Tag Archives: soup

Persian Spiced Lentil and Herb Soup with spinach and noodles

4 Feb

I love this weather we’re having here at the moment. It’s cold but sunny. Clear blue skies and you can see the snow on the mountains in the distance. It’s great for walking because you don’t get too hot and the views are spectacular…

You’ve got the snow on the Sierra de las Nieves on one side and the view down to the sea on the other…….

 And a lot of fragrant pines in between…

When I get back from walking I want something hearty, healthy and delicious for lunch. I have been meaning to try this soup for a while, it has all my favourite things in one dish. Lentils, Middle Eastern spices and loads of fresh herbs and greens. I’ve reworked a Persian recipe I found for Aashe Reshteh. Aashe (soup) Reshteh (noodle) is made with Sabzi (fresh greens) which can include parsley, coriander, mint, spinach, spring onions, dill and whatever else green you have. I used lentils and kidney beans but you could use chickpeas, white beans or whatever you have. The original recipe I found cooked this for 3-4 hours, I have no idea why it was ready as soon as the pasta was cooked. It took about half an hour in total and the greens are still fresh and delicious…

Persian Lentil & Herb Soup with Spinach & Noodles

serves 4 vegetarian

  • 175 gr (1 cup) brown lentils (uncooked)
  • 1-1 1/2 litres veg stock 
  • 200 gr cooked kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 leek, rinsed & sliced
  •  2 stalks celery & leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 garlic shoot
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored & shredded
  • a big pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  Ras al Hanout (a Middle eastern spice mix)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • a bag of spinach (300 gr) I used frozen chopped spinach which comes in portions I used about 6 squares.
  • a big handful of parsley, chopped
  • a big handful coriander chopped
  • 2 or 3 spring onions, chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • 100 gr dried noodles (I used wholemeal spaghetti broken but you can use fine vermicelli, like you would for a minestrone)
  • 4 tsp greek yoghurt or sour cream

In a small pan cook the lentils in 600 ml (3 cups) liquid (I used 400 veg stock 200 water). Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat some olive oil in a big pot over a medium heat. Cook the onions, leeks & celery for about 8 minutes until they start to soften then add the garlic and cook for another minute. If it gets dry at any time add a splash of veg stock. Add in the spices and dried herbs then pour in the lentils and their cooking liquid. It doesn’t matter if the lentils aren’t cooked they will carry on cooking in the soup. Add in about a litre of stock, the cabbage, frozen spinach(if you are using fresh leave it till later) and the cooked beans. Bring to the boil add in the broken pasta/ noodles, lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked (about 10 -15 minutes). About 5 minutes before you want to serve the soup add in the fresh spinach & half of the fresh herbs and spring onions.

Ladle the hot soup into warmed bowls and garnish with a dollop of Greek yoghurt/sour cream and the rest of the chopped fresh herbs and spring onions…..

I served this delicious soup with some Halloumi Cheese & Garlic Pull- Apart Bread (which tastes as amazing as it sounds) and I will be posting the recipe tomorrow……… Hasta Manana!!

 

    

Thai Squash Wonton Soup and Spring Rolls with green curry noodles

29 Jan

I had to make something with my first homemade veg stock, something worthy that would appreciate it’s clean, delicate flavour. Wonton soup is that dish.

The wontons are generally filled with seasoned pork and prawns. I decided to go for the Butternut squash that was in danger of going soft in my fridge. I roasted it and mixed the scooped out flesh with some Thai flavours, lemongrass, ginger & chilli and used that as my filling. Roasting half a squash (as I did) makes a lot of the filling  so I used it to make some spring rolls too which I served with some Thai Green Curry Rice Noodles. You could also use the rest of the squash mix to make a delicious soup, just add some coconut milk and veg stock and blend..

I would definitely recommend making these on the day you want to cook them. The spring rolls especially did not keep very well in the fridge overnight as the filling is quite moist and it soaks into the wrappers. You can make the filling the day before but do your wontons and spring rolls on the same day you want to eat them for the best results.

