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Posts from the ‘Soups’ Category

Getting hot under the collar.

Seasons are changing. Don’t you love it when nature transforms itself almost overnight? In the Swiss Alps, autumn has arrived and winter is slowly creeping down the mountain. The snow has made its first appearance in the resort and the lifts have opened early. My social network pages are rife with photos of the first ski outing of the season, snowball fights and glittering snow landscapes.

All these changes in climate will have you craving heart-warming stews, mashed potatoes, spicy alcohol fuelled brews, trying to prepare our bodies for the colder days and darker nights. Staying healthy and not surrendering to the stodge of winter is not an easy battle. However, what I have to offer is the warmth you need without the heavy post-meal slump.

This broth is spicy, tangy, clean. The Alaskan salmon brings mellowness to the fire and fullness to your stomach. Not to mention those precious Omega 3 oils – to lubricate that brain of yours!

Spicy Salmon Broth
Adapted from a recipe by Nick Nairn

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil
2cm of fresh ginger, julienned
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large fresh chilli, julienned
1 small bird’s eye chilli, sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, sliced thinly
1 litre of vegetable stock (or fish stock)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy)
Juice of 1 lime
A bunch of spring onions, sliced thinly (or red onion works well too)
Two good handfuls of spinach (optional)
Coriander, chopped roughly
2 Alaskan salmon fillets (MSC), cut into 2cm chunks

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan on low and add ginger, garlic, chillies and lemongrass for about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, tamari sauce, fish sauce and lime juice, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the spring onions, cook for 2 minutes. Then slide in the fish, cook for a further two minutes. Throw in the coriander (and spinach if using). Let it wilt. Stir and serve in bowls.

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a starter. Sweating yet?

Back to basics

Recent times have shown how adversity can bring people together, you recognise you are stronger than you thought you were and from the murky depths you found yourself in, you re-emerge feeling like someone new, a better version of the one who came before.

It has been a dark journey, interspersed with moments of delight, quiet contemplation and learning. It is one journey which I cannot imagine myself not having as part of my life. It is part of who I am, it has shaped me.

This has prompted me to take everything back to basics, to crave simplicity, clean lines and tastes. To start from scratch with solid, plain ingredients.

This soup is all of those things. The first time I made it, I fell in love with it. The texture of the different ingredients, the clean yet comforting taste, the subtlety of it all. It’s all there. It is where I am at now.

Lemon & Spinach Lentil Soup
Slightly adapted from Cook in Boots by Ravinder Bhogal

Ingredients
225g split red lentils
1.5 litres of water
1 knob unsalted butter
Sea salt & ground black pepper for seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic gloves, chopped
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
150g baby leaf spinach

Method
Rinse the lentil until the water runs clear, then put in saucepan with the cold water, butter and the seasoning (be generous). Bring to the boil, cover the pan and cook the lentils for about 20 minutes. You might find foam from the lentils comes to the surface, this is normal, just scoop it out.

Heat olive in a frying pan and cook onion and garlic until soft. Add the lemon zest, cook for a further minute, then set aside.

Once the lentils are tender, put the onions & garlic in the pan and add the spinach. Add the lemon juice and take off the heat.

Serves four.

A prize turnip

January. A month for repenting the sins of Christmas over-indulgences. In my case too much cheese (Vacherin Mont D’Or and Stinking Bishop I am pointing my finger at you) and red wine. It was delicious whilst it lasted. Oh hum.

It is high time for some healthy foodstuff.

Back in July, recounting my teens in Switzerland, I promised you the legendary soupe aux raves my Grandmother used to make regularly. Warming, tasty and very easy to make. Turnips would probably not be everyone’s first choice when it comes to soup but I guarantee you happiness in a bowl! I made my first ever batch at the weekend and have been enjoying it for lunch this week.

Soupe aux Raves (serves 4)

15g butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

4 medium sized turnips, peeled and grated.

2 small Désirée potatoes, peeled, and then cut into julienne.

600ml vegetable stock

3 tbsp chopped parsley

Salt & Pepper

A splash of cream

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent.

Add the potato cut into julienne and cook for a minute of so. Add the grated turnip and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 35 minutes.

Season. Add the parsley, stir and serve into warm bowls with a splash or ‘un nuage’ of cream as my Grandmother would say.

It is not draconically healthy but my food never is!

My very first post…

Chinese DumplingsHaving shied away from having my own blog for the past year, I was finally inspired to start it after this weekend’s events… Who would have thought that making Chinese dumplings would be the catalyst? I have been a keen cook for years. This keeness has fluctuated depending on what has been happening in my day to day life but in recent months, I have had a guinea pig (sorry John!) willing to sample all my recipes. He’s not complained so far and long may that continue…

So back to those dumplings, the filling consisted of raw king prawns, Chinese wood ear mushrooms, ginger, spring onion and a dash of mirin and soy sauce. John and I carefully wrapped them in the gyoza wrappers he’d picked up at the Chinese supermarket and off we went… Served in a broth with spinach and spring onions, I am delighted to say that they were delicious. I was worried they might fall apart but they were a real success and have made it onto my ‘Make That Again’ list.

Another first attempt at something new this weekend was a dark chocolate tart. We struggled with the pastry. I’d run out of plain white flour so chanced it with some wholemeal flour. It was tricky to lay out but John was patient where I was ready to throw in the towel… we baked the pastry for 20 mins and then added this gooey dark chocolate filling made of 70% cocoa chocolate, eggs, butter and sugar… back in the oven for 20 mins et voilà… death by chocolate. I plan to bring the remainder of this decadent tart into work… it might earn me a few brownie points and some favours.