Tag Archives: vegetables

Orange-scented Winter Vegetable Soup

10 Jan

What’s better than a warm nourishing soup to warm up your cold body from inside out? Soups somehow taste better in cold, winter weather.

I didn’t make very many soups the whole summer long – not even in autumn – but now I’m starting to crave them. I had my first opportunity last week to cook soup when I ended up with a lot of root vegetables in the fridge after using parts of them for other purposes. This soup is a result of what I had but I think you could substitute other root vegetables equally well eg. use turnips or kohlrabi. The orange juice lent a citric note to an otherwise bland collection of root vegetables. The result – an elegant soup,  which you could enjoy with guests.

Orange-scented Winter Vegetable Soup (serves 4)


1 medium onion

1 medium carrot

1 medium parsnip

stems of two broccolis (the trunks)

¼ of a small celery root

juice of half an orange

zest of a quarter orange

2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth


salt, pepper

Chop the onions. Peel and cut the vegetables into slices or small pieces.

Sauté the onions in some olive oil till glazed. Put in the root vegetables and let cook for a few minutes. Add the broth ensuring that all the vegetables are covered with liquid. If not, add a bit more broth or water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat till the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Once done, puree the soup. Add the orange juice, season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is still too thick for your liking, thin with more orange juice, broth or water. Stir in the orange zest and add a dollop of cream. Stir and taste again.

Serve garnished with strips of orange peel or orange filets.

Print this recipe – Orange-scented Winter Vegetable Soup

Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

8 Jan

To accompany the dish I posted yesterday, I made a broccoli stir fry.

Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

Broccoli and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

I loved the flavor the ginger and sesame lent to the vegetables. The original recipe can be found here. The only thing I did different was to add a few strips of red bell pepper to add some color.

Easy and lovely!

You could also expand this recipe by adding some sliced chicken, sliced beef or cubed tofu for a low carb main course.

Zucchini fritters, vegetable fritters or just plain fritters

30 Jun

I am now involved in doing the translation work for a lovely food and music blog – Bouillon de Notes – which combines the passions of two bloggers, a very talented husband and wife team from France. The last recipe I did for them was on Zucchini Blossom Fritters. At the time of writing, it hasn’t been posted yet.

Last night, I took stock of what was left in my refrigerator, and what did I find – a zucchini at the point of going soft and the skin beginning to get wrinkled. Time for action!  The zucchini blossom fritters recipe I translated gave me an idea and blossoms or no blossoms, I decided to try making my own low carb fritters.

Surprise, surprise – this turned out simple and quick and would definitely make a delicious appetizer. Serve them plain, sprinkled with chilli flakes or with a dip!

Low Carb Zucchini Fritters

Obviously this recipe can be used for any quick-cooking vegetables or even a mix of them. Just make sure that the vegetable pieces are big enough so that it is easier to work with the batter. I can imagine that strips would be difficult to fry.

You could also just drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil and fry till golden. Use them as decoration for other dishes.

Before going further, I have to point out that I am not on a low carb diet because I am trying to loose weight. I am on a low carb diet because I need to cut down on carbohydrates. So this may be low carb but it is high oil. I very rarely do anything deep fried but I must admit, there are some things which taste nice deep fried. If one is sensible about portions, I see no harm in enjoying deep fried stuff once in a while . Also, if you make sure your oil is hot enough, your food will brown quickly meaning you can take them out quickly and they won’t be swimming and soaking in cooking oil for longer than necessary.

Low Carb Zucchini Fritters
(quantity makes enough to coat 1 large zucchini)

1 large zucchini sliced into rounds or other vegetables cut into pieces
1 egg
300 ml cold water
100 gr gluten

Mix everything together till smooth. Coat your vegetables and fry till golden.

