As part of trying to be healthier and losing weight, we are starting our soup-and-salad-for-dinner diet. Note I’m not saying the menu is fat/meat/carb free, but it’s definitely healthier than our usual rice or potato loaded dinners. If there is oil I try to make it olive oil, and if there is meat, I try to make it leaner pieces and grilled with a brush of olive oil.
- Fresh apple juice
- The Real Mushroom Soup by Jamie Oliver
- Salad with Mustard & Red Wine Vinegar dressing
FRESH APPLE JUICE
- Core 2 medium apples, split into quarters and chop up into smaller chunks (you can peel them if you prefer to, but I leave the skin on because most of the fiber of an apple is in the skin)
- Place in a tall plastic container and add a few drops of lemon and about a cup or two of water (this depends on how watery you want juice to be)
- Puree till smooth using a hand blender
- Add a little powdered sugar or in my case Tropicana Slims low calorie sweetener to taste and mix
- Serve over ice with a mixer
- 1 small handful dried porcini
- olive oil
- 600 g mixed fresh wild mushrooms (chanterelles, girolles, trompettes de mort, shiitake, oyster), clean and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 handful fresh thyme, leaves picked
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 1 lemon
- truffle oil, optional
Place the porcini in a small dish, add boiling water just to cover, and leave to soak.
Get a large casserole-type pan nice and hot, then add a good couple of lugs of olive oil and your fresh mushrooms.
Stir around very quickly for a minute, then add your garlic, onion and thyme and a small amount of seasoning.
After about a minute you’ll probably notice moisture cooking out of the mushrooms and at this point add half of your porcini, chopped up, and the rest left whole.
Strain the soaking liquid to remove any grit, and add it to the pan.
Carry on cooking for about 20 minutes until most of the moisture disappears.
Season to taste, and add your stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.
I usually remove half the soup from the pan and whiz it up to a purée at this point, then pour it back in, adding the parsley and mascarpone, and seasoning carefully to taste.You can serve this soup as you like, but there are a few things to remember when finishing it off. Mix together a pinch of salt and pepper with the zest of one lemon and the juice of half of it, then spoon a little of this into the middle of the soup. When you go to eat it, stir it in and it gives a wonderful flavour. Other things you can consider are little slices of grilled crostini put into the bottom of the bowls before the soup is poured over. Or you could even quickly fry some nice-looking mushrooms – like girolles, chanterelles or oysters – and sprinkle these on top of the soup. If I was going to use truffle oil, then I would use it on its own – a few drips on the top just before serving.
Substitutions to note:
- I used whatever mushrooms I had: dried brown mushrooms, fresh button mushrooms and a lot of shiitake
- I didn’t have fresh thyme so used a half the amount of dried thyme, because the flavor is usually more concentrated when it’s dried
- For the bread, I used plain white bread because I ran out of wheat bread. I placed a small amount of butter-substitute in a pan and toasted each side
- I garnished with cilantro instead of parsley because it has more flavor and it goes really well with mushrooms. I should have shredded them finer though so as to spread the flavor evenly over the bowl of soup.
- Wash and spin lettuce, then shred
- Peel and cut carrots thinly
- Halve cherry tomatoes
- Take the stalks of seedless red grapes
- Toss everything together and serve
- On top I also crushed some grilled sukiyaki. These were brushed with olive oil and grilled until crunchy and the fat is cooked off.
MUSTARD & RED WINE VINEGAR DRESSING
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 level tsp iodized salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* This is a slight variation on Jamie Oliver’s mustard & herb vinegar dressing in “the Naked Chef Takes Off”