Festive Flavours: Pea and Spinach Soup with Beetroot Swirl

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Today we start the run up to Christmas with a number of vegetarian recipes from the Vegetarian Society.  I will release two every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

 

Pea and Spinach Soup with Beetroot Swirl

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A silky, goodness-packed soup that looks really festive.

Serves: 4
Preparation: 5 mins

Cooking: 30 mins

Vegan, Gluten-free, Wheat-free, Nut-free

 

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small potato (around 130g), peeled and chopped
  • 1250ml vegan vegetable stock*
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 150g frozen spinach
  • Salt and pepper

 

For the beetroot swirl:

  • 1 cooked beetroot
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water

 

To garnish:

  • Soya cream (optional)

 

Method

  1. In a large pan, gently fry the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and potato. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  1. Add the stock to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. While the soup cooks, put the ingredients for the beetroot swirl into a blender and blend until smooth. Set the finished swirl aside and rinse the jug of the blender thoroughly.
  2. Add the peas and spinach to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Let the soup cool for a few moments, then blend until smooth. Season to taste, reheat if necessary and serve in warm bowls with a swirl of the beetroot mixture and soya cream if desired.

Note: Will keep for three days in the fridge. Can be frozen for up to three months.

*Vegan and Gluten-free stock is available in most supermarkets.

Energy: 146 kcals Protein: 4.9g Carbohydrate: 16g Of which sugars: 8.6g Fat: 5.4g Of which saturates: 0.8g Fibre: 5.7g Salt: 2g

 

Visit vegsoc.org/christmas to find the recipes for these fabulous Festive Flavours. Plus there are tips on storing and freezing these dishes so you can be prepared. Or if you prefer to hang-up your apron and take the weight off your feet at Christmas then you’ll be able to get the low down on the favourite ready-made veggie products available in the shops this Christmas.

Festive Flavours – The Vegetarian Society Christmas Recipe Collection

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Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy great food – whether you are treating yourself or sharing with friends, family or neighbours. Add a sprinkling of inspiration to your Christmas kitchen with eight delicious dishes from the Festive Flavours collection.

Set the scene with a pea and spinach soup, Christmas galette or a zingy fruit and nut salad with chilli and lime. Then fill your plates with an indulgent cheesy lattice pie, a classic nut roast or a chestnut and butter bean Wellington. There’s even a smooth, rich Christmas gravy to make in advance.

Each week on the run up to Christmas I will be releasing two favourite festive recipes, starting tomorrow, for vegetarians like myself or for those who want to try something different – all from the Vegetarian Society Christmas Recipe Collection.

I will trying some, if not all these recipes myself and posting picutres of the results on this page.  I encourage you to send in your pictures as well.

Lynne Elliot, Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: “We have created a host of brand new recipes for you this year. To make sure everyone can join in and try something tasty, these recipes cater for both vegetarians and vegans. Some are gluten-free and there’s also a delicious dessert that is vegan and raw. You’re sure to find something you’ll love.”

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5 tips to Beat the Bloat this Christmas from NEW “Gorgeous Greens”

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Chris James Mind Body is supporting healthy eating this Christmas with “5 tips to Beat the Bloat” to accompany the launch of daily sachets of its “Gorgeous Greens”. The new formulation now includes extra enzymes, lipase, amylase, papain, and protease, which help to ease digestion and prevent bloating.

“I wanted to create a superior Greens supplement for busy healthy men and women. Enzymes are a key health trend as we head into 2017!” says Chris James, Founder of CJMB.

Packaged in a very cool cuboid box that looks great in your kitchen, a month’s supply of “Gorgeous Greens” (20 sachets) is just £29.

CJMB’s Gorgeous Greens Super Smoothie
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Serves 2

Ingredients
• Large handful of spinach
• ½ pear
• slice melon
• ¼ ripe avocado
• ½ orange
• 4 x ice cubes
• Almond milk to fill to level
• 1 serving x Gorgeous Greens
• Juice ½ lime (pealed)

Preparation
Juice the pears, melon, orange, spinach and lime. Put the avocado flesh into a blender along with the ice and Gorgeous Greens. Blend everything until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 

5 tips to Beat the Bloat this Christmas 

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1) Mind your P’s

Avoiding bloat isn’t only about avoiding foods; it’s key to eat more foods that are effective at battling bloat. Reach for a healthy helping of the three P’s: potassium, protein, and probiotics. You can benefit from a boost of potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, winter squash, citrus, bananas, and nuts, which help regulate excess sodium!

2) Consume Fibre

Make sure you’re getting enough fibre amidst the trays of holiday snacks. If you know you’re going somewhere that you won’t have a lot of control over your food choices, a fibre supplement can help a lot.

3) Slow down

Eating too quickly can cause you to swallow more air, worsening bloat. Take a full 30 minutes to finish a meal, which will help you banish the bloat and listen for when your body tells you it’s full.

4) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Water helps to speed up digestion and can counteract the effects of salt and carb-induced bloating. Aim for eight to ten glasses a day, especially during the holidays.