Tips for success:

Since this is not a normal batter, there are some things you will need to take note of to ensure success. The batter does not adhere to the zucchini slices. If you pick up the slices from the batter with tongs, the batter will slide off leaving you with an uncoated zucchini slice! So use a tablespoon to scoop out the slices one-by-one with some batter and put them gently into the hot oil, ensuring that the slices are well-spaced.  Depending on how much batter was on your spoon, the batter under the zucchini will start to sizzle and spread. You could leave it as is and cook further, resulting in bigger fritters or you could use a spoon to flip the spread out bits over on top of the zucchini to cover it up. Don’t put too much batter on, otherwise, the fritters won’t be crispy. Experiment!

And don’t let your batter stand too long. The gluten will bloat up and become gluey.

Print this recipe – Low Carb Zucchini Fritters

Low Carb Broccoli Tagliatelle

23 Sep

Oh, oh … what to do. Nothing much left in the fridge and today is Sunday. Shops don’t open on Sundays in Germany.

After taking stock of the situation this morning, I found some broccoli in the freezer. Googled and found a couple of pasta and broccoli recipes. Can I be bothered to make some low carb pasta? Why not, I didn’t have much planned for the morning anyway.

Looking through the recipes online, I couldn’t find any that suited what I had on hand. The simple ones seemed to boil the broccoli to death while others used onions and anchovies which I didn’t fancy using. So I just looked at what they used, decided what I would put into mine and viola, came up with this version. Except for the pasta making part which really isn’t so bad, this recipe is quick and easy.

Low Carb Broccoli Tagliatelle

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Stock up on Meatballs

18 Jun

After a long haitus, I’ve found some time for a post albeit with only one photo. I’d started this some time ago and thought I’d just finish it without the rest of the photos.

Every country seems to have its own meatball recipe. Just change the type of meat used, even combine them or add different spices and you suddenly have turkish meatballs, chinese meatballs, indian meatballs, armenian meatballs, italian meatballs – the list goes on and on. When I’m making meatballs for a dish, I usually make more and freeze the balance. Then I have meatballs on hand for a quick supper. Continue reading

Vegetable Soy Loaf

14 Mar

I like making loafs – you just mix all your ingredients together in one bowl, turn the mixture into a pan and bake. While your loaf is baking, you’ll have plenty of time to make the accompaniments. If you choose to accompany your meal with a big salad or cauliflower rice, these can be prepared in a jiffy, leaving you the rest of the time to do something else.

Since going low carb, I’ve made a meat loaf (yep, can you believe it – only one meat loaf!) but haven’t been able to find a vegetarian loaf recipe without carbs until just recently. Most loaf recipes call for the addition of flour, oats, rice or some other kind of starch. This recipe, however, requires only 2-3 Tbsp flour so I thought it should be easy enough to get rid of. I’ve made this loaf with flour before and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between the ‘flour’ loaf and the low carb loaf. If you are refraining from eating soy products, the loaf does, as the title says, contain soy – well, the bulk has to come from somewhere. This versatile recipe allows you to substitute vegetables. It also doesn’t matter if you use a bit more or less of the vegetable quantities. Just make sure that whatever veggies you choose don’t give off a lot of liquid on cooking.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I would recommend serving slices of the loaf with a tomato sauce and a side salad.


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German Braised Red Cabbage with Apple (Rotkohl, Rotkraut, Blaukraut)

28 Nov

Countdown to Christmas! Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent so I decided to make something special. We had this…

Beef Rouladen with Braised Red Cabbage and Spaetzle

Beef Rouladen with Braised Red Cabbage and Spaetzle noodles – everything made from scratch at home. I used my spaetzle recipe using 100 gr soy flour and 100 gr chickpea flour (instead of 200gr chickpea flour, reducing the chickpea-ey taste). I’ll give you the beef rouladen recipe in the next post and below, braised red cabbage is the topic of this post. Continue reading

Cauliflower Fries

3 Oct

Not sure what I was looking for but I landed on a blog by Mariana Cotlear called Epicuriosa which featured a recipe for Cauliflower Fries. Hmmm… something to replace french fries? Some dishes just have to be eaten with fries – for example, German bratwurst or a Wiener Schnitzel. These are traditionally served with some kind of potato accompaniment – mashed potatoes, fries, sauteed potatoes – or for those in a hurry, in a bun. All carbs! So far I’ve been having these dishes with either a big salad or cauliflower mash so a french fries substitute certainly got my interest.

