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Archive for October, 2009

Soup of the day with Irish brown bread

Last weekend we had friends over from Madrid. They lived here in Dublin for a year and a half and come over every now and then to catch up with friends and have a few Guinness.

We truly enjoyed the weekend with them and their lunch choice gave me the idea for this post. Natalia was very excited about going to a pub and getting the soup of the day with brown bread.

I guess for most of you out there that might not sound very exciting. But since I travelled through Ireland with my husband 2 years ago, I fell in love with Irish brown bread and the special soup of the day made of lots of veggies and cream. It brings me right back to the local pub in the small town of Leenane, close to the fireplace where we sat, watching the rain outside.

Level: Easy | Time: 30 minutes | serves 4-6

Ingredients

Knob of butter

½ onion, peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces

1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped finely

4 medium-sized potatoes, washed (peeled if necessary) and cut into small pieces

2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces

1 stalk of leek, washed and cut into small rings (keep the white and green part separate)

Half of a small celeriac root, peeled and cut into small pieces

750 ml of chicken stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown bread, butter and half a glove of garlic to rub the bread

Preparation

  1. Add a knob of butter to a medium-sized pot and heat on a medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion, the white part of the leek, the garlic, and cook for 5 minutes
  2. Now add the rest of the veggies, the stock, a good pinch of pepper, and cook for 15 minutes on a medium to low heat.
  3. When the veggies are nice and soft, take the pot off the heat and add everything into a blender and blend until it is smooth and creamy.
  4. Toast the sliced brown bread and rub it with a halved garlic clove. This will give it a nice aroma.
  5. Serve in a warm bowl with butter!

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Easy chicken and rice soup with sweet corn

 

I have to admit that the idea to cook this soup just came to me when I was food shopping and found a bag of pre-cut soup veggies. I felt a bit lazy this weekend and wanted to get a few things done. I needed something that could look after itself.

So, this recipe was just perfect. All I had to do was adding the soup base veggies (in this case the luxury pre-cut version) into a large pot; add 2 litres of water and 500 grams of chicken pieces. I usually use chicken drums but it really depends on what you can get. I let that cook with a bit of salt and pepper for 40 minutes on a low to medium heat. And the soup is almost done.

This gave me enough time for my favourite household task of all times: ironing. If I ever become a wealthy woman this is surely the first thing I will hire someone for. I can promise you that!

Level: Easy | Time: 60 minutes | serves 4

Ingredients

500 grams of chicken pieces such as drumsticks or thighs

Soup base veggies (500 grams) Leek, Carrot, Herb Celery and Parsley

2 litres of water

Small cup of cooked rice

Small cup of cooked sweet corn

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Add the soup base veggies, chicken pieces, 2 litres of water and salt and pepper into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook on a low to medium heat for about 40 minutes.
  2. After 40 minutes take the chicken pieces out of the pot and let them cool down.
  3. Set the pot aside for now and cook the rice in a separate pan.
  4. When the chicken has cooled down, cut the nice white meat of the bone and add it to the soup. You have to be very careful not to add any bones, fat or anything you would not like in your bowl.
  5. Now, add everything (chicken, rice and a small cup of sweet corn) to the pot and reheat for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Voila – hassle free chicken soup!

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Spicy carrot and ginger soup

Karottensuppe

Photo: Sandra Schumann

I took a fantastic long walk along Bulls Island today and really enjoyed the fresh autumn air. It’s such a nice time of the year. It’s not too cold yet to enjoy a long walk. On a lovely day such as today, with colourful trees and a bright sunny blue sky – it is just perfect.

While walking along the beach I took lots of pictures and enjoyed the sunset over the bay. The beach is like an invitation to take tonnes of photos.

After this great walk I got home and sat down to enjoy the pictures and a cup of yummy hot chocolate. It was almost 9 when I started to feel hungry. I was in the mood for something spicy and fresh, and quick at the same time.

So, I decided to cook a carrot soup. I discovered this recipe a while ago and really loved it. The cumin and the coriander spice up the soup nicely and turn ordinary carrots into something special.

Completely happy and re-vitalized, I finished the day on the couch reading a really interesting book; looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch left-over soup 🙂

Level: Easy | Time: 30 minutes | serves 2

Ingredients

Knob of butter

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 cm of ginger grated

300g of carrots, washed and cut in small pieces

500 ml of chicken or vegetable stock

1 small tbs. of ground cumin

1 tbs. ground coriander

1 tbs. of chilli flakes

Fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish (keep the stalks finely chopped)

DSC_0293

Photo: Sandra Schumann

Preparation

  1. Heat the butter in a medium-sized pot and sauté the onions for 5-10 minutes until soft and glossy.
  2. Add the garlic, grated ginger, carrots, chopped coriander and the spices to the pot and fry for a few minutes allowing the spices to unfold their flavours.
  3. Add the chicken stock and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the pot off the heat and allow the soup to cool down a bit.
  5. Purée the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Reheat if necessary.
  6. Serve in pre-heated bowls with a nice handful of chopped coriander leaves.