5) Start again tomorrow

Most importantly, if you overindulge at Christmas don’t beat yourself up! Indulging once in a while is not that big of a deal—just start fresh tomorrow.

Inside North Korea: Forbidden photos taken inside Kim Jong-un’s secretive state

Photographer Michal Huniewicz risked detention to smuggle a series of stunning images of everyday life taken in the secretive state of North Korea. He captured the photographs  during a trip to the country, before sneaking them out on hidden memory cards.

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Picture: Michal Huniewicz/Exclusivepix Media

What a Cloudy Day

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With over 100 different types out there, clouds are probably one of the most overlooked elements in nature, yet the information they hold within their shape and formations can be both interesting and useful. Now, a new ebook for children by author and entrepreneur Monique Chambers, called What a Cloudy Day, aims to teach children about the most common ones in a fun and interactive way.

“The idea came to me a few years ago when I read a book about clouds,” Monique says. “I remember flicking through it and thinking it would be the most boring read but ended up being fascinated by the fact that, by being able to tell the difference between clouds, I could tell whether it was going to rain anytime soon or not,” Ms Chambers explains.

Narrated by actor Thomas Camilleri, the app sees children follow Cumulus, a good-natured cloud, which usually appear in the sky like puffy pieces of floating cotton, travelling through Cloudland trying to make friends. On his journey, Cumulus meets a variety of different clouds, including the nutty Professor Cirrus – thin and wispy clouds that are formed of ice crystals – and the Mackerel Family, which are characterised by their rippling pattern caused by high-altitude, atmospheric waves.

“The story is as much about friendship and being a good judge of character as it is about clouds,” Ms Chambers continues. “But, unlike so many children’s books out there, the story also has a very concrete scientific element to it. The last thing I wanted was to make learning about the weather and the scientific meaning of clouds boring, so each variety of cloud has a very individual and recognisable character.”

With the sky becoming a playground for Cumulus, children go through the story learning how different clouds anticipate rain, sunshine or evenhail. The app also inspires children to want to head outside and have fun cloud-watching – a pastime which, as Ms Chambers herself explains, “is both free and loads of fun!

What a Cloudy Day is available on the iTunes App Store, as well as on Google Play, for just €1.99.

Brand new E4 comedy drama Gap Year

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Here’s an exclusive look at brand new E4 comedy drama Gap Year. Centred on British lads Dylan (Anders Hayward) and Sean (Ade Oyefeso), who are childhood friends that initially set out to backpack through China, but end up taking on the whole continent.

 

The drama takes in ancient rainforests, full-moon beach parties, futuristic Asian mega-cities and remote monasteries in the foothills of the Himalayas. In the first episode, Sean is horrified to discover that his best mate Dylan has a secret plan that threatens to derail their ‘lads holiday’ to China. Things start looking up when they meet two American girls, Ashley (Brittney Wilson) and May (Alice Lee), and middle-aged hanger-on Greg (Tim Key). But, when old tensions resurface and create carnage at a music festival on the Great Wall, Sean suddenly finds himself way out of his depth.

 

http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/exclusive-look-at-new-e4-travelling-comedy-gap-year

Mark Thomas – The Red Shed Interview

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English comedian, presenter, political satirist and journalist Mark Thomas spoke to Jason McCrossan about his latest show that he is touring the UK with called THE RED SHED which he is performing at the Gulbenkian theatre in Canterbury on 17th February.

The show celebrates the 50th anniversary of Wakefield Labour Club’s iconic Red Shed. It’s the story of where Mark first started to perform in public and where he politically came of age as a student involved in the miners’ strike.

 

 

Africa’s Only Gay Radio

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Africa’s only gay radio station broadcasts from Pretoria in South Africa.

GaySAradio produces content for Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex communities and is trying to counter homophobia and break down stereotypes.

Jason McCrossan talked to Hendrik Baird the Station Manager of Africa’s only gay radio station which broadcasts from the South African city of Pretoria.

 

POEM: Robert Burns – Ae Fond Kiss

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‘Ae fond kiss and then we sever’ is more commonly known as “Ae fond kiss” and is Burns’ most recorded love song.

After the publication of his collected poems, the Kilmarnock volume, Burns regularly travelled and stayed at Edinburgh. While there he established a platonic relationship with Mrs Agnes Maclehose and they began a regular correspondence using the pseudonyms ‘Clarinda’ and ‘Sylvander’. Burns wrote ‘Ae fond kiss’ after their final meeting and sent it to Mclehose on 27 December 1791 before she departed Edinburgh for Jamaica to be with her estranged husband.

Read by Gill Fraser Lee on 106.9 SFM Saturday Breakfast with Jason McCrossan.

 

 

ONTHISDAY…Salvador Dali

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Told by his parents when he was only five years of age that he was the reincarnation of his deceased older brother, he would believe this for the rest of his life.  In 1934 he married the Russian-born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, also known as Gala. She was the muse for and subject of his sculpture, Gala in the Window, from 1933.

He was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters.   His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

He died on this day 1989.

 

Life…on the side.

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