All posts filed under: Soup

Rice Soup with Chorizo, Pumpkin, Kale & a Poached Egg

I don’t like telling you what to do, but on this occasion, I must. It is almost the weekend, and it is very much Autumn, so what I need you to do, is to go out and buy a couple of raw chicken carcasses (most butchers will have them, and failing that 500g chicken wings), some ham bones, if you can get them, or a ham hock. You see with these, and some veg, you can make a sublime broth which will keep you in gorgeous soups for the week, as I have done. I just needed soup and lots of it. A home made broth is wonderful, far surpassing any commercial pretenders. Even those home made ones you see in shop fridges will not have been made with the love and care that yours can be made with at home. Love and care brings flavour, and health, and joy. I am insisting that you give this a go. A good home made stock will have clear strong flavours, but it is gentle too, and …

For What Ails You: Aromatic & Hot Chicken Soup Powerhouse [Recipe]

So, I told you all about my curry eggs cold smasher the other day. Yes, it is a cracker, but it didn’t smash my cold quite as quickly as I wanted to. So, there was nothing for it, I had to call in the reserves: chicken soup, with a twist. There is scientific evidence that supports the notion that chicken soup is in fact Jewish pencillin (as it has always been said to be). It tastes great too and is not too traumatic a recipe for when you are poorly, as long as you have a chicken in the house. I didn’t but a friend kindly brought one round for me and so I was set.

Recipe: Prawn Tom Yum Kung (a vibrant and delicious Thai soup)

I have returned to London for a short stretch, and minutes off the plane it seems, I have contracted the brutal head and chest cold that has been taking London down. I was doing so well, I have not had one cold this winter. For relief and to fight it, I need something simple, firey and potent to blast the germs out. I also need something cheerful and bright. My life is full of lemon, honey & gingers. I now also need to introduce Prawn Tom Yum Kung soup. This recipe is another from Thailand from my class at the cooking school at the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market. This is an authentic recipe and is full of flavour. I think it is also the perfect thing for a cold. There are two ways of making it, one is clear and one is milk with some more firey heat. In Thailand they use tinned milk which is quite sweet and lighter than coconut milk. I am going to work on a coconut milk version, and for …

Recipe: Chicken Broth with Prawn and Chorizo Meatballs and Herbs

When I am in London, my time is pretty packed. Catching up on meetings, working, organising everything (I need a PA!). My weekend are precious and often work filled. When I can, I will snatch a Saturday and cook. I have a ritual on those Saturdays, some things I really like to do and that I find very relaxing. I start with a coffee and a newspaper in one of my favourite local cafés, then I trot to the farmers market to gather some bits. Always much more than intended, for it is full of delicious things. This week: purple and green kale, raw honey, lots of free range eggs (which are much cheaper here than at the supermarket), a lovely plump chicken, chicken wings, and deer bones. It is eclectic, all the food comes from good places, and really, it is quite cheap if you choose well. One thing I always bring back, either from the market or my local lovely butcher, are chicken carcasses, or failing that chicken wings. From these I concoct …

Evening Standard Column: Lentil Soup with Harissa Croutons

I love proper bread, bread that has been allowed to develop properly and not been rushed through a commercial process. I think sourdough is my favourite. How I really love bread is not in a slice or in a sandwich. I love it as an ingredient with other things, to thicken soups, in Italian panzanella or pappa al pomodoro, and especially as a crouton or fried. I really love bread fried in pork fat. Big slices, little chunks. I’ve burned my tongue on them far too many times. (I will never ever learn). Naughty I know, but really delicious. Croutons are incredibly versatile, they are just the perfect vehicle for many things. Whatever you want really! So, in this weeks Evening Standard recipe, I have pimped my croutons with some delicious homemade spicy harissa. I love serving this with a red lentil soup. The simplicity and rustic nature of the soup is a great counter to the spicy, crisp harissa croutons. The recipe for the soup & croutons is on the Evening Standard.  I have …

Recipe: Borlotti Bean & Broken Pasta Soup

Whenever I travel, it’s inevitable that I bring back random ingredients to play with when I get home. My cupboards are rammed with randomness, so much so that I nearly knocked myself out when something came hurtling at my head on opening the cupboard door earlier. I appreciate that even the idea of this creates stress for a lot of people, but I love my Aladdins Cave cupboard full of random delights. Last week in Croatia I picked up lots of curious things including three brands of paprika (I want to see what they’re like starting with some goulash experiments soon), a big bag of dried corn kernels that I bought from an old lady at Pula market, and lots of fresh borlotti beans from another old lady who grew them in her garden. Fresh beans? Why? They’re not easy to come by in the UK and I love them. When I do find them they’re quite expensive. Fresh borlotti beans are succulent and firm, with lovely flavour. They require no soaking, and in relative …

