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Beetroot And Dill Soup

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“Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.”

If I was a true Bokononist, that’s what I would whisper in these recent few weeks.

I also suffered from sleep deprivation which made me fall asleep in random places (like a bus) and situations. And that made me think of ‘My Own Idaho’, my favourite Gus Van Sand film. As it happens, the main character suffers from narcolepsy, so he wakes up in different locations and times.

It’s one of those films which might not be perfect, but some kind of magic happened and this mesmerizing, captivating creation appeared. The cast is just perfect. River Phoenix is a legend, his talent shone through in this film. It is such a shame we are not able to see how his career could develop. But he left an unforgettable mark in the history of cinema.

‘My Private Idaho’ to me is the best Van Sant’s film. It’s so beautifully shot and sad, poignant and heart breaking, that once you watch it, the images will never leave you.

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Private_Idaho

 Here’s something unexpected with it, I am pretty sure hustlers would love it.

Beetroot and Dill Soup:

3-4 beetroots

2 medium potatoes

1l vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1 cup of soaked overnight and cooked cannellini beans (or rinsed tinned ones)

juice of 1 lemon

1 cup fresh dill

1/2 cup sour or soya cream

salt

pepper

1. Start by warming up the stock. Peel beetroots and potatoes, wash the and cut them into cubes.

2. Add vegetables to the stock with bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer until beetroot and potatoes get soft. Add lemon juice and cannellini beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Take the soup of the heat, add cream of your choice, dill, season to taste.

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

beetroot and dill soup

 

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Kimchi Soup

What do you do when you feel sorry for yourself?

I make Kimchi soup and watch some guilty pleasure type of thing.

Like ‘Jane the Virgin’ for example. It really makes me chuckle. Especially the commentary. Even if you have never watched Latino telenovela, this is the time to get into it. Especially that ‘Jane’ is a bit of a parody of a genre but with all the key elements.

Many years ago my sister and I were remodeling my sister’s flat. That involved plastering, tiling, painting etc, all done by us. It took us longer than we planned (usual story  – the pipes weren’t delivered in time or the place we bought the floorboards from didn’t tell us that they run out of matching skirting boards. Anyone who’s done redecorating knows how it goes – usually not according to the schedule). Every day we got up in the morning, did a bit of plastering, painting or tiling, then around midday had a break. We had lunch and watched a bit of TV while eating and drinking  beer (beer was essential, it sort of made us realize why you become so fond of it, when manual labour is involved). It was middle of summer and middle of the day, so the only thing on TV was a telenovela. The original Colombian ‘Ugly Betty’ to be precise. At first we were rolling our eyes and giggling a bit, but after a while we were really into it. We were not taking it seriously as intended but to us it was sort of a brilliant comedy.

So as soon as I discovered ‘Jane the Virgin’ and the way it’s done being exactly the way we perceived ‘Yo Soy Betty, La Fea’, I texted my sister and asked her to watch it. Now we can laugh together and comment on our favourite character: Rogelio De la Vega.

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If you haven’t got into it yet, you should give it a go, it would cheer you up when you feel sorry for yourself.

And another matter – soup to give you a boost. Totally no connection to the Latino part of the world but why the hell not?

Kimchi Soup:

kimchi soup

kimchi soup

1 1/2 l vegetable stock

200g kimchi

1 cup chopped enoki mushrooms

200 g cubed tofu

1/3 cup soaked and chopped kelp

150 g spinach

bunch chopped spring onions

1 tsp miso paste

soy sauce

1. Warm up vegetable stock. When it start simmer, add mushrooms, kelp, chopped kimchi and spring onions. Let it simmer.

2. Add spinach, miso and soy sauce. Let spinach wilt.

3. Add tofu, to serve, sprinkle some chopped onion on top and sliced chilli.

kimchi soup

kimchi soup

kimchi soup

kimchi soup

 

Gingery Butternut Squash Soup

spicy butternut squash soup

gingery butternut squash soup

Pumpkin and butternut squash are brilliant for lowering blood sugar and improving insulin level. According to Chinese medicine pumpkin is helpful for people wanting to beautify their skin or concern with diabetes.

It is still quite cold, so adding a bit of spice to your soup will help you to warm up.

To warm you up psychologically I would highly recommend new Netflix series – ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’.

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It’s Tina Fey’s child and I love it! I was in mourning when 30 Rock ended, and ‘Kimmy’ has got the same Tina’s signature bonkers sense of humour, quirky characters and quite dark jokes (sometimes).