Thai Squash Wontons and Spring Rolls

 vegetarian (makes lots of the filling)

  • 1/2 butternut squash (keep seeds if you want to roast them too)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • a large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated/minced ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bashed, ends removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli (I only used 1/2 because my chillis are really hot you can use more)
  • a handful of coriander, stalks chopped separately
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • some breadcrumbs if the mixture is very wet (panko are best)
  • wonton wrappers (defrosted at room temp. Keep covered or they will dry out)
  • spring roll wrappers(defrosted at room temp. Keep covered or they will dry out)
  • 1 egg, beaten for brushing

Preheat the oven to 200C, cut the squash half in half, put on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for about 30 – 45 minutes depending on your squash. It needs to be tender. You can roast the seeds at the same time, just wash and dry them, spread them out on a sheet of  foil, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for about 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on them they should brown slightly not burn). Leave the squash until cool enough to handle and scoop out the soft flesh into a large bowl.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add in the onions, celery, coriander stalks, lemongrass and chilli with a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes. Tip this into the squash with the chopped coriander leaves and mix everything together well. Add in the cornflour and breadcrumbs if it seems very wet.  Season with salt & pepper and taste.

When they have come to room temperature place one wonton wrapper on a board or work surface so it is a diamond shape. With your finger moisten the edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg. Take a small teaspoon of the filling and put it in the top triangle of the diamond away from the edges.

Fold the bottom half over the filling and seal the edges with your fingers. Push down around the filling to get rid of any air. Make sure the edges are sealed and there is no filling escaping. Moisten the two bottom corners with egg and close them together and seal to create the dumpling shape. Sit it up on it’s base.

Continue until you have made enough wontons. I think three per person in a little bowl of soup is enough for a starter. You could also serve more of them as  a main course (like a ravioli or tortellini dish) with some of the Thai Green Curry sauce (see recipe below).

With the spring roll wrappers, lay it out on a board in a diamond shape again. Brush all the edges with beaten egg. Place teaspoons of the filling in a sausage shape about a quarter of the way up, not touching the edges, as in the photo above.

Fold the wrapper over the filling and tightly roll away from you until you reach the last quarter. Then brush the two ends with beaten egg and fold them in tightly.

Then continue rolling it up until you get something like this…

Store the wontons and spring rolls in the fridge separated with baking paper so they don’t stick together but use them on the same day, they don’t keep well overnight. To cook the spring rolls deep fry in hot vegetable oil in a wok, frying pan or deep fat fryer until golden on both sides (about 2 – 3 minutes on each side). Drain on kitchen paper and serve with your favourite dipping sauce….

Spring Roll Dipping Sauce

  • soy sauce
  • Shaoxing rice wine
  • sesame oil
  • oyster sauce
  • minced ginger
  • lime juice
  • brown sugar/palm sugar
  • chopped spring onions or garlic shoots
  • chopped red chilli
  • fresh coriander
  •  

    These are the ingredients for my dipping sauce. I have no idea of amounts just start with the soy and keep adding and tasting until you get what you like…

Wonton Soup Recipe

serves 4, vegetarian

  • 5 small bowls of vegetable stock (use the bowl you are serving in to get the correct amount plus 1 extra for luck)
  • about 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • about 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  •  1/2 red chilli, finely chopped plus extra for garnish
  • some shredded cabbage, a handful
  • 1 garlic chive or spring onion, finely sliced, plus extra for garnish
  •  1 tbsp chopped coriander plus leaves to garnish
  • roasted pumpkin seeds (see above) optional
  • 12 wontons (3 per person) see recipe above

Heat the veg stock to just under boiling and add in the miso, spring onions/garlic shoots, chilli, cabbage, ginger, rice wine and soy sauce. Stir until the miso dissolves and simmer for a few minutes to soften the cabbage. Add a few drops of sesame oil and drop in the wontons. They will sink, give them a stir occasionally and cook in gently bubbling water for 3 or 4 minutes. They should float to the top then give them another minute or so. Scoop out the wontons with a slotted spoon and place them in the serving bowls.

