Dinner, Fall Comfort Recipes, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Soup’s On


Well, November is here, and we are about to head into the heart of the holiday season. That said, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and many of us will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks together.

All of it means there’s a lot of planning underway to put family favorites on the table, and you might be looking to try a few new recipes to include for your get-together. As the unusually warm air gives way to colder temps, you might be looking for something that makes your feel warm inside, and a nice bowl of soup fits the bill.

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Catherine Fulvio of the Ballyknocken Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. Catherine’s Kitchen Quarantine Edition had a wonderful recipe for red lentil soup, that’s soothing, delicious, and 100% vegan. The addition of coconut milk makes this soup creamy and velvety.  Many of us will have people with different dietary needs at our tables this Thanksgiving, and this is a soup that is sure to please.

Finally, the soup comes together quickly with a minimum of prep time. You can season the soup to your taste. Be mindful of the fresh ginger, it can have quite a bite. Keep tasting as you go along, and remember to use salt and pepper to balance everything on the palate. Also, Catherine has a tip for ginger that I always use. Store fresh ginger in the freezer. Use a freezer bag and use it as needed. Not only will it keep, but it also makes it far easier to use in recipes.

This recipe is Vegan. Vegetarian, Gluten-free, and low-fat.

I hope you give this a try.


Red lentil and ginger soup by Catherine Fulvio



  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 ½ Red Chilies deseeded and finely chopped
  • Pinch of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Red Peppers deseeded and diced
  • 4 oz Red Lentils soaked for 10 minutes in water and drained
  • 20 fl oz Vegetable Stock
  • 14 fl oz Can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Toasted Desiccated Coconut and Fresh Herbs to garnish


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 10 minutes until transparent.
  • Add chili and ginger and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the peppers, lentils, and nutmeg and stir to mix. Add the coconut milk and the stock to the soup. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked through and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
  • Sprinkle over the toasted coconut, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
Adaptable Recipes, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast Edition

It’s hard to believe that August is here. The summertime seems to be flying by much to the dismay of schoolchildren as it will be back to school time soon. There are a number of channels that are devoted to cooking. I recently discovered Recipe TV, and Irish chef, Catherine Fulvio.

Filmed in County Wicklow Ireland, Catherine’s Ballyknocken Cookery School and Bed and Breakfast looks like a slice of heaven straight out of a Hallmark Movie. The surrounding land is lush, green, and full of life and color.  A Taste of Ireland and Catherine’s Farmhouse Kitchen serves up recipes with warmth, charm, and care.  Catherine is a joy to watch, and it’s extra special when she includes her lovely daughter, Charlotte, as well as the many wonderful residents in town.

There’s a recipe that would make for a lovely morning treat for moms and dads alike, whether you’re a coffee or tea lover. The resulting tea cake is perfect to add a little zen to your day. I have yet to perfect making her family recipe for Barm Brack, but I plan to have a tasty time trying, I hope you do too.

I have included the following recipe adaptations in parenthesis for the following dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Low-Sugar
  • Vegan and Vegetarian

If you don’t get Recipe TV in your area, we’ve including the links to Catherine’s Blog and website.


Barm Brack recipe by Catherine Fulvio

1 square cake

350ml / 12fl oz cold Irish breakfast tea (1 ½ cups)
540g / 19 ounces/ about 2 cups raisins (golden raisins)
275g / 9 1/2 ounces 1 ¼ cups sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener, coconut, turbinado, or raw can sugar, pulsed fine)
275g / 9½ oz unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) (vegan butter)
400g / 14 oz about 1 1/2 cups* self-rising flour (gluten-free recipe self-rising flour follows)
1 tsp mixed spice (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom)

3 to 4 beaten eggs (1/2 cup Aquafaba, ¾ cup silken tofu pureed with ½ teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or egg replacer)
Chopped nuts and glacé cherries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 320°F /160°C/gas 4. Line a 9-inch square cake tin with greased parchment paper. Wrap trinkets such as coins and rings in parchment paper (as tightly and neatly as possible).
Place the tea, fruit, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a large bowl.
When the boiled mixture has cooled, pour into the flour, and mix well. Add the beaten eggs and mix well again. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Push the wrapped trinkets into the cake mixture (i.e. below the surface, so there is no trace of them when the cake is cooked).
Bake for approximately 1½ hours.
Insert a skewer into the cake to check that it is cooked – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
Leave in the cake tin to cool for 20 minutes before removing it onto a cooling rack.


  • The measurements for the recipe are metric, if possible, weigh your ingredients. It’s the best way to ensure a good bake.
  • Also, adjust the baking time according to your oven.

This recipe is by the G-Free Foodie

Yield: 1 cup of gluten-free self-rising flour


1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour, or 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tsp xanthan gum, only if your blend does not contain it


Mix ingredients in a food processor or mixer for at least ten minutes.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Or proceed with your recipe

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For more about the lovely Catherine Fulvio, visit the following links