FASOLADA – Bean Soup: a Traditional Greek Recipe for Nutrition, Pleasure and Comfort

This old mediterranean recipe of soup of haricot beans, originally the traditional food of Greeks called ‘fasolada’, can be made into a full meal with the inclusion of bread.

Beans and bread make up a good combination providing complete proteins.

Τhe addition of onion and garlic, herbs, spices and tomatoes make this soup a very nutritious food.

Remember to chop the onions at least 10 minutes before you cook them, so that they keep their therapeutic properties.

In contrast, the more you cook tomatoes and carrots the more nutritious they become!

If you have some (or if you are from Kozani in Greece where they grow it!) add a pinch of saffron (κρόκο). It will give extra colour and aroma to the soup and make it an even more ‘anti-inflammatory food’, which is what we need to feel young and healthy.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pinch of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of paprika

200g copped canned tomatoes with juice / or diced beef tomatoes

100g haricot beans, soaked overnight (will double in volume)

1.5 l water

¼ of lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Don’t let them get colour. Stir in paprika and oregano and cook until fragrant, for about one minute more.

Add beans and half of the water, bring to the boil on rapid fire, reduce the heat, close the lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Check the volume of liquid every 10 minutes, add the rest of the water.

Add the tomatoes when beans are cooked half-way through; acidity will harden the outer shell of the bean if added straight away.

 

Season, add 2 slices of lemon, simmer until the beans are soft.

When you serve the soup in the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice over it.  Serve with bread and olives.

 

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JEWELLED PORRIDGE – AN ANCIENT RECIPE MADE NEW

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Porridge is a traditional Scottish food. I took this nutritious dish and added a Mediterranean twist to it with some extra beneficial, fragrant and colourful ingredients.  

Saffron is a precious spice with numerous health benefits, including anti-tumour activity and anti-depressive effects, which are currently being researched. You can find good quality saffron in a Persian or Middle Eastern shop where it is often cheaper than the high-street supermarkets.

The ingredients in this recipe go back to Antiquity, although perhaps Hippocrates would have used barley instead of oats. If you choose the Hippocratic version, then soak the barley overnight and follow the steps below:

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups milk (goat’s, soya or rice) or 1 cup milk and 1 water

3 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1/3 tsp ground saffron (or a small pinch of saffron threads roughly cut with your fingers). Alternatively, make ‘saffron water’ the previous day by adding 1 cup boiling water to the saffron threads and leave overnight.

1 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp goji berries or other dried fruit

For the sprinkling on top:

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp freshly ground mix of poppy, flax and sunflower seeds

1 tbsp pumpkin and sesame seeds

fresh berries or pomegranate seeds, when in season

1-2 tbsp good quality, cold-pressed honey (avoid heated honey as the process of heating destroys its healing nutrients)

Directions: 

Bring the milk and water (or saffron water) to a boil in a non-stick pan.

Add the oats, raisins and goji berries and mix well.

Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and ground saffron.

Cook slowly on low heat.

Simmer until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.

Spoon the porridge into individual serving bowls.

Sprinkle the ground seeds, cinnamon powder and berries.

Serve hot with milk and honey.

Enjoy the smell and the colours.

Taste it and appreciate the textures.

It will give you energy to start your day.