Stir in the chopped coriander and ladle the hot soup over the wontons. Garnish with extra spring onion, pumpkin seeds, sliced chilli and coriander leaves and serve immediately.

 This is such a brilliant starter to an Asian meal. It’s light, aromatic , healthy and full of flavour. The Washer Up said it was the best soup I’ve ever made and I think I agree. It’s one of those dishes you never want to end.  You could definitely serve it as a main course in a bigger bowl with more of everything but maybe it’s better to leave people wanting more, I don’t know, you decide…….

Alongside the Spring  Rolls and dipping sauce I served some Thai Green Curry Rice Noodles. I got the recipe for the Thai Green Curry Paste from Tes at Home. Tes is Thai and lives in India and I think the recipe comes from her mother. It was really very good, well-balanced and flavourful even though I couldn’t get any Thai basil and I substituted ginger for galangal…

Thai Green Curry Noodles

serves 4, vegan

  • about 400 gr fat rice noodles (I used XL)
  • 3 heaped tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tin 400 ml coconut milk
  • soy sauce and  brown sugar/palm sugar to taste
  • fresh coriander chopped
  • chopped spring onions/garlic shoots
  • coriander leaves/spring onions/sliced chilli for garnish
  • veg stock if necessary

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Cook the curry paste and spring onions for 2 or 3 minutes until the spices are aromatic then add in the coconut milk. Stir everything and cook to thicken the sauce slightly. Taste and add some soy sauce & sugar if you think it needs it. Place the noodles in the sauce a handful at a time, string to coat the noodles then add the chopped coriander. When the noodles have warmed through and are coated in the sauce tip into your warmed serving dishes (If it seems a bit dry you can add a bit of veg stock).

Garnish with coriander leaves, spring onion and fresh chilli……………

And serve with the Spring Rolls and dipping sauce……… delicious!!!

This recipe is featured in January’s YBR round up hosted by Nancy at Spicie Foodie. To see a fantastic selection of delicious recipes & beautiful photos click on the Your Best Recipe Badge above and have a look around…

Mountains of Greens Miso Soup

9 Jan

While walking the dog today it hit me how many greens there are growing here at the moment. There are cabbages…

Lettuces…

Acelgas (Chard)……

and spring onions…

All growing in very neat & tidy rows…

These are the greens I had at home..

I was inspired by a Japanese dish called Nanakusa-Shiru I found on Bittersweet which promises wealth, luck and a healthy clean start to the year. The ingredients are greens, herbs, brown rice & miso paste. Healthy, delicious, nutritious and warming. Proper feel good food that is good for you. I just used everything green that I had in my fridge…

Mountains of Greens Miso Soup

serves 4 – 6 vegan

  • 150 gr uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 head cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed & sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped & leaves
  • 4 garlic chives/ajillos (look like scallions see photo above) sliced, or 2 cloves garlic. minced
  • 1 spanish spring onion (or 4 scallions) chopped
  • 1/2 bag spinach about 150gr
  • 1 little gem /lettuce heart, sliced
  • a thumbsize piece of ginger peeled & grated about 1tbsp
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped. Stalks chopped separately
  • 100 gr red miso paste
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • 1/2 litre water (maybe more)
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • 1 or 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
  • salt
  • sesame seeds
  • dried chilli flakes
  • coriander leaves

Cook the brown rice according to the instructions on the pack, rinse well in cold water and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot over a medium heat, heat some oil then add the leeks, celery, garlic chives, spring onions, ginger, coriander stalks & a good pinch of salt. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until softened & fragrant then add the sliced cabbage. Pour in the veg stock and water,(you may want to add more water) bring to the boil then reduce the heat & simmer for about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the miso paste with a couple of spoonfuls of the hot stock and mix well to loosen it. Pour the miso into the soup pot and stir. Add in the cooked rice, the rest of the greens and the chopped coriander. Cook for a couple of minutes then season with a few drops of sesame oil and the Shaoxing rice wine. Taste and add some salt if necessary. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with coriander leaves, sesame seeds and a small pinch of chilli flakes.

