Two Very Different Types of Soup!

Greek Bean Soup (Fasolada) and Miso Soup

I have so much to catch up on in the bloglovin’ world. So much food has gone down and I’ve been away so long that it’s taking time to sort through all the pics and recipes.

I also realise that it is Spring here and maybe you feel that soup shouldn’t be on the menu. Did I mention how schizo Melbourne weather has been lately? Soup weather it was indeed!

I had a need for comfort so I called my mum and requested her bean soup for dinner the next night – sometimes, only mum’s cooking will do.

Being the wonderful mumma bear that she is, she made it for me and even got dad to deliver it to my door in time for dinner the following night. How’s that for service? I never do this to my parents and yes I decided to take advantage of their good nature,  just this once – hey don’t judge! I was in a bad way emotionally but curiously still hungry!

It was lovely – comforting and filling. Love my mum!

Greek Bean Soup (Fasolada)

Ingredients

1 – 2 cups haricot beans
1 large onion grated
2 carrots diced
1 tablespoons roughly chopped celery leaves
1 red hot chilli pepper
½ tablespoon tomato paste
150 ml slightly concentrated tomato juice
150 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Method
Soak the beans overnight.
The next day put the beans in a deep pan with enough water to cover them.
Boil them, but before they come to the boil remove with a wooden spoon the froth that comes up to the surface.
After they come to the boil simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the beans and drain them in a colander.
Put them back in the pan and add enough boiled water to cover them. (about 2 fingers above the surface of the beans)
Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour or more – until the beans are tender.
Wonderful 🙂
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The following evening I made a very different soup. I needed restoration and a different flavour altogether. So, I headed down the Miso Soup path. The recipe called for soba noodles but that sounded too much like ‘sober’ and I wasn’t feeling anywhere near sober/a so I used udon noodles – plus that’s all I had. I had made some Miso soup the week before with ginger marinated tofu but I just wasn’t feeling the vegetarian thing that night so I made it with a chargrilled chicken fillet on the side – on the side is good!

Chargrilled Chicken, Udon Noodles Miso Soup

Ingredients

1 chicken breast
750ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon red or white miso paste
3cm piece of ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small packet udon noodles
Chinese broccoli, roughly chopped

Marinade

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon mirin

Method

To make the marinade, combine the hoisin sauce, fish sauce and mirin. Add the chicken breast and toss well. Set aside for an hour; overnight in the fridge is even better.

Chargrill or grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes each side until cooked. Place the chicken stock, miso paste, ginger and garlic in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the udon noodles and chinese broccoli and cook for 3 minutes or until the noodles are just cooked.

Slice the chicken on the diagonal and place on the noodles and broth. I topped mine with coriander because I love coriander!

This is enough for 2 people and I invited my bestie over and just enjoyed the wonderful restorative, clean flavours.

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What a Pearler!

Pearl Couscous with Prawns

I’ve made a decision about couscous – I only like it in very small doses, and by that I really mean, hardly at all.  I haven’t made it since last year when I went out to the shops to buy hair dye and instead came home with couscous (read the post as I really would rather forget that day). I think I liked couscous that day but I’ve decided that I don’t, but will eat it if someone served it up to me, as long as it’s only a little bit.

What I do love however is  Pearl Couscous; I guess because it’s almost like pasta and not really like couscous at all. I love how it holds it’s shape and soaks up any flavour you add to it. Anyway, at the moment, I’m a little addicted to this nutty flavoured little pearler!

I made a rather large salad with it, with prawns, avocado, cherry tomatoes, lime and coriander and there is absolutely none left. My handsome man, who has never eaten this before, just devoured the lot – he’s a mighty good man and I love how much he loved it.

Not much of a post tonight as I’m shattered after a long week at work – I have had to take on a Coordinator position at work in addition to my teaching role, and I just have to get my head around that, my shoulder is killing me and my left shin hurts after my run (must get new runners!) so all I want to do right now is take a pain killer or two, finish my Vodka and drift off into lala land, even though it’s only 9pm on a Friday night.

Here’s the recipe and the pics

Cheers and good times 🙂

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 juice of a small lime
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shaoxing wine
  • 1 tblspn sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper 
  • bunch of coriander

Method

  1. Add spices to oil in a deep pan and slightly heat, then add couscous and stir through very well over medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add boiling water ( see packet for quantity of water ) to the pan and stir periodically for 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Once water is absorbed and the couscous is soft remove from heat and stir through 1 teaspoon of olive and then spread out evenly, so that you don’t get any clumps.
  4. Stir carefully about every 5 minutes till the couscous is cooled.
  5. Add more oil to the pan and saute onions then add the prawns and stir until almost cooked then add dressing. Remove prawns once cooked and set aside to cool.
  6. Cut  cherry tomatoes into quarters.
  7. Peel and dice avocado.
  8. Add dressing to the couscous and mix through well.
  9. Add all the other ingredients gently and mix through well.
  10. Top with coriander and lime wedges.
Love fresh ingredients!

