Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Hearty Italian Cabbage Soup

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Italian Cabbage Soup

Summer (what summer?) is over and the evenings are closing in. On the plus side Heineken Cup Rugby is back and we don’t have to endlessly listen to folks moan about the Irish Summer. Winter has its advantages.

In keeping with a more robust approach to food for shorter evenings I saw Jamie Oliver do this recipe on his Jamie At Home show ages ago, I wrote it down and forgot about it until now. This prototype version doesn’t include the sage he used, has some Gubbeen Lardons instead of Pancetta and cheddar cheese instead of Fontina but the theory is mostly the same.

One head of Savoy Cabbage, washed and finely sliced
One loaf of stale crusty bread. I bought a non-sliced loaf and left it for a few days, you can then slice as thick or thin as you want
350g of grated cheddar and parmesean cheese (a two to one ratio).
100g bacon lardons (I use Gubbeen Lardons
Four or five anchovies
Two pints of Chicken stock
Extra virgin Olive oil
One knob of butter

Bring the stock to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook the cabbage for six or seven minutes. During this time add the butter and some oil to a warm pan and gently fry the garlic being careful not to burn it. Increase the heat to medium, add in the lardons and anchovies and fry until golden. Maybe you could add some dried chilli flakes here but I have yet to try that. Drain the cabbage and put the stock to one side. Add your cooked cabbage to the bacon mixture and stir well. Remove from the heat.

Slice the bread and toast well (the bread needs to be somewhat firm or it will just turn to mush), when done rub each side with a clove of garlic for flavour. Add a layer of bread to the bottom of a casserole dish, add a layer of cabbage and a layer of cheese. Repeat the bread-cabbage-cheese layers two or three times depending on the size of the dish and finish by topping up with the stock and adding a final layer of bread. Transfer to a 180C/Gas4 over for 30-40mins.

Carrot and Ginger Soup

Friday, July 10th, 2009
Carrot and Ginger Soup

I’m back from my holidays in Spain and a nice break in Cambrils. Nothing much to report on the food side, we spent the time BBQing steak and home-made burgers and doing some simple pasta dishes. Of course the wine is extraordinarily cheap, €4 for a Torres Viña Sol which retails for over twice that in Ireland at €10 and €8 for a Marques De Caceres Crianza which is normally €12 to €14 in Ireland. Even when you factor in the €2.05 per bottle Government Duty and our 5% higher VAT rate those prices still do not equate. I must consult with some of the online wine folk (see the “Wine” section under “Links” over on the right of the page) and see if they have any theories on this.

OK. Now for something completely different: Carrot and Ginger soup. Carrot is good for the eyes while Ginger is good for nausea among other things. Ergo if you have a sickness of the eyes this is the soup for you. As a test to see if you absolutely need to make this soup or not look for the anomaly between the photos and the text. If you cannot find it make the soup. If you can find it post a comment and make the soup anyway.

1 Large clove of Garlic finely sliced
1/2 Inch (about half a thumb) of Ginger finely sliced.
2 Medium Onions
12-15 Carrots sliced
2 Pints of Chicken or Veg stock
1/2 Teaspoon coriander
1 Tablespoon of Olive oil

Chop the onion into slices and gently fry in the olive oil with the garlic, coriander and chopped ginger. After about 7minutes when the onion is nicely cooked add in the carrots and stir around for a minute or two. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then cover and gently simmer the mix for 20 minutes or until the carrots are cooked. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the mixture and season to taste. Serve with a sprig of fresh coriander if you have some.

Broccoli and Mature Cheddar Soup

Saturday, October 4th, 2008
Cheddar Cheese Soup

More soup this week, not much to report except that you can use any cheese you want. The original recipe was ‘Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup‘ which is tasty enough but a tad strong. When an entire bottle of wine is consumed during the soup course you know you have a problem. OK, that problem may not be the soup but for the sake of illustration lets pretend the wine was to overpower the overpowering blue cheese and I’ve made my point.

On topics overpowering maybe we could have used some of JD’s “African Coffee straight from Africa”. Two teaspoons of this would be enough to incapacitate a small nation with enough left over to construct a fleet of light aircraft. Initially I thought maybe the shops weren’t stocking it for ethical reasons but after being sent some by JD I know the real reason. It’s bloody horrific. Thanks anyway JD. I won’t be calling for the next while as I expect the Drug Squad will have the Hillman Hunter stationed outside your gaff for a bit.

