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Archive for November, 2009

curried potato and zuchini soup with dill

 

I bought a big bunch of dill the other day for a salmon pasta dish I was preparing and I had a lot of left. As I love the smell and taste of dill, I wanted to use it in a soup but I had no idea what to cook. After a quick research, I discovered this recipe online. I changed a few things to match my fridge content and I have to tell you, this is one of the best discoveries in a long time.

The initial recipe suggested decorating the soup with pine nuts, which I tried but did not like so much. I would suggest serving it with a nice dollop of crème fraîche and some smoked fish, like haddock or salmon.

Level: Easy | Time: 30 minutes | serves 2-4

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 big zucchini, peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces

500ml of vegetable or chicken stock

100ml crème fraîche and some extra for serving

Salt and Pepper

2 TS of curry powder (I used “Madras hot curry”.)

Preparation

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot and fry the onion, potato and zucchini for 5 minute on a low to medium heat.
  2. Add the curry powder, salt (if necessary) and a pinch of pepper and the stock and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Take the soup of the heat and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the crème fraîche and blend again for 1-2 minutes until everything is nicely mixed together.
  5. Add the chopped dill to your soup and stir in.
  6. To serve: ladle the soup into a warm bowl and garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and if you like some smoked fish pieces.

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Spicy Mexican bean soup

spicy mexican bean soup

It is getting colder and darker every day now and my taste buds call for hearty and spicy food. I had planed to cook fajitas this weekend and just needed to add a few things to my shopping list to prepare a nice starter soup.

As I bought a big steak for the fajita, I decided to keep the soup meat free. The potatoes and beans make it rich anyway. I generally don’t use floury potatoes but in this recipe I think they work really well. They help to thicken the soup and make it even richer.

Cumin and chopped coriander give a kick to the soup. When the onions and garlic are nicely fried and you add the freshly ground cumin, the smell in your kitchen is amazing and give you an idea how the soup will taste like.

If you want to turn this soup into a main course, just add mince meat or chorizo to it. If you don’t eat meat, try some quesadillas with it.

 

quakomole and quesedias

 

Level: Easy | Time: 40 minutes | serves 6

Ingredients

3 TS of Olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finally chopped

2 medium-sized potatoes (floury), sliced in small pieces

1 green pepper, sliced in small pieces

1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can of chopped tomatoes

500 ml of beef stock (or vegetable stock)

2 dried red chillies

Salt and Pepper

3 TS of ground cumin (If you can, use whole cumin seeds and grind them with the Pestle and Mortar. The smell is just amazing!)

Fresh coriander, tomatoes and spring onion for a small salad

Preparation

  1. Heat 3 TS of olive oil in a medium-sized pot and fry the onion on a low heat until soft. Add the garlic and the spices and keep frying them for another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, green pepper and kidney beans to the pot and cover with the stock and chopped tomatoes.
  3. Add the dried chillies and a little extra salt if necessary.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes on a medium heat. Don’t cover the pot completely, allowing some of the juices to evaporate and the soup to thicken.
  5. Take the soup of the heat and taste it. Add Salt and Pepper if necessary and mix in the chopped coriander.
  6. To serve prepare a small salad of chopped spring onions, tomatoes and coriander lightly tossed in a little lime juice.
  7. Fill the soup into a bowl and garnish with the salad. You can also add some grated cheese if you like.

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French onion soup

french onion soup

I was a little bit down this week. It started to be very dark and cold outside, and it rained endlessly. That really got to me. That’s why I decided to challenge myself in the kitchen and cook something extra nice today. I wanted something that goes well with a nice glass of red wine… to make sure the mood is set right for the weekend. And this is what I came up with: French onion soup.

For me it is a perfect recipe for the cold days and with lots of melted cheese it surely brings back a smile on my face. As I never cooked an onion soup before, I researched a bit online and the ingredients for most recipes are fairly similar. The French seem to be very particular on the cheese that should be used (Gruyere) but as I could not get it I used Cheddar.

