Soup of the week! Lamb Mulligatawny

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SCC Lamb Mulligatawny Soup TextThe first time I tried Mulligatawny soup it was out of a Heinz tin. As a kid, I thought it was Scottish. Of course it wasn’t the mild spices that lead me to my conclusion but the name, to me, sounded very much from Scotland. It’s not really much of a surprise as the very same child thought that ‘random’ was a small town near Manchester. You know when you’re watching a TV show and they say, ‘Winners will be chosen at random’? Well I thought it was a happy place where, in a special building, there were winners everywhere. I was very much a youngster who lived in a world of Rainbows and Unicorns!

I pulled this soup together a couple of weeks ago when my husband came home from work feeling a little fluey. He said he wasn’t hungry but I had to make sure he got his vitamins if he was going to get better and it went down a treat! It’s so miserable here in Singapore at the moment. Earlier this year we had no rain at all for about 8 or 9 weeks but now we seem to be getting some everyday. This soup is full of goodness and along with the spices, a yummy, healthy, comforting dinner when the heavens are opening up outside.

This recipe, which serves 6,  comes out similar to a dhal’s consistency which you can thin out if you would prefer with some extra stock but I personally like it just the way it is.

When I’m cooking I like to prepare a Mise en Place before I start with anything else. I have multiple ramekins, dishes of various sizes and plastic containers that fill my cupboards and are used almost daily for this purpose. Our kitchen has very little worktop space so if I start making a meal and haven’t prepared anything, the odds are that something will go wrong. If I keep all my prepared ingredients in their own area, fill the sink with hot soapy water and throw the pots and ramekins straight into the washing up bowl whilst I’m cooking, I find it not only keeps the mess to a minimum, but during those periods where I have to wait 5/10 minutes before the next step,  I can get those pots washed, dried and put away making much less tidying to do after dinner. And that my friends, is what I call a good result!

 

What you’ll need:

 

  • 250g Minced Lamb
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, 2 finely chopped and one squished with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Medium Carrots, cut into smallish chunks
  • 2 Celery Sticks, sliced
  • 1 Large or Two Small Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Eating Apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 a Fresh Mango, cut into chunks (You can take the other half, chop into pieces and freeze in two parts, I have another recipe coming soon that it can be used in!)
  • 1 Litre Hot Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup of Uncooked Green Lentils
  • Fresh Coriander, Natural Yogurt and flat breads to serve

 

Get all your ingredients ready as directed above and once prepped, set the oil on a medium heat in a saucepan and start browning the lamb. Whilst this is going on, place the lentils in second saucepan and add the one squished garlic clove and a bay leaf to help add some flavour into them whilst cooking. Add 2 cups of hot water and simmer for around 20 minutes. Once the lamb has browned, add in the onion, carrots, celery, sweet potato and the remaining garlic. Pop the lid on and sweat out for around 10 minutes stirring or shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom. Once soft, add in the tomato puree, curry powder and cinnamon. Stir well before pouring in the hot stock, apple and fresh mango and simmer for about 5 minutes. Check your veggies are tender before turning off the heat and leaving to cool for a few minutes. Your lentils should now be quite soft so drain them and remove the garlic and bay. Set them aside whilst you blend the soup in a food processor. It’s up to you how much you process the soup but I like to leave a few little lumps in there. Pour back into the saucepan and stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper before serving with a dollop of yogurt, a scattering of coriander and your chosen flat bread, pitta, chapati or naan.

SCC Lamb Mulligatawny Rain

 

 

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Caesar Salad Dressing – The Healthy Alternative

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This isn’t the most seasonal recipe to post on the last day of September but then again we are no longer eating the most seasonal foods in our household when the only change throughout the year is ‘Monsoon Season’ and ‘not Monsoon Season’.

I am a real sauce lover. Be it gravy drowning my Sunday roast or a big dollop of hollandaise on a juicy steak, sauce really completes a meal for me. So with the wedding coming up it doesn’t help with my healthy eating when I want drink the stuff!

One of the few salads I can get the main man in my life to eat as a meal in itself  is Chicken Caesar – he loves it. I’ve managed to adapt the sauce so it still has that caesar taste but is a bit lighter on the calories. This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people.

What you’ll need:

SCC Ceasar Ingredients

One small or half of one large clove of garlic, minced

75g Low Fat Mayonnaise

40g Parmesan, grated

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp Colmans English Mustard Powder

SCC Ceasar Dressing in Mug

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Traditionally, the salad is tossed in the dressing before being served but we’re cutting down on calories here so divide the dressing evenly between four mini dishes and season with some freshly ground black pepper.

SCC Ceasar Salad Dressing

Get some chicken breasts in the grill pan and start preparing that salad!

SSC Grilled Chicken

Another way I cut down on calories with this is to dip my fork in the dressing before loading it up with salad, that way I get the taste of the dressing with every mouthful without the same calories as smothering the entire salad with it.  And I don’t feel as guilty enjoying a nice cold glass of Riesling Gewurztraminer blend with my Saturday lunch.

Not you traditional Ceasar salad but a yummy Chicken Salad with a just as yummy Caesar Dressing!

Not your traditional Caesar salad but a yummy Chicken Salad with a just as yummy Caesar Dressing!

Easy Mushroom Soup

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It maybe surprising to someone who has never lived in foreign lands how long it can take to settle down. There are so many things that take time getting used to from language and religion to driving (don’t get me started on this one!) nothing is ever quite the same as your home country. The fun part can be trying all the new foods but sometimes you get big cravings for something familiar. My latest frustration came when I went to buy what I would call a staple food product from my local supermarket. Cream was on my shopping list this Monday and I ended up having to buy Elmlea. For many years my fiancé thought Elmlea was cream and couldn’t understand why I would refuse to use it. For those of you who don’t know, Elmlea is actually a cream alternative made with vegetable oil and buttermilk.  Sounds gross doesn’t it?This will have to do for now but I will not end my quest for the real deal!

 

SCC Elmlea

 

One item which I have been buying regularly of late is shitake mushrooms. I would always buy closed cup mushrooms in Geneva, not for any reason other than they were the most available. So, when I had mushrooms on my shopping list and found myself with a huge bag of shitake, I decided to make a soup.

 
SCC Shitake

There is something about soup that makes it so comforting, even more so when it is homemade. I like having some homemade soup to hand whether it’s in the fridge or the freezer but this one is so quick to pull together! This recipe serves two and is easy enough to double, or triple if you want some left overs to keep in the fridge!

 

You will need …

 

25g unsalted butter

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

150g shitake mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

500ml veg stock, a stock cube is fine but you can use my veg stock recipe if you have time

100ml milk

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

SCC Mushroom Soup Ingredients

 

Start by gently melting the butter in a saucepan and cooking the onion and garlic until softened. Chuck in the mushrooms and cover, cook for about 5 mins stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add the stock and blend until smooth. Now pour in the milk and season to taste, I like to make this soup quite peppery for an extra kick.

I finished this one with a drizzle of *cough* Elmlea

 

SCC Mushroom Soup Serving