food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

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.

chervil-soup

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

christmas 2016

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naked-cherry-tomatoes

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.

gazpacho-verde-with-burrata-cheese

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.

cured-salmon

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.

porchetta-with-dragoncello-sauce-potatoes-and-carrots

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

brandy-ice-cream-with-chocolate-shell-and-brandied-prunes

brandy-ice-cream-eaten

Here’s an inside view of the ice cream.

rum-balls

 

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

enoki mushroom and bean thread soup

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This quick Asian style soup makes a deliciously satisfying meal.

soup

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.

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.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup

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.

chicken-and-sweetcorn-soup-2

Written by michelle picker

May 10, 2016 at 6:01 am

phổ

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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.

Pho

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

black bean soup

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Spiced and a little spicy, this hearty soup will satisfy vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

black-bean-soup

To make this soup first soak ⅔ of a cup of dry black beans in 3 cups of water overnight. Cook the beans until soft (this only takes 10 minutes in a pressure cooker). Dice 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper and 2 sticks of celery and sauté gently in some vegetable oil until the onion is translucent. Add 1 clove of finely diced garlic, 2 seeded and finely diced red chillies, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, ½ a teaspoon of dried oregano, ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin, ½ a teaspoon of ground coriander (cilantro), ¼ of a teaspoon of dried thyme, ¼ of a teaspoon of ground allspice, ⅛ of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, ⅛ of a teaspoon of ground cloves and 2-4 diced tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are wilting then add the black beans with their liquid and 2 cups of vegetable stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer until all the flavours are well combined. Garnish with some fresh coriander (cilantro) and serve with sour cream.

*This recipe (slightly adapted) is from Brook the Cook on food.com

Written by michelle picker

March 14, 2015 at 5:50 am

chrismukkah 2014

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This year, in keeping with Chrismukkah, we celebrated Christmas day with a Jewish feast.

The first course was chopped liver. This fantastic recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. We ate it on rye bread while sipping champagne.

chopped-liver

Melt 70g (2½ oz) of duck or goose fat in a fry pan and fry 2 large sliced onions until dark brown. Remove to a plate, leaving as much of the fat as possible in the pan. In the same pan fry 400g (14 oz) of trimmed and sliced chicken livers until they are cooked through. In a food processor pulse the livers and onions in batches to achieve a paste which is still a little lumpy. Remove to a bowl and pulse 4 hard-boiled eggs until you have some smaller and larger pieces and add to the liver mix along with another 30g (1 oz) of duck or goose fat, 12 teaspoons of dessert wine, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Fold together gently and transfer to a non-metallic serving dish. Cover and chill before serving. To serve, top with another finely chopped hard-boiled egg and a mixture of chopped spring onions and chives.

Our second course was a palate-cleansing cold Borscht. This recipe comes from Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman.

Borscht

Cook 450g (1 lb) of beetroots in 6 cups of water until tender then remove them and retain the cooking liquid. When they are cool enough, peel and then grate them back into the liquid. Add ¼ of a cup of lemon juice, 1½ tablespoons of cider vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and 1½ tablespoons of sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes more and adjust the sugar and seasoning to taste. Chill for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile finely dice ¾ of a cup of radishes, ¾ of a cup of cucumber, 2 hard-boiled eggs and ¾ of a cup of mixed spring onions, parsley and dill and combine into a serving dish. To serve, ladle the cold soup into bowls and serve with the vegetable and egg mix and a bowl of sour cream at the table.

For our third course we had potato latkes (also from Please to the Table) with hot-smoked salmon and cucumbers in sour cream.

latkes

To make latkes grate 900g (2 lbs) of new potatoes and squeeze them in a cotton or linen tea towel to remove as much liquid as possible. Now rinse them in several changes of water and squeeze dry again. Combine them in a bowl with 1 grated onion and 1 grated carrot. Sprinkle with ⅓ of a cup of flour and mix well. Add ¼ of a cup of milk, 1 egg and ¼ of a teaspoon of baking powder. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix thoroughly. Heat 1½cm (½”) of oil in a heavy fry pan and drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil. Flatten gently with a spatula and fry until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 100ºC (200ºF) oven until ready to serve.

hot-smoked-salmon-with-dill  cucumber-salad

For the cucumbers in sour cream, thinly slice cucumbers and toss with some salt. Let them stand for 1 hour then remove as much liquid as possible and pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl combine ¾ of a cup of sour cream with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of drained capers, 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh dill and ¼ of a teaspoon of sugar. Add the cucumbers and mix well. Chill before serving.

Finally, for dessert we had blintzes (thin crepes) with a filling made of sweetened farmer’s cheese and sour cream with the addition of some sour cherries.

blintzes   Blintzes-cut

Wishing you all a delicious and happy 2015.

Written by michelle picker

December 31, 2014 at 5:45 am