Dear Reader, at the risk of sounding overly melodramatic, I become quite apprehensive of stepping into health food stores. This is mainly because every time I visit one, I feel as though I am in a parallel universe. While it may look like a regular shop, there is always a whole lot of ingredients that I've never heard of before but apparently I'm supposed to be eating! And things change with these ingredients-apparently agave was supposed to be great for you but now it's something else and well we've all heard about coconut oil but what about copha?
At times like these, I retreat into the familiar. Things that I am sure are good for me. Vegetables for instance are not just favourites for flavour but provide so many nutrients. And I'm trying to get away without getting sick this winter so I figure if I bulk up the amount of vegetables that I eat, that might help. This is a soup that was suggested to me by my trainer. She had it at a restaurant the other week and I thought to myself that it sounded like a marvellous combination. Chestnuts and mushrooms are plentiful this season but even better still, I had some dried porcinis, a gift from Tania at Lario that I could use too. There's just the tiniest amount of cream which truth be told you could completely leave out and it will still have a creamy, velvety texture.
Now all I've got to do now is figure out these activated almonds....
So tell me Dear Reader, do you buy a lot from health food stores? Do you use coconut oil and eat activated almonds?
Mushroom & Chestnut Soup
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
15g/5ozs dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups hot water
2 tablespoons oil
150g/5ozs. peeled chestnuts
Enough chicken stock concentrate or powder to flavour 3 cups of water (about three teaspoons)
2 sprigs thyme
4 tablespoons cream
Step 1 - Rehydrate the dried porcinis in the two cups of hot water from a recently boiled kettle-it should take about 15 minutes. Meanwhile dice onions, carrots and parsnips (I put it all in a chopper together).
Step 2 - Once the porcinis are ready, heat a saucepan on medium heat and saute the diced onion, carrot and parsnip in the oil. Add the porcinis and the soaking water along with the chestnuts, thyme and stock powder and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Using a stick or immersion blender, blitz the soup into a smooth puree and then add the cream and serve with bread.