Category: food

Green Minestrone Soup

Stelline senza pesto Barilla, la giuoia di stare insieme, originally uploaded by cherryrobber.

Regular minestrone contains peppers which make me ill, but I love soup with pasta in. Green minestrone seems an ideal substitute for a post exercise carb’ fix!

I found this recipe in Cape Town Food (which seems to cost £175 to buy new in the UK – eek!), and I want to be able to make it again when I no longer have access to the book, so I’m putting it here.  Obviously Cape Town has a different climate to Scotland, so the greens won’t always be in season here, but this seems a pretty adaptable recipe.


For soup

  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 small cabbage, finely chopped
  • 250g of baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup of shelled green peas
  • 125g of green beans
  • 12 spears of asparagus, finely chopped
  • 125g baby marrow (courgette?)
  • Veg or chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of tiny pasta

For garnish

  • Shredded basil or parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil


(as in the book)

Heat some olive oil, gently cook the celery, leeks and spring onions until they start to soften.  Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the cabbage and spinach and cook for about 10 mins.  Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another few minutes.  Season the veg and pour over the stock.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes

Stir in the pasta and cook until tender

To serve sprinkle with basil or parley, shavings of cheese and a drizzle of olive oil/  You can serve hot or cold – of serving hot you can leave out the pasta and serve over ciabatta.


(I can’t resist meddling)

I didn’t have any cabbage, green beans or asparagus (Lidl didn’t have any in!), and used frozen peas and spinach which all seemed to work fine.

Green pesto works well as a garnish instead of fresh basil and olive oil. Lemon juice also tastes good a a seasoning

45 minutes to simmer the soup for seems like a long time to me  – I just added the pasta a stage earlier and waited until it was cooked.

Doesn’t keep great, as the veg loses its vibrancy and the pasta it’s bite,  so best to eat same or next day.

Thinking you could include some Chinese greens and serve over rice noodles – instead of pasta.

Healthy Store Cupboard Soup

Pretty quick to make – good mix of food groups and the basics are all in the cupboard – you can then add whatever vegies you want to use [up]. It’s the sundried tomatoes that make it, I reckon.


1 x onion
Clove of garlic
1 x tin of mixed pulses
1x tin of chopped tomatoes
Couple of handfuls of soup pasta (eg. Ditalini)
2 x teaspoons of Veg Stock
small handfull of sundried tomatoes
roughly 500ml boiling water

Veg that can be added: Anything inc: String beans, Kale, Tomatoes, Carrots


Fry the onion and garlic until soft.

Drain and rinse the pulses, then add them along with the tin of tomatoes to the pan.

Add the stock and water.

Chop the Sundried tomotes – add them along with the soup pasta.

It’s cooked when the pasta is (about 20min).

When you add the veg depends on what it is, how crisp you like it and how long it takes to cook.

Ta da.

‘That’ Sticky Toffee Pudding

too good not to share

An easy recipe, that will make you friends and have your partner declaring undying love – well almost. But it is easy and it is good

The Pudding

Ingredient Shed Loads
Big tray
Quite A lot
Smaller tray
(8 portions)
Granulated Sugar 225 grams (1/2 lb) 115 grams (1/4 lb)
Softened Butter 85 grams (3 oz) 45 grams (1.5 oz)
Self Raising Flour 340 grams (12oz) 170 grams (6oz)
Eggs 3 1.5 (?)
Stoned Dates 285 grams (10 oz) 140 grams (5 oz)
Boiling Water 350ml (3/4 pint) 175 ml
Bicarbonate of Soda 1.5 teaspoons 3/4 teaspoon
Vanilla Essence 1.5 teaspoons 3/4 teaspoon


You can cook the pudding beforehand – or even freeze it. To refresh just stick a dollop of sauce on top of a portion of pudding and stick in the microwave for about 30 secs.

  1. Cream the butter and Sugar
  2. Beat eggs then add slowly to the creamed butter and sugar mix. Add a little sifted flour and contiuue beating for a few minutes. Then slowly add the rest of the flower.
  3. Chop dates then (in seperate jug/bowl) pour boiling water over them
  4. Mix the bicarb and the vanilla essence into the dates
  5. Stir date mix into the creamed mix – make sure it is well blended.
  6. Turn out into a lined tin
  7. Bake for aproximatly 40 mins on gas mark 4, until a knife pulls out clean from the centre of cake
  8. Turn out to cool on wire rack

Toffee Sauce

Heat all ingrediants in a pan until mixture thickens (about 3 min), taking care not to burn. Watch out it will be hot – good as it is don’t stick your finger in!

Butter 225 grams (8 oz)
Brown Sugar 340 grams (12 oz)
Whipping Cream 475ml (1pt)


I’m not giving you the half quantities, because wanting to make less that loads is, frankly, just a bit wrong. If you have left over (as if?) it’s good on ice cream, and great with bananas in pancakes

Rolfe Bars

Ages ago, years probably, there was an article in Climb about making high energy food by some bloke that does lots or Arctic sled dog stuff. All i could remember was that there was a recipe for energy bars, and that the guy as well as being a knarly explorer type was also sponsored (or something) by a food dehydrator company.

Anyway this article played on my mind a bit – I even looked through all my back issues of climb – but I couldn’t locate the article. Then the other day I saw him, that bloke, in an advert for food dehydrators.

He’s called Gary Rolfe, he lives in Greenland and he’s a dog musher, and he’s got a dead comprehensive website, with all the articles he’s written on, including Do It Yourself The Hard Way – the article i read 2 years ago, and couldn’t find again.

Hurrah for the power of the internet. Who knows i might even get round to baking at some point….

A first time for everything

I have lived in Scotland for quite a bit now – but I have never really got on with the national drink (that’s whisky, not Buckfast), it was always a bit to strong and harsh, and it caught in the back of your throat and burns your mouth… who wants to drink something that adversarial?

So while the rest of my course were excited to learn that one of our fellow students was an ambassador for Balvenie and would be doing a tasting later in the week, I was distinctly underwhelmed.

So I’m not even sure why I went along to the whisky tasting on Thursday night – maybe being at Glenmore Lodge was bringing out the spirit of adventure in me, and maybe a week of fresh air and hills had done something to my taste-buds – because you know what, they weren’t half bad.

On sample were 4 different styles from the Balvinie range; the Signature, the Doublewood, a Single Barrel and 21 year old Portwood. Of these the Signature was my favorite – quite subtle and understated in comparison to the others, but once you delve a bit deeper it felt just a bit more classy.

blimey – I think I’m slowly turning native….