Tomato Madness!!!

The one thing that I have been madly craving during my pregnancy so far are tomatoes! I am telling you, our kid is going to hate tomatoes as I have had them twice daily (true, in different forms): soup and salad. I just love them! But not any type of tomatoes…No, those hard to find, sweet garden tomatoes! And they need to be a certain consistency for me to be happy… Therefore, one could argue that D had it quite difficult where my cravings are concerned so far, especially since tomato season is officially over, but I am still craving them like crazy!

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The bad thing about me craving tomatoes is the fact that you can’t actually order them online, no…In order for tomatoes to be perfect and satisfy my taste buds, they need to smell a certain way (yes, I am the weird person that smells tomatoes at the market), feel a certain way and look a certain way (I generally love the pink, non-perfect looking tomatoes). That being said, most of the time D found the precious, perfect tomatoes for me, except for two days ago, when he came home with these perfectly round and red tomatoes that obviously did not do much for my salad.

Which brings us to today’s post! I decided to venture in the kitchen to cook a cream tomato soup for the first time. While I do love to cook all sorts of other things, soups are simply not my cup of tea. Until this one. Besides the fact that I documented the whole thing on Instagram’s Stories, without having the slightest clue of how things will turn out (the pot could’ve exploded for all I know) – I now realise that could’ve meant social cooking suicidal – the damn thing turned out to be even better than either me or D expected, especially since I was too lazy to go out and buy anything and was left with using whatever I already had in the fridge/house – hence no fresh basil, but I did have a bit of fresh oregano leftover form the potatoes we cooked a few days ago (recipe here). I do admit that until now, I have been getting my tomato soup in a plastic container from the supermarket (fru-fru) which was great, but from now on, I will start experimenting with home made cream soups (make way for mushrooms, bell peppers etc).

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Let’s move along to the actual recipe for today… First of all, it will only take you about 30-40 minutes to get from ingredients to final product which means that there is absolutely no excuse to not try this recipe. Here’s what I had in the fridge for this one:

  • 1300 gr tomatoes
  • 180 gr red onion (two medium onions are fine)
  • 1 small pot of plain yoghurt (you can use sour cream, but yoghurt is lighter)
  • 10 gr of fresh oregano leaves
  • 15 gr of garlic (a small garlic head)
  • 3 tsp of vegetable cooking base
  • 1 tsp (not fresh) basil – fresh is better, but I was lazy and hungry yesterday
  • 1 tsp of pomace olive oil (you do not need more than that!)

Steps to follow:

  1. Roughly cut the tomatoes and the onions – do not stress about this step too much as it’s all going to go in the blender anyway.
  2. Slice the garlic, and pick the oregano leaves, arrange everything and take a few photos.
  3. Put the pomace olive oil in a pot and let it heat up for 30 seconds than add the onions.
  4. After the onion gets semi-translucent, add the sliced garlic and half of the vegetable cooking base and let them fry stirring continuously for another minute or two.
  5. Add half of the tomatoes and the basil and mix them all together until the tomatoes start peeling by themselves and then add the remaining tomatoes and let everything come to a boil (about 4-5 minutes).
  6. Add the oregano leaves and what is left of the vegetable cooking base and let everything boil for another 5 minutes stirring from time to time.
  7. Take the pot off the stove, let everything chill for 3-4 minutes and then blend everything really well – since we do not have an actual blender, I used the smoothie maker for this step, but everything turned out lovely.
  8. Put the pot back on the stove and bring to boil.
  9. Add the yoghurt, stir well and let it boil for another few minutes. You’re done!

This is one of those soups that you can make all year round using canned tomatoes or home-made tomato juice. It is nutritious, satisfying while also being low in calories and fats. This for me is the perfect lunch and I will start experimenting with soups as well because it was fun-fun-fun making this one. I added a bit of fresh ground pepper in the end, but if you do not like a spicy dish just skip that step. The nutritional info I’ve uploaded is for the entire quantity which provided four servings, so make sure you divide everything by four.

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D was truly impressed by this soup and by the fact that I managed to cook, take pictures and live-stream everything on Instagram all by myself without actually blowing up the kitchen, so I’d say this is a recipe everyone can make without stressing too much.