I’ve tried Mariana’s recipe – twice already. The cauliflower fries are really delicious!

The recipe called for a head of cauliflower for two servings. My head of cauliflower usally makes about 4-6 servings of cauliflower rice, so two servings of cauliflower fries seemed like two large portions. Well, I was wrong. What happens is that the cauliflower looses its water content while baking in the oven and shrinks heavily. They may look burnt in the photo below but they are very tasty and lightly crispy and you won’t be able to stop eating them.

Tonight I was having dinner alone and there was a lot of cauliflower in the fridge so I opted for a quick, no-fuss dinner – cauliflower fries accompanied by a few slices of chicken breast. This was also my opportunity to take some photos. I cut up half a head of cauliflower which filled my whole baking tray. I forgot to take a photo before putting it into the oven. Here are the cauliflower fries after they came out of the oven. The tray was packed with cauliflower when I put it into the oven. Just look at how scant it looks now. Click on the photos to enlarge.

And when you put it on a regular sized plate, this is all it amounts to …

On hindsight, this is not a practical recipe for two or more people. I ate the whole tray of cauliflower by myself. That means that you would have to bake each person’s portion individually. Not sure how they will turn out if you use two baking trays and rotate them halfway during baking. The first time I made these, my husband and I were having dinner together and we felt we didn’t have enough fries.

If you are having your meal alone, are two small eaters or are looking for a yummy snack, I do recommend these low carb fries.

Update 9 Oct 2011 – I made the fries again today. This time, I needed my oven to bake the pork fillet as well so I put the tray with the cauliflower on the bottom third of the oven, beneath the tray with the pork. It took about 5 min. longer for the cauliflower to get brown on the bottom ie. 20 min instead of 15 min, before I flipped them over. Also, I noticed that half a head of cauliflower was sufficient as an accompaniment for both myself and my husband and was wondering why. Then I realised that the cauliflower did not shrink much at all. It didn’t have that light crisp when you bite in either but they were nevertheless good. So if you want your cauliflower to stretch for more people, cook them on a lower temperature (200 degrees Celsius) and they won’t shrink that much!

Cauliflower Fries (serves 1)

(recipe taken from Mariana Cotlear’s blog, Epicuriosa. Quantities have been halved and some instructions slightly changed.)

1/2 medium head of cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

Clean the cauliflower of any leaves and trim the tough part of the bottom stem so that you get a flat surface.  Stand the cauliflower upright on a cutting board, and with a large, heavy knife, create 1/2 inch slices.  The outer bits will fall off in very small pieces (this is a very good thing, you will see later), the inner pieces will be like cauliflower latticework.

Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil.  Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread in one layer on the baking sheet.  You don’t want it to get too crowded or it won’t brown properly.

Bake the cauliflower in the oven for 10 mins. When it starts looking golden on the underside, turn with a spatula and return to the oven for another 10 mins or so. They should be nicely browned on both sides.

Oh yes, another tip – don’t sprinkle the cauliflower with too much salt. After the cauliflower shrinks, it becomes saltier.

Nutritional Information

Half a head of a medium cauliflower contains 7.8 gr net carbs.

Print this recipe – Cauliflower Fries

Soupe au Pistou

16 Jul

I had intended to post two more recipes quite soon after my last post but things got in the way and I am behind again. Half the month is gone and before I know it, we’ll be going away again so I am forcing myself to write this and the next post quickly.

On the trail of southern French food after our recent visit, I decided one day to make a soupe au pistou. Usually, at the end of the week, I look into my refrigerator to see what’s left and throw everything that looks like its life is about to end, into a pot. This time, it looked like I had about everything to make an Italian minestrone. This soup appears quite often on the table, through lack of inspiration on my part to search for something else, and it’s also something I can do with my eyes closed. While flipping through my French cookbook La Cuisine Francaise for another recipe, I noticed the soupe au pistou. I’ve looked at this  a couple of times and written it off as ‘minestrone with pesto sauce on top’, which it actually is but this time around, I remembered the pot of fresh basil sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be plucked. I didn’t have the celery, lima beans and potatoes the recipe called for but lima beans and potatoes are carbs anyway and just like a minestrone, one can substitute veggies without substantially altering the outcome. To my surprise, it came out really nice and actually tasted different from minestrone. The pesto made the difference. So here is my version and of course, you can be flexible with the veggies. It’s the pesto that’s important.

