Creamy carrot and spinach soup

Now that the southern winter has truly kicked in, it’s time for some lovely warming soup. I’ve also discovered a batch of carrots lurking away in the back of the veggie bed in a variety of weird shapes and sizes, so what better than to combine the two?

Serves 2 as a hearty lunch or 4 as a starter.

Ingredients

  • 500g carrots, peeled or scrubbed
  • 100g baby spinach leaves or chopped spinach
  • 250ml beef or chicken stock (I used beef, you could use veg if you wanted this to be meat free)
  • 200ml milk
  • 50ml cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
  • pecorino to serve (optional)
  • nutmeg

Roughly chop the carrots and place in a pan with the garlic. Add enough water to just cover and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the water evaporates and the carrots are tender. IMG_0525

Add the stock and puree with a stick blender (or shove through a processor). Return to the pan and bring to a simmer.IMG_0526In a new pan, heat the milk and wilt the spinach to your liking; a couple of minutes at most.

Add the 2 pan contents together, simmer for a couple more minutes and stir in the cream just before serving.IMG_0527Grate on some nutmeg and a little pecorino – enjoy with some hot buttered bread of your choice – perhaps the rye bread in this post!IMG_0529 (2)Note 1 : this is a fairly thick soup; thin down with extra stock during the puree stage if that’s not your thing.

Note 2 : if you wanted to jazz this up a bit you could scoop the spinach out of its milk bath just after the wilting stage with a slotted spoon & puree it in a little of the milk, and set aside. Add the rest of the milk to the stock and carrot mix as above, then swirl in the spinach prettily as you’re serving. Personally I like a bite of chew in my soups rather than a fully blended style.

 

Spiced Lentil and Tomato Soup – 210 cals

5 weeks in and we’ve stuck to the 5:2 diet assiduously (that small glass of wine the other evening Did Not Count). So far I have lost an unimpressive kilo, but Mr C is slimming down a treat. Not sure what that means, or whether it’s too early to tell. But we have been lunching on a variety of lentil based meals and this one is a favourite.

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Lentils are a great way to introduce protein without fat and I find help to keep me fuller for longer. Continue reading

Ryo’s, Crow’s Nest

IMG-20130321-00820One day last week we headed out for noodles as a special treat for lunch. I love a bowl of ramen, but it is a pretty solid hit of wheat, so I try not to overindulge. Every now and then though, it is A Noodle Day. This time we went that little bit out of our way, and revisited Ryo’s, in Crow’s Nest.

There’s something a bit special about pushing your way through those decorated curtains (Noren), advertising the delights within. I also love it when I’m about the only Euro in a café of full of devotees of a particular cuisine. Makes me think I’m in on a local secret. Although it’s not my first visit to Ryo’s, I haven’t been for a while, and it was good to soak in the atmosphere of this little café afresh.

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I chose the Pork Soup No2, Ramen in soy sauce flavoured soup, with roast pork, nori, egg and shallots. The all important broth was rich, salty and thick, though a little oilier than I would have preferred. It was utterly delicious, though not the low saturated fat health food I’m meant to be eating these days! I could taste a good, plain, pork bones base and a good salt flavour. The nori comes standing proud from the soup, half lining the inside of the bowl. Some of the toppings were still a little cold, but the super hot soup warmed them through eventually.

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Even knowing my bowl was going to be huge, I still ordered a pork bun special as a side, just to try. I love a pork bun; squidging the sweetish white soft dough happily in my paws. But I do find the fillings of the Chinese versions too sugary and shiny. Ryo’s version was refreshingly undyed (no gloopy red stuff) and actually tasted of delicately spiced pork. Lovely.

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Another in our group asked for the special – not on the menu, this was a slightly spicier version of the same pork bones stock, with extra egg and pork slices.

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Being a chap of appetite, he also ordered the extra noodles – approx $3. No idea how he does it – after half of mine I had to be rolled from the premises, burping contentedly. 

Address: 125 Falcon St, North Sydney NSW 2060

Phone:(02) 9955 0225