Love fresh ingredients!

I could eat this every day!

I could eat this every day!

Pino Gris! My Prawn Balls are on Fire!

Deep Fried Prawn Balls

Yesterday I went to the Yarra Valley to visit a few wineries with my school teacher girlie friends. No, it’s not enough that we see each other every working day, we actually have other things in common…specifically….wine and food!

It was a stunning day in Melbourne…warm and sunny…just the perfect day for visiting wineries. Tasted lots of wine and I really was all in a tizzy…so much to buy. We bought some lovely wine and ate some wonderful food at Domain Chandon (didn’t do the wine tasting there…charging $5…blah!…but we ate lunch there and the pork belly was wonderful as was the view!

My great holiday continued today, as I spent the day with my bff…we have been friends since the age of 12 and as we are considerably older than that now, it’s safe to say that bff means just that for us…we’ve known each other longer than we haven’t known each other…I adore her dearly and we only live a street away from each other so we do see each other quite regularly but we never seem to connect over the holidays…except for these ones!

Last night I dreamt about the episode in one of Nigellas’ series where she made prawn cakes/balls for her friend that comes to visit and as I knew my best friend was coming over so we could spend the morning meat shopping, I knew that I needed to buy some great prawns and make these prawn balls for my bestie!

Seriously, the noises she made whilst eating them would have made my neighbours believe that we were more than ‘just friends’ and that my handsome man either had something to worry about, or was indeed, the luckiest man alive!

Being the great friend she is, she brought around some crisp, chilled Pino Gris and we ate these prawn balls, with a homemade very chilli aioli (spicy man!) with lime and vietnamese mint and downed that bottle…all this at around 11:30 am…hot outside in Melbourne today…just so happy to be on holidays and loving life. It’s absolutely true that I am a much nicer person to be around when I’m on holidays 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 x glove of garlic
  • two spring onions
  • 250g of raw prawns
  • 50g flour
  • Chinese Cooking Wine
  • Sesame Oil (just a splash)
  • Vietnamese Mint (chopped)
  • Coriander (chopped)
  • veg oil for frying
  • lime quarters for garnish

Method

  1. Into a food processor put the Garlic and roughly chopped spring onions, vietnamese mint and coriander and blitz.
  2. Add prawns and flour with a splosh of Chinese Cooking Wine and Sesame Oil, and blitz again.
  3. Leave to rest in fridge for at least 10 minutes before deep fat frying.
  4. Fry until golden brown. Enjoy.
  5. Serve with chilli and lime aioli and fresh Vietnamese Mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the lady who brings me soup!

Chicken and Sweet Corn soup

My daughter loves chicken and sweet corn soup. However, where she got the idea that supermarket country something or other was real soup I have no idea! It certainly did not come from me! Anyway she buys it all the time and stinks out the whole house with this vomitous stuff.

Finally I had enough and banned it from the house. That didn’t work! She sneaks it in and makes it when I’m not home but as the smell of that stuff lingers (I can smell it when I pull up in my drive way) I know that it’s here.

So, there’s a lovely lady at work who made a pot of her home made chicken and sweet corn soup for one of our morning teas at work about a month ago. It was a cold day and the group making morning tea for the staff decided we should have different pots of soup and bread rolls. Awesome idea (although people who have worked there for years will remember that it was my group who came up with the idea of pots of soup and crusty bread rolls…anyhow we shall let that one pass even though THAT was the BEST morning tea ever and raised the bar for the following groups!)

Yesterday this lovely lady brought in some of her wonderful soup for me to take home and show my daughter what it’s all about.

Yep, that worked, she loved it! This, however has created another problem and one that I cannot believe I failed to anticipate. I’m usually a lot quicker with these things. She now wants home made chicken and corn soup, exactly like this, from now on! As I didn’t make this and in fact have never made this, I’m going to have to have a few goes until I get the egg bit right.

Happy that I won’t be smelling that horrible bought stuff anymore but have been faced with that ‘careful what you wish for’ thingy!

Ingredients

  • 1L (4 cups) chicken consomme
  • 2 (about 200g each) single chicken breast fillets
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) water
  • 1 x 300g can corn kernels, rinsed, drained
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 spring onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
  • buch of coriander
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place the consomme and chicken in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a heatproof bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Finely shred.