It will give you a boost if you need it, will make you feel more positive (good tip – if something horrible happens, jump up and down shouting I’m not here….really helps). The cast is amazing – not just Ellie Kemper as Kimmy. Every single person in the series is unbelievably marvelous. Jon Hamm as the evil Reverend deserves three Emmies at once. I can’t stop thinking how much he must have enjoyed being the corrupted character he plays.  It is his best comedy performance ever.

But back to nourishment for the body…

Gingery Butternut Squash Soup:

1 butternut squash

2 cm peeled and grated ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

2 potatoes

1 l vegetable stock

1 cup soya or almond milk (unsweetened)

salt

pepper

olive oil

1.  Heat the oven to 180C. Peel butternut squash, cut into cubes. Spread onto a baking sheet, pour 2 tbsp of olive oil, mix with your hands, so butternut is covered in oil. Sprinkle pinch of salt and pepper on top. Roast in the oven until soft.

2. In the meantime wash potatoes and cut into cubes. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy pan. Add ginger and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes till soft. Add cumin, tumeric and chilli flakes. Fry for 1 minute, add potatoes. Stir until they are covered in oil. Add vegetable stock. Simmer on a low heat.

3. When butternut squash is soft and potatoes cooked, put them in the blender or food processor with some vegetable stock and blend till smooth. You might need to do that in a few batches.

4. Add soya or almond milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sprinkled roasted pumpkin seeds on top.

gingery butternut squash soup

gingery butternut squash soup

gingery butternut squash soup

gingery butternut squash soup

Green Peas and Kale Soup

Soups are sort of boring…but very nutritious.

I like them anyway.

The question is always the same: what would you  have them with? Well, I would say something crunchy like bread and something uplifting to watch. I like having soups with ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’. The gang running an Irish pub called Puddy’s Pub in Philadelphia always cheers me up. They are a manipulative, dishonest, egotistic bunch, just like everyone around you is trying to be but not always succeeding. Because being selfish, lazy and ignorant is one thing but manipulative, unethical and good at it is something else. Watching the gang’s shenanigans and questionable behaviour gives me comfort. I feel almost like they are my family, and honestly, I would love to be a part of their gang, because they are really entertaining. I would rather be surrounded by a lively, openly dishonest and selfish group than people fancying themselves as a gentle and delicate flower and then stabbing you with the most insensitive comment.

sunny

Peas and Kale Soup:

green peas and kale soup

green peas and kale soup

2 potatoes

2 leeks

1 carrot

4 cups peas (you can use frozen)

200 g kale

3 tbsp olive oil

1 l water

1 l vegetable stock

salt

pepper

chopped parsley

rocket

1.  Wash and cut into 2 cm pieces leeks. Heat olive oil in a pot. Add leeks. On a low heat sweat them until soft.

2. Add cubed potatoes and carrots. Fry on a low heat for 5-10 minutes. Add stock and water.

3. Simmer till vegetables start getting soft. Add peas and kale. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper.

4. Carefully liquidize your soup in a blender (or using hand blender). If your soup is too thick, add more liquid. Add parsley. When serving, add a handful of rocket onto your plate before pouring your soup. Enjoy! And be a Dayman.

green peas and kale soup

 green peas and kale soup

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Dayman (ah-ah-ah)
Fighter of the Nightman (ah-ah-ah)
Champion of the Sun (ah-ah-ah)
You’re a Master of Karate
And Friendship
For Everyone!

Tex-Mex Tomato Soup

 

tex mex soup

tex-mex tomato soup

 

Autumn is the time when most of your old friends come back to your house to visit. And by that I mean TV series. Who would have thought 20 years ago that TV can broadcast  interesting, intelligent shows. There was only Twin Peaks to save our faith. But then things changed. HBO takes the blame. Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, things started spicing up.

Sometimes I feel like I have to book time off  from work just to catch up. Don’t tell anyone, but that’s what I’m doing sometimes. How otherwise I would be able to go through 3 series of Games of Thrones in 2 weeks?

And what House of Cards did to me? I’ve never stayed up till 2 am and watched something for 8 hrs straight before…Bloody Netflix! ‘Next episode will start in 10 seconds’, in old days you had to wait a week, and I can’t say no to Kevin Spacey…

Even when things go wrong and I feel down, I never can be suicidal because there are too many films and series to watch, too many books to read…Homeland is back, and I know last series wasn’t as good as the first one, but I feel so attached to a girl who’s a bi-polar FBI agent, that I can’t resist a bit of têteàtête with her…and there is so many I can’t wait for: Hannibal, The Fall, Mad Men, and magnificent True Detective….

