the campus in early August. My friend was working on campus and had asked me to stop by. I was having a lot of flashbacks since the campus hadn’t changed much. Being such a small university campus the food options have always been limited the just a couple cafes. It was nice to hear that a second mini cafe had opened up somewhere on campus, but what really got my attention was the student village. It has been completely redone, with the inclusion of a little restaurant/cafe on the corner.

Atmosphere
Tucked into a corner of the student village, the cafe was relatively quiet initially on the sunny Monday afternoon, with a couple students waiting for their meals and a couple faculty sitting outside with coffees. There was plenty of tables and chairs available out side, and some seating available inside for anyone wanting to wait for the their take-away meals indoors. The cafe is small and open, selling both food, coffee and emergency student necessities like tampons -which may seem weird at first, but make complete sense with it’s student housing location and demographic. It’s also worth mentioning, Chatterbox has a strong focus on sustainability. The take-away box my meal came in is environmentally friendly, and the ingredients are primarily sources from local Western Australian produce.

Service
As entered, the lady behind the counter immediately smiled and asked if she could help. After taking a minute to gander at the menu I approached the counter and placed my order. The lady explained to me it would take about 5-10 minutes to make the order as it was made fresh, and so I took a seat outside in the sunshine. When my meal was ready, the lady brought it to where I was seating and told me to help myself to cutlery and anything I needed from inside.
20140804_133145Food
At Chatterbox you’ll get a simple, quick but fresh, no fuss meal that will fill you up on the cheap. The menu ranges from single Dim Sum snacks, noodle dishes, rice dishes, salads, spaghetti, thai and curries. I ordered the Teriyaki Fish with Rice for $6.50, which was one of the more expensive options on the menu believe it or not. The fish was crispy, the side salad fresh and the rice was well cooked. My only complaint would be that the teriyaki sauce was incredibly sweet for my taste, however for $6.50 I simply mixed in the sauce with the rice and couldn’t care less. The meal was filling, satisfying my hunger and in comparison to the tasteless ‘gourmet’ salad my friend had purchased from a competitor on campus for $9.50. She help but say several times over the meal that her salad selection was tasteless and a total rip off, reaffirming my choice.
20140804_133206Price
Prices here are set low to cater to the students, ranging from $1.50 for a Pork Dim Sum to $7.50 for the Chicken Ramen Burger. Averaging about $5.80 a main meal, if I was a student on campus it would be hard to convince me to eat elsewhere, especially considering the alternative offerings and pricing.
Snapchat-20140804012351[1]Summary
Chatterbox is a gift to the campus. With such few competitors within walking distance, and many of the students on a tight student budget, it’s easy to see why Chatterbox is perfect for the location. The hidden student in me secretly can’t wait to try something else on the menu -maybe the Char Kway Teow- next time I’m visiting my friend on campus, and makes me wish Chatterbox was open when I was a student at ECU.

-The Grizzly Bear Perth

Chatterbox on Urbanspoon

Perth Meals for $10 or Less

Perth is now Australia’s most expensive city and the tenth priciest to live in worldwide, according to a recent study by Numbeo.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/  
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/perth-rated-priciest-city-in-australia-20130711-2pr62.html#ixzz2bjusQPkn

This is something I’ve experiences first hand, but it didn’t become as obvious to me until my recent trip to China and Poland where a 500ml can of full strength beer from a supermarket cost $1AUD and restaurant dinners with drinks came in below $10AUD per person. My friends and relatives could not comprehend that it was normal in Perth to hand over $10AUD for a pint of beer and not receive a cent in change. That got me thinking.

The fact that I managed to save a substantial sum of money on food whilst on holiday shocked me. So what I’ve done to combat the ever growing cost of eating out I’ve thrown together a list of popular Perth meals for $10 or less. Because everyone deserves to enjoy an out-of-home meal every now and then.

 Perth meals for $10 or less

  • Alfred’s Kitchen (Guildford) Pea & Ham Soup – $6.00 Large $4.00 Small
  • Alfred’s Kitchen (Guildford) Various burgers including – $9.90 Hamburger Cheese Bacon
  • Ankara Kebabs (Inglewood) $10 Chicken Kebab
  • Bayswater Hotel (Bayswater) Friday/Saturday/Sunday [12-4pm] – $10 Pizza
  • Benny’s Bar & Café (Fremantle) Wednesday – $10 Parmigiana
  • The Harbour Terrace (Hillarys) Wednesday – $10 5 Pizza Selection
  • Left Bank (East Fremantle) Friday [5-9pm] – $10 Pizza and Pint
  • Left Bank (East Fremantle) Tuesday [from 11:30am] – $10 Mussels with chilli tomato sauce and Turkish bread
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Monday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 Pizza/Pasta
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Thursday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 BBQ Ribs
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Tuesday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 Parmigiana
  • Mullaloo Beach Hotel (Mullaloo) Wednesday [from 6pm with a drink order] – $10 Lamb Shank
  • Rigbys Bar (CBD) Monday/Tuesday [Lunch] – $10 Steak & Chips
  • Rigbys Bar (CBD) Wednesday/Thursday/Friday [Lunch & Dinner] – $10 Steak & Chips
  • Taka’s Kitchen (Barrack Street / Shafto Lane / Fremantle) Various Japanese Dishes
  • TanPopo (Mount Lawley) Various Japanese dishes
  • The Court (Northbridge) Monday/Tuesday [from 5pm] – $10 Pizza
  • The Court (Northbridge) Wednesday [from 6pm] – $6 Pizza
  • The Flying Scotsman (Mount Lawley) Sunday – $10 Pizza & Pint
  • Universal Bar (Perth) Friday/Saturday/Sunday [5-10pm] – $10 Pizza & Pint

under 10 map.jpg

If you here, see or have the pleasure of enjoying any meals for $10 or less in Perth please let me know so I can add them to my list.

You can also find this guide on Urbanspoon:http://www.urbanspoon.com/guides/10207-perth-meals-for-10-or-less-no-junk-fast-food

Moroccan Tuna Couscous

Less than 10mins
Less than $2-$3 per serve

Image

Serving size: 6-8
Time: <10 minutes
Course: Lunch or Dinner
Difficultly: Super easy
(Great for work lunch; a quick summer dinner after work; or for the poor uni student)

Ingredients

Cous-Cous   2 cups
Boiling water 2 cups
Chickpeas     400g can (rinsed and drained)
Tinned Tuna  400g can (rinsed and drained)
Red onion      1
Carrot            1
Currants         2 Tablespoons (heaped)
Olive oil           ¼ cup
Ras el hanout  2 Tablespoons (heaped) *Spice blend from Morocco
Lemons            2 (1x zest & juice), 1 to serve
Parsley             Handful (chopped)
Mixed Greens   To serve


Method

  1. Place couscous in a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil to coat grains.
  2. Pour in water. Cover & set aside for 5 minutes until water is absorbed. Fluff grains with fork when ready.
  3. Whilst waiting, in a bowl whisk remaining oil, lemon juice & zest and Ras el hanout together. Stir into couscous remaining ingredients (tuna, currants, parsley, red onion, chickpeas) and add dressing.
  4. Mix well. Serve with lemon wedges, side salad and top with parsley.


Tips & Tricks
Substitute tinned tuna with shredded chicken.
Make for dinner one night and take left overs to work for lunch the next day
Great served cold or hot
For gluten free option try replacing couscous with millet or quinoa.