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Serves 4

Winter root vegetables - packed full of fibre and vitamins

Winter root vegetables – packed full of fibre and vitamins

Well, I don’t know about you but I had seriously (maybe a little on purpose because I loves ‘em!) overbought on the brussel sprouts and parsnips this Christmas. This recipe is a fab way to use up your leftovers by putting them into an awesome hearty Wintery warming stew which is jam-packed with fibre, vitamins and flavour and is a perfect lunch or evening meal that is low in fat (especially if you make the vegetarian version using Quorn sossies) and really filling and therefore useful if you are on a post-Christmas/New Year weight loss programme. The sausages add some lovely meaty taste and protein and, as if the veggies didn’t fill you up enough, the pearl barley provides the carbohydrate element which will help you to feel fuller for longer post-scoff! Tasty enough to eat twice a day, if you ask me!!!


4 medium-sized good quality (at least 70% meat) pork sausages (200g)

 – use the extra special Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages for a lower saturated fat or vegetarian version

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1 large onion, peeled and chopped (150g)

2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (230g)

250g brussel sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed, sliced (you could use cabbage instead)

2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped (300g)

125g pearl barley or scotch broth mix

1.2 litre vegetable or chicken stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)

Ground black pepper

A handful fresh parsley, chopped


Scotch broth mix - full of fibre and starchy carbohydrate so makes a stew filling and helps with weight loss

Scotch broth mix – full of fibre and starchy carbohydrate so makes a stew filling and helps with weight loss


  • Grill or ovenbake the sausages until brown and cooked through, allowing as much fat as possible to run off.  Set aside and leave to cool.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrot, sprouts and parsnips and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
  • Add the pearl barley or scotch broth mix and the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables and pearl barley/scotch broth mix are softened. Keep the vegetables on this side of over-cooked though!
  • Slice the cooked, cooled sausages and add to the stew with the chopped parsley and black pepper to taste.  Stir well and serve piping hot.



Per Batch (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)

Energy                  1250 kcal (5230 kJ) / 1164 kcal (4870 kJ)

Carbohydrate    126.7g / 138.7g

Total sugars        56.1g / 53.5g

Fat                          60.5g / 43.2g

Saturates             17.4g / 4.8g

Protein                 44.8g / 48.4g

Fibre                      41.4g / 45.4g

Salt                         6.1g / 8.9g


Per Serving –  (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)

(Serves 4)

Energy                  313 kcal (1308 kJ) / 291 kcal (1218 kJ)

Carbohydrate    31.7g / 34.7g

Total sugars        14.0g / 13.4g

Fat                          15.1g / 10.8g

Saturates             4.4g / 1.2g

Protein                 11.2g / 12.1g

Fibre                      10.4g / 11.4g

Salt                         1.5g / 2.2g



Try with:

A slice of seeded bread = 120 kcal (502 kJ)

A crusty roll = 130 kcal (544 kJ)

 Instead of sausages you could use shredded turkey or chicken meat, pork or beef to really help you  use up those festive leftovers!



Serves 6

Delicious - packed full of spring and summer vegetables and beans

Delicious – packed full of spring and summer vegetables and beans

Spring has sprung…at last!…in the U.K. The leaves are finally starting to appear on all of the trees, I have finally spotted some ducklings and goslings on the canal, the sun is making the occasional appearance and there is blue sky up above us at least parts of the day on most days!  We have even turned the central heating off and removed the electric blanket from our bed for the first time in about 5 months!

In honour of this lovely spring weather and the sheer joy on people’s faces that we are finally feeling warm enough to remove our scarves and hats I decided to make a spring-like soup today because, let’s face reality, how long is it going to last?!  I had to ride the warmer vibes while I could before it starts clouding over and raining again – good old Blighty!

I had a lot of green veggies to use, some fresh and some not so much although they were in no way past their prime! I found a couple of lovely recipes for Minestrone Verde soup, a minestrone soup hailing from Italy traditionally made with asparagus, lots of greens, beans and herbs and rice instead of pasta.

I made a few adjustments to the recipes, using my habitual improvisation skills quite a lot, because I didn’t have asparagus, cabbage or any parmesan and I liked the idea of using up some macaroni that I own but never really use! Instead of asparagus I used a courgette, in place of cabbage I used broccoli and to make up for the parmesan I used some pesto.

This is a really lovely, chunky, filling soup – more of a stew or broth really.  I think parmesan would add a little something to it and if I had asparagus I would definitely add this as it is traditional and a mighty tasty veg to boot. I think this would serve equally well as an evening meal.  As it’s so filling it’s not really necessary to eat bread as well (the pasta and beans are more than satisfying for the growling hunger). This is packed full of fibre, vitamin C and protein, so great for an after-exercise lunch, and because of its satisfaction rating it should help with weight loss too if you can avoid eating additional carbohydrate (bread) with it.

Great for weight loss - filling, balanced meal full of fibre, protein and vitamin C

Great for weight loss – filling, balanced meal full of fibre, protein and vitamin C


1.5 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (15g)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (6g)

1 large courgette, ends trimmed, sliced and quartered (260g)

1 leek, ends trimmed and sliced (150g)

1 x small white onion, diced (85g)

2 x sticks celery, sliced (100g)

½ head broccoli (flowers and stalks), diced into small chunks (185g)

1.5 cans peeled plum tomatoes, chopped (600g)

1000ml vegetable stock (made using 1x10g stock cube)

210g green beans, topped and tailed, sliced into ½ inch pieces

200g macaroni or broken pasta

150g frozen peas

120g butter beans (½ can, drained)

195g broad beans (1 small can, drained)

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped, (12g)

Handful of fresh basil, chopped (10g)

2 tbsp. green pesto (52g)

Black pepper to taste



  • In a large saucepan – make it really large because I had to transfer mine into a wok halfway through because there was no room for beans! – heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 30-60 seconds to infuse the oil with flavour.
  •  Fry the courgette, leek, onions, celery and broccoli for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them burning. Cook until they are softened but not browned.
  •  Add the canned tomatoes, stock, green beans and pasta. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  
  •  Add the peas, butter beans, broad beans, parsley, basil, pesto and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the green beans and pasta are softened.


Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                  1770 kcal (7405 kJ)

Carbohydrate    256.6g

Total sugars        51.8g

Fat                          49.5g

Saturates             7.3g

Protein                 88.1g

Fibre                      55.5g

Salt                         5.1g


Per Serving (Serves 6)

Energy                  295 kcal (1234 kJ)

Carbohydrate    42.8g

Total sugars        8.6g

Fat                          8.3g

Saturates             1.2g

Protein                 14.7g

Fibre                      9.3g

Salt                         0.9g


Suggested Additions

1 level tbsp. grated/shaved parmesan (10g) = 42 kcal / 176 kJ


Suggested Ear Candy

After listening to The Apples in Stereo last week and loving it so much I did a bit of research to try and find similar bands. Amazon recommended me a band who have been around for a while called Beulah so I picked up one of their albums ( When Your Heartstrings Break). 

Cooking this soup was the first chance I got to listen to it – I liked it!  It didn’t remind me of The Apples in Stereo though, more reminiscent of Pavement or Built to Spill.

When Your Heartstrings Break by Beulah – band website


There’s one obvious alternative to listen to whilst cooking up a storm with this soup….Life is a Minestrone by 10cc!

 Offical 10cc band website