A real old hearty recipe coming ‘atchaaa today. It’s actually super mild out today, a solid 20 degrees! I mean I am most definitely not complaining, I am more than happy for it to stay above 15 degrees at all times, I’m sure a lot of you will agree. It’s quite nice, you know, being surrounded by vibrant crispy leaves – having said that, some of the trees are still green, it’s just so wonderfully beautiful. If you know me, you’ll also know that I’m am very sad about parting ways with my Birkenstocks until next year. I’ve had a good 7 months worth of wearing those bad boys. I know that may sound a little drastic, but come April, they are out, the feet are bare and good riddance to hard uncomfortable shoes. Ok, that’s a slight lie, I do love some of my winter shoes, I just love to be barefoot.. so much so that I can’t even deal with slippers. To be perfectly honest, they piss me off a little, it just feels wrong, my feet want to be free you know?

Anywho, despite the days themselves being on the warmer side, a definite chilly wind picks up around 4pm as of late. Perhaps it’s something to do with the overseas storms, either way, I reach for my burnt orange autumn/winter staple of a scarf – I will never part with the beautiful thing, probably one of my best purchases last year. I prefer it to a jumper, you can wrap yourself in it as much or as little as you like and still feel just as snug. So, here I am, scarf on, ready to sit down and tuck into a hearty stew. Ok, I don’t actually cook in my scarf, I feel that would be very irresponsible, as in, I’ll be washing the god damn thing every five seconds, I do not understand how I manage to spill half of my meals down me.. ok not half, but you get the gist. Scarfs and white tops are a big no no, although, I do own a lot of white tees, I’m very basic.

I’ve really gone off on a tangent here, I can’t see you yearning for this warming number. It’s quite a good one for a cold too, the spice from the ginger gets the old nose running a little, so nothing like clearing those passages, oh god, I hope that hasn’t put you off, you get what I mean though right? Packed with all of the greatest seasonal veg we are seeing at the moment; cauliflower, kale, cabbage, leeks, PURPLE sweet potatoes, oh it’s a real gooden. Turmeric would be the perfect addition to this and it ceases to amaze me as to why I didn’t include it in the original recipe. The pasta shells are a great addition, making it super filling, but not as heavy as an ordinary pasta dish. The vegetables themselves are super satisfying, so the pasta is more for another textures. Served with an optional (but I feel very necessary) crusty slice of sourdough – I am officially hooked on the stuff, a country white, a rye blend, dark rye or even a mixed seed one, I’m all over it. I actually had a great sourdough epiphany the other day.. a walnut, olive and dried cherry kind of epiphany, I mean how great would that be. I should get onto it immediately. Also, what is a soup/stew without a good slice of crusty bread, it really is a must.So,without further ado, a perfect week night supper – that makes for great next day lunch left overs too, bonus!

What you’ll need: Serves 2
1 medium sized leek – sliced thinly
1 large chunk of ginger – peeled and minced/grated
2 garlic cloves – minced
2 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp miso paste – any colour is suitable, I used yellow
1 small sweet potato – I used a purple one, but that is optional, whatever you can get your hands on. Chop into bite sized chunks
1/4 head cauliflower – bite sized florets
1 large stick celery – sliced
6 stems broccolini – halted width ways
1 low salt stock cube
4 cups boiling water
6 button mushrooms – quartered
1/3 head green cabbage – thinly sliced
Few kale leaves – stems removed, roughly chopped
Handful fresh basil & parsley – roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
150g pasta shells – I used these

Optional toppings/sides: Nutritional yeast, sourdough, fresh herbs

What to do:

1. First off, prep all of the veggies, chopping accordingly to above. In a medium sized pan, sauté the leeks in a dash of water, adding the garlic, ginger, coconut aminos and miso paste after a minute or so. Add a little more water if this is starting to dry up.
2. Next, add the sweet potato, cauliflower, celery and broccolini, followed by the water and stock. Bring to the boil and stir well.
3. Lower to a simmer and after about 10 minutes add the mushrooms, cabbage and kale. These don’t take as long to cook and you don’t want them to go soggy. Add the freshly chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Allow this to simmer for another 10 minutes until all of the veg is soft, seasoning if need be. You may need to top this up with water so all of the vegetables cook through, you can gauge this throughout.
5. Whilst your stew is simmering away, cook the pasta. I tend to do this in a separate pan, as it can often take longer with all of the vegetables in there. Following the packet instructions, cook (usually 8 minutes), drain and add to the vegetable mix.
6. To serve, divide the stew between two bowls, top with fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, cracked pepper and, of course, the all important sourdough.

Notes:

  •  The grams of pasta is just a guide. Depending on how veg heavy you want this to be, or how much bread you fancy, you can adjust according to your own preference. Feel free to use a little less, or more.
  • Adding a 1/2 tsp of turmeric to this or a little freshly grated, would be a great addition, making this dish the perfect cold busting stew!

A fiery one for sure! I am on a real ginger and garlic kick at the moment, it’s like my body just knows it needs it, almost as if it’s prepping for the cold, which I’m sure will hit us very soon. This is a pretty chilled recipe, as recipes go. Soups and stews don’t always have to be strict, following step by step instructions. Of course, the basics are there, but some of you may like this a little more salty, or more herby, the base is there and it’s easy enough adapt if you don’t have the same vegetables etc.