Add the soy sauce and ginger to the consomme mixture. Place the cornflour in a small bowl and gradually stir in the water until smooth and combined. Gradually stir the cornflour mixture into the consomme mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until consomme thickens slightly. Add the chicken, corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until hot.

Use a fork to whisk the egg whites in a small bowl. Gradually pour the egg whites into the soup, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Cook for 2 minutes or until white ribbons swirl though the soup. Remove from heat.

Add the sesame oil and half the spring onions and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup among serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining spring onions and coriander. Serve immediately.

Coconut Chicken Curry

A Lovely Chicken Curry

My daughter is in a play for her Theatre Studies subject at school. They have been rehearsing all year and it opens tonight. She’s nervous as it’s worth quite a bit of her overall mark in this subject at the end of the year.

Her teacher has lost the plot and has seemingly forgotten that the kids have another four subjects that they are studying. He has had them rehearsing all weekend and everyday after school, leaving very little time for study for her other subjects. She has those dreaded SAC’s (school assessed tasks) next week and the school has been quite bad in organising them. They should be spread out over five days (one on each day) but due to this play, her SAC’s have been squished in…so she has 3 on one day and 2 on another. This would NEVER happen at the school I teach!!!

She is so tired and quite stressed out as the play runs over 5 nights which means she won’t be finished until Saturday night and on Monday she has her first 2 SAC’s!!!

For this reason, I have resolved to be kind to her and turn a blind eye to her messy room and excuse her of her chores. I’m not going to yell at her about anything (not too hard as she won’t be around much). I have also decided to cook whatever she wants for dinner (even though she won’t be eating until she gets home well after 10pm each night).

Tonight she chose coconut chicken curry and rice for dinner. She loves curries and I hope that she will be awake enough to eat when she gets home.

I’m going to see the play tomorrow night, taking along another 7 people (close friends and family). I hope my mother will be OK with her grand daughter playing the part of a prostitute in the first act!!! Maybe wasn’t a good idea to invite dear old Greek Mumma Bear to this one!!!

Curry was great though!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into thirds
  • 1 brown onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 lemongrass stem, trimmed, bruised, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • steamed jasmine rice, coriander sprigs and chopped tomato and cucumber to serve

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon oil or ghee in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add half the chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chickenReduce heat to medium-high.

Add remaining oil to wok. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, curry paste, lemongrass and chilli. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.Stir in coconut milk and curry leaves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low.

Return chicken to wok. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.  Spoon over rice and top with coriander sprigs. I chopped up cucumber and tomato and mixed in coriander and served that on the side with chapatis.

Eat well = Live Well

Mid Week Madness.

My daughter is in her final year of high school, which translates to “I am in my last year of high school.”  Whatever pain and stress she feels, I feel it too.

I’m a high school teacher so our house is full of books and the conversation rarely strays from what a particular author really meant when he/she wrote blah, blah, blah! Metaphors, symbolism, structuring paragraphs and embedding quotes is the usual after dinner conversation as I don’t allow these conversations to take place at the dinner table.

We all need to have a bit of a laugh and I love it when this happens whilst we eat. No matter how tired I am, dinner is always a priority. This never means spending hours in the kitchen slaving away. It is more than possible to eat good hearty meals without it having to kill you.

I’ve spent a lot of time stocking my pantry and freezer in order to have all the herbs, spices, sauces, meat and packet stuff handy to make cooking after a hard day effortless. Shopping for everything is what takes the biggest effort and as I love shopping for the pantry and freezer, it really isn’t much effort at all.

We love steak and fries in our house and one of the best things I saw Nigella Lawson do was shallow fry gnocchi. Instead of peeling potatoes to go with our steak and salad, frying up gnocchi takes 5 mins and there’s no peeling or cutting potatoes or deep frying involved. Simply open a packet of gnocchi and shallow fry. They are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Perfect for any night of the week.

It took 10 mins to make this meal for 3 people. It’s a favourite in our house.

There’s no recipe just make your steak and salad as you like it and shallow fry the gnocchi. I add a bit of mayonnaise and mustard and topped it all off with coriander.

*A side note…my friend at work made these and said they popped all over her kitchen like popcorn and she spent the rest of the night cleaning up splattered oil and looking for lost gnocchi. She wasn’t happy with me at all!

We worked out that she used too much oil in a saucepan and used fresh gnocchi straight from the fridge. I used the vacuum sealed packs of gnocchi that can be stored in the pantry and enough oil to coat the bottom of a wide heavy based frying pan. If you are using fresh fridge stored gnocchi make sure they have dried out a little as the moisture in them apparently makes them go nuts when frying!