Recipe: Spritely Halloween Pumpkin Soup with Lemongrass, Chilli & Ginger

Pumpkins are not just for Jack O’ Lanterns or pumpkin pie. No sir! Pumpkins are utterly delicious. You may remember my recent pumpkin & pecan mash on this blog. This time I have turned the humble – and cheap – pumpkin into an aromatic dish for Halloween. Now, don’t be afraid of pumpkin. They look big and intimidating, but roast it in quarters with the skin on and you can scoop lovely soft flesh out which is perfect for soup. Not only is this the easy way, it is also the best for flavour, the water evaporates off and you are left with something far more pumpkin-y than before. Lemongrass, with its gorgeous citrus high notes, is wonderful with pumpkin. Some chilli is required for a Halloween soup – it has to be a little scary – and to round it all off some lovely fresh ginger. If you haven’t used lemongrass before, worry not. It’s also easy when you know how and is very easy to source these days too in most supermarkets. Simply …

Video: Making Fiddlehead Soup & Pickling Fiddleheads (Canning) in New Brunswick, Canada

So, we picked the fiddleheads and washed them (as per the video in my last post). We then brought them back to O’Donnells Cottages and made a delicious fiddlehead soup for lunch. We preserved some of the rest and took a jar back home with us. I am saving mine for dirty fiddlehead martinis. Yes you did read right,and yes, isn’t that genius? I got the idea from a lovely lady in New Brunswick. Apologies for the camera flash in the middle of the pickling video, I didn’t spot it until I rendered it and am struck down with a chest infection so can’t face doing it again. Hope you like!

A Recipe: Gammon & Cabbage Soup

I am not much in the mind for cooking, that is new, and possibly a bit worrying. I cook so much now for others, with a full day of prep, followed by 2 days at the market, and two 16 hour days in a row at that, that I find I have little enthusiasm for cooking for myself at home. Call me jaded. I do however, crave something really healthy. My body is battered and I feel a bit weary. I also want to hide out at home and eat here.  It has been a very challenging month. Something quick that I can make that sings of hearty full flavour, that will settle my tum, and soothe my frazzled senses. It sounds like I need a good solid soup. But, what soup? I am not really in the mind for something complicated, I want it to be fresh and wholesome. I am thinking back to my pea & ham soup that I made for the market on Thursday, and sadly forgot to photograph! The absence …

Salsify & Roast Garlic Soup

Salsify is a most underrated vegetable. It’s ugly, and it’s awkward. It’s like a stroppy teenager that refuses to wash. It’s not much fun to prep and goes off colour really easily. Dark brown and holding onto every bit of dirt, I had some ground into my palms which took so much scrubbing, I  think I’ve lost some layers of skin. It requires a lot of TLC. Putting it mildly.  So, why bother? Once  you crack it and this shy vegetable shows you it’s smile, you can’t help but fall in love with it. Tender and delicate, it’s often referred to as the oyster of the vegetable kingdom as it’s reported to have a similar flavour. I find it a little nutty, and so I like to pair it with roast garlic, which I think compliments it well. Once you take the beast that is garlic with some firm roasting, so that it relaxes and releases a sweetness, it holds hands with the salsify in this soup, and they become the best of friends. They don’t overpower each other, it’s a very delicate soup. This …

Onion & Thyme Leaf Soup

The Ballymaloe Cookery Course is a fantastic book containing 1175 recipes, 370 variations and more than 100 basic skills from staple recipes that are quick and easy, to master recipes with twists to change them and more complex challenging dishes. There are many irish recipes and international recipes also, it’s more a culinary bible than a book and would be well placed in any kitchen. It is written by Darina Allen, the co-founder and one of the teacher’s at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland. She’s the Irish answer to Delia Smith and a promoter of slow food and traditional cooking techniques. The cookery school is famous and has been the first step for many in a culinary career. It’s located in the middle of its own 100-acre organic farm outside Cork City, in an idyllic location near the coast.I am offering this cookbook as part of the prize I have donated for Menu for Hope 4 so, I thought that I should cook something from it to show you how lovely it is. …

Something Halloween-y – Pumpkin, Celeriac & Chilli Soup

Happy Halloween! I love festive occasions, any excuse for a bit of fun and a party. Halloween was one of my favourites as a child. We were always on mid term break and so had ample time to fashion costumes, from, *cough*, the most humble of substances. Witches costume from a refuse sack? No problem! I blame Bosco (all you Irish readers can nod your head). Pumpkins were never something we could get our hands on in the wilds of Waterford, so we use to raid the local sugar beet fields and fashion jack-o-lanterns out of them. I wish I could communicate using words the foul stench of burning sugar beet, but we persevered and carried them from house to house. There was a big band of siblings, cousins and neighbours that would march for a mile or so, stopping at the sporadic houses, singing in 3 parts everything we knew – stuff from TV (yes, Bosco), school, church, you name it. We didn’t want monkey nuts, we despised them, just money or sweets please, …