Back to the soup. I’ve adapted the recipe to include mature cheddar. The Killowen Cheddar from Newmarket in Cork is matured for two years and really gives the soup what it needs, you can get the cheese in most Irish supermarkets but Killowen don’t appear to have a web presence, if they had it’d linkey it. Upshot of the whole story is we now have wine left for the main course. Hurrah! Enjoy your week.

Apologies for the pic, I used the cheese before I wrote the article

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Ingredients for two:
1 Onion, sliced
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed
2 Large Heads of Broccoli
3-4 handfuls of grated Mature Cheddar Cheese (or any type)
1 1/2 pints of Chicken or Veg Stock
Optional: 1 Tablespoon of Mascarpone cheese to thicken.

Slowly fry the onion and garlic in a little oil for 5-6mins. Chop the broccoli, add to the pot and stir. Add in the stock, I find a good measure for the stock is enough to just cover the broccoli. Cover the pot and simmer slowly for 10mins until the veg is soft. Allow to cool slightly and blend. Return to the heat and add the cheese. If you want the soup extra creamy add a spoon of mascarpone cheese before serving.

Tip: Better to make this too thick and thin it with boiling water after. It is far easier to thin soup rather than try and thicken it.

Tom Yum Gai (Spicy Chicken Soup)

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Pic of Tom Yam Gui

You see this on a lot of Thai menus, as with every other dish served in Asian restaurants the recipe differs from house to house so there’s no set way of doing this. I’ve been cooking it as a starter or snack for a while now but eventually figured that if you add noodles to the mix it makes a great meal in a bowl. In fact, for that extra-authentic Pot Noodle experience distill the soup into a plastic pint glass and add an extra 100g of salt.

This is easy to make, Lime Leaves and Lemongrass can a bit of a drag to source but are essential to the taste. The odd time you can find Lemongrass with the pre-packed fresh herbs in the supermarket. If you’re in Cork, Mr. Bells in English Market or any place they supply like the Superfruit shop in Douglas (Tesco) Shopping Center will carry fresh Lemongrass and either dried or fresh Lime Leaves. Lots of supermarkets will also do Lemongrass paste or preserved in a jar.

Ingredients (for 2):
2 chicken breasts
1 litre chicken stock
4 Spring Onions, sliced.
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed or grated.
1 or 2 lime leaves.
1 Stick of Lemongrass, thinly sliced.
1 Red Chili, sliced into thin rounds. If you grate or finely chop the chili it overpowers everything else.
1 Tsp Fish Sauce
1 Tsp Sugar
Juice 1 lime
Handful chopped coriander
Optional: 1/2 portion of dried noodles.

Bring stock to the boil in a pot, add the chicken breasts and simmer for 10mins until cooked. Remove, allow to cool slightly and and shred. Add spring onions, garlic, lemongrass, chili and lime leaves to the stock and simmer for 10mins. Add fish sauce, sugar and return the chicken, cook slowly for three or four minutes. Stir in lime juice and seasoning to taste. Optional: Add the noodles and simmer for three or four minutes, I like to crush the up before adding them as it makes it a bit easier to eat. Purely personal. Add a handful of coriander and serve.

Mushroom Soup

Saturday, June 21st, 2008
Local Mushroom Baskets

It’s refreshing to see that supermarkets are beginning to stock different types of mushrooms these days. Handy if you can’t get to the market, even if you can get a local market sourcing a mix of mushroom types is not easy.

My local SuperValu (Ryans in Grange, a fantastic shop) stock 150g packs of mixed mushrooms. Great for making soup. They also stock jars of dried Porcini Mushrooms…even better for making soup….if you’ve never tasted Porcini they have a really deep, rich, flavour. In France I believe they are known as Ceps. Expesnive things but make an enormous difference to anything they are included in.

Here’s a recipe, it’s based on a Jamie Oliver one we use at home:

300g of Mixed mushrooms
100g of button mushrooms
1 handful of dried Porcini mushrooms
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 pints of chicken or veggie stock
1 tablespoon Mascarpone cheese (to thicken).
Salt and pepper to taste.

Soak the Porcini in warm water. Meanwhile quickly fry the rest of the mushrooms in a little oil. After a minute or two of frying on a high heat add the Porcini and the water they were rehrdrated in. Also add in the onion, chopped garlic and seasoning. Reduce the heat and fry for 10-15mins.

When the mushrooms and onions are nicely cooked, and sort of fused together, transfer to a pot and add the stock. Simmer for 30mins, switch off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the mixture and add Mascarpone to thicken as required. Season to tase.

For somebody who is not overly fond of mushrooms this is one of my favourite dishes. Try it once.

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