food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

greek tomato soup

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This Domatósoupa is a creamy, slightly sour tomato soup with an amazing depth of flavour. The recipe can be found in Susie Jacobs’ Recipes from a Greek Island. 

To make this soup you must first make a herb stock. Measure 1.2 litres (40fl oz) of water into a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped thyme, 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped marjoram, 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig of parsley, 2 strips of lemon zest, 1 small peeled and roughly chopped onion, 4 garlic cloves, 1 dried red chilli, 10 black peppercorns, 1 whole clove, a small piece of cinnamon bark and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes then strain and set aside. In a pot with a heavy base heat some olive oil and gently fry 1 large diced Spanish onion and 1 finely chopped leek until soft and translucent. Add 600g (1¼ lbs) of skinned and chopped tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of tomato paste and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes then add 1 clove of finely diced garlic, the finely grated zest of ½ an orange and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint. Continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes then add the herb stock. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 30 – 45 minutes. In a medium bowl beat 350ml (12 fl oz) of thick Greek-style yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of flour. While still beating, slowly add 1 ladleful of the soup to the yoghurt. Repeat this one more time then slowly pour all of the yoghurt into the soup pot, stirring constantly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and continue to stir and cook over very low heat for a few minutes more. Don’t allow the soup to boil or it may curdle. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread.


Written by michelle picker

July 25, 2018 at 12:14 am

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zucchini, parmesan and basil soup

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Do you keep those rinds from parmesan?  Here’s a truly delicious way to use them and to eat your greens.

The first step for this soup is to make a stock from the parmesan rinds. A pressure cooker helps to shorten this process. Cut 4 -6 pieces of rind into small pieces and cook them in 1 litre (1 quart) of water until they are almost melted away. This will take 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker and 2-3 hours in a pot and may need more water. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan sauté 1 chopped onion and 4-5 chopped zucchinis in some olive oil. Season to taste. When you’re satisfied that you’ve extracted the most out of the parmesan rinds, strain the stock into the saucepan and continue to cook until the zucchinis are just soft. Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until the mixture is emulsified then add fresh basil leaves and process again. Check the seasoning before serving with a drizzle of olive oil.

Written by michelle picker

October 25, 2017 at 12:08 am

chervil soup

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Chervil is related to Parsley, but is more delicate and has a mild licorice or aniseed taste. Widely used in French cooking, it is one of the four traditional fines herbesThis delicious soup highlights it’s flavour and is very useful when you have a glut of chervil.


Separate the stems from the leaves of a large bunch of fresh chervil. Cook the stems in 4 cups of chicken stock until they are tender then strain through a fine sieve and discard the stems. While the stems are cooking purée 2 egg yolks, ½ a cup of cream, the chervil leaves and the leaves from 2-3 stems of parsley. Transfer the purée to a bowl and whisk in 1 cup of the broth then whisk this mixture back into the remaining broth until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat the soup gently making sure it does not boil.

Written by michelle picker

February 22, 2017 at 5:43 am

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christmas 2016

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Christmas day 2016 was a hot 37ºC day, so we opted for some cold dishes in our 5-course menu.

We started with an amuse-bouche of naked cherry tomatoes from this recipe by Chef John. This method really brings out the flavour in tomatoes.

The second course was a wonderfully fresh chilled green gazpacho soup with burrata cheese, also a Chef John recipe.


For the third course I served cured salmon which I made following this recipe. If you make this recipe be sure to make the dressing a day ahead – it improves with time.


Our fourth course was a roasted porchetta served with roasted potatoes and carrots and a dragoncello sauce which I recently learnt to make at this masterclass.


Dessert was a brandy ice cream with a chocolate shell served with brandied prunes.



Here’s an inside view of the ice cream.



And finally, with coffee and tea, some delicious rum and apricot balls thanks to Carolynne.

Written by michelle picker

December 30, 2016 at 5:43 am

enoki mushroom and bean thread soup

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This quick Asian style soup makes a deliciously satisfying meal.


Nothing in this soup takes very long to cook. Prepare a light chicken or vegetable stock and add some finely shredded cabbage, enoki mushrooms and julienned carrots. After a couple of minutes add some bean thread noodles (mung bean vermicelli) broken into 10cm (4″ ) lengths, some sliced fried tofu (beancurd) and some raw prawns (shrimp). Allow to simmer until the prawns and vermicelli are cooked. Add some garlic chives, also cut into 10cm (4″) lengths and flavour the soup to taste with Vietnamese fish sauce (milder than Thai fish sauce), Sriracha chilli sauce and white pepper.