Please excuse the poor photos. They don’t do justice to the soup!

Soupe au Pistou

(serves 4)


For the soup

1 small leek, sliced into rings

1 carrot, cut into little cubes

1 small zucchini, cut into little cubes

60gr green beans cut into 2 cm lengths

60 gr green peas

100gr broccoli or cauliflower, cut into small florets and cut the stems into cubes like the carrots and zucchini

a handful of spinach leaves

1 large tomato, cut into cubes

4 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

1 Tbsp herbes de Provence (or just mix rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic. finely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper

For the pistou

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 bunch fresh basil

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

First make the pistou – the pesto. Beforehand, pluck the basil leaves, rinse them and pat dry with a paper kitchen towel. Put them together with all the other ingredients in a mixer and purée till it becomes a paste. If the paste is too dry, add a bit more olive oil and if it is the liquid, add more basil leaves and parmesan. The pesto shouldn’t be runny.

Now on to the soup.

Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the onions and brown. Next add the carrots and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes. Then add all the other veggies, herbes de provence and broth. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 10 min or till the veggies are cooked. Adjust the seasoning, dish out into bowls, top with a dollop of pistou, garnish with a basil leaf and serve.

Nutritional Facts – I haven’t calculated this because quantities and type of veggies can be varied.

Print this recipe – Soupe au Pistou

Green Bean Ratatouille

4 May

With the success of the film Ratatouille by Pixar Animation Studios, more people now know what a Ratatouille is. If you’ve watched the film but didn’t pay attention to anything but the rat, the dish Ratatouille has nothing to do with rats! Funnily, the film did rekindle my interest in eating Ratatouille rather than dampen it.

After having tried out the Chunky Pork & Chicken Terrine two days ago, I continued to flip through my copy of Cuisine. Old it is but somehow, I never got around to trying many of the recipes. With still a lot of terrine in the fridge to be eaten up and wanting to have something different to accompany it, I decided to try out their ratatouille recipe. In this recipe, the red bell peppers are replaced by green beans and a nice touch is the addition of feta. This sounded good! I did make two changes when I cooked the ratatouille – added a bit of diced red peppers and replaced the feta with diced mozzarella – because these were left over from a previous recipe and had to be used up. The recipe below is however, the one from the magazine. Ratatouille is a forgiving recipe. You don’t have to adhere to the exact quantities of the ingredients called for and can even add some other ingredients (within limits) to create your own dish. I can even imagine adding some olives, fried tofu and/or a sprinkling of chili flakes to give it a kick. Enjoy your Ratatouille as a main course or as an accompaniment to your mediterranean-style meat dishes.

Green Bean Ratatouille (serves 6-8)

(recipe from Cuisine, Issue 79, March 2000, text amended)

1 medium aubergine, diced

4 zucchinis, sliced and halved if the rounds are big

1 handful (300gr) green French beans, cut into 3-4cm lengths

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 X 400 gr cans tomatoes in juice, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup fennel leaf, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

pinch sugar (I used a sugar substitute here)

freshly ground black pepper and salt

150g feta cheese, crumbled

Place the aubergines and zucchini in a sieve, sprinkle with salt, toss and let stand about 20 min. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic together till soft. Add the aubergines and zucchinis, stir and cook together for about 5 min. Add the green beans, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, fennel leaf, basil and seasonings. Gently simmer with lid on for 30 min. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 20 min. (I omitted this step as my veggies were already done.)

Nutritional Facts – will have to add this some other time as I forgot to weigh all my ingredients.

Print this recipe – Green Bean Ratatouille

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