Cucumber and Pea Salad

IMG_7961I’m not sure about you, but my children struggle with composed salads – they’re fine with lettuce, cucumber etc. but as soon as I make a pretty plateful of mixed salad ingredients they shy away. I can totally understand that some salads can be challenging, but such is my love of eating any kind of salad that I keep on trying – they will one day love them too, I hope!

Anyway, I think a good starting point as to be unchallenging vegetables that are usually enjoyed, where they’d be tempted to at least to try a little (I could at this point mention ‘ratatouille-gate’ which has become part of family folk lore – I served Big S some ratatouille when she was about 2 and a half – she hated it so much that she has never forgotten the mushy tomatoey experience!!). I think most children enjoy peas and cucumber, so that’s the basis of this recipe. D and I love it, the girls actually said it was ‘quite nice’ – result!!

Pea and Cucumber SaladĀ (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_7962serves 4

  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 bag fresh pea shoots
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

– Place the frozen peas in a bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water, set aside for about 5-10 minutes to thaw
– Halve the cucumber length-wise, scrape out the seeds with a spoon and cut into fine half moons
– Whisk together the oil, vinegar and seasoning. It has to be very sharp to ouster the sweetness of the peas.
– Drain the peas, combine with the cucumber, chives and dressing.
– Toss well. Taste and add more vinegar or seasoning as required
– Arrange the pea shoots on a platter, pile the cucumber and peas on top, using any remaining vinaigrette to dress the leaves around the edges.
– Sprinkle over a few more chives and serve.

IMG_7964

Courgette (Zucchini) and Pea Soup

This is a fabulous, green and vibrant soup – perfect if you have a couple of courgettes hanging about and not much else. There have been more nasty viruses going round in our house, so an injection of good green vegetables and bundles of vitamins was almost a necessity.

I’ll come clean – this is the basis of my non-winning entry into the World Watercress Soup Championships that I entered back in May. I think it’s a blinding soup but the judges didn’t agree – maybe it’s not traditional enough?!

D, on the other hand ended up with a ‘highly commended’ runner up in the speciality section (2nd out of 47 entries). Sophie Grigson even made a special point of mentioning his fantastic balance of flavours and spices. I have to admit, I was a bit gutted at the time -after-all, cooking is my ‘thing’, and she thought nothing of my attempt! But what an achievement and definitely a soup worth making…. maybe I’ll get him to write a guest post this week….. šŸ™‚

Garnish with a drizzle of vegetarian worcestershire sauce, a little extra virgin olive oil and/or a pile of grated parmesan/vegan “sprinkly cheese” (as we call it!)

Courgette and Pea SoupĀ (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 3-4

  • good splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • small bunch of basil
  • 500ml vegetarian stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • seasoning

– Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the courgettes and cook until soft and starting to turn golden.

– Add the garlic and basil and cook out.

– Pour in the stock and simmer forĀ 10 minutes.

– Add the frozen peas and cook for a furtherĀ 5 minutes.

– Blitz in a liquidizer until smooth and bright green.

– Check the seasoning.

– Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper.

Super Pea Souper

Kids can be fussy – well, mine can! According to one of our allergists, children with allergies can be more fussy than most. Apparently it’s a protection mechanism that is particularly important for young children with allergies so they have some control over what they eat and prevent accidental allergic reactions. Well, that was his opinion, and it makes me feel a little better about having children with limited diets who are also rather fussy. Smooth soups can be an easy way to pack in the ‘scary’ veg without too much trauma. This recipe must be the simplest, easiest and most packed full of pea flavour that you could find. You will almost always have the 4 ingredients to hand to create a nutritious and frankly delicious lunch in about fifteen minutes.

Super Pea SouperĀ (dairy, egg, nut, soy and gluten free)

serves 4

  • 450g frozen peas (defrosted under warm water)
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • splash of olive oil
  • 11/4pts veg stock (Marigold Vegan Bouillon is milk free)
  • oat cream to serve (optional)

– Saute the peas and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes

– Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes

– Blitz in a blender for a smooth consistency. Check the seasoning.

– Serve topped with a swirl of oat cream, if desired.