Written by michelle picker

July 27, 2016 at 5:45 am

chicken and sweetcorn soup

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Every culture has it’s chicken soup and this classic Chinese one is my kind of comfort food.


First, make a good chicken stock from a boiling fowl or some chicken carcasses with a few slices of fresh ginger in it. When the stock is ready, strain it into a saucepan. If you have cooked a whole chicken then you may be able to use some of the shredded meat in your soup, but fresh chicken will taste better. Add a few skinless chicken thighs to the stock and gently poach them until just cooked. Remove them to a plate and set aside. Now add some corn kernels (either fresh or frozen) and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Now the soup will need a little processing, but not to a smooth purée. Thicken the soup with a slurry of cornflour and cold water – just enough to allow the corn to float throughout the soup. Shred the chicken and return it to the soup. Bring to a rolling boil and, while stirring, slowly pour in some beaten eggs. Finally, season with salt to taste, a generous amount of ground white pepper and a little sesame oil. Garnish with spring onions.


Written by michelle picker

May 10, 2016 at 6:01 am

Posted in eggs, poultry & game, soup

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Cooking club again. This time we made Phổ, a Vietnamese soup with beef and flat rice noodles, which is popular for breakfast all over Vietnam and any time of day in the north. Normally the stock is cooked overnight but because of time constraints we made a pressure cooker version adapted from various recipes.


To make enough stock to fill an 8 litre (8 quart) pot to capacity you will need 900g (2 lbs) of beef marrow bones with meat attached, 8 brown shallots and 60g (2 oz) of fresh ginger. All of these should first be charred over coals (if you don’t have a charcoal burner use a barbecue or even a gas flame). When the shallots and ginger are quite blackened cut them up and place them in the pot with the bones, 450g (1 lb) of beef brisket, 1 tablespoon of salt, 55g (2 oz) of rock sugar (ordinary sugar would work) and ⅔ of a cup of Vietnamese fish sauce (if you can only find Thai fish sauce use only ⅓ of a cup). In a small pan roast 2 cinnamon quills, 4 whole star anise, 2 black or brown cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns and 3 teaspoons of fennel seeds. These spices are better roasted separately as some roast faster than others. Tie the spices into a muslin cloth and place into the pot with the other ingredients. Fill to capacity with cold water. Bring to the boil and either cook over low heat for 2 hours or pressure cook for 30 minutes. Remove the brisket and set it aside to cool. Continue to cook the stock for a further 4 hours or in the pressure cooker for ½ and hour and then allow the pressure cooker to come to normal pressure naturally. Strain the stock.

We also made a pickle to serve with the soup. Slice 3 shallots, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 red chilli and 1 green chilli into similar sizes. Combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 teaspoon of sugar and ½ a teaspoon of salt and allow the vegetables to pickle in this mixture for at least 1 hour.

To make the rice noodles combine ⅔ of a cup of rice flour (not glutionous), ⅓ of a cup of tapioca starch and ½ a teaspoon of salt with enough water to make a thin batter which is only a little thicker than milk. Mix the batter vigorously. Using a number of large elastic bands attach a thin piece of cotton fabric over the top of a steamer for which you have a lid. Leave a small gap on one side for the steam to escape into the lid and pull the cloth until it is as taut as possible. Using a small ladle, spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of batter onto the cloth and make it into a circle with the back of the ladle. Cover and steam for 1 minute. When the noodle is cooked it should be translucent. Remove by holding a bamboo skewer at both ends and sliding it under the noodle to free it from the cloth. Carefully lift it onto a plate and brush with a little oil. This will allow you to place the next sheet onto the first. Repeat the process until you have a stack of rice noodles and the batter is used up. Now you can slice the noodles to the desired thickness.

To serve the soup place the noodles into the soup bowls with fresh bean sprouts, chopped spring onions, chopped fresh mint, vietnamese mint and coriander (cilantro), the sliced brisket and some very finely sliced raw beef sirloin (placing this in the freezer for an hour will make it easier to slice very finely). Pour the hot soup into the bowls and serve with the pickle.

Written by michelle picker

June 24, 2015 at 5:48 am

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