This recipe can be adapted to use whatever greens you have.  Most greens can go in right at the end as they just need to wilt in the hot broth. Cabbage needs a little longer. 

This is one of those dishes that is really good for you and it also tastes fantastic, so you don’t feel like you are being deprived. In fact you can feel safe in the knowledge that you are treating your body as a temple for a change and really enjoying it…!

Spanish Onion Soup On The Beach

5 Jan

This is my Spanish interpretation of  a French Onion Soup using Andalucian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Spanish Sherry, (Jerez) Vinegar, Saffron & Paprika. It is served with grilled Manchego cheese croutons. We woke up this morning and decided to take the dog to the beach so we packed our Spanish Onion Soup & Manchego Croutons in a rucksack and drove down to Malaga.

The beach we go to is called Los Alamos. It is between Malaga & Torremolinos, near the airport. Hence the low flying planes. I love this beach it’s so quiet at this time of year. I can’t believe its only January – the weather is beautiful and the planes don’t bother me…

Rufus loves this beach too. He gets to dig and run. We were watching the fishing boats..

And the horses walking along the shore…

We walked quite a long way and came across this sign – fortunately it was deserted…

We walked back along the shoreline, the light today was so gorgeous…

We ate our lunch at some picnic benches overlooking the sea….

Spanish Onion Soup with Toasted Manchego Cheese Croutons

serves 4-6 vegetarian

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4  onions, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  •  a couple of pinches of sugar
  • 4 tbsp Spanish sherry (Malaga Virgen or Pedro Jimenez would be good) you could use wine.
  • 2 tbsp Sherry (Jerez) vinegar (substitute balsamic if you don’t have it)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 litres veg stock (you can use chicken or beef)
  •  1 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped (dried is fine)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a good pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt & black pepper
  • some sliced rustic bread
  • cured Manchego cheese, grated
  • a sprinkle of paprika to garnish

Saute the onions & sugar in the olive oil over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until softened & translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar & black pepper. Cover and cook fairly gently for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze the pan with the sherry/wine, stir to loosen any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan then add the saffron, paprika & stock. Season with plenty of salt, bring to the boil, cover and cook on medium for another 20 -30 minutes.

When you are ready to serve your soup. Put a generous amount of grated Manchego on each slice of bread and put it under the grill for a minute or so until the cheese is bubbling and the bread is golden. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, top with the cheesy croutons and sprinkle a little paprika over the cheese.

I can see this becoming a regular thing now, picnics on the beach. It makes a change from the mountains. We really are very lucky to live in such a beautifully diverse area. We haven’t been up to the Sierra Nevada yet this year either. Sun and snow can’t wait!!

Hasta Luego…

Chile Sin Carne Con Nachos y Queso

23 Dec

Vegetarian chilli is one of those dishes , like vegetarian lasagna, that tends to disappoint. Flavourless, watery, frozen ready meals spring to mind. This is the antithesis of that sad memory. Think healthy, colourful, packed with flavour, get up and go comfort food and you’re half way there. The toppings make it extra special and tasty, don’t skimp…!

Chilli Sin Carne Con Nachos y Queso

serves 4, vegetarian

adapted from a 101 Cookbooks recipe

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion , chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste (a mexican smoked chilli paste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (4oo ml)
  • 1 – 1 & 1/2 litres veg stock
  • 125 gr cooked chickpeas ( drained & rinsed)
  •  about 200 gr dried brown lentils 1 cup, rinsed
  • about 75 gr dried red lentils 1/3 cup , rinsed
  • about 75 gr barley 1/3 cup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Toppings

  • nachos (corn tortilla chips)
  • grated cheese (I used Cheddar & Manchego)
  • fresh lime juice
  • sour cream
  • fresh coriander, chopped

Cook the onions & celery in hot oil over a medium heat for about 6 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, fresh chilli, chilli powder & cumin and cook for another minute. Stir in the chipotle paste, tinned tomatoes and a litre of stock. Add the chickpeas, lentils and barley and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, season with the salt, pepper & oregano and simmer for 35 – 40 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. You may need to add more stock while it’s cooking.