Yesterday I was woken up by  wind and heavy rain.  Ahh, how I love weather like this. It’s a perfect background to watching films and warming yourself with some spicy, comforting food.

That’s how one find themselves making tex-mex soup…

Tomato Tex-Mex Soup:

2 l vegetable stock or water and 2 organic vegetable stock cubes

1 bunch coriander

1 medium hot chili

2 cloves garlic

1 shallot or 1/2 red onion

2 cans of chopped tomatoes or 3 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

avocado

lime juice

corn tortillas (one per person)

vegetable or rice oil

1. Heat the vegetable stock or water with cubes and bunch of coriander stems tied together with a string (so it will be easier to take them out later).

2. In a second pot heat 2 tbsp oil, add chopped shallot or onion. Let it sweat for 3-5 min. Add chopped garlic and chopped, deseeded chili. Saute for another 3-5 min. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer for 20-30 min.

3. Carefully whizz the tomato mixture in a blender. Take the coriander stocks out of the vegetable stock, stir in blended tomatoes. Cook on low heat for another 10-15 min. Add chopped coriander leaves.

4. In the meantime, chop avocado and mix it with lime juice. Cut corn tortillas into 1cm ribbons. Heat 2tbsp oil in a frying pan, fry ribbons in small batches till they are crispy. (If you prefer them less oily, spread the ribbons on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for a few minutes. They will become crispy but not as delicious as the fried ones).

5. Pour the soup into a bowl, add avocado and tortilla ribbons, serve. Now, I love avocado, but you can replace it with black or red beans to give your soup a little substance, you can even top it up with corn if you like.

tex-mex tomato soup

 

tex-mex tomato soup

tex-mex tomato soup

 

Easter

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Easter is not much fun when you have to work or you are ill. This year I managed to do both. First working, then spending most of the time in bed feeling sorry for myself. Before I fell ill and before I was working (actually it was before Easter as well) I arranged to have Easter dinner with Boyfriend’s family, pretending it was Easter. It’s just a date after all and it moves every year anyway, so you don’t have to stick to it.

I made carrot and corriander soup, asparagus quiche and chocolate cake (with dark chocolate ganache, milk chocolate nest, white chocolate shavings, chocolate eggs and a chocolate bunny).Yum.

carrot and coriander soup

carrot and coriander soup

easter chocolate cake

easter chocolate cake

easter chocolate cake

easter chocolate cake

Christmas party – menu

I said recipes were coming soon, but who truly can define ‘soon’.

In other words I was just being lazy, doing what you should over Christmas – do nothing, eat, drink, and be merry…

But here it comes, christmas party menu:

Beetroot soup with mushroom parcels

For the beetroot soup you need:

2-3 beetroots (fresh)

1 carrot

1 parsnip

1 onion

3 pints of water

salt

pepper

dried marjoram

oregano

lemon juice from 1 lemon

1 spoon of olive oil

 

1. Boil water in a pan. Add olive oil.

2. Peel all the vegetables , cut them into big chunks (onion in half) and add to boiling water.

3. Add salt and pepper.

4. After few minutes add lemon juice. Boil for 15-20 minutes, taste and add more seasoning or lemon juice if you need to.

5. You can take all the vegetables out of your pot (we need clear beetroot soup) and add herbs and a dash of an olive oil.

I’m not going to lie, you can make yourself mushroom parcels (like tortellinis with porchini mushrooms). My sister does. But I bought them frozen from a Polish shop (one can only do a few things at a time).

mushroom parcels

mushroom parcels

 

beetroot soup with mushroom parcels

beetroot soup with mushroom parcels

Next thing on the menu were Beet and Goat Cheese Terrine with Rocket and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

 

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

beetroot and goat cheese terrine

You can find the recipe in ‘Fresh’ by Anna Olson

I served it with Rocket and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa’s recipe:

You can find it in her book ‘Back to Basics’

or on the Food Network website here.

For the main we had Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta in Filo Pastry). I tried different variations of  this Greek dish but my favourite recipe which I used over and over again is Jamie Oliver’s from his ’30 Minute Meals’  book

There were two deserts. One of them was mince pies in filo pastry, dead easy. You need to cut filo pastry into squares, brush with melted butter and arrange in a muffin tin. If you feel artistic and have time arrange them with corners making a star. Fill them with vegetarian good mince meat, zest of lemon and fresh cranberries, bake till golden and sprinkle with icing sugar and maybe little sugar snowflakes…?

mince pies in filo pastry

mince pies in filo pastry

And there were also Gingerbread Cupcakes.

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

Christmas gingerbread cupcakes

And the recipe you can also find on the Food Network website here.