All posts in Soups

Potato, Leek & Baby Courgette Soup

Oh baby it’s cold outside! And this soup is perfect to warm you up as the temperature drops. Lately I’ve been loving really simple soups and one of my favourite classic recipes is the Potato and Leek. I happened to have some baby courgettes from a trip to the farmers market. They were just beautiful and were the last of the season! I had to include them in this soup as they were just screaming to be used. Normal Potato and Leek soups often use cream but I quite often substitute it for yoghurt. I always have a tub of Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt in the fridge for times like these. I think it’s a great healthy option instead of cream, which is often unnecessary.

I also have to apologize for the lack of blog posts of late. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been busy photographing for another job, which I look forward to show you all soon. ALSO, season two of Deja-View is just about to kick off! After last years success, the cinema (and the John Candy Bar) is back, bigger than ever!

“COLD NIGHTS. CANDY BAR. CLASSIC VHS IN HIGH DEF. SEQUELS. SECRET SCREENINGS. NOW SHOWING.”

Pop over to the website to check out the full listings of screenings. My personal favs are Terminator 2 (classic!), Gremlins 2, Man with Two Brains (Steve Martin is a genius), Stargate (still great!), Waynes World (of course) and a special Christopher Walking Appreciation Night. I’ve watched about 60% of the the movies to help out as ‘research’ and can guarantee they all stand the test of time. So have a look at the line up and book tickets now to avoid disappointment.

x e.

 

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A delicious, nutritious soup to warm you up on these cold nights.

 

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Potato, Leek & Baby Courgette Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
20g butter

2 leeks, pale section only, halved and thinly sliced
2 baby courgettes, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg desiree potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped

1 liter chicken stock
1/2 tsp ground cumin
750ml water

250ml Greek yoghurt + more to serve

Fresh chives, finely chopped, to serve
1.  Add oil and butter in a large pot in medium heat and add leek and garlic. Stir to coat, reduce heat slightly and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add courgettes to the pan in the last 5 minutes whilst cooking the leeks and continue to stir occasionally.

2.  
Add the potato, stock, water and cumin to the pan. Turn heat up to medium-high heat, cover and bring to a simmer. After 5-10 minutes, reduce heat to medium and cook, for 25-30 minutes. After this time, test potatoes to ensure they’re tender and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

3.  Add yoghurt to soup and stir through. Use a stick blender to carefully blend soup until smooth. Be careful – it’s still hot!

4.  Season with salt and pepper. Ladle among serving bowls, add a dollop of yoghurt, sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

Easy Miso Ramen with Homemade Noodles

Saturday was a beautiful day which was spent walking down Smith Street, browsing in a few of the beautiful furniture and homewares stores and finishing up having an early dinner at Shop Ramen. This place is one of my favourite places to eat, especially when you want a good, healthy and cheap feed. I have to admit, I don’t eat a lot of Japanese so I’m no connoisseur but Shop Ramen’s ramens are the best! I particularly love the vegetarian Ramen they make with cashew milk as they use the tastiest little marinated mushrooms I’ve ever eaten. I don’t even like mushrooms but they are too good to push to the side.

My impromptu dinner at Shop Ramen had me inspired to make my own ramen at home. I was so inspired I went home and researched to find a delicious recipe I could make my own. But my excitement soon turned and I became quite daunted by the task; Japanese food really isn’t my forte and I didn’t know what I’d got myself into! But, me being the sort of person I am, I had to press on. I’d also decided to make my own noodles as we received a pasta making machine for our wedding. I was keen to get it out of the box and make it look well used!

After looking at loads of recipes, I finally decided keep it simple (at least for my first attempt) and make a really simple miso ramen, also known as Shoyu Ramen. Overall the result was a success! It was super delicious and I’d highly recommend making it when you’ve got some homemade stock after a roast.

x e.

 

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Easy Miso Ramen with Homemade Noodles

Feeds 4

Stock

8 cups homemade chicken stock (about 2 cartons of store bought stock)
2 carrots, chopped
6 spring onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2cm square ginger, sliced
3 tbsp mirin
2 x 6g packet of miso soup
1 sheet of nori
enoki mushrooms

Garnish

2 eggs
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 sheet of nori, thinly sliced
handful of bean shoots
pinch of sesame seeds

1. Add stock to a large stock pot and add all ingredients in and let cook for a good 30 minutes

2. Meanwhile, boil eggs for 7 mins for the correct consistency and cut in half. Prepare all garnish ingredients and start making the noodles.