Preheat the grill to hot and ladle the chilli into warmed bowls. Top with the nachos, grated cheese, a blob of sour cream, a good squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle with fresh coriander. Put it under the hot grill for about a minute until the cheese is melted and bubbling……

This chilli is special, you should make a lot of it. We had it for dinner, and then for lunch the next day, I added some more stock to stretch it. So we had Chilli Soup with Nachos which was also fantastic..

Remember the toppings make it. The crunchy nachos, bubbling cheese, cooling sour cream & zingy lime juice take it to another level… Enjoy!

Jamaican Lentil and Coconut Soup

14 Dec

This recipe started off as a Jamaican lentil stew that I wanted to turn into a soup for a Caribbean meal I made on Friday night.  The basic recipe was kind of plain & rustic, I thought it needed the volume turning up, as Ina Garten would say. So I added a lot more Caribbean spices, scotch bonnet chillis, thyme and coconut and some fresh mandarin juice for sweetness. I also blended the soup to a smooth puree rather than leaving it as a chunky stew. The result was a spicy, sweet and aromatic flavour with a smooth & creamy texture. Just the thing to warm the soul and transport you to a Caribbean island on a cold winter’s night…..

Jamaican Lentil & Coconut Soup Recipe

serves 4-6 vegetarian

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils about 2oo gr
  • 1 cup veg stock 225ml
  • 2 cups water 550 ml
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  •  1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 big spanish spring onion (or about 4 scallions)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, chopped (you can use any fresh chilli or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 45 gr sultanas
  • 50 ml tomato puree
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk about 200 ml
  • about 3oo ml veg stock to get desired consistency
  • the juice of 1 mandarin
  • fresh coriander, chopped for garnish
  • greek yoghurt to swirl on top (or mango & coriander yoghurt chutney see recipe here)

Rinse the lentils well and put them in a large sauce pan with the water & veg stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the carrot, celery & half the ginger, cover and simmer for about 20- 30 minutes, until the lentils are cooked.

Meanwhile in a small frying pan dry toast the curry powder & spices over a low heat until fragrant, don’t let it burn. Tip this into a small bowl and set aside. In the same pan heat the butter or oil over a medium heat, add the spring onions, the rest of the ginger, garlic, chilli, vinegar & raisins. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly then add the tomato puree and cook for another minute.  Add the toasted spices to the tomato mixture along with the thyme & oregano, mix well and add this to the simmering lentils along with the coconut milk and season generously with salt & black pepper.

Simmer this uncovered for about 20 minutes or so then take off the heat and carefully blitz with a stick blender until you have a smooth puree. Put the lentil puree back in the pan and on the heat. Add more stock (if you wish) until you reach your desired consistency (I like it thick but still soupy).  Add in the mandarin juice and check for seasoning.

Serve the soup in warmed bowls topped with a swirl of  Greek yoghurt or Mango & Coriander Yoghurt Chutney and some freshly chopped coriander. I served some Roti Bread alongside the soup see the recipe here.

Enjoy…!

Marvellous Minestrone

7 Dec

Minestrone is an Italian word meaning “the big soup.” It is the name for a variety of thick soup made with vegetables often with the addition of pasta or rice.  Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season.

Yesterday we walked past this  field of gorgeous cabbages looking like huge silvery roses in the sun. I had a cabbage at home and the Minestrone idea just grew out of  what I had in the fridge. I love this kind of soup, where you look at what vegetables you have in your fridge and make something hearty, healthy & delicious. You can turn normal everyday vegetables into a rustic farmhouse feast, which makes you feel all Tuscan Housewife for the afternoon….!