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When I was walking home yesterday, I saw the blue and white decorated stands of the Dublin Oktoberfest.

It is an annual event and I can not resist it. The lovely smells just make me hungry and even though the music is very cheesy, it’s still great fun.

Inspired by the Oktoberfest I decided to prepare a traditional German potato soup today. It`s simple but delicious.

post potato Photos: Sandra Schumann

Level: Easy | Time: 40 minutes | serves 4

Ingredients

1 knob of butter

1 big onion, finely chopped

2 medium-sized carrots peeled and cut into small pieces

4 medium-sized potatoes cut into small pieces

1 small stalk of celery peeled and cut into small pieces

150 grams of nice smoky bacon rashes

750 ml of chicken or vegetable stock

2 TS of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat the butter in a large pot and cook the onions and celery.
  2. After 5-10 minutes add the potatoes and carrots and the stock to the pot and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the bacon in a separate frying pan until crispy. You can cut the bacon in small slices if you like or leave it whole. I do not add the bacon to the soup when cooking it, as the bacon can lose its nice colour and turn into an unappetizing grey.
  4. After 15 minutes take the soup of the heat and mash it with a potato masher. Mash until the soup is creamy and smooth but leave some nice potato and carrot pieces in it.
  5. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl, decorate nicely with the bacon and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Guten Appetit!

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 DSC_0279

Why buy seasonal?

We all know that it is the best to eat fruit and vegetables when they are in season. If we fill out plates and bowls with what Mother Nature is providing, we can be sure that we eat healthy, fresh and get the best taste.

In particular for soups, which main ingredients are often vegetables, I would highly recommend using very good quality. It will make your dishes so much better.

These are a few good reasons to buy products in season:

  1. Buying in season is cheaper: When you know what is in season and shop accordingly, you will get the freshest products and most of the times even save money, as prices go down when the supply is up.
  2. Buying in season is fresher: Seasonal products usually come from local producers. You buy them shortly after they have been harvested.
  3. Buying in season makes for better taste: When you buy what is in season you allow fruits and vegetables to grow naturally. The growing process is not rushed and the products are perfectly ripe when you buy them which will guarantee the best tastes.
  4. Buying in season supports local producers and is better for the environment because products do not need to travel far, which avoids the use of additional chemicals and transportation. Another thing that I really like is that fruits and vegetables are normally not pre-packed at food markets and you can choose exactly the amount you need and have less waste.

DSC_0450Where to buy?

At the moment, I am living in Dublin and I am trying to buy most of my fruit and veggies from local producers and in season.

I love the Temple Bar Food market , which is on every Saturday from 10 am – 4.30 pm on Meeting House Square. It gives me a whole different feeling about the food I eat and it really inspires me to cook more. Just look for farmers and food markets in your area. They have become really popular and I am sure there is one very close to your home.

Of course, I do not manage to get to the market every weekend and I shop some of my food in supermarkets as well. Most supermarkets have an organic or local food section and when you know what is in season, you can shop wisely at supermarkets as well.

 

Seasonal calendar

There are many slightly different seasonal calendars out there. Which products are in season around the year depends on your location. For Ireland and I guess for most of Europe these two calendars, Seasonal Food Calendar and Calendar_A4, will give you a very good overview. The second one can be found on the eatseasonably.co.uk site as well and has some cool interactive functions.

Great links for further reading:

bestinseason.ie

Irish farmers markets

East seasonably

 So, eat seasonably and enjoy fruit and vegetables at their best :-)!

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It is time for soup!

The leaves are turning red and yellow, the nights are getting colder and the days shorter. I love this time of the year. It is colourful, calm and mysterious. I really enjoy the autumn skies with the most interesting cloud shapes and the fresh air. And what would fit better into an autumn day than a lovely warm bowl of soup? This is my very first post with one of my favourite recipes for you. Enjoy!

broccoli and zuchini soup

Photo: Sandra Schumann

Broccoli and Zucchini Soup

Level: Easy | Time: 30 minutes | serves 2

Ingredients

Knob of butter

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 medium-sized Zucchinis, washed and cut into pieces

400 grams of broccoli, washed and cut into florets

750 ml of chicken or vegetable stock

1 big spoon of crème fraiche

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat the butter in a medium-sized pot and cook the onions for 5-10 minutes until soft and glossy but not brown.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes before adding the zucchini and the broccoli.
  3. Add the chicken stock and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the pot of the heat and allow the soup to cool down a bit.
  5. Purée the soup in a blender and return to the pot.
  6. Add the crème fraiche and salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve in pre-heated bowls with a nice handful of chopped chives and a small tablespoon of crème fraiche.

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