Cooking for me can be my way of winding down at the end of the day but I also love the way food and cooking has the ability to bring people together, connect with cultures and be a caring and loving gesture. Most of all though, I love eating healthy and delicious food.
I am also a bit of a food snob. I try to stay clear of processed and packaged foods and sugar. I also try to eat as many organic produce and wholefoods as I can. Which isn't necessarily the most convenient way of eating as it definitely requires a lot more preparation and home cooking.
It can be an expensive and time consuming exercise too, and time is definitely something I don't have a lot of! But if I don't take the time to make sure I am nourishing my body properly then I notice how much more lethargic and sluggish I feel which then of course means my days are less productive.
Over time I have managed to develop a few short cuts, tips and tricks that can help me whip up quick, healthy and tasty meals, which is what I wanted to share with you today!
One of my staples that I always make sure I have on hand is bone broth.
On days I am working from home or going to be spending most of the day around the house, I will put a pot of bone broth on to cook in the morning and leave it to do its thing all day. When it's done I normally use some of it to turn into a soup for dinner that night and pop the rest into containers to freeze. (You can freeze it into little containers or ice cube trays that you can put into stews and sauces to add an extra punch of flavour.)
Bone broth also has a heap of health benefits including; improving bone and joint health, reducing cellulite, boosting the immune system and strengthening your hair skin and nails. You can read more about the benefits of bone broth here.
This month I have teamed up with Chef Christopher Toth of Primal Move Food to bring you a video where we demonstrate how to make a bone broth and then turn it into two different types of soup; roast pumpkin and cashew soup and an Asian style noodle soup. I hope you enjoy it!
Oh and you can find the recipes below.
- 2 packets soup bones (you can find them next to the offal section in the meat department or just ask your butcher, plus they are cheap as chips!)
- 2 carrots
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 brown onions
- 2 leeks
- 1 bulb garlic
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 cap white or apple cider vinegar (optional - adding a cap full of vinegar helps draw out minerals from the bones)
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Lay the bones out onto a tray and bake into the oven until brown (about 15 min).
Make sure you give all your veggies a good wash as you throw them in the pot skin and all. Roughly chop up all your vegetables and place into the big pot too.
Remove the bones from the oven and add into your pot along with four bay leaves, salt & pepper and a cap full of vinegar. Fill the pot with water till everything is covered. Put the lid on and bring to the boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the stove temperature down to just a simmer.
I usually leave my stock simmering for four-five hours. But remember the longer you leave it the stronger and more intense it will be. You can leave it anywhere up to 48 hours, but of course that comes with a risk of burning your house down, so probably not recommended unless you have a commercial kitchen.
Once you are happy with how long your stock has been simmering away for, turn the heat off and allow to cool. Remove all bones, and chunky bits of vegetable etc. Then ladle out through a sieve and into your containers. Leave containers out to cool down properly before placing them in the fridge or freezer.
Optional: If you place your stock in the fridge over night you will notice a layer of fat form at the top. Simply scoop this fat off the top and dispose of it before freezing your stock in batches. This will result in a clearer less fatty soup.
P.s You can also cheat and have fresh organic bone broth from Primal Move Food delivered to your door! (Canberra only...Sorry!)
Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup with Roast Cashews and Macadamias
- Half butternut pumpkin
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 500ml pouring cream, sour cream or coconut cream
- Roughly 100g Cashews & 100g Macadamias
- Home made stock/bone broth
- Parsley to garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Peel and roughly chop pumpkin and sweet potato into thin even sized pieces. Lay onto a tray and top with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop into the oven until roasted (about 20 min).
Spread cashews and macadamias out onto a baking tray and bake in the oven until golden. Make sure to keep an eye on them as they cook quickly and you don't want to burn them. They will only take between 5-10 min.
Now all we need to do is blend all the ingredients together. There are several ways you could do this. Option 1 is to fill a blender with the roasted veg then add a handful of roasted nuts, a splash of cream and the stock. (Be light with the cream and stock to begin with, then as you blend you can add more until it reaches the consistency you like.) Option 2 is to put the roasted veg, nuts, stock and cream into a pot and use a hand held or stick blender to blend. Again adding more stock and cream as you go till you reach the consistency you like.
Pour into a bowl and finish off with a dollop of cream, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle of parsley.
Asian Style Noodle Soup
You can really use any vegetables or meat you like! My favourites to add are;
- Bok Choy or Choy Sum
- Asian mushrooms; Enoki, shitaki and oyster.
- Bean Sprouts
- Spring Onion
- Herbs; Mint, Coriander, Thai Basil
- Eye fillet steak - If you are adding raw meant make sure you use a good tender cut.
- Dry herbs; Star Anise, Cloves & Cinnamon quills
- Homemade stock
- Dried Vermicelli noodles
Add the cloves, star anise, and cinnamon quill into a pot of stock and bring to the simmer. Wash and prepare all your vegetables and place aside. Finely slice the ginger, chili and lemongrass and raw meat then place to the side.
Place your dried vermicelli noodles into a bowl and pour boiling water over the top. Leave to blanch for a couple minutes then drain.
Then simply plate up your bowls. Add a little bit of vermicelli noodles on the bottom and layer all your vegetables and meet on top. Tear up your herbs and add to the pile! Finally ladle your hot broth over all your delicious ingredients in your bowl.
This is a great dish to prepare if you are cooking for a lot of people. Everyone can build their own soup and choose what they want to put in it. Its hands on and lots of fun!
I hope you enjoy these recipes. If you have any question or suggestions please leave them in the comments below!
Images, video: Christopher Toth, Primal Move Food; Words: Alicia Xyraxis
Tell us what are your go-to winter recipes? How do you make bone broth?