Marvellous Minestrone Soup

serves 4-6 vegetarian

  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed & sliced
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 4 sticks celery sliced (save some leaves for garnish)
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthways and diced
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • a handful of herbs (I used rosemary, thyme & parsley) chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin/jar cooked white beans(cannellini), drained & rinsed well 
  • 1/2 cabbage finely shredded
  •  a handful of swiss chard (acelgas) chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 litres veg stock
  • 100 gr dried pasta(you can use whatever you have broken spaghetti pieces are the original ) I used a little pine nut shaped pasta called  pinones
  • salt & black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • parmesan cheese shavings
  • you can add any parmesan rinds you may have in your fridge to the pan with the stock for extra flavour

In a large saucepan or frying pan heat 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat and throw in the onion, leek, carrot, celery, herbs & garlic with a big pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to low, stir everything to coat in the oil, put a lid on and cook gently for 25 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, season again with salt & black pepper and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat the veg stock in a separate saucepan. After the tomatoes have been cooking for 10 minutes add the boiling veg stock followed by the sliced cabbage, chard and the rinsed beans. Stir everything well, season again with salt & black pepper and leave to cook for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and leave to cook for about 10 minutes.

Serve in warmed bowls topped with shaved parmesan and celery leaves. A nice rustic bread and a glass of Italian red would be lovely to go with this and drizzle the soup with extra virgin olive oil at the table. Buon Appetito….

The oil in the picture above is the extra virgin olive oil we helped to harvest here. It is honestly the best olive oil I have ever tasted, really fruity. I will be putting it on everything from now on. Expect lots of recipes using olive oil in the near future!!

Mulligatawny Barley Risotto

30 Nov

Mulligatawny soup is one of those old-fashioned dishes that sounds quite exotic, but you don’t really know what it is.  Mulligatawny means “pepper broth” in Tamil. It became popular with the British stationed in India during colonial times and when they returned home they brought the recipe back home with them.

This Anglo-Indian curried soup has many variations using different vegetables & spices and it is often thickened with rice. Freshly ground toasted spices are used to give it a distinctive warming flavour and aroma.

A spicy soup is just the thing at this time of year when you come home from a very long walk. Today we walked all the way down into the Barranco Blanco valley. At the bottom of this beautiful valley they started to build another golf resort/hotel and then stopped when they didn’t get permission. So not only is it a blot on the landscape, it is also abandoned & unfinished.

This is the view from the top, yes we walked all the way down & then back up again! The lake is in the grounds of a beautiful house and you can see on the left the unfinished hotel/resort. It would almost be better for them to finish it rather than just leave it like that, but if its built illegally then no one will touch it and the money just isn’t here anymore.

This is another beautiful property we saw on the way back up. I think that might just be the garage…I’ll just live there if you don’t mind, great view!!

The rumour goes that this “Hidden Valley” is where Franco hid a lot of Hitler’s generals after the war. Might explain the enormous houses and this eerie looking watchtower…

Anyway back to the soup. The recipe I had added cooked rice to the soup at the end. I decided to throw in some barley to cook in the soup towards the end of cooking as I didn’t have any cooked rice and my dad always used to put barley in his soups when I was young. Maybe I went a bit mad with the barley because it turned out like a spicy barley risotto rather than a soup, but it was all the better for it. It has all the ribsticking goodness of a risotto but no stirring! The freshly ground spices really make a difference to the flavour of the dish, don’t miss this part out if you can help it…You can use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge, that’s what I did.

Mulligatawny Barley Risotto

adapted from a Delia Smith recipe

serves 4 vegetarian

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium courgette 1 cm diced
  • 1/2 cauliflower in florets
  • 1 medium potato, 1cm cubed (or some halved baby new potatoes)
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 25 gr butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large cardamom pod (seeds only)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 litre veg stock (or more if you want it soupy)
  • 125 gr barley
  • salt & black pepper
  • fresh coriander chopped

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pan then add the onions and cook over a medium heat until they are a golden brown colour (About 10 minutes). Now put the cardamom, cumin, fennel & coriander seeds in a small pan with the chilli flakes and dry fry them over a medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes until they start to splutter & jump. Tip them into a mortar & pestle and crush them finely. (You can also crush them with the end of a rolling-pin in a small cup). Add the spices to the onions, stir to combine then add the vegetables. Season generously with salt & black pepper, cook for 1 minute then add the veg stock and the barley. Put the lid on and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

You can serve it like this with some fresh coriander stirred through or for a smoother, thicker consistency ladle out just under half of the soup into a large bowl and blend it carefully (hot soup!) until smooth. Add this puree back into the soup, stir in the coriander and reheat gently. Add more stock to thin it out if you want to. Taste for seasoning and serve in warmed bowls with Anglo crusty bread or Indian parathas.