L.

The best dish you’ll have all autumn long!

Yes, I know this is the second recipe in a row, but I just couldn’t let autumn come for good and not share what is in my opinion the best thing you’ll eat all autumn long. Did I just repeat the post title? Well, yes I did and that’s because this recipe is just that good. This has to be my favourite dish for autumn dinners ever! First of all, I have nothing to do with the recipe in itself, as opposed to the other recipes presented here that all have some sort of twist from yours truly that strays away from the original inspiration, this one is presented to you exactly the way my mother taught it to me.

Yes, this is a family recipe. Well, to be honest, I am the second generation in our family that knows it, so I can say that my mother invented it. A bit about mom… She is what I call an ‘intelligent cook’. Why? Because never ever have I seen that women actually follow a recipe or spend more than 2 hours in the kitchen to cook an entire dinner. She just adapts and uses whatever tricks she can to come up with the best easy recipes ever, that can make you think that she spent an entire day in the kitchen. True, she has been known from time to time to screw things up, but she always jumps right back at it and perfects the recipe so that it is easy and very tasty.

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Today’s recipe is one of those easy, hearty and amazing recipes. First of all, this stew is usually made with meat and using the traditional ways, it can take up to half a day to make. My mom intelligently removed the meat (which is great for me) and used some newly acquired tricks to have this done in less that 1 hour – it took us more because we has to take photos of every step. If you are a meat lover you can always add whatever type of meat you like next to it, but I cooked this one yesterday without it. First of all, there’s nothing that says autumn better than mushrooms in white sauce so this is best for those chilly autumn evenings, especially, as you’ll find out at the end, this is not really a heavy meal but it is quit filling.

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What you’ll need:

  • 800 gr of white large mushrooms (you can easily go for 1 kg and not mess things up – like I said, mum is not really one for measuring the ingredients)
  • 3 large white onions
  • 300 gr of full fat sour cream (if you use a lighter version you’ll need a bit more flour)
  • 2 tablespoons of white flour
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable base
  • 1 teaspoon of hot chilly powder
  • 2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil

What you need to do (keep in mind that although there are quite a lot of steps to follow, the stew is really easy to make and basically foul-proof):

  1. Cut the onion as finely as you can, but do not stress over that, slice the mushrooms in big chunky pieces if you want to feel their texture and chop the parsley.
  2. In a bowl mix the salt and the pepper and in another one mix the vegetable base with the chilly powder.
  3. After taking lots of pics of your ingredients (for some reason I find it extremely satisfying to take photos and edit food pics), put the oil in a saucepan and let it heat up before adding the onion.
  4. After about 5 minutes add a teaspoon of the chilly mix and half of the parsley and stir well for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add half of the mushrooms to the mix, a teaspoon of the salt and pepper mix and stir well.
  6. After abut 5 minutes add the remaining mushrooms and another teaspoon of salt and pepper mix, give it a good stir and put a lid on.
  7. When the mushrooms have left a considerable amount of water, pour the remaining chilly mix, give it a good stir and place the lid back on. Keep in mind that the entire recipe will need a moderate-low stove flame.
  8. Now for the tricky part… take the flour bowl and carefully incorporate water while stirring continuously until it reaches the consistency of sour milk (not too watery).
  9. Pour a glass of cold water to stop the boiling in the saucepan and carefully add the flour mix while stirring continuously. The cold water you just added will keep granulations at bay.
  10. Leave the stew to boil for a few minutes and then add the sour cream, the remaining parsley and what is left of the salt and pepper mix and stir well.
  11. Bring it to boil for another couple of minutes and that’s it!

Keep in mind that, if you do not like your food too spicy, you should cut in half the quantity of both the pepper and the chilly powder – my entire family enjoys spicy food, hence the spiciness of this one. I really hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I love it. As you can see from the nutritional info, this stew doesn’t go overboard on any unhealthy stuff and, as usual, the info is for the entire quantity. If you followed the recipe to a letter, you’ll end up with about 5-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are, and after dividing the numbers I’d actually say that this can be considered a light (about 170 kcal), warm dinner. If you like it, than pass it on to your friends and family!

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L.