After letting all my emotions out while cutting the onions, the soup almost cooked itself and it smelled and tasted absolutely yummy.

Level: Medium | Time: 60 minutes | serves 4

Ingredients

A good knob of butter

2 gloves of garlic, finely sliced

500-600 ml of good quality chicken stock

4 big white onions

1 glass of red wine

Cheese, grated (Gruyere would be great but I could not get it so I used cheddar.)

White bread such as baguette, roasted and cut into small pieces (crouton like)

2 TS of flour

2 Bay leaves, 2-3 TS of dried Thyme

Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  1. Peel and cut the onions into thin rings and finely chop the garlic.
  2. Melt the butter on a medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic to a medium-sized pot. If you have one, use one a heavy stewing pot.
  3. It will take about 20 minutes until the onions cook down. Make sure that they don’t burn.
  4. Now, add in the glass of wine and keep stirring for another 10 minutes.
  5. When the wine has reduced, add 2 TS of flour, salt and pepper, the herbs and the stock, and allow the soup to cook on a low heat for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. To serve: Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees using the top heat setting. Ladle the soup into a bowl, add the pieces of bread and cover it with grated cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbly and golden.

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Minestrone – my version of an Italian classic

 

Minestrone is a classic Italian dish and very quick and easy to prepare. You can use whatever veggies you have available which gives plenty of room for variations.

Fresh tomatoes and pasta guarantee the Italian flavour and if that isn’t enough just add lots of parmesan to your soup.

 

Level: Easy | Time: 45 minutes | serves 6

 

Ingredients

1 stalk of celery, peeled and cut into small pieces

3 spring onions, cut into small pieces

1 small garlic glove, grated or chopped very finely

3 small carrots, peeled and cut in small pieces

3 small potatoes, peeled and cut in small pieces

150 grams of green beans, cut in 2 centimetre pieces

1 can of white beans

4 tomatoes, skinned and cut in pieces

1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Pasta (small shapes or Spaghetti broken up in smaller pieces), 150 grams

1 bay leave, 3 stalks of fresh Thyme or 1 small TS of dried Thyme

 

Preparation

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables. Skin the tomatoes and cut them into smaller pieces as well.
  2. Bring 1 litre of good quality vegetable or chicken stock to the boil and add all the veggies, garlic, beans, tomatoes and herbs.
  3. In a separate bowl cook the pasta until al dente. You can cook the pasta in the same pot as the rest of the soup. As it makes the soup fairly cloudy, I prefer to cook the pasta separately.
  4. Cook the soup uncovered on a medium heat for 20 minutes. When the all the veggies are nicely cooked add the pasta to the soup.
  5. Serve with parmesan cheese and roasted Ciabatta bread.

 

Minestrone – my version of an Italian classic 2

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That just sounds and tastes great and it is super easy to cook. Just fry one small onion in a little olive oil, add the watercress, stock and cooked potatoes and you are almost done.

 

Watercress soup with goats cheese and herb garlic croutons

 

Level: Easy | Time: 30 minutes | serves 2-4

Ingredients

A little bit of olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and cut into small pieces

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cooked

250 grams of fresh watercress

450 ml of chicken or vegetarian stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Goat’s cheese

For the croutons: bread, garlic and herbs

 

watercress soup

watercress soup

 

Preparation

  1. Add a little bit of olive oil to a small pot and fry the onion on a low heat until translucent.
  2. Add the stock, watercress and the cooked potatoes to the pot and cook together for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile you can prepare the croutons. To do that, cut you bread or toast in small pieces and fry in a pan with a little olive oil, some herbs (such as herbs de province) and some garlic. Roast until the croutons have a nice colour and have absorbed the great garlic and herb flavour.
  4. Take the soup off the heat and blend in a food processor until smooth.
  5. To serve, add the soup to a bowl and garnish with the crumbled goats cheese and some croutons.

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