Carrot, Coriander & Lemon Soup

Summer is here! At long last! Sun, sandals, walks along the South Bank, maybe even some picnics. And last night a bright summery soup. This soup is so bright and cheerful, a twist on my usual carrot & orange inspired by an indian dal. I toyed with the idea of adding a tarka (spices tempered in oil added to a dal before serving) but decided the simpler and lighter the better. Lemon and coriander work so well together, as do carrots & coriander so I thought this should work, and it did. I like lemon, but I don’t like it to overpower so I added just a couple of tablespoons, you may want to add more or less – I suggest you do to taste. Ingredients: 300g carrots, peeled & sliced 100g split red lentils 1 leek, halved and sliced 1l vegetable stock a handful of coriander juice of half a lemon Method: Sauté the leeks for a good ten minutes or so over a low heat. Add the carrots, I like to sauté these …

Butter bean, red lentil & rosemary soup

Another quick lunch was required and I fancied some wholesome soup. I wanted something healthy so lentils and beans sounded good. I had also recently pilfered some rosemary from a friends garden so wanted to put that in. I toyed with the idea of making a chorizo, tomato, red pepper & butter bean soup but I’ve been eating so much chorizo lately that I thought that I should give those poor Spanish pigs a break, they’re probably having nightmares about me. I did use Spanish beans though, the giant Spanish butter beans – Judion de la Granja. These are huge white butter beans, quite creamy in texture. They can be hard to get and pricey so feel free to replace with butter beans, it will still be very nice, I just like using different ingredients and the drama of the large beans. If you do want them El Navarrico do them in jars and you can get them in most Spanish deli’s. You can also get them dry at Brindisa in Borough or Exmouth Market …

Courgette & Sweetcorn Soup

I haven’t been feeling very well recently so haven’t been cooking. Today I started again with something very gentle, almost medicinal, a really tasty courgette and sweetcorn soup. Both main ingredients are reasonably delicate and result in quite a creamy soup which is a pleasure to eat and perfect for tender tums. It’s also seasonal so the ingredients are at their best having grown naturally. I have a really lovely book which I have had for over 10 years and which has travelled with me from Ireland to London and through my many house moves since – The Kitchen Pharmacy by Rose Eliott & Carlo de Pauli. Both authors have great credentials, Rose Eliot is a renowned vegetarian food writer and Carol de Pauli is the Principal of the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine & Aromatherapy and the Director of the British and European Osteopathic Association. Their book associates specific foods with ailments and offers recipes for these which if nothing else provide comfort. You are what you eat, a cliché but so true. For …

Roast butternut squash, coconut & chilli soup

This isn’t a quick dish like my normal Monday-Friday dishes. It takes a little time as I like to roast the butternut squash. Roasting intensifies the flavour and leaves a beautiful sweet syrup on the roasting tray which I put in my soup. I also add chilli and herbs when roasting it which on it’s own makes a lovely side dish. Any pumpkin/squash will do, I just happened to have a butternut squash. The smaller the better, the smaller ones have a better flavour, large pumpkins tend to have more water. We cooked a giant pumpkin some years ago and while it was great fun and a challenge to use all of it, it just didn’t have that lovely sweet flavour of the smaller ones. I would love another one though. A friends neighbour grows them on his allotment. It was so big it had to be delivered in an old cement bag, it wouldn’t fit in a normal refuse sack. And we only got a quarter of the pumpkin that time. This is a …

Pasta with potato, red lentil and pumpkin

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything but I’ve got a few things to post from the weekend. I’ll start with a pasta dish that I made yesterday, one of my comfort food favourites. I tend to make this by eye and by tastebud, adjusting it as I go so feel free to be flexible with the recipe. My mood also affects it, sometimes I like it very soup-y with alot of stock, other times I prefer the pasta to be the star of the show. Yesterday was a pasta day! I got the idea for it many years ago when I visited Italy with some friends, one of whom was a local. I got many ideas that holiday, we had some wonderful food, much of it cooked by my friends boyfriends Dad whom we were staying with. It was my first time having homemade pumpkin gnocchi and proper neapolitan mozarella di bufala. It was out of this world. You just don’t get that mozarella anywhere else and I have tried very hard …

A Spring take on minestrone

The weekend just past was filled with trips to farmers markets in an attempt to buy some sprue asapragus. Unfortunately, all trips were unsuccessful but I did get some great produce in the shape of onion squash, baby carrots, mixed wild mushrooms, garlic chives, shallots and white & green asparagus. Next week, I’ll get down there earlier and get the sprue before it sells out! I am very happy with my haul though and can’t wait to tuck in and start experimenting with all of these goodies. Having spent the day wandering I wanted something quick, light and tasty last night using some of my farmers market goodies. I decided on a pasta soup using the young carrots and squash as main ingredients. It was delicious and light and is definitely one to reproduce over the summer using seasonal vegetables like broad beans and peas. The recipe is a rough guide, add more or less of ingredients according to your preference, it’s really flexible. Ingredients: 170g macaroni 100g red lentils 750ml vegetable stock 200g Squash …