I’d like to think that I easily fit my ‘5 a day’ recommendation by nutritionist to my daily diet – well how hard can it be? Then again, I think closely and wonder about the possibilities of how and when? How are we suppose to consume it? Cooked or raw, in a salad or a side dish, a snack or a pudding, plain or multi-coloured? Well I have to say all apply, because in each one you truly get to see each fruit/vegetable’s purpose, potential and benefit put to the test. This way you wouldn’t feel it’s a tick box into your list of 5 for that day, and before you know it, you don’t even need to think about counting and start to truly enjoy the diverse and delicious flavours they have to offer.
The same applies to children, although not as easy as you’d think.. so squeezing every last drop of vegetable to a dish has become an utmost priority for me, especially on days when getting their vegetable intake may not be as easy as hoped. When I first started experimenting with baby food almost 8 years ago, I was amazed at the endless possibilities of delicious combinations. Baby food is easy to make – you blend, freeze and viola have so many little portions – perfect for food on the go. To help me along my journey of discovering new healthy combinations for my first-born then, I referred to one of the best-sellers in that field – Annabel Karmel’s Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. You might now think what that has to do with the recipe today, well quite frankly it’s a purée that my children (and myself!) loved then, turned into soup and now enjoyed by the whole family. Do I ever think of it as baby food, certainly not, because it’s utterly comforting and delicious.
When a friend gave me a large collection of summer vegetables from her allotment, I knew exactly what to make out of the beans, courgettes and new baby potatoes. Light, refreshing and a perfect complement to a slice of good bread or an accompaniment of your choice. I’ve made this soup so many times now, that I tend to forget Annabel Karmel is the person who should takes the credit for it, not me!
Courgette and Bean Soup – Serves 6-8
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 40 g / 2oz butter
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
- 2 medium courgettes (about 400-500 g / 16 oz), trimmed and finely sliced
- Handful of new baby potatoes (750g / 11/2 oz), diced with skin
- 750 ml / 30 floz / 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 380 g / 13 oz / 2 1/2 cups garden beans, chopped (or use fresh/frozen garden peas)
- 250 ml / 10 flz / 1 cup thick yoghurt or soured cream, optional
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- Chopped parsley/ coriander/ mint to garnish, optional
Heat the butter and oil in a large, add the onion, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric (if using), courgette, potato, and stock and bring to a boil on a medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. Add the beans or peas, bring to a boil on medium heat, and cook for a further 5-8 minutes until the beans are cooked and tender. Purée in a large blender in a few batches if necessary. Alternatively, use a hand held electric blender and blend in the saucepan.
Add the yoghurt or soured cream, if using, season to taste and serve warm topped with chopped herb of your choice for garnish.