This is a simple, fragrant soup with sour and hot notes. it makes a lightening-quick, great tasting, lunch or supper. You can add more vegetables to this if you want, but I’ve kept it simple with only the flavour of lemon, coriander and chilli.
I have assumed you’ll be using the type of noodles that come already portioned in nests or bundles of noodles. If you don’t have that type of noodle, you’ll need about 80g per person.
2 portions noodles (about 80g each)
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 chilli, chopped
25g fresh coriander, chopped
100g tofu, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
Drain into a colander and cool under a running cold tap.
Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan.
When it is simmering add the chilli, coriander, tofu and the lemon juice.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Season with salt.
Divide the noodles into two serving bowls.
Pour the soup over the noodles.
Serve with a little sesame oil drizzled over the top.
Serves 2 for lunch
This is a lightning quick salad to produce, even quicker if you don’t skin the broad beans.
For the Dressing
Juice of half a lime
1 small red chilli, chopped
1cm slice of fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
For the Salad
250g broad bean pods
1 Courgette, grated
2 spring onions, chopped
75g mangetout, sliced
1 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped coriander
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and leave to stand.
Simmer the shelled broad beans for no more than 5 minutes.
Put the beans in cold water and then slip the skins off.
Add the courgette, beans, spring onion, mangetout and herbs into a bowl.
Spoon over the dressing and toss thoroughly.
Serves 2 as a side salad
I bought a courgette this week because I feel I don’t eat enough of them even though I’m not that keen on them. I have had them before in salads, though and have quite enjoyed them. So I decided to have a try at my own recipe.
Courgette and mint are a classic combination, of course. If you’re adding mint, why not a bit of coriander as well (they go great together – try them on a curry sometime). As we’re heading eastwards, why not some lime and chilli as well? Add some beans to add substance and mangetout to add sweet crunch. And well, you’ve got a zingy, zesty salad!
This will serve 2 people as a light lunch, but I would serve it as a dinner party starter – the lime, chilli and mint will perk up any appetite! It would work well in bulk as a buffet salad, as well.
1 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
1 courgette, grated
50g mangetout, sliced
2 birdseye chillis, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Put all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix well together.
Season with salt.
Serves 4 as a starter
I wanted to try a creamy curry but without the dairy in this recipe. There are simple ingredients in this dish, but they are packed with flavour. The mushrooms, too, add a satisfying mouthfeel that means this is a vegan curry you’ll want to eat again and again.
For the spice paste
1 green chilli
15g coriander leaves
1 clove garlic
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1/4tsp turmeric powder
For the cashew cream
50g cashew nuts
1/2tsp cumin seeds
200g mushrooms, sliced
Put the ingredients for the spice paste in a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a little oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop add the spice paste.
Stir for a minute and then add the mushrooms.
Cook for a couple of minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking put the cashew nuts and water into the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the peas to the pan, followed by the cashew cream.
Stir to mix and then cover.
Let simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice or naan bread.
This is a gem of an idea, I only wish I’d thought of it, but the honours must go to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage Veg Every Day recipe book. It’s a great lunch to take to work because you can prepare it the night before and it only needs boiling water to cook it. There isn’t a work place in the country that doesn’t have a kettle!
You can use any thin noodle, but the instant noodles (which are the cheapest as well) cook the quickest, which is important as you have soft green leaves that wilt very quickly. I think the secret to the success is how you make your layers, the flavour goes at the bottom, followed by the noodles and then the crunchy vegetables with the green leaves on top. You also need a sealable pot or mug about 500ml in size.
I couldn’t believe how well this worked, and it cost pennies to make versus the £5+ I’ve spent on something similar from a food outlet near my office.
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder, or 1/4 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp soy sauce
Dash of chilli sauce, or tabasco
2 slices of lemon, or lime
Slice of fresh ginger
3-4 slices of fresh chilli
Packet of instant noodles, broken into pieces to fit your container
50g tofu, cut into cubes
1 spring onion, chopped
3 cm length of cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
3 cm carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 cm courgette, cut into matchsticks
1/2 little gem lettuce, shredded
1 tsp chopped coriander
Add the bouillon powder, soy sauce, chilli sauce, lemon, ginger and chilli to the bottom of your container.
Break the noodles into pieces so that they fit the container and put them on top of your stock base.
Add the tofu and then the vegetables, leaving the lettuce and coriander until last.
Put the lid on.
When you are ready to eat, pour boiling water into the container until the noodles are covered.
Put the lid back on and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir thoroughly before eating.
Serves 1 for lunch
In the late 80’s I was living and working in London. It was my first job, I was living alone for the first time as well, cooking what I wanted to eat with no one to please but myself. I have to say, for an apprentice foodie, I did make some grim choices – boil in the bag fish with parsley sauce being one of the worst. But it wasn’t all bad. I came across the New Covent Garden Soup Company, who were one of the first to make ready-made gourmet soups – a world away from the tinned varieties I was used to. I remember their chicken and tarragon soup, but the one that blew me away was the carrot and coriander soup. I don’t think I’d had anything quite that exotic in my own kitchen before.
In fond memory of those times, here’s my take on it. I’ve added some lentils to give it a bit more body for autumn days. I’ve also changed out the normal lemon juice for lime juice, I think it goes better with the coriander and it adds a great lift to the flavours.
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
500g carrots, roughly chopped
150g red lentils
1 tsp ground coriander
750 ml vegetable stock
3tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Juice 1/2 lime
Sweat the onion and garlic in a little oil.
When the onions are translucent add the carrots, lentils, ground coriander and vegetable stock to the saucepan.
Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.
Add the fresh coriander and blend until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the lime juice just before serving.