butternut squash 750g peeled, deseeded and cut into 4cm chunks
onions 2 large or 3 small, diced; plus 1 cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
garlic cloves 3 fat, crushed
leeks 3, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
potatoes 3, unpeeled, cut into 4cm rough chunks
ripe vine tomatoes 5, roughly chopped into chunks
ground cumin 4 heaped tsp
ground cinnamon 1 heaped tsp
smoked sweet paprika 2 tsp
chilli paste 3 tsp
black pepper freshly ground
chickpeas 2 x 400g cans (reserve the liquid, plus a couple of handfuls of chickpeas to garnish)
large courgette 1, finely diced
feta cheese 100g
For the herb oil
olive oil 6 tbsp
flat-leaf parsley good handful
dill good handful
coriander good handful, plus extra, chopped, to garnish
pistachio nuts handful
lemon juice squeeze
Preheat a large saucepan over a medium heat and put in enough olive oil to generously coat the base of the pan. Add the butternut squash, diced onions, garlic, leeks and potatoes and sauté, without browning, until the vegetables soften slightly. Then add the tomatoes, spices and chilli paste and give it all a good stir to ensure the spices are evenly coating the vegetables. Cover the vegetables completely with freshly boiled water, add a generous amount of sea salt (I would suggest at least 4 heaped teaspoons, crushed) and a good amount of black pepper, stir once more and cook for 30 minutes on a gentle boil.
Insert a knife into the squash and, when it is soft, purée the mixture in a food processor or blender until you get a lovely even, smooth soup. Once smooth, add the chickpeas and their liquid and stir well. At this stage you can add some more water to achieve your desired soup consistency and check the seasoning to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Cook for a further 20 minutes, then add the courgette and cook for a final 20 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large frying pan set on a high heat and fry the sliced onion until brown and crispy. Add the reserved chickpeas and brown them with the onions. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and chickpeas from the pan and set aside.
To make the herb oil, put the olive oil, parsley, dill and coriander in a bowl with the pistachios, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Blitz with a hand blender until finely chopped and with the consistency of pesto. If you need to slacken the mixture, add a bit more oil.
Pour the soup into large bowls (preferably wide, shallow ones), then generously crumble in the feta. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the herb oil into each bowl over the feta. Finally, add the reserved crispy fried onions and chickpeas. Finish with a little freshly chopped coriander (if using). Serve with some nice crusty bread.
inter is the season for colds and flu, so unless you spend the winter in complete isolation from the general public, cold and flu viruses aren't easy to avoid. However, there are ways to keep your immune system healthy so that it can fight off any viruses before they develop. These are our 5 tips to help boost your immune system
Stay away from sugar.
It is not only nutrient free but sugar uses up nutrients which can reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy microorganisms, very handy at this time of year when bugs are in abundance.
2. SATURATED FAT
Cut down on saturated fats.
Increased levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood can inhibit various immune functions so avoid too many red meats and dairy products.
3. ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Eat more oily fish, nuts and seeds.
These essential oils are great for a good immune function and strength of cell membranes.
4. FRUIT AND VEG
Have colourful meals not only do they look better they are better for you too!
Plant antioxidants are found in a wide variety of foods which account for the different colours of many plants. They play a valuable role in boosting overall immunity.
Increase your zinc levels.
Zinc is an important mineral for the immune system.
Eggs, leafy green vegetables and pumpkin seeds are good sources of zinc.
"It's better to give than to receive" and according to 2008 Harvard Business School research project, it appears the old adage is correct. Spending money on others or giving to charity puts a bigger smile on your face than buying things for yourself.
As Charles Dickens emphasised so effectively in A Christmas Carol, rejoicing and general good cheer are, and should be, an essential part of Christmas. In this season of goodwill, this year it’s estimated that British families will spend an average £821.25 on gifts, food and drink and decorations At the same foodbanks across the country prepare themselves for the busiest https://www.trusselltrust.org/2018/11/27/foodbanks-christmas-2018/
For the month of December, we will be collecting food donations for the Stroud Food Bank. It’s a great opportunity to clear out your cupboards and help those most in need this Christmas. It would be fantastic if on every visit to Personal Best you could bring one tin of food, (preferably not beans – there is a backlog!) and we will deliver these to the Food bank on the 21st December.
It is a busy month ahead for everyone at PB and we are all looking forward to some well- earned time off at Christmas. We will be open between Christmas and the New Year but only for limited periods, more details of this in our next newsletter. For now, take a bit of time out to read our top tips for avoiding colds and bugs this winter and have a rummage through those kitchen cupboards!
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