This really is a delicious soup dish, just perfect for those cold winter nights when you are chilled to the bone and miserable. The comforting warmth of the barley mixed with the aromatic spices is a heavenly combination.

This is one of those old-fashioned recipes that should not be forgotten. If this is where the British love affair with Indian cuisine started then I, for one, am really grateful. I’m bringing Mulligatawny back, you should try it too….

Don’t forget to check out the fantastic November Round -Up of YBR (Your Best Recipe) hosted by Nancy at Spicie Foodie. Click on the badge below to see an amazing variety of delicious dishes with beautiful photos. A real feast for the senses…

Thanksgiving Mezze Part 2: Spiced Cauliflower Soup

23 Nov

So, the next dish I have chosen for my Thanksgiving Mezze is a Middle Eastern Spiced Cauliflower Soup. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that gets a lot of bad press from being either under or over cooked. It isn’t the most inspiring of vegetables but it does take on flavours really well and it makes fantastic soup. You should try this, it might just change your mind, it did mine….

Middle Eastern Spiced Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Serves 4 – 6 vegetarian

  • 1 medium cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  •  2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  •  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste (if you don’t have it use cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp ras-al-hanout*
  • 1/2 tsp zhoug*
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  •  fresh lemon juice about 1/2
  • a handful of chopped coriander (plus extra for garnish)
  • a spoonful of mashed potato (optional)

* Ras-al-hanout & Zhoug are middle eastern spice mixes. If you don’t have them don’t worry your soup will still have lots of flavour.

Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan add the leek and cumin seeds and fry for about 2 minutes on a medium heat. Add the garlic and the rest of the spices/pastes fry for another minute, stirring to cook the spices. Add the cauliflower and the water and stir to coat the cauliflower with the spices. Cover the cauliflower with the veg stock, season well with salt & pepper and cook with the lid on for about 10 – 12 minutes until the cauliflower is really tender.

When the cauliflower is soft leave to cool slightly and transfer the whole lot to a food processor (or a large bowl with a stick blender)and process carefully until very smooth. Add the mashed potato, if using, and fresh coriander and pulse again. Put the soup back into the pan to heat up, squeeze over the fresh lemon juice and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt & pepper. Add some more stock if it needs thinning down a bit.

Serve drizzled with a swirl of greek yoghurt and some fresh coriander leaves. Cauliflower never tasted so good…..



Every month Nancy from http://Spiciefoodie.blogspot.com hosts a round-up of the month’s best recipes. Spicie Foodie is a beautiful blog with amazing photographs and really tasty recipes. This month I have chosen to post my Indian Dhal Soup with Aloo Parathas & Mango Chutney as my favourite November recipe. (Click on the “Your Best Recipe” badge above to see it). The round-up will be published on Spicie Foodie on 30th November.

Indian Dhal Soup with Potato Stuffed Parathas

20 Nov

Dhal is the Indian word for lentils. There a lots of different types of dhal; moong dal, urad dal, the list goes on and on. For this quick and easy recipe I cheated and used a jar of cooked lentils because it is a lot faster and the consistency is perfect for a soup as they are really soft and mushy anyway. I wouldn’t use them for a dish like a lentil salad because you need the firmer texture & bite you get from cooking dried lentils. You can, of course, cook your own lentils for this recipe as well.