3. When you’ve cooked the noodles, prepared the garnish and the stock is done, divide the noodles between four bowls. Add stock and garnish each bowl with half an egg, bean shoots, enoki mushrooms, chopped nori and some sesame seeds.

 

Noodles
1.5 cups plain flour
2 egg
1.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre  and beat eggs and water inside. Slowly combine all ingredients until it comes together in a dough.

2. Once combined, place the dough on a clean work bench dusted with flour. It should be a little stiffer than bread dough. The dough is ready when your hands become fairly clean and the dough isn’t too sticky. Add more flour if need be and keep kneading.

3. When you think the dough is at the right consistency, roll it through your pasta machine on the thickest setting. If it feels a little sticky still, add some more flour, fold over and roll it through the pasta machine again. Move the settings down each time so it becomes thinner than pass it through the noodle or spaghetti setting when it’s thin enough. If you mess it up the first time, roll it out and start again!

4. Place noodles in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 mins max, strain and add to your ramen just before serving.

Chorizo & Broad Bean Minestrone

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When the weather is wet and grey (like it was in Melbourne over the weekend) all I crave is comfort food.  I personally think the king of all comfort food is soup. What other dish can make you feel like a great big warm hug from within?  I swear I can feel my body thanking me for all the vegetable goodness! Nom. I love soup but sometimes it’s just not quite satisfying enough – especially on super chilly days when you’re staaaarving. That’s where a good minestrone comes in. Filled with stodgy beans and pasta it’s hard to come away still feeling hungry.

 

 

I decided to give my minestrone a little extra kick with a Spanish winter twist in the form of chorizo and broad beans.  The spicy meat flavour permeates through out the whole soup and really gives it a leg-up.

 

 

I remember we always had broad beans throughout winter and spring as Dad used to grow a big patch of them in the garden. I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them.  As a kid I hated having to shell them before dinner (after school I just wanted to kick back and watch Vidiot).  I also wasn’t too keen on the pea and ham soup mum used to make with them. BUT I LOVED the bean and potato salad she used to make. Mmm… mum’s salads are the best.

I highly recommend this version of the famous hearty soup, it’s a winner!

x e.

 

 Chorizo & broad bean minestrone

1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion,  finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium (about 150g) carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 large celery stick, finely chopped
125g chorizo (1 sausage)
1 zucchini finely chopped
2 x 425g can chunky crushed tomatoes
4 cup chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
60g pasta
100g broad beans

 

1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and let cook for 3 minutes or until onion softens. Add celery, carrots, chorizo, zucchini and let cook for a further 5 minutes.

2.  Add tomato, garlic and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes or until carrot is tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

3.  Add pasta, cannellini and  beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Serve soup in bowls and sprink with parmesan and serve.

French Onion Soup by Nicolas Poelaert

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This week has been very French inspired. It all stared out on Wednesday with an invitation to celebrate an evening of French food and wine at Persimmon, the restaurant in the National Gallery of Victoria. A handful of Melbourne’s best French chefs have been invited to cook a number of Napoleon inspired dinners from June to October in conjunction with the winter masterpiece event Napoleon: Revolution to Empire. I was lucky enough to be invited to the evening that Nicolas Poelaert from Embrasse was cooking.

The night consisted of canapés followed by five courses. Each course was matched with a wonderful (mostly French) wine. Now I’m not pretending to be a wine buff, but these wines were seriously amazing. The French are such a clever bunch! This was the menu for the night:

Smoked ocean trout, dried bay leaf, cauliflower custard, roe, pickled grapes
2009 Domaine Louis Michel & Fils, Petit Chablis – Chablis France

Moreton Bug, burnt vegetables, squid, ginger wine vinegar
2010 Le Grand Cros, L’esprit de Provence – Cotes de Provence, France

Beef cheek, Corsican herbs, muscovado sugar, parmesan
2001 Chateau Labegorce, Margaux – Bordeaux, France

Cheese
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils, Le Bourgogne – Burgandy, France

Embrasse’s Forest floor, hazelnut parfait, chocolate gateau, buttermilk
2007 Kracher, Beerenauslese Cuvee – Burgenland, Austria

 

 

Like I said, an amazing night with wonderful food and knowledgeable company. If you’re interested in experiencing some of Melbourne’s best French food, it’s not too late! There are three other nights available:

Tickets to the French dinner series plus entry to the Napoleon exhibition are on sale at ticketmaster but if you’re just interested in the dinner you can contact Persimmon directly.

