Christmas leftover vegetables- Parsnips and Garlic


I did not feel very inspired about this soup as I am not a big fan of parsnips, but the taste ended up being absolutely incredible. Rich, velvety, slightly sweet. My frugal soul did not want to waste anything leftover, but this will be a soup that in future I will make by choice.

Parsnip and Roasted garlic soup.

2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced lengthways

2 large ribs of celery diced

1 medium onion diced

1 whole bulb of garlic

2 medium potatoes peeled and diced

olive oil

vegetable stock.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Put the sliced parsnips and the entire unpeeled bulb of garlic onto a baking tray and cook for 45 minutes, taking care not to burn the parsnips. Dice and the other vegetables and saute over a low heat in the olive oil.

When the 45 minutes are done, put the parsnips into the soup and cut the bulb of garlic in half lengthways. When cool, press the roasted garlic out of their skins into the soup. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, cool and blend, adding more water if necessary and salt and pepper to taste. This was delicious with a dollop of creme fraiche on the top.




Although I am pining already for summer, the cooler weather has given me a great excuse to cook soup.

There is no set recipe for the classic Italian soup, Minestrone. Traditionally whatever vegetables were in season were used. Some recipes I have read include beans or rice. Others include cubes of beef. This is my recipe based on what I had to hand and what vegetables needed to be used up.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion diced

1 large carrot chopped

2 little courgettes diced

1 leek

Tin plum tomatoes

1 box passata

3 cubes vegetable stock

1 tablespoon mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)

2 cups spirelli pasta


I find it is best to add the pasta 10 minutes before eating otherwise the spirals go too soggy. If eating the soup over several days leave the pasta out of the main pot and add when re-heating.

Is there are a nicer instruction in the cooking world than ‘Parsley. Sprinkled’. ?


Super Sandwiches- Basil Tofu Club


Honestly, this was so good that when I finished I wanted to turn around and start eating again. I rarely venture into our local health food shop, as I am a committed Co-op girl, but needed to go and buy some more agave syrup. While there I spotted this vacuum pack of basil tofu and picked it up. Today I used it with eggless mayo, fresh lettuce, tomatoes and Isle of Wight Garlic Farm tomato sauce in a toasted sandwich. I sliced the basil tofu in half and pan fried it for a few minutes.It was really SO good. A definite 10/10 for taste. Even Baby-Gusto had a decent bite. (He has inherited his father’s capacity to bite almost an entire sandwich in one go).


Super(ish) Sandwiches- Wraps with grilled tofu sausage, dijon mustard, pickled cucumber and lettuce

P1070348 I have had these in my mind for ages, as I love all these ingredients. It was, well, a bit meh.

tasty rating – 6/10

healthy rating – 6/10 (no cholesterol at least)

Husband-Gusto’s personal rating – ‘let’s not try that again’.

Random picture of boats in Cowes for the Round the Island race


Cashew Nut and Pumpkin Seed Burgers


My friend Paul has contributed this recipe. Paul has been near vegetarian for 25 years and has a variety of interesting and delicious recipes up his sleeve as a result. He first told me about this burger recipe one evening while several of us were unwinding in the pub over a pint or two, and his burgers sounded utterly delicious. He was very kind to lend me the recipe and we were delighted with the result, which was a lovely evening meal to end a Bank Holiday weekend. I first planned to have them a few weeks ago, but Husband-Gusto has been away and he was vociferous that as a confirmed cashew nut lover, he wanted to be around when I cooked this meal too.  With crusty rolls, fresh lettuce, tomato, mayo and gherkin, these burgers were luxurious and decadent. The texture was firm and ‘meaty’. I really think you could serve this to a confirmed carnivore and they would not miss the meat. This is a definite keeper. I could not improve on the clear instructions, so have cut and paste Paul’s recipe direct from my e-mail.


1 medium onion
2 large garlic cloves (or 4 small ones)
1 medium sized green pepper
2 mushrooms
100 g cashew nuts
25g pumpkin seeds
1 slice crusty wholemeal bread
1 green oxo or vegetable stock cube
1 egg
Pinch of mixed dried herbs.
Sea salt and pepper (or cayenne pepper) to taste.
Grape seed oil or other light oil for frying.
Chop or lightly blend the cashew nuts until large breadcrumb consistency.
Chop up the onion, garlic and green pepper and fry until soft.
Slice the musroom and add to the pan together with the pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts. reduce heat, stir, and fry gently until the mushrooms are cooked.
Remove from heat, drain of any excess oil and transfer contents to a mixing bowl.
Wipe the frying pan with kitchen towel for later use.
Add the green oxo or vegetable stock cube.
Add the pinch of mixed dried herbs
Blend the crusty bread into small breadcrumb consistency and add to bowl.
Add salt and pepper (or cayenne pepper) to taste
Add the egg.
Mix the ingredients well. The mixture is right if you can take a handful of the mixture and form a stable burgher shape between the palms of your hand. If too dry add a small splodge of milk, if too wet add more dry ingredients.
Form into burgher shapes and place in pan with more oil. Press down lightly on each burgher to make them flatter and fry gently on both sides until brown.