Saturday, August 31, 2013

a winter get-together

This week has been blissfully spring-esque.  Sitting out on the back patio sipping my coffee the other morning, I had a distinct waft of wattle blossom brush past my face, as the warm wind carried the scent from a neighbouring garden.  It caught me by surprise as just last week it was still bitterly cold (well bitterly cold for Melbourne, which is really just 15 degrees!)

Do you remember how cold it was just last week?

Just last week I hosted a little Soup gathering.  A few friends came by the house on a particularly wet and windy day, all rugged up in jumpers and gloves.  That morning I had prepared two pots of soup for lunch, and it really couldn't have been a more perfect day to sit around the table and reminisce over a bowl of steaming soup.

To go along with our recent project to try and make healthy changes in our cooking, I got my cooking inspiration for our lunch this day from the Heart Foundation website.

First up... Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup.  This was a very easy soup to make.  We had wheat/gluten intolerances to factor in, so for this soup I omitted the stock and used the water the chicken was cooked in and seasoned it with good sea salt and pepper to add a bit of flavour.  Soy sauce was replaced with Tamari (a naturally fermented soy sauce) and I left out the noodles.  This soup is very fresh and, well, delicious!
photo source: www.heartfoundation.org.au


Next up was Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup.  I make a soup similar to this very often, as sweet potatoes are really like my favourite veggie.  Again for this soup I left out the stock and just added a little salt to draw the flavours together.  It was a bonus having fresh coriander sprouting in the garden as it goes really with this soupl.  I didn't serve it with yoghurt as we have dairy intolerances here too.


photo source: www.heartfoundation.org.au

(I didn't take photos of the soup I made, as I was too busy eating them!!)


And of course a lunch isn't really complete until you add in some sweet Strawberry Muffins.  I had my work cut out for me a little here with the intolerances present in the room this day.  But with a little combined intelligence, these little beauties came to life...





These muffins kind of remind me of this week.  They are filled with fresh berries which just says Summer all over it!  But, they are really best eaten warm, which you need to do on a crisp winter's day.

I'll leave you with my adapted Strawberry muffin recipe, in case you want to bring a little summer into the last days of winter...

Strawberry Muffins

Makes 12
Cooking time: 18-20 minutes
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups gluten free self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used coconut palm sugar, which made them not as sweet)
1 cup lactose free (or other non dairy) milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
30g dairy free margarine, melted
250g strawberries, washed, hulled, diced
2 tbs flaked almonds
1 tsp icing sugar, to serve


Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line 12 x 1/3 cup muffin pans with paper cases.

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the the milk, egg and margarine, then fold this mixture in the strawberries. Mix until just combined.

Spoon evenly into the cases (about 1/4 cup per case) and top with a sprinkling of  flaked almonds. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from pans, and leave to cool slightly.  Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.


~ Enjoy ~


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