Indian Dhal Soup Recipe

serves 2 -4 vegan

  • 1 jar/tin cooked lentils (400gr), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 large onion chopped (you will need the other 1/2 for the parathas)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 litre veg stock (depending on how thick you want & for how many people)
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon

Cook the onion & cumin seeds in the oil, over a medium heat, until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, ginger and the rest of the spices and cook for a minute. Tip in the lentils and cook  for another minute while coating in the spices. Add 1/2 litre veg stock, take off  the heat and carefully blend with a stick blender(you don’t want to splash yourself or the kitchen!) until it is smooth ish but still has texture. Put it back on the heat, add the lemon juice, fresh coriander, salt & black pepper then taste it. You may need more salt or lemon juice.

You can serve it like this as a thick soup with the parathas to scoop it up or, if you want it thinner, add some more veg stock, that way it also serves more people.

This is also really delicious served at room temperature as a dip with some mini poppadoms or batons of carrot and cucumber. Just don’t add the veg stock and blend to the desired consistency.

The reason I made this dhal soup was because I wanted to make Aloo Parathas and needed something to dip them into. I had seen a recipe on The Hairy Bikers and on a lovely food blog I follow called For The Love Of  Yum. I saw both of these recipes in the same week, so it was like they were calling to me, I just had to make them….

Aloo Parathas Recipe (Potato Stuffed Indian Bread)

Adapted from The Hairy Bikers recipe

Makes 3 Vegetarian

For the dough:

  • 2oo gr plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • about 100 ml milk

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 medium potatoes boiled & mashed (or some leftover mashed potato)
  • salt & black pepper
  •  a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 or 4 tbsp veg oil

First make the dough. Sieve the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl then add the beaten egg and gradually pour in the milk  mixing with a wooden spoon to bring it together. With your hands, make it into a ball of dough then knead it on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until smooth (You may need to sprinkle over more flour to stop it being sticky).

When the dough is smooth, put it back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave it to rest for about 15 minutes or until you are ready to make the parathas.

Meanwhile make the filling. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, fry for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger & fresh chilli and fry until everything is soft. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes then stir in the mashed potato. When the mash is incorporated into the spice mix season well with salt &  pepper and stir in the fresh coriander.

Leave to cool slightly then roll the potato mixture into 3 equal sized balls and set aside.

Back to the dough. Divide it into 3 equal sized balls, flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll each ball into a round about 1/2 cm thick. Place a ball of potato mixture in the middle of  each circle of dough and bring the edges up around the filling so it looks like a big dim sum dumpling then twist the top to seal it. Turn the ball-shaped paratha over (so the seal is underneath), sprinkle the top with flour and very gently roll it into a flat circle again about 1 cm thick. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

When all your parathas are made, grease a frying with oil and heat until hot. Place a paratha in the pan with the twisted side down and leave for 2 minutes to cook. Brush a layer of veg oil on the top side and flip it over then leave it to cook for another 2 minutes. Cook until golden on both sides then put it in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest.

Serve hot with the dhal or whatever curry you like. Some yoghurt & mint raita would be nice with this just mix some chopped mint, salt, pepper, cumin seeds, & lemon juice into a pot of Greek yoghurt.

Or why not make some delicious Mango & Tomato Chutney to go with it. This recipe is really easy, it is a great accompaniment with any curry dish and it also makes fantastic homemade presents for people..

Mango & Tomato Chutney Recipe

Makes about 1 jar maybe slightly more. Vegan

  • 1 large mango chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 red chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp balsamic/sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp punch pooran*  (or use 1 tsp fennel seeds & 1 tsp onion seeds)

*Punch pooran is a whole spice mix made up from cumin, fennel, fenugreek, black mustard & onion seeds. It gives a great rounded flavour to any indian dishes & is available from East End Foods.

Blend all the ingredients except the oil and punch pooran until smooth ish. Pour into a saucepan and cook on a low heat for about 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is well thickened and reduced.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the punch pooran seeds and fry till they splutter. Pour this over the chutney and mix well. Taste for seasoning you may need more salt/sugar/lime juice.

Pour into a hot sterilized jar and seal with a lid. Leave to cool then store in the fridge. Serve as a side with curries or samosas or as a gorgeous addition to a cheese board..

Enjoy!!

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