Righto, down to this weeks dish. On Saturday I decided to cook Nicolas Poelaert’s family recipe for French onion soup. As simple as it is, I had never actually made it before. It’s super easy and really delicious. Nicolas’ family serve theirs with fresh sourdough bread and good quality Gruyere cheese (I used Tasmanian made Heidi Farm Gruyere). Although I wanted to make something French, it wasn’t until later that afternoon that I realised it was Bastille Day!  How fitting!  Although the cherry on the top of my French week has of course been watching all the action of Le Tour de France… so exciting to watch (come on Cadel!!!).

Bon appétit!

x e.

 

 

Nicolas Poelaert’s French Onion Soup

15 large brown onions
6 medium sized potatoes
1 garlic clove
1 litre of stock or water
sprig of thyme
1 tbs caster sugar

 

1.  Put a large soup pot on a very low gas and start peeling and slicing the onions, potatoes and garlic.

2.  Start browning the onion in the hot pot with a little olive oil and a table spoon of caster sugar. Do not cover.
Cooked slowly until brown, this process may take a while, the onions will start melting slowly and their natural juice will evaporate.

3.  When the onions juices have completely evaporated, keep stirring regularly until their colour change to a nice golden colour.
Add the potatoes, the garlic and a spring of thyme and water or chicken stock (all onions should be covered so add more if need be) and cook on a low gas for 40 mins.

4.  When the potatoes are cooked, switch off the gas and start blitz the soup with a hand blender until a smooth texture. The soup will always taste better the next day.

*Back at home, Nicolas’ mum and dad serve theirs with gruyere cheese and crispy sourdough bread.

Ghoulish Goulash

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Warm up with a Ghoulish Goulash soup all the way from Hungary this Halloween!!

This time four years ago we went to Budapest in beautiful Hungary for my birthday (yep, it was my birthday yesterday…. toot toot!!) My knowledge of the country and its traditions were slim to none so it was all very educational, but the one thing I learnt pretty quickly was how rad their food was. We ate our first meal at this medieval style restaurant and had one the most memorable meals ever (currently listed #2 in my top 5 meals ever). It started with my very first warming and hearty Goulash soup (for entree).  It was exactly what I felt like after a cold day walking the streets of Budapest. For mains I ordered roast goose (also a first) with plumb sauce and potato dumplings. This combination of the plumb sauce with the gamey goose was heavenly and the fluffy potato dumplings were the icing on the cake! The Hungarian cuisine is quite heavy but with the chilly weather, it was just what the doctor ordered.

We stayed in an old hotel on the west side (Buda), just on the foot of the hill of the Budapest Citadel. I remember climbing to the top whilst taking in the views from the old castle… but apart from that, the most memorable part for me was the food (and Hungarian red wine). I think my birthday in Budapest was was one of the strangest and most memorable I’ve had, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Kedves egeszsegere!!! (Cheers!)

x e.

 

 

Ghoulish Goulash

Gourmet Traveller Aug 2009

125 ml olive oil
4 onions
700gm beef shin or blade cut into 3cm pieces
For dusting: seasoned plane flour
400g canned tomato
1 garlic clove
2tbsp Hungarian Paprika
1tsp each caraway seeds and cayenne pepper
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1.5 litres chicken or beef stock
To serve: sour cream and finely chopped chives
1. Heat half the oil in a large pan and brown onions on medium heat until golden brown (20-25 mins).
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another pan. Dust the beef with flour and cook in pan until browned (6-8mins).
3. Transfer meat to onions with tomato, garlic, spices, bay leaves and season to taste.
4. Add stock and simmer over medium heat for 1.5 hours until meat is tender.
5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chives.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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At the moment I’m spending a lot of time at the studio here in Carlton and taking yummy packed lunches. I used to love the Covent Garden soups they have in the UK and in winter, 9 lunches out of 10 I’d be trying another different flavour. Anyway, I still haven’t moved on and I still love soup for lunch and I haven’t had it in ages so I’m craving it. My favourite of all favourite soups would have to be pumpkin soup. It’s so sweet with the browned onions and the yummy pumpkin – who wouldn’t like it? I like mine with a little spicy kick so I like to add a little hot paprika to make your taste buds sing! Nom nom nom. And it’s easy peasy to make too.

 

 

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
1kg peeled pumpkin, diced
1 large potato, peeled, diced
1L chicken or vegetable stock
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 – 1 tsp hot paprika (to taste)
thin cream for serving

 

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook until golden brown. Add the pumpkin, potato & stock and bring to the boil.
2. Lower the heat, cover with lid and let simmer for 30-40 mins. Add garlic, nutmet & paprika & stir through.
3. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
4. Add a cream if you like it a little creamier and richer.