14495246_1157677790988330_946871926516649646_nZestlifeAutumn days call for warming soups. Having just been for a fabulously cold swim this morning, all I could think of was making a warming soup for lunch. This recipe is so quick and so simple and great served with garlic bread!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ingredients

Serves 4

1 tsp Coconut oil

1 Onion

3 Garlic cloves

1 Celery stick

500g Mixed mushrooms – wiped clean and chopped- chestnut, button, portobello, wild

Handful of Dried wild mushrooms

Handful of Fresh thyme

1 litre of Vegetable stock

 Method

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add enough boiling water to cover them. Leave to one side.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add finely chopped onion, celery and garlic. Sweat till soft and golden.

3.  Add the chopped mushrooms, thyme leaves and leave to soften for about five minutes on a low heat.

4. Once softened add the stock, enough to cover the mushroom mix, the soaked dried mushrooms and their fluid. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Once cooked remove from the heat and blend to smooth consistency. A hand blender is great in this instance. You can add more stock, milk (dairy or Non) or cream, till you get your desired consistency.

6.  Served with chunky bread, ciabatta or garlic bread is fabulous.

 

 

IMG_7678

Zestlife

I have made this divine cordial with elderberries for years and it wasn’t until this year with an absolute abundance of blackberries that my partner suggested we try it out with some blackberries. It is wonderfully sweet, so you only need to use a small amounted diluted with either cold or hot water. We add a few drops to morning smoothies or pour over ice cream for a simple dessert. It will last for months in sterilised bottles.

 

Ingredients

Blackberries

Cold water

Granulated sugar

Cinnamon sticks

Cloves

Fresh ginger

Juice of one lemon

 

Equipment

Glass bottles

Small funnel

 

 
Method

Sterilise your glass bottles, either in a heated oven or hot wash in the dishwasher.

Put your blackberries in a large pan and add enough cold water to just cover. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft.

Strain the liquid form the fruit, return the liquid back to the pan. For every 600ml of liquid add 450g of sugar (I used golden granulated but white granulated can be used), two cinnamon sticks, 10 cloves and and inch piece of peeled ginger. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved then boil hard for ten minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain the liquid and pour carefully into your sterilised bottles using a jug and your funnel. Label and then enjoy as you wish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12661771_10153231009151436_1592944042005722799_n-1I love flapjacks and I am always looking for new and exciting variations. The lower the sugar content the better, as some can be so sweet you feel your teeth are going to fall out when you bite into them. I experimented with this recipe taken from Deliciously Ellas’ book. They work a treat and taste even better and become more moist after a few days. It uses a load of nut butter which can be quite costly but they are so worth it.

Ingredients

360g small organic porridge oats

2 ripe bananas

6 tablespoons of maple syrup

6 tablespoons of nut butter – cashew/almond/peanut

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of raisins

1 dessert spoon of sesame seeds

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 celsius.

Mash your bananas in a small bowl with a fork.

In a saucepan add the maple syrup, nut butters and coconut oil. Then add the mashed bananas and simmer until a soft, gooey liquid  forms.

Pour the liquid into a large bowl and add the oats and raisins, stirring well until everything is fully coated.

Grease a small square baking tray with coconut oil. Pour the flapjack mixture into the tray and press it down very firmly. The mixture needs to be very compact. I often use the underside of a mug to do this. Then sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven until the edges start to brown.

Leave to cool fully before you